|July 19, 2011 - October 4, 2011
|Friday, July 22, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
The crap hole that is my boat needs to be cleaned extensively, and these last construction jobs need to be finished. The stove has
to be cleaned and re-installed and the hanging locker wants to be done and made use of.
Work on the shelves beneath the cooktop was more difficult than I could have imagined. In the first place, I decided the only
right way to do it was to rip out an important part - carefully - and replace it with an alternative which would not interfere with
storage beneath the counter. The next chore was to design a suitable arrangement possible to construct with the materials I had
|The shelves need sanding and finishing, and there will be some blue bungy strung across the front to hold the containers in
place. I can only fit two of the containers Kim and Monica gave me into the reefer without losing too much space, so I'm giving
three of them back. I'll get one more just like the other one I have. They are the green flats on the counter. The same counter that
became a workbench today.
|Sunday, July 24, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|After digging out all the propane components on board, I
assembled a plan and cleaned up and installed the stove. The
counter in the rear will hold the few remaining food containers
and the spices and condiments.
Tomorrow I will dive into the horror of running the propane
hose and the new wiring to power up the GPS and cockpit VHF
radio. Oh, yeah, and the VHF antenna lead in from the mast.
Cleaning up the boat and completing these installations are all I
need to do to be ready. And scrape the hull. Tuesdays job. And
put the sails on.
|Monday, July 25, 2011 - Seafood Shack
Marina - Cortez, Florida
|Thursday, July 28, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I did not post yesterday, though I wrote the Log entry above and went about doing other things. This morning, I put 4 of the
diesel jugs in Don's car and we went out and I got diesel fuel - 19 gallons.
|Randy had the fuel delivery truck come by and I took advantage
by loading up my 5 five gallon fuel jugs in the dock cart and
getting 27 more gallons of fuel into Falcon. (Each jug was
topped up all the way.) I now have - wait, I have to go back and
Okay, on March 2nd I did a calculation after adding 50 gallons
of fuel to the tanks - which I measured and calculated should be
holding 13.5 gallons - and should now be holding 63 gallons.
Add the 27 gallons today and I should have 90 gallons.
However, the 'measurement math' totals it to 81 gallons. The
tanks are rated at 50 gallons each and are perfectly rectangular
shapes with a depth of 22 inches. Do that math and you come
up with 2.27 gallons per inch. The measuring sticks show 21 and
14.5 inches, which translates to 80.68 gallons.
The photo on the left displays the inconsistency between the
dimensional math and the reality. Both the sides and ends of
the tanks bulge considerably when filled, allowing for what now
appears to be a 10% increase in capacity at full load. I believe I
can fit another 20 gallons - total - in the tanks and have 110
gallons of fuel capacity on board. I'm not a fan of the distortion
of the tanks and after this will refrain from topping them up.
Unless I can discover a reasonable way to reinforce them
without having to take them out of the boat again. They are a
huge pain in the ass to remove and re-install. Probably more so
now with the reefer completed.
|Friday, July 29, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I gave Don the 4 five gallon diesel jugs Mike gave me. I figured he'd need them before I did. I have the one little squat unit I got
in Marathon. It fits perfectly on my little 2-wheeler and will always be enough to get me about 50 miles, without sails. I can also
make multiple trips, like I did at Marathon. By the way, my 'full tank' capacity is really at least 110 gallons. It looks as though I
might be able to get as much as another 5 gallons in there, but I wouldn't want to try it.
I bailed out the dinghy and tied it up differently to reduce chafe on the cheap poly painter. I like the 1/2 inch poly. It's easy to
hand and very strong and cheap. There is no need to try to wring extra time from it - just use it and pass it on or toss it out.
|Saturday, July 30, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I ran a jumper wire to the third Caframo fan, now mounted on the bulkhead over the computer chair, and it seems to work well
without too much noise. I don't know if I'll be able to live with these fans or not. They'll have to do for now and I'll replace them
with newer models down the road.
|Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I started by removing all the canvas from the boat and rolling a good coat of Thompson's Waterproofing on it. It darkens the
material temporarily - probably for as long as it's working. We'll see. This is my first time working with the stuff. I have about
half a gallon left to apply more when the side liners are made and installed and the canvas is sealed and back on the boat.
