The big refit!

When we bought Alchemy in January 2018, she was in truly exceptional condition. The previous owners Kathy and Bradley were meticulous in their maintenance, frequently replacing expensive but critical systems well before there was any sign of a problem. Certainly she was by far the best maintained Nordhavn we saw on our search that included South East Asia, New Zealand, the UK and both the East and West coasts of the US.

Alchemy as it was back in 2010

Despite this, we wanted to update a few more things before going too far away from the US, where parts and expertise are plentiful (although certainly not cheap!). We therefore decided to carry out a significant refit to make the boat as close to “as new” as possible and to adapt a few things to suit our tastes.
The refit included:

  • Replacing or refurbishing all the furniture and most of the fittings in the saloon. This included a brand new dining table that we shipped from Italy, six new custom made dining chairs, new upholstery for the sofa and new light fittings.
  • Re-upholstering the sofa in the pilothouse and the headboard in the master bedroom.
  • Replacing the carpets and ceiling headlining throughout the boat.
  • New custom-made blinds throughout the boat.
  • New stone worktop in the pilothouse heads.
  • New bathroom sink taps throughout the boat.
  • Replacing three of the Vacuflush toilets with brand new units.
  • Replacing the coolant circulation pump for the air conditioning system (not because it was broken – it was just getting a little old!).
  • Re-painting the two Awlgrip stripes around the pilothouse.
  • Re-caulking many of the seams around the outside of the boat.
  • New HD CCTV system throughout the boat.
  • Two new navigation computers, two new autopilot systems, backup satellite compass.
  • A new 4K TV for the saloon TV lift, a NAS based media server system and a boat-wide Sonos audio system.
  • Removing almost all the unused wiring throughout the boat – we filled at least 10 large black rubbish bags!
  • Running new CAT6 network and two NMEA2000 backbones throughout the boat.
  • Installing the beginnings of a full Maretron monitoring system that will allow us to monitor many systems automatically and detect potential issues before they develop into anything serious.
  • Replacing all lighting with energy efficient LED versions.
  • Replacing the 4x Lifeline 4D engine start batteries.
  • A new offshore liferaft to replace one of the two already on board.
  • And much more, including a full wash, polish and wax, new zincs, new bedding, new windscreen wipers etc.

Here are a few photos:

James unbolting the saloon coffee table so that the old carpet can be removed
Alex hard at work refinishing the cockpit BBQ cover
The glamour of boat ownership – Alex helping to run new CAT6 and NMEA2000 cabling
Just in case you thought Alex was doing all the work – this is Tom re-wiring the boat
External stripes being newly Awlgripped (we went from red to grey)
New worktop for the pilothouse heads being prepared (it was previously bright blue!)
New carpet in Master Bedroom (it was previously dark blue with gold bits – original to the boat)
New dining table and chairs – the table is made of steel with a ceramic top and we bolted it to the floor
New saloon sofa – it needs some scatter cushions but they will have to wait until we have another burst of energy!
New lamps, table, chairs, sofa, carpet, blinds and headlining
Newly upholstered sofa in the pilothouse – this is where we eat when underway
James looking pleased with the results! (the photo frame hadn’t yet been fixed to the wall)

7 thoughts on “The big refit!

  1. Very tastefullly done. Interesting exercise replacing the wiring for NMEA stuff. As a Cessna Dealer for many years I was surprised to learn that in the piston twins replacing the old steam radio and Nav gear and instruments with the latest “glass” netted a significant 500 lb, or 2 passenger or 300 nm range, weight saving.


  2. The changes you have made are wonderful, I used to think the old ‘layout’ was nice this is an amazing update. Isn’t the smell of fresh carpet nice lol. Are you adding or updating a FLIR system as well ?? Stay safe.


  3. As the second owner of The Good Life is so pleased to see her all updated. I will always treasure my time on her. Met my current wife on her. We now own a Moody ds54. Had to get back to sailing. This looks like a fun trip.

    Bob Weiland


    1. Great to hear from you Bob! We just arrived yesterday in St Lucia after a very pleasant passage. We did 2750 miles in 14 days at an average of 8.2 knots. No problems other than a toilet pump that I had to rebuild underway. It really is a fabulous boat.


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