Friday, April 11, 2014

We Got Some Palm Trees

The fuel tank leak project has come along, a long way. I took the sucker to shore and set up where the locals told me, "Everyone does their messy work over at the first pick-nick bench, run a chord to the building and clean up your mess." OK,  I AM a responsible worker guy!

First thing I did was sand out the whole outer shell. With a thorough sanding of the bottom the porous leaky spots could not hide.  They showed up right where I thought they would be from the trail they left in the bilge before taking the tank out. I wasn't sure if it was welded seams that were leaking or just general bottom corrosion issues. Most of the leaks showed up to starboard, then a little leak from the port side.

Here looking at the bottom of the tank, you can see that the very bottom, is the small rectangle on the right.  If you click the pic you just might see all the places I was able to jam my pocket knife into the soft aluminum on the upper right and there were two small holes lower down. 

OK! My (x-machinist, handy all around guy) original plan was set in motion.....cut the whole bottom off the tank and see what we got. At this time there were a few other suggestions from the many other boaters who happen to stop by and chat and express their views and exchange some nightmare stories of fuel tank problems.....such is the cruising community.....

I started by cutting the bottom section up to the baffle (you'll see it in the next pick) and drop all the nasty out. So frickin nasty, makes you wonder how a filter can do it's job.
At this point, I knew I needed to carry on and remove the whole bottom. The baffle was a bit of a pain to cut because it was welded to the bottom. After a bunch of little piece cuts I got it all cut up so I could then do the major scrubby dubby scratch to shiny aluminium on the whole inside to see if I had any interior corrosion issues.

I was in a very nice place.......palm trees, concrete slab, concrete table, gentle breeze and 110 AC power...

...who could ask for anything more?

Well actually, some good old local boys giving me the atta-boy... good to see someone doing it right and stopping by at the end of the day, really does round it out to a...."I love what I'm doing in my life right now"

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Four Hour Job.....5 Days Later


....of actually disconnecting the engine hoses, throttle and transmission cables, fuel lines, grounding wires etc and be ready to lift the Wester Beast off and into the air free from it's motor mounts is a fairly accurate assessment of the actual time it takes. But that's not a cruisers reality.

   The first day (Monday and Tuesday) I tried with what I had on board, some block and tackle, pry bar and various blocks of salvaged woods from land. OH! Did I mention I'm doing this job while floating off of a mooring in the harbor?
     This was not enough ummff for me to work alone and comfortably hoist this beast into the sky for even the short time it takes to build a cradle under it. I also in this one day (cruiser time) managed to get most of the  actual fuel tank free of any straps and most wooded framework out of the way for the no doubt future flawless attempt to get it's 80 gallon mass past the moved engine, into the cabin, then out the companionway hatch to rest gently in the cockpit of my lovely yacht....stay tuned!

The next day was spent running around (backpack at the ready) on free buses out into the boon docks of Vero Beach to acquire the proper tool for the job...a one ton chain fall that a guy can trust while working alone under a Wester Beast of such proportions. $10 bucks a day rental.

   So the next day (Wednesday and Thursday) I managed to lift and lower the bitch, six or seven maybe nine times before I got the cradle high enough to clear the sole/floor. That's so I could roll the Wester Beast out of the way to make room for the fuel tank to breeze by when the time comes.

 Here it sits very comfortably on it's cradle that you can't see, along with the 1" PVC pipe under that cradle, that let me roll her on forward smashed up tight to the galley door. It's out the way.... but gawd almighty it's it's smack dab "in" the way!!!!

 After it was well situated and out of the way but also in our way,  jammed into the doorway forward, I was able to play around, at that end of fun day time, sloshing and mopping all the diesel after-math and debris with all the long lost screws and all the other shit that gets lost over the years under such a Wester Beast. !!!!But Wait!!!!!  The true meaning of this picture above is, this was the next morning after cleaning. The pink puddle is how much fuel (they dye it you know) leaked from the tank in 12 hours. Proof that these past two days, is a step in the right matter how much one might think that it SUCKS!

  So now we come to the fifth day, which was basically all morning running around on buses (literally running with a chain hoist in a backpack so I could catch the return bus and not wait an hour) returning the hoist before being charged another day. Shit like that takes the wind out of your sails man, you need heavy get-er-done attitude after a morning like that. I prevailed....I siphoned out  approximately 50 gallons of diesel fuel into as many 5 gallon jugs as needed and filtered them too. At first I could put that little pink hose drawing diesel (see it?)  right into the filter on top of the jugs, but as the tank emptied I had to get lower, so here you see me filling a gallon jug one at a time and then filtering it into the endless jugs. Thanks Jay, my neighbor, for having a bunch of extra empty diesel jugs.