The strips in the foreground are starting to dry and the farthest is not quite done. I had to let it dry some and move it left to
One of the little irritating things has been the way the canvas on the sides of the hardtop do not hold shape. It makes them look
more raggedy than I'm willing to live with. Especially since I intend to mount the cockpit VHS up in that area and the two GPS
Chartplotters. Why 2 GPS Units? Because I have them, and it allows me to have one zoomed way out and the other zoomed in
|I started by getting 4 empty pickle buckets and cutting the tops and bottoms off them. Then I split them into 2 pieces each, top to
bottom, and started fitting and riveting them one at a time to the hardtop frame. When I had 4 on each side, only attached at the
top, and beneath the canvas rails, the shape looked good. It took all day in the burning sun, but at least I'm working again.
|Tomorrow I will start early and get the framework sealed with Alex Seal and get the canvas re-installed. The next thing will be to
mount the cockpit electronics and run the wires and power them up. Next thing you know, Bob's your uncle and the boat storage
areas are re-packed and the boat gets cleaned, for real.
|Thursday, August 4, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|I got to work early getting the canvas back on the sides of the hardtop. Pictures are on the preceding page. I used Alex Plus as a
sealer. I like it. It's cheap and works excellent. It also has a 35 year outdoors rating. No doubt it is the same kind of rating
Insurance Companies give themselves on TV commercials - not worth the ink it took to print it - but it still gives me a warm, cozy
feeling which will last until the crap fails.
It's 10:50 AM and I have to go back out into the furnace and lay siege to one or two more strips of canvas. By the way, if you
notice the unsightly wrinkles at the lower edges of the side panels, I have a cure for them and will be applying it later.
|The center strip and forward sunshade attachment are now installed and gooed to death. I will wait for plenty of time to pass
before stressing the seams. The tube says 7 to 14 days. That means the heat inside Falcon will be my constant companion for at
least a week. I don't want to stretch the middle section tight until the Alex Plus has cured completely. I'll do a few other jobs
during that time.
|A quick tuck and tie took most of the loosey goosey look off the bottom edges of the canvas side panels. The aft lower corners
may require a little more work to remove all the wrinkles. A job for another day. All I want to do is to finalize an exact shape for
these canvas panels.
|Friday, August 5, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|I couldn't take the steamy, unbreathable heat inside the boat
any more. I tested the sealer and carefully installed the canvas,
one piece at a time, and snugged it up easy. It is now much
more comfortable on board.
|Thursday, September 1, 2011 - Seafood Shack
Marina - Cortez, Florida
Today I was talking to Richard about the high cost of getting
the valves changed in my 2 aluminum 10 pound propane tanks.
The quote I got from Bradenton Propane was $167 and change,
plus tax, I think. He was adding numbers up in his head. It's
possible tax was included, but I can't be sure. Espin found the
number WAY too high, so I started researching on line and
found the valves available for something like $35 each.
Re-certifying the tanks would be $5 each, so that would leave
$87 for filling and labor. He was right - it was high, but I
|Friday, September 2, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
The connections to the propane tanks began this morning, but a leaking fitting on the old hose stopped the progress. Randy says
hardware stores and Home Depot all have these fittings and pre-made hoses available and I should check there before heading
all the way back out to Detweilers - so I will.
Pam gave me a ride to Home Depot and I picked up some special Teflon tape, a regulator and tank connector assembly and 2
flare fittings to adapt the solenoid I got from George. All in all it came to about $28 and well worth it. Back at the boat, I made an
angle bracket and mounted the solenoid to it, then installed the assembly to test it for looks and fit.
|I will make a set of padded blue Sunbrella tank covers and a small unpadded cover for the solenoid, as well as an 18" tube to
protect the feeder between the tank and solenoid. It's easy stuff and shouldn't look too cobby. This supply of propane should last
me up to 15 months on the hook. I'll finalize the electric and propane plumbing and seal the deck penetration with fast cure 4200.
|Sunday, September 4, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
The installation of the propane system was concluded on the aft deck. I used 3M 4200 Fast Cure sealer to seal the deck
penetrations on the aft deck, the sheer (where the Cellular antenna comes aboard) and the mainmast cable penetration ahead of
the main hatch.
