Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sloooooooooooooooooow Start

I thought I was going to whip the boat into shape during the last couple weeks of January and then race about practicing fancy sailing maneuvers in preparation for the race. Finding a serious leak in one of the engine gaskets slowed things down (It is the "gear cover" on the front of the engine.) and then a bout of stomach flu (That required a 911 call and kept me away from the bowling alleys for a week.) really put the damper on things.

At any rate, I'm back and the pace is starting to pick up. I have decided that I'm in a little over my head with the gasket replacement project, so I'm trying to schedule a visit from a local Yanmar mechanic that I have a lot of respect for. I'm sure he can give me a hand and the two of us ought to be able to fix it in one shot. But he's a busy guy and hard to pin down. I have also purchased a new engine control panel and installed it. Wonder of wonders, it cost less than $1000. By the way, check out the photo of the tachometer just as it was collapsing into a pile of rust. I still have to wire in the new panel, but that's probably only a couple days work. One of the problems is that, even though it's winter, sitting at the dock the boat becomes intolerably hot in the afternoons.

For the last couple days I've been working on hooking up the Pactor III, SSB modem that I loaned to Lindsey last summer for TP2009. Sounds simple enough. Right? As usual the devil is in the details. As is normal for this sort of thing the SSB is mounted up, out of the way in a cramped corner. I had removed the modem without moving anything but it just wasn't going to work in reverse.

So, I started by disassembling the computer printer mounting platform that was in the way of the electrical panel that has to be moved to get at the bracket that holds the SSB. Then one of the mounting knobs was frozen (rusted) and, in spite of my best efforts, I broke it off. When every thing was opened up it was clear that we must have had a drip on the radio at some point that we did not notice. It seems to be OK except for a lot of rust. I cleaned it up and gave it a couple coats of paint with a high zinc content. Now it's all back together and I hooked up the computer yesterday to check out the Sailmail and weather fax programs.

In spite the interference from all of the other boats and a marina that is tucked down in a little gully I was able to swap some emails and even get a (barely recognizable) weather fax from Pt. Reyes. That's good because I wanted Chris to have something to play with when he comes this weekend to visit.

Another recent project was to renew the sound and temperature insulation on the inside of the engine enclosure. The old foam and foil stuff was starting to fall apart from old age and heat and fumes. As usual it turned into a multi day job. To start with the old stuff didn't want to leave. In spite of the fact that it was crumbling the gummy original installation adhesive was still holding on. Getting it off was a long slow process with acetone and a putty knife. Then it turned out that I didn't like the mounting hardware that the new foam came with, so a trip to Hawaii Nut & Bolt was indicated. Finally got it and it looks great. Of course, (and this seems to be a characteristic of many of these little projects) no one will see it.

Ric was checking the propane system and noted that one of the hose fittings had rusted off and that the regulator looks pretty bad. Good that propane is relatively low pressure. We'll probably get a new hose and put something on the regulator to slow down the corrosion. There is an old (kind of ratty) spare unit available if we need it. Ric is also going to see if something can be done about the sticky stove gimbal.

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