|September 7, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
1.) Make patterns for fiberglass panels. Done
2.) Make and install all remaining border pieces in ceiling.
3.) Install 'dryer' bilge pump. Working
4.) Install engine bilge catch-net.
5.) Install shower sump pump.
6.) Install new raw water pump. Done
7.) Cut out and hang wall panel. Done
8.) Mount and connect Inverter, battery charger and ST6000 Autopilot.
9.) Use Eddie's ( borrowed ) Sawzall to trim cabin side boards.
I really have to wait to see what happens with Jim's neighbor on the pulley job before I can get too carried away making the
alternator belt tensioner, so I pulled it off the list for now and inserted installing the new raw water pump in it's place. I need to
get that done so I can adjust the raw water pump inlet hose to make clearance for the dryer pump. Then I can install and wire
that, then the bilge net.
The FRP pebble panel is waiting on the dock for me to tape the paper pattern onto and cut. If the wind gives me a break today,
that will be among the first orders of business. I also have to replace the wire on my windlass remote. It needs to be about 6 feet
longer. Originally, I ran it through the cabintop hatch, but running it from the battery switch box makes it a tad short. I dug an
extra ( almost new 100 foot ) extension cord I was scrapping out of the bag of Scrap All wire and cut the ends off it. I'll cut what I
need from it and send the rest and the old remote wire back into the bag.
I copied the backups of my writing onto two of the 500 Gig hard drives this morning. I lost A LOT of stuff when the old 80 gig
committed Sipiku and spilled it's guts on my desktop. Rats. So, I'll write it again, better this time.
I made the 'make patterns' job strictly for the aft port cabin bulkhead so I can move along on that. I mounted the new raw water
pump and had to make a completely new mounting system because it is larger than the old pump. I have the mastic drying
outside right now as a test to see how well it's going to work, but my feeling is, 'it'll be fine - just do it'. I'm going to have to shut
down the computer and all boat power to disconnect shore power and install that panel. I also have that small area of rot at the
bottom of the companionway door hinge that I'm going to take care of as well.
|And there it is - Frankenwall - what a mess. I opened up the
mastic and had to cut a solid 1/2 inch hardened skin off the top.
It was VERY difficult to work with and got all over everything (
include 'Ben' in 'everything' ) and was a nightmare all the way
through. I had just enough FRP to complete the wall and I had to
borrow a little paint thinner off RJ to do the clean up. That is IT
with the FRP. It is too much trouble and surely not worth the
cost and effort. I will do something else in the head. I really don't
mind all the ugly on this particular wall because It will be
crowded with devices.
Ham came down the dock and blasted everyone for having too
much crap on the dock again, then sent Paul out laughing to tell
me I had too much stuff on the dock again.
I know, I know, I'll clean it off. Nothing in my situation has
changed since the last time I had to clean it off. I'm still building
a boat and I'm still going to push the envelope around me as hard
as I can for as long as I can until I get it done. No secret and no
apologies. I have no options.
I'm taking a ride to Sarasota with Geoff in the morning to get his
sail back from the loft. We were going to load all the Scrap All
stuff in his truck and do that, too, but it's too much work and I'd
rather do it later. I might need to dig out a little more of the shore
power cabling to connect the shore power connector and the
inverter to the electric panel.
|September 8, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Today, after we get back from Sarasota, I will reveal to the world Geoff's new invention ideas - no, just kidding. He reads this
and I couldn't resist the opportunity to make his eyebrows pop up. Okay, anyway, when I get back to the boat I'll be installing
the battery charger, inverter, inverter selector switch, modifying the output of the inverter, and installing new cabling for both
the inverter and the shore power, as well as all the heavy DC cabling for all these devices. I also need to pick up some
solvent to clean the windlass motor field windings with. Probably mineral spirits. And a chip brush to work it with. I'm also still
involved with getting things ready for the dryer pump and the edge pieces for the ceiling.
1.) Make and install all remaining border pieces in ceiling.
2.) Install 'dryer' bilge pump. Working
3.) Install engine bilge catch-net.
4.) Install shower sump pump.
5.) Mount and connect Inverter, battery charger and ST6000 Autopilot. Working
6.) Use Eddie's ( borrowed ) Sawzall to trim cabin side boards. Done
Today is also the first day that I can realistically start waiting to hear from Jim about his neighbors response to the work request.
I'm trying to get my head around an acceptable price and the break point where I just have to say 'no, thanks' and start looking in
other places. This is not an easy project if you can't just toss a thousand dollars at it - it's pure custom work that requires
expensive machinery and talented, skilled people. I can do the machine work, but I can't go so far as saying that I could produce
an acceptable result if I just had the lathe. The specific problems of where to start and how to hold it to get to where to finish are
things a good machinist already knows and I would have to blunder through.
I've also been working on the electrical panel design and associated problems and need to touch base with something there this
morning. So, before the sun comes up, I need to get into CorelDraw and make a parts diagram and sort out some wiring so I
know which switches to order to facilitate a solution there.
It's noon and I just got back from Sarasota. We also stopped at Petrik's Discount Groceries and got food and Home Depot, where
I got the bucket, chip brushes and paint thinner to carry on with the windlass motor. Now, I have to go out to the truck to get the
extra shore power cable to modify the shore power onboard circuit and the inverter output circuit. Next I come back I'll have
more things done.
The special 'Smart Switch' battery switch I've been saving for something unique is repaired and installed to select which bank the
inverter will be powered from. I can use either, or both, busses and see the voltage right on the switch. I also got the inverter
modified and mounted and the battery charger installed. I still have to make up the 2/0 battery cables and install them, as well as
the battery charger AC cable and the two 12 volt charging cables and ground cable.
|It was in the 90's again today and I ran out of gas
for a while at 3:30 PM. I got back at it by about 5:00
and allowed the stator section of the windlass motor
to drip dry after soaking in the paint thinner for five
hours, with occasional bouts of brushing and
shifting positions. Once it was dry, I placed it in a
bucket of water with plenty of Dawn dish washing
detergent and occasionally did the same thing there.