Scott got a roll of 10/2 marine cable from 'Pride and Joy' and let me have enough to lace a run from my engine instrument area to
the solar panels as a power connection for the VHF radio and the GPS units. I will arrange all these devices as quick connect
items so I can use whatever I want and leave the rest below, out of sight and out of the weather. I also ran the VHS antenna out
through the deck penetration and laced the new 10/2 through the hole. I'll need to properly secure these cables quickly and seal
that hole like the others. I hate deck leaks.
|Holes were bored and wires spliced and I started crawling around the dark and spidery areas of the underworld in Falcon,
running propane hose and solenoid wires and antenna cable and cockpit power cords. I will need to do more, but at least the job
is started well. This really needs to get finished so I can stuff that storage area full of crap which is now hanging out in the living
|Monday, September 5, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I'm going to be gathering the jacks and timbers and venturing into the starboard storage locker to get the cables and tubing under
I decided to check in on the Autohelm 6000 Control Head and see if it was still there, when it occurred to me "IT SHOULDN'T
STILL BE THERE". The starting price was $250 and the 'Buy It Now' price was $295. Was I really willing to risk losing it for $45?
No. I bought the thing. $305 total. It will make things tight for me during this month, but not bad. I have alternatives. What's
most important is I will have an operational autopilot in another week or so.
|Thursday, September 8, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
The hardest part of the storage locker wire/tubing hanging job is done. The weather says the 'cold' front has passed and it's cooler
now. Down here in Florida, that means 'it's 89 instead of 92'. I also finished the hanging of the propane line in the starboard aft
|The three cockpit items and the GPS antenna are all mounted. I had to fabricate a mount for the 182 GPS. All the items can be
quickly disconnected and stored inside. There is still the final electrical connections to complete, but it's lunch time. I cleaned up
the cockpit a little tossed some scraps of wood into the dumpster.
For quite a while I have been intending to bore some nice big 2 1/2 inch holes between the fuel tank lockers and the engine
room. The reason being the fuel tank lockers have the Dorade vents - one facing forward, the other facing aft - and they provide
the only ventilation for the bilge and engine room - as long as there is adequate air flow available. The vents are connected to 3"
deck nozzles (7.07 sq. inches) so 2 two and a half inch holes (9.82 total sq inches) is more than enough. I did those holes today
and installed the engine air filter.
|Friday, September 9, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I've started out by redoing the main positive power junction in the engine room. Twice I secured it to the fiberglass angle bracket
strengthening the lower corners of the cockpit lockers, and twice the screws rapidly fizzed away. This time, I insulated the block
with a piece of 1/2 inch starboard. I'll have to crawl in behind the engine and put some kind of cure on the leaking secondary
3500 gph bilge pump before I go much further. I also need to rig a suitable circuit breaker for the cockpit overhead power.
|Above left is the new circuit breaker and mini-panel for the cockpit overhead power. The wall will wash clean in a minute. Just
above it, in the other picture, is the circuit breaker and remote control for the windlass.
Below are the reworked power stud in the engine room, mounted below the ground buss, and the upper 3500 gph bilge pump I
have to fix a leak on.
|Saturday, September 10, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
It's already about 1:30 PM and I've had a lot to do. The propane panel is mounted and the holes have been bored for the propane
line to be fed into the cooktop, which has also been done. The new sailcloth is carefully packaged for storage and will be going
into the starboard tank locker. I've filled all three water tanks.
|The autopilot control head came in today and I wasted no time trying it out. At first, it looked no good. I kept fussing with it and
trying different things - power on, power off - the LCD panel never lit up at all. Finally, it started working. It may be there were
relays in the big power driver that were stuck, because as soon as it started working, I heard them snapping on and off. Maybe it
was something else, but for right now, I have a working autopilot. I wish the LCD readout worked, but all I'd really get from that
would be a questionable heading readout, and with a working GPS, I don't really need it. If I can just get this system to hold a
heading while under sail, I'll be happy.
The first shot is of the Propane control panel mounted on the aft bulkhead. Things are coming along.
|The DC wiring is now just screeching in my ears to get done.
Okay, I'll start thinking about it, but remember - I'm retired and
this is my day off - like every day. I don't want to get too much
stuff all working and running sweetly too soon. There's a
serious concern about 'convenience shock'. Think about it - for
25 years I did not have anything in this boat but a bunk and
shelter from the rain. Now, I have a working head and holding
tank, plus an overboard dump and deck pumpout. I have a
cabin sole and paint on the bulkheads, a headliner and
unsulation, not to mention TV, computer with ALL the bells
and whistles, and lighting.