What a week it the dream!

Update:    How nasty can the inside of a fuel tank look?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Winches, And A Mind Full Of Fuel Tank

  This week, while doing research on the leaky fuel tank, something had to be getting done, so I dug into rebuilding all the small winches on the mast and boom along with the main-sheet winch in the cockpit. That will leave the two primary jib sheet winches for another time.

  I had a few broken bolts taking the winches off and managed to get a few of them out with the painstaking process of drilling and bolt extractors of various styles. Some I won....some I lost. The actual cleaning (I'm not afraid to use gasoline for a very quick and efficient job) and greasing along with oiling of the winches is very soothing bench work to me. They were a pleasure to do and somewhat mindless for me in a very pleasurable location. All the while contemplating engine removal and fuel tank replacement.

   Don't even think for one minute that I'm not doing what I want to be doing. There are other things to do in our life, but what's before us is just fine by doesn't suck being here doing what we're doing. Life is sooo good!  Next project on the list is a big one, an 80 gallon leaker needs replacing.  There will be pictures!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Thawing Out

   The trip south from St Augustine was almost uneventful. We did see improvement on the engine coolant issue the first day, no blowing coolant out of the reservoir and none leaking, so we knew it was staying in the engine. I bled out the thermostat housing while the engine was running under full load at 2000 RPM and 180 degrees. The issue turned out to be, we had an air block in the closed system and this rectified it and all went back to normal. We were actually able to run the engine up to 2500 RPM with no scary symptoms. Maybe next trip I'll see if I can get her to her supposed maximum which is 3600 RPM. Of course that would mean the prop is perfectly matched and that's a big wish. If this baby does 3000 RPM I'll be satisfied.

   The first day out of St Augustine about noon time we crossed paths with northbound The Nina and The Pinta which I had worked on a few years back in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. I hailed across the channel and recognized  first mate Vic who also recognized me. A quick chat on the VHF radio and we parted. A real bummer we hadn't stayed one more day in St Augustine as we would have been able to catch up and Vicky could have seen the two boats.

   The starter on the engine, was being very touchy and I suspected the solinoid was the problem. Every morning it got harder to start the engine and once it did I ran the whole day just hoping it would do it's main, and most important job the next morning, and just START. After three days we made it to Vero Beach City Marina and the next day after we had rafted up to a Beneteau, (this harbor is always crowded this time of year so they double and triple up on the moorings if needed)  I found the problem to be as simple as the negative battery cable has loosened up. The other major find during this 3 day run......a leaky fuel tank. That will come up in a future doubt!


   So now we're all nestled down and thawing out from our northern Florida frigid work session and doing more of the doo daa in an awesome marina right across from the dingy dock, free buses to ANYWHERE in town, the beach less than a mile away. We'll be here at least a week maybe two maybe more, it fools soooooo good here. I did get that flag hung.....

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Little Jobs...Doo Daa

Since arriving in St Augustine last Monday we've pretty much been taking a deserved break from the 58 day work sprint on the hard, in Fernandina Beach. Dang, it feels good!  As some of you know, on a boat there is always plenty to do and improve on so taking a full all day break can be harder than imagined even if your trying. On the way here we had engine problems, nothing catastrophic just a pain in the ass issue than seems to be getting somewhat better and another full run day should expose more clues. I'm tired of looking at it and I've spent way too much time in the engine compartment over the last few weeks. So I pushed it aside mentally for now, feeling we could still make it to our next destination south with little problem and deal with it there in a more serious mind set. 
We always had intentions to stop here to do some trading at the Sailors Exchange, a sort of  conglomeration of used and a few new boat parts all sorted (kinda) and stacked. The crew is very friendly and they're looking to make a deal as much as your looking to get a deal. If you keep that in mind, trading with them is a good experience. We had a pile of  good thru-hulls that I had no use for, I kept a few, and offered them three, a 1 1/2" and two 3/4",  they right away offered a fair price that we could have in store credit. Even when we brought stuff to the counter to buy they were more than generous at pricing it to deduct from credit. To me, they were completely fair and a pleasure to deal with. Win, win.

This is my first boat that didn't come with a nice flagstaff for the stern. I always was a flag guy and always enjoyed the routine of setting it at 8:00 am  and taking it down at sunset. I could have made one, with time that I didn't have, but thankfully we found this (hanging upside down in the picture getting varnish) one at Sailors Exchange in need of a good sanding and varnish stuffed in a corner. Also got a base mount for it. With the dingy davits and other stuff crowding the stern rail it's a bit of a challenge picking a spot. More than likely it will go on top of the davits after I fabricate some sort of platform for the flag base mount to mount on.

