Thursday, June 11, 2015

Quick update and getaway

I’m getting ready to roll out and head up to Annapolis this morning to help an old friend deliver his Sabre 426 to Rhode Island. He’s part of the Race Committee for Block Island Race Week. Should be a comfortable and easy trip; mostly Southerlies for the next 2-3 days. This is Delivery Trip A, Annapolis to the C&D Canal, down the Delaware Bay and straight shot from Cape May to Pt. Judith, RI.

I continued to work for a few days on removing ports and the last bit of pesky deck hardware. Nothing special to report except that when I pulled the fixed main ports out I knew that the work load increased.

The Plexus adhesive used to secure the ports is pretty tenacious. So much so that when I started scrapping to remove bits of silicone sealant, it came off with fairly large chunks of the gelcoat. This will mean some small but time consuming glasswork on the inside surfaces of the ports.

And that damn round port that was responsible for my previous rant? Out….

Gone port:

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Kind of a mess:

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Fixed ports ready for cleaning and storage:

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When I was removing the chainplates the good news, again, is that the original installation using butyl as sealant proved its effectiveness. No rot in the balsa core.

But not surprisingly, there was a fair amount of electrolysis at the base of the plates. I had to scrape the build-up off in order to get the cover plates off the shaft. No real degradation to the chainplate itself though:

Up and out:

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Not THAT kind of white powder...

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If I don’t write it down I’ll forget:

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Slotted screws: A Rant.

Back to the boat in yet more rain this morning. We’re easily looking at eight inches in the past three days. The shed is paying for itself.

Today I went back to getting the last of the ports out of the deck. I started with the two Beckson opening ports in and across from the head. I replaced the originals 15 years ago because they were toast. They came out quite easily that time. This time around the sealant had good grip on them. I destroyed my replacement starboard hatch in the removal process. The port side hatch came out much easier but that was mostly due to “learned technique” from wrestling with the starboard port. Didn’t really matter as I’m going to replace both of them again after the decks are painted. Dirty sock on clean feet or is it the other way around?

After getting those out I moved aft to the cockpit to remove a Beckson screw-in deck plate that the PO, affectionally know as Mr. Potato Head had brutally installed to provide ventilation to the quarter berth. Every time I see that job it reaffirms my strong desire to replace it with a Lewmar opening hatch.

After unscrewing the hazy clear port I started to unscrew the machine screws and nuts. In the original installation the port was installed with 5/16 “ x 18 S/S machine screws. That’s fine but they used slotted screw heads. I hate slotted screw heads. Really hate them. They should be banned. Outlawed.

I was thinking how much I hated them right about the time that the drill-driver slipped off the head and caused me to rake my finger across the flat-head slotted screw head. Yup, it hurt. And it opened up a 2” laceration that was pretty impressive.

Well, that stopped work for the afternoon. A piece of white (sterile?) box-o-rag, some ever present blue tape and I was able to keep from bleeding on the decks. It also reminded me that our house had nothing other than bandages suitable for a minor nick.

After a trip to the nearest, and that’s a very relative term, pharmacy I was back on the road.

Okay, end of rant.

A yard worker’s first-aid kit:

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Less bleeding than I would have imagined:

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Amazing what you can do with a paper towel and 3M fine-line tape:

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Anyway, more pictures of me destroying perfectly good opening ports.


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Usable but still going in the waste bin:

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Also of note: The Annapolis to Newport Race got underway today and as of this post, the fleet is nearing our house near Smith Point Light. There are three “vintage” C&C’s of the same era and design as Ronin in the race. They are doing well and I hope they sail fast, collect lots of trophies and most importantly, have a safe race.

Stairway to Heaven...

Earlier I had posted that I was helping my friend, a fellow sailor and a builder, whose company, Ingram Bay Contracting rebuilt/built our house, to fix his 24' Corsair trimaran that was damaged in a Spring wind storm. Looks like my glass work on his boat was worth it.

I knew that if I tried to build a set of stairs it would take too long and probably fall down at an inopportune time.

I asked him if he would draw up some plans and list of limber for a set of stairs that I wanted to build. I knew that over the coming year, going up and down a ladder was not even close to ideal.

After I got the the list and purchased the lumber, Vincent came by to show how it is done. An hour and a half later, I had this:

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So much better.

The Pro (another one…) at work:

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015


There are times when it becomes pretty clear to me that although I may think that I have a pretty good hand working on boats it really isn’t true. Today I made a costly mistake. Something that was so stupid and silly that I realized that I was hacking away at this refit. A truly boneheaded mistake.

The weather for the past two days has been rain. Lot’s of it. At least three inches and it’s raining still as I write this. But I’ve been pretty psyched because I’ve been able to get back to the refit due to the protection provided by the new shed. I can tell that it is going to help speed the work schedule.

So, there I am, finishing off the removal of the last of the deck hardware items that had to stay put until the boat was under cover. Some water and holding tank deck fills, the dorades and the two hatches. The front hatch came off easily. Disturbingly so. Although it it’s been some time since the boat was subjected to heavy seas I’m pretty sure that it would have developed a leak. I had the hatches rebuilt sixteen years ago and re-bedded them myself. I made a mental note to do a better job next time using butyl as a sealant.

The main cabin hatch did not want to come free so easily. I slowly but steadily worked a gasket scraper between the frame and the deck, cutting the sealant. After some time working my way around the frame I could see that it was starting to free up. So, I started to pry the frame up. It was tougher than I thought. And not paying attention, I was also bending the frame...

As soon as I removed it from the deck I realized what I had done. I clamped the hatch shut and sure enough, a gap large enough to allow gallons of water to rain down on the interior. One heavy duty Atkins & Hoyle hatch ruined. 

Anyway, despite the expensive setback given that I will almost certainly need to purchase a new hatch, probably a Lewmar of some sort and do some glass-work to get it to fit, I kept working on prepping the hull for work. One step forward, two steps back.

Hardware removal wreckage:

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As part of the cleaning process prior to upgrading the interior I had to clean out the space behind the chainplates. The factory had apparently drilled the bolt holes and bolted the chainplates up pretty quickly. In the tight spaces behind there was a great deal of sawdust and fiberglass shards. Along with that were some nuts and washers that must have fallen off during the install which they just left behind.

Extra hardware:

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I disconnected the fresh water tank plumbing and pulled the tanks out for storage. One of the interesting things about the tanks and lines on this boat has been the fact that there has been no mold or gunk. Frankly, the potable water on Ronin has always been pretty good. I hope to keep it that way.

Tanks gone:

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Starboard FW Space

Next to go were the fresh-water fill hoses, manual and automatic bilge pump lines and the mast baseplate.

Still a mess:

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Discarded Bilge Plumbing

Well, I can tell myself that I’m maximizing my time by being able to work on the boat when ordinarily conditions would prohibit it. Not a great deal of consolation given the cost of replacing the main hatch...

Forty Days and Forty Nights….

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