The Aftermath of Water Intrusion

By far, this has been the longest, most challenging and messiest job I have taken on. There where some leaks on the port side of the quarter birth which were not plugged and so the bulkhead and the shelf had some pretty severe wood rot damage. I had 2 choices, to repair or replace the bulkhead. I was not looking forward to either one. In the end I chose to repair the area.

Lots of cutting (using a harbor freight multi tool), re-tabbing, shaping (using poster board to make my marine plywood shapes), fiber glassing (2 layers of 1708 biaxle) followed by a few layers of epoxy fairing mix (west system) and lots of sanding to smooth it all out and blend it in with the remaining wood. The fun didn’t stop there! I also  created  an upper backing board to join the new wood to the old wood. Let’s not forget the lower backing boards under the head cabinetry (do you know how much room there is down there?) to tie all the pieces together. Also, had to throw in a few screws and bolts for good measure of course! 

Oh, I almost forgot to mention the v-birth floor caving in on me while working on the bulkhead due again to the rotten wood.

A very overwhelming task indeed, but it is now very solid. Probably stronger than ever. I absolutely understand why this type of repair is so expensive to have done professionally. They deserve every bit of what they charge. It is a lot of work!

So do us all a favor next time you see a leak running onto any wooden surface and plug the freaking leak!!!!!! So avoidable it hurts!

Hit me up if you have any questions or need some opinions.

See you on the water,

Dennis and Stacey

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let it shine,Shine, shine!

I find it hard to believe that SS Chain plates, as tough as they are, will eventually surrender their life to the saltwater Gods. Fortunately, I recently noticed that there was a complete crack through half of the aft chain plate where the upper bolt runs through. There was also some “creative” work done to the forestay plate. Inconsistent whole sizes where cut which then required an undersized clevis pin to be used along with SS washers so the pin wouldn’t fall through. This shady move by previous owners caused the pin to lay sideways which caused part of the cotter pin end (of the pin) to break off. Who said size doesn’t matter?

Anyway, With no clue on where to find a replacement chain plate a few random calls where placed. Luckily for me, there is a machine shop 5 minutes down the road from me! Yeah, how convenient!

Luckily for us our mast is keel stepped so we very reluctantly decided to loosen the aft  chain plate to create a new replica. We are on a mooring field which occasionally gets some violent water movement,(from speedboats of course) so we fabricated a thinner temporary steel stay and smothered it in what? Yes, toilet ring wax to keep corrosion at bay. What do I know, but it worked!

$30 later we had an exact replica with holes punched and a bend in place. Honestly not sure if they gave me 316 or 316L SS, but either one is fine by me.
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I learned the hard way that there is no easy way to polish SS plate to a chrome mirror shine, which they say makes the steel more corrosion resistant. So me and my OCD got to work! After investing many countless hours, this is how It worked for me:
Orbital random Buffer / 60 Grit – removed rough areas on face and sides followed by:
120 grit
360 grit
500 grit by hand
1000 grit by hand
1,500 grit wet sanded by hand
2,000 grit wet sanded by hand
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Finally, the holy grail chrome mirror look shun back at me and it was time to rest my weary hands.
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Now to deal with forestay pin and plates! Ah, more fun on the horizon!

Until Next Time,
Señora del Mar

Taking a break from boat work

A break from the never ending boat work is a must sometimes. It is a matter of staying positive and somewhat sane.

Silver Springs State Park it was for the day. Dennis, myself and our 2 youngest were going to see monkeys on this day. They have monkeys at Silver Springs. I love monkeys and that was the main reason I chose the park for our outing. Did I mention I Love monkeys!

Upon arrival at the park it was not all that impressive. It is a pretty park but most certainly not worth the 2hr. drive just to walk around the place. But…., monkeys  live there, so it is totally worth the drive right?

After walking around and fueling us all up with lunch, it was time to rent kayaks and see some monkeys. The water was crystal clear, blue and just absolutely gorgeous. It was a very pretty few hours kayaking.

