Contortionist as a Side Gig

Steering System Overhaul!

Well, we made it to the St. Augustine Marine Center for our first personal haul out (cost $300). Thankfully everything went uneventful, with the exception of a bent stanchion, woops! Now to get to work.

 The first priority was to completely disassemble the entire steering assembly. Removing the steering wires was easy, removing the Edson steering quadrant was not. Lots of PB Blaster and patience was needed here as I didn’t want to break any bolts in the process. That would make for a bad day. After that was over, I removed the wooden block under the wheel and then attempted to remove the stuffing box. Not happening! The leverage points to release this thing are ridiculous. Imagine a monkey hanging upside down from the top of a tree to do something that requires twisting strength. Time to get some help!

The guys from the marina did manage to unscrew the stuffing box cap off where the flax lives, but try as they might were unable to get the remaining housing off. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an option. After lots of PB blaster, days of waiting, several attempts and paying for 3 labor hours ($95 hr.) with no results, I decided it was time to demolition! Hey, I am starting to get pretty good at this demolition stuff by now.

 Using a reciprocal saw and a harbor freight multi tool,  (again hanging upside down like a monkey, no arms!) I managed to cut the saltwater seized stuffing box housing off. Unfortunately, as careful as I tried to be, I did nick the shaft a bit. The fun just never ends!

 While waiting for our new Buck Algonquin stuffing box ($140 w/ Free shipping, yeah!!!), I reluctantly decided that I also needed to take care of our pathetic looking upper rudder bearing that had completely fallen down out of it’s housing and was now sitting loosely on top of the rudder. Ah, the joys of owning an old boat.

After much grieving and not wanting to grind out and remove the skeg boot (hidden under the fiberglass) to drop the rudder, I finally stumbled on other solutions. First, I tried cutting the stuffing box from just above rudder. This was working, but very slow going. Hmmm, what if we could fish it out with some wire from the top? Sure, once you get the surface corrosion off the rudder shaft section that is in the rudder stern tube. Don’t ask me how I come up with this stuff. It just so happens that a 1 1/2″ piece of pvc piping fits nicely into the stern tube so I glued some sandpaper (rubbery glue) to the bottom inside of the pvc pipe and sent the pipe down to do it’s thing. It worked! Finally I was able to fish out the remainder of the old and very worn rudder bearing from above with ease.

Fortunately, replacing the rudder bearing was easy enough as they simply used a standard 1 1/2” interior x 2” exterior 6” long cutlass bearing (paid $140 locally). After lightly sanding the inside walls of the stern tube, I gently tapped it down with two hammer tops. There are 3 set screw on top of the stern tube need to be drilled out and replaced as they were badly corroded. Got new larger SS set screws from Ace Hardware. Love that place!

The pintle bolt on the bottom of the rudder has been replaced with silicon bronze parts. Inspect these often as the saltwater had chewed up ours so bad that both the bolt head and the nut were missing!!!! Everything was being held together by a nub!

So now to repair the nicks on the shaft with some JB weld, lightly sand and put it all back together again. Hey, if we are lucky enough, maybe we can do some sailing before the year is over. Imagine that!

Happy Sailing,
Señora del Mar

 

 

How the Insanity Began

Neither one of us has ever sailed so how did this whole sailing thing even come onto our radar? I blame it all on Dennis. He can have all the credit for the crazy idea this time. Dennis had stumbled on some sailing videos on You Tube and it took off from there. He went in search of a first boat that we could learn to sail on. I present to you our very first sailboat which we lovingly named Squirt.12143331_1054213897931751_7257496061172752968_n

Oh the fear that little yellow boat instilled in me. Dennis played fearless. There was a very big learning curve with Squirt that included but was not limited to getting stuck, drifting into the pier, running aground on oysters, getting stuck in a storm and almost flipping her over more than once. Needless to say it was never a dull moment when we took her out. There was definitely  a Lot of learning going on. It wasn’t all terrifyingly frought with misadventure though. We enjoyed ourselves on many sailing days also. There were dolphins that you could almost reach out and touch. The views and of course the sailing itself was Amazing.

After about two years or so of sailing Squirt we decided we wanted a bigger boat that can eventually take us further. Dennis had his list of musts. There were some long drives to look at some doozeys.  Time, patience, and quite a few boats later we found a Bristol 29.9. The price was right because she didn’t have an engine which was big on Dennis’s must list. He had his heart set on putting in an electric engine. He got his wish and then some.

Turns out this girl needs more work than originally anticipated. That is usually how it goes though isn’t it? She is coming along slowly but surely. All the projects and hard work will pay off.

Would love to hear how sailing came into your life? Did you grow up a salty sailor or did you find the adventure later on?

Until Next Time,
Señora del Mar

 

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

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