Meanwhile, I began making the 2/0 battery cables
and connecting the inverter.
Tomorrow I will wire in the Battery charger, on the
right, and run the two ten gauge 115 volt 10/3 cables
to the electrical box location. It's getting closer!
Pretty soon, I'll be laying out and making the big
electrical panel. Oh, yeah! Talk about the home
Well, it's been a long day. It's 8 PM now and I'm
done for the day. See you tomorrow.
|September 9, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Eddie and Sandy left early this morning to go somewhere and do something with Tarquin to celebrate Sandy's birthday. Happy
Birthday Sandy. I slept late this morning and feel great, so I'm going to get right to work and be back later. Meanwhile, the list.
1.) Make and install all remaining border pieces in ceiling.
2.) Install 'dryer' bilge pump. Done
3.) Install engine bilge catch-net.
4.) Install shower sump pump.
5.) Mount and connect Inverter and battery charger. Done (pulled ST6000 for now)
It's 10 AM and I just finished the arthroscopic surgery on the windlass field section to properly install the two brushes. I began
by trying to solder them, but the hear just drew out residual oil in the braided leads. So I removed the plastic coating from two
10 gauge butt splices and made a solid crimp connection, which I covered with 2 layers of shrink tubing. It was during this
process that I believe I found the original problem. I hope so anyway. I fixed it. We won't know until I re-assemble the thing
The dryer pump is now installed - as much of a pain as I imagined, but it's good. I need to install a small thru-hull and run some
5/8 inch hose to it to complete the plumbing. It also needs to be wired to the electrical panel. I also bored two 3/4inch holes to
feed the shore power and inverter output cables to the electrical panel through the hidden wire chases. Which reminds me - I
have to label those two.
Ham brought his new boat to the marina today. I think the wind and the current made it a little hard to maneuver and he needed
a bit of help. By the way, if I ever start talking like Frasier or Niles Crane, it's because I'm also writing dialogue for a Regency era
novel in England. Though I am not actually IN England, there are times when my mind is. And it drools onto the log. I'm really
not a pretentious, overbearing boor - well, not USUALLY - and I certainly have no reason to be, but some of my characters are
and they rub off. It's like hanging with a bad crowd in my head.
It's almost 1:30 and I need to eat and continue on the list.
The battery charger is done. It's quarter til three (Gary US Bonds) and I have a headache. I need to go pick up some stuff at
Walgreen's and coffee at Publix for tomorrow morning. When I get back, I'll put grommets in the corners of the bilge net,
vacuum out the bilge one last time, and install the much ballyhooed net.
Two hours later and I got the stuff I needed, plus the fittings to finish the dryer pump plumbing and that system is now complete
- thru-hull and all. I'm about ready to pick up around the boat and vacuum. The boat needs it badly. All the sawing and drilling
and grinding have the entire vessel in a coat of sawdust and splinters and chunks of wood. I got a lot done so far today. I have a
lot to catch up on, though, but some of it can wait for Marathon. Some can't. I need to cable-tie some of the huge bundles of
wires around the boat and secure a few things, like the bottoms of the aft water tanks. There are a lot of little odds and ends,
some of which I'm doing every day, but I should just make a short list of those items and do a blast-through pass at them all.
No Geoff today. He usually walks Sam every morning and evening down here, but he didn't come today. I think he put his new
sail on Lex Sea and went for a couple of days to try it out.
Jim just called and told me his neighbor, Bill, will make the Pulleys. (YYAAAYY!!) Jim asked me what I thought I should pay for
them and I had to say, "What I SHOULD pay and what I COULD pay are two different things. I have a cap in my head and it's the
number where I have to say, 'Thanks, but no thanks.' That's $200, so I'll offer $150 for the work because the material will cost
about $50. Is it enough?" He said it was, but that Bill asked for a little more metal than the bar minimum, because they would be
hard to hold in the chuck without some extra metal. I increased each piece a full inch and made the order. It came to just under
$80, so, with luck, I'll have a brand new set of fabulous engine pulleys for only (sigh) $230, but at least I'll be able to get
maximum access to the high-output alternator. Oh, well. Boy, that YAY wore off pretty quick.
I got a lot of the boat cleaned up and vacuumed and I'll finish it up tomorrow. I got a lot done today. I'm going to have to sit down
with the windlass motor and get that back together, too. Oh, by the way, it will be at least a month before I see those pulleys. Jim
and Cynthia won't be here until the weekend after next, and Bill is retired and wants the 'challenge' of making these items, so
he'll be taking his time and doing them right.
It's nine o'clock and the president is making a speech on TV, so there's nothing to watch, so I'll play some music and get ready for
|September 10, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
It occurred to me last night, after my girlish glee faded over getting a promise that the pulleys would be made, that the possibility
of an October first departure was now certainly impossible. To tell the truth, I didn't see any possibility of having sails made by
then anyway. I'll be lucky to have the electrical panel in and a floor in the boat. That's only 20 days away. Things like the engine
pulleys and windlass problem have a way of making the brakes screech once in a while. Still, we're only a week into those
roadblocks and already there is light at the end of the tunnel. I LOVE being able to use multiple clichés in a single sentence.
Don't worry - I don't do that in the novels. Todays list:
1.) Put grommets on bilge net and install. Done
2.) Re-assemble windlass motor. Done
3.) Make and install all remaining border pieces in ceiling.
4.) Install shower sump pump.
5.) Mix up some epoxy and start filling small voids in bulkheads. Done
6.) Finish cleaning and vacuuming boat. Working
7.) Begin separating and wrapping tools to ship to kids.
