Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Picking Away

Look at that crazy woman up there. Who in their right mind would use a toilet brush, a headlamp, and a screwdriver on a project? Well, I've found that the toilet brush (combined with some degreaser)  is perfect for scrubbing out the bilges and dirty corners under the engine. The screwdriver is for removing hose clamps and zip ties so I can clean under them, and the headlamp illuminates all those dark dirty corners.

But frankly, she doesn't look to BE in her right mind. I think this is because just when we think we are ready to start putting things BACK, we find another bunch of messy, unused, or poorly routed wires and cables. So we tear them out, clean them up, and re-route them as necessary.

Here's an example: for three weeks we have been working around this thing. It sat right behind the main engine making access to hoses and belts very difficult. It's a 220v converter for when you want to plug into European shore power and have it brought down to 110v. We thought we might use it, but then we started having second thoughts, and finally we decided that we should remove it. Surely there is a smaller, lighter, more user friendly unit available now.

So last night we unbolted it and lifted it out of the lazarette using a snatch block off the boom. It says on the placard that it weighs 122 lbs, but I think it weighs lots more. I'm just glad we got it out and on the dock without dropping it through the bottom of the boat or into the water. Does anyone want to buy this thing?

Oh, the skill saw did the trick on the battery shelf. And yes, there was another hose clamp under the battery shelf. Who in their right mind would fiberglass a shelf over a hose clamp? Well, as a crazed boat worker myself, I think I can understand how that could happen now.

Friday, July 26, 2013

More Snakes

We have been fighting more snakes this week. The exhaust hose for the generator also needs to be replaced and it's even longer than the engine exhaust hose since the generator is in the middle of the boat and the exhaust ports are on the transom. I'm guessing this hose is about 28' long. We started by removing the muffler and about six feet of hose under the galley sole. From there the hose goes under the starboard quarter berth so we started removing access panels and the HEAVY batteries.

Then we found that the battery shelf had been fiberglassed to the hull over the exhaust hose which is secured to the hull with a hose clamps. I was able to remove one hose clamp, but we think there are others under that shelf, so tonight we will take a skill saw to the battery shelf, create an access hole, and hopefully remove some more hose. After that we will only have the section behind the engine under the converter and refrigeration unit to remove.

The good thing is that we can remove a lot of old abandoned wires and hoses, re-route and re-secure the remaining ones, and clean more gunk out of the bilges. This boat may have looked clean on the surface, but below the floorboards it's disgusting!

And as with all boat projects, we should have just opened all the lockers and thrown their contents on the floor, because that's what it looks like now.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Like Wrestling A Python

Removing most of the hoses on the engine was easy, but the exhaust hose from the muffler to the thru-hull at the transom was like wrestling a python.

First if all, it's 4" in diameter and almost 14' long. Secondly, it goes through one bulkhead, and under the refrigeration unit and under the 220v inverter. And the fit was pretty tight. So we took a little off of the refrigeration platform with a Sawzall. Let me tell you - I was a little nervous when the Captain fired that baby up, but I was watching for wires and hoses and he proceeded slowly. And after we removed about an inch of the platform, we were able to wiggle the python out.

 The shorter section from the engine to the muffler was really bad. Here are the cracks on the top...

and here is the damage on the bottom. Admittedly, we cut it a little to get it off, but it was in really bad shape.

So tomorrow I will pick up all the new hoses and belts and this weekend we will be sweating in the bilges putting them all back.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Servicing the Engine

We had all kinds of fun this afternoon. We had several issues with the engine and got started by removing the oil and antifreeze. Then we removed three belts and all the hoses. The hoses were all 20 years old so it really needed to be done. When we removed the big engine exhaust hose we found that it was actually cracked! Thank goodness it didn't fail while we were motoring home last week.
Here's the front of the engine which is really the back of the engine because its got a V-drive. You can just see the Captain's ear on the left. He is laying on the starboard quarter berth loosening hose clamps. 
Here is my view from the port lazarette. Near my knee at the lower right is the 220 volt inverter and at the top is the HVAC duct to the aft cabin. All this machinery is great until you need to work on the engine, then it's just horrible! But somehow I weaseled into that little area behind the engine and removed the belts, drained the coolant, and removed three hoses. 

The next step is to clean the engine, replace all the hoses and belts and ignore it for another 20 years!

Sailing Camp & Washdown Hose

Our sailing club sponsors sailing camp for Richmond Yacht Club and Santa Cruz  Yacht Club every year. All the kids have a great time sailing, camping, and making friends. We've been coming out to the boat in the evenings to do projects so we've been seeing the kids, but today they seem awfully quiet and subdued; must have been the heat.
As far as our projects go we are still trying to get the wash down pump working properly. It trips the circuit breaker after only a few minutes. Very frustrating to have this clean organized wash down locker and not be able to use it.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Saturday's Chores

We spent two nights out at Mandeville and had a VERY relaxing time. All we did was eat and read and nap.
We came back to the Sailing Club early this morning where my dad greeted us and got his first look at the boat.
Then Katie left to go home and we started some little projects. 
First we washed all the "Mudville" off the boat. Then we took out the shower grates and washed under them and cleared the pump screens. So that's working good again.
Now we are trying to fix the washdown pump. Ah, the joys of yacht ownership....

Friday, July 5, 2013

Zip Tie Lecture

See this? (Just ignore the dirt.) it's from another improperly trimmed zip tie.

We have found hundreds of zip ties just like this on our boat. And on several occasions while working in tight spaces we have been cut by those improperly trimmed ends. They are like razors!
So please if you are working on your boat and need to use zip ties, buy a pair of these little cutters. They trim the zip tie even with the lock and eliminate any chance of getting cut. The next person who works on your boat will thank you from the bottom of their heart.

Lecture over.

Waiting for the Fireworks

After a hot ride out here, we anchored, showered, had cocktails, and BBQed our dinner, now we're just chilling and waiting  for the fireworks.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Since we've had the boat we've puttered around reading the big binder and cleaning out lockers and familiarizing ourselves with all the systems.
But today we finished two top priority items; new propane valves and the new name.
When we took possession of the boat the valves looked like this.
This week the captain sandblasted and painted the tanks, and replaced the switch and hoses. This is how the propane locker looks now.
We have learned that this is a triple safe system. First the "sniffer" determines if it's safe to turn on the gas. Then you turn on the gas at the tanks. Then you hold the burner in the "light" position for 20 seconds to warm up the thermocouple. We feel this is the safest way to use propane on a boat.

Also this evening we removed the old name, buffed out the transom and put the new name on.

So those are our priorities today. And tomorrow we plan on going out to Mandeville Island to watch Baron Hilton's fireworks. Happy Fourth of July!