|2007 - February 3, 2009
|The pictures above are for the deck gear handling the four halyards on the foremast. They are the throat and peak halyards for
the foresail, then the jib and staysail halyards. The middle shot in the top row and last shot in the bottom row are for the three
lines on the mainmast. They are the foresail gaff vang, the main peak halyard and throat halyard. The fore gaff vang is to take
twist out of the foresail. There are all new lines installed.
|Yes, it's true. That's a TV antenna. I know they didn't have such things back when boats like this were being built, but, ... but,
never mind. It's now at the top of the foremast. I swore I would never do such a thing, but what's worse is to do and not have it
work right. Once it's been done, I had to fix it. I'm still working at it. I now have a new digital flat screen TV and the HD digital
broadcasting is fine. There's something pleasant about dropping anchor in a distant anchorage and scanning for TV stations, then
watching the local news. It's a treat, really.
Above and below are two pictures of the new Lazy Jacks. I used high-tech dingy line and installed small stainless rub strakes
beneath the booms to allow the line to slide easily. They are much less apt to chafe the sails and stretch.
|I can hear the silent wonderings, "What about INSIDE the boat? What's it like INSIDE the boat?" There is
nothing inside the boat. The only thing inside the boat is shelter from the rain. There are no floors, no doors, no counters or
cabinets, no head, no sink, nothing. You can be sure there is a good, logical, long and boring explanation why, but let's not
do it, except to say, 'first things first', and I do what I can as I can. You might also recognize I LIVE inside and
to do anything in there requires I empty out the boat and put everything on the dock. Not a happy thought. Still, progress
is being made.
|After finally collecting most of what I needed to install the four flexible water tanks, I made four super heavy duty safety bags out
of salvaged nylon material. I also came up with some secure methods of attaching the fill and draw lines to the tanks, and
securing the tanks to their locations below the floorboards and beneath the fuel tanks. I'd previously installed the three deck fills
and also the holding tank pumpout, so I bit the bullet, emptied most of the boat, and began installing the tanks. Naturally, the
'Law of Dominoes' intervened and has not relented yet. You see, waiting for me on the floor was a stack of 1/2 inch plywood
panels previously prepared to install in the ceiling of the galley and head. These needed to go in before I could finish installing
the deck organizers and they were so easy to install, I figured I might as well do them now instead of putting them outside and
putting it off again. So, I did. Then I started working on the galley counter seen above, because I had to have the sink in place
before mounting the water pressure pump and accumulator and needed to have the counter built before installing the sink. It
would be stupid to let food or grease get on the counter before glassing and epoxying it, and since my neighbor, Kim, had a batch
of extra Awlgrip white she was going to dump if I didn't need it, I might as well prep and paint the counter. Dominoes.
Counter in, epoxy, fiberglass, paint. Install sink. Install fresh water manifold, pressure pump and accumulator. And it's getting
hot in the closed up bow under the Florida sun, so outside I go. After all, I have the ceiling in the head done, so there's no longer
any reason to put off finishing up the deck organizers, clutches, mainsheet blocks and Boom Purchase.
|September 12, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I have waited long enough to start this Log. Too long Always intending to finish the boat, then start cruising and only then start
the Cruising Log. But there was always something in the way, always another hill to climb or wall to break through.
Patience is supposed to be a virtue, but it can also be a hindrance. George Pappas worked hard to finish every detail of his boat
and left Regatta Point and came to the Seafood Shack to have me help with his last detail - installing a solar panel. Then George
started getting sick. He got itchy and turned yellow and the first thing you know, he's in the hospital with Pancreatic Cancer
getting medi-ports and chemotherapy and all kinds of desperate attentions. For the past year, he's been undergoing this
treatment on an outpatient basis and just waiting for a break so he and Kim can start cruising. Three weeks ago, he had a massive
heart attack, fell off the boat and ended up on life support in the ICU. After ten days of him being drugged to insensibility, they
moved him to a hospice to die and said it would be any day. Well, Kim wasn't ready to accept this and insisted all the tubes and
drugs be stopped. First thing you know, George wakes up, sits up, and says, "What happened?" As God is my witness. George
came home today. The pancreatic cancer is still on the march and he doesn't have much time left, but he and Kim are going
cruising immediately for whatever time there is.
So, what am I still doing here? I work on other peoples boats and fix them so they can cruise while I sit and watch them go, still
trying to finish Falcon.
I have a very few things left to do to be able to drop the lines and leave and it is my intention to do just that. I can finish the other
stuff as I go. I will tie off the 'Building Falcon' section of the website right now and include any other work in the Cruising Logs.
