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Twist the Wrench and Take the Bolt Out, Fa La La La La….

December is that time of year that many of you are thinking of how you will spend the holidays and the Dazzler crew is no exception. Our holiday is consisting of getting the larger projects onboard checked off the TO DO list in preparation for crossing the Pacific Ocean to the South Pacific in March of 2018. The list is long and distinguished. First up was beefing up the bulkhead for the auto pilot hydraulic ram.

Dazzler’s Cranse Collar

There is now two inches of marine plywood, penetrating epoxy applied and painted and two quarter inch pieces of stainless steel plate that form the base plate for the hydraulic ram. That should handle any loads just fine.


Next up, the job of removing Dazzler’s bowsprit. Why do you remove what looks like a perfectly good bowsprit? I could say because it’s there, but the reality is that I removed it about ten years ago to repair a small area of wood rot. Then I repainted it and re-installed it. Two thoughts have gone through my mind in preparing for our upcoming crossing. Is Dazzler’s bowsprit sound? Should I decommission and disassemble her bow rigging to check and be sure?

I first used a hammer with a plastic head to sound the bowsprit. Everything sounded fine except for a small area aft of the windlass. Knowing the history of Dazzler’s bowsprit, I didn’t want to take any chances. So, the decision was made to remove it for closer inspection and repainting. Okay, I was going to repaint it anyway, but removing it makes the job easier and the results will look much nicer and we will have peace of mind knowing if there are any gremlins in the bowsprit.

First, we have to strip all the rigging and hardware off the bowsprit. When you first look at this kind of job your thought might be, “There isn’t too much to take off.” Ha ha ha! There is a lot more than meets the eye. Just saying. Before stripping anything, both the staysail and jib sail were removed and then the standing rigging had to be detuned.

The bowsprit is ready to disconnect the roller furling gear and remove the pulpit.

Next up was removing the roller furling gear, bob stay and whisker stays. Dazzler’s bow pulpit and deck boards that are bolted down to the top of the bowsprit were next. There is a stainless strap forward of the windlass and an integrated stainless steel strap and Sampson post aft of the windlass. Both straps saddle the bowsprit and are through bolted to the foredeck. Dazzler is equipped with a Lighthouse windlass that has a vertical shaft that passes through the middle of the beam and deck and into the anchor locker where it’s motor is mounted to the bottom of the shaft. The strap bolts and motor must be disconnected before the sprit can be removed.

Round head slotted fastener and its replacement.

Boats built in Taiwan in the seventies and eighties had a special style head on the fasteners that look like a large slot. Although it has a great finished look, those slotted heads are very difficult to get a wrench on to remove them. One of these said bolts 5/8″ in diameter and about 12″ long also passes through the bowsprit and deck to help index the sprit. Several years ago I bought a ½” drive socket that had a wide screwdriver bit on top. This was the best solution that I could find for removing these types of bolts. On a side note, these types of bolts have proven to be very difficult to remove without first removing skin from your knuckles. Trust me, I know. Additionally, these style fasteners are difficult to get enough torque to turn them even with the ½” ratchet and screwdriver socket. I had to result to using a pair of vise grip style pliers to remove the bolt. A new hex head bolt has been obtained for replacement.

When I re-installed Dazzler’s sprit in 2007, I put a layer of calking on the deck under it to help keep water from settling under it and thus keeping the area between the sprit and deck drier. This trick seemed to work, but added a level of difficulty in removing the sprit from the deck. I used a halyard tied around the sprit near the stem of the bow to assist in lifting it from its bedded position. Using the halyard and mast wench worked like a champ for lifting the bowsprit from the bedding compound.

After Dazzler’s bowsprit was removed, the job of cleaning all of the bow hardware and fasteners began. Along with sanding paint off the sprit to inspect for any hidden damage. I was very pleased to find that the bowsprit was sound and had no visible signs of rot or damaged areas.


Dazzler, like many cruising boats, is equipped with a small chandlery onboard as well as all the supplies needed to complete the painting project. In 2007, when I first removed the bowsprit, I used Awlgrip paint. 10 years of wear and use for a paint is a reasonable expectation. In 2013, I removed Dazzler’s teak decks and repainted her decks with Alexseal paint. I chose Alexseal based on recommendations from Dan at San Diego Marine Exchange (SDME). Dan had worked for many years as a boat finish painter and was a wealth of tips, tricks and advise. I have been very happy with those results as well. Alexseal, like Awlgrip, is a linear polyurethane blend of paint. Both are very durable and require mixing two to three components before painting. Yes, a can of Easypoxy would be easier to apply, but ten years of durable use and looking good speak for themselves. The initial cost is more expensive compared to other paints like Easypoxy. With all the work involved removing the bowsprit, I figured my initial investment for a ten-year yield is worth it. Additionally the painted surface is very durable and forgiving to small dings, which will happen.

