A complete sail boat refit.

This was a massive undertaking that saw up to fifteen people working on her at any one time. We documented the entire process, including weekly youtube video updates.

The project was undertaken at PSS Boatyard, Chebilang, in the southern Thai province of Satun. The list of jobs was exhaustive and the ones listed to the right merely scratch the surface.

  • Removal of teak deck

    After months of deliberation we removed the teak deck. Watch the refit videos to find out why.

  • Redesign of interior

    Stripping away the yellowed ash interior to make way for a lighter, more contemporary look

  • Hull osmosis treatment

    Extensive osmosis had to be dealt with

  • Complete respray

    From masts to deck to topsides

  • Updating entire electronic system

    Rewired with a new navigation system

Documented in Oyster News and Sailing Today

This complete refit will be covered by Sailing Today and Oyster News magazines.


Sailing Today, recently bought out by Chelsea Publishing, has repositioned itself towards the cruiser market. Unlike some of its stuffier rivals, ST is modern, fun, informative and relevant. We have been writing for ST for four years documenting our adventures as we travel east. The article will look at specifics like why we decided to remove our teak deck, and what it’s like working with local labourers. We will be profiling each and every update aboard Esper, from navigation systems to remodelling the interior.

Oyster News is the glossy quarterly, published by one of the most successful custom luxury yacht manufacturers. They too have documented our adventures and, despite its world-wide distribution, it’s free. You may download the latest edition here.

New for 2017

The six articles for the above-mentioned sailing magazines are reproduced here and include new, unseen photographs.

Sailboat Refit Pt 1: Introduction


Remaining on a pontoon in India for two years, despite basic servicing and upkeep, had led to some general deterioration of our boat. But for SY Esper to stand a chance of completing a passage to South Africa, she needed to be in the best possible shape. So we spent a full season planning, servicing and preparing.

Continue reading here

Real-time Esper Refit Blog Posts

Videos, pictures, commentary, links… we uploaded all of this and more every single week throughout the refit.


June 16, 2018


June 9, 2018


June 3, 2018


May 27, 2018


May 18, 2018


March 2, 2017

Esper Refit 53-55 – Esper Launches!

March 1, 2015

Esper Refit 50-52 – one year in the yard! Portabote improvements; interior carpentry

February 8, 2015

Esper Refit 47-49 – festivities; rudder design; more carpentry

January 11, 2015

Esper Refit 46 – Christmas Special

December 22, 2014

Esper Refit 45 – tent down, masts up, davits on

December 14, 2014

Esper Refit 43-44 – Totem’s fund raiser; bow roller installed

December 9, 2014

Esper Refit 41-42 – welding rodents; bow roller; Millie in hospital

November 25, 2014

Esper Refit 40 – pushpit extension; buat ordination; loi kathrong

November 14, 2014

Esper Refit 39 – Totem crew take over; life in the boatyard

November 6, 2014

Esper Refit 38 – swim platform brackets; installing the rudder

October 26, 2014

Esper Refit 37 – how to bed a genoa track with butyl tape; rudder doesn’t fit

October 23, 2014

Esper Refit 36 – basic boat wiring schematic; Maxprop grease nipple; torlon cutlass bearing

October 12, 2014

Esper Refit 35 – PSS Dripless Seal; LED Dimmer

October 5, 2014

Esper Refit 34 – bedding deck fittings with butyl tape

October 2, 2014

Esper Refit 33 – boat catches fire; redrilling deck fittings;

September 21, 2014

Esper Refit 32 – welding and polishing swim platform

September 14, 2014

Esper Refit 31 – shaft crevice corrosion

September 7, 2014

Esper Refit 30 – boat led lights

August 31, 2014

Esper Refit 6 Month Round-up

August 25, 2014

Esper Refit 25 – teak toe rail; rubbing strake

August 10, 2014

Esper Refit 24 – saloon table with incorporated coffee table

August 2, 2014

Esper Refit 23 – carpenters finish trim; teak-lid deck boxes

July 23, 2014

Esper Refit 22 – Waldringfield boatyard special; the painter returns

July 20, 2014

Esper Refit 21 – Awlcraft ‘Snow White’ painted on the deck

July 9, 2014

Esper Refit 20 – West System 410 Microlight for osmosis

June 24, 2014

Esper Refit 19 – painting topside with Awlgrip’s Awlcraft

June 18, 2014

Esper Refit 18 – osmosis treatment with biaxial fibreglass

June 8, 2014

Esper Refit 17 – stainless companionway ladder

June 1, 2014

Esper Refit 16 – teak cockpit with grey caulking

May 24, 2014

Esper Refit 15 – varnishing teak floorboards with polyurethane

May 18, 2014

Esper Refit 14 – Awlgrip 545; faring complete; Wilson Art laminate

May 15, 2014

Esper Refit 13 – epoxy mixed with microballoon; Thea launch

May 10, 2014

Esper Refit 12 – engine respray; bending teak toe rail; faring the deck

April 27, 2014

Esper Refit 10-11 – polishing deck fittings; answering questions in Ko Lanta

April 20, 2014

Esper Refit 9 – painting with Awlgrip primer; reforming the cabin

April 5, 2014

Esper Refit 8 – holes in deck; galley is tomato orange

March 30, 2014

Esper Refit 7 – the E Team; first coat of primer

March 23, 2014

Esper Refit 6 – removing a dorade vent; white vine veneer

March 16, 2014

Esper Refit 4 – tent up; filling in a portlight

March 2, 2014

Esper Refit 3 – removing deck fittings; interior mood boards

February 23, 2014

Esper Refit 2 – removing the mizzen and main masts

February 16, 2014

Esper Refit 1 – an introduction to our boat refit

February 9, 2014

The Refit Video Series

One year in a boatyard. An Oyster 435 refurbished from inside to out, top to bottom. Use the icon in the top-left of the playlist to display a pull-out menu of every video episode.