|February 5, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Yesterday I finished getting the lead out of the most forward area. Right now, almost every job I have to do is in a 'hard to work
in' location on the boat and it is wearing me out. Mentally, I mean. I can't wait to get these jobs done. But they are progressing.
|February 10, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Don and I finished our final steps on Dulcinea (until she's back at the Marina) in an hour. Back at Falcon, I started digging a
sump into the lead keel beneath the shower - not yet in existence - to install a shower sump pump. I'm using a 3500 GPH Rule
bilge pump, not because I think it's appropriate for a shower system, but because I'd like to have a seriously capable bilge pump
forward that will also help save the boat should the need arise. Besides, I already have the pump. I'll just need to get a float
switch. Maybe. I already have two of them, but with two big bilge pumps aft, a 3500 and a 2000, I've been planning to give each
one it's own float switch, the larger pumps float switch being mounted about 6 inches higher than the 2000's so it would only
kick in if the 2000 couldn't keep up. There's just no need to always have both pumps kicking on.
|February 15, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez,
Meanwhile, I have decided against installing the kerosene stove in
Falcon and have instead opted for a counter-top propane two-burner
unit. Now, here's the thing about those items - they are some pricey
little bits of boat gear, and I know the one I'd REALLY like to have, but
I'd also really like to have the $750 it would cost to just get started. Then
another $500 for aluminum propane tanks and hose, regulator and
shut-off solenoid with control panel and on and on. Right now, I have
the money I need to get hauled out and I have to keep that issue viable
or I will lose my mind.
Searching the Internet for a reasonable substitute has produced the
|February 25, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I have been busy working on Donny and Barb's Dulcinea and doing a few other things as well. For one thing, I bought a turkey
fryer on Craig's List. I'm not sure that's how to write 'Craigslist' or if the second try is correct. Anyway, I've been searching for a
way to melt down the lead that I'm chopping out of the keel. The first 200 lbs or so has filled a milk carton on the dock. At first, I
thought I might bring it to 'Scrapall', the scrap buying place in Sarasota, but when I called them, they said (gleefully, I might add)
that with the new jump in price this week, they are paying five cents a pound for lead. Are you putting me on? You think I'm
going to cart a half a ton of lead 20 miles for $50? For that kind of money, I won't go further than across the street. So Espin gave
me $20 for the first 200 pounds for his friend Volker in Pensacola, who needs it to tame the motion of his little sailboat.
Back to the turkey fryer. After searching high and low on the Internet for a little single burner propane stove, such as was
popular in plumbing supply houses forever, but is non-existent now, I finally started looking at turkey fryers like the one I used
in Naples to melt my feet together. (Building Falcon, page 7, halfway down the page) The prices, with tax and shipping, etc, plus
the need for a new tank of propane, were just too high for something I only needed for a short while, so I went to Craig's List and
found the whole setup, with an almost full tank, for $50, the value of a half ton of lead. Now, the thing is, what should I use for a
mold? I'm actually thinking about getting two divers weight belt molds - one for the curved 8 lb weights, and one for the square 4
lb weights, and casting the whole 800 lbs left (still to be removed) into divers weights, then selling them over Ebay. Possible.
Also possible to go across the street to the fishing company and sell them the whole load in 30 lb ingots at once. Until I get it out,
I'll have time to mull it over.
|March 10, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Yesterday, Espin and I went to General Prop and I got a couple of good surprises. First, it would only cost $60 to bore the
steering wheel. Second, it would only cost $100 to recondition the prop and twist it up to an 18 x 14 from an 18 x 12. Hot diggity.
We headed over to Marine Surplus to investigate his cockpit hatch and only five minutes into the ride I got a phone call. General
Prop - the hub of the steering wheel was a hollow casting and they couldn't bore it. Okay, okay. Well, what are you gonna do? No
problem. I'll stick with the old wheel. Ten minutes after that, still en route to Marine Surplus, I get a second call. General Prop -
the prop I dropped off isn't an 18 x 12 - it's 18 x 10 and there's no way to twist it up to a 14. Plus, the alloy is pretty 'pinkish',
meaning a lot of electrolysis damage. Do I still want to twist it up 2 inches? It might crack and be junk. Sure, give it a shot. If it
cracks, toss it out and I'll be back over to pick up the steering wheels. I haven't heard back yet either way, but one way or another,
two money/equipment issues are resolved and I can cross them off the list of things to do.
