Thursday, July 17, 2014

Stairway To The Masthead


A not so long time ago we came across a low lying railroad bridge.
We hit it with the top of our mast.

With damage to the anemometer transducer we felt it was in our best interest to invest some $$ to make it easier to get my old gut up the mast without having Vicky being shaking in her boots while tending me up the mast, relying on her sole ability to keep me from plummeting to the deck. 

So we bought some steps.

Of course the old machinist in me felt they were not up to my standards of being de-burred/no sharp edges, so I grabbed a mill file and hit them proper where it counted, just in case I ventured up there barefoot. I will! 

After checking with many others who had and used and installed mast steps, that 18" would be fine. I bought enough steps for that distance but at the last minute (thanks Tor) I went with 16" which lets me very comfortably climb and always have at least three limbs secure on the mast. At 5' 8" and shrinking fast this distance is PERFECT for me.

Here's how I installed them while hanging from a chair....


First, using a self centering bit (designed for centering hinge screws quickly in door installations) I would start a first hole. Great device with a spring loaded collar that centers the drill in a countersunk hole.


I'd then drill out the started hole with the proper drill dia. for a 1/4- 20 tapped hole. Tap the hole  and then attach the mast step base to the mast with one screw. I was using some old diesel fuel as tapping fluid. A little dip of the tap in an old prescription pill container filled with diesel oil did the job of keeping the tap lubricated while easy to get to from a bucket while hanging there.
I'd then fasten the base onto the mast with one screw tight and take the self centering drill to start the other three holes while it was securely in place. 

Then drill the three remaining holes out to the proper dia. for the tap, remove the base and carefully tap all the remaining holes. Then I'd take a countersink and clean the sharp edges off the tapped holes.

A generous douche of Lanocote in the threaded holes...

Another generous coating on the countersunk holes and on each screw threads as final assembly.

A very easy climb...
At the time of this post I have not finished, I had to order more steps. I plan to have a finished height two steps on either side of the mast high enough that I can look "down" onto the masthead for repairs.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

There Goes An Hour And I'm Not Happy.

   Tried messing around with changing things up here at Page Two. I'm mostly disappointed, but I will no doubt leave it for a while. This silly shit takes so much time, I lose interest before I get what I think I really want!

I have been doing things....
(installing mast steps)

Can you find the pencil?


And Vicky too...
(sewing a sun cover for the boat)


Can you find the back scratcher?



Friday, June 20, 2014

Time Out!

    I know it's been a long while since an update, but I can't help that, I've had nothing that feels worthy to write about. We've settled into a space that keeps us close at hand to any eventuality and time to finish sorting out our wants verses our needs for this boat. There will be content coming...

Ken

Friday, June 6, 2014

Frenzy

   After settling in here to do some minor repairs that required having parts mailed in, we got into a routine of late morning dingy ride in for shower and computer time in the lounge. Then back out to the boat for lunch or borrow some bikes and go out for a quicky lunch. All the time between? Reading frenzy! Both of us. I finished a 420 page book about the OSS during WWII yesterday at 5:00PM. I started it at noon the day before. In the last week I have started and finished 5 books, I'm not keeping count on Vicky but she too is having a reading frenzy. We sometimes pop up from our books and look at each other and laugh, feel a little funny just reading away, but we know when the frenzy is over we'll just as likely get into a working frenzy, I have the mast steps to put on. No frantic in our lives at this time.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New Flag

  It really does amaze me sometimes how great it feels to set a brand new flag. Even with all the shit that gets thrown out into the media, the arguments from this side, that side, the truly depressed, they that totally don't give a shit, them that have nothing but love, and those that have nothing but hate......this is America! I was brought up believing we were special.....ehhh....maybe not as special as THEY wanted me to believe, but still special enough that I can be proud to fly our flag.
  Many times in my past travels as a younger man, I've been embarrassed by loud, overbearing, demanding American tourists abroad. It's almost sick, how rude some of them were. We are NOT.....all that!!! We may have been brought up believing we are the true masters of the world....bullshit....GROW UP!  The world is moving in fast forward.
  Ahh it's almost 8:08, sunset here in Stuart Florida. I'll go and pull the brand new flag my brother sent me and roll it up for the first time. I'll feel good doing it and I'll make sure it rolls up evenly before I set it down for the night. In the morning at 8:00 AM (maybe) I'll unroll it and proudly display it off the stern of my boat......(just took it down)....so I can be reminded that I do live in a great country and I am thankful for what I have been able to accomplish as a man within it's borders. I am proud and my country's  flag means something to me. Buy yours here...http://www.flag-works.com/


Looking for a deal...Water front house and boat...