I've had it. I'm sick to death of being patient.
|September 13, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
This is a shot of George and Kim taken about a year ago when they took a trip to Amsterdam.
George has spent part his life in the music industry as an engineer. Amsterdam holds some unknown attraction for musicians as
he's been there before and wants to return before getting too sick. They spent a lot of time in restaurants and those odd little
cafés. I think it was for the coffee. Or food. Maybe. They took 300 pictures. Other than losing some weight, George looks the
same today. Being knocked out without food for over two weeks will do that for you. He's eating well and getting stronger and he
and Kim will be heading for Tarpon Springs by the end of the month. Then the Bahamas.
|For me, after bad weather brought about by hurricanes stampeding
past (Fay, Gustav, Hannah, Ike) - no close calls, but just enough
bad weather and high wind to stop boat work - I need to get
reorganized and doing what needs doing to leave.
Right now, I have to finish construction and installation of the
water system so I can install the cabin sole and build in the storage
beneath the berth. Glass the interior of the holding tank and install
the new head and macerator. Connect the engine fuel filter and fuel
feed line. And on and on. Good grief. No wonder it's not done. I
have too much to do. Well, I don't have to finish everything - just
enough to get going.
As I update and re-format these pages for yet another new website -
fingers crossed,this will be the last time - it is now November of
2015 and George died years ago. I tried everything to contact Kim,
but she has never answered any of my attempts. RIP George.
|I got to work on some projects today, but didn't get as much done as I'd hoped. One of my big problems is I've accumulated a lot
of equipment and material expressly intended for the boat. However, there are vague lines between what is definitely needed,
what might be needed, and what is just extra. When I leave here, it is my intention to sell the car, a 1998 Saturn SC2, sell the
truck, a 1994 Ford E350 van with a diesel engine and one ton suspension, and then everything I have must fit aboard Falcon - in
a way to allow ME to fit aboard and with enough freedom of access to allow work to continue.
Today, I worked on sorting through the giant pile of extra line, rode and cordage and began the process of making and installing
new Kevlar cored double braid for the deadeye lanyards. I'll insert a photo or two tomorrow. Parts of the rigging served with plain
braided nylon have begun to shed. I can't complain - the twine lasted some 20 years out in the elements and Florida sun. This
doesn't have to be done before I leave, but it allows me time to construct a better mental picture than I have now of the sequence
I need to address and finish the essential work. I'm aiming for the end of November as a 'cast off' date.
|September 16, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
So, there I was, all whipping into the deadeyes and getting stuff done and badda bing badda boom - I had to make two special
tools - again. A couple of pictures will save thousands of words.
|These are the deadeyes - the round, white things - and lanyards - the lines connecting the top deadeyes to the bottom deadeyes
and allowing tensioning of the rigging. The close-up shot shows the rotting twine I'm replacing. The thing is, it ISN'T critical for
the safety of the rig, but replacement of the lanyards is, so I'm doing both jobs at once since they are tied together - so to speak.
Twice before I've had to make tools to facilitate the lashing of the grommets with the deadeye and thimble. They are so stiff and
difficult to compress that something has to be done to hold the pieces together and squeeze the middle in while applying the
lashing. In 23 years, this is the third time I've had to make the jig. It takes a couple of hours, but it's well worth it. This should be
the last time. I'm using tarred Marlin twine this time and it will last.
|These are the tools that I slapped together to do the job. They work perfect and reduce to odd hardware and scrap wood when the
job is done.
|September 18, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
More headway made on the deadeyes and lanyards, though the sewing and lashing took such a toll on my hands I had to go out
and get a pair of heavy leather work gloves. The continual wrapping and pulling the seizing twine has a tendency to blister the
skin, then tear the blisters off. It gets to sting by the end of the day. The hands are all healed up now (pretty much) after two days
of computer work.
|Here is the beginning of the new deadeye/ lanyard system. A certain amount of repair and upgrade. It works well and I like it. I
spent the day lashing up deadeyes and sewing thimbled eyes into Kevlar core 10MM halyard line. I think I'm approaching the
25% mark on this project. A long day tomorrow should get me closer to 75%, then I'll get going on something more relevant to
becoming mobile once again and heading south.