Wildlife was plentiful and made for a great day. We saw turtles galore, huge fish, and alligators that swam right toward your boat as if they were going to eat you before changing direction to go for a walk. I never seen Dennis change direction and paddle so fast in my life. I don’t think it ever had intentions on making a meal out of us. I wanted to watch it and see what it was going to do so reluctantly Gabe obliged my curiosity. You have to understand that just a few minutes earlier I was screaming and about to abandon the kayak for alligator infested waters because a dragon fly had the nerve to land on me. Why I am not terrified of giant things that snack on you and lose my shit if the tinniest of bugs even remotely enters my personal space I have no idea. I have gotten better over the years. Admittedly not much though.

On this day the monkeys did not come out to play. We were all a bit bummed, but I on the other hand was completely devastated. We drove 2hrs. to see monkeys damn it!

The Flamingo museum did cheer me up a bit. It was most definitely worth the stop.  Cindy has the largest collection of flamingo paraphernalia and is in the Guinness book of world records. Nothing is for sale and her collection continues to grow. She took the time to talk to us and share information not only about her collection but also a little history about the site were the shopping plaza currently is and the surrounding area. Definitely worth a stop.

4901 E Silver Springs Blvd STE 701 Ocala, FL 34470

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Until next time,
Señora del Mar

 

DIY Suncor Lifeline review

Thought I would do a quick review about the Suncor Lifeline kit we recently installed on Señora del Mar. We purchased the kits through sailrite.

Pretty easy diy install. I never asked, but I would wager a bet that it is more expensive to have someone do swaged fittings etc…

You can purchase the kits with or without gates. They did cost a bit more than I wanted to spend ($150 with gate per line), but it does seem like a quality product using 316SS. The wire was around an extra $30 per line for a 30′ boat.

We decided to go with 3/16 bare wire after learning that they last longer and are easier to inspect than the plastic sleeved. Water won’t being getting trapped under the sleeve.

 

Tools that I used were a hard wrench, adjustable wrench, and a Harbor Freight multi purpose cutter tool ($30) which worked great and is a lot less expensive than what I found anywhere else.

Not to much drama on this install, except that I lost a tiny copper compression fitting to the Lord of the Sea. Be very careful not to lose the small parts in the termination fitting or you will have to purchase a whole new SS fitting (bowing my head in shame). They are Not cheap. It would be great if they could throw in a couple of extra of these little buggers as they can easily be lost (are you hearing me Suncor?).

I would definetly recommend this diy product for those of you that know it is time to replace those lifelines. Good Luck and Happy Sailing!

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Until next time,
Señora del Mar 

Stress cracks, welding’s and lifelines, oh my!

Stress cracks, welding’s and lifelines, oh my!

In the never ending preparation for fresh new deck paint, the stanchion stress cracks needed to be dealt with and repaired. Out came my trustee Harbour Freight mini dremel to dig out the cracks and fill them back with a fresh slop of gelcoat.

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It’s not usually a good sign when anything is covered up. You guessed it, something was covered up and it was 2 stanchion bases. A previous owner had placed a plastic board with silicone over cracked fiberglass.  He had filled the underneath with gelcoat. Oh what fun it was cleaning, removing gelcoat, grinding and laying down new fiberglass.

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Wait, that is not all. Is that a crack in the stanchion support welding’s? Nope, it’s several cracks. Off to the welder we go, but let us not forget to replace the upper lifelines that we broke to remove the stanchion.

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Finally all done and everything looks great thanks to the ease of Suncor lifeline kit.

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Well, off to the next project which is surely going to be another fun adventure.

Until next time,
Dennis

Is it a Poop Tank or a Water Tank?

Is it a poop tank or a water tank?

The previous owner told us this was the location of the poop tank. It had me fooled with the stench alone. Holy Hell!!!! It was that bad. After learning that this truly is the fresh water tank, well…..It needed a makeover. It got a good cleaning after it aired out some. and then the project began.

