Sunday, March 27, 2016

Planning takes more time than I thought.

Still working on the new and upgraded bilge pump systems. After measuring and climbing underneath the cockpit a week ago I started to finalize my thoughts about how to go about the project.

First thing that I knew I needed is a list of materials. I sat down and started with simple line drawings of the 3 basic systems and then got “creative” on the second iteration. In that plan I scoped out each length of hose and its diameter, any connectors and thru-hulls required, the pumps and types of hose clamps. After refining that a few times and finding simple mistakes I had my list of materials.

I gave the list to Charlie at the boatyard in the hopes that I could get some business steered that way but they had a hard time with some of the pricing. So I went out to some of my regular sources and started ordering. I should have most of the items this coming week.

On thing’s for sure, I going to have a good bit of bilge hose left over. In one case it was cheaper to buy an entire single 50’ roll for about 22’ and in another the 50’ roll price was exactly the same as buying 26’, each on a per foot basis. Maybe I’ll have some use for that hose in the future.

Not to scale:

Rough Plan

From there I returned to the new storage under the port helmsman’s seat project. I cutout and hot-glued together a box section of 1/4” luan plywood and gave it a quick test fit. It fit, perhaps even a bit loose. Once I was convinced of the feasibility of the modification I ordered up some 3/16” thick FRP sheet stock from McMaster-Carr. That order will show up this coming week also.

Crude but effective:

Scratch built

Slots in nicely:

Don t drop it

The real planning effort, one that I have rolled around in my head for quite some time without any great ideas springing forth is the hardware and rigging updates for the decks. This has to be done before I can start painting the decks and I’m pushing to get that going sometime in late May.

The boat has had a really jury-rigged setup for years and I’ve told myself that I would make it right. The problem is that I am not a really good “ideas” guy with it comes to this sort of thing. I’ve worked with pros and it’s clear that I’m not one.

One of my primary goals has been to reduce the number of lines led aft to the cockpit in an effort to reduce clutter. As I’ve said, we don’t race this boat so quick and efficient line-handling isn’t critical. I was hoping to go from four cabin mounted winches down to two. That idea didn’t survive the hours I spent moving loose hardware around and running string to simulate line runs.

In the end, it was clear that I would need to bring the old Barient non-self tailing winches back to their original placement. And here’s the best part, I now have even more lines led aft. Clever...

Just keep at it:

Spider webs

Tape solves everthing

Old winch with blue tape

The way it was

After taking notes on the layout I spent an afternoon working up a rough schematic of the lines and equipment needed. That forced me to undertake an inventory of all the hardware that I had on hand. Some of it came off the boat and some was sitting in boxes in my shed.

Hope I didn’t cross lines:

Keep the costs down

Original hardware from the factory.

Unused old hardware

Some new and some newish:

New and old hardware

When I wasn't working on the boat project I did do some fun stuff.

Ninth Annual Sock Burning Party:

Socks burn nicely

Not quite 16 knots. Next time...

Fast is fun

Monday, March 14, 2016

Ramping up. But it's a low ramp angle...

Last Friday my wife and I took a day trip to the big city of Richmond to catch the Rodin exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts before it moved on this week. It was, not surprisingly, very nice. We both agreed that the next time we go see an exhibit like that that we do some research before going.

Afterwards, to put a nice end on the trip we drove over to the new Stone Brewery. We’re beer snobs and have been to the original brewery in San Diego and loved it. Great surroundings, food and extremely good beer. Unfortunately the new Stone plant is still not running and the brewpub itself hasn’t even broken ground. They did have some inside and outside seating along with a small bar so we stopped for a beer. 

Saturday was the Smith Point Sea Rescue Oyster Roast which we always attend and donate money for. I was asked to join a few months back and I finally got my application in after which I went back to shoveling steamed oysters down my throat.

Sunday afternoon I did a few small jobs just to add a few hours towards knocking off the project list. In the morning I spent a few hours with a pencil and graph paper working up some ideas on creating storage under the port side helm seat. The more I thought about putting some type of soft pocket/bag hanging in the space the less I liked the idea. I was concerned about having a large hole in the cockpit that might allow large amounts of seawater into the hull if pooped or worse.

I decided that I would fabricate something out of FRP. More on that in another posting. But I did spend some time grinding off the filler that C&C used to glue it down. I also ground out the polyester and fiberglass laminate to give it more definition along the edge.

Bring out the brutal tools:

Filler removal

Ground out and ready

Casting about for a quick task to complete I spotted the two plywood shelves that support the 30-gallon fresh-water tanks and gave them a quick coat of white paint. I know that they will never be seen but I’ll feel better about it.

Fresh paint.

It will never be seen

Before heading off to dinner I put the final coat of satin varnish on the small v-berth ledge teak and holly cover.

Today, after getting back from the YMCA I drove the tool truck to the yard to do some planning and mockups. One thing that I wanted to do is install a secondary larger automatic bilge pump for use in the event of a large amount of water ingress. Hopefully never needed.

The current setup is a manual Whale pump located next to the wheel in the cockpit which exits a though-hull in the port side counter. The new Whale low-profile, low volume pump I’m ordering will continue to dump into a “T” fitting in the starboard cockpit scupper drain the way the original bilge pump did. With the new larger pump I want to run it aft and have it dump out just above and in line with the manual bilge pump through-hull.

