This is a chronological timeline of our Cruise-a-home rebuild and what we accomplished each day we were at the boat.
February 7th. We hauled our boat out of the water and moved her to the repair yard where Ryan and I will gut her and breath new life into her. We always dreamed of building our own home one day. This home has an added bonus of being able to move! We were pleasantly surprised to see very little growth on her hull. Again, we were told she hadn’t moved from Lake Union in 20 years.
February 9th, 10th and 15th. We spent three days demoing her to her skeleton. We wanted to get rid of all wood rot, old wiring and plumbing potential problems.
March 8th. Ryan removed the subfloor to expose our two gas tanks and water tank. We found out the fourth bulk head from the bow was rotten and compromised, needing to be replaced.
March 11th. We had the two gas tanks inspected and cleaned out. Flipping the tanks over, we cleaned the bottoms and covered the surface with an amazing compound to prevent furtue problems. We flipped them back into place and cut a hole in the top for a fitting to go on…or something like that.
March 15th. My father-in-law and a friend helped Ryan replace a rotting bulk head with 3/4″ marine grade plywood, and double up the stringers running the length of our boat to strengthen them. Ryan and I cannot be more pleased the reconstruction has been just like a house…on a boat. Our catch phrase for this project and adventure has become, “How hard can it be?”
March 22nd. Exciting day today as we’re beginning to put our boat back together! We cut the first floor hatch in the bathroom, began screwing the floor into place, blocked out the bathroom, and showed our kids the progress we’ve made thus far rebuilding our home!
March 24th. The floor is in and hatches are cut all the way down the center line. This gives us great access for our batteries, water and fuel tanks. When we walked through the Seattle Boat Show earlier in January, we remembered seeing no pulls on the floor hatches. Instead, the owner of the sailboat used a suction cup to pull it up. We liked the idea of no dirt, dust, food or hair getting trapped in the floor boards. That’s why we don’t have floor pulls on our hatches. For now, we use a flat head screw driver to pull them up.
March 25th. Ryan finished cutting the back hatches. I continue to pull out screws, nails, the 1970’s paneling, and help Ryan when he needs it.
March 27th. We framed out our bathroom, filled in all the screw holes, sanded, vacuumed, pre-stained and stained the floor. Phew! We’re making progress!
March 31st, April 1st and 3rd. We started and finished planking the starboard side where the kitchen will go. We wanted something light and bright so the interior would be cheery and less claustrophobic. We knew we wanted wood on our walls. Tongue and grove flooring seemed like too much hassle interlocking the joists on a vertical surface. Looking at our budget, we decided to ask two helpful Lowes employees to cut 4×8 sheets of ½” maple plywood into 8” planks. Each sheet would give us six planks, and would be easier to cut and nail in place. We didn’t mind the minute inconsistencies of each board not being exactly square. It adds charm.
April 3rd. This afternoon we finally had a break in this relentless rain and gusty wind! We seized the opportunity to sand the seven layers of bottom paint off the bottom of our boat. It is very hard, tiring and stinky work, but needed to be done. By the end of the day, we felt like Mary Poppins and Bert from the chimney sweep scene.
April 5th. We wrote out a daunting “to do” list we need to accomplish before we can launch and move aboard with our children.
The next major piece to tackle, was the port and starboard stern corners. They had the most water damage from disintegrated venting ducts. Problem solving these corners finally allowed me to take over planking.
Ryan moved on to the 12 Volt system and ran electrical wires through the walls. I thought often today about Mrs. Noah and wondered if, working beside her husband, she ever got discouraged about the daunting task list and wondered if the ark would ever be complete. I’m thankful our boat is a manageable 200 sq ft to build so quickly! We’re making progress and need to just keep going. No rest for the weary.
April 7th and 9th. I finished planking up to the helm and sanded the walls. Ryan put the first coat of polyurethane on the walls. Stinky stuff!
April 10th. How hard can following the directions to build IKEA kitchen cabinets be? Ryan had a meeting elsewhere in the afternoon so I convinced myself these instructions were like putting Legos together. I am so proud of myself to have completed the cabinets before Ryan came back aboard in the evening! Our kitchen is taking shape!
April 12th. Ryan continued to work on the electrical wiring and 12 Volt system. He helped me begin to build the first bench for our dinette/bed. We’re building furniture now! We are so excited and encouraged to see our living space begin to take shape!
April 13th and 14th. Ryan and I finished framing and planking the benches for our dinette/bed. We have storage in both benches and a bookcase on the back of one which will hold our school books and most beloved books we couldn’t leave behind. Earlier we had purchased reclaimed wood that had a lot of grey, worm holes and character. We wanted grey to be our accent and were so pleased to see our grey IKEA kitchen cabinets compliment it so well. Our cushions are outdoor patio cushions from Lowes that I can hose off to clean if I want to. I’m so happy our house is taking shape and looking so pretty! Our children are excited to finally have a place to sit when they come.
April 16th and 17th. The bottom of our boat is finally completely sanded. Thank you Steven for doing such a wonderful job! We had another break from the rain and spent two absolutely exhausting days priming two coats and painting two coats of Seahawk Sharkskin. Hard work, but it looks so much better and was so worth it! Another thing checked off the list! We’re doing amazing checking things off!
April 18th and 19th. Ryan and I custom-built our kiddos’ bunk beds. We planked them with the same reclaimed wood from our dinette benches. Their bedroom is almost done. Another thing check off!
April 20th and 21st. We finished screwing in the ceiling panels. Ryan wired and hooked up the lights, switches and electrical panels. I put the IKEA bathroom vanity together. Tomorrow we splash down!! We are so close to moving in!!! I cannot believe we made it!!!
We splashed down April 22nd and officially moved aboard April 26th. This is how our beautiful Cruise-a-home has turned out. It fits all six of us better than I could have imagined. Though only 8 1/2 feet wide and 28 feet interior length (the boat overall has a 12 foot beam and is 40 feet in length), she feels incredibly spacious with how we designed her. I couldn’t be more pleased or proud of our accomplishment!! She truly feels like home.