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Old 27-03-2017, 03:15   #1
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What $190k Gets You: Updating a Lagoon 440

Hello amazing CF members!

First off -

If it wasn't for this forum this project wouldn't have happened like it did. There are many, many threads that I garnered great information from and a big thanks goes out to all of those who have taken the time to inspire others.

So yes.... this is going to be a LONG post (14,000 words). My thinking is if I put more info than less then maybe I'll help someone out that is looking to do something similar. If you like metallic paint, carbon fiber, lithium, led lights, Raymarine, night vision, overbuilt dingies, ripping out a davit system, solar, hitting bridges, stupid mistakes and good times - then you are going to like this!

If you aren't interested in reading and think this post is too long then just look at the somewhat pretty pictures. If you don't want to read or look at pictures then please drop down to the comment area and post some funny comments that may or may not be pertinent to this thread.

This post is tied to a dollar figure so people who are interested can see how $190k translates into physical items. For me it isn’t about how much one spends, it is what value you derived from the money you spent. And yes, you would spent it differently. Heck – I would have spent it differently if I could do it again.

The grand plan is to set this boat up to sail to the South Pacific from Key Largo, FL. With this in mind, most of the upgrades are very functional. But some, like the paint, just makes me smile – which has a value.

The Boat

I retired a few years ago but my Fiancé hasn't... pretty much a known equation to spend a lot of money and time on things that normally would never happen. We purchased Moving On, a 2006 Lagoon 440 (95), from a couple in their 80's. They only sailed it once per year to the Bahamas so the boat itself was in amazing condition- super low hours (200 hours on the genset when we purchased it in 2013) and super, super clean. We wanted to sail on the boat for three years before starting any major projects. One doesn’t know what they really want / need until they spend time on the boat.

The First Project: Paint

Why paint a boat that is in good shape?.

Back in 2002 I purchased a CSY 44. It had that 70's stripe at the top and the paint was pretty dingy. I painted it white and $6,000 later it looked like a totally different boat

I wanted to do the same with Moving On. I think the boat looked great in white - but not awesome. And to be honest - I felt like it looked like every other catamaran; two hulls, both white with a beautiful woman at the helm. So I searched the internet until I found a boat to inspire me - and inspired I became....

I have to be honest – I was super worried that this slick paint job – which looks amazing on a super bad ass boat like a GB… might not look that great on a “larger” lady…. It could be the g string you never wanted to see and I lost some sleep over this.

So my credentials...? My background in painting? I'm a typical sailor who wants to do most everything themselves. I think all of us are capable of doing anything as long as we have some type of resource to get us started. Of course there were no resources on painting a catamaran with AwlCraft SE..... So I asked my friend, YouTube – who has helped get me into trouble in the past.

There is no doubt YouTube is empowering – it shows some shlub doing something amazing and you think “I’m as smart as that dude”… the problem is that those shlubs make it look so easy because they’ve done it a 100 times. But lets forget about that – let’s just do it.

I researched tons of places looking for people who have painted their catamaran - and the suck fact, I didn’t see that many people talking about shooting AwlCraft SE at all. There were just a few photos of a boat painted with SE and one dude painting the front of his RV an a forum. So I go on YouTube and find all kinds of videos on how to spray cars with metallic paint very similar to SE. For those who don't know, AwlCraft SE is a base coat / clear coat - much like car paint. The huge bonus of this system is that you can fix it. The two huge drawbacks are - you'll NEED to fix it as it is softer than Awlgrip... and it is extremely difficult to spray metallic paint even for professionals.

Before I bought the paint I talked to my friend who owns the best body shop in the keys. He has a paint booth and has painted a few smaller boats so he was familiar with the process and type of paint. He pretty much laughed when I said I wanted to paint the boat metallic silver. Multiple times he warned me against metallic... but you know how that works - once you fall in love with a color - that is the color it is going to be.

We waited until the rainy season was over and then pulled the boat and started to work. Foreshadowing - it was unseasonably wet.

As most of you know, anytime you are painting a boat the real work is happens before the first batch of primer is mixed. We spent over a month prepping the boat.

Boat Yard in Key Largo, FL (5 minutes from my house - that was a positive - and they let you do all the work - even more positive).

We brought over a trailer - which really is a must when you are working on a project this size. So many tools and expensive chemicals that you don't want walking away. The scissor lift made life much easier for prepping and painting the boat – but you have to pay for a larger space. Not only did we have to add room for the lift but for the structure to cover everything.

And let the work begin....

Removing all the thru-hulls, boot stripe and starting the fairing. I wish we had the air tools in the beginning as the project would have been way faster. Nothing like an air tools to sand the sides of the hulls.... so freaking nice.

Not like the stripe was looking good anyway….

3M's magic eraser is the way to go. That cheaper version isn't...

Any scratch / indentation - ANYTHING will show up once the boat is painted so we decided to fill in the boot stripe line that goes around the entire boat. We assumed this line was part of the mold and for the boot stripe. We did a good job of fairing it in but you can still see it sometimes. Again... the SMALLEST scratch will show up. Even if you don't see it in the primer, YOU WILL SEE IT in the paint.

And there were TONS of other places we had to fair and kept going until every scratch was out. The thing you can’t fix is the undulation that is in the hull – and when the boat is super shiny you’ll see it. But that is from the original boat mold. We hope some of it smoothes out once we cut the primer.

Notes This was a huge project and I decided that we could do it all on our own. But one can't discount getting help.... qualified help. My friend and I spent tons of time talking about what we were doing every night at the yard go over what we were doing. But in the end we didn't know what we really were getting into. The one shinning stars were my Fiancé, helping pretty much three days per week, and qualified friends that I would.

It was stressful at times as this isn't a job most people have experience in a few weeks when the smiles start to go away - either get more help to ease the stress or tell them to take a break. In hind sight I wish I found someone in Fort Lauderdale that could have came down a few weekends to show us the “tricks” because we made mistakes and just had to power through with common sense fixes.
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Old 27-03-2017, 03:16   #2
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Re: What $190k Gets You: Updating a Lagoon 440

The Structure Big mistake... the first structure was someone else's design and it didn't hold up. It would have held up fine EXCEPT IT RAINED LIKE MAD. We bought the best tarps that we could find. Mostly on Amazon - those big ones.

The tarps held up but the pipes (metal electric pipes from Home Depot... waste of money) bent like a straw. The tarps just held too much water weight. Talk about some disappointing days fixing again and again the damage from the storm the night before. It held up production for at least a day every time it rained super hard.

One storm after the other. It just wouldn't stop - and we had to believe that it would.

Another super early run to the boat to make sure the structure was holding up. Part of the stress was the pipes coming off and scratching or breaking windows.

We would cut holes in the tarps where water was pooling and repair them the next day as well as try to spiderweb some lines under it so the water wouldn't pool. Yeah, right.

You can see that white PVC pip – that is what we used to hold up the structure. Dumb dumb dumb. If only I built the 2nd version first. And it wasn’t a money thing – it was a knowledge thing which you just can’t get around. Of course we had tons of people come up saying what we should do – all of their ideas would have failed as well… but we did find a solution later.

And it wasn't just the structure getting jacked up. It was the river going through our space. I mean a true river.

The barrel idea actually worked great. We put these heavy duty pulls through a center hold in that little wood structure and had a 2x4 in the barrel to keep it centered. We then filled them with 50 gallons of water. Not only did they stay put – they bred tons of mosquitos. Weekly routine – bleached each barrel.