Yesterday I also scrubbed the Bimini one more time. It looks great. All signs of green gone. I washed off the deck and put the
sunshade and Bimini back on, then put another load of dock debris in the rolling storage locker I sometimes have to drive around
|March 12, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Espin drove me over to General Prop yesterday morning and I picked up the prop and wheels. Sure enough, the prop is just about
as corroded and scabby as can be, but it survived the re-pitching to 18 x 12 and will make a good spare. I'll open up the hub on the
The next thing I did (all day) was to work on getting the lead out of the keel area beneath the companionway steps and working
back under the engine. Was a grueling pain in the ass. I managed to get about 125 or so pounds out so far, but the good news is,
the stern is coming up. I don't know how much I will ultimately remove, but I'll know by watching the waterline. Once the boat is
properly balanced again, I'll stop. And the truth is, right now, the fuel tanks are full to the brim and I will probably not keep them
so - it's 1300 miles worth of fuel - however, I need to be able to fill up without squatting the stern of the boat.
|Above left are the two wheels. The one with the potentially offending white spokes is what I am presently using, while the other,
a fine wheel with nice lacing on it, has a tapered 1" to 3/4" mounting hole. I will open up the hole myself and keep both wheels,
using each until I'm satisfied which I like best.
The picture on the left is the lead I managed to wrestle free of the bilge yesterday. It is about 125 to 150 pounds. It's hard telling
not knowing and I can't be bothered getting a scale to find out. Besides, the amount of weight in numbers doesn't count - it's the
height of the waterline to the eye. The more pain I suffer doing this job, the lower the waterline will be acceptable. I want to get
out of here.
The three shots below are cryptic and difficult to discern, but they are very much a part of my present nightmare so I thought I'd
include them. The big cross-beam in the first and third is trying to kill me. Most of the lead I removed yesterday is directly
beneath it, and this is where I'll continue working today. I've only bashed my hands and arms into it about a hundred times so far
and look forward to more of the same. It is amazing to me someone who sustains as many minor injuries to their hands as I does
not have a simple box of Band-Aids aboard, but I do not. The dirty bilge pump in the center picture is squarely beneath the
middle of the engine, so once I make it there I will be forced to pull out the engine and rest it against the mainmast compression
post. I'll be sure to include a shot of the process because it's so much easier doing this than the real work.
|March 18, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I worked non-stop on St Patty's Day wrestling lead out of the bilge and made good headway, but I was a bit played out at the end
of the day and didn't get back to here. Yesterday, I started off all guns a'blazin' and fired up and once I got down into the bilge and
got started, I had a great epiphany - I was bruised and sore in far too many places to be doing this today - so I rested and got
started again this morning.
Well, there I was, hunkered down chiseling and elbows flying, lead not budging and me taking stock and making a new
evaluation and I made the turn. Now, I know what you're thinking - "He's saying he's gone 'round the bend", so to speak - but no,
it's not so and even if it were most folks couldn't tell for sure anyway, but what I DO mean, is I've done about all I can practically
do from the front of the engine, and now I have to pull the motor out and get busy on the middle of the engine bilge area. So, the
battery is back in place and I'm getting ready to pull the engine. I'm not sure how much lead I've actually removed so far, but
estimates of between 500 and 600 pounds would probably be fair. If I can get just get another 200 pounds or so I'll be satisfied.
|March 25, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
After fussing (internally) and preparing for a couple of days, last night I took about 30 to 40 minutes and pulled the engine out,
moved it forward and secured it so I could get busy on finishing my career as a lead miner. Gratefully, everything went quickly
and easily and I have to commend the builder on a superior job of design and implementation. The boat is flawless. Well, a little
bit flawless. I tried working at the lead a bit this morning and now realized that I will need a sledge hammer, so, off to Home
Depot. I hope they have 8 pounders - I have no desire to try to wield a ten pounder with one hand all day.
|The access to the lead beneath the engine is as good as it gets. I will now use the 6 foot chisel and a BIG hammer and chop out
another 400 pounds, hopefully. We'll see.
|March 30, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I have reached the bottom of the poured lead in the section beneath the engine. In this job, this is equivalent to popping your
head up in Peking. I have dug to China. Now, with my new, shortened handle 8 pound sledge and the tired but trusty 3 pounder, I
will continue on, but now, instead of hanging upside down and struggling painfully for every ounce, I can stand up and drive the
long chisel straight down into the lead and peel off a slice at a time as if it were bread.
|The yellow color in the first photo is the fiberglass bottom of the keel.
