Sunday, April 22, 2012

Boat prep started . . .

Finally some decent weather!  Saturday was spent helping Zach and Krista move into their new place in Wilsonville, then back up to Portland to pick up Deborah's co-worker Barb and her dog at the airport. 

This morning was nice and sunny.  I pumped up the tires on Deborah's bike and she went off to ride while Heidi ran.  I was going to go but in retrospect I'm glad I didn't as they were gone longer than I expected. 

Instead of riding I went down and got the boat.  Since I started tying the tarp to the trailer, instead of cinder blocks, it's pretty quick and since I leave the tarp on I get to work in the shade.  That turned out to be good because it was HOT today.

First order of business was prepping the places where the gelcoat was cracked.  I picked all the loose stuff off and then used the dremel to clean up the edges and get a good surface.  The sections on the side of the battery locker were definitely voids - there were loose fibers with no resin.  That changed the plan.  I ground out the other spots, then went and mixed some epoxy to wet out the voids. 

I also decided to straighten the tabernacle that I'd managed to install cockeyed last summer.  I measured and marked the center of the tabernacle, then tried to find the center of the area where it mounts.  That was annoying and frustrating.  A few taps with a ball peen hammer and I had it about as good as it was going to get.  The trick was, how do I tighten it without removing the forward hatch?   Luckily Pepe came by to mow the lawns, so I got him to hold the wrench while I used the impact wrench below.  It looks like things are much tighter now.  I think the butyl got me on that one; I read something about needing to tighten it slowly and more than once. 

 At some point I managed to dump 1/2 the water in the dessicant container on the cabin floor.  The @#$@ stuff does NOT clean up!  It's obviously saturated with something and it makes a slippery mess.  The paper towels do not absorb it well and windex doesn't touch it.  Grrr!
We took a break for Heidi's birthday lunch at Elmer's with the girls, Homero, Gaby and little J.  We ran by the auto parts store on the way home so I could get crimp connectors and  wet/dry sand paper.  When we got back the epoxy was almost ready, but not quite, so I started on the new LED lights I got on sale last fall. 

I removed the v-berth light, which was the last incandescent fixture in the cabin, then started figuring out what I wanted to do.  The obvious thing was to put the new one in where the old one was.  The problem is that the wires don't fit in the end cap provided.  And there's no switch.  Hmm.  I recycled the switch from the old light and, with a bit of dremel work, made it fit (mostly) in the end cap of the new light.  Did I mention it's a 2-way switch?  That got me thinking.  What if I hooked up the other light to the same switch?

Since the wiring didn't fit in the end cap, I grabbed a little wooden box a wallet came in that I'd been holding for just this kind of issue.  It already had a couple of cut outs for the wires so in they went, and I screwed it in next to the light. 
A quick test showed the new light worked!

The wiring in the end cap was a pain and it took several tries and additional cutting with the dremel to the get the cap to stay on. 

I ran a second pair of wires from the switch, through the box, and behind the bulkhead.  There's a bit of a wire chase there so I was able to poke it through to the other side, where I ran it behind the hanging storage pockets on the bulkhead, then up the ceiling to the light, which I mounted about 4 inches aft of the compression post. 

Throw the rocker switch on the light in the v-berth to the left and voila!

These are waaay brighter than the factory replacement LED's I bought a few years ago.  Should be nice for reading.

When I got done with the lights I decided it was time to clean the cabin and get rid of the residue from the dessicant spill.  I vacuumed and then scrubbed the floors with pinesol.  That seemed to do the job on the slick stuff. 

The final task was applying gel coat to the holes I'd ground out this morning.  The epoxy seemed well set, no surprise given how warm it was.  The gel coat I got from Catalina Direct is kind of a putty.  It was really thick (I think some had started to set even without the hardener) but the hardener softened it up nicely.  I got the small spots at the back of the cabin, and the two on the battery box done before the first batch started to set up.  It was really weird when it started to cook off in the cup - almost like little fibers, and once it started  it set fast.  Luckily I still had about 1/2 the container of putty so I mixed up a second batch and finished the two remaining holes.  It was after 5 so I got Deborah to help me bring things off the boat and then we took it down to the lock up.  

What's left to do?  I need to sand down the gel coat patches, wash the boat, and paint the bottom.  Then down to Orchard Point to launch and wait for Richardson Park to open. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I went sailing today!

Been talking via email to Lou, who bought the Mac V21 formerly known as Dynamo Hum.  He's got boating experience but no sailing experience. His boat is ready to go so at 9:45 this morning he picked me up and we headed down to Orchard Point at Fern Ridge. 