And the depression starts to seep in. But after a cup of coffee and some laughs - we lighten up and start thinking about actually SPRAYING SOMETHING! We are ready to do ANYTHING other than sanding and prepping.

Notes If I had to do it again I would have rented some scaffolding and the light plastic. Attach from the outside of the scaffolding and then to the top of the rail. We would have had to replace it multiple times - but that would have been so much easier than dealing with a HUGE structure that you can only really do if you have a scissor lift. If I had an unlimited budget I would have had one of those companies with the heat shrink come over and do it right. Although now that it is done - it probably cost me less to go with a professional company rather than creating two structures and all the wasted time in the yard.

One super nice thing about having the entire boat covered is that you are in your own world. You don’t have to deal with people stopping every other hour asking questions or have prying yardhand eyes looking at what rules you are breaking. Undercover brother.

Air Tools There is ZERO chance that you can do a project like this with electric devices and have any fun at all. For one, you have to spray metallic - so right there you know you are going to invest in big air..... so get the right tools in the beginning because AIR is amazing! Added at least 2 hours of productive work to each day.

The first item you need to pick up as a solid, two stage compressor with a solid CFM. You can't go small on this - and if you do - you'll limit yourself to one grinder at a time at worst the compressor will kick on when you are spraying and spit. The compressor I bought worked great! We just bought a dryer plug and wired it to it. But remember - there are enough amps being pulled by this compressor that it will kill you if you don't ground it correctly.... and you know how these high amp electric outlets are wired in a boat yard… skeleton glowing comes to mind. I asked someone who knew what they were doing to help out to ensure we weren't really hosing up.

We also put together an inline cleaner / dryer (two dryers because the humidity was super ridiculous - when we were running sanders we would have at least a half gallon of water collected.). We also connected everything up using PLEX and added a non-working compressor as another 20 storage tank. This really worked well.

Now for the tool that made our life SO MUCH EASIER.... 3M's random orbital sander. What a great tool. The whole 3M system really is top shelf. Make sure you know the difference between the silver and the black sanders. The other tools we had were 17.5” heavy duty straight line sander (a beast to handle but the results are worth the pain), 8” heavy geared orbital sander and some small tools.

When you paint a boat you sand, sand and sand some more. If we were using the electric sander we would have forearms like a BEAST! You literally sand for 12 hours per day - from super coarse 36 grit on the hull (the big 8" air sander) to 5,000 grit..... These air tools are just so light that it makes the work actually easy. And you'll gain so much time as you can keep going and going. Also, you really have to have that little cushion in between the sander and the sandpaper for all curved areas. If you don't you'll have flat marks in the primer or clear... which isn't good.
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Old 27-03-2017, 03:18   #3
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Re: What $190k Gets You: Updating a Lagoon 440

Primer! Finally Spraying!
We fight through the first structure and start applying the primer. Our thoughts were the rain wouldn't be coming back anytime so we fixed the structure (tarp taped / sewed / replaced pipes / duct taped).

I would like to know how many rolls of tape we went through.

Here is the little line that was in the original boat mold. We cleaned it out with a rattail file and filled it in with fairing. Getting the fairing to stay in wasn’t as easy as one might think.

Around the first corner and heading down he side of the boat. You probably are noticing the breather system. We had a dual breather system for the shooters (one person would shoot under the boat and then trade off when on the lift). I trust the filters but man – having cold air come in from the air conditioned trailer (one of those cheap mobile air cons) was a life saver.

It is HOT working with the suit on – but at least the air was fine. It would take us 45 minutes a run – so having some comfort was nice. Of course… more hoses to run over… and when you ran over the fresh air hose – you knew it right away. It got super hot AND you knew you couldn't take off your mask with the chemicals in the air. You want to shoot primer with the same protection as the base / clear - just so you get used to it. Another reason to use one of these systems – anyone you meet that does this for a profession – they are always a little off…. I didn’t want to be any more off than I currently am.

Luckily this picture is when we were shooting the primer as I didn’t tape the gloves to the suit. Not long after this photo sweat drained out of my suit onto the primer… I sweat more than average so it makes it that much worse.

Here is the system I bought:

The first coat of primer went very well. For those who aren't experts on spraying - this is the time you learn! You'll have 1,000s of strokes under your belt by the time you get to the part that matters - the base and clear. This is 101 shooting… it is the time you figure out all of the problems with your run. You have to plan out your run.... where are you going to start and stop? You can't stop where people will see it. We decided to cut the boat in half and start under the boat and go all the way around - so one full hull from he side to the underneath - in one pass.

Do you see those overlap lines in the primer (above photos)? If you do that on the base YOU'RE SCREWED. You might as well get some gray spray paint cans and paint your boat. No doubt a loved one will tell you "oh... you are the only one that will notice that"..... nope - everyone will - they just won't say you have a zit on your nose. This is where your technique comes into play. Pimer is harder to make look uniform as it is so thick.... if you can make primer look good you'll have a better chance of making the base look AMAZING!

When you are shooting primer you can totally screw up - it is easy to sand out. So make your mistakes now - be a hero now - don't be the hero making mistakes when you are spraying the base / clear. I found putting my ear buds in - put a playlist on that is motivational - and listen to the same set of songs each time. The one thing I learned about this - you have to be consistent. Once you start shooting from the hip - YOU ARE DONE. You worked SO DAMN HARD to get the boat ready to paint - and if you screw up the final two steps - you'll be very upset.

Lastly, when you start to spray you need to find your rhythm. Don't try to mimic the way I do it or the way your friend who says he knows what he is doing - you have a different rhythm. If you are faster then you need to turn the pressure up - if you are slower then you need to turn it down. And yes - EVERY PSI matters. You need to have a digital monitor ON THE GUN so you can make sure you are consistent and at the right pressure. The wrong pressure will mess up the entire job. We also used a digital gauge because it was real easy to see exactly what the pressure is - even with the mask on / chemicals in the air / and dripping with sweat inside your mask.

After you get two coats of primer on you need to sand. This is where you are going to make boat looks freaking sweet as it is the base of the base!! It is super easy to sand the flat parts - again - just takes time (and a lot of it). We had two people on the lift at all times sanding. Man - we ran over those hoses soooo many times.... so get good hoses.. But with the music turned up and our heads down.... things got done.

The nice thing about primer - you can easily see where you sanded and where you didn't. Some people sand to 300 but the manual says for the best results to sand to 400.

These curved areas you have to do by hand.... which is a super pain. When you sand by hand you never have even pressure... you swear you do - but you'll go right through the primer super quickly if you aren't super careful. If you are sanding 400 like we are above (400 is the max before the base layer) then you should go to 600 or 800 if you are sanding by hand. Don't use 400.... it will be too aggressive and most likely go through the primer in the high areas. Just take your time. GUARANTEED you are going to make mistakes – the key is to learn from them. You can see at least one in the photo. That little white circle on the bottom left - someone sanded a little too hard there. Or it could have been a spot we needed to fair - but usually we tag those with painters tape. By the way – the curved areas look the coolest once you are done with the clear – they just pop.

The more you look over your job - the better the final product. We went over every square inch - every single step of the way.

And when you find problem areas - fix them. That big pink spot is AwlFair which is super easy to use. Sets fast - and sands easily. It will be your friend. If you really want to do it right - and we didn't always do this - you should fair any areas that are having issues - and then apply the primer over it again. If you don't apply the primer over it then when you spray the base it takes a few more passes. The more passes - the more possibility for issues with the lay of the metallic flakes. During this process it might be wise to take a day off and come back and look for problem areas. If you were day after day you’ll start to see through some issues.

