Boat Life Kite Panama Surf

Puerto Lindo: Work work work

Written by Renato Matiolli

I guess that when most people think about those who are sailing across the world they have a view a bit different of our reality. I guess people picture easy life, lot’s of hammock time around coconut trees with nothing to do all day long. We have certainly had an amazing time since we left, but I have to tell you, it has been busier than ever.

People always ask us… sooooooo you must have a lot of free time, righ? Believe it or not, we don’t.

I guess if you want to sail around the world and have a lot of free time there is one of two options. Option 1) You have a lot of money and you hire people to do everything for you. Option 2) You have a very very veeeeeery simple boat and learn how to live in a much simpler way. Unfortunately we are neither of the above. Commonly I try to go to the latter option, but I guess you can only do that if you don’t like water sports or you don’t have a woman aboard. At the end of the day, when I stop to think about it, we are always going into the opposite direction. We are always adding new systems and more complexity and “comfort” to the boat.

Sailing around the world is not cheap and to keep us going (financially) we need to receive guests. The logistics to get the boat perfect and ready to receive visitors in remote locations is not easy at all.

Our boat has a lot of things that can break. Think about it. Ipanema has six engines: two Volvo engines; one generator; one dive compressor and two outboard engines. It also has a desalinization plant, two air cons, four electric drain pumps, four electric bilge pumps, two fresh water pumps, five toilets, two navigation systems, one electric winch, one electric windlass for the anchor, four mechanic winches, four refrigerators and the list goes on. All of this equipment is surrounded by seawater and “shaking” all the time while we sail. So things do need constant maintenance and even so, some will eventually break down.

When things break we don’t have amazon or AAA to call. We are always in locations where people have a hard time building a simple straw house. So imagine fixing a complex boat. We have to do most of the stuff ourselves.

Bellow is a list of the top of my head of the things we did on the last couple of months. This list is just the extra stuff; it does not include the basic things like cooking and cleaning everyday, sourcing spare parts (which is super timing consuming since we don’t have Amazon nor eBay around here – a specific post would be required just to explain this)… sourcing food, finding a place to refill cooking gas, fuel, chatting with potential guests, updating the website, taking pictures and editing them, posting on Facebook, Instagram, etc… and of course, relaxing a bit too!

Some people write to us asking what we are doing and many times we answer that we are working on the boat. Then they ask, what exactly do you really have to do? So this is what we did during the last couple of months:

1) Taking care of the hulls

  • Haul out the boat
  • Sand paper the hulls, sail drives and propellers
  • Paint the hulls with primer and antifouling
  • Paint the sail drives and propellers
  • Cut and glue a thick rubber to protect the base of both sail drives
  • Dive in and clean both hulls and propellers after anchorage in Cartagena

2) Hydraulic

  • Install a new salt water pump to clean the deck (electric and hydraulic)
  • Replace three ball valves of the through hulls
  • Install new hot and cold water tap in the kitchen sink

3) Electric / Electronics

  • Fix chain counter (which already stopped working… again!)
  • Install new AGM 1200AMP battery bank and dispose the old one
  • Fix AIS and connections on the RayMarine chart plot
  • Prepare 12 volt connections for additional fans in 2 cabins
  • Install 12v socket in each of the 4 cabins
  • Install new deep freezer
  • Fix AIS once again with the new SeaTalk cable brought by our friend Bia

4) Air Con

  • Install strainer for the water pump of port side
  • Install air con on the bow starboard cabin

5) Desalinization plant

  • Clear strainers and pre-filters
  • Create a close circuit and run the cleaning system with and acid solution
  • Change the pre-filter and filter
  • Re-install strainer/pre-filter closer to the pump Watermaker
  • Change membranes

6) Onam Generator

  • Install new fuel pre filter / water separator (transparent Racor)
  • Replace fuel filter
  • Drain oil and add new one
  • Change fuel filter
  • Replace impeller
  • Removed and cleaned up the heat exchanger
  • Checked that one-way valve in not clogged
  • Dive and clean the water inlet on the hull from extra antifouling paint

7) Dive compressor

  • Run dive equipment and refill empty bottles
  • Make a hole to be able to change the oil of the dive compressor without having to move the whole machine
  • Drain old oil and add new one
  • Change air filter

8) Volvo engines

  • Port engine
    • Install new fuel pre-filter / water separator (transparent Racor)
    • Replace fuel filter
    • Replace air filter
    • Drain used engine oil and add new one
    • Replace oil filter
    • Change seals of sail-drive
    • Change gear box oil of the sail-drive
    • Re-do axis of sail drive
    • Replace impeller
    • Re-glue soundproof foam around the engine
    • Change 10 rusty screws/washers of the S-drive for stainless steel ones

