The Re-Build History:
Hull, Deck, Cockpit and Doghouse
We purchased “Astro Universe” in August 2016. She is a 47′ ketch, Marcel Subrero Design. Build in France and launched in 1991. Her appearance belies her inner strength and the feeling of security ones gets on first stepping aboard. Everything is well built, robust and no-nonsense, but the very practicality gives her an elegance that you can see a mile off.
My family and I had a dream to do a slow and lazy circumnavigation, but reality has a way killing dreams. After purchasing her in Cape Town we managed to sail her to Mossel Bay and then onto Port Elizabeth for her re-build.
After stripping out the entire interior, the reality curse stopped us in our tracks, when we discovered that there was extensive rust and degradation on the hull, below the waterline. Seeing that the new work involved sandblasting, I decided to let the professionals handle it. They first sweep blasted a small section to test the metallic salts level. (Chlorid test) Which showed up a medium metallic salt content. We then started the process of the first sandblasting, to uncover all the really bad spots, which to our horror, turned out to be about 60% of the hull.
Next, we checked the thickness of all the plates and marked which ones to replace. The original plates were 4.00mm and anything less than 4.00mm were marked for replacement. Knowing what the future held for Perception, we decided to replace all the plates with 4.50mm. During this time, we decided to also add a solid toe-rail, heighten the cockpit, build a large aft locker and solid doghouse. All items that were in our original plans to make her better suited to cruising and comfort.
After all the welding work was complete, the sandblasters moved back onto site for the second sandblast, prime and paint. Due to the spec we were to SA 2.5, a ton of preparation work was needed before the first squirt of primer was sprayed. We had decided to keep a solid paint system for all the priming and painting in the interior. Sigma is the best we can currently obtain in South Africa so we decided to go with them. The final process is laid out below:
- Chlorid wash for salts removal
- Final blast
- Chlorid test
- SigmaCover 200 prime
- SigmaShield 880 top coat
While “Perception” was being repainted the engine was removed and overhauled. Surprisingly there was not much to be done other than the rebuilding of a wiring harness. The new harness allowed for a mechanical gauges panel below and electrical gauges panel above deck. The mechanic also pointed out that if the engine had more that 200hrs running time it was a lot. Therefore we calculated that the engine must have been replaced at some point when “perception” had been in South Africa.
Filling of Stringers
Once she was back in the water all the stringers were filled with an epoxy mix to stop water collecting and causing issues down the line. All water below, from condensation or any other ingress will run down to the bilge.
During this time and after a lengthy separation, my wife and I decided to get a divorce. Once again, the dream destroyer, reality, stepped in. We now need to sell “Perception” and move on with our lives. New dreams and new hopes will soon grab hold and new possibilities will arise. “Perception” is now at the point for the interior to be completed for her to be sailed away.
Design: Arcadia, Deckhouse, Centre Cockpit
Designer: Marcel Subrero
Beam: 4.32 m
Draft: 2.20 m
Keel: ¾ Cruising
Builder: Scop La Provencale Metalurggigue, France
Displ: 22 Tons
Rigging: Ketch, aluminium main and mizzen masts – with backstay tensioners for both, aluminium booms, spinnaker pole, 2 Pro-furl roller-furling units, stainless steel standing rigging. Masts were removed in 2014, all rigging and running rigging was replaced, new inner furler installed, all mast lights replaced.
Sails: Total: 9, roller-furling Genoa (170% heavy), Spinnaker with snuffer, Staysail, Mizzen, Mizzen Staysail, 3 Yankees – No.1, No.2 and No.3, Storm jib.
Winches: Total: 13 – Make: Barbarossa. 2 Primaries, 3 Secondary’s, 4 Mast, 2 Mizzen, 2 Outhaul winches on boom. 3 Winch handles. – Most need a serious service…
Engine: 73hp Perkins shaft-drive engine, 1400L diesel storage in 2 keel tanks (tanks were cleaned in 2017), 2 batteries – 1 house, 1 engine.
Safety: Life Jackets, Life Bouy, Dan Bouy, Flares and Capsize Canister.
Epirb: McMurdo EPIRB E5 (Auto Cased)
Liferaft: 6 man Viking Liferaft – 2016
Electronics: (All Brand New in Boxes)
Raymarine Evolution Solenoid Autopliot pack with p70R control head & Acu 300
p70 Autopilot control head (sail)
i70 System Pack (color instrument & wind, DST transducers), itc-5, 3m backbone, T piece, power & 2 backbone terminators
e7D 7″ Hybrid Touch Multifunctional display with built -in fish-finder