This isa point in these logs where I began including sunset shots, photos from around the marina and local events, dock parties,
and on and on. I am eliminating those items from this file,and sticking to the building and/or repair of Falcon. Those other items
may show up again in the travel section,along with the cruises I took in Falcon.
|September 19, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I did get a full day in today, though I'd forgotten about a time consuming job which ended up taking most of the day. I still got a
lot done and should get close to finished on this job. It's hard on the hands. I have three out of 12 installed and 4 more almost
ready to be installed. There is also some work completed on the last five.
|September 21, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Work progresses on the rigging. Various delays include raw hands, visitors, and the Ryder's Cup golf tournament.
|September 23, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
After a couple of stormy days and time out for other chores, like laundry and such, I've finally finished making all the
components for this section of the rigging upgrade. All of the first twelve Kevlar lanyards and reserved deadeyes are done and
drying on the line, so to speak. They actually are freshly tarred and drying on the line, like the picture on the 19th, above.
Tomorrow I'll install them, then tighten and adjust them and see how many I get lashed and whipped. Sounds more brutal than
it is. I'll take a picture. It sort of means 'tied off'.
|September 24, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Finally! I have the first 12 deadeye/lanyard assemblies done and installed. And it's only 9:53 AM. I would have started tightening
them all and lashing them down, but I have a headache coming on (I get these 'mold' or 'pollen' generated sinus headaches
whenever the wind picks up from the inland areas) so I decided to stop and have a cup of coffee and do some Log. I may take half
a Benadryl or some aspirin if it continues to grow over the next hour or so. I started getting these headaches after I'd been in
Florida for a few years, so I think I reached some level of 'toxic' overload to allergens. I think they'll go away when I leave the
Once I do a final adjustment on the deadeyes, I'll also set up for doing the last four. Those already have Kevlar line on them, but I
have to inspect the eye splices and rebuild the deadeyes. After that, I'll either move on to the water system and floor (most likely)
or the electrical panel. Or the ratlines. Or time travel.
|September 25, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Still contending with a headache, I managed to tighten all 12 shrouds today and have started secondary lashings and securing the
bitter ends. It feels good. The rig is tight and strong and feels very secure. I also got a little done on the ratline end caps, but it
was a beautiful day out here today and I had a number of unexpected visitors who absorbed quite a bit of time. Still, if I didn't
have visitors I'd probably complain about that.
It's 4:11 in the afternoon and the headache is still hanging on. Luckily, it's not bad and I can still function without impairment.
With the work is going well again, it becomes easier to line up the jobs and keep going. Much of the work is repetitive and
mundane, which gives me plenty of time to wander through other subjects while my hands remain busy.
The rigging is so much tighter it's more secure on the bottom cross brace over the row of deadeyes at each set of shrouds. It feels
stiff and secure and not at all loosey-goosey, which is a high level Naval term.
|September 26, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
After rushing to finish the hand shredding lashing process, I decided late last night the only way to apply the last two lashings to
each lanyard was to re-attach the block and tackle and get the tail ends loaded to distribute the strain equally on all three
lashings. So, that's what I did today. Now, I have to heat trim the loose ends off each lashing tomorrow and continue on with the
ratlines. Below are a couple of pictures of the lanyard lashings.
|I don't know what the origin of the term 'ratline' is, or even if the correct writing is 'rat line', which I always thought was a line of
tattle-tales outside the principle's office going in to tell on someone. Nonetheless, ratlines are the ladders tied between shrouds
on older ships that allow easy access to the masthead. They serve the same purpose on Falcon, but instead of simple rope steps, I
am using pieces of old 5/8" round fiberglass battens from a huge mainsail.
|Left is the end of one of the full battens. I cut the measured pieces from there, then, with a 3/4" hole saw, cut the little discs on
the right out of black 1/4" Starboard, which I trimmed, countersunk, and attached to the ends of the steps by drilling and tapping
holes. Next, I wrapped them with friction tape, then tarred Marlin twine and hung and soaked them with the rigging tar I made
up. The rigging tar is a combination of sieved roofing tar, pine tar, linseed oil, and Japan drier. It soaks well into the twine and
dries to a nice black finish which affords excellent grip in all conditions - except when it's coated with ice near the polar ice caps. I
am determined to avoid the area for just such a reason.
|There will be one set of ratlines on the Port rear rigging, but not the full length piece pictured above. Those are made exactly the
same way, but they are only there to brace each set of shrouds and serve as lifelines and pinrails. The ratlines will only cross the
two center shrouds. On the foremast, one set of ratlines will be on the starboard side. I still have to rework the last four backstay
deadeyes and lanyards, but I'm going to do them one at a time.
|September 27, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
It's Saturday and even though I started early and made good progress in the early morning, a crowd of visitors soon put an end to
it. I had to do what I could while visiting with people, then patiently wait for a chance to get back to it. When I did get back to it, I
wasn't ten minutes into trimming the loose ends off all the lashings when I actually stuck the tip of my thumb in front of the
torch flame. I now have a nice little section of cooked thumb throbbing away on my right hand. It's white and shiny and makes
me wonder what will happen to it next. Will it blister? Will it harden and fall off? Will it talk to me in my sleep and ask me what
the hell I was thinking?
