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

 

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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

Is a dry boat really necessary?

Ok so…. The boat is all settled in. She is on a mooring ball as we work on her. The frustration has mounted as we take 2 steps forward and 5 steps back. There is much more work than we anticipated. Oh boy is there more work. The leak elimination was going well. So we thought. For every leak we fix we find another. While fixing the window leak in the head it starts pouring. Turn your head and what do we see across the way? If you answered another leaky window, you are correct. We didn’t know about that one. Also we Fixed the leaky mast only to find out there is water coming from inside the mast as well. Oh the joy of a dry boat. She will most definitely be a very dry boat by the time we are done with her.
Surely you have seen hamsters running on a wheel. This how we are feeling about now. And yes at any given moment one of us may be ready to jump ship. The thought has crossed our minds a time or two. That isn’t happening though. We are in this together for the long haul. The rewards will be AMAZING. That is what keeps us chugging along one project at a time. We have accomplished a lot though . To stay motivated we have to look at the projects we have accomplished. She was an  1 1/2 hrs. away before so every trip was less productive than it is now. The engine is installed and running properly. That took a bit of work. Not much info available for that installation. Dennis is working on a post all about that project. The house batteries and solar panels are up and running. Sometimes things got done more than once. She has gotten a good scrubbing on the inside to get rid of mold and mildew. The bilge has been scrubbed and is now free of past diesel and whatever the hell else was in there. It stunk. The shower drain leads away from the mast and into our nice clean bilge now instead of water sitting at the bottom of the mast.  Several leaks have been repaired so she is getting drier each time we go out to work on her.
We need to take her out for a joy ride soon though. All work and no play makes for a grumpy crew.

Until next time,
Señora del Mar

 

How many engines does it take?

A journey that expectedly took longer than expected. Isn’t that the way it usually goes? First off we got  a late start from Titusville and didn’t quite make it as far as we had hoped. The wind was not blowing and our engine is not set up for a long journey so we used the dinghy with the 9.8 outboard. Everything was cruising along smoothly and we anchored for the night. It is such an AWESOME feeling when things go so well.

How short lived that was. The 9.8 dies because we ran out of oil, the shaft slips on the inboard and it is no longer operational. We are now left with old reliable, the little 5hp champion that seems to always save our asses. Oh but it always gets better. The sun is setting, we are cruising at a super slow speed and not sure if we have enough gas to get to the marina to dock for the night. There is no place to anchor and we are not prepared to sail at night. The universe was not going to completely kill our spirit, we did make it to the dock. Have I mentioned that I have never in my life brought a boat into a slip. With a dinghy no less. A bit of a struggle but we got tied up for the night.

Morning comes and we start the day with the breakfast of champions, ice cream. We set off for the last leg of our trip. The power boats are out in full force so rather than get upset because the wake tosses the boat every which way, there was DINGHY SURFING to be done. I do believe Murphy was done with us at this point. Our travels to St. Augustine were pretty uneventful. We were going to have to dock again though. There are no moorings till after the 4th. The engine needs to be repaired already. I am saying my prayers and pleading with the universe that it is an easy fix.

Until next time,
Señora del Mar