When you finish sanding everything to 400... it starts looking pretty good! You almost want to stop there as you are tired of working on this project.... sore... and your wallet is lighter. BUT..... the second you apply that first layer of clear on top of that base!!!!!

OH MAN!!!!!!! You'll be so happy you spent the time to make the primer look so good. Now we just wash the boat down and clean it with AwlPrep and finally tack cloth right before you shoot.
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Old 27-03-2017, 03:19   #4
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Re: What $190k Gets You: Updating a Lagoon 440

Base Clear Now for the exciting part! You spent at least a month getting the boat prepped and now you are ready to paint! And here are your new friends - can after can of highly toxic liquids (especially that clear)!

A great attitude and good notes help but experience matters even more. When I started this I so wanted to go to an Awlgrip class as this stuff is intimidating. It isn’t that any one item is difficult – it is that all the items work together and if you do just ONE thing wrong…. you, my friend, are hosed. And when I say hosed…. I mean SUPER HOSED. You just painted 88’ of boat and you see a problem – which means sanding, ordering more paint, and shooting it again. And that was just half of the boat – you still have the opportunity to hose up the other half. We lucked out and the first half of the boat came out perfect. The second half – the weather changed – and problems…. Amateur hour as a professional would have known.

You can almost use any gun for the primer but for the base / clear you need a real nice gun. This whole project is going to cost $10,000s so don’t overlook a $360 tool.

Here is the gun setup with the 3M cups system. I bought the large cups for shooting the sides of the boat and the small cups when working with repairs.

You have to buy the adapter for the cups – it won’t come with the gun. It is super cheap Also – when you are cleaning the gun – don’t take it apart. Spray acetone through it and clean the outside of the gun – don’t take it apart. A few professionals told me they haven’t opened their guns in over a year – just because you can jack up your gun if you do something wrong.

Here is the exact gun that I have. There are others that are as nice or nicer – just read the reviews and make sure people are using these guns for metallic.

I would write down all the steps to ensure I didn’t miss something. The above photo are my notes on how to fix / blend problem areas and I had one for Primer / Base and Clear steps. You should write everything down so people who are mixing the paint have clear instructions because there will be a time you underestimated the amount of paint at the end of the run and need a mix quickly…. Having everything at hand makes quick reality.

Seeing the problems is easy. The hard part – figuring out how to fix these issues. I would bring in these two guys in as they paint cars for a living. Their advice was well regarded. By the way – some mistakes you are just going to have to live with. No chance anyone can paint a boat this size perfectly unless you do it multiple times.
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Old 27-03-2017, 03:19   #5
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Re: What $190k Gets You: Updating a Lagoon 440

Prime Time!

If the primer was the beginning of the fun, the base/clear was the party crasher. This is when walking around with that six shooter became an actual job, and a tough one at that. I said earlier that shooting the primer is a great way to practice a lot of things and that is true. What you learned so far is probably 30% of the next step. The physical side is the same - the pattern / the equipment / the course around the boat - all which are the blocking and tackling. Now add in an actual time clock, angle of metallic flakes, finesse and a whole different viscosity.

I think what makes shooting AwlCraft SE so hard is the big variable - the catalyst (main difference between car paint and this). It is difficult to consistently mix the exact ratio needed for the temperature of the boat. Under the boat was one temp while the outside was another – and we shot both at once. Not to mention keep your wet edge while worrying about the kick. If the environment was a little more controlled maybe it would have been easier – but where we shot the boat was most likely reality for most of you. I don’t know too many places that have a booth for boats like ours – and if that is the route you are going you probably wouldn’t be reading this thread.

The super cool thing about the 3M cup system is that you can “pre-load” 2 or 3 cups of paint - have them sealed, caped and ready to go. Three cups would get you running while someone else would be mixing paint. You can’t mix too much at once as there is a fairly short pot life (depending on the ratio / temp).

This (dirty – must be cleaned before using) measuring stick is a must. Just check the ratios at the top and then the entire length will have the ratios for whatever container you are using. We would normally use a half gallon container – but if we needed just a quart more – we could use the same stick – just a different level. Huge help as well as an item that helps you be more consistent.

When we shot the boat we would have three people. One mixing, one shooting and one driving the lift (when we were on the side of the boat). When we were underneath the boat one would be shooting and one would be moving the lights. Everyone would have masks on - especially when we were shooting.

This is what the typical workbench looked like. This was during one of the repairs so everything was smaller quantities. We usually put some brown paper under all the chemicals every am before we shot – just to keep things clean.

When we sprayed we made sure we had this blue Smurf blood sprayed all over the place. We couldn’t make the structure air tight - heck - it was hard enough making it water tight…. Between bugs / boat lifts going by - there was a lot of stuff floating. My friend said we should spray the walls with this stuff and it worked GREAT!

Way darker than we imagined.

Usually people will have two guns -one for the heavier primer and a super dialed in gun for the base / clear. I personally wanted to use the same gun (with different tips) was for the simple reason - I wanted to learn it. I wanted that gun to be an extension of my hand and I sure didn’t want to learn anything on top of the tons of coursework I already had when it came to base / clear.

As in any project this size there are tons of items we just didn’t think of beforehand - like light. When we had the enclosure up it was dark inside. When you are spraying primer it doesn’t really matter because you can overlap a little more - no big deal. When you are shooting the second coat of base or the second coat of clear - you can’t see where your edge is at. I mean it was tough! So we brought in the best lights that we could find - a mix of LED and some grow lights. The LEDs gave off to harsh of a glare and the glow lights were bright enough - so we had to move them constantly while we were shooting underneath. Zero fun. Above you can see we were tacking off the paint so very close to shooting.

What I ended up doing was mark how long my stroke was and tape it off (you can see the blue tape lines above). Not how long I could spray the product - but how long my “natural” stroke was. I would then put little pieces of blue tape to section the areas off. And then with green tape I would mark the middle of these areas. When I would shoot base or clear I would start to flare at each blue mark. And then the next pass I would shoot to the green marks. This make sure you don’t build up on any one spot and also kept your head in the game on where you were. Having a mask on / a suit on (sweating so much that you have to tape off the cuffs so sweat doesn’t run out onto the paint) and it is dark - and shooting the gun on a HUGE canvas for 45 minutes - where you can’t make any mistakes. So yeah - any help while you’re in the game is positive. I would use that thinner – more transparent plastic if I had to do it again.

I finally heard the angels’ singing! The most emotional part of the entire project was when I was shooting the clear on the back of the hull. After months of work we finally were putting base / clear on - and it was a magical moment. I don’t want to compare it to anything in writing as I’ll be ridden for years to come by my friend. Let’s just say it was a unique experience when stroke after stroke went on the boat and it just BLEW UP! It looked substantially better than I thought it would. The color, the sheen - just everything was dope. And the reflection…. So so nice.

The FIRST LOOK in sunlight…. These gave us some wind in our sails…. And goose bumps!

A sneak peek of what is to come. A mirror is the goal. Goal checked.