It is a full three inches thick, mainly because the sides of the keel are 1
1/2 inches thick and the laminates alternately overlap at the bottom of
the keel. It is brutally strong and I am glad for it. While I don't intend
to go aground, the road to Davy Jones' Locker is paved with such
intentions. In the second shot you can see where I am working a slot
in the lead right next to the break. The going here is MUCH better than
before and even though I am going back and forth right now between
the lead and the computer - I just jumped up to get a shot of the two
hammers and slammed the chisel another three inches deeper all the
way across. I had to shorten the handle on the new sledge to get a good
swing inside the boat. It is awesome and much easier on my ailing
elbow - when I use both hands. It's a little rougher when using one
|I am getting back to work on the lead. At times like this I have a tendency to begin calculating in my head as I work, defining a
certain goal and reducing it to numbers. I set a final goal of 400 more pounds after Espin took the last 300 for Volker. Getting to
the fiberglass required mining out fifty-five pounds, leaving 345. Cast lead weighs 708 pounds per cubic foot, or 0.41 pounds per
cubic inch. So, 841 more cubic inches, or just under 1/2 of a cubic foot. I'm almost done. Not done in my head, btw.
|March 31, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|Yesterday, after a long, grueling day that left my arms, elbows and shoulders, - oh, yes, and my back to some degree - tired and
sore, I managed to extricate 55 more pounds of lead from the keel. I made three cuts to trim up the nasty, uneven and sloped
ends of the keel lead and left them flat and vertical. This morning, the first try resulted in 20 pounds in the first half hour and as
you see, a line started for the next session, about to start in a few minutes. This will result in about 30 more pounds. There is
light at the end of the tunnel. I now have 130 pounds on the dock and 270 left to go.
|April 1, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|Picture is above,where it fit better.
This is what a bucket full of keel-mined lead looks like. You can have it if you're strong enough to snatch it up and run away. I
need two hands and a deep breath just to lift it high enough to slip onto the scale.
Yesterday I managed to get another 30 pounds out and this morning 21 pounds more. The bucket on the dock is full to the top
and weighs a little over 180 pounds. 220 left to go.
If I get just one more good slab of lead out, I'll be over the 200 mark and convince myself it's all downhill from here. I'm already
feeling a little bit like that. You know, light at the end of the tunnel and all. Good stuff. I won't talk about the long list of other
jobs waiting once the lead is done.
|April 3, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Before I put the engine back in, I have to pull the engine instrument panel and seal it. It leaks water inside if the rain is driven
from the right direction and that rain then runs down over the engine-to-panel connection terminal strip. Has to be sealed, and
it's much easier to do with the engine out. Next, install the cockpit speakers - just easy with the engine out. Paint the bilges
beneath the engine, and all around the engine room, with something light blue. Install some of the engine room sound
deadening material I've been carrying around forever. Make and install a screen device to rest below the engine to catch things
that fall before they end up in the bilge, 4 feet down. Install the engine fuel filter and fuel lines. Finish plumbing the engine
overhead section of the rainwater catch plumbing.
THEN install the engine again. Not too bad. As soon as the engine is back in, I need to install the two fuel tank vents, drill a
couple of drain holes in the aft storage lockers, epoxy in some fiberglass reinforcing tape, then paint the interior of all six of
the aft compartments, using some non-skid on the bottom of the 4 forward ones. Then I can store in those what I intend to,
extra anchors, line, golf clubs (yeah, I know) and extra sails and well protected winter blankets. I'm sure I'll find something else
that belongs there, but I'm not going to pile in a bunch of crap that I have to dig through any time I need something.
When that area is done, or being done, I can finish the water system and install the floor, the head, and finish the holding tank,
head and shower. Seems like I'll almost be done. But I'll still have to finish the interior of the saloon, make a chart table, an
electrical panel, an aft galley, and, oh yes, lest we forget, a set of sails.
|April 4, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|I kicked keel ass today and
removed another 75 pounds of
lead. That leaves only 135
pounds left. Falcon is beginning
to look pretty square on the
waterline, too, which makes me
wonder how I could ever have
guessed exactly the right
number to remove. I mean, I
only really added about 500
pounds of fuel and tank over
the old fuel and tank
arrangement, but for some
reason I set the number for
lead removal at 900 pounds -
not 800 or 1000, but 900. It
looks like that will level the
boat perfectly. Dumb luck.
What is left is just about six
inches of the aft section of the
keel. First thing I do now is
mark off that six inch line, then
start working that last section
with the finish line in site.