Despite having misgivings about the hose exit being very close to the waterline and underwater when powering at speed which is not recommended because of the possibility of back flow into the bilge, I decided to go ahead with the plan. My friend who runs the yard felt that it would fine with a tall loop up to deck level with an anti-siphon vented loop installed.

Whale Pumps says 12” minimum with NO submersion:

Doesn t meet minimums

So, I started crawling around underneath the cockpit and measuring. Along with a new through-hull I’ll need around 26’ of hose. I have a couple of Rule 2000 GPH pumps in the shed so I brought one along to figure out the placement. It will be higher in the bilge so that it only switches on when the water is well up.

Height and location works well:

Fits nicely

I’ll need to make the shelf removable to allow for easy access to the keel bolt. I’m pretty pleased with the location though.

After getting that task documented, I turned to the pedestal holes in the cockpit sole that need to be closed off. Even though the sounding indicated no softness I somehow convinced myself that the area around the holes should be removed and re-glassed.

Well, that was a dumb idea. After cutting the starboard side and have to pry the laminate off, which essentially broke as I did, I realized that all I need to do was plug the holes and keep going.

Not balsa core but quite dry.

Seemed like the right thing

Not Balsa but dry

I pulled out the West System and mixed up a small amount with colloidal silica to thicken it, found some 3/4” and 1/4” wooden dowel material and put it all back together.

Quick fix for now.

Plugged and epoxied

Later this week I will come back and grind out the area and apply some fiberglass cloth just to make sure that it is tied together and closed off. I expect that I will soon start sanding the non-skid in the cockpit in preparation for painting the decks so no harm, no foul...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

So, where did I leave off?

Oh yeah, back to boat work.

I thought that with the fancy boat shed I would be able to get a fair amount done in the dead of winter. Not so much. A week in the Dominican Republic doing our regular medical mission volunteer work only to come back to the Great Mid-Atlantic Blizzard  and then quickly getting on a plane for another week and a half of sitting on a beach in Florida pretty much ruled that out.

February was just too stinking cold, windy and wet. All I did was check on the boat shed to make sure that it was still there and keeping Ronin dry. Which it was and did admirably.

I would occasionally fire up the heaters in my backyard shed and do some small woodwork and varnishing on the final odd pieces of the cabin sole. Tomorrow I will put a final satin finish coat on top of the last piece that goes on the v-berth step, wrap it in construction paper like the rest of the cabins sole, set aside and be done with that project task.

Last bit of cabin sole work:

New V Berth Step

Cabin soles ready to install in some future date...

Wrapped and warm

The past two days have seen near record breaking warm temperatures here on the Chesapeake Bay so I, like many others in the boatyard, got back to work. The first day I did some administrative work, mostly thinking about what tasks to get started on this spring.  I did a quick survey of the mast and took notes for when I get together with a local rigger.

Another item that needs to get started is installing a small capacity bilge pump. I’ve pretty much decided to go with one of the new Whale Supersub Smart low-profile bilge pump. It is not intended to move large amounts of water, rather, to just keep the bilge dry during normal conditions. I worked up a quick wooden mockup to ensure that it would fit in my small, narrow bilge. The good news is that it should fit nicely. I was concerned that it might not fit with the keel bolts.

Replace with the real deal.

Small Bilgepump Mockup

I have not done any sanding or prep work in the cockpit for the upcoming deck painting because I knew that it would be a high traffic area. A lot of dirt and grit gets carried onto the boat so I wanted to wait until the last moment to start in on the task. I have spent quite a bit of time worrying about having a soft balsa core in the cockpit and that I would need to completely rebuild that area.

I spent some time sounding the entire cockpit sole in minute detail today. My ears a still ringing from that effort. But, the really good news is that there is no wet or rotten balsa. Both the sounding and a visual inspection from underneath verified that it is strong. That was a great relief and means that I can “save” at least a month’s worth of work that would have been required to replace the core and fiberglass.


Balsa core sounding

I will need to seal the aft-most two openings that carried the throttle and shift cables when I install the new Edson Classic pedestal that is in the shed. Amazingly the core that was exposed around the holes drilled in the cockpit sole was dry and solid.

Quick verification.

Dry fit new pedestal

While I was at it I applied more AwlFair to the old cockpit/quarter-berth opening on both sides. Standard apply and sand off process. A previous owner had slapped a gob of filler of some sort on the aft bulkhead and it kept bugging me so I sanding it down and faired it too.  I should be done with this job in the next few days.


Old Port Repair V 2 0

And since I was on a roll, I started to think about doing something with the area underneath the port side of the cockpit driver’s seat. It may have been an option from the factory to put a hinged lid over some sort of storage like  the propane locker on the starboard side but on my boat is was simply glued downed.

So, using tools that usually get me in trouble, I decided to investigate. Fifteen minutes later I had my answer.

Not subtle.

Don t Break It

C&C “stuff:"

Off in one piece

I’m going to work up some sort of storage underneath this. Most likely a removable soft pocket of some sort. TBD.

Looks like an one-hole outhouse...

Starboard pit toilet

Oh, and I did some Frostbite racing in Annapolis last weekend and yesterday put on some shorts and went sailing with my good friend and home builder Vincent on his Corsair 24. Fun.

First Sail 2016Early start.