We painted a small section under the boat extending to the starboard scoop. We wanted to figure out how to shoot the base / clear. In hindsight that was a mistake as the harsh line (below) was extremely difficult to hide later

Never - if you can help it - put any kind of tape line as your ending line. Even if you are fixing a repair - don’t do it. This line was such a pain to fix as the contrast between base and primer was just harsh. All part of the learning experience. Is it summer vacation yet? I’m getting tired of class…
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Old 27-03-2017, 03:20   #6
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Re: What $190k Gets You: Updating a Lagoon 440

What an idiotic mess.

Guess what is going to happen to this POS enclosure?

It is so easy to beat myself up on this one… It structurally sucked, leaked like a 6 year old hypalon dingy in Tahiti and was more of a headache than it was worth. I mean we built it for sunny days and some rain / wind… but not storm after storm. So this was the last straw - I couldn’t take it anymore after the last 30+ blow.

We had a small part of the boat painted but there was NO WAY that I was going to let any water in while we were painting. Rain or shine we had to be able to work…. And it looked like rain for weeks. And yes - it started to rain when we painted the small section and a little stream of water went on the clear before it was dry…. One more thing to fix. Man that was a short song. So STOP EVERYTHING and add another week to the schedule. F…

Purchased some real pipe from a big fence company in Miami.

Tearing it all down mid project.

That scissor lift was a huge help again. When the sides were off and totally extended it was a little hairy. Obviously all safeguards disabled including the sides taken off.

The structure went over the boom. Nothing was touching the boat except the standing rigging.

Now this new one worked super well. I bought a bunch of tent enclosure components and heavier metal pipes from an actual pipe company. It cost twice as much but literally 100x better. We ended up putting pipes in-between those long runs, which made the structure way tighter.

Back to painting!!

Below are the three stages of shooting.

The first coat of primer (I think it is still a little wet so looks worse than it actually was… but who is kidding who – primer always looks okay to terrible).

You can see that the base lays on soooo nice and smooth but is still matte.

When the clear goes on - you won’t be able to stop smiling.

This is a tough project. There are so many variables and unless you have done this before – it is exceedingly difficult to know how to fix them. The manual won’t tell you and the guys at AwlGrip aren’t there – so you have to send photos / talk live – and they won’t understand the issue completely.

Just shooting one boat I have learned thousands of solutions to problems that we had…. And that took a lot of time / work / luck to figure out these issues and I have to say - it wasn’t easy.

On a side note - we learn these AMAZING TALENTS and NEVER get to use them again! I could paint a boat tomorrow and have it look better than mine. I mean I loved working on this project - but unsure when I’ll have the opportunity to do it again unless it is touch up - which is going to happen soon.

Darn it – PROBLEMS!

Well… this was one of the CRUSHING problems. We finish the starboard side and the guy that was working with me sprayed the top by the rub rails with too much clear… and it ran. Of course it doesn’t run right away - it waits until you are about done and then you can slowly see the streaks flowing down the side of the hull from the very top of the boat. It wasn’t his fault – it was mine for not pulling him off the task once the first run appeared. In reality he just sprayed a little heavy that day – and this one was going to cost us time and money. We fixed the big ones – even did large scale repairs…. All for nothing. I should have cut my losses and repainted – but we were so over working together. Too long…. Too many problems… Too…. Fill in the blank copy and paste.

We were able to fix the big runs. It took some time to figure out how… but in the end we put some fairly soft compound on the problems areas and sanded them down. But in the end – if anyone sees large runs – well – that defeats the purpose of doing a project yourself. I want this to be amazing no – it looks great except for X.

We had many more issues with the painting process but it would take a long time to go over them. If I see you at a bar somewhere I would be more than happy to go over everything. It was a super exciting project - just took too darn long. The prep of the boat and all the sanding after we cleared it - just tough manual labor. The base / clear - although pretty easy to shoot – was a real pain to adjust what we were doing mid-stream. Professionals would have known to put more reducer when it was hot…. Or to turn up the pressure as the clear is going on too thick… or…. Oh man.

Let there be light! Down with the tarp and time to start sanding the clear. If we didn’t sand the clear - it would look really good… but not AWESOME! Here is a close up before sanding:

You can see the orange peel…. This was on the first section. After we shot a few times I was able to shoot it nice enough where we could start with 2000 grit instead of 800 like we had to for the above section.

I had my friends who own the auto repair shop come over and check out some of the issues. They gave me some great advice that saved many days of work.

Here is what it looks like after you sand it… oh man!
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Old 27-03-2017, 03:21   #7
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Re: What $190k Gets You: Updating a Lagoon 440

It took weeks to sand the entire boat. And talk about getting wet… everything is wet sanding. There is one trick that I found half way through – and this is a HUGE time saver. I mean HUGE. Get that 3M Purple aluminum oxide Finishing Discs (not the purple with the holes in it). Everything else you wet sand but this you don’t – and it will cut 800 and 1200 out of the mix (meaning 2 passes you save)– get the 1500 and start there. That stuff is magic… a little expensive as you go through a lot of discs – but man… the time you save is truly amazing.

Sanding is a critical part. The clear takes some time to harden - and once it does - get after sanding it down

1500 Purple 3M
2000 Purple 3M
3000 Trizact
5000 Trizact

After that we used the 3M compounds to buff out all of the scratches.

This is where you use those forearms again - you can't go with one of those small buffers - you need that powerful Makita. The 3M products were the Perfect-It 1, 2 and 3 (White Black Blue - and don't skip the blue..... it is worth it). And remember – you can roast the paint if you buff too long in one area or have the speed too high. I kept it on the lowest levels at all times.

I had the great idea to put all black hardware back up except for the exhaust area. I painted these with AwlGrip but it didn’t stick…. Still have to fix. But the black nylon above water thru hulls look choice! Took me awhile to track down the sizes that I needed.

And a Stumbling Block

I ended up rupturing a tendon in my right foot and had to have surgery. This took me out of the game for a month plus. During my time off the team I was working with tried their best but made some mistakes. By the time the dust settled - they bolted and left me to work on this myself with friends that had jobs – so only part-timers. In reality things went downhill because the project took 3 months longer (at that point) than it should have. Everything was pretty negative and I was left to manning up and figuring out a way to complete what I could.

Well how fitting - a peg leg for a captain.... But I have to say - my girl got me this and it worked GREAT! With crutches you can't carry anything - with this guy - I could walk around and carry quit a bit.

I rented a new lift and was back at it. To be honest - I was bored out of my mind at home and the boat sitting in the yard with nobody working on it - zero fun. It took me way longer with one and a half legs - but it was better than playing Call of Duty all day.

Next Project - Carbon Fiber Rails

My friend and I were working on carbon fiber projects at home and he had the idea to put carbon fiber on the rails. We just used that AwlWood on the rails (a year ago) and it completely failed. With this new paint I sure thought black would look way better than teak. The teak is under the carbon fiber - this is just a layover.... but it is real carbon fiber.

We taped off the deck with aluminum tape so when we cut it we had more margin for error.

We used West 207 hardener - 6 layers - and sanded in between each application.

It turned out pretty nice. But if I had to do it again - I would do it differently. A lot of these projects I were outside the norm - so very little resources on potential issues.

Caulking with 5200. Wish I did 4000.

Boom! Done - !

Super happy with it except one outer layer started to de-lam on a few rails.... so I have to repair it. I sure hope this lasts for years with minimal upkeep - I'll let everyone know.... And yes, I WISH we would have thought about this before we painted the boat.... but it worked out.