As much as I am trying to refuse all jobs on other peoples boats, I now have three lined up, though they are all sewing jobs and
all small. Plus, they are for friends. I'm planning on doing them all this coming week. If I didn't need the money to buy more
stuff faster, I would probably find it easier to say 'no', but not just yet. Today I actually did get a lot done, but it's still rig work and
|September 29, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Out on the dock this morning, working on one of the last shrouds and deadeyes, I sharpened a knife and promptly knocked it
into my thumb while wrestling with some heavy fabric on deck. Nice cut. Same thumb I burnt the other day. Things like this
happens in three's, so I need to be on the lookout for hammers and other non-thumb-friendly items.
I returned to work immediately after stemming the flow of blood with a few quick wraps of electrical tape. A little wiping up of
what looked more like a beheading than a cut thumb (my blood is so thin it's amazing it doesn't leak out through the bottom of
my feet) and I finished slitting the thread around an ill-conceived doorway air conditioning blocker Randy had me make for him.
The material will now be used to re-cover a set of cushions for Randy's charter boat "Lil' Toot".
I eventually had to cut a strip of rag to wrap the thumb and use a fresh strip of electrical tape over the cut. It should be fine by
tomorrow. It poured later on, making me seal up the boat and call it a day. Tomorrow, George and Kim are coming over to visit
and to take a ride to Home Depot for plumbing materials for both our boats.
|September 30, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|George and Kim came this morning and we went to
Home Depot, then Crispers for lunch. Good Stuff. I
also got all the details of George's yesterday doctor's
appointments. He seems to be in better shape than
we'd thought and it's time for him to go off and
cruise. This Friday we are scheduled for a short
'shakedown' of sorts. I'll be sure to get some
I made the eyesplice on the second of the two front
backstays and rebuilt another deadeye, leaving only
one more to do. Two if I want to have a spare. After
assembling the two forward backstays, it took a bit
of rough shaking of the rig and tensioning to true
up the forespar. Then I finished the lashings and
badda bing, the foremast is done. Only the
backstays on the mainmast left to do. This took
about ten days longer to complete than I'd hoped.
Oh, wait, it's not done yet. A final shot of the
completed deadeye/lanyard assembly on the
|October 1, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I'm still here in Cortez. There is a constant situation with mosquitoes and no-see-ums here. Every morning and every evening is
accompanied by swarms of the biting, gnawing, drilling pests. Every day. Year round. No days off. Biting bug season is from
January 1st until December 31st. If the temperature drops to near freezing at night, they wait until about noon to come out. It is
7 AM and I am constantly slapping them away right now.
The last two deadeyes and the last two lanyards are completed and drying. It's 1 PM and I've been at it for a while. My hands are
very happy to be done with it. Except for the last six lashings when these are installed. Then, I think it's on to the plumbing
system and the floors. Or 'Cabin Soles', as it were. Sounds like a sixties Motown Group.
It is 5:47 PM and I have just finished the last of the deadeye and lanyard work. All 16 sets are reconditioned and greatly improved
as far as ruggedness and strength. My hands are pulp and the next job will be much easier on them. On the other hand, my arms
and shoulders are ripped from long days of full strength lashing and pulling on heavy twines. Twines are like tweens only instead
of being thirteen, they're halfway between sociables and winos. Also, they are heavy strings. Soaked in tar. Which is why it's
called 'tarred marlin twine'. Almost interesting if you care. Not so much if you don't. I'm giddy about being done.
What day was it I said, "I'll finish it up tomorrow."? Ahh, I looked back and saw. On the 19th, I thought another day would bring
me in sight of the end. Hmmm. Well, some bad weather, a couple of other obligations and just a lot of work to finish up made it
last about a good eight days or so longer than expected. Who cares. It's done. And the rig has never been so strong.
|October 2, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
The weather is supposed to be good today, so I'm thinking I should do what I can on the three sewing jobs I've taken on. The first
one, all new zippers in Joe's Bimini, should be straightforward, so I'll start there. Randy wants me to make new covers for three
cushions on Lil' Toot. They look like a royal pain in the butt, but I can get most of them done, I think. The last job is a skirt for
Paul's bridge rail. It's something like 16 inches wide and 18 feet long. It shouldn't be hard, but I don't know if he has the material.
|So, funny thing. I go outside and start cleaning up and started on the sewing jobs,
and RJ and Walt are there, Mariner 31, so I drink my coffee and gam a bit and next
thing you know, I'm eyeing the ratlines, then the rigging, then the ratlines, then
the balls of tarred Marlin twine. Then I cut a couple of lengths of twine and tried
out the lashings I'd been mulling over in my head while droning through the
recent days of end tedium.