So, how do you access a 6’+ long water tank with one access port? Easy. Cut a hole in the floor and in the tank. Scrub her good and get to work.

Relining the water tank was the route I decided to take. I could buy food grade or rubber paint. Why spend money I didn’t have to when I already had a gallon of epoxy. I used West System epoxy resin. The smell wasn’t to bad and the project is complete. Although I did go home with epoxy stuck in my hair and  on my arms. Long gloves are in order for this project. Once I replace the water hoses the system will be good as new and hopefully trouble free for many years..

Until next time,
Dennis

 

Building it up

It’s been a little to cold and windy for my blood lately to do a lot of outdoor work. The latest has been the repair and reinforcing of the stantion gate bases since one suffered some serious damage which caused the fiberglass deck to crack. It wasn’t under our watch, but I’m sure it was a fun night! Maybe someone felt the need to test the strength of the lifelines or maybe someone was a little too tipsy or dare I say heavy, who knows? Anyway someone did a real shoddy job of repairing it afterwards as you can see. Pretty huh

Since there isn’t much room to work with on the inside, I decided to repair the area by constructing a large fiberglass backing plate that is permanently attached to the boat in hopes of never having to deal with this issue again. Grinding and two fiberglass layers later along with a generous gelcoat layer here it is! Almost felt like an art project at times with all the sculpting and shaping done in order to make it look decent. You want me to do what!!!!! Do the the other side too! Ok honey…… The fun never ends…….

Other than that, I am excited to say that some sanding has begun outside (but probably won’t continue much due to weather) in preparation for some paint. I’m getting tired of her looking as ugly as she does with the old pealing paint and all. She’s gonna look brand new by the time we are done! IMG_2726
Stay warm my friends.
Until next time,
Señora del Mar 

Stinky, Stinky, Stinky Head

The head stunk so bad even with empty tanks that the whole damn boat needed constant airing out. So begins the project of installing all new lines. Do we use super expensive marine hose which will need replacing every few years or………. hard PVC which should last a hell of a lot longer and also not hit the wallet as bad? Why stop doing things our way now, so of course we went with PVC. It is no joke that the install was not easy at all. A lot of time, cussing and patience were involved. It should all be worth it in the end.

Oh the joy of trying to reach behind walls with both hands in two separate locations while trying to glue PVC pieces together with 0 leverage. I needed more than 2 arms. There were also some interesting and tight twists and turns that the PVC had to make to get the job done.

It took me 2 whole weeks after the install to gather the courage to try out the new system. Would the smell cause me to dive overboard in a life saving effort to escape the head stink? Yes it smelled that bad. I am happy to report that the stinky head issue has been successfully resolved.

Until Next Time,
Señora del Mar

P.S.
A couple of notes: We used Fernco rubber boot connections from Home Depot to tank and toilet. We replaced the hose clamps will all stainless steel. Most clamps found at Home Depot use galvanized screws and collars which will rust and eventually fail. You do NOT want failure with this project. Did I mention how bad the stink was? Make sure all the clamps are stainless steel.

 

 

 

Electric Motor Adventure

After seeing enough You Tube videos of full time sailors I noticed there was one common ongoing problem they have. It is ongoing engine trouble. So I started wondering how this nuisance could be avoided. We want to sail and enjoy ourselves, not have to repair an engine constantly. After doing much research on the subject we ended up purchasing and installing our 10 kilowatt electric sailboat motor kit from Thunderstruck Motors . Initially my biggest issue was getting the rusty prop shaft collar off the prob with no electricity. That was interesting to say the least. Battery powered drill and hammer to the rescue!

Anyhow, once we got that off it was pretty smooth from there. No engine mounts needed, just pre-drilled and screwed 2 decent size lag into the engine mount runners, attached the prop shaft collar to motor and then mounted the Sevcon controller and relay mechanism to the wall.