Here is what the OG rails looked liked with the new paint.
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Old 27-03-2017, 03:22   #8
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Re: What $190k Gets You: Updating a Lagoon 440

Painted the bottom of the boat – which had to be done after we painted the topsides as we wanted the bottom paint to roll onto the AwlCraft SE an 1/8” to help seal it.

For some reason the guy working with me thought we had to take everything off the boat – including the windows. What a headache to put them back in….. We used that Sikaflex 295 – which seems to have worked great. My friend Ray put together these shimes to makes sure everything was perfectly aligned.

I worked with a local sign company to make me some vinyl rings to put around the outside of the windows. We were going to tint the windows but knew light would still get though to attack that Sika 295. I know it is UV rated – but shade helps everything.

Tinting glass windows is a snap… but these aren’t glass – they are some type of acrylic and will expand differently than the tint which will hose them up. I looked far and wide – called local window tint companies to national chains – nobody could give me a good answer – or they just said what they have won’t work.

Then I though of those headlights / turn signals all the kids are tinting on their cars – and contacted a few of them. I finally found what I was looking for – vinyl “tint”. This stuff is THICK and looks pretty nice. I put it inside the windows to help protect it as I know we are going to get some scratches on the windows. You can pick it up here:

Some of these cheap upgrades – like the Rok (thanks Wynns for the idea!) made life more bearable while I was working….

12V FUN!

Now we are starting to have fun…. Projects take a week or less compared to months! I wanted to install lithium batteries right when I purchased the boat but the timing wasn’t right. But now – lithium has come of age. I did a lot of research online about marine grade lithium batteries – even read the posts here about putting together your own lithium system. The only thing I didn’t like was the BMS. I come from a technical background and thought it would be wise to leave it to the pros. The company I ended up going with was Lithionics.

We went to their facility in Clearwater and was given the dime tour. They really knew what they were doing and I thought this setup was going to be nice. I opted for the 600 Amp max input controller – I’m glad I did as it gives me some room to grow.

My friend Ray installed the setup – and man – he did a great job. All 4/0 connecting cables from the Xantrex and all the bus bars. The batteries have been flawless – and truly a life changer when sailing. Everything is given way more Vs which makes things run so much better. We ditched a TON of weight (almost literarily) – even ditched the two 4D starter batteries which are now storage compartments for tools.

To keep this 960 Ah bank fed one needs some good alternators. If you keep the original alternators you’ll burn through them as they will be on all of the time. One of my guys who has a 440 ended up getting some custom alternators made for us.

We changed out all of the metal we could for stainless steel.

And these two little guys produce! Now we could have went way bigger but why do that? An average of 250 without taxing the engines too much was the sweet spot for me. Plus the price was on point – in the $400 range (each).

The rest of the system is pretty simple – Balmar Regulators and solar panels which you can see below. All in all – super happy with the batteries and the charging setup. I had to install an RPM sender for the tach as these alternators don’t have a tach out.
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Old 27-03-2017, 03:23   #9
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Re: What $190k Gets You: Updating a Lagoon 440

Let there be Lumitec!

This is what we used to have – with those LED G4 replacement lights…. They sucked. I mean they were a big upgrade – but they didn’t work great and they weren’t all that bright.

And this is the upgrade! The only problem…. We had to buy 50+! Luckily I worked out a deal with Lumitec….. one that I couldn’t refuse…. So I bought a ton more cool stuff!

Here is some of the stash…. And man it was fun putting this together.

We did have some issues with the wire size. The Lumitec’s don’t draw all that much – but it is more than the old lights and the voltage wasn’t high enough to have them all on. We narrowed the issue down to one wire in a wiring harness far away from the lights… of course. Man- my good friend Dave was a huge help….. huge.

For the upstairs we put in the Mirage white dimmable / red / blue lights.

The downstairs (living area) we put in the Mirage warm white diming lights. Just like the saying says…. It was night and day. The difference was truly amazing – well worth it.

Another super nice product from Lumitec was the Zephyr spreader lights. I pointed two towards the deck and two up the mast so we could see into the sail. These lights seriously light up the deck – I was real impressed. A multiple brighter than my previous LED lights.

Now this light has already made my life easier. We came into Allen’s Cay at night – and it was blowing. I had a track to get into that little cover in the middle of the island – but wanted to make sure I could see where I was going. I put this Maxillume on and could see everything. It is dimmable and I can control it from the bridge. On top of seeing what is above the water – we could see the sea floor as well… of course it is super clear in the Bahamas – but it was nice as we could easily see the sandy areas.

I also installed two on the back of the boat on the solar panel / davit structure.

The last Lumitec item we installed was the full spectrum SeaBlazeX. THESE ARE NICE!

Because the hull is curved I built up a flat area for the lights to sit on. Sanded it down so it was square and installed the lights. I will have to say – I wish I installed these 6 inches lower…. When the waves go by the lights are exposed and it flashes. It isn’t annoying to the other boaters as they are between the hulls – but still…. In annoys me.

We put some special paint on them and they were ready to go.

I have to say – these lights have a lot of uses. When we are anchoring at night we will put these on so we can see the floor. We can do that with the forward flood light – but the underwater lights go way deeper and further in front.

We have two on the bows (pointing inside) and two on the stern (inside as well). I bought a relay and a wireless remote so I can turn them on and off from a distance. Plus – to stop on the color you want you have to let the lights run through the color cycle – and when you see the color you want - you turn them off and on - and that stops the cycle. The only problem is that the switch is inside on the main panel. Installing a wirelss remote allows me to stand over the lights to ensure the color is right… and when we come up in the dingy at night with no moon – just turn on the lights from a distance!

Here is a video Lumitec shot on Moving On. You can pretty much see all the lights in action… and please excuse me for being so stiff….

The reason those lights look pink is because the blue lights are on next to them – so they make them look a little pinkish.

Overall – crazy happy with Lumitec. From a simple white to the colored lights…. They all look great.

Music… yes please. I used the same system at the dingy, WetSounds Stealth series and went with the larger 10 Ultra. The main reason I opted for a sound bar was mainly because the speakers of the OG system were located on the opposite side of the kitchen cabinets. So whenever you were playing music upstairs – you would hear it clearly downstairs – and that sucked. This new system is not only way louder, sounds better – you can’t hear it below nearly as much.

That big black cable looks like a mistake – but it isn’t. This allows me enough play to rotate the bar forward so when we are eating dinner forward or hanging out on the trampolines – we can hear the music clearly. Plus the bar isn’t in an area that you would be walking so a non-usable area turned into something useable. I just need to remember to fill in the old speaker holes…..


My Garmin charts are the best charts for me in the Bahamas – but I don’t like their radar so after many long talks – I went with a Raymarine setup. I use Garmin on my iPad – which is a super nice backup as well. Plus that Raymarine iPad app is super awesome!

I have to say – that radar is so sweet. It can pick up a kayak 50 feet off the side of the boat without breaking a sweat….. my last radar – zero chance.

Keys Marine Electronics installed the system for me. The main guy, Brad, was in the service as an aircraft engineer for a long time – and it shows in his work. He did things I just wouldn’t have been able to do – mainly make everything perfectly neat.

I went with the e165 15.4 upstairs and downstairs. I70s – which are difficult to see on the helm. Quantum Q24C 18” (we wired it – not using the WiFi connection), AIS650, CP370 Sonar, EV-400 and a few other items. So far I’m real happy with the setup except for one item….

This night vision camera is WAY COOL…. at the dock. We had so much fun looking at the screen seeing things we just couldn’t see with our naked eyes in the dark. But in reality – I wasted major money on this product. It isn’t the camera, it is the practical use under sail.