I have a sink and shower with running water and a hot water
tank, all AC wired outlets, three functional water tanks, a
reefer. Did you hear that?! A freaking ass reefer with cold stuff
inside it. Any day now I'll have switchable propane - with two
newly filled and certified aluminum tanks, and a stove to cook
|With a working autopilot, and sails, and a completely wired and working DC circuit panel, and installed AM/FM radio and CD
player, I may never want to come back to shore.
|Monday, September 12, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|I filled a 3/4" hole in the cockpit bulkhead with 4200 and a chunk of wooden broomstick hammered in. That was where the
earlier Autohelm 6000 Control Head cable went through. The newer item I have now has the cable exit located in a lower corner
rather than medium low center, so I bored another hole and completed the install of the newer head.
Next item on the menu was to make a bracket for mounting the clip for the cockpit VHF mic, then install the clip and the bracket
on the bottom of the solar panel. I also put a new power strip on the end of my 100 foot extension cord and wired in the 2 GPS
units and the radio. I only have to connect the inside ends of the power cable to have that project finished.
I will be sending my old control head to the Ebay guy and he will see if he can fix it for no charge.
|Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
The battery for the camera is charged this morning, so I took a couple of pictures in the dark cockpit. One of the new Autopilot
control head and one of the new mic mount.
|My old Autohelm control head is all packaged up to be sent off to Colorado for possible repair. I'll ship it off today and see what
happens. I emailed the guy trying for a different deal, but the one he offered was a better idea, so I'm going with it.
It's now 3:45 PM and I've mailed off the Autohelm part to Colorado, had some time with Don concerning wire size for certain
loads in very short jumpers between the fuse holders and switches on the DC panel. In between all these things, I've done a
major cleaning inside the boat. Two bags of trash are in the dumpster and several storage areas have been completely re-arranged
and re-packed. The bunk and countertops are overloaded, but they will also get cleared up soon.
While doing this cleanup, I am also setting up to do the wiring on the DC panel. Getting this done in the next few days will be
huge. It's because it is the last big job in completing the boat. From here on in, there are only little jobs and routine maintenance.
Even making the new main is to replace a mainsail I already have. For all practical purposes, the boat will be done.
|Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Back at the boat, I changed into raggedy clothes and got back to work. Yes, that's right - I now have two kinds of clothes: raggedy,
and marginally passable. You have to look closely, but you can tell the difference.
|The electrical connections to both the cockpit overhead
equipment and the propane solenoid valve is complete. There
are just some loose wires to cable-tie into place. Also, the
propane hose is now permanently connected to the stove. I will
need to put a couple of cable ties on the extra loop of hose to
better control it in the starboard fuel locker.
On the work front, all the wires and propane hoses are cable
tied, and the nasty job of fixing the leak on the secondary (or
'upper') big bilge pump is done. (Pain in the ass) The propane
system was checked out and works great. All that is left is a leak
check with Scott's sniffer. Oh, yeah, and I checked out the radio
and GPS installations for operation - they pass.
|Thursday, September 15, 2011 - Seafood
Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
More cleaning up is already going on this morning and one job
|The rearrangement of the DC Buss bars in the electrical panel is done. I now have the job of stripping off the cables coming into
the box, labeling each individual hot lead, routing and ground all the commons, and some other random stuff like tying up the
big cables. There are other little things waiting to be done, like the sound system and the inside/outside fuel gauges and switch,
the DC volt and amp meters. There are also a couple of things on the panel due to be converted to other uses.
|Friday, September 16, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Today is a serious DC wiring day, Though I might take a break to splash into the water and do some hull scraping. I started the
engine yesterday and while everything else seems okay, the prop didn't want to back down too well. I suppose I DO have one
more thing to check - the tranny oil.
I've already sorted out the clothes this morning and have put most of them away. Below are pictures of the hanging locker and
the small pile of - wait, let me count - 38 (!) t shirts(?!) - okay, I have too many t shirts They will be thinned out before the day is
over. Down to 25. Maybe. They're easy to store and I go through them fast. That's what happens when you buy them 10 at a time.
|Tranny oil is fine. To the right is the locker under the computer desk which is now dedicated to cold weather clothes and bedding.