One led to another and I installed six of the ratlines and made five more. (There
was one extra with the first batch I knew I'd be able to fit in somewhere, and sure
enough, it works as the sixth step on the foremast ladder.
Once the lower three were installed on each set, I could climb up and measure the
next three for each. The steps are spaced wide - 20 inches apart - but I can reach
easily and the fewer the better as far as windage and work. These will make it
infinitely easier to work aloft on the rigging or lights or antennas.
Pretty soon, I'm going to run out of 5/8" round fiberglass batten material and will
have to come up with another solution. I'll cross that bridge when I get there. Also,
there may be a problem reaching all the way to the masthead with the shrouds
coming together at the top. My feet might not fit between them near the top.
Again, I'll cross that bridge then.
Tomorrow I bring Don and Barb to the airport.
|October 6, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Three more ratlines got installed and most of the rest measured and cut. I went over to Regatta Point early and stopped at Home
Depot to get more plumbing materials for the water system. Talk about sticker shock. Items that cost $4.75 a few months ago are
now $7.25. It's a good thing I already have most of what I need. The things I picked up yesterday are the connections and
under-counter valves for connecting the new galley sink faucet I bought last week, plus various bronze T's, nipples, and elbows.
And a couple of rolls of friction tape to continue the ratlines.
I am reaching the point in the transcription of these Logs that I knew I would eventually. I've just deleted several complete days
of Log entries because they said nothing at all about the Falcon work. Oh, it is not like they are 'lost' - I have the complete,
unaltered website stored and can access those files any time I want. I just don't want them here.
|October 7, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I started early today and got the rest of the hard ratlines made and tarred. Finished just in time for the skies to open and pour on
us. There are nine steps in this last batch and the very last steps will take a little time before I'm comfortable with just how I
should go about making them. I want to be able to reach the very tops of the masts, but the shrouds get so close my feet won't fit
between them as they get near the top. I'll think of something. It's more important to get on with the water system and cabin sole
and other things.
|October 8, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I started early this morning but have only set up the sun shade, worked on the website and corrected some minor problems
caused by the rain last night.
I installed the galley sink faucet and plumbed it and am thinking of throwing a coat of white single part poly on the head
bulkheads and installing the newly constructed shower manifold. Wait, wait. Damn dominoes. First, I should change the waste
overboard thru-hull valve - only a tad risky doing it in the water because IT IS one of the 1 1/2 inch valves and a 1 1/2 inch hole
gushing water is a bit more intimidating that a 3/4 hole, like in George's boat. Plus, let's be real, a hole in George's boat is much
less bothersome - to me - than a hole in my boat. It shouldn't be a problem, you know, unless the water gushes out, blinds me, I
panic and run out screaming like a child, then don't tell anyone, move away and change my name. I just don't see any of those
things happening. Then the head step to mount the head gets installed and THEN the bulkheads get white paint.
|After what has been a long, long day, involving three trips to Home Depot and two to Lowes - and you can't tell anyone at either
store that you're 'seeing' someone at the 'other store', or the fur is gonna fly - I finally changed the chuck on my DeWalt 3/8" drill
and converted it to a weak 1/2" drill. It was touch and go and required a torch and more than $30. If the drill dies, I'm keeping
the damn chuck.
I also succeeded in liberating over $200 from my pocket for all these plumbing parts. This better make me mucho happy or I'll
grumble every time I use the head and see this assembly on the bulkhead behind it. It's fairly simple really. The top assembly
with the 'J' rig on it comes from the freshwater pump system and feeds both the galley sink cold water and the big assembly. It
comes in at the gray fitting covered by the lower yellow handle, where it goes to the first riser exiting through the bulkhead to
feed the water heater and also heads right to the drop valve that feeds the head with fresh water - salt water stinks - and the first
red-handled gate valve, which is the cold mixer for the shower, the center riser. The shower has a ball valve to turn it on and off
so I can mix the temperature, then just turn the water on and off between soaping to save water. Moving right along the main
line is the second red-handled gate valve, which is the hot mixer for the shower, and then the last riser, which is the hot water
out of the water heater, and on the bottom, the hot water feed to the galley sink. This leads back under the floor to the last
assembly, lying between the other two, which is just a connector for the Quest piping, an on/off valve for the sink, and the
flexible connector hose for the hot water feed to the faucet.
