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Meanwhile on Splendid…

Hi there everyone! As you know, Alex is back on Eleanor in the States, and Nacho and I are in Panama. I thought you might be interested in looking at the changes Splendid has been going through.

Last year, during those crazy four days since the time we found Eleanor on Ebay until the end of the auction, while we alternated between hoping and getting discouraged that we wouldn’t be able to buy her, one afternoon while we were resting in the aft cabin I suddenly got sick of feeling stuck and living on a wonderful boat that was never done. So I grabbed a metal scraper and just started thrashing the aft cabin hahaaa.

You see, when Alex got her, Splendid was a perfect example of a Cheoy Leaky. It had been on the hard and abandoned for so many years that her beautiful teak decks and cabin house were rotting and water was coming in through many places. So the first thing Alex did was glass it all. He took every single screw and bolt, fiberglassed the whole thing, epoxied every hole and re-drilled them. So now we have a fantastically dry boat with no leaks. But we could see, and we knew, that behind most of the veneer there were soft spots where the plywood had gotten wet. Nothing really structural, because there was original fiberglass behind it, but still, we just knew at one point we would have to rip all the veneer out and fix the damage. Also, the aft head walls were strangely covered in heavy tiles with moisture had obviously made it behind them too.

So, as I was saying, I just sprung out of bed, grabbed a scraper and started destroying all the veneer in our room. Alex looked at me as if I was going insane, but I had just had enough of it. I was sick of apologizing for our beautiful boat in bad cosmetic state. That was it. Splendid deserved better.

She’s such a majestic boat inside. She is not the majestic sailing boat Eleanor is, of course, she is slower, but still very comfortable at sea. Now her interior design is just unbelievable and there’s so much storage room you have no idea, our pantry, the lazarettes, it’s huge. We have the most amazing cockpit I have ever seen. And it’s so cool, for a 40-footer she feels huge. I have neighbors that often ask me if I want a ride to shore “to get off the boat for a bit and stretch my legs” but I have to say I have never, not once, felt the need to leave or go somewhere else other than to the water for a swim or a paddle. She has four large comfortable areas to hang out in, all absolutely independent, well-lit, ventilated and separated from each other.

The moment Alex left that very week last year to go see Eleanor for the first time, I just emptied the aft cabin and took every single bit of veneer out to analyse the plywood underneath. And spent the next couple of weeks getting rid of the soft areas by digging into the wood and covering those holes (sometimes half an inch deep) with a mix of epoxy and talcum powder. Let me show you some pictures:







The hardest part was sanding, my arms are not so strong and it was a lot of surface because it was not only the walls around the portholes, it was the big walls inside and around the head as well. And that plywood underneath the tiles or the veneer was not supposed to be exposed, so it was full of imperfections, huge bolt heads, holes. It really took a long time to make the surfaces smooth and even. It is not perfect, at one point I had to say “alright that’s good enough” because I needed to move on to the other rooms, they all have the same situation.

Then, once the boring dirty work was over, I moved on to the varnish. There was original varnish VARNISHeverywhere, old and kind of red, non existent in some places. So I took it all out with chemical paint stripper and my favorite tool, you know, the old scraper. After that, I painted everything with primer, sanded and then used cream colored two-part polyurathane Sikkens paint (really a great product we can get here in Panama) and I finally put five coats of varnish everywhere, the first two coats diluted with some thinner.

I also stripped the floors, but I want to use two-part varnish for them so I just sealed the wood until I can afford to buy it. We still have to change the two counters because they’re in bad shape, one is formica, the other veneer. But anyway, I’m so excited with the results! The paint does not look as classic as the veneer of course, it makes it look more modern, but the future new owner of Splendid can easily put new veneer on, just that it will be on solid walls this time. More images:





HEAD3            HEAD4



So now I’m moving onto the V-Berth! I can’t wait for Splendid to look the way she should, the way she deserves. Of course I can’t wait to move onto Eleanor, but that’s only because we want to start traveling far, to colder areas perhaps, and the Westsail 42 is better prepared for  more challenging latitudes. We will both miss Splendid terribly. Our dream was to be able to give her away to someone who would really really love her, but there’s no way we will be able to pay for Eleanor if we don’t sell Splendid. So at least we will take the time to find that very special buyer who will understand who she is.


Splendid found Alex the moment he realized Namaste was too small because he wanted to have a family. Splendid was the boat that called me to come to Panama and who made us meet right here, totally by chance, in a horrible bus stop neither of us was supposed to be at. And she taught us all the boat restoration skills we needed. And when we decided to get married, and have a dog, and felt that Splendid was nearly ready, then the elusive Westsail 42 of our dreams finally came to us. I am positive that Splendid will find that unique new owner that needs her the way we needed her before. She is no longer a project boat, I won’t stop until she looks magnificent everywhere, inside cupboards and under floorboards. I’ll keep you guys posted!

IMG_1926   IMG_2691

Love from Panama.

Published in Carla Dorsey
Updated: May 15, 2015 — 16:58


  1. Carla…

    Nice work. I could use your skills and determination on Panacea. You love your boat like I love mine and most people love theirs. You do what you can to make them all that they can be. Splendid is looking great.

    Keep us posted and thank you for this post.

    Capt. Paul
    s/v Panacea

  2. Thank you Captain Paul for your support, always. That is the key to happiness isn’t it? Loving what you have, the family you got, the partner and friends you chose, the boats and pets that choose you. I feel infinitely fortunate.

  3. Exquisite work, Carla!! Splendid looks great!!

  4. Is Carla my wife or what? You continue to amaze me my wonderful wife, your the best!

  5. Splendid is looking amazing! I need to come see you guys when Alex returns to Panama!

  6. Wow!
    Is it my imagination, or is Carla doing a better job in restoration than Alex? (ho ho ho!)

  7. Hehehehe

    Just the fun cosmetic aspects of it! ; )

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