...or maybe you could swing a deal on this, for a commercial endeavor.











Wish I got this on video....once that one cow hit the water, they all came running down like it was some sort of "break out".

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bridge Bumping

 We managed to make our way out of Vero Beach and headed south. The plan was to carefully traverse the Okeechobee Waterway which had a recorded controlled depth of 6.8 feet and one low bridge that we may need assistance leaning the boat over to get under. Then up the west coast of FL, into the Tombigbee Canal and summer in Tennessee near the mountains.

 The Army Corp of Engineers told us there was 51.08 feet under the bridge that day and the guy who heels boats over for people (he places 55gal drums on your side deck and fills them till you clear) called to let us know he thought we could make it if we had what we thought, 48' 9". That's what our original book said. We gave it a shot at about half of drifting speed, .25 knots and I threw it into reverse at the second before we would know. Bang! Shudder! Hard in reverse! That threw us out of whack so much we decided to bee-line all the way back to the safety of Stuart, FL to regroup, rethink, and access what the true height of our mast is. The rivers have a few bridges at 52' so if we really are over 51'.....not a great plan.

  I have some pictures of the bridge but am struggling with a new computer and I really am dumber than shit with new technology so I haven't even managed to figure out how to get them off my card. Ya I know....it's easy! Let's see you cut a compound curved radius, it's easy!


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Throwing Money Around Then Taking It Back

  We had planned to rent a car this past weekend for a couple of reasons, one, to do some shopping at a marine discount liquidators where we could get some decent prices on some pricey items, namely, deck hatches. We went through all the motions making sure that we were getting a decent deal and got the correct sizes. That we Did. What we didn't do, is a thorough side by side comparison of what we were buying compared to what originally came with the boat.
1) super deal on rental car, $10 a day, three days, total $40....
2) $1350 (through Defender online minus shipping)worth of Bomar hatches for $1030.

  After getting all the new hatches on the boat, we start seeing a big difference in the overall ruggedness of the hatches. Yes, over the past 6 months the original old Bomars had been nothing but a pain, as not dogging down well and to keep the rain out needed to be tightly dogged down at 4 points, they were just an all around pain to open and close and I never took the time to study their condition and see if I could invest time, into improving them. Let's just buy new, was how we felt at first. Now we're smarter.

These old Bomars are a much better quality offshore hatch and parts are still available to rebuild. Although these babies might need a bit more than just parts. After a thorough examination by the both of us, it looks like if I can get them to a bench and have the time, I can re-bush, re-bed, and re-gasket the whole thing and keep a whole lot of dollars in our pocket along with having strong quality offshore hatches. 

.If you look closely at these old hatches, you can see years of adding shims and washers to different dogs to make do. I feel with time I can rebuild these and if I do, I'll try to take plenty of pictures with comments about what I encounter. We threw a lot of money out for the not to be replacements.

Oh yeah, we're going to have to keep the car an extra day..$$...to bring the hatches back for our refund.

Oh yeah, and my computer froze up this weekend so we felt it was about time to upgrade....we had the car.....we are so far behind in technology (that's what friends tell us)....we think we want a mobile device.....so we headed off to Best Buy and dumped another bunch of hundreds of dollar bills on a nice small PC and a new mobile devise (tablet) only to started in the car back to the boat and realize we don't really 'need' the expensive new mobile device and it's fancy cover, so we went back and returned that. Kept the PC and of course when we got back to the boat I mucked with my old one and got it going, so here I am blogging with an unopened new computer still in the box.....hmmmm. Throwing money around!




Friday, May 2, 2014

The Running Westerbeast

 After dropping the engine back in place last week I generally took my time about getting the heavy gauge battery and starting wires, along with the fuel lines upgraded. Some of the old heavy gauge wire was second rate 2/0 welding wire and really far from a marine grade product.  It truly makes a difference.


All the heavy gauge wire coming from.... the starting battery, AC inverter, windlass, alternator ground, were all bunched up on the load side of a shunt measuring  amps, voltage and consumption of power through an electronic device called a Link 10.  A great tool to monitor the DC power on the boat.