8.) Wire in Dryer pump. Done
9.) Secure bottom corners of aft water tanks. Done
10.) Secure top outboard ends of aft tank fill pipes. Done
11.) Cable-tie big wire bundles in Fuel tank lockers. Done
12.) Go through dock boxes and truck and toss out a ton of extra crap. Done x 2
Okay, looks like a full day to me. I sure won't run out of things to do and I may end up make a posting here every 30 or 40
minutes if I get tired enough to have to sit down that much. That IS why I post a lot on some days - I need to rest or clear my
|The bilge net is in place and done. It's strung fairly tight
because I can't have it loose enough to get involved with the
engine pulleys and belts at a critical time. The dryer pump is the
black unit in the upper left of the picture. It is partially
obstructed ( view only ) by the black pulley on the new Raw
water pump. The crankshaft and water pump pulleys are off the
engine right now and, yes, yes, I will clean up the old rubber
belt dust off the engine before buttoning everything up. Maybe.
I just made up the thickened epoxy and did a good fill
on all the spots. Now I have to wait for it to cure to see
how much more I have to do. I'm going to do the
windlass motor next. I just need a short break and some
water. I just took a second load of extra crap to the
dumpster. To someone who needs the stuff, I'm tossing
a lot of good stock, but after carrying it around for
almost 25 years, the extra is just so much crap to me.
|I just finished the windlass motor and noticed a small thing I didn't like seeing. It looked like a bare wire that was almost
touching the underside of the brush carrier. Since I had to use a special sealer to connect the stator assembly to the bell
housing, I'm going to give that a day or two to cure before opening the back of the unit and testing that circuit. I have a cure it
the unit needs it, and at this point, I'm more than willing to be sure before putting the motor back on and having another
disappointment. My hands are now black with grease and black sealer and dirt. It's no wonder my keyboards run away from
It's 2:45 and the dryer pump is wired and some of the big wire bundles are getting tied. I may crawl into the two fuel tank lockers
next and secure those water tanks and the plumbing and wire bundles there.
Okay, that's done. Now I'm getting seriously tired and in need of R&R.
Espin just showed up. He bought a 27 foot Vega in Ft. Lauderdale with no engine. It's set up for an outboard but the one on it
didn't work, so he told the owner to keep it. He just headed over to the Cortez Kitchen with Geoff to do some drinking. I don't
drink so I rarely attend such gatherings. I used to drink, but I used up all my party chips at a young age and had to stop by order
of God - or die. I stopped.
The last thing I did for the day was to lightly sand both sides of the aluminum panel I'll be making the electrical panel from and
lightly painted one side with some old silver metallic spray paint. It was just to give me a clean surface to lay out the holes and
opening I'll need to cut out to start building it - and to get rid of the last of that paint.
|September 11, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
This is an important anniversary. It will forever live in history beside December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor Day. I wonder what they
will call September 11, 2001? World Trade Center Day? Or something more ominous, so later generations will know how to feel
when they hear it?
I got a lot done yesterday and will be doing the same today. I have decided what to do in the head - for now. I'll do the walls in
Interprotect 2000, an Interlux moisture barrier product that is the most tenacious primer I've ever found, and a couple of coats
of the medium blue that I already have mixed. I'll use the FRP for the ceiling and the under deck area and make the countertop
white as well to balance the medium blue. It's the best I can do right now. I have everything except the FRP and this is the best
way to move forward and get things done.
1.) Make and install all remaining border pieces in ceiling.
2.) Install shower sump pump.
3.) Finish cleaning and vacuuming boat. Working
4.) Begin separating and wrapping tools to ship to kids.
5.) Run power for shower sump pump. Done
6. Install 2" bilge conduit under main stringer and box in.
7.) Check out inside of windlass motor again. Done
The predictions are for rain today so I have to keep on my toes about that of get caught with tools outside. I am also working ( in
my head ) on the woodwork surrounding the electrical panel and the chart table. I will be constructing the chart table/drawer
assembly so it will hinge up off the electrical panel and expose the ice box beneath. Oh, yeah, that's right, I'm going to have to
make electrical accommodations for the refrigeration system. I completely forgot about that. Back to the DC panel.
Well, Jim just called and said that Bill backed out of the deal to make the pulleys. He was all upset and I did what I could to calm
him down and reassure him that I do not hold him responsible in any way. He tried several times to pay me for the material and
it was a job to get him to accept that would allow him to pay for materials that would ultimately go onto my boat. I will now have
to start looking for a machine shop in the area that can do the job and will do it for a reasonable price. The search goes on.
The field windings on the windlass motor are shorted. Rats. That was the problem all along. Here comes the kick in the wallet: I
paid $108 for the parts I already bought. The field barrel comes as one part for $395, for a total of $503. I could have bought a
whole motor for $565. I'll go to the bank and deposit the money from my 'haulout fund' and be done with it. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - (
dramatic pause - - - - - - - - Okay, I'm back from the bank and I just ordered the part. They gave me a 10% discount just because
they knew the cost was hurting me. Great guys. Thanks. I can't complain about the expenses of keeping this windlass working.
It's replacement value is around $4000 and so far, everything included, I'll have a total of about $600 into it.
I got the power run for the shower sump. What a pain. I ran it through the same conduit I put in place for the water pump and
there was JUST BARELY enough room for all 4 wires.