The only other issue I encountered was that the set screw for the upper pulley on the gear reduction unit was way to short and kept falling down the throttle cable attachment. I figured I could deal with the set screw later. Do NOT test the unit before replacing the set screw with a longer one!!!!!!! If you do, your alignment will be off and you will not be able to get the set screw in later which leads to other problems.

I tried to attach my exsisting  (not so great condition) throttle cables to the digital throttle unit, but try as I might I could not get the throttle play I needed to make it fully functional, so the cables went bye bye. I was bummed I would not be able to use my exsisting levers, but at least I could bypass the cables/levers and have a digital throttle assembly in the cockpit. Not the prettiest contraption, but I intend to make it look less like a toy in the future.

Our first real test did not go so well due to the fact I could not get the upper pulley set screw back into the upper pulley system. What ended up happening was that the pulley slid back on the shaft close to the motor and started shaving the metal off the back of the housing and the belt edge started shaving. NOT so good! A LOT of trouble to undo this!!!! Do NOT test system before replacing the set screw!

After undoing the upper pulley and getting a longer stainless steel set screw in (thank you ACE Hardware) our second try went much smoother. We probably ran it about a mile on low throttle and all was well, although the motor was getting a bit warm by the end. Maybe install a fan in the future?

Since this is a 48 volt system , you need to build the battery banks in sets of 4. We currently have a system of 4 group 27/125AH deep cycle marine wet cell batteries running the system for now.

Since we are on a mooring field, we keep them charged using our house battery 195 watt solar panel charging system. We do intend on getting separate solar panels in the future to maintain the batteries.

So far we love the fact that the system is quiet, not stinky, not to ridiculously expensive, no marine mechanic needed and it is more environmentally friendly. We will probably at least double the battery bank in the future and go with AGM batteries.

The magic question: How many nautical miles can the motor run for? Honestly we can not answer that as we have not pushed her to her limit. I hope it continues to work well for us. We encourage others to go the route of an electric motor after seeing and smelling all the pollutants (diesel and oils) that go into the bilge, water, and air. All the boats in the water day after day, year after year adds up to a big contribution in polluting our oceans.

Happy sailing.
Until Next Time,
Señora del Mar

 

 

 

Did she survive Irma?

Hurricane Irma blew threw fierce as ever. It was the hurricane that would NOT end. Honestly it was the longest lasting hurricane I think I have ever experienced.

Our biggest concern of course was our little Bristol because all of our hopes, dreams and a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears have been poured into her. She is the foundation of our next phase in this adventure we call life. The thought of losing her had my anxiety spiked and knots in my stomach. 

Day 1: we could not get downtown to see if she had made it through the storm. The city had been shut down. So we turned around and headed back to the house. Fingers still crossed and continually telling myself she was just fine and happily floating exactly were we left her.
Day 2: we made it downtown. The town was already buzzing with everyone cleaning up the mess that Irma had left behind.  We pulled up to the sea wall and got out of the car. Digging out the binoculars as I was shaking violently was a challenge. The fear as we looked past the boats that had broken loose of their moorings and slammed into the seawall was very unnerving. It is a devastatingly sad sight. I couldn’t even see through the binoculars because I was shaking so bad. I finally found a good spot to rest them on so I could actually see where she hopefully was still secured and floating. Tears, hugs, squeals of joy and high fives all around because she was still exactly where we left her. She made it through! I don’t even know how to begin to describe the relief and joy that washed over us when we saw her floating secured to her mooring.

Off we went down the street to the marina. Holy Shit!!! It was a disaster. Docks were destroyed and at least 3 boats had sunk. Marina staff was already hard at work cleaning up the mess. Although we could not take our own boat out to check on Señora del Mar the marina staff took us out to her so we could check the lines and make sure she was secure and dry. We are so very thankful for that. Now we wait till we can go back and get to work putting her back together.

Our dream is alive and for that we are ever grateful.

Until next time,
Señora del Mar