Getting the DC wiring going is requiring some trial and error in some areas and some plain hard work in others. I discovered my
old soldering iron is junk. Fortunately, the little unit I got to change the voltage regulator in the autopilot control head is doing a
fairly respectable job on the small joints. I thought it would require too much time to recycle after each touch, but it has worked
well so far.
The first, and one of the most complex, item I tackled was the inside/outside fuel gauges. It required interrupting the fuel tank
sensor leads over the engine - something I did previously because it involved running 4 leads back to the electrical panel - and
incorporating a 4-circuit on-none-on mini switch which will not only switch the sensors to the inside gauges, but will turn on the
gauges and their internal lighting. The circuit is done, but the items still need to be re-installed in the panel.
|The next big job I did was to interrupt the DC hot side and separate the high and low current items. I know the fresh water pump
uses 30 amps and so does the macerator. These two items will draw power straight from the unmeasured heavy cable. Oh, yeah,
the drive for the autopilot may also live there. It has a 40 amp fuse. I'd better check it out before I make a decision. There is no
need to overwork the ammeter. It is meant to be a diagnosis tool, not a load mule.
So, I separated the two positive busses and ran #4 cable to and from the ammeter to power the general service buss. I also started
installing the little jumpers on the back of the door to link the fuse holders and the switches, and started stripping and stringing
the service circuits. It was a long day, but good headway was made.
|Saturday, September 17, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I got an email from Colorado. The guy has fixed my old Autohelm 6000 Control Head and is shipping it back. He says it was the
main processor - a rare failure. He said he would do it for nothing but the cost of my shipping it to him. I will have to remain
calm until I get it back and have a chance to try it out. It makes me wonder if I could have saved a ton of money by just sending
this guy my old unit to have it repaired instead of buying a different one from him (that doesn't quite work right). Water under
the bridge - just go forward from here and leave potholes in the road behind.
|The inside fuel gauges are installed and connected, as are the 2
DC volt meters. One measures the electrical panel voltage and
the other the engine panel voltage. It will make more sense
later on when those two busses are once again separated. For
now, they are connected.
I am now entering the final phase of the DC connections where
I am working solely on the DC door. I know, I thought I was
there a couple of days ago, but I wasn't. There were lots of loose
odds and ends to clean up. It's all coming along. Time for me to
wrap this up for a while and get ready to go visit George with
Richard and Angie. We will stop at Taco Bell on the way and
answer a crying need for crispy Tacos on the way.
Back at the marina, I went back to work on the DC panel,
sorting out wires and making connections one at a time. There
is still a lot to do. I'll label all the wires so it's easy to chase out -
if need be.
|Sunday, September 18, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
Todays work centered around the 400 watt, 4 speaker sound system. From the power supply, all the way to the connection of the
|Monday, September 19, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
First thing this morning I'll be finishing up the sound system and revelling in my additional desk space, reduction of clutter and
extraneous wiring and outstanding sound and volume potential. There will still be the need to incorporate the AM/FM radio and
the TV sound (all done with switches on the DC door), but that can wait until later.
|I will also be needing to make some new name tags for the DC
door. I'm amazed at how well the basting tape I use for sewing
held the old name tags on. I might have to use the heat gun to
get the old tags off. At least I only have one small strip to remove.
Some day in the future I'll need to invent some new mounts for
the Caframo fans to isolate the vibration from the solid structure
inside the boat. Either that or I'll double check with Scott or
others who have the much more expensive ($80) fans and see if
they transmit their annoying hum to the walls.
The sound system is working. There is a
background hum I can't hear during music, but it does make one
say, "What the hell . . . ?" when the music stops. I can't complain.
I got the amp and all 4 400 watt speakers for about $80 at a
Mexican flea market in Naples about 10 years ago. The speakers
seem fine, so later on down the road I'll get a new amplifier and
swap it out - maybe.
|Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|The wiring is moving forward once again and I confess to be struggling with it a bit. Not 'knowing what to do' - I know exactly
what I need to do - it's getting it done with the tools I have. This stage requires a lot of soldering and my soldering tools are
marginal, at best. It means I have to struggle with each joint and check it twice to make sure it's good. Right now I'm waiting for
the iron to heat up enough to make 1 good joint.
It's almost 1:30 and headway proceeds - however slowly - on the DC panel. I did discover an inexpensive suppressor may correct
the hum in sound system. When I disconnect the RCA input jacks, there is no hum or buzz whatever.
|Some of the most difficult connections are getting done first.
