Things That Broke


I thought I would do a quick post describing all of the things on Sophie that have broken since we left Seattle. Since boat maintenance at some point will rival home schooling as the on-board activity that takes up the most of our time, you might be interested in how Sophie has fared in her first couple of months.

All I can say at this point is “so far, so good”.

On the sail down from Seattle to San Francisco, we had a couple of issues with our mainsail. Our Lagoon 500 has a 990 square foot, fully-battened main that provides most of Sophie’s power under sail. On the trip, we were in 30 knot winds for a day and a half and sailed with two reefs in the main. The boat was quite comfortable and stable during this time, but we broke two of the bungee cords that hold the mainsail to the mast in between the battens. (See the photo above, that’s what they are supposed to look like.) Dan found a couple of broken bungee cords on the deck while underway, and it took us a while to figure out where they came from. We also developed some significant chafe in the second reef line at the aft reefing block during this run and will replace the line. I think we need to put a chafe guard on the line as well.

Before we left Seattle we had two Spectra preventers rigged that run the length of the boom on each side. This is a setup that Beth Leonard and Evans Stargazer promote. The idea is that if you want to rig a “preventer” line to prevent the main from accidentally gybing, you don’t have to deal with trying to get a line around the end of the boom in heavy air. On Sophie this is pretty much impossible downwind, since the end of the boom can be 10-15 feet away from you. With this rig, you simply grab an end of a preventer at the mast and tie it to a dockline attached to a bow cleat and you are set. Unfortunately for us, the other end of the preventer was attached to a u-bolt running in a slot under the boom, and this pulled out during that double-reefed run. We now have the preventers tied around the boom.

After we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge and were about to celebrate a successful passage, the mainsail got stuck halfway down the mast as we were trying to lower it. It turns out that one of the set screws that holds the mainsail track to the mast had worked its way loose and was blocking some of the batt cars. Fortunately we have a downhaul rigged on the salhead and were able to get the main down with a winch. I subsequently replaced one of the set screws and tightened five or six more.

A few weeks later while anchored in Half Moon Bay, we scraped against another boat at around 2:00 AM. We wound up dragging under anchor, and I am not sure if we started it or if another boat hit us first. It was dark, windy and raining. But we put a scratch on the adhesive covering over one of the large aft stateroom windows along with two little dings in the gelcoat. I have never dragged at anchor before. Never want to again.

The float switch for one of the bilge pumps in the port hull stopped working, and we replaced it. Sophie actually has 3 bilge pumps in each hull: an automatic pump on a float switch, a high speed electric pump, and a manual pump. We also think we have a small freshwater leak on the port side. (I know its freshwater because I tasted it). We have not identified the source yet.

Sophie has Raymarine electronics, and we think we have an issue with some of their networking cables. When we are in decent-sized waves, we get an intermittent  “SeaTalk ™ Connection Lost” message.” We also realized that the Raymarine audio alarm speaker, useful for alerting us to things like approaching ships on radar or AIS along with anchor drift, is not connected to anything. We will fix that before we leave.

Finally, we had a decent outbreak of mildew in Hazel’s cabin after we arrived in San Francisco. Sophie is a dry boat, and for four years in Seattle we never had any issues with this sort of thing. But Sophie also doesn’t have any dorade boxes for ventilation, and in hindsight we realized that we didn’t really air out her cabin for a couple of weeks. Jenna heroically fixed this problem when we got to San Diego, and Hazel’s cabin is now in boat show condition.

So after three months and 1,200 miles, that’s pretty much our list. The engines have run perfectly, we have no issues with our electrical system, and our occasional sailing has been fun and pretty much uneventful. One of our goals before we left Seattle was to make sure we knew our boat and that all of the systems were broken in and working well. As I said before, so far, so good.

3 thoughts on “Things That Broke

    • James/Jenna: You have experienced much of what “can” happen. Chafe is your constant enemy! Loose screws, bolts, fasteners, etc. are a secondary concern. Keep an eye on your steering cables and watch for increasing slack in the system. Thus far, you haven’t had significant problems and that is reassuring. Best of luck and we all enjoy your blog.


  1. crazy amount of upkeep and small things going wrong!! So glad you guys are so knowledgeable and able to handle all the fixes and replacements. Keep us in mind if you need anything and happy to order it and ship it to you in your next port as you sail around!!

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