  • Starboard engine
    • Install new fuel pre-filter / water separator (transparent Racor)
    • Replace fuel filter
    • Drain used engine oil and add new one
    • Replace oil filter
    • Change seals of sail-drive
    • Change gear box oil of the sail-drive
    • Re-do axis of sail drive and adjust to stop water coming in
    • Replace impeller
    • Open heat exchanger and find missing parts of the impeller
    • Re-glue soundproof foam around the engine
    • Change 10 rusty screws/washers of the S-drive for stainless steel ones
    • Replace automatic of the starter engine

9) Outboard engine

  • Install new fuel connection in the outboard engine
  • Replace old fuel tank for a new one

10) Basic boat care

  • Cleaning stuff
    • Polish all the windows and hatches
    • Polish the boom and other aluminum parts
    • Spread liquid Vaseline in the hatches’ sealing rubber
    • Take care of the teak on the side of the boat (clean, bright and oil)
    • Clean all of the plastic panels that surround the outdoor living/dinning room
    • Clean and wash all outdoors white cushions with Clorox
    • Cut and glue a protective material on every recipient that sits on our wooden floors to avoid scratches
    • Polish all chromed fixtures around the boat (hinges, lights, etc)
    • Clean and maintain both emergency exits (polish acrylic, clean and lubricate seals)
    • Use acid to clean rusty on stainless steel parts of the boat
    • Clean rusty marks off the gel coat
    • Clean the entire boat to remove blue ink powder after the hulls were “sand papered”

  • Mirrors
    • 8 new mirrors for the toilets
    • 2 new mirrors for the bow cabins
    • 1 new mirror for our bedroom
    • 1 new mirror in the starboard aft cabin to hide the holes from the TV we took away

  • Sewing stuff
    • 8 new covers for the mattresses in all 4 cabins
    • 2 new covers for the bow cabins’ seats
    • New zippers for both kiteboard bags and fix a whole in one of them
    • Adjust all captains shorts (8) to fit his new skinnier figure 😉
    • Adjust the size of 8 pillow cases (the ones we bought were way to big for our pillows)

  • Carpentry stuff
    • Fix wood box that protects the starboard engine
    • Create a wood base in the storage compartment in front of the boat
    • Refurbish table top of both dinning tables
    • Fix Feijão’ teeth marks on the dinning table, in our bathroom door and on the steps of the port bow cabin
    • Install new Formica in the entire kitchen
    • Sand paper and paint the border of the kitchen counter which was getting rotten
    • Install a sheet of stainless steel next to the kitchen cooking burners
    • Install new Formica around the 8 mirror doors in the bathrooms
  • Welding stuff
    • Close tiny holes of 2 cooking pans and fix one of the lids
    • Weld barbecue burner
    • Weld burner rack
  • Other stuff
    • Replace gas springs on the door that leads to the water tanks
    • Fix door knob springs (learnt with our friends from Cascalho boat)
    • Lubricate hinges that got salty and stiff

11) Leakage stuff

  • Replace sicaflex on all front window on the port side
  • Fix leakages on the starboard engine room (lock and stairs)
  • Re-do the seal around the window behind the TV
  • Fix leakage on the port engine
  • Re-do the seal on the stern of port side (above our room)
  • Change broken acrylic from one of the front hatches

12) Sails, rigging and winches

  • Inspect our rigging
  • Take old mainsail out as well as battens
  • Install new mainsail as well as new battens
  • Change all flags for new ones
  • Change location of the ropes that hoist the flags so its not touching the sail
  • Fix whinch that raises the dinghy to rotate in both directions

13) Amenities

  • Create the ultimate lure device with 6 consecutive squids in line (already lost to a big fish by the time of the writing of this post)
  • Install new rack for two additional ISLE SUPs on the side of the boat
  • Assemble new rope for wakeboarding

14) Safety

  • Build new emergency rudder tool and galvanize it
  • Create a rubberized chain to dissipate lightning that might hit the boat
  • EPIRB re-registration
  • Bilge pumps
    • Run all bilge pumps
    • Replace strainers
    • Fix main bilge pump on port side
  • Remove the safety lines for the timing being, clean and store them

I guest this is about it. The to-do list remains with a few pending issues, but we decided to do it as we go.

The good thing is that Puerto Lindo is a beautiful place and arguable the most beautiful boatyard in the world.


To makes things even better it also has some descent surfing action with crowdless waves close by


Linton also has some crazy kiting action with very gusty windy conditions just next to the marina.


Well, this work thing is finally over and it is playtime now! Lets go back to San Blas and enjoy life… just like we planned when we set off to sail.

About the author

Renato Matiolli

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