The autopilot is first. I got the other control head back from
Colorado and will want to try it out as soon as possible.
Things are moving along faster now. The autopilot, water
pressure, and chart table VHF are all done. I hate the look of a
couple of the larger solder joints, but I'll get a better iron laster
on and redo the connections.
The repaired autopilot control head I got back today is
connected and works fine. I'll add more cable to it and install it
in the cockpit for use. It's 2:30 PM and a good day, all in all.
I took the opportunity to install the long-awaited bungy cord
restraints to hold the food jugs in position. I will get 2 more
gallon sized jugs and contemplate what to do - if anything -
with the half gallon units. These shelves need to be softened
|Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|Believe it or not, I'm planning on doing some DC wiring today. I can't help it - it's a curse now - a habit I just can't break. I
thought I could try a little and get over it, leave it behind, drop it like a rock. Not true. I'm hooked and can't stop. To make
matters worse, I've also started to combine the abuse of DC wiring with other habits, like autopilot work, storage issues and even
entirely new projects, like a jump seat I have to make out of my cutting board. Naturally, I will need a new cutting board.
It never ends. Might as well post and get to work.
|The jump seat was completed in 2 hours, start to finish. I grabbed some scraps and pieces of old hinges and zip - pop - Bob's your
uncle - and there's the jump seat. Solid as a rock. It's nice to have sweet seat for guests.
I did not get anything done on the boat today except for the jump seat - though I did get Richard to stop a couple of times and we
checked on some things I would have to liked find which could help the DC work and specifically, the autopilot, some.
|Thursday, September 22, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
On the home front, the fresh water feed into the rear of the toilet bowl broke off. I got this particular bowl from a salvaged head.
All I wanted was the porcelain. The bowl on my old bronze 51 Junior was one of those tiny units you could never find a proper lid
for - unless you're willing to pay $80 from the original manufacturer. The porcelain I salvaged was in perfect condition and
regular size on top, while still fitting the 51 Junior at the base. I never changed the single little fitting on the back because it
The head is fixed, but I won't reconnect the fresh water line until the 4200 cures fully. I have to find more things in need of a goo
fix so I can use up the rest of that $18 tube of sticky stuff before it turns into another rubber bullet for a potato gun.
The sound system is great for music, but I'll have to get ground loop isolators or suppression chokes or whatever it takes to
remove the background hum so I can also use it for TV and computer movies.
|Friday, September 23, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|Here is the rapidly filling DC Circuit panel. I will not tie up the
cables until all the wiring I'm going to do now is done.
The two big switches at this end of the bottom row are for the
big bilge pumps. Those pumps are now pure automatic and
supplied on the panel just below the engine instrument panel. I
will wire the manual functions, which is what these switches
provide, later on.
The third switch in turns the sound amplifier on and off. The
rest of the switches on the bottom row route music or sound
inputs to the big amp and turn the speakers in the cockpit on
and off. They can wait for now.
The first 4 switches in the second row handle the drier pump,
the reefer, the shower sump, and the fresh water pump.
The next 7 switches in that row handle the DC lights and fans
|throughout the boat. While some of those will not be used for a while, I will still connect and complete them all.
The top row, starting at this end, is the running and steaming and anchor lights, as well as the forward duplicates and the deck
light. The last 4 are the gallows light, depth sounder, inside VHF, and finally, the autopilot.
It is 4 PM and I am in the DC power home stretch. I'll need darkness to be able to sort out some of the foremast leads. It will be a
miracle if all the fixtures still work. I tested
|everything when building the spars in Naples. Let me go back
and see when that was. As near as I can tell, it was 2003, which
makes it at least 8 years ago.
Unbelievable. The AC and DC doors are closed together for the
first time and everything is working. Well, almost everything. I
don't have DC in the head yet. The DC at the bunk is connected
without the switch and fuse - soon to be fixed.
I will be trying out all the exterior lights after dark and labeling
any wires inside as I find out which is which. I'm also curious
about a few little things, but it's 5 PM and I've had a long hot
day. Time to relax a little and eat more.
