Boat Improvement Projects

When we bought Ladybug (fromerly Tropic Cat), she was a tired and very poorly equipped charter boat. While she needed some love and a lot of equipment, we could see that she was a solid, well designed boat. Her basic design maximizes sailing performance and seaworthyness. This is unlike many of the new cats that we looked at that are obviously designed for the charter business, maximizing sleeping capacity and comfort for a week of sailing from one marina to the next.

Since we moved aboard we have worked hard to convert her into a true world cruiser. While the projects will probably never end, we think we have come a long way in making her into a boat that will take us around the world.

New Ground Tackle System: We started with a 35 lb CQR and a small Danforth anchor on old nylon rodes. We have added the following items to create a much more trustworthy ground tackle system:

New Standing Rigging: All the standing rigging has been replaced in the last 2 years.

New Net Attachment System: We didn't like the net attachment system when we first saw it, but we really stopped liking it when it failed on the starboard side on the way to Grenada. We made a much stronger system by fiberglassing a 1/4" stainless steel rod in place. This was a big job (hanging upside down between the hulls chipping gel coat, sanding, fiberglassing, and painting) but will never fail again.

Dingy and Outboard Motor: Not really a project, but since the boat did not come with a dingy, we had to buy one. We actually bought the dingy in the US, and I carried it down in my largest waterproof backpack (the airline allows backpacks to be larger than the normal size limitation). The outboard was purchased in the US Virgin Islands.

Sunbrella Dingy Cover: Stacy made a beautiful Sunbrella dingy cover to protect it from the sun.

Inflatable Sea Kayaks: Like the dinghy, this is also not really a "project", but these have added a lot to the trip. They are heavily built and quite seaworthy, perfect for doing a little exploration.

Navigation System and Charts:When we bought the boat it didn't even have a GPS and only a few charts of the Virgin Islands. We have added the following:

Safety Equipment: We added the following:

Communication Equipment: We have added the following:

Electrical System: We added the following:

Boat Instruments: The boat came with a NKE instrument package, but the speed sensor and outside multi-display did not work and the wind sensor was unreliable. We replaced the paddle wheel fixing the speed, replaced the ouside display, and fixed the wind sensor. We can now see: depth, boat speed, true and apparent wind speed and direction, water temp, air temp, elapsed time, distance log, battery voltage, VMG into the wind, and a few other thing that we haven't figured out.

Stereo: We added a AM/FM/CD stereo with new speakers inside and two other ortable speakers in nice wood boxes that we take outside when we have a party.


Water System: The boat carries 110 gallons in 2 tanks. We added the following:

New Bimini Cover: We had a new bimini cover made in Australia. We used the best material the company offered which should be good for 10 years.

Refinished the Bottom: Ground and saneded 10 years of bottom paint off the bottom. Put on two coats of primer and 2 coats of new bottom paint.

Head Remodeling: Both heads had vinyl liner with disintegrated foam behind it. The port head also had a broken toilet seat. We did the following:

Window/Hatch Related Projects:

Misc. Beef Up Things That Had Broken Or Will Break Projects:

Engine Related Projects:

Other Misc. Projects:

Other Projects that are in Process: