Restore a Sailboat - January 2020

WelcomeWinter is flying by, I better start putting in the time in the shipyard to get 43 projects complete by mid-May.  I only completed 2 projects in the past two months.  This isn’t gonna work at this pace.  A couple solid weekends will shorten the list quickly. However, I headed south for two weeks at the start of this month, it’s getting time to start getting serious about this!

Even though ongoing projects don’t make this list as “completed,” each visit to the boat does move other projects along that either take a lot of time, run into a roadblock that needs to be re-thought, or additional parts are needed to complete it. I’m doing at least twice as much work as displayed below.

289. We keep the boat on a mooring in Monroe Harbor downtown Chicago. Even with the lights of the City, after sundown it is really hard to identify our mooring.  We circle a bit searching for it at night. I bought a driveway blue LED solar light and mounted it to the mooring can protector. I’m sure our neighbors in the harbor will love it and use it to find their moorings too. Consideration has to be made to the color of light. Red, Green and White lights have significant importance on the water telling you if a boat is coming your way. A funny one is a Yellow strobe light, it signifies a submarine surfacing.  The United States Coast Guard will bust you for choosing a wrong colored light on the water. Blue seems to be an OK color.

290. The head waste holding tank was emitting sewer gas into the lazarette under the cockpit where the holding tank is located. In the fall while the boat was in the water I attempted different tests to see if the holding tank system was operating correctly. The test that worked was putting the water hose in the deck plate used to empty the tank and fill it.  The vent for the holding tank is a few inches below this height.   The tank filled, the water came out the vent, which proved the entire system was operational and nothing was blocked. This also let me find the source of the sewer gas smell that I had looked for before. The tank is sloped from the back of the boat to the front with the top back edge being the highest point. Right on top on the corner of the tank was a split in the polyethylene wrapped around the corner about 3/4″ long. This is not a stress area, and I cannot imagine why it occurred.  There are “plastic welders,” I buy one from Harbor Freight which comes with sticks of polyethylene to use as filler.  I first Dremel out the crack to clean it up, then weld it.  A test in summer will confirm the repair.

291. Best made plans of mice and men: A previous project fiberglassed rope underneath both lazarette hatches, those ropes run to pulleys and forward out the bulkhead belowdecks and through a cleat. This locks the hatches closed without padlocks and hardware in the cockpit which can scratch peoples legs. The connector of the two ropes underdeck snagged the first time used and to open the one hatch I ripped the fiberglass off the hatch and ripped one of the pulleys out of a bulkhead.  Time for Version 2.0. I re-glassed the rope in the fall to the hatch when it was warm. Now it was time to re-install the pulley.  It is located in a place so alignment is perfect.  But it is also the most impossible place to reach and to see.  To drill one hole, install one bolt, washers and nut took about an hour and fifteen minutes. Just about my entire body aches for days due to the confined space, and lack of leverage needed to install it. I am sure the bugs are now worked out, and this system will last for good.

292. Removing the mooring pennant from the mooring can this past fall was a challenge. The cotter pin was mangled from years of use and was impossible to remove. I bought a large split ring / ring-a-ding / cotter ring that fits and will make installation and removal a breeze. I installed it on the shackle awaiting launch.

293. Barely above freezing, I cleaned the pencil marks, a little over-paint, tannin stain, and dis-colorization from the vinyl sticker eraser when moving the top of the bottom paint line all off the topsides. The boat looks like new, it really cleaned up well.

294. Hose clamps should be sized right. The end of the clamp should just stick out past the tightening nut. However, everyone uses whatever they have on hand and the end of the clamp sticks out anywhere from a 1/2″ to 3″ which ends up being razor blades just waiting for your hand to pass by. I went through the entire boat and cut off the over length hose clamps with the Dremel. I wished I had done this as the 2nd project ever done to the boat. From now on, my hands will be safe working in and around these things.

295. The stern light was installed in the wrong place originally. But moving it would concern me about strength of the hull. So I built a shield out of stainless so that the light doesn’t light up the cockpit and just focuses out the back end of the boat and installed it.

And…..VOILA!  I’ve been wanting to get out of the “40’s projects to go,” for some time now, and now have 37 projects to go concluding this month. And feeling confident I’ll be in the “20’s projects to go” by the end of the short month of February.  Secretly, 8 projects are more of a “Wish” where they are cool, but far from necessary and not even sure they will ever be attacked. So in reality, there are 29 projects to complete before launch.

The next owner is really going to enjoy this boat.

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