I love the new sounds in the boat. I have music on all the time
now. Samba Pa Ti is wailing away as we speak and I love it. The
end of boat building is nearing and I am finally seeing light at
the end of the tunnel.
|Saturday, September 24, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
There are 2 lamps not lighting up outside the boat: the stern light and the forward deck light. I also now know which wires go to
which switches and will attend to completing those items today. I would also like to get the two inoperable lights working and get
the LED Gallows Lantern installed and operating. I am presently sorting and cleaning up the 'Electric Stuff' toolbox I've carried
around forever. There are fuses, light bulbs, sockets, fixtures, battery switches, pull and toggle switches, engine preheaters,
battery cables, circuit breakers, and a ton of dirt. It might contain a lot of crap destined for the dumpster. In fact, I'm sure it does.
Falcon is completed. The boat is done. Stick a fork in it, it's cooked. It is no longer a project, it is now a finished yacht. An ex-kit.
A previous work in progress. No longer a dead albatross hung around my neck. A 'used-to-be' unfinished portrait. An ex nemesis.
It is the finish line, the long awaited ribbon across the road, the blue ribbon, the ex junk yard. I am over it. End of celebration. It
has only taken 26 years to build and three minutes to celebrate.
|Sunday, September 25, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
I have a diesel fuel leak on the engine and I'll have to attend to it today. It looks like the fuel return lines on the injectors. I'll
have to clean it up and check to be sure, then see what I can do about it. I might have some fuel line that size and I'll replace the
hoses and end plug and seize them with something.
First job was taking the stern light off and going through it. The second I turned the first screw out a bit - like 1/8 of a turn - the
light started blinking on and off. I stopped and shut off the power, which I'd just turned on to see if such a thing would happen.
Anyway, it turns out the two clips holding the bulb ends were slightly loose and all the needed was to be tightened. Instead, I
pulled the fixture, brought it inside and completely cleaned and polished the whole thing, inside and out. I happened to have a
better finish ring - one of stainless steel instead of chromed bronze - and I used it during reassembly. The light is fixed.
The fuel leak came next and it was no more than the termination plug at the end of the line of injectors. As soon as I stretched
the plug a tad, a small stream of diesel fuel about 1/16 of an inch in diameter squirted out of the middle of the cap. Randy had
some of the same old tubing I'd removed some years ago and I got an inch of it to make a new cap. I plugged the open end with
high temp red gasket sealer and a sheet metal screw and finished the job. I like little jobs that are straight forward and easy.
I might climb up to the forward deck light - only because the ratlines makes it so easy - just to see if I should think about fixing
that light now as well.
I climbed the foremast several times and worked on the light. It isn't a particularly good assembly. One of the cheesy little things
I inherited over the years and slapped it onto the foremast in Naples because it was easy to do at the time. The problem with the
deck light section of it turned out to be corrosion on the light socket itself. I did what I could up there and put it back together. If
the bulb gets wiggled just wrong, it goes out. Not a big deal. It seemed to work at all 'wiggle positions' by the time I came down,
but I'm not concerned about it.
One last project I worked on today was the old bronze lantern I rigged with an LED taillight bulb to see how it would look
hanging from the boom gallows. The lamp has taillight/brake light settings, so I installed an old switch to enable easy testing of
each function. Fairly unimpressive, either way, really. We'll see if I still feel the same in a dark anchorage. It's only intended to
supplement the masthead anchor light.
|wanted to get the job done and move forward. I called and told him I was going to bite the bullet and just get it done.
I started searching on line for more places in the area and Richard went to his boat and called a place. Suburban Propane, on 15th
Street near Marine Surplus, made a great deal out of taking all the information from me and promising me a call right back. I was
waiting for the call when Richard came back to Falcon and said he found a place - Detweilers - where the valves would be
changed for $25. We grabbed the tanks and headed for the car. I bought gas on the way and we got to Deweilers, very near where
Suburban Propane was not calling back. In half an hour, we left with 2 tanks filled and certified, with new valves installed and a
complete bill of $73.25. Picture me doing the dance of joy. I never did get a call back from Suburban.
|I've been looking at for over a year and finally tried this morning - soldering the lid back onto the awesome little compass RJ
gave me - and I was unable to do it. I will have to bring it to a jeweler and have it done professionally and carefully. It will be the
only compass I have for a while.
I have noticed a small problem with the engine oil lately. It's a minor thing, a disconnect between the dipstick and the real oil
level. There is a possibility I have an engine installed now (it is different than the previous version - more displacement and
higher horsepower and torque rating) and I think it may have been installed 'slanted' in the automobile. This would mean
(possibly) a canted oil pan and an improper dipstick angle in this application. The oil pan is flat, I'm sure - we are on intimate
terms, but the dipstick could still be reading off.