Got a little sidetracked today because of both big items spinning out - the pulleys and the windlass - but, what can you do? Just
deal with it and carry on. I also couldn't find the mild Benadryl/Antihistimine tablets I usually take for the sinus headaches, so I
bought something else that I thought would be the same. It wasn't. It made be drowsy any time I slowed down a little and I
found it impossible to concentrate effectively. Tomorrow is another day and the pulley blanks are on the way. The new stator will
be shipped Monday. I did spend a lot of time thinking about and working on the plans for the electric panel. I just changed it
around some to accommodate the extra angle reinforcement I'm putting on the back to make it super-rigid. And, I've been
working out exactly how I'll mount it and all the cabinetry around it.
|September 12, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Was awakened by torrential rains this morning at about 4:30 AM. I went to bed early last night, so I got up at 5 and started the
day. I closely examined all the recent penetrations where wires were fed through the deck and found just one leaking slightly. It
is the difficult to reach cabin-face location where the foremast wiring is led in. I had it sealed once but tore it out to lead in the
TV antenna that I mounted at the foremast masthead. Man, those two words shouldn't be used together. Anyway, now that I
know, as soon as it stops raining and has enough time to dry out, I'll use a special tool to seal it. It's a huge plunger/syringe thing
a vet uses to squirt medicine down a dogs throat so they can't tongue it up and spit it out. I've had it for years waiting for a
I've spent a lot of time making drawings and figuring out some of the more complex wiring issues today. There will come a time
when I have to order a bunch of switches and fuse holders. I would like to be able to do the whole thing with sweet circuit
breakers, but the cost is fairly prohibitive. Yeah. That pause was me double checking with a new online supplier I'm shopping
right now. $28 each and up. Too much, and since some of my applications require 4 pole double throw switches, that definitely
leaves circuit breakers out of the picture.
|September 13, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I have been up since 6:30 but have not done anything on this site. I have 'THE' headache again and have mostly worked on
electrical schematics and adjusting the layout of the electrical panel. It appears I will have to spend about $230 plus tax and
shipping for all the switches and fuse holders I still need. I still have to adjust the door layout on the DC side as some of the
switches I'm using are 4-pole units that are almost 1 1/2 inches wide. I'll have to double check the exact location of each switch
so there are no interference problems once I've ( shudder ) drilled all the holes.
|September 14, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Okay, I just tossed the pills out. They did little to nothing for the headache and actually created a sort of clinical depression in
me. I'd forgotten that. I found that out in my first year of sobriety in the winter of 1986, when I used 12 hour cold capsules for
one of my - then, typical - winter colds. They turned me into a mental mess. When I was talking to a girl in the program about it,
she said, "Are you using those 12 hour cold capsules? I can't use them because they put me into a depression that takes a month
to get out of." Bingo. I haven't used them since. It turns out what I picked up at Walgreen's was a mild version of the same. So,
they are in the trash. They were antihistamine and not Benadryl. I'm all better now.
I'm going to have more wiring to do. I had to get bilge pumps working to finish the bilge work and 'hot-wired' them to the Engine
buss. They have to be fused to be safe and they have to have control from the electrical panel. It's a small thing, but it has to be
The rain has stopped and the world is drying out. I have to use the engineering drawing for the switches I'm buying and go over
the layout on the DC panel so I don't drill holes in places where the switches won't fit.
|September 16, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I think it's almost time for me to start putting lists up so I get back to forward momentum. I am hoping to see the aluminum
come in today and Eddie is going to take a ride with me over to Dean Johnson's machine shop and see if I can get these pulleys
made. I also just remembered another circuit I have to provide a switch for that I've overlooked - the gallows lantern circuit. I ran
a 3 conductor cable from there to the electrical panel, but didn't place a switch anywhere on the panel or order a switch for it.
That part is fine - I have a switch I can use - but, now I have to include it in the panel drawings. Be right back.
Okay, that worked out perfectly. There was one spot left in exactly the right place. I also printed out another print and stapled the
package together - hoping to be able to get to Dean Johnson's today. Right now, I have to regroup and see where I'm going next
I've spent most of the day outside talking with Eddie, then Geoff, then Eddie, and then went to the office and got the aluminum
that got delivered. Eddie and I will head over at 1 PM because Dean eats from 12 till 1. I SO hope this works out. It will feel like
getting over a huge hump in the road. And the windlass, and the raw water pump - all done and behind me.
I did a little research over the past month to account for the money I've spent and it comes to $1800, not counting fuel for the
truck, rent, phone bill, food and all normal monthly expenditures. It can't be helped. Push has come to shove and the boat has to
be finished for cruising and I mean NOW.
It's 2:30 PM and I just got back from Dean Johnson's machine shop. He seems like a great guy and he has taken the job. All I
have to do now is wait for him to call for me to pick them up. All in all, I'm pretty psyched. Of course, I'm also jaded enough to
have a reserve of acceptance for a phone call that says he's changed his mind. Like Yogi Berra said, "It ain't over 'till it's over."
Now, I'll be needing a nice, new stator assembly from Ideal Windlass, please.
|September 19, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
It's a little bit late on Saturday morning for me to be starting the log, but I've been real busy this morning and have gotten a lot
done. Naturally, I've been out on the docks talking with Paul and Randy and Geoff and Joe, but I've also gotten a lot done on It's
a little bit late on Saturday morning for me to be starting the log, but I've been real busy this morning and have gotten a lot the
preparation for making the electrical panel. The delays have been very beneficial so far, as I have changed things considerably
from where I first started - layout-wise - and I'm liking the developing panel better all the time. I've just tried printing out color
sections, all marked with center-punch positions and circuit names. I'll have a chance to try out various colors for the final
versions on photo paper before settling on the final colors. I've also decided to give some more thought to the final color of the
electrical panel itself. I kind of really have an open palette there as it really doesn't have to be anything but whatever I want. I'm
thinking of using the new Krylon Spray paint in the 'tag' cans. It's pretty darn impressive when you come right down to it and
there is a huge selection of colors. I guess once I settle on the main panel color, it will be easier to work out the switch group
colors. I have to do the 'switch group' blocks because it's the only rational way for me to get the circuits all named my way in a
common font and appearance. Professional engraving is financially unavailable and all other 'homespun' methods are more tacky
than I'm willing to suffer. I'll post some examples later in the day.
|I'm starting to think something like this. I got carried away with colors until it was clownish. I'm over that.