That's inspiring. The lead is six
inches wide there, so a square
section is all that is needed.
|April 5, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
George called last night and invited me over to Palmetto for the monthly get-together tonight. Last night I was pretty excited
about getting the last lead out today, so I said I might not, if I worked all day on the lead and was too tired by evening, but I don't
see that happening. My right elbow is suffering some - probably from the relentless hammering that thrills my neighbors so
much - and it is in rough shape this morning. We'll see what a little time does for it this morning. Still, I don't have to try to
FINISH the lead today. I suppose if I just made significant headway into the last section, I would be fine with knocking off early,
getting cleaned up and heading over to a food feast.
I've started on the lead this morning. It's coming. 11 AM, 35 pounds. 100 pounds to go. 12:30 PM, 15 more, 85 to go. I took a
break. 1:41 PM, 27 more, 58 to go, and, oh yeah, another break. Back to work. 1:59PM, 11 more, 47 to go. Well, yeah, short time,
short tally. It marks the end of one of the slices. One more slice will do it. 2:38 PM, 18 more pounds, 29 pounds to go. Damn, I'm
tired. 3:23 PM, 9 more pounds, nine hard, awful pounds. That's it. That was the last of the last slice. There would be 20 pounds
left if I was mentally disturbed, but it's close enough. 880 pounds of lead removed. I need a snack and a nap.
|April 6, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Having recovered from yesterdays siege in the bilge and slipped back into a state of mental instability, I have decided to trim the
top edge of the aft lead to better accommodate the lower bilge pump that I'll be installing there. Because of the difficulty in
reaching under part of the deck with the 6 foot chisel, instead of the forward edge of the lead being vertical ( l ) like that, it's
sloped forward like this ( \ ). I have a need to clip off that sharp corner at the top to route the bilge pump discharge hose to the
rear, where it dumps overboard.
I already clipped off the extra lead from the keel. It took all of about fifteen minutes and resulted in another 3 or four pounds.
That brings the total to within 16 or 17 pounds of the 900 pound goal. I'm satisfied. I probably sucked that much out in little
chunks with the vacuum cleaner during the whole process .On a side note, during most of the hammering I was concerned that I
might miss the great chisel and swing the hammer right into a knee or a foot. It never happened. Not even close. During the last
few minutes this morning, I swung the hammer into my left knee twice. Both times, hard enough for me to stop, hold the knee,
grimace and suck air in through clenched teeth. Sweet. Just freakin' sweet. Anyway, lead is done.
I am getting two gallons of single-part polyurethane topcoat enamel to mix with the old Brightsides hull paint I mixed up for
Falcon. This should result in a very light blue color that I will begin coating the bilges and exposed hull sections inside the boat
with. In my mind it represents 'finished' areas of the boat.
|April 8, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Randy brought down the paint and I divided the lead into 4 100 pound buckets to make it easier to move - BUT I COULDN'T!! I
couldn't because the last bucket had 120 pounds! Awesome. Somewhere along the line I miscalculated or forgot to add in about
36 pounds of lead, because the best I could do was make 4 105 pound buckets. So, I DID pass the 400 pound barrier. Damn, that
makes me feel better. I was HATING that I stopped just shy of it. Well, not hating it all that bad - the boat was sitting right and
the job was done, it was just the count that was off.
|April 13, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I started the long, tedious 'grind out the taper' process on the large ships wheel I got from Randy. I'm almost there - as far as fit -
but I'm trying desperately to keep it as square as possible so the wheel runs true and doesn't oscillate or orbit when turned. It's
one of those irritating jobs that has to get done and allows me to sit in the shade while I'm doing it, so I'm doing it. It's kind of
fun. I'll store the other wheel below in case I ever need it. Meanwhile, it's getting to be about time to mix the paint and get to
painting and epoxying and prepping to get the engine back in place, connected and started.
I finished the grind out the wheel job - well, almost, I still have to make a spacer to mount it - and hand cut a nice key slot into it
as well. This took as much time as boring out the hole. There will be pics. Got more stuff sorted out and given away and ordered
two quarts of Largo Blue Brightside paint from Randy.
|February 5, 2009 - May 18, 2009
|little sweetie below, which is out of Harbor Freight for only $69 and change. It has a little broiler, just perfect for a filet, and if it
lasts a year, that'll be long enough. By then I'll be able to afford one of the best Marine versions and the rest of the system will be
all set up. Also below is the sweet little hot water heater I just picked up out of Home Depot. It's a 4 gallon unit with a 1500 watt
heater element and hangs on the wall directly behind the shower. It should easily serve me on the hook. $169.
|April 14, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
The wind absolutely howled today from 9 AM until close to midnight.