Set up went pretty well and quickly.  Lou's ginpole worked well.  The rigging, as I recalled from seeing Dynamo Hum across from us at Richardson, was quite loose. I knew from reading the manual (all 10 pages) that the rigging was supposed to be taught, but not overly tight, so I tightened it up but didnt' reef on it with a wrench.  I took some pictures.  More on that later . . .

The launch lanes are narrower and seem steeper than at Richardson.  The mast crane is right on the way to the ramp but it looks like there's plenty of room for folks to get around while you're using it.  Launching was uneventful.  The boat slid off the trailer and I tied her off to the dock.

Once Lou parked the truck and got the motor running I backed us away from the dock and headed out onto the lake.  The wind was from the south and maybe 6-8 knots.  Perfect conditions for teaching someone the basics of sailing.

We sailed around under just the main for a bit with Lou steering and me handling the sail.  Lou's familiarity with boating means he knew how to steer straight, so it was mostly explaining the concepts around sailing and answering questions.  After we'd sailed around on just the main for a bit I added the jib to the equation and gave him the main sheet.  The rest of the afternoon was excellent.  We sailed back and forth, tacked several times, and Lou experimented and got a feel for the boat.  By the time we headed back to Orchard he was doing great.

Did I mention I took pictures?  Did you notice they're not here?  Well, that's because they're in about 22 feet of water!  I forgot I'd put the little fuji waterproof camera in my shirt pocket and while I was leaning over to tie on a bumper it went klunk, splash!  You'd think they'd make waterproof cameras float!

We took down the sails and motored in to Orchard Point.  There was a brief minute of excitement when the motor konked out and wouldn't start, but Lou got it going and we didn't run into the bass boat that was idling nearby.   We pulled the boat, backed it down to get the keel over the guide, and pulled it out again.  Down with the mast, rig for the road and we headed for home around 4 PM.  A great day sailing and a good sunburn to go with it. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The sun came out!

Checked on the boat this morning and everything looked good.  Not too many leaves blown in and the interior was nice and dry.  Dumped about 2 cups of water out of the dessicant/dehumidifier container.  Battery checks out good.

I'd planned to pull off the bbq mount to use as a new solar panel mount but I didn't have the right size allen wrench on the boat. Oops!  Locked things up and grabbed the solar panel on the way down. 

I've given a lot of thought to how I want to upgrade the mount for the solar panel.  The one I made a couple years ago is PVC pipe and pair of fishing rod holders.  It works ok but I have concerns about UV damage, it's in a bad location for the stern light and at wharves like the one in Friday Harbor where we nearly broke it.  Plus it just looks tacky.

A few weeks ago I bought a second Kuuma BBQ mount from Defender.  It was on sale and my thinking was that if it will hold the BBQ it should hold the solar panel fine too.   After I got done checking the boat I drove over to Home Depot where I picked up 5 3-foot aluminum "angle irons" for a mounting frame and some pop rivets. 

I decided to reuse the bolts I'd epoxied onto the solar panel for the pvc mount.  The bars were a couple inches too long so I cut two down and drilled holes to match the bolts.  First time I've used the bench press I bought from Dave and it worked great!  I cut the 3rd bar to fit across the ends of the two longer ones.  More holes, this time with the cordless drill, and I pop riveted a nice (fairly) rectangular frame together. 

Then it was time for some head scratching.  How do I attach the mount to the frame?  The L channel bars gave me a vertical surface since I used the horizontal one to bolt to the solar panel.  Hmmm.  Maybe I should have bought some U channel.  Guess I'll have to make my own. 

I cut the two remaining bars down to fit inside the frame the long way, located the center, then riveted the 2" salvage pieces I'd cut off earlier to the vertical side to create a U on one side of the frame and the two center bars.  I drilled a hole in each of the 2" tabs for the bolts and used the new BBQ mount to fine tune placement before riveting the long bars to the frame.  I put everything together and held it up by the mount.  Close, but there was more movement than I'd hoped for. 

The BBQ mount has 2 large thumb screws that I was using to mount it to the 2 center bars in the frame.  I'd installed the 3rd tab on the outside rail though, so I decided maybe a bolt there was what it needed.  I drilled a new hole in the BBQ mount (yay drill press and WD40!) and the frame, cut down a spare bolt from last year's re-bedding project to fit, and that did the job!  I think it looks pretty good and is going to look much nicer on the boat!

Looking forward to mounting this on the boat.  Should work great!