I can not wait to hear from Dean Johnson and get those pulleys so I can move ahead on the boat! And the windlass motor!
Where is the windlass motor? Oh, did I mention that I got the stuff from Allied Electronics through the mail?
|September 20, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I'm going to start laying out and cutting the electrical panel today, beginning with digging out the metals, fasteners, sealers and
tools I'll be needing. I already have the Interlux 2000 primer and Largo Blue paint, so that will work for the panel, and I'll work
with the printer to produce, as close as possible, either the Ice Blue deck color or Medium Blue bilge color, and use it for the
lettering panels. I have also decided to use my last battery switch to select which buss for the panels DC supply. For a while, I
considered placing it on the bottom of the AC door, but it's too 'goiter-ish' there, so it's going on the wall beside the panel instead.
Which reminds me - I have to get the wood out of the truck that I've been saving in case I ever needed a piece of wood. I'll be
needing to panel the hull behind the electrical panel - and beside it - so I can mount stuff there. I will probably squirt in some
'Great Stuff' foam behind the panels to prevent little 'outdoor' critters from finding a home there. I just have to be careful there's
room for the expanding foam to escape where I can trim it smooth, rather than have it bust the panels off the hull.
Tomorrow starts another series of days where I wait for a call from Dean Johnson and wonder why he hasn't called yet.
|September 21, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|The panel is coming along. The thin
black line 6 1/2 inches from the
bottom is where the chart drawer will
be hanging, so the face of the panel
will stop there. The two doors are cut
out and all the pilot holes in the doors
are drilled. The square - or
'rectangular' - blocks on the AC door
still need to be cut out, and all the
instrument holes in the top panel. All
the colored panels and the white
schematics at the top are actual size
versions I printed out on the computer
and taped in place on the blank panels.
So far, I'm pretty pleased with the way
it's coming out. Once all the holes are
drilled and everything is smoothed and
de-burred, I'll cut all the angle and 'C'
rail and attach them to the panel to
make a super solid structure that will
serve me forever. Unless I sell the
boat. Anyway, after that, the entire
structure gets primed with Interlux
2000 epoxy and painted by hand, then
assembled and installed.
|September 7, 2009 - October 1, 2009
|September 22, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Slowly, ever so slowly, the days crawl by as I await the much ballyhooed call from Dean Johnson. And the part for the windlass
motor. And the end of the month so I won't feel so completely broke. But, hey! What are ya gonna do? Life goes on and I've got
plenty to do. I went back outside last evening and cut all the rectangles out and drilled all the other holes to full size. Then I
stripped the mask and patterns off the doors and de-burred all the round holes.
By the time I was done cutting and drilling yesterday, I had a knee-deep pile of metal chips on the dock that had to be cleaned up.
That was a bit of a pain - those little buggers like to hold on to rough wood pretty good. I also need to take a run to the post office
today to see if the windlass part is there yet. Ideal sent me a tracking number that cannot be used on any website in existence, so
it's of very limited use to me. In fact, the only thing I CAN do with it is point at it and say, "That's the tracking number." But it
does very little to relieve the situation. The sun is rising and I need to get started.
|Most of what I have done today is cutting and filing
aluminum to make the backbone frame for the panel. There
are 14 pieces in all - so far - but 8 of them are the little
splicer blocks that I'm using to stiffen up the whole thing.
They were actually the hardest part of the assembly to
make. The panel is face up but the framework is face down
lying on top of it.
Next, I have to re-measure for the top row of holes in the
panel and get to cutting those out. Then - and it's something
I'm working on in my head as I go - I need to formulate an
exact pattern of assembly of the entire metal structure so I
make the smallest mess possible with the 5200 adhesive
during the process. 5200 creates legendary disasters if not
treated with the ultimate respect. Grown men have run
amuck, screeching and waving their arms as they disappear
over the horizon. It's a real threat. Fortunately, that has
already happened to me, so I'm immune now. I've had my
dose of 5200-itis.
|Believe it or not, there was a lot of work to get to this point.
You see all those rectangular holes? I was a bit too
conservative when cutting them out and it took me at least
an hour, maybe more, to Dremel and file each one out so
the circuit breakers would fit in. I also covered the dock
with tiny needles of aluminum - as well as my shoes and
my shorts - and I've been picking the nasty little splinters
out of the bottom of my feet for hours. I don't care - the
panel is coming along well. I now need to drill 16 quarter
inch holes in the face, countersink them for some sweet
1/4 20 flathead screws, then drill and tap the 1/4 x 1 inch
splicer bars and install them. Once everything is assembled
- oh, yeah, there are two small areas of interference from
the angle to the mounting holes - the first voltmeter in the
upper left, and the radio mount at the far right - that I have
to deal with - anyway, then I'll carefully take it all apart and
lay it out, 5200 each piece and re-assemble the whole
thing. At that time
|I will also attach the doors. So, it's coming along. No rain today, knock on wood.
|September 23, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I finally called Dead Johnson - talked to Amber - and she said that the smaller pulley was almost done and he'd be starting on the
larger one today or something. She said he might be done by Friday or maybe next Monday or so. I told her, 'Fine. That's great. I
just didn't want to be worried about where my phone was until then.' As you guys know, I've been hovering over it like a vulture
over a dying man for the past week. Now, I can relax a little not always have it in my pocket.
In case someone has noticed, yes, it is true, I marked and drilled one hole wrong. You're right, it is a tragedy, but I'm working on
a suitable solution, even though I am reeling and a sick to my stomach. If you look at the little switch hole between the two fuel
gauge holes next to the radio, you'll notice that it's exactly 1/4 inch off center. Yep, that's right. I screwed the pooch. Rats. Now I
have to fix it. I actually have a plan. We'll see how well it works later.