The new docklines I installed got wet and stretched and I had to go out and adjust them several times. They allowed Falcon to
move so much that she rinked the shore power connector and I lost power a dozen times during the day. It might be damaged
now and require replacement. I have it tied in position for now and will have to check in the next few days.
|April 18, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I climbed Espin's mast yesterday - twice - but it was easy and I got everything done that he wanted done. We are rapidly
approaching the time when the tourist season dies out and Espin takes off in Ajax for the Bahamas. I also mixed five
miscellaneous cans of blue paint with the two new gallons of white paint - in a clean 5 gallon bucket - and ended up with 3
gallons of beautiful light blue single part polyurethane enamel which I will soon be painting the interior areas of Falcon with.
|April 20, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I should get my bilge ready to paint today - after the rain. I also need to clean up the bilge pumps and settle the final plumbing
for their new locations. The smaller one will be at the bottom and the bigger, 3500GPH unit will be up on top of the lead, 11
inches higher, with it's own float switch.
I installed a small red light on the engine instrument panel that will light up whenever one of the bilge pumps fires up. The thing
is, which pump do I put it on? Or, should I put another light above or below it and have them signify each pump? That would
probably be the best situation. It gives you more information.
|April 23, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I've been getting stuff done on Falcon. One aspect of this is the constant stream of, "oh, yeah, I forgot to do that," situations that
I rediscover. I've emptied the four aft storage lockers and started getting them ready for final painting and stowage of gear. As I
crawl down into them, the first order of business is to locate the spots for the fuel tank vents and drill them, then install the
vents. I did that. I also noticed that I'd never installed a locater rod for the upper rudder bearing. Sweet. Only 23 years on the
'waiting to be done' list. Did that. Also noticed a small area of rot just behind the rudder post exit on the deck. I noticed it because
it crunched flat when I went to pry the rudder post up into it's proper position. No big deal, it's small and I'll fix it. I also noticed
that the bottom of the last athwartships bulkhead has separated from the hull and needs a bit of epoxy filler and tabbing both
fore and aft. That's on todays 'to do' list. I also made the small bushing needed to mount the big wheel and installed the wheel.
Then I tightened the nuts beneath the rectangular deck hatches and snapped off all the long screws ends below. I drilled a
through-hole for the boom gallows arch wire and fed it into the next compartment. That still needs to be cable-tied into position
and fed through into the fuel tank hold, then laced up into position for power distribution. I drilled the second big drain from the
aft storage locker into the bilge to allow any hatch leakage to drain forward and get pumped out.
I'll need to drill all remaining holes for tracing out the fuel tank vents, any wires, and the remote closers for the engine exhaust
and large bilge pump overboard fittings on the transom. Oh, rats - that's right - I still need to design, build, and install the two
super-duty rudder stops, in the center of the large aft lockers, prior to making and installing the two Plexiglass barriers that are
intended to keep storage items from interfering with the steering or engine controls. Hmmm. I still have a lot to do back there
before painting, don't I? I need to add a couple of pictures to make this slightly less boring.
|Above is the little bushing behind the newly installed wheel and the area behind the rudder post that crushed when I pried the
post forward. Below left is the (nut and large washer) rudder bearing support. The thru-hull fittings and valves are on the
right. I'm still trying to develop a simple and reliable method of turning those valves off from the cockpit without having to open
the deck hatches and dive in after them. I've been caught in a situation before (the Lands End Coast Guard Tow) where a
following wave allowed seawater to pour into the bilge through the bilge pump overboard fitting. I figured that since I had to
install a valve to prevent that, I should also have one to prevent water from getting into the engine exhaust. Now, I have to
provide actuation. I have an idea - we'll talk more later.
|April 24, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Made good headway yesterday in the aft lockers. The rudder stops and valve closers are the hard things, and now I see that the
rudder stops are going to partially obstruct the hatch openings, making it a little more difficult to maneuver large items in and
out of the lockers. Everything will still work good though, and I'm still working on the valve problem.