The best use for this camera is in calm weather. I hope this comes in handy when I go into an anchorage for the first time and am forced to do it at night. I could see pilings that aren’t on the map. Or…. And I hope this never happens – man overboard – it really blows up heat signatures – so that would be a serious use for it.

But in my mind – I thought I could use it while actually sailing… but the wave action renders it useless. The screen images move so much that you can’t focus on anything – and if you focus on the screen too hard then you aren’t focusing on what you should be – and that is looking ahead.
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Old 27-03-2017, 03:24   #10
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Re: What $190k Gets You: Updating a Lagoon 440

New Fridge

The old fridge worked but wasn’t the best at storage capacity or usability.

I ended up with an Isotherm with fridge drawers and no freezer. We have a freezer and depending on how much we like this setup – we might change. Although the freezer that came with the boat works really well and has tons of space. I placed two large 12v computer fans inside the enclosure. One to pull fresh (hopefully cool) air in and one to push the hot air out.

One of the winch motors went out and had to be fixed… which wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. A second one went out and we had to replace it at Just Cats. They sold me a Lewmar variable speed… the jury is out compared to the Harken 2 speeds…. Jury is leaning towards not liking it.

The BullFrog!

Brenda and I were above Grand Bahamas sailing back home to Key Largo. We anchored the boat and looked for some conch – which we found tons of. The current was ripping through there and in the process of bringing up a conch Brenda sliced open the main tube with the shell. Luckily I looked her way when she was waving at me and I came over to see what is up. The dingy was about to go flat and we needed to get on plane to save her from sinking in the waves…. We made it – but it was close.

Right then and there I told myself – there has to be a better option. I saw on a Delos episode that they bought an aluminum dingy… I searched for this beast with no luck. I then started looking at alternative construction methods from carbon fiber to composite. I found this a company in Bellingham, WA who creates these pretty cool dingys made of composite (plastic and something else). I flew up there to WA from Key Largo as nobody even heard of this brand down here. And boy – was I impressed.

Not only did this guy build a huge boat that he lived on for years – he built an electric car back in the 80s (GM… come on man – you should have gotten on this back then – BTW – I love Tesla…. Not the man – the car). He was a true inventor – came with an inventor’s personality – which is always odd – but cool – and I bought one of the gray Bullfrogs on the spot.

There are TONS of positive attributes to this dingy – the main one… it will not sink as it is filled with foam.

I put a 30hp Etec on the back and I have to say – this thing moves pretty nicely – totally under control at 30 knots in light chop. This thing is made for the NW – so it can handle more banging than the passengers.

I shoved the dink back into the workshop and put the real upgrades on.

The first order of business – figuring out how to keep small items dry. I found a place online that makes really nice starboard boxes and had them make two for the bow. I put a junction box in the starboard one for the running lights.

And then I put together a little switch panel with a high amp USB charger / volt meter / tach / and cigarette lighter plug. Under the seat I installed a WetSounds Bluetooth music bar. Since Lithionics has been given us such good pricing – I mean seriously great pricing – we bought a 33 Ahr lithium battery. Sounds overkill but it can start the main engines on the boat if something happened to the house bank…. And you can play that soundbar for days on the beach…. Which we have.

And because I have such an awesome relationship with Lumitec – I put two SeaBlaze (white / blue) lights on it.

This photo doesn’t represent the power of these lights…. But it is the only one I have.

And before I get roasted for putting underwater lights on a dingy I have to say three things. One – when you have the whites on you can actually see in front of the dingy. At night when we are navigating around tight areas slowly – you can see the bottom and man that helps a lot. And secondly – they look so cool…. when we are on plane the lights look like tractor beams going across the wake – I mean it looks mean! And lastly – everyone sees you when you have them on so the likelihood of someone hitting you is less.

And after all this hard work…. I am getting a different dingy. The problem that this dingy is just too heavy. We updated the davits to allow more weight (more on this below) so it isn’t so much the weight on the boat… but the weight on the beach….. it is just too much to drag up or to get off the beach when the tide goes out. Some of you probably noticed the slots for the wheels on the transom…. Well they didn’t help at all – not even a small percentage. Even on hard pack / rock laden beaches – you can’t get this up with two fairly strong guys…. I think it is time for a Highfield and just stay away from dunking conch in the boat.

AERE Bumpers

At the boat show we met a company that makes the best bumpers around. Storage for bumpers is always difficult – and because of this one will never have enough or the right sizes. Inflatable bumpers elevates most of this issues. Now I have three of them hanging off the back of the boat at all times. And yes – the new Lumitec SeaBlaze Mini Spectrums will be on the back.

I was worried these bumpers were too big but during hurricane Mathew the boat was at Harbour Town Marina in Dania, FL…. And these bumpers were the invy…. I mean they worked so well. I have this little 12v pump that fills each one in just a few minutes with an auto pressure shutoff. Plus the new paint job – bumpers with high quality covers – a must.
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Old 27-03-2017, 03:25   #11
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Re: What $190k Gets You: Updating a Lagoon 440

A frustrating and time consuming project – replace all of the thru hulls which were OG to the boat. I opted for bronze with the seacock.

In hindsight I probably should have went with the composite ones… these things weigh a ton as we have three 2” for the holding tanks…. Not loosing any weight here.

This is a dumb design. They put the ram arm for the autopilot at the top of the quadrant pin. Someone pulled into the yard that had a broken one and I did a little research and many 440s have had this issue. I was in Durnago, CO and this metal shop – an old school one with BIG equipment for creating mining equipment, took on the project.

You can see the changes – the new one goes through the aluminum an inch (the OG one was flush with the bottom). This way it offloads some of the stress on the threads – which was one of the reasons the old one would come out – it would wear off the threads. The other upgrade is much stronger SS so there is less likelihood that it would break off.

Let’s put a big scratch

A little back story to my mindset for this section. I left the yard in Key Largo and really was pretty down. The dropped me in the water and swore I had enough depth to spin in that little area and get out of there. Unsure if anyone has been to The Catamaran Boat Yard – but it is tight getting in and out – I mean tight. So I took the “experts” advice and when I begun to slowly spin – the port rudder hit a rock. Not super hard but I knew it was nicked. Most people would have went right back – but there was now way I was staying there. It was negative in many ways – too many to get into here – and I said I’ll take a look at it out at Rodriguez and go from there. So where’s the trumpets? Where’s the ticker tape parade? Almost a year in the yard with friends all excited but to me it was more like a funeral.

And to make things worse, I’m not happy with the paint job. I did all of those repairs but I didn’t repaint the entire sides. I thought – ehh…. All these issues I see nobody else will see. Well I saw them and it made my stomach turn when I looked at it from a distance– which I couldn’t do in the yard as there were boats on the sides. Those runs were just bad. No way could I fix all the runs – it would have been easier to repaint both sides. I told myself the next time it is in the yard – I’m going to do just that. Well someone was listening and I was in the yard within a month.

So I’m coming up to Snake Creek Bridge – a place I’ve been many times. My biggest concern is that the antenna hits the low hanging wire sometimes. The mast is 72’ with the gadgets on top… and the wire is sometimes more or less 72’ depending on the tide. I waited until high tide but since they changed the on demand to once per hour… I missed slack tide and now it is starting to run pretty hard into the bay. No big deal – I’ve done it before.

