The Final Countdown to Cruising

Well this is it guys, we are back on board, we've relaunched Varuna and are days away from leaving the St. Maarten lagoon and island hopping our way to Grenada. After 2 years of rebuilding the boat and time away working, we'll be making our maiden voyage to St. Kitts in the next week. We are so excited and anxious to get going! We never meant for this project to turn into such a HUGE one, but it did and we really enjoyed (almost) all of it. We are beyond ready to do what was the original plan, SAIL! It was really never our intention to do so much to the boat, but once we got started we figured there was no better time to gut the whole thing and just do it right then and there. It's been an extremely busy last month getting the boat ready for the water and getting all the last projects done.

Trying to unpack all of our stuff after 7 months away working. I have no idea what I would of done with all those clothes without removing the settee and creating that extra storage. We added plastic baskets to the cabinet that hold our clothes and make it easier to move the stuff around and make the most of the large space.

Everything put away with space to spare! A few new touches: a new Atwood 2 burner stainless steel cooktop (made for RV's), curtains (I left the old ones up and they were completely sun rotted), throw pillow covers, pictures, and sheets. 

We installed a 255W solar panel on the radar arch, whacked a fresh coat of black bottom paint on, and she splashed!

We also replaced all of our standing rigging. Every swage had multiple cracks so we were sure to replace it for safety and peace of mind at sea. 

Yes, we placed a "gold" coin under the mast!

Matt tightening all the turnbuckles. FYI, our turnbuckles are all the original bronze fittings, they are beautiful and in great condition. How lucky!

Adding the wind instrument. I am not going up there unless absolutely necessary...

The traditional christening of a boat, a bottle of "champagne" broken on the bow. We opted for the very fitting Caribbean version, a Presidente. Who wants to waste a perfectly good bottle of bubbly?!

Varuna on a mooring in the lagoon! The furthest she's ever been since we've owned her...At least no one can say we didn't earn it! Our list of projects is so tiny now, we are almost ready to go. And of course, then the list will surely grow again!


  1. Hillary & Matt - welcome back and congrats on a job well-done (to the extent that boat work is ever *really* done). You have inspired so many people. We have a 1974 Telstar trimaran that was built in GB, previous owner sailer her to the Caribbean, Venezuela then to Fort Lauderdale where we bought her. Incredible amount of work, not done yet but your before and after photos show so many creative solutions - you've inspired me to keep plugging away. Hope all goes well on your travels. Do you plan to return to the captain - mate gig in the fall? My daughter Hillary (!) lives in St Thomas - she accepted a position on a big yacht, was bored to tears waiting for the owners to show up. So many broken plans, too frustrating, so she's back on STT and working for a charter company.

    Fair winds,

    1. Hello Pam! Thank you for the nice comment! Sounds like you have many projects ahead of you as well so good luck and remember to take lots of photos along the way. Sometimes looking at our old photos inspires us to keep moving forward! Your mind really has a way of glossing things over to seem that they weren't as bad (but looking back at the before pics, the boat was really that bad!). We are returning to our captain-mate gig in October. The 6 on, 6 off schedule is working out great for us! How cool your daughter Hillary! (I hardly ever come across other Hillary's with the 2 L's) is in STT. We have heard some horror stories from yacht crew. It can either be amazing or terrible. I hope she has found something better now. I'm always hearing of people needing crew so do send me her info if she finds herself needing a spot somewhere. We are always looking to recommend good people and they can be hard to find!

  2. The boat looks great! Glad yall are finally shoving off, what a relief and an exciting new journey! I can't wait to finish with the refit and head off myself. Thanks for the breath of fresh air of motivation. Hope to see you guys out there one day! God bless both of you and enjoy your new adventure!


    1. Hi Ronnie, thank you! Yes, no kidding, FINALLY we are out there cruising! It's great to have her in the water where she belongs. She is sailing great and having the inside so cozy and comfortable is so nice after a long sail. We are finding some leaks that are frustrating, but that was expected. Spent today trying to rebed some deck hardware and caulk the toe rails. The work never ends does it! At least we are finally in a nice anchorage where you can take swim breaks :) Good luck with finishing your refit and keep an eye out for us once you get out there!