I'm not sure I need lists just now. I sort of know what I have to do today. More lists will come later on.
I fixed the off-center hole as easy as breaking sticks. I cut a piece of 3/8 inch aluminum rod about 5/32 inch long and drilled out
the wandering hole to 3/8 inch. I then put my 3 pound sledge behind the hole as a buck, put the little disc into the hole and
flattened it with a little 10 ounce hammer until it was flat to the surface. Naturally, it expanded like a rivet and made a perfect
plug for the hole. I used a sanding drum on the Dremel to polish it off. I rock. All the holes are drilled, but now I have to
countersink 16 of them. Then a deep breath and clean up EVERYTHING and take it apart and de-burr everything for assembly. I
should be able to get it together today.
|A couple of things slowed me down a bit today, but they
just had to be done. Fixing wacko hole was one. The big one
was the countersinking, then cutting down some of the
splices, drilling all the holes and de-burring, but the hand
tapping of 16 holes just takes time. As you see the panel
now, all the temporary rivets are out and the whole thing is
being held together by the splicer plates and the 16 screws.
A close look will show that it's wet because it just started
raining. I am on board now to wait that out. Even so - oh,
yeah, I had to run out and get 34 more stainless rivets.
Anyway, even so, it's past 4 PM right now, so I'll probably
clean up and get ready for tomorrows 'take apart/put
together' marathon. Once that's done, it will need to cure
for a day, then start getting painted. With a little weather
cooperation I could have this ready to install in the boat
before the pulleys get here. Or the windlass motor. Or
Espin who is not even off the dock on the other side of the
state yet. Oh, well.
|September 24, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I finally got my last medical shipment from the VA for the year. It's not much - not medication, thank God - but at least I can stop
waiting for that. I'm still hoping to see the windlass stator someday, but I'm busy so it isn't a problem. It has been 13 days since I
ordered it and 11 days since it was shipped - supposedly. I wonder if they realized that a lone sled dog could have had it here three
days ago pulling a little red wagon? . . . . . . The dots represent a dramatic pause as I scoured all my email accounts for an email
from them saying it was shipped. I KNOW I had one, but I must have accidentally deleted it. I might give them a call today. Who
knows. I don't need it now.
I know either one or the other of you is wondering how I got diverted from 'the list' scenario to 'the panel' and the reason is this:
finishing - or even, moving forward - on many of these projects requires that I am able to power them up and give them the old
'shake down' run. That REALLY has to happen for the water system before I dare put this floor down. If I have to tear up a brand
new floor to fix a minor leak I should have known about before putting the floor down, I will drag myself out on the dock and
kick my ass, and know I had it coming all along. And I will call myself bad names while tearing up the new floor. It's better this
|I took the whole thing apart and labeled the splice bars and laid everything out on the cleaned table. Then I completely de-burred
all the panels and pieces on both sides and sanded all the paint and marks off the panels. I borrowed Eddies sawhorses and
squirted a complete pattern of 5200 on the back side of the main panel, laying each piece where it belonged as I went. I only
screwed up one piece - the very center piece between the doors - I put it upside-down and had to correct it during the riveting
stage. Next, I gooped all the splicer bars and put them in position, then started every screw. I turned the assembly over and
tightened all the screws, using a wrench on the big screwdriver to cinch them down tight. Then I put all the rivets into the holes -
that's when I discovered the center post was upside down and corrected it - and like to wore out my hands and forearms popping
73 stainless steel rivets.
In the first picture where I was just showing the cleaned and sanded panels, you can see THE WINDLASS MOTOR PART at the
bottom. It must have come yesterday because Paul found it in the office this morning and told me about it, then opened the
office so I could get it.
The 5200 needs to cure a little more before I can trim the excess off and rivet the doors on.
|The panel is just about finished as far as assembly goes.
There is still some 5200 to clean off and I'll need to dry-fit
a lot of stuff so I don't have too much wrestling to do with a
finished, painted panel. I also need to finalize the
configuration for holding the AC circuit breakers in. I have
some ideas, but will sort them out during the dry-fit.
The windlass motor is also assembled and ready to be
I found a radio that will be fine for this panel at West
Marine for only $99. It's made by Uniden and so is the
West Marine radio I already have mounted in the cockpit.
The two items are almost completely identical. It'll be fine
for what I want. I only need to monitor weather stations
and do some minor communicating while at the chart
table, and it's good to be able to monitor weather
sometimes while hanging out below.
|September 25, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Today will be a 'putting together' day. I may clean up the panel and blast a coat of Interprotect on it to protect the exposed
aluminum, then get the windlass back together and tested, and THEN start fitting things into the panel and sorting out the
circuit breaker mounting situation. One way or another, there's plenty to do today.
Mass clouds of gnats eating away at us on the dock earlier, so I came back inside and made good progress with Ubuntu. I'm
getting a little better at it. When I went back outside, I trimmed off more 5200 and almost have the panel where I want it for
primer. I also did the dry-fit thing and it all worked out right, and I'm pretty sure of exactly how I'm going to attach the AC circuit
breakers. I've gone over the problems with both Geoff and Jim, the electrician, and they both think my method will be fine. So do
I. I need to run out now and get a few special fasteners.
|Here we are after the sun has come out again, tools and panel drying out. Ask me if it's as steamy as an Amazon jungle. Yes, yes,
it is. The panel is over it's dry-fit and the AC circuit breakers are all mounted and I like it. Tomorrow will have to be soon enough
for the first coats of primer and paint. I can't risk more rain today. Time to put the windlass motor in. The windlass is all together
and lubed - which is a special little pain, having to squirt 90W gear oil uphill with a veterinary plastic hypo and a tiny plastic tube
until it flows back out the hole - but I haven't tested it yet because . . . . while I was waiting for the motor, I decided to re-do the
remote cable and switch and took it apart, where it is now, apart. I'll do it soon. I always do.