I slowly head down the starboard side of the channel treading water in light reverse. I’m getting ready to spin around but a sport fish is going under the closed bridge. I was going to flip but had to wait for him – all the while the current was pushing me towards the bridge. I put the engines in reverse and it held until the sport fish was by me – and then I put starboard engine in forward and the port in reverse – and I went just a few degrees starboard. I put the engines in neutral and am thinking the starboard sail drive isn’t engaging. I never had this problem before – but this would be when to have it. I tried the throttles again – same thing – I could go a little port but not enough to get across the inlet. Now I’m getting close.

On the starboard side there are rocks – like a foot or two underwater. I quickly call the bridge tender and tell them I’m in trouble. I try one last time, same results. Now I know I’m going to hit the bridge and I’m quickly thinking the least amount of damage to the bridge and boat…. My thinking was the mast is coming down. I’m by myself – the anchor is tied down – and I’m getting nervous.

I steer towards the wood inlet of the bridge and jam the port engine in reverse. The boat keeps moving forward but I’m able to lay the starboard hull onto the wood.

I had both engines in full reverse and grabbed my emergency line and hoped over to the wood dock and gingerly walked to the end. Mind you – my foot was just operated on – and – ALL OF THOSE PLANKS AREN’T NAILED DOWN! The nails rusted were gone. Luckily I was able to get the line around the pole and stepped straight up and down back to the boat.

I asked the bridge tender for an opening again – and she said she can only open it on the hour – 5 more minutes. What the face…. This is an emergency – but dare I forget – I’m in the Keys were motorist are more important than a boat in distress. And then she says “That was the most remarkable thing I’ve ever seen while working here.” Great – I did something amazing to make up for a stupid mistake.

The funny thing is that I actually didn’t do hardly any damage to the boat. It just sat against that wood while I WAITED for the bridge to open. But that changed….. the bridge opened and I had to try to get off the wood…. Which I couldn’t. I slid down a metal sign and left a 30’ scratch. Awesome. And it wasn’t just a scratch – that damn sign wanted to make sure I never forgot this and did some gouging.

Now I was out in the other side of the bridge, heading down current and I knew I needed to build up enough speed to regain steerage. I was able to after I headed straight towards docks to the right (still not knowing what the problem was – just what the results were). I headed down the creek until I mercifully got out into the bay. I anchored outside of the channel and just thought WTF…… I should have done this – should have had someone with me – should have stayed at the bar. But what doesn’t kill us, kills our wallets. So now where to get this fixed?

So what was the problem? The person who helped me put my first props ever back on didn’t put lock tight on the bolt – he put anti seize. And as Paul Harvey would say – “And that, is the rest of the story”. Now I’m getting depressed! What timing and why in the hell did I listen to the guys in the yard… “but they seemed like they knew what they were talking about Steve”… forgiving side of my mind – shut the hell up.

I had been watching the Wynn’s catamaran buying adventures and saw they were at Just Cats and I decided to drive up and check out the yard. I met up with Kent and felt 100x better – I felt like I could trust these guys. I had a short list of items I needed fixed – the paint being the primary with a bunch of gel coat work being secondary.

The first place we pulled into was pretty darn tight. We are normally on a t-dock or on anchor – so sliding into a space that only had a foot on each side with no rub rails made me start to think about…. Rub rails. This boat is so darn beautiful that I am fighting rub rails…..

At first I just had the scratch fixed. As you could see in the photo with the scratch – there is a great demarcation line that would make it easy to put a tape line. But once I found out it would only cost $12,000 to have both sides re-painted / sanded and buffed – I decided to have both sides redone. I would have liked to do this myself but this is a yard that requires you to use labor – and I really didn’t mind that.

So they went at it and the starboard side – the side with the big scratch – turned out GREAT!! I was starting to question why I did this with my small team to begin with. But… then started on the port side….

This is the third time they had sand and re-paint the port side. This guy – who is really good at what he does – had an issue with how the metallic flakes are laying. I needed to buy a few more gallons of paint (which takes weeks to get as they have to mix it at the factory – they can’t mix this at Gold Coast) – and luckily was smart enough to buy extra gallons – which we used. And the crazy part – you can’t see the problems until you sand and polish it…. So there was a lot of time burnt on these re-paints.

In the end they did a really good job. I’d say I was more particular but that is how it usually goes – the owner is going to be more detailed than any hired hand. Plus they didn’t charge me to re-paint it the second and third times – so I feel like I’m ahead of the game in a way. Metallic…. One thing goes sideways and you are done.

During this time I met a super cool couple, the Wynn’s. We met in Key Largo for a rum tasting at my house (for anyone wanting one of the best rums- Bahamas – JAB…. Don’t miss it). Soon after we had our boats back to back at Just Cats and were able to talk quit often. It was amazing how much they have learned since the first week I met them – they are living it and doing things right. If you are into video blogs / tech reviews / from zero to doing it by real people – check them out: Gone With the Wynns
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Old 27-03-2017, 03:26   #12
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Re: What $190k Gets You: Updating a Lagoon 440

Rub Rails

I sure didn’t want to seriously think about rub rails because the boat didn’t come with them and I knew it would change the look a lot. I spent a lot of time researching boats with rub rails and went to my friend’s house who has a 440 with rub rails.

I just didn’t like the look of it. And when Laurent from Just Cats worked with me on the style / color choices – it was a no go. The only one we could find that functionally did what we wanted from Taco - it only came in white. Now that REALLY wouldn’t work.

And then I found a SUPER SWEET rub rail from Mate USA These guys really knew what they were talking about. The only hang up was that it is manufactured in Italy and the size that I wanted would have to be shipped in.

There was a local guy that Just Cats used and he is one of the best at doing these kinds of projects.

$5,000 (all in) later I felt better about going into tight docks.

Washer / Dryer

The nice thing about sailing off and on for three years on the boat is that we figure out what we really need. This is such a nice option…!

This is where the guys scratched up the boat some… they had to take the washer in and out a few times and there are some scratches that I’m not super happy about as I specifically told everyone “this is the nicest interior in any 440 – don’t scratch it up”. I probably would have made the scratches deeper if I did it…. But I’m paying professionals to do this and expected the interior to be taken care of a little better. Don’t get me wrong – they did an amazing job on may levels – but I’m still a little off about the interior.


I’ve been looking forward to this for three years! I asked all of my friends which one I should buy and everyone had a different answer. I decided to go with my gut. We have a big 12v system so why not go with a 12v Spectra. It is the Newport 400 MKII and so far – fantastic!

Gelcoat Work

Just Cats has a real stud on the gelcoat side. For some reason we had a few areas where the gelcoat was very brittle and cracking. Not those spider crack / stress cracks – but on the non-skid.

I pretty much had their team fix every place that were hot spots. Man I’m glad I did as the work is super smooth!


Our main 16BTU CruisAir was going out so we replaced it with a newer, more efficient one. Impi gave me a great idea (he has the same boat) which was to get the smallest CruisAir that they make (6BTU) and have that as our main cabin air conditioner. Then put a current at the end of the bed – which there is actually an organic place to install it…. And run the unit off the batteries at night. This has worked like a champ! We rarely use the air – but when we do – we really need it. And being able to run it without the genset rattling – I like.
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Old 27-03-2017, 03:27   #13
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Re: What $190k Gets You: Updating a Lagoon 440

The Hard Top!

