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Take Care of Her and She'll Take Care of You

I'm writing this on the eve of our departure from AMCYC. Tomorrow our adventure begins (albeit with a two-day haul out). Norma posted about why we love Afterglow, and showed photos of our first impressions of our boat 11 years ago. This is all thanks to Dave and Erin Townley, our fabulous brokers who took the time to get to know us and then showed us the yacht they knew was right for us. Thanks for the photos from their web page that is unbelievably still available!

Thanks also to Bob Osborn of Salty Dawg Sailing Association for suggesting we post a "boat love" blog which inspired this and the previous post from Norma. I'm going to talk about the improvements we have made to Afterglow over the past 11 years. You may have noticed how clean (and empty) the photos in Norma's post were. The boat looks a bit more cluttered now as she is fully provisioned for our cruise. However, there are a number of other changes to the boat, and I will describe them from the bottom (literally) up.


Many owners of new boats do not realize the manufacturers provide an anchor suitable for day-sails and the occasional overnight or short cruise in good weather. I like to call this type of anchor a "lunch hook" and many new boaters need to learn the hard way that they will need a bigger/ better anchor if they want to get out there in a blow. Afterglow came with a Delta 35 lb anchor, and we had our share of anchor dragging in the Bay. The Chesapeake, as many of you know, has a very silty, muddy bottom, and it is hard to find good holding anyway. We replaced this anchor with a ROCNA 20 (kg) which brings our anchor weight up to 44 lbs. with a scoop shape rather than a plow shape. The second anchor was a CQR, which we replaced with a Fortress Anchor, 100' of rope and both 10 foot and 30 foot lengths of chain. There is a controversy about the proper length of chain for a Fortress anchor, so we will play with both longer and shorter lengths. Feel free to post your opinion in the comments if you have one.

Rudder Bearings:

Bavarias are notorious for having rudder bearings that swell over time, and ours did just that. The helm became difficult to turn. After we had the boat for 3 years, I replaced the bearing with one from Bavaria but 7 years later the rudder was so stiff once again that the autohelm kept tripping off on overcurrent. Last season we replaced the bearings, top and bottom with Jefa roller bearings from PYI Inc. These made a big difference, and I think the autohelm will require quite a bit fewer watts to steer the boat from here out.


We replaced the fixed propeller with an an EWOL feathering propeller. Why drag a bucket through the water while you are sailing? The EWOL is a stainless steel prop which I coated with 4 coats of Epoxy. EWOL is an Italian brand and my thanks to Sergio from EWOL for all the help and support. I meet him each year at the the Annapolis Sailboat Show to give my thanks and shake his hand. We are ready with extra zincs and a set of bushings for next year's planned overhaul.

Salon and Interior:

We were truly inspired by the red interior décor when we first saw the boat and have worked to maintain and enhance it. (The red coloring of the "Afterglow" on the side of he boat is meant to foreshadow what you will see when you go below decks.) We now have (almost) wall-to-wall carpets of a color meant to complement the red and hide some of my messiness (which Norma does a good job cleaning up afterwards with a few words of her own thrown in.) After of few years of my grime, we replaced the red couch coverings with the same color and fabric and added 2 custom made pillows which are lovely, plush and comfy. We got a full complement of Nautical themed dishes (boat show specials). We searched for and found a perfect spice rack, red toaster and red microwave (which unfortunately did not last and now is white) We have red patterned placemats to help protect the surfaces. We replaced many of the incandescent lights with LED fixtures. This is but a few of the improvements we have made belowdecks.


Extending to the cockpit, we replaced wood veneer with synthetic teak decking from DRB Marine. We had Marty's Bag Works make us a set of cockpit cushions. Speaking of Marty's Bag Works, they also made the amazing boat cover that you may have seen as our website banner while we were winterized and show here. This cover is made from the same material as Ferrari convertible tops and has more than paid for itself over the 10 winters that he have had it on the boat. Marty's also made us a replacement Bimini Top.

You have seen our Kayaks in several photos You may have noticed that the green one (mine) has fish finder transducer on the bottom. Funny story, I thought I had left the bag with the finder itself, batteries and fishing rod holders in Seattle. I was quite sad about this but, happy day, Norma found them under the seat on her side of the master stateroom!

We replaced our Mainsail with one made by Chesapeake Sailmakers who also did some maintenance on the Eisenglass "surround which keeps us so comfy and warm during nasty weather. When it came time to add Solar Panels to the Bimini top, we went to the experienced folks at Annapolis Custom Yacht Canvas . I had several concerns, especially about maintaining the waterproof integrity, and with their expertise, they guided me to the right design and assured me it would not leak. After being on the boat this April through several hard rains, I have to say that not a drop came through. I will note that when I got the Bimini top back from them I applied several very generous coats of 303 Marine Fabric Guard. The stuff is very expensive, but it works. I finally bought a gallon of it last year.


Some years ago lightening struck the big sailboat, right across the fairway from us. We were not around to see it, but when we next got to the boat, we found out that it completely destroyed the navigation systems on at least 7 of the surrounding boats, including ours. Thanks to the good folks at Chubb Insurance, we had no issues with the claim. We added a few thousand to the adjustment to add AIS and an additional transducer for a fish finder (on a sailboat??) We got a Raymarine Axiom 9 multifunction display and digital radar. We also replaced our VHF and our stereo radio belowdecks.

As I mentioned earlier, I added some solar panels to the bimini top. This consists of two 100 W flexible panels from SunPowered Yachts . Rather than lose power when one of the two panels are shaded, I installed two MPPT trackers from Victron Energy. I did the full install myself and must say I am quite proud of the results as the cables all routed very nicely and everything is tucked away. At the same time, I also routed the new cable for the VHF remote microphone since unfortunately, the new VHF cable has an additional wire over the old one. When I installed the Solar, I also installed a Blue Sea Battery Monitor and began to characterize my AGM batteries. I noted that the capacity was quite poor, likely because of some abuse on my part due to not having a battery monitor. Two weeks ago we replaced them with 2 210 AH AGM batteries from Lifeline. I would have liked to upgrade to Lithium batteries, but our cruising budget could not support the cost of that upgrade.

Wrap up:

Well, that about does it. I have taken you from the bottom of the water under the boat to the antenna on the top of the mast. Last season we had a professional rigging inspection and got a thumbs up, and tomorrow we will be cleaning the bottom. I hope you enjoyed getting to know Afterglow jus a little bit better and will enjoy as we post about our adventures to come.

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Patrice Sauer
Patrice Sauer
May 01, 2023

Bon Voyage, Norma and Allen!

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