All in all, it's a good system, built with expensive 3/4" fittings instead of the cheaper and smaller 1/2" ones, but it is expected to
be strong and problem free for many years to come.
|October 13, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
The wind is pretty gusty today, but I have a long day ahead of me so I started by putting up the sunshade over my dock work area.
It's whipping and snapping just fine and should serve to keep me occupied watching it for signs of flying off across the
Intracoastal Waterway sometime during the day. Also, because there's nothing better than climbing the rigging in howling wind,
I took up Eddie's ancient electric soldering gun he loaned me and went up both ratline ladders, melting off and smoothing the 84
loose ends of the lashings securing the ratlines. It really wasn't bad and no mosquitoes bothered me up there (they fear heights).
|November 12, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Now that I've got 100 gallons of diesel fuel aboard, I'm not happy with the way the tanks are mounted and need to change them
some. Always a happy time to realize I now have to pump the fuel out of two 50 gallon fuel tanks and into two 55 gallon drums
on the dock and completely remount the tanks. Believe it or not, it's not as much fun as it sounds. After a couple of hours getting
ready and borrowing two drums from Paul, I hand-pumped 30 gallons out of one tank. I now have one arm that looks like Hulk
Hogans and another that looks like Brittney Spears. Randy came over and took a few strokes on the manual pump, went back to
his boat and brought me his fuel transfer pump. I hooked it up and got the rest of the fuel out in about another hour. Now for the
fix. Maybe some pics will help.
|The tanks are located on either side of the cockpit through these small access ports, without doors as yet, and there is only about
two inches between the aft outboard corner and the hull, so there is no way to mount them any lower. It makes for something of
a pain, though it could have been simpler if I'd been willing to go with smaller tanks. So far, I'm still convinced I made the right
decision. It's always better to have enough capacity to pass overpriced pumps and wait for reasonable prices.
Something impossible to detect in these photos is the 3/4" plywood base plates are dimpling where the suspension rods pass
through them. This is why I decided to pull the fuel, drop the tanks and reinforce the panels with angle steel and flat steel plate.
The bottom of the tanks need to be secured to the cockpit bulkheads in a manner robust enough to prevent the bottom of the
tanks from swinging side to side while at sea.
|November 14, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
The tanks are out and the job has grown in leaps and bounds. Once I crawled into the cramped locations and began removing the
tanks, I remembered the haste employed during the installation. The only way out of the silted in creek in Naples was during the
semi-annual moon tides bringing five feet of water into Haldeman's Creek. After two or three days, those tides would vanish for
another six months. I didn't have the money to fill the tanks during the trip from Naples to Palmetto, so I did a light job of
mounting them, intending to correct the situation later. Well, 'later on' is here.
|There are the two 50 gallon fuel tanks, sitting on their
plywood panels as I sort out what kind of system I can build
and still get the tanks mounted. It's an very tight fit,
complicated by the suspension rods and getting past them
without damage. Next, install the short hose between the tank
and deck fill, and then, while holding the tank up, can I push
the plywood panel beneath it and one by one, finagle the
threaded rods through the holes in the panel, the inner ones
being the real treat.
No problem. I've done it at twice before. It's things like this
that keep me slim and ward off Alzhiemers. I'm also
considering some sequence options to make it easier, but
improve the strength of the finished product. We'll see how it
goes. And there are some wheedling, mealy-mouth excuses
available, should it all go wrong and turn into a pathetic mess.
But I'm hopeful and resolved to win. There do not seem to be
any options. Do or do not - no try. Yoda.
|Then I have to get to Home Depot and buy a new sheet of 3/4 inch plywood for the tank mounts and two sheets of 1/2 inch
insulation for the cabin roof. Maybe get one of those fiberglass sheets to use in the head to mitigate damage by the shower.
|November 28, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I got started on the fuel tanks today and got the first one in position, though there is a good deal of finishing up to do. Still, it's
movement in the right direction and makes me feel a little better about making progress toward getting out of here.
|November 29, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Good grief. I hurt all over and still have hose clamps to install, deck fills to remove, shorten, polish and re-install, plus a little
other detail work. Oh, damn. Yeah, and the installation of several heavy duty braces underneath.
|December 7, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I managed to get the deck fills pulled, sealed and re-installed.
|November 30, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
The weather word today is for high winds (up to 35 knots, so not too high) and lots of rain. Otherwise, warmer than it has been.
A stormy day, but not bad. Just bad enough to allow me some time off to recuperate from the strain of getting those tanks in
yesterday. What a job. And still lots to do, but the hardest part is done. The first picture shows one of the old plates used to
support the tanks. It was intended to be temporary, meaning that it would eventually require additional support and reinforcing,
however, I elected to replace them completely with new wood and solid steel reinforcement.
|It's difficult to illustrate just how small the tank areas are once the tanks are in them. I can just barely squeeze in beside them.
I first placed the newly shaped plates in (I reshaped them so they would touch the bulkheads all around, allowing me to
further strengthen the mounting by attaching cleats both to the bulkheads and the plates using adhesive and screws), then
stuffed the tanks into the area (a major job in itself), then I would crawl in myself and with considerable effort, get my lower
legs and knees beneath the tank. Next, I siliconed the short piece of hose connecting the tank fill to the deck fill and
forced it onto the tank, then forced the tank up and pressed the hose onto the deck fill. Then the ridiculous exercise of
somehow maneuvering the plate, which was below my lower legs, over the legs one at a time and into position beneath the
tank all the while holding the tank up with one hand. Getting the four threaded rod supports through their respective holes
was where most of the cursing came in, except for the first assembly of the first tank, when I suddenly realized I'd forgotten to
install the four sections of hose over the threaded rods to protect the tank. I call myself names when I do things like that. Bad,
bad names. As you can see, I got the protective tubing on.
|Every time I look at anything on the boat I can see how much work is still left. The snarl of wires behind the tank is the new
harness I pulled back out of the way to facilitate the tank work. It will need new hangers and new lashings once the tanks are
|December 1, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Hurricane season is over. I can not be here for the next one. I will be . . . will be . . . somewhere else. There, I've said it.
As the tanks get closer to being ready to accept the 100 gallons of fuel again, I've begun wrestling with the overall complications
of balancing the boat in a satisfactory manner. I put that last 1500 pounds of ballast in the rear of the bilge before leaving Naples
because the boat, at that time - with 400 feet of chain, two anchors, two very heavy anchor davits and a huge windlass installed
on the bow, appeared stern light. I put all the trim ballast on the rear deck and the boat balanced. I made the decision to pour the
lead into the aft keel and did so, knowing I could remove most of it if I had to.
Mistake. Removal is a bear. Just to see how bad it would be, I approached it gingerly today and got started. After six hours of
pounding chisels and sharpened tire irons and 3 foot crowbars with 20 ounce framing hammers and a 3 pound sledge, I have
succeeded in making a fair start and have removed about 100 pounds of the lead. I'm sore all over. A long time ago, someone in
Germany's Nazi Party wrote, "That which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." Right, if you're 18. If you're 61, it just makes you
sore. And tired. I'd like to get at least 500 pounds of the ballast out, and 800 pounds would make me happier still. (I finally
removed 900 pounds.)
Falcon has gobs of storage space in the rear, so I can trim the load easily from front to back to keep her in balance.
|December 2, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
A cold day today and didn't work on the boat much, but did get a lot done. Went to the auto parts store and got a new thermostat
for the truck, as well as some engine gasket sealer, an air chisel kit with bits, some air tool oil and three gallons of "kill the
neighbors pit bull" green death anti-freeze. It is the best antifreeze to protect your engine, but you have to dispose of it like the
poison it is. The air hammer/chisel is a fairly inexpensive item - $30 - and I'll probably only use it for this 'remove the lead' job,
but it will save so much time and energy that it's worth the cost. I have a compressor to use to drive it with. Hmmm. Maybe you'd
like to see the spot where I'm working?
|Yeah, yeah, I know - what a nightmare. And mess. It's years of old bilge water and oil drippings and very special grub that
cannot be suitably described. Oh, well. Once I get 5 or 6 hundred pounds of lead out of there, I'll pressure wash the bilge, paint it
with white epoxy and re-install the cleaned bilge pumps. It'll all be such fun. Then finish the fuel tanks and fill them again. Then
the last details on the water system and FINALLY!!! Put the damn floor in the boat. I'm all giddy. I would go into details about
what the three pictures above are showing, but there's nothing there so noteworthy as to be worth the time and trouble to
describe. It's a bilge. Whet else do you need to know?
|December 6, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Yesterday I pulled the fuel fills out of the deck and shortened them about 3/4 of an inch each. They are good, new SeaDog all
stainless steel items, so it took a bit of doing. I also had to smooth and round off the cut end prior to re-installing them. I'll be
pulling them out quickly today to apply some sealer between the flanges and the deck. Falcon is a 'no leaks allowed' zone. Once
done it'll be time to secure the tank support plates to the surrounding bulkheads and install and secure any additional support I
feel comfortable with. Then attach the fuel tank vents and refill the tanks.
|November 19, 2008 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
It's about 167 degrees below zero in the boat this morning. Turning on the tiny heater does more to make a cold breeze than give
heat. I have the computer on, both lights, the coffee maker (water only - I make instant coffee) the TV, and the heater. It doesn't
draw much power, all in all, as everything I have is low energy to accommodate life on the hook with only a wind generator and
some solar power, but it does work to take the chill off on a morning like this.
