If Only I Had Known

If I would have known then what I know now / Buying a Sailboat

Owning and maintaining a sailboat (especially an older one) requires a lot more time, work and money than we could ever have imagined. There are definitely other much easier ways of travel. If you have lots of free time on your hands and don’t mind, or better yet, actually enjoy replacing this and fixing that constantly, it might just be your cup of tea. I may be wrong, but I don’t believe that is the case for most people unless you are retired. If you are very financially well off, well I suppose you would just pay people to do the work for you (that would be ideal!). Either way, it’s not an inexpensive experience by any stretch. Even DIYing everything

Currently, we are in the middle of painting the deck which is like 100 step process, or so it feels like. TONS of prep work!  Sanding, cleaning and de-waxing, wiping off 2x, taping, priming, sanding again, painting, sanding again, painting 2nd. coat, etc! It’s enough to drive one insane!!!! Absolutely ridiculous! After that we will be painting the topsides. Later sometime, we will need sand, re-barrier coat and paint the bottom. Really looking forward to that one! Not!

I must admit there have been many times that I ask myself why are we doing this. Why am I putting myself through all this torture, especially in the Summer Florida heat! I honestly didn’t think that it would take this long and I really wouldn’t have called her a fixer upper. She did require some attention and repairs though. I keep telling myself to keep my eye on the prize – sailing to Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico etc. It’s the only thing that keep me going.

What we see on youtube is mostly glamour, and the amount of work that is required to keep things going is not fully disclosed. Hard to do in short videos and who want’s to see that anyway!

We really do hope it’s all worth it in the end. That we will develop confidence as sailors and be able to travel to some beautiful destinations and make lots of friends along the way, before it’s time to repaint!

For those of you who are considering owning a sailboat, think hard and talk to many people. This rose has it’s thorns and you will bleed.

There are easier ways to enjoy the sailing experience other than owning a boat that needs to stay in the water. Trailer sailors may be another easier option, but they are not generally built for long range travel. Make sure you do your full research (alternatives to owning a sailboat) and make a quality decision for yourself, whatever that may be.

See you back on the water soon!IMG_3331

 

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A No Cost Repair???

When we first purchased our beloved but in need of some TLC Sailboat she came with a new 3 winged prop and depth sounder puck that had yet to be installed. Finally installing something was not going to cost anything extra other than some silicone and time.

Let the demolition begin! I began by carefully slicing the old depth transducer outer edge I used a harbor freight dremel tool. Great little tool for these kinds of projects. After that I just wedged and pried out chunks until finally I was able to push it out. Replacing was pretty straight forward, just had to rout wires to the control unit which was interesting. Be sure to run your top cap through all the wiring first (so it sits on top of transducer) before you run your wires to unit otherwise you will need to completely re- do your wiring run like someone I know had to (not mentioning names here). Pretty easy job, except it’s freaking hot enclosed in the tiny little spots in a boat during the Florida Summer! I did fabricate a slanted base out of a fiberglass board so the puck could sit a little straighter and epoxied that in place before buttoning it all back together with 3M 4200. Hopefully all will work as it should now. In theory. We shall find out if all my hard work paid off when she is back in the water.

Replacing the prop was a bit more challenging, but I managed. By tapping the back end of the prop directly with a hammer, (should have used a large collar of some sort to prevent shaft dings) I was completely unsuccessful. I wasn’t fond of possibly damaging the motor coupling or motor using this method either. Time to bring out something that will do a bit more damage. 

I finally grabbed my jigsaw, removed the base from it and was able to saw the sucker off. I’m starting to enjoy this demolition stuff a bit by now. Anyway, on went the new 3 winged power prop that we were gifted. Your supposed to get more power from these with a slight increase of drag.  Maybe not the best in light wind situations, but let’s see how she does. Hell, it was free and it looks awesome!

After these projects, she should be ready for the water again right? Not quit yet. Catch you on the next blog!

Until Next Time,
Dennis

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

 

 

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

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