This old mainsheet teak cheek block had seen better days, not to mention it was too low so it dragged along the cabin top creating more friction. I had the teak, Sailors Exchange had the longer bolts and it was down right fun shaping this block in the sunny cockpit. The hardest part of that job was the dissembling of the headliner down below and carefully putting it back.

At the store, I looked and looked and shuffled through bins and bins of blocks and sleeves and could not find what I needed to complete the new traveler assembly I installed back at Tiger Point, so I ordered what I wanted through them, at their discount plus a little. The fairlead block at the bottom of the picture lets the traverler sheet enter under the future dodger just above the coaming that it will snap to. This will insure that under the dodger at this point will stay as dry as possible. The mainsheet (block in above picture) also enters under the dodger in this area.  That green canvas thingy that's pretending to be some sort of flat dodger that's  tied to that wire, stretched between two eye bolts is most definitely on it's way out. 

If you are ever in the need of bronze plumbing you will be blown away at the cost of new. As we should all know, plain old brass is a complete NO GO on a boat with anything to do below the water-line. The sailors Exchange is the perfect place (you must have time and patience to dig and push through and dig and sort through bins chuck full of fittings and search everywhere all around for other bins) to pick up some of the very expensive parts at a mere fraction of the cost!!!!!  This assembly or an assembly something like it will be the new raw water manifold. It will feed multiple sources of salt water throughout the boat from one thru-hull and strainer.

Other little jobs took place this week also, some resorting of lockers, (that will take years aboard to finally end) mounted a LifeSling etc, etc. The never ending pile of what I like to call Doo Daa!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Time It Takes

   I never was good at estimating a job. Some things never change.


  When planning this haul-out I gave us a full month, 30 days of working every day to get the "plan" completed. I thought I was giving us a bunch of extra time for weather and such and we based it all on a cost for one month, haul, pressure wash, blocking, with re-launch plus storage fees and electricity along with materials to accomplish the task.....HA!  This is an old story!

  Fifty eight days later we're back in the water with the plan completed and a whole bunch of "added" plan along with it! I always forget the added plans and the time it takes!



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

No Splash!

Today was the day we should have gone back in the water........oh well,.... tomorrow will be just fine, if not maybe a little wetter as opposed to how fricking cold and windy it was today!

That is all! I have no spark of creativity towards writing at this time.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Doing Your Own Work. Be Confident!

  Keeping a seaworthy boat afloat is a tremendous amount of work, with some really, really awesome dreams come true along with it. Many can afford to pay others to do things they haven't even tried to do and bully for them, it's just money. Some have it, some don't. The dream of owning and maintaining a seaworthy boat is still open to both.

  Those that have been following me here and in my past blog, know that I'm not too afraid to try any repair. Even if I never did it before, my somewhat diverse work background will soon enough let me know if I'm doing a decent enough job at it or if I should really call in who I call, "the real guys." Cough up the money and have skilled workers who have done that job over and over numerous times to take me out of the jam. You have to be careful who you pick as a real guy too, there are many slippery slopes in life.

  Fortunately for me here at the boatyard I haven't had the need to hire any of the boatyard workers to get a whole shitload of very costly work in terms of labor done, I did my own work.  This being my first fiberglass boat the hull repairs are similar to other small less critical repairs I've made in the past but was still confident to bumble through it learning as I go. Confident, that's the biggest deal right there.

  Now, I'd like to tell you about this young woman who caught the bug, so decided she would buy a sailboat on her own, learn to maintain it, sail it and live the dream. Bold yes, but confident. After finding her supposedly dream boat in Panama ( I believe she bought this boat sight unseen) she figured she would do a weekly video on You Tube to document the whole learning curve. She has, and still is doing these videos every week and I must strongly recommend you start at the beginning and meet this young woman. They are short 3 to 5 minute videos but be warned, this is an addicting story, video by video. She has also started a Facebook page but like I said, to really meet this amazing young woman start with the videos. I'll leave you the links in a bit.

  I'm letting you all know about her at this time because as you'll see, she has battled many problems on her own and got past them, but recently she's up against a big one. It seems really big, looks really big, could cost really big, but if she sets her mind once again to confident, I believe she can do this! There are some followers (she has more and more every week cheering her on) telling her to give up, cut your loses.....give up your dream. I hope she does what a very practical and skilled  blogger friend (Boat Bits) of mine thinks she needs...another specialty tool, a good book on how to use it and some material to do her own work. Untie the lines, live her own dream and follow through on it!

Good Luck Nike

Here's the first video... Untie The Lines #1
White spot Pirates

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Love Teak!

Felt so good to work with it in these simple traveler riser blocks.

So tired these days...that's all I have to say about this.