This morning, the dipstick showed no oil at all, but a length of bronze brazing rod I inserted until it touched bottom showed 4
inches of oil in the pan. I added 1 quart to bring it up to the correct level. I use Rotella T straight 40 weight and just changed the
oil before coming back from Marathon. I am now using the crap generic Napa filter I got in Marathon and will soon change it out
for one of the two Fram PH3569 units I got 2 of when I returned here. I have another gallon of the Rotella T, but will get at least
1 more before leaving here.
|Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|For several decades now I have stared at the disturbingly odd
shape of the engine access hole - the Motor Cave, as it were - and wondered how I would ever figure out how to enclose it. Really.
Yes, I know I could just staple an old blue tarp over it, trim the excess away and call it done, but somehow that doesn't quite work
for me. The explanations I've practiced out loud seem lame and insincere.
I've finally just stared moving ahead by shaping and attaching a stout piece of oak and a piece of aircraft plywood with the
documentation numbers drawn out on it. A single length of weatherstripping will seal the top against the back of the
companionway ladder and it gives me an answer for the previously complex shape I have to build at the top of each side piece. I'll
carve out the documentation numbers and finish the install of these two
|top pieces after I finalize the sides.
I made a couple of cable modifications on the computer yesterday
and am looking forward to having all those details sorted out soon.
As I make progress on things like the engine room and other things,
each one lends a little more completion to the boat, though she is
now finished in all 'big' ways and I can go anywhere and do
anything at any time I want. My stay here for the past two months
and this third one are based on the needs of other people and not
because the boat was unfit for travel.
I'd like to get the engine room caps built so when I take out the
sewing machine to finish the fuel tank storage hatches, I can finish
the engine room caps as well.
When RJ was moving out of his old storage facility, he gave me a
bunch of trim teak I've held onto because I'm used to having old
crap lying on my deck. These pieces cut from lumber during other
projects are the assets I'm determined to use to build - what did I
arbitrarily name them? Engine Room Caps, right - to build the
Engine Room Caps. Capitalizing the random tag lends it credibility.
Each individual piece has to be carefully measured, cut, ground and
drilled before being installed. As the structures take shape, I'll use
Gorilla glue and small fasteners to end up with a stiff, twist-free
framework I can remove, prep, fiberglass, insulate and completely
enclose. Engine room sound deadening foam on the inside and the
same padded headliner vinyl on the outside. It's a tricky little
project, but I think it'll come out fine.
|Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|The sorting I am doing now is to reduce the size of 'extras' I've held onto 'in case' as I've worked on the boat. No doubt, there will
still be paring down after this, but I have to move forward and make headway. I can't have any more 5 gallon buckets filled with
crap. What miscellaneous bits and pieces I do save will now be in smaller, covered plastic containers stored in easily accessible
locations, like the shot below,
|Thursday, September 29, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|I'm still involved in a lot of work on Falcon, but it's much different than before. Now, it will be mostly cleaning, painting,
organizing, and sewing. I little at a time, the last details will be taken care of.
I'll be moving the marina ladder over here today so I can get started cleaning the bottom. Even though I'll be staying here one
more month, I want to get some practice in and see if I really want to keep the Hooka thingy. I think I'd like to get a new
mouthpiece, as this one was frozen and now is still a little hard to draw through.
Okay, I have been diving on the boat and cleaning the bottom. I will be keeping the Hooka It works great and I love it. I now have
enough weight to hold me down and I've borrowed one of Scott's dive belts (I need to take my dive belt off the sewing machine
and come up with another solution to lifting it) and am more used to the odd feelings.
So far, the prop (incredible mess) and the rudder are done, the entire port side and bottom of the keel, and about 1/4 of the big
area on the port side.
I'm about to jump back in and continue scraping the bottom. It would really be a huge deal if I got the whole thing done today.
|Friday, September 30, 2011 - Seafood Shack Marina - Cortez, Florida
|I finished the entire Port side of Falcon's bottom. Now, the prop (worst part), the rudder, the entire bottom and front of the keel,
and the full port side are done. It really didn't take two days - I would guess I've got three to four hours into it. All hard work,
though. All that's left is the full Starboard side.