The Refit of a 2002 Sailboat

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SV Unladen Swallow has already circumnavigated under the name of Wombat of Sydney. In her 10 year journey, the previous captain adapted and overcame many technical, mechanical, electronics, electrical, plumbing and other issues. Maintaining a sailboat on the open ocean is no small feat and will humble the most skilled handyman.

When we bought the boat, we knew she was in need of some modernization as well as addressing items that were just plain worn out. Along the way we ran into lots of things that were done for expediency or other good reasons that now that we had the time to make “more” right or better serve our needs we sought to make the boat truly ours.


Phase 1 of the refit took place in Carter’s Cove Marina along the banks of the Rappahannock River in the Northern Neck area of Virginia.

2021 was focused on dealing with what the initial survey found and customizing the boat to fit our needs, specifically scuba diving, as well as upgrading the electronics. Then the plan was to spend a season in the Bahamas and FL, and return with better understanding of what we liked and didn’t like, what worked and didn’t worked, so we could go into the next phase of the refit better informed.


Phase 2 of the refit took place Jul-Sep 2022 in Fairhaven Shipyard in Massachusetts. It included replacing standing and running rigging, as well as moving the radar mount and adding a satellite mount, battery upgrade, more electronics work, and the swim platform issues.


Continuation of Phase 2 projects:

  • Water Maker
  • Autopilot
  • Ship’s IT
  • Electronics work


Haul-out Year – let’s call these our phase 3 projects

Destination – Tyrell Bay Marina and Boat Yard – Carriacou

  • Bottom Paint
  • Carpentry
  • Fiberglass
  • Seat Cushions – In Stitches Sail Loft
  • Rudder Bearing Replace
  • Keel Cool Replace
  • Electrical patch panel overhauls
  • Electronics – Master Alarm Panel
  • Electronics – rehome and expand Victron Cerbo GX
  • Galley conversion from Propane to Electric


We already know that there is more work to do than available money so future plans:

  • V-Berth Air Conditioner

Final refit tasks before we set out on our adventures

  • New decking – the existing Teak deck is getting pretty thin
  • Painting the hull above the waterline
  • New fully battened mainsail