That’s it for now. I have to get back to working on the bowsprit, so we can keep moving forward in passage preparations. I’ll be putting together part two after this job is done. Where is that tube of Neosporine?


Captain Dan

SV Dazzler


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Jilly’s Rum/Kahlua Balls! OH YEAH!

If you’re like me the holidays bring out the baker in you. There’s just something so homey about being in the galley creating some yummy treats while listening to Christmas music. The tree, however large or small, is lit and outside the galley port light palm trees are swaying in the sunshine as masts are dancing back and forth with the ripples on the water.

img_0243-1Yes, a cruiser’s Christmas can be a bit different especially for those of you who are used to snow and elaborate decorations. I myself was always known as Ms. Christmas because I would spend weeks putting up decorations, planning parties and putting together the little touches that made everyone get into the spirit…even the scrooges of the group. Heck, my Christmas tree alone took a good eight hours to put up but it was fabulous when it was done. Or at least that’s what my friends said. And, I would spend 150 hours assembling my village and train set. Yes, I am a Christmas fanatic! Clark Griswold had nothing on me.

img_5404-1So, this is my second Christmas on the boat and I have to say, I’m enjoying not having to go through all the hassle of putting up elaborate decorations. Finally I’m getting to enjoy the holiday without all the work. Our tree took me about ten minutes to put up and maybe it took another five or so minutes to light the Palm tree and fishing poles. Voilá! Christmas decorations complete.

But, as nice as that is, I had to make at least one Christmas treat. We all know that pirates love their rum and when you combine rum and Kahlua, nuts, coconut and chocolate chips you end up with a treat that is truly a pirate’s dream!

I don’t like to use the oven much because as you all know, it just makes it hot in the cabin and while the weather here in México is quite nice right now, I want to enjoy it, not create more heat. My rum balls are easy to make and they are great to take to cruiser get togethers or to share with others. Hope you enjoy the recipe and more importantly, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas (or whatever you celebrate) and a fabulous New Year!


  • 3 1/4 Cups Crushed Vanilla Wafers (1 Box)
  • 1/2 Pkg Brownie Mix (I use Ghiradelli Mix)
  • 1 cup Semi Fine Ground Walnuts…small pieces are okay but pieces too large will make it hard to form balls. (Pecans or Almonds work as well.)
  • 1 Cup Confectioners’ Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut
  • 30 Ritz Crackers…Finely Crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 1/2 cup Mini Dark Chocolate Chips. The regular ones work fine but minis are better.
  • 2 Tablespoons Baking Cocoa
  • 1/3 Cup Rum
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua
  • 5 Tablespoons Honey
  • Additional Confectioners’ Sugar to roll balls in when done.


In a large bowl, combine the wafer crumbs, pecans, confectioners sugar, coconut, Ritz crackers, chocolate chips, brownie mix and cocoa.

img_5405-1Combine the rum, Kahlua, honey and water then stir into crumb mixture. Mixture should be moist but not wet. You can always add more crushed crackers or cookies if it seems to wet. Shape into 1-in. balls. Roll in additional confectioners’ sugar. Store in an airtight container. **Note that you can also roll them in crushed nuts, sprinkles or other finely ground goodies. I’ve even dipped them in white and dark chocolate to give them a nice hard outer coating. Lots of options for the creative cook.

Yield: 6 1/2 dozen 1” Balls

**Wait at least 48 hours to serve so the rum and Kahlua have time to reallyget infused into the mixture.

Sit back with a cocktail or some cocoa and enjoy a few as you savor the sights and sounds of paradise!

Until next time,







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User Error

So we’ve received a few comments stating the link to our Isla Isabel video wasn’t working. Well, it turns out it was an ID10T error on my part. My computer friends know exactly what i mean. LOL

Anyway, I’ve fixed it and you should now be able to access it. Here’s the link again.

Isla Isabel Video…Click Here

Thanks for the feedback.

Until next time,