The problem I bought with the boat is, I had  too much all bunched up, that should have been separated from the shunt, the power shunt is only a device for measuring power through the two posts, not something to replace a buss bar. The two little screws let the Link 10  attach, so it can monitor all the power going through the two large lugs.  I had like 6 wires all bunched up on one side of that. Actually....there was large wire from the inverter on the wrong side, which should only be one wire directly to the house battery bank, so the Link 10 was not reading the inverter's consumption from the battery bank when it was operating

Shunt
Buss bar


  Like I said, there were a few things I had to sort out with the help of a paid professional and some local knowledge before I called this a done deal. When the engine is out.....the little worker bees need to get as much done as they can before the Westerbeast gets settled back in place. I needed to add a buss bar and separate my bonding wires that were haphazardly attached to the engine and the shunt. Needed a "clean up".

  So here is the shunt at the top of the picture, then a 2/0 wire connecting to the buss bar where all the negatives connect and then it also connects to the bonding wires which I admit is not a great set up but I didn't have another bus bar and there is so much controversy about bonding things on a boat, and all the info I was told and all the info I saw on the internet....SHEESH!  I figured I'd make do with what "I" feel should be OK.


 This whole project was brought on by the fact that the fuel system and tank had failed. I would have liked to have had the time and mind-set to develop a completely new fuel polishing system with two filters, by-pass lines and fuel pump, but couldn't gather it all in while trying to live here and just get the damn job done. What I did do is, installed all new fuel lines and fittings from tank to engine well secured every 18"'s  and positioned out of the way so I can construct a new fuel boss type system that I will build myself and insert (when I find the time, you know!).

A fuel filtering system
 
                                           
All neat and tidy.
 BUT THE BIG NEWS.......is the engine is all hooked up and running. I got it up to temperature and have the coolant full.  A few more doo daa's, new fuel gauge and sender coming in the mail but nothing stopping me from getting the boat back into 100% guest friendly, neat and tidy, take the tools out and put the tools back type of work!!!!!!! It's been a hard road taking out the engine and planting it in the middle of our living space, which disrupts the whole living on a boat scene to repair a leaking fuel tank but these evils we got by, and still live day to day, still in love, on our floating "Painkiller" Not to mention....Vero Beach...does NOT suck!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dropped In

Dropped it in place, then ran away with a rental car for bit of a vacation from the boat.
I'll get the beast all hooked up to life support come Monday and Tuesday....maybe Wednesday, Thursday...don't rush me!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tank In

After getting the tank to the welders it was time to
start cleaning up the hole that was left behind. The frame itself was fine other than the one piece on the very bottom that got crushed over time and let the tank settle against it, which helped escalate the corrosion. All the strips of neoprene, acting as spacers to keep the aluminium from being in contact with the wood, had all it's bronze staples removed and replaced with aluminum tacks.


Made a new platform for the larger muffler that was installed with the re-power of 2002 and installed new heavy gauge copper sheet for the single side-band grounding strap. The old copper foil was heavily corroded in more than a few places. This new copper was cut from a large 14" wide wire roll that Vicky acquired from her last job. After cutting it by hand it turned out to be the exact right length.
After lifting the tank off the dingy we set it up on the cockpit to give it our own pressure test with the foot pump and a spray of Windex. No leaks we could find.  I started gluing new neoprene spacers to run 90 degrees to the original wide strips keeping the tank one step higher off of any potential wet spots.
Managed to get them all glued on in the late evening so the tank could go in the next day.
The weather held off till the last ones were in place.
The next day we got it stuffed down the companionway and back in with the front panel bolted in place, all fittings installed on the top and 20 gallons of diesel poured in.
Vicky painted all the bilge area and the tank frame. No leaks! 
After close inspection (and some "real guy" advise) of the battery starting and grounding wires we have decided to upgrade most all the cheap welding wire with proper tinned  marine cable, add a proper sized bus bar to it and the bonding system of the whole boat. I might insert a picture here of some of the old wire. The  real guy, Mike Giannotti from the renowned Hartge Yacht Yard Inc. in Maryland took pictures and exclaimed, "this is why you don't use welding wire for a boat." 
One end of this cable is fine...add a little salt water under the jacket on the other end....whoa baby, watch me corrode!!!



While waiting for the new cables etc, I'll be getting the muffler, throttle cables etc all back and secured while thinking about changing out the fuel filtering system too. Hopefully Vicky will do a little scrubbing and OSFO job on the engine so we can touch up paint the whole thing. Hey! While the engine is out......