I'm planning on a busy day and have to keep moving. The rudder stops are coming along nicely and I love it when I get to work
along on Falcon and get things done.
|April 26, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
By 6:30 AM I was online checking out the latest news and prices in solar panels. The news is good because the prices are
dropping. The power and efficiency of the panels is also going up. I made a decision - no matter how hard I have tried to develop
a method of installing the new Air-X wind generator on Falcon, there is no way that does not result in giving Falcon a big, fat
goiter. None. And it is a goiter that only provides 400 watts of power on it's best days when the wind is howling. So, that's it - I
decided to sell the wind generator and the wiring and mount pole I bought for it, plus the two 45 watt solar panels Donny gave
me, and instead start with two big, new solar panels mounted between the rigging banks on either side, and two more stored
beside the fuel tanks that I can deploy on the Bimini while at anchor. I can get anywhere from 540 watts (for Kyocera 135's) up to
about 800 watts for bigger panels. I have to measure the spots and see what they can take. Last nights sunset below.
I spliced the 5/8 inch nylon 3-strand directly to the chain on the two aft anchors and ended up giving Sandy 'Nemo' my extra
Swedish Fid. I may show her how to splice today. I had three fids - one large and two small. It turns out all I really need is the
|May 1, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I am blasting in and out of the boat, cleaning up outside and in as I try to settle down and work on the aft lockers. One way or
another, I will get back to work and accomplish something. My ability to focus is somehow stunted right now. Maybe I have too
many irons in the fire and can't decide which one to hit, or maybe I'm having too many interruptions to allow me to concentrate.
I will push on however, and move forward.
|May 5, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Yesterday I finally crawled into those aft lockers and fiberglassed most of the areas that needed doing. Think of it as being like
emptying out the cabinet beneath the kitchen sink, then crawling in with a roll of fiberglass tape and a pot of hot epoxy, then
closing the doors behind you and applying epoxy and 4" fiberglass to all the corners around the bottom and half of those going up
the sides. And yes, I did completely epoxy myself in the process. At least I can say it was worse than I thought it would be, so I
didn't waste any extra energy thinking it was going to suck. I have four more areas to complete today, then I can secure the fuel
line vent hoses, the wiring that routes through the lockers, and the two cargo baffles that will prevent stored lines from fouling
the steering or the overboard valves for the bilge pumps and exhaust.
I should clear the cockpit today and also epoxy the cockpit hatch while I'm finishing the aft lockers. That hatch will be sealed
down when it's done so I can mount a small pedestal on it to hold the compass and the Garmin 545 GPS Chartplotter. I also need
to finish the cockpit seats and waterproof them. And, now that I think of it, I have a little work left on the console. It needs two
little wing-a-ma-bobs to cover the gear rack for the steering, as well as a layer of fiberglass over the top and the cockpit VHF
needs to be mounted beneath it. Pictures to follow.
|I got a lot of stuff moved and finished the fiberglass work in the lockers, as well as pulling the inspection port off the top of the
console, sanding the console, and applying a layer of the heaviest Fabmat I have. Above is the still empty engine beds, waiting for
paint. To the right is the dirty cockpit waiting for cleaning, paint, final seat installation and final sole hatch installation. Not to
mention the radio and compass pedestal. Below is the glassed console top, and to the right is the glassed cockpit sole hatch. The
beat goes on. I'm back in gear. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do tomorrow, but it doesn't matter now. Whatever it is, it
will need to be done and represent headway. I've got to get out of here.
|May 6, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I started off the day by grinding the edges on the cockpit sole hatch and the console top - leaving me nicely coated in fiberglass
dust - then mixed up some thickened epoxy and squeegeed on a thin coat of fairing to minimize the weave print-thru from the
coarse Fabmat. It's not necessary to eliminate the pattern as I'll be applying non-skid to the cockpit sole anyway and the texture
only lends character to the console top.
It looks like a short round of twisting and cussing in the aft lockers should have me close to the painting stage, so I might do that
next. I need to secure the wires and hoses and make and install the cargo baffles - though, actually, I can do the baffles after the
painting. That'll make them easier to paint around, you know, if they're not there.
|With the skim of fairing cured, I cut and added the second layer beneath the cockpit hatch and ground off the points of the
screws that poked through the top. Those will be covered with another skim of fairing and the bottom will be soaked with a
coating of straight epoxy. The console will get another coat of epoxy, a light sanding and primer, then one of the blue colors.
Either Largo Blue Brightsides or Ice Blue Awlgrip. I still need to get the little covers made for the gear rack ends that protrude
out the sides of the steering console. Everything is custom. Every single last part of this boat is a one-off, special design,
hand made custom project, and it's what makes the boat as much a work of art as it is a classic schooner.