Outside, on the dock, under a sheet of plywood meant for the fuel tanks, are two sheets of insulation intended for the ceiling over
the cabin. So close. I actually intended to have them installed by now, and later on, install 2 1/2 inches of the same kind of rigid
foam board beneath the deck areas before installing the finish inside the boat. Below are a couple of shots of the recesses to be
filled with the rigid foam insulation. It's becoming more popular on boats because the new stuff is well made and doesn't absorb
moisture or support mold. It also makes it quieter in the boat and helps keep it warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
|January 14, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
No matter how much I dreaded the impending sortie into the fuel tank underworld and the obligatory list of things I forgot and
items caught up underneath me as I worked, the actual job stunk, but I only got one cut on my head and it came out pretty good.
The job, not the cut. The first tank. Still one to go and then a few special 'anti-sway' restraints to restrict movements in seas.
|The far end of the tank is just an inch or two off the hull, which is
sloped pretty good right there, trying to slide me under the tank. The
support cleats I screwed and glued into the cockpit side are just barely
visible at this end, and reach to the aft end of the support plate. I cut
my head on one of the threaded rods holding the tank up. I also made
up and installed the fiberglass angle bracket just visible on the
underside of this end of the tank. It has 24 screws in it. What a pain.
Better safe than sorry, though. There is no excuse for ruptured fuel
tanks - just when you might need them most. I'm satisfied with this
solution. It has been hard, but it's worth it.
|January 19, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez,
The weather here has been cold and blustery for the past few days. I've
been continuing the work on the fuel tanks and have them ready to be
refilled with the fuel on the dock. I'll do this at dead low tide to help
with the siphoning action. Fortunately, I have two 50 gallon tanks and
two fifty gallon barrels of fuel, so I can get one going and leave it - all it
can do is empty - not overflow. The last thing I'll be doing in the tiny
holds is to install the fuel tank breathers. It's kind of another minor
pain, but so close to the finish line I don't mind. The very last thing will
be the running of the electric cables for the fuel level sensors, and
connecting the fuel line to the manifold, filter, and finally, the engine.
With the tanks done, I'm going to need to get back to work removing
excess ballast lead from beneath the engine, way down deep in the
|February 3, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Yesterday and the day before (Superbowl Sunday), I spent time helping Donny on Dulcinea, watched some of the Superbowl -
mostly, the first quarter and last quarter - and the rest of the time worked hard on removing the lead. I gotta tell ya, once you've
melted it down into the keel, it's a bear getting it out. Still, I'm almost done with the hardest section, way up in the bow. After
that, I'll make the new sump area under the shower, then move to the big job back under the engine where I started a month or
so ago. Below there are shots of the bow area where you can just barely see the lead I'm working on removing. Of course, the
boat need to be lightened up some, but in this area the biggest reason for removing the extra lead is to provide a perfect location
for the depth sounder transducer.
|January 27, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Yesterday was a banner day and I am still basking in the glorious glow of finally getting the fuel back into the tanks and the
drums off the dock. The tide was low enough the siphon setup worked great and each drum only required about fifteen or twenty
minutes to empty. And they emptied completely. I tipped them and rolled the fuel into the center of the pickup tube until it made
that sweet sound of an empty soda at the movies. See evidence below.
|As per Espin's suggestion, I've started using the Rubbermaid clear containers
for food storage. I get them at Walmart, where they are reasonably
|bilge. Also, it just so happens I found a small bit of rot in a lower corner of the fuel tank hold on the starboard side. Just enough
to make me have to dig it out, fill in the wood, and epoxy over it a few coats - maybe even lay in a bit of glass - we'll see.
While I'm at the 'chisel out lead' action, I've decided to chisel out a small sump in the forward head area to accommodate the
shower sump pump. It's easy to get to and will make the shower sump work better, in my mind - easier to clean and less likely to
become odorous. Also, I can put in a much bigger pump, capable of helping save the boat if need be.
Well, that's all for now. At last I'm making headway and getting closer to moving out of here. Espin and Geoff took off yesterday
for parts south for a week or two of random cruising. The time is coming for me. I swear it is.
|inexpensive. So far, I like them a lot. The large ones have brown rice, oatmeal, red beans, and instant potato's. The small ones
have black-eyed peas, sugar, coffee and tea, and Crystal Lite drink mixes. These containers will not be marked because I'm not
sure what I'll continue to carry and what I'll learn to do without.