Ships Blog

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Date:Wed Nov 3 02:30:29 UTC 2021

More Stainless and Teak

&nbps;&nbps;&nbps;&nbps; Again the day was spent polishing stainless with Fitz metal polish this time with a brass bristle brush. That really cleans the tarnish and rust. We were also cleaning off the reflective stickers that were on every stanchion. Every morning I look for wet teak and the caulk. Then I pull up the wet caulk and dry the teak out in the sun. We have now used an entire tube of caulk. Mike and Becky went sailing today and with their 5 foot draft almost ran aground again. I'm worried about getting in and out of this Marina. But we heard today it will likely be sold. So I guess our time here may be limited. During spare moments I'm also sorting screws and nuts and bolts. Yesterday I tried to take the screws out of the cockpit grate and replace them with a 3/16th dowel. It worked great. Date:Sat Nov 6 21:51:29 UTC 2021

Storm Coming

&nbps;&nbps;&nbps;&nbps; The last few days have just been repeats. polishing, caulking, cleaning up, working on sun covers, chasing head issues... normal stuff. Today we got out one of the sun covers and put it on sidewise to make a tent over the hatch like a tent/sun shade. Hopefully this will make it a tad warmer and also give us a way to get in and out of the hatch without being wet. Why? because there's a NorEaster coming tonight and with it 3 inches of rain and 45-50 knot winds. So I put out extra dock lines and made sure they were tied to pilings and not just little cleats on the dock. I also checked a few other boats for friends to make sure they were ok. The north wind brings water into the creek so the water is so high we can barely get on the boat and it is lapping on the bottom of the dock. It might be over the dock tonight. Sam is making dinner and Hannah is driving with Mom and Lilah from TN. They are planning on being here tomorrow late morning or early afternoon. Then we can finish preparing for Hannah's father to visit on Monday. It's raining already and the wind is singing through the rigging. The constant creaking of the lines as she rocks makes the boat sound like an old sailing ship. Kinda time machine like. But we are safe inside with the heater on, hatch closed and tied up as well as possible. Grace came with a lot of very large spare dock lines. It will be a nice evening and a fun storm.

Date:Sun Nov 7 14:53:22 UTC 2021

Early Morning Shock

&nbps;&nbps;&nbps;&nbps; Well, this morning at 4am ish I was awakened by the sound of the bilge pump... Not a good way to wake up. It gave me quite a scare. As it turns out a pipe burst and over 100 Gallons of water went into the bilge. The Bilge pump failed and would not pump and the battery box was full of water to the top covering the batteries. Apparently there is no drain to the battery box. I thnink they didn't want it to fill up if there was a hole in the bilge. But this was filled from the top. The pipe was where a hose was just clamped onto PEX with no fitting and only 1 clamp. So it just came apart. We drained by drilling a hole, then siphoned, and then finally sucked the last out with a wet dry vac. I was amazed the batteries didn't short out but we still had power. I was a bit loath to put my hands in the water. But we got it drained. Then we manually pumped out the bilge. After that we re-filled the water tanks and turned on the pmup to find the leak. High pressure water going everywhere. We could see it spraying but couldn't find it till we took the floor out of the aft head cupboard. Then we found the open hose and the pex going to the sink faucet. So looking through the hardware store we carry with us I found a bunch of old adapters and pieces of hose and pipe to hobble it together till I can get the propper fittings. But at this point, though not pretty, it is secure. We had previously known that the bilge pump might be going so today it will be replacing a bilge pump. I think we're going to buy a new pump and then rebuild the old one and keep it as a spare.

So all this during the storm and with Hannah and Mom coming this morning at 8am... Well, they are here now and we have had breakfast on Hannahs's cast iron pans! With the water so high it was nearly impossible to get on and off the boat. We are using one of our spare bumpbers as a step. My 84 year old mother just stepped on the spring line and climbed right up with no help before we even put out the bumper. Now the cat is a different thing. She is exploring every nook and cranny of the boat and I'm afraid she's going to find a way into the bilge...
I know it doesn't show but the battery box is full of water and overflowing
Pex and Hose disconnected can you find it in the dark at 4am? Turn on the water it helps!!
This should not be left like this... but it's solid.