I also still need to come up with a satisfactory fix for the teardrop shaped hole in the deck above the rudder bearing. I will
probably apply wax to the rudder post - after grinding the top flat - and make up a thick putty of West epoxy and graphite powder.
It serves to epoxy the seal the boundary between the graphite object and the wood/fiberglass deck while making a tight bearing
joint between the graphite bearing and the stainless steel rudder shaft. I can inject a little insulation foam deep in the void to
prevent the liquid graphite from running down before it hardens. Yeah, that's the trick. Later on I'll make an emergency tiller for
it. Don't tell Espin because I don't want him getting all excited that I might be tossing the Edson steering gear in favor of a poorly
varnished, groin-stabbing tiller. For an emergency tiller, I will cut a 1 inch square hole, 1 inch deep into the top of the two inch
solid stainless rudder post, then use an ordinary 1 inch drive breaker bar from a good heavy duty socket set. A length of
heavy-walled aluminum tubing to fit over the breaker bar completes the device. Sweet, clean, easy to store and easy to replace.
The only hard part is hand machining the 1 inch square drive hole into the rudder post, but I can do that.
|May 7, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I've already put the first coat of paint inside the aft lockers and have also already put a couple of light blue fingerprint smudges
on my new mouse. It gives it character and welcomes it to my world. Pictures later. More work to do now.
|There are now two coats of paint inside the cockpit lockers and the aft storage lockers. I didn't try to get every last corner and
crevice as the paint job will do what it is supposed to as is. I only wanted it to collect and absorb any remaining fiberglass dust
and lighten up and give a 'finished' look to the lockers. Thanks to my sloppiness and some wakes, the deck didn't fare all that well
during the process, but it's finish paint job will be coming up soon as well.
|May 10, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|Here are two shots of the engine compartment. The first was taken while I was working on the lead removal, and the second was
taken today. Some of the wooden areas will be covered with sound proofing soon - before the engine goes back in - and that will
also probably be painted with the light blue. It's used stuff - good, with the lead inner shield (so Superman can't spy into my
engine room) - but some of it has old dirt on it that I can't be bothered trying to clean off. None of the fiberglass bilge areas will
be coated with soundproofing, so they'll get a second coat tomorrow.
The engine instrument panel is also removed and will be sealed back in before the soundproofing goes up, and the speakers will
get mounted as well. I also need to reassemble the aft water tank fill manifold that I had to take apart to put the fuel tanks in.
When that manifold is remounted, I can run more wiring across it to wire both sides of the boat. There is a part of me that wants
to . . . . . Yeah! That's it! Never mind - I just had a sweet idea to run wiring back and forth over the engine in the engine room -
way up high in the speaker/engine instrument trough - sweet. My world rocks.
|May 14, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Next, I sealed and re-installed the engine instruments. The 'clear' sealer I used was noticeably white, but that's okay. All I need
around the instrument panel is a water leak stopper. I got a Dap acrylic latex caulk with silicone - $2.00 per tube versus $15.00
for the same size tube of 3M or Boatlife marine product. So far, I'm happy with it and it will allow me to continue on pretty good
in the 'cockpit/aft storage' areas without the need for expensive and marginal sealers. I get to call them 'marginal because at $15
per tube, they'd better freakin' work, but sometimes they don't. At $2 per tube, if it holds for three years, I'm happy as a clam.
I took the mainsheet strap off the main boom and tarred it with the first coat. It seemed to fade pretty good on it's first year in
the sun and I know the tar protects most fibers pretty good. I also dug most of the small fasteners out of the bottom of the red
dock box so I could locate some special screws I used to install the two cockpit speakers. It was crazy hot outside today. Even
screws and nuts got so hot just lying in the sun that I could hardly hold onto them.
|Above are the cockpit speakers, which I will cover with small circles of the same Sunbrella as on the seats, and the heavy nylon
web mainsheet bridle that I removed from the boom and tarred. And yes, of course, I made that also.
|May 15, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Slobbered another coat of tar on the mainsheet bridle and worked in the cockpit, installing the two battens to thicken up the top
edges of the inboard supports for the cockpit seats, then permanently installed the cockpit seats. As soon as everything is dry, I'll
seal all the edges with the white caulk and paint over them. Oh, yeah, I have a bit of touching up to do on the edges of the port
seat to blend the two sections together nicely. Then I'll cut and support the two hatches under the seats for cockpit item storage,
and trim the cushions on the inboard forward end for clearance for the battery switch hatch and install the Velcro under the seat
cushions to keep them secure.