This was a project that I started a year before the boat was at Just Cats. Luckily I was able to use the companies that I previously worked out a deal with to create the hardtop and install it. I drew up the design and Mike, from Magrove Marine created the top. I have to say, Mike IS the guy for these kinds of projects. It took me forever to find someone to make a nice hardtop. Yes, there are tons of people who can make a top – but I wanted something well above average. I actually had to talk to a boat manufacture in Fort Lauderdale to even find Mike. They said they don’t make the tops that they use Mangrove Marine – and this is how we started working together. Totally worth it.

The wire runs actually changed. The crossover between the two runs is along the back edge of the hatch. This made running the wires way easier.

The main reason we went with the 440 was the helm. We went on tons of boats but this layout just worked for us but one thing we didn’t like was the exposure to the sun. Yes, there was this little French beret but you had to keep moving up and down the bench to stay out of the sun. And we live in Key Largo, FL – we know what that sun does to you. And I can honestly say that we only put the top down once during our three years of sailing – so having a fixed hard top wasn’t too much of a stretch.

The attention to detail was spot on. One of a few people I worked with on this project that created something far superior than I ever could.

Mike brought the top down to Key Largo and we then went up to Just Cats. Talk about a wide load…. When what you are hauling goes past the dually truck fenders – you know you are doing something awesome!

Of course things can’t be super simple. Hurricane Mathew rolled in and we had to strap this huge frisbee down on the trampolines. The hardtop is done and on site – now we have to schedule Dave at Custom Pipes to install it.

Let’s Bend Some Metal!

My friend with a 440 (pictured above) bought a premade hard top and had it installed by Custom Pipes. This is one of the few times that I was able to glean advice from someone who already customized his boat. The biggest issue he had – the top was too small… I fixed that. He also said Dave from Custom Pipes was 100% amazing – done deal on the installer.

I contacted Dave to get the project rolling and there were some delays on my side. Once we finally got synced up – it was go time! This was his wheelhouse and putting on a hardtop was going to be the easy part.

Everything on a boat is a compromise and we had to figure out – how high did we want the top. How far forward and at what rake? I measured the old top and went to that exact height. We raked the top a little to make sure it “fit” the look of the boat. There was another 440 in the marina and it had a very small and flat hardtop. It didn’t look right just flat. And that forward part of the hardtop is very functional – it is like a baseball cap and keeps tons of sun out.

I can’t say enough great things about Dave and his team. They were super nice and really took the time to understand what I wanted and delivered. And Dave is a true artist when it comes to custom work – he just makes things look sweet.

Most of the components were welded back at the shop.

The quality of this install is second to none. All anodized aluminum and through bolted where they could. I told them this boat would be in a hurricane (hopefully moored – not sailing in it…) and didn’t want this flying off.
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Old 27-03-2017, 03:28   #14
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Re: What $190k Gets You: Updating a Lagoon 440

The blue tape lines are the where the wire runs went and the only places we can place lights / future electronics.

They installed a bench seat that works so darn well. When we are on long crossings sometimes the off watch person will stay upstairs. I made sure that the bench is wide enough to truly make it comfortable to lay down. And with this setup you we can put the bench back on either side.

I think what we ended up with is way better than I originally imagined. How often does that happen?

The lights in the hard top work great. I put the forward two on one switch and the back to on another. They are dimmable white / red / blue.

I installed the largest hatch I could find. It is the Lewmar Pilot Hatch Size 78. Now for some kind of shade.

Once the hardtop was installed there were little things that we added. One of which was a super nice handle to grab onto when you are going

The view from sitting on the bench – looking at the Garmin charts on the iPad and listening to some bluetooth music.

This is the original height of the boom. I’m thinking of putting a boom vang on so we don’t have to worry about how close the boom is to the hard top… and then we can make it exact!

And I’ll say it one last time. The quality of this hardtop and installation is second to none. Every time I’m at the helm I notice it and think positive thoughts. This is our coffee area in the am…. We sit on the bench and overlook our anchorage…. As Ringo would say, Peace and Love…

Time to put the name on.

We just got back from the super yacht show and saw multiple boats with this bad ass vinyl. Laurent gave me the name of Carla Christopher from BoatArt, Inc. She is amazing!

Super happy how it turned out. Maybe it isn’t spec…
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Old 27-03-2017, 03:28   #15
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Re: What $190k Gets You: Updating a Lagoon 440

Let’s Get Creative!

I was at the boat show and decided to go with the Solara 140W Power M series panels. I also picked up the Gensun lithium MPPTs. My plan was to place 6 on the new solar arch and 4 to 6 on the hardtop. Each panel has a home run of 10 gauge wire from that little diode box to the Genasuns. I put them as separate runs to negate shaded panels.

Custom Pipes started working on the initial design at their shop. I brought down the panels to ensure a good fit.

Some of the welding had to be done at the boat which worked out fine. Lenny is a master at what he does – so nothing melted outside of his work area.

When I have an opportunity to work with some world class designers – I sure want to take advantage of the opportunity. Just a few days before we finished up with the hardtop and now we are concentrating on the solar arch. Here is where I roll the dice and ask “Can you make me a new davit system?”

Before I asked the question – I knew what the answer would be. “Steve – if you can dream it we can make it.” And I swear – that is exactly what happened! Dave and I met up with Laurent (from Just Cats) to talk about what would it take to put a new davit system up. Laurent has done a number of these and told us the issues they had on their first one.

When we started talking about the support for this structure I didn’t want any pipes going down to the potoons – I wanted it to look super clean. I also didn’t want to change the look of the boat too much.

I know a lot of eyes are rolling because I already changed the boat a ton – but those pipes going down to the pontoons would have been an easy fix to an engineering problem. Usually easy fixes look like crap. Luckily Dave wasn’t going to allow anything to look Mickey Mouse on his watch.

The davits are now connected via a large pipe to the re-enforced area where the old davits came out of. You can see Laurent’s hand on the schedule 80 support pipe.

From day one he said he wants to take the lines of the boat into the design. And man – this new setup looks great to me – it works like a champ! Even with that heavy ass dingy. Lenny is welding up a support for the davits – which is also a place I tie the extra fenders too. Will be putting a fish cleaning station / grilling table there in the future.

These guys went all out. Manning up was never questioned.

A lot of late nights.

Installing the solar panels, the wiring and the winch.

Everything is very tight – and strong. I can walk get on the solar panel support without any issues.

Finished! And all I can say is mission accomplished. Dave and the team…. BEASTS!

Bonus - a built in landing pad!

First time we pulled the boat up – super smooth and WAY HIGH!

I know a lot of you with new cats have this setup – but this is the first time I’ve used it. Coming up to the boat it is so nice grabbing onto the lift and great leverage for you to hold the boat while people get off.

Just Cats created an amazing custom box for the Warn – but water would pool down near the toggle switch. One time while it was raining the winch started on its own. Now I have to turn off the winch after I use it every time. The setup just doesn’t work well.

A big change I made to the boat a few weeks ago was the changing the winching system. Just Cats put in a Warn winch – which is slow, loud and when it gets wet it turns on by itself. I’m going to keep the Warn as that will be a real nice lift for heavy items….. poor mans crane.

I asked to use the OG winch at the beginning of the project but was talked out of it. Now that I re-ran the line and brought it temporally to the original winch – it works GREAT! You can actually bring the dinging up on the highest gear without an issue. And lowering the dingy, instead of using the Warn to lower it, I can just slowly release the line – which is totally silent…. No worries about waking people up who are sleeping. Super happy…..
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