4:05 PM and no call from Dean, so next week. Good enough. I'm busy. Ham came by today while I was working and eyed me and
Falcon with scorn. Yes, I said it, scorn. Can't be helped - the crap is either on the dock or on the boat - I'm not backing off now
and I can't find a way to please him. If he throws me out, all I can do is leave as soon as I can and that's that. It's not like I don't
want to. It's coming.
|September 26, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I hope I'll be able to get a coat of primer and one or two coats of finish paint on the panel today. I'm also starting to look at the
situation around mounting it and beginning to build in the structure around it. I think I need to add a spacer between the
bulkhead and the forward edge of the panel so there is plenty of room for the desktop on the front to swing up without rubbing
on the bulkhead.
I wonder how much more money Dean Johnson will want for the pulleys. I'm just a tad nervous about that. I hope I'm at the
present end of these pricey humps - I don't have the financial traction to deal with another one. And I hope this weather cools off
some day. We are still in the nineties every day. Even the early mornings are hot and clammy.
The panel is primed and I've got it out in the sun to harden up good. I used the Interlux 2000 in white and it gets to be a pain as
it thickens in the paint tray in this heat. The forgiving thing is that it flattens out and shrinks as it hardens - it's an epoxy with a
tenacious grip on all things - and I have no intention of sanding it, so I hope it flattens out good. Later in the day I'll clean up the
other stuff I'm working on and put the panel on the table in the shade and roll and tip a good coat of the Largo Blue on it. After
that has a good day or so to dry, I might lightly sand it and put on a final, finish coat. You can get away with slightly heavier coats
if your project is laying flat on it's back and there's no chance of runs, so two coats should do it. After that comes assembly and
|The other thing I'm working on right now is the remote control for the windlass. Before, it was just a bare switch hanging on the
end of a wire, but now it will be a fine, 'molded to the hand' piece of nautical artwork which will make the switch much harder to
change, almost guaranteeing frequent failures. Finished item pictures sure to follow.
|The remote is done - at least, that end of it, I still have to connect the other end - and I've blasted a coat of Largo Blue on the
panel. The panel's finish is not what I might have hoped for - the primer failed to flatten out as much as I would have liked -
but I just can't take the time now to make it better. It will have to do. I have bigger fish to fry and it doesn't have to win ribbons
to do the job. The truth is, it looks just fine as it is. I want to get one more good coat of blue on it this afternoon so I can start
working on assembling and installing it.
I got the second coat of blue on the panel and it's ready for installation and assembly. It's not a great finish, but it's blue and it's
done. The remote cord is done and I just have to re-do one last connector - actually, all I have to do is install a rubber boot over
that connector and double check to be sure 'UP' is really 'UP' and the same with 'DOWN'. There's only so many things a windlass
Next thing will be to start getting that panel mounted. Big hump. Almost done. Pretty soon I'll have to get back to the lists.
|September 27, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
It is already 10:45 AM and I haven't accomplished much. I did get the name tags done and printed, but that's about all. I'm going
to get those on the panel and finish the windlass and give that a test.
|The light reflections and flash make the panel look worse than it
really does, but it's coming along. My next task is wrapping up
the windlass. I need to get that done before the golf starts
because I'm going to watch the last round of the Cup
The windlass works better than it ever has. One big one, over
and done. I am now formulating the sequence of steps in the
installation and assembly of panel. All the various pieces of
wood for the substructure and how they should be installed. The
whole thing is coming together in my head and I'll be starting to
cut wood and install it soon. Like today.
The whole thing has been coming together in my head. I cleaned
out the area and will vacuum it tomorrow and start taking
measurements and marking things. I'll also have to do a minor
'shorten' on the water tank fill hose. It's being unruly and needs
to be taken down a notch.
|September 28, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
This could be a big day. Here we are in the beginning of the third week of Dean Johnson having the pulley project. Any time,
Amber might call and tell me the pulleys are ready. Then, I have the long slow drive over to worry about how much they'll cost. If
it's too much, I'll leave them what I have and have to wait for the turn of the month for the VA check. Whatever. One way or
another, the second big hump will be resolved and behind me and the next is in the works - the entire boats electrical system.
Once the electrical systems begin to come alive and the panel becomes increasingly functional, a number of big Domino's begin
to topple. The water system can be finalized, so the floor can go in and the head can be finished. I can complete the holding tank
and install the water heater and the water maker. Finishing off the head will be HUGE. That marks the point at which I can leave
the dock and stand inspections by the Coast Guard and other agencies. I'll need to make sure I have all the required registration
and safety equipment to leave the dock, but that's not a problem. I think I'm just about all set in that respect.
It's almost 11 AM and I've already gotten a lot done. I ground and sanded a 3/4 inch by 7 inch by 5 foot teak plank Jay gave me
and it's a sweet piece of lumber. I'm going to use it to edge the electric panel as I mount it. I also repaired a second 100 foot
extension cord so I could stop using the 10 gauge one that makes it look like I have two 30 Amp service cords plugged in. I
originally gave that one to Randy, then Henry started getting pretty horny for it because Randy left it out on the dock. Henry
started using it, so I took it back because I felt that he was about to pinch it when he left in any day (back then). So I've been
using it, because I took my excellent 12 gauge extension cord and cut it up and strung it through Falcon for some of the wiring. I
needed some 12-3 cord. Now, I have the 100 foot cord fixed and it's fine, so I'll give the big cord back to Randy.
I've gotten the sub-structure laid out and designed and I can start cutting and installing wood any time.