Sooner or later I'm going to come up with some sort of back cushions for cockpit seats to make it a bit more comfortable to sit
there. The next thing in the cockpit after that will be the VHF radio, the compass post and the GPS chart recorder, all which will
be in need of wiring.
I need to get the last of the painting done in the engine compartment and get the engine back in. It's getting to be a pain in the
ass working around it. It will make installing the soundproofing and some other stuff more difficult, but not un-doable. Yeah,
that's right, that's right. I said 'un-doable'. It might not even be a word, but you knew what I meant. If I was younger and wore my
hat sideways and drooped my pants below my ass, I'd spell it un-Dewable.
I started making the patterns for the two cargo baffles for the aft storage area. As soon as I get those done, I'll need to drill a
couple of water drain holes from the very aft line lockers into the mid storage lockers, that already have nice drains into the bilge.
Then all these areas will be completely done, so I'll load them with what goes there and move to finishing the engine area and
finishing up the last details around that, making sure the engine starts and runs. I'm sure it will. I built it, after all.
|May 18, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
There's this element I'm trying to work out in the cockpit with the compass and GPS.
|The first picture also includes the cockpit VHF radio, but I removed that as well as the face cover on the GPS. OOps - the rain is
starting. It was just misting when I went up to the showers a half hour ago. When I came back, I re-laced the lazy-jacks and
re-attached the mainsheets to the bridle. The bridle is still a bit wet with the tar, but it's protected now and can dry just fine right
where it is. I should get a shot of it, as well as the cargo baffles. I made them out of a piece of scrap Plexiglass Randy was tossing.
|As you can see, the heavy webbing mainsheet bridle is now soaked through with sweet black tar. I'm not sure how it might stiffen
when completely dry, but a little use will cure that in short order. Most importantly, the tar will protect the webbing from
ultraviolet disintegration. In case I never explained it before, the use of the bridle is to provide a rotating purchase on the main
boom so that the direction of pull on the boom moves around it, rather than to have the mainsheets secured to the bottom of the
boom, where it could be trying very hard to twist the main boom, or shear off the gooseneck, when the boom is off to the side of
the boat when reaching off the stern quarter or running. The pull isn't a problem when pointing or on a beam reach, but
schooners point like cats obey, so those of us who love the unruly creatures we choose to sail adjust our expectations accordingly.
The baffles work just great and I can reach right into the aft hatch and operate the valves when needed. There are three exits in
that area of the transom. The engine exhaust, the large bilge pump and the smaller bilge pump. The exit for the smaller bilge
pump has two duckbill valves right at the thru-hull, preventing any back-flow from following seas, but the two large exits do not,
hence, the valves. It takes some pretty serious following seas to create a problem, but I've had it happen before and it's best to
have an option that doesn't include running the engine and bilge pumps constantly.
I went to Marine Surplus a while ago and bought a few thingy-dingy's. Pedestals, actually. I had to go several times - incidentally,
on trips with Donny and George while they bought stuff and I mused over the pedestals - but I finally bought the two pictured
below. They may both need to be cut down - the thicker one, for sure, as it is intended to be my saloon chair for the computer
desk. The other, for the cockpit compass and GPS, I'm not sure.
|I placed the thinner one directly on top of one of the batteries to get an approximation of how high it will be in the cockpit, and it
sort of looks okay. The socket I got for it is a recessed unit so that it will not be an encumbrance (read that, 'toe breaker') on the
cockpit sole if the little pedestal is removed and stored below the cockpit seat while not in use. Now to the two compasses. I love
the classic look of the much older compass, and the fact that it's magnetic compensator case isn't cracked in a hundred places,
but the larger compass has a much larger and easier to read card. I will most likely salvage what I can from the older compass
and leave it in the 'free' rack and use the larger unit. Or, on the other hand, I can just sell the older one 'as is' and make use of the
other. I will have to cut the old mount system off the larger one and mount it differently. By the way, they are both Danforth
Constellations, so I have to refer to them as 'big' and 'small' because, well, who cares. I'm going to have to trim the top two inches
off the post so I can - HEYYyy! I just got a sweet idea! - Okay, picture this, I make a small tabletop with a hole aft to mount the
compass, mount the GPS right on top of the post on its pivoting mount, and place two drink holders just forward of that! I'm
liking it - as long as I can still easily pop it up from the sole and stow it under the seat. I'll install the wiring inside the post and
have a plug in the socket on the sole. I'll also make a watertight plug to place in the socket when it's not in use.