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What's up with Steel Magnolia?

A few loyal readers who miss the daily exploits chronicled here during our last trip have asked for a progress report on the boat. So yesterday I drove down to Mobile to Dog River Marina and spent one night on the boat to see just what was happening. I don’t know if it was the holidays, or how busy they were, but not much happened during the first seven weeks that the boat was there. However, things finally appear to be moving.

The biggest job is the installation of stabilizers to keep the boat from rolling too much. They have finally figured out exactly how and where to install these, they have given me an estimate, and the parts have been ordered. They figure it will take two or three weeks to get the parts and a couple of weeks more to do the installation, which puts us into February for that job alone.

Another major project is some improvements to the electrical system so the boat will have more adequate shore power. This involves installing a 220-volt, 50 amp shore cord rather than using the two 110-volt, 30 amp cords that were there. This job got started this week and is actually almost completed. It should be wrapped up early next week after the arrival of one additional part.

Next is plumbing improvements. We are installing two new toilets in the master and guest heads that will actually work. These are already delivered to Dog River and should be installed in the next couple of weeks. The toilet in the “day head” off of the kitchen is being removed and that small head will later be converted to a wet bar. Given the choice, we decided it was better to consume liquids on the main deck rather than discharge them. A watermaker has been ordered and should be installed over the next several weeks so that we can make fresh water from ocean water, particularly in the Bahamas. We’re also talking to Dog River about moving the forward stateroom shower to what is now a closet to actually give guests a shower they can fit in. This one still needs some figuring but it should be done in a couple of weeks after everything is figured out.

There are a few other little fixes and finally, after everything else is done, there is some touch-up painting to be done on the hull and deck to get Steel Magnolia looking her best. This will be done last after the stabilizers are done and when all the other workers are finished and off the boat.

When will she be ready to go? We’re all shooting for the end of February but it may slip a few weeks beyond that. In any event, look for travel blogs starting up again in March. 

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