I just got the call from Amber. The pulleys are ready and they need another $276 and change. Well, that's $76 and change more
than I have. Luckily, we're only 2 days from the end of the month, so it won't be long. Damn. Okay. Breath deeply. It'll cure what
ails the boat and that's what counts. It could have been worse. So all told, let's see, $456 for the pulleys, $506 for the windlass,
just about $500 for the panel, $300 for the raw water pump, $300 for epoxy, and I would say, conservatively speaking, another
$400 for miscellaneous materials and supplies, just since the 12th of last month. It adds up to just under $2500, which seems
I am a few screws and a few small holes away from hanging the panel. I'll go find some screws right now and bring the drill back
inside with them - and a clamp - and put the thing in.
|And there it is - Dr. Hyde and Mr. Panel.
The decision to use the materials I had
on hand to prime and paint it were,
unfortunately, responsible for a terrible
finish. Under the circumstances, I just
had few options. I'm out of
money right now and there are no
acceptable options. I suppose I could go
into prostitution or being a highly paid
secret agent - maybe Batman - I could try
being Batman, but. . . . . . no, those jobs
are all filled by people from India
who phone it in. Oh, well. It'll do the job
and I'll be off and cruising. All it has to do
to suit me is work, and it works just fine.
It's in and mounted - though I still have
more structure to put around it, and I'm
thinking seriously about installing a
temporary table and seat in front of it to
facilitate assembly and wiring. In truth,
aside from the finish, I'm pretty pleased
It's after 4 PM and I'm a tad tuckered out,
so this is probably it for the day.
|September 29, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Today will be another day of sliding around on the curve of the bilge as I struggle to get more structure built around the panel.
It's sorting itself out, though. I like these days where I plug in a whole array of circular saws, sabre saws, drills, grinders and
other power tools capable of dismembering a body, and tear up a big pile of wood that I've been dragging around for years. It's
awesome. The truck gets lighter. The boat gets closer to finished. The amount of material I have to move back and forth, take out
and put away, spread out and clean up, gets smaller and smaller in leaps and bounds.
It's 5 PM and I'm about to lay off for the day - or a little while - I might start putting in the temporary steps and seat to make
wiring the panel easier. I got all the top woodwork done. The panels behind and beside the electric panel, and I closed in the open
end of the panel and installed the last piece of teak - rats, I was at Home Depot getting the gloss white wall paint and forgot to get
a small can of varnish for the teak around the panel. Oh, well. It can wait. I talked to both RJ, who is a professional painter, and
my son Matt, who worked in Home Depot in the past, and asked them both about regular paints they found suitable for inside
the boat. RJ pointed out many areas inside his boat that he'd used house paint on ( for the same reason as me - money ) and they
still looked great and that boat has had a good run through the mill. Some time in the future I might strip the stuff off and
replace it with layers of dollar bills in the form of ultra-high cost marine paints, but only if I have to.
I'm about one quick jump from installing the floor in the area I'm working in now. It occurred to me today that the reason for not
installing the floor in the center saloon doesn't play either forward or aft. I can put the floor down in these areas now and stop
balancing along the frames.
|October 1, 2009 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
The money is coming back into my account and the check is there, so I'll go get the pulleys today and get started with installing
them and making a new alternator adjuster. I might also need to get two new belts - probably a good idea - But I'll use a single
old belt to get the adjuster made and use it as a guide to size the new belts. I might also need to get a new belt for the raw water
pump and make up a new adjuster for it as well. These details have really had to wait until I had the new pulleys on the engine.
I went down to Home Depot and got a gallon of the new Kilz yesterday. It is a good product and I think it will work well for what
I'm using it for. Time will tell. The price is an amazing $16. If these two products actually work well in the head I will be
astounded. By 'work well' I mean, last longer than three months. 'Work incredible' would mean lasting for years. It's possible.
The head on a liveaboard boat gets no worse treatment than the bathroom in a house. Boat interiors suffer MUCH worse when
they are shut up and left for 6 months at a time. Then mold grows and rot starts and all manner of free ranging critters creep
around inside eating and pooping at will. Yes, it gets the treatment of an abandoned garden shed and it responds the same way -
by rotting away.
By the end of today I may be back into the 'list' mode to step up the progress. One thing I'm a little nervous about is that I'm
going to have to securely cover all things precious ( read 'computer and TV ) and take out the big grinder and palm sanders and
blast these interior walls into flat submission. Then, I will probably have to mix up some epoxy fairing filler and give them all a
touch-up coat, then sand again. It will mean a better look to the finished painted walls, and a thick layer of dust over the entire
inside of the boat. Well, it needs to be done. I can only stand so much 'Franken-finish' in here or I'll start having nightmares
when I sleep. You wouldn't believe how much easier this work is if you don't live inside the phone booth you're refinishing.
|The pulleys are to the left, but then, you
knew that. I just got back from picking them
up. They gave me a little break on the price
and it was greatly appreciated. The pulleys
are great and I'm about to get started on the
installation. More pics to follow.
I made two little errors on the pulley prints
resulting in a bit of fine fitting work. One of
the 4 mounting holes on the big pulley was
offset on the original and I missed it, so one
bolt hole needed to be elongated sideways
about an eighth of an inch. On the smaller
pulley, I called out the bolt hole circle
diameter in inches instead of metric and all
three bolt holes needed to be elongated
toward center a little less than 1/16 of an
inch. No problem. It just took a few minutes
and the pulleys are mounted.
I went out and got belts and will continue
with the alternator adjuster, then make an
entirely new mount for the raw water pump.
I'm gaining on it and it's looking good.
|The pulleys are installed and the alternator adjuster is made and installed. All the new belts are on and all that is left to do is the
final mounts for the new raw water pump - with special adjustment function - and I just figured out how to do it, so that will be
quick work tomorrow. I like my new pulleys. They are awesome. I'll need to pull out each bolt one at a time and put thread-lock
on them, but that's all.