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Athena 1987 Trident Warrior 38

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Prior to purchasing Athena, I lived aboard Obliex, a 30ft, 1973 Albin Ballad . Although she was a great home and the gateway drug to the live-aboard life, she was a little vertically challenged. Standing up in Obleix required the neck flexibility of a flamingo. For someone with spinal damage, I knew there was a limit to my bird-like flexibility. That's when I decided to upgrade. When searching for my new boat I had a few requirements. First and foremost, standing headroom.

Second, a deck-step mast. Lastly, an encapsulated keel. After scouring the internet for months, in 2016 I found Athena in a little town in Scotland called Kirkcudbright. Shortly after, I flew to Scotland and spent some time aboard. As soon as I stepped below deck, compared to Obliex, she felt and looked large and cavernous. Also, compared to the many 38- 40ft boats on the market at the time she felt extremely spacious. We made the deal and in the Sping of 2016, along with a few friends, we sailed Athena from Scotland to Denmark to begin the refit.


When I purchased Athena the plan was to work on a few things like painting her interior, doing an osmosis treatment on the hull, tearing up the teak, and then painting the deck. After those projects were done, I'd set sail and work on smaller projects along the way. As we all know, that's not exactly how things worked out. As the saying goes, starting one boat project is like pulling a string on a sweater. After tearing out the teak deck, I soon realized the deck core was rotted and delaminated. So, I decided to do what any other "sane" person would do, I would rip the entire deck out and build it back stronger than ever. Then, I'd go sailing.


Ah yes, then my trusty moisture reader brought me to my next fateful endeavor. A moisture reading brought my attention to the wet structural members in the hull. I tried drying them out with a vacuum to no avail. At that point, I decided not to do anything because I knew it was going to be a big job and one I wasn't particularly excited about. I'd do the osmosis treatment, then go sailing, then fix the structural members later.

Then Ava came along...

I knew I could handle living aboard Athena while fixing the structural members. I just wasn't sure I wanted to put my bride-to-be through that. Luckily, at that point in time, we couldn't shove off until Ava finished graduate school. That meant I had some time to kill. So, I decided again to do what any other "sane" person would do. I ripped out almost all of the interior of the boat (even the parts I had already refinished), I would fix the structural members, then completely rebuilt the interior...again. Then, we would go sailing. See sometime's one thing leads to another and you end up with a "somewhat" extensive refit :)

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When inspecting Athena's hull, we noticed quite a bit of osmosis. To address this, we removed the old anti-fouling and barrier coat. Then we dried out the hull using a silicone heat mat and vacuum pump. After, we laid up a single layer of fiberglass with West System's 105 epoxy. We faired the hull and barrier coated it using West System's Barrier Coat Additive. Finally, we applied a copper coat as anti-fouling.


Click Here to Watch the Osmosis Treatment 

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We had a partially delaminated and water-damaged core in the deck. To fix this, we removed the top skin and all of the core. We replaced the core with 20mm foam and plywood. Then glassed back over the deck and painted it with Sigmadur 550. Then finally topped it off with KiwiGrip. 

Click here to watch the Deck Rebuild


There were elevated moisture levels and water damage in the core of the structural members. The structural part of the member is the wood inside. If that was to fail the boat would lose its sea-worthiness. In collaboration with a structural engineer, it was decided that the most straightforward repair would be to lay up roughly 1cm of glass over the existing structural members. The extra layer of glass would then become a structural point beam.

Click Here to Watch Reinforced Structural Members

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It goes without saying having a trustworthy rudder is very important. Especially for offshore passages. I had observed rust oozing out of Athena's rudder. A common failure mode for rudders is when the fingers or plates welded onto the rudder stock begin to rust. Before opening up the old rudder, I made a mold to be able to recreate the shape of the old rudder. When I opened it up, and it wasn't actually that bad. However, I already had the mold and it seemed worth it to completely pull the rudder stock and make a few structural upgrades. The new skins were laid up using vacuum infusion and the new rudder was filled with a two-part expanding epoxy foam and copper coated. 

Click Here to watch the Rudder Being Rebuilt


A very common source of leaks aboard a fiberglass boat is the aluminum toe-rail covering the deck-hull joint. These are thru-bolted with hundreds of bolts, providing an equal amount of opportunities for leaks. On top of that, a new aluminum toe rail is rather expensive. A more cost-effective albeit more labor-intensive and better solution is to glass the deck-hull joint. In Athena's case, this involved grinding back the fiberglass to allow multiple layers of fiberglass to be laid up covering the deck hull joint. This left an uneven surface that required quite a bit of fairing before finally being able to paint the top sides with Perfection Pro.

Click Here to see how long it take to fair a deck-hull joint 

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Since we gutted Athena down to her structural members this allowed us to make changes to her interior that more suited our needs. We tore out the forward cabin head and replaced it with a washer and dryer, freezer, and more storage. We also removed the old vanity in the forward cabin and built a clothing locker with ample drawer storage. 

We rebuilt the galley back with an electric stove and an induction cooktop. We built the stove and cooktop into a custom gimbaled box lovingly named the Unobtainium 2000.  

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The saloon was one of our biggest challenges. We needed quite a few things in a relatively compact space, including a fridge, table, a place to sit, somewhere to entertain, more counter space, oh and a diesel tank. Our best solution was to remove the center bench seat. We replaced it with a kitchen island containing a diesel tank and large fridge, leaving plenty of room for a new settee and kitchen table.

In the original layout, hidden inside the aft cabin was the Nav station. We moved the aft-cabin bulk-head, well aft, to move the Nav Station into the Saloon. This allowed for better access and visibility while sitting at the Nav Station while underway. Plus, now we don't have to wake whoever is sleeping in the aft cabin ;) 

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Since we removed the forward head, we decided to build the aft head bigger and better. We moved the head bulkhead forward to make room for a separate shower and toilet area. We now have a standing shower (almost standing for Mads).  

Last but not least is the technical compartment also known as the "Spiffy Man Cave." We turned the starboard aft cabin into a technical compartment to hold the generator, diesel heater, 12-volt batteries, watermaker, and whatever exciting goodies, ahem I mean manly tools, I find to fill it with :)  

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