Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Final bits before painting.

I assisted Charlie today removing the above the waterline thru-hulls (3), all the tank vents (4) and the outflow for the shower drain. No real surprises or issues, just some moderate effort removing hoses and unscrewing the lock nuts.

Exhaust and bilge pump hru-hulls along with top of the rudder post bits:

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Before we started in those items, I needed to get the last bolt out of the stem fitting. The cast aluminum stem fitting used 5 Phillips-head machine screws with nylock nuts to secure it. Because the hull layup in the pointed end of the hull/deck junction was fairly slap-dash, getting a purchase on the nuts was a trying exercise. In particular, the forward port machine screw did not want to come out. Last week we had fabricated a slim wrench to fit in the tiny space forward and used an impact drive to try to remove it. No luck, the threads were galled and the nut wouldn’t budge. Much swearing and grunting occurred...

I pulled out a 3/8” drill bit, chucked it into a corded drill and started in on drilling off the machine screw head. Not too tough, it just took a bit of time and lots of cooling shots of PB Blaster to get it broken. A few hammers on a drift and the screw shaft fell out.

After drilling:

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Next step, remove the stem fitting:

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Bugs? Teeny-tiny birds nest?

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From here on for the next couple of months, the hull will be in the hands of the yard, being prepped and then painted.

Although I feel like a turning point has been reached, and it has, there is still plenty for me to do while the boat is being painted. I have the new cabin sole to build and I am going to spend a fair amount of time refurbishing the wiring, running rigging and standing rigging on the mast.

Friday, January 23, 2015

In The Shed At Last

I met Charlie at the boatyard at 8:00 AM and we got right to work on removing the rudder. Neither of us was entirely certain how it was held on but it appeared that a stainless steel cap screwed onto the top of the rudder shaft. Initially when we tried to unscrew it we couldn’t. I posted a question to the always informative C&C list and got a couple of replies that confirmed that it should unscrew and the rudder should drop down.

Charlied fabricated a three inch fiberglass “socket” which fit over the cap and used one of the two set bolts to secure it. With that the cap unscrewed easily.

Unfortunately, the rudder didn’t drop. At all. Hmmmm.

We applied the tap it down method. No luck there either. Shook, turned and bumped it. Again no good. We started to think that the flat plate that secures the upper part of the shaft in line with the tube needed to be unscrewed also. That was physically impossible.

We scratched our heads a bit and kept on jiggling it. Ultimately it broke free and slid down. 

With all my other boats I have had to dig a hole in the yard to get the shaft clear of the hull but this time there was room to spare. One of the benefits of 6’8” draft I suppose.

Rudder out of the way:

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With that job done it was time to bring in the travel lift. Charlie wheeled that into place, led the straps and got ready to hoist. The owner of the yard came over to inspect my handiwork on the keel cradle and gave us his blessing to start the lift. The boat came up. And so did the keel. Stuck pretty firmly to the keel stub.

The yard owner, a man of much experience in running a yard and designing and building large powerboats walked over and started kicking and shoving the keel. As he was doing this we could see the hull/keel intersection start to open up. Shortly thereafter, with a significant crack, the keel feel away, Fortunately only about 4 inches. It settled right into place in the cradle and with that we just kept on hoisting the hull.

Okay, so the bilge wasn’t completely dry...

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What I had begun to suspect when I was grinding the hull/keel joint the day before turned out to be the case: when a previous owner had the bottom milled off for blisters and redone with epoxy, they must have dropped the keel too. And when they reattached it, instead of any sealant, they filled it with epoxy. The real world consequence of that was that there was no need to use a Sawzall to clear away the joint.

The final lift:

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No sealant for me, just epoxy if you please...

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One thing that the owner that had the bottom job done was that he either replaced or did not remove the butyl tape sealant around the keel bolts. There was absolutely no wasting of the keel bolts which was a tremendous relief to me. They appeared as clean and secure as the day they left the mold at Mars Keels. I will be using butyl when I re-attach the keel for certain.

Just need a bit of cleaning:

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So, finally, the hull, all 8,000 lb. of it, drove off to the shed.  Good to see it moving.

Backing down to the shed:

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The yard used to have two very large marine railways, none of which are in use any more. But one railway was left in place leading down into the first of two in line sheds. They built a railway carriage to hold boats and move them into and out of the shed with a small tractor. Pretty clever. This shed is insulated and heated so that operations can continue throughout the year.

Blocking the hull for work in the shed:

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So, from here on I will be constrained on how much that I can do on the decks. Best estimate is that she will emerge with a fresh new coat of AwlCraft in around three months. Given temperatures and my schedules that is fine by me.

Inside the shed:

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It was long day for me, fraught with unknowns but ultimately it proved to be a pretty simple and easy procedure. May the rest of the project be the same...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Okay, Maybe the Hull Comes Off Tomorrow...

It was a perfect day to pull the hull off of the keel this morning. Dense fog, near freezing, ice in the yard and on the boat and generally just a raw, cold, unfriendly kind of day.

Arrived at 8:00 and started pulling the covers off. I had to pump the bilge for a while due to lots of rain and being out of the country for almost 2 weeks. I measured the bolts; all of them except for one in the rear at 3/4”, were 1 1/2”. The boatyard had the appropriate sockets, 3/4” driver and pipe extension.

Manly Tools:

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I cleaned up the mess surrounding the bolts and started in on removing them. Phenomenally easy. So, either they were never torqued correctly or it’s just easy with something of that size. Either way, the bolts were off and out within 30 minutes.

After that I started in on grinding out the keel/hull joint while the yard worker started in on getting the rudder ready to drop. One thing that stood out for me was that there was not a lick of sealant between the keel and the keel stub. I expected to find some. Not sure what’s going one but I do know that a previous owner had the bottom shaved off and replaced with epoxy and what I think I see in the joint is lots of epoxy.

Keel/Hull Work:

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While I worked on the keel. Charlie, the boatyard guy, worked on getting the rudder ready to drop. He spent a lot of time under the cockpit. We soaked the bolts on the quadrant earlier with PB Blaster and hit them with the propane torch. It was pretty clear that they had never been touched since the boat rolled out of the factory in Canada. No real reason to suspect why they should have.

But as is usually the case with stainless steel bolts in aluminum threads, several decided that they didn’t want to budge. A couple of hours later the heads were cut off and the quadrant lay in pieces under the cockpit. As always with projects some things that seem easy end up being larger jobs than thought.

Now it’s much later in the day. After removing the two bolts securing the top-piece on the end of the rudder shaft we couldn’t move it. Ergo, the rudder remained firmly in place. After not forcing it but applying the just “getting a bigger rock” work method we were able to get it to start to unscrew. Which we hope is how it is attached….

Anyway, Charlie is going to make a tool to use for unscrewing it and we will get back to the job bright (hopefully) and early tomorrow.

Rudder that won’t drop:

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The Hull Starts To Comes Off

Another quick (and sporadic post) after being away from the boat for the past 6 weeks. Holidays, flu and medical mission work in the Dominican Republic. And cold weather.

Anyway, I had the bottom paint blasted off in early January prior to removing the keel.

I spent the past day and a half frabricating bracing for the keel. Today we unbolt the keel, remove the rudder although I’m not sure about that one yet, and move the hull into the shed for painting.

Pictures of the bracing for now. 

Made out of pressure treated 4X4’s, 2X4’s and lag bolts.

First draft:

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Final product:

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I’ll post pictures of the removal tonight. If all goes well...