The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

The Farrows First Refit

Darrell and David Farrow

SV Endless Song
Passport 40
April 25th, 2024

This is a follow-on to our first article, “The Farrows Learn to Sail.”

We had bought Mystic, a 1978 C&C 27 Mk III, in a hurry and sailed off in her with nary a view of maintenance, other than new flares and some safety equipment. We had a fantastic first short season sailing her around Gambier, Keats, and Bowen Islands. With winter came time for us to look at her needs. We had an engine review, a rigging review, and an out-of-water survey undertaken; they all came back with issues we should attend to. Some seemed inexpensive, but as we are rapidly learning, so often a small issue does a fractal spin into a much bigger exercise, with consequent increases in costs, time, and boat yoga. But we wanted to learn about boats and what better way than to undertake a modest refit ourselves. How hard could it be?


The engine review came back with the “good news” that whilst she’s an old engine, she’s robust, strong, and worthy of a bit of expenditure. Only thing necessary was a new exhaust elbow, since the old one had rusted through and was leaking exhaust gases into the boat. A mere few hundred dollars was quoted. “A win,” we thought. Engine repairs started when the workshop had capacity: mid-January, always a great time to work on a boat. Off came the exhaust elbow and off snapped the exhaust manifold bolts. Oh dear, now we will have to remove the exhaust manifold and tap out the broken bolts. Snap, crackle, and the exhaust manifold bolts cracked: now the cylinder head has to come off as well. Okay, whilst we are here, let’s service the fuel injector and … The few hundred dollars became close to $10,000 by the time we had finished, but we now had a “good engine”. [In hindsight, this expenditure was a bad decision. By the beginning of 2023, the engine had a total failure and refused to start. Three engineers later, more dollars spent, all equally stumped. “She needs a repower,” was the conclusion.]


The rigging review was equally positive, though they mostly slated the safety lines, which were old-school, white vinyl-covered stainless. A safely issue we decided, so let’s shell out the money to replace the safety lines and add a gate each side of the cockpit to aid us getting on and off the boat. Ching, ching! – another $1,000. Standing rigging is old and maybe should be replaced, but otherwise seems solid. Sails are good; just need a new UV strip and some remedial re-stitching.

Boat Survey

Insurance required that we had an out-of-water survey conducted within 12 months of purchasing her, a major impetus to get things done during the winter season. The boatyards are also less busy and sometimes cheaper, and once the temperatures got above freezing in March, there were some great weather days to take advantage of. Into the boat yard for the survey and bottom paint. Survey went well, no major issues; the surveyor was very enthusiastic about how well the old boats were made. Effectively gave her a clean bill of health, with a requirement to replace a rusted thru hull, which was already on the to do list.

Mystic with bottom paint completed

Bottom Paint

Preparing the boat for new anti-foul paint is a most awful job. I spent close-on a week doing all the preparation work, sanding and smoothing off the hull, readying her for a nice new coat or three of paint. I was very glad she was only 27 feet long. Despite extensive use of protective gear and suction devices to collect the dust, a week of this work had me looking like a Smurf.

And More Work

Boat yoga replacing the packing in the stuffing box

Further work included:

  • replacing the thru hull
  • repacking the stuffing box
  • adding an automatic bilge pump
  • rebuilding the manual bilge pump

Overall, two weeks of serious boat yoga. This was all completed, and we splashed her just as I developed a detached retina, which put paid to any further boat work for a few months.

Splashing Mystic

Back inside the boat

A few months later, with some sight in my right eye – modern medicine and techniques are amazing! – it was back to boat work to reconfigure the salon of the boat. I came up with the idea of adding struts between the table seats and the long berth: when you juggle the cushions around, you end up with a really comfortable king-sized bed. A great win as we did not enjoy the V-berth.

Utilizing the space to make a comfortable bed

The V-berth now became a storage area, and we had space to add a small freezer! The freezer proved to be a game changer, as we were no longer searching every few days for ice blocks for our ice-melting box, and we could take some frozen food along with us. Of course, this made a deficit in our power balance. To compensate, we added:

  • a single 100Ah LiFePO4 battery
  • a DC-DC charger for when we were motoring
  • a folding solar panel, which we could deploy on the dodger when underway and on the temporary bimini when at anchor
  • numerous USB and accessory charging outlets throughout the boat.

These proved very effective and apart from one day when I mis-connected the solar panels, we had sufficient power the whole summer.

Extra items we added:

  • a modern B&G Tri-sensor for depth, speed, and water temperature
  • a wireless wind sensor, since I didn’t want to try and put another cable down the mast
  • a 30-foot fire escape rope ladder, which I’d hoist on a halyard and tie to the mast at about 6 foot increments. This enabled me to climb the mast to install the wind sensor. (I used a climbing harness and prussic loops around another halyard for additional safety).
  • additional storage in the V-berth
  • a stern-tie line and reel

Additional storage in the V-berth


More additions to the boat

Winches and Rope Clutches

Servicing the winches is something that gets overlooked and it is actually not that difficult, as long as you do not lose anything in the process. I work inside a box, so everything is contained. The small springs that hold the pawls can be quite elusive.

Servicing a winch, adding clutches, and a new main sheet winch

We added a new winch for the mainsail halyard to assist in the last few feet of raising the main sail. We also added clutches for all the halyards, and new reefing lines and clutches. These were done to make sailing easier!

General Housekeeping

Although Mystic was in great shape, we spent many hours scrubbing mould and black grime out of her lockers and the bilge. Yet more boat yoga to get into all those odd-shaped lockers and storage spaces that boats have. Before and after photos show the removal of the filth. Martin Marine Chandlery had bottles of Doctor Klear’s “Super Tuff”, and we went through several of these bottles.

Cleaning, before and after, and the Magic Potion.

The Dinghy and the Dark Art of Outboard Maintenance

Before we were to head out for summer, we got the dinghy out and our first experience with the dark arts of small outboard engines began. I’m quite convinced at this stage that these small engines are demonic. They refuse to start when essential, and start with no effort at all when we don’t really need them. After running around several workshops, we finally found someone with the capacity to service the outboard before we had to leave. It was a shock to find out that servicing costs are so high relative to the price of these small outboards. It’s almost essential to learn to service them yourself.

Finally Ready to Set Sail

Summer was approaching, and our son and daughter-in-law were already way up north, sending yet more enticing photographs. Mystic was finally ready. We loaded up with everything we could imagine needing, including an inflatable kayak and a standup paddle board for excursions away from the boat. We were now ready to set off for our first summer in Desolation Sound.

On our way.