Date:Tues Nov 9 02:07:34 UTC 2021

Water pump hell

&nbps;&nbps;&nbps;&nbps; Another day another $1000. So I was awakened again this morning with the water not working at 2:30 am. At least it hadn't run into the bilge, but the pump simply was not working so we had no sink water or toilet flush water. I just love single points of failure. Of course the bilge pump was still not working. After determining that the fresh water pump was getting power and was from 2006, I decided to replace it. While I was at it we did bilge pump at the same time. The old bilge pump was an excellent simple design from 1970, but the choice of repair or replace came into the replace category this time. So two pumps and $750.00 later I got back to the boat to start putting them in. Of course there were hose mismatch issues, bad fittings, old broken threads on the grey water pump, moving and re-routing hoses, running out of proper hose clamps and re-routing wires. The fresh water pump went in first followed by the new bilge pump. Oh, by the way, we found out why the old bilge pump was not working. There was a small sliver of wood stuck in one of the valves and it wouldn't suck. Also one of the other internal seals was cracked between the two halves of the pump. We were at first going to repair the old pump, but we decided that after 50 years it had had a good life and should be retired. I started at about 4am diagnosing the problems and planning and finished both pumps by about sunset. Of course I spent the entire day curled up inside the two lazerettes bumping knees and knuckles and head all day long. But now we have a working fresh water pump and a new bilge pump. It seems that every day it is something else. It would be really nice to have a day when we could just go out and sail rather than repair the boat. But we knew this going in. A 50 year old boat is NEVER sail away ready upon purchase. This boat was the height of luxury in 1970 with hot water heater, electric stove, 10kw generater, air-conditioning and electric heads, but it had no manual backups, no foot pumps, no propane stove, and no diesel or wood heater. We will have to make sure there are backups for the backups. If you don't like repairing things DO NOT BUY a boat unless you're just ready to burn hundred dollar bills daily. Fortunately I don't mind fixing things. It's what I do.

On a lighter side the cat is starting to get used to the boat and left the V-berth for the first time. She is looking for any little cubby hole to crawl into. We have already caught her behind the shoes and drawers inside the cabinets. I'm sure at some point we will find her under the floor boards soaked in bilge and oil.
vintage grey water pump pipe fittings broken (jb weld is amazing)
new fresh water pump
fitting the new pump
cat in vberth, her new home
Date:Wed Nov 10 02:27:02 UTC 2021

Family Visit

&nbps;&nbps;&nbps;&nbps; Today was an easy day. After spending the morning cleaning up the last of the move in from Wanda and Hannah and the tools and parts from the last day or two, Hannah's father came to visit. We went out to lunch and then had nachos for dinner at the boat. Lila is doing much better and has come out from the v-berth. Tomorrow if everything is still working we're going for a sail. I needed an easy day and having family come to visit made it all the better.
Date:Thurs Nov 11 13:42:27 UTC 2021

Spreaders and Day sail

&nbps;&nbps;&nbps;&nbps; Yesterday morning Sam and Randy hauled me up the mast in the bosun's chair to check the spreaders and spreader lights. I had seen a missing screw and one of the lights was hanging loose. The port spreader has a couple rotten spots where screws were rotted out. It appears that the spreaders were not put on correctly. There were supposed to be three attachment bolts rather than two and only two were installed. The third was filled with silicone. Also wood screws were put in to attach the stainless shoe for the wooden spreader instead of bolting through as had been done originally. So I pushed out the old epoxy and silicone and put in 1/4 x2 inch bolts and bedded them. I will have to replace them as there is rot on the port side, pretty severe, and I would estimate that the strength of the spreader is reduced about 25% or so from the amount of the rot. I also put the screw for the spreader/deck lights so they wouldn't dangle. Then I tightened up the alternator belts on the motor and we went for a day sail. And of course murphy is still lurking. The chart plotter decided to turn off and not turn on again. We went anyway and had a wonderful sail on the Neuse river. We came back and went to dinner. There are pictures in the repair album of the spreader and me in the bosun's chair, but I'll post them here later. For now it's time for breakfast.
Looking out over the marina
Looking down over the stern
Looking down over the bow
This is why screws should be bedded (rot)
Shoe on the foot of the spreader. If I go with aluminum this will have to be replaced.

Date:Mon Nov 15 02:18:17 UTC 2021

Old Gauges

&nbps;&nbps;&nbps;&nbps; There are three old gauges on the side of the galley cabinet. They are Levelometers (by Simmonds Precision). They work by air pressure to measure the level of the fuel tanks. They are truly a simple work of art, but they are no longer made. One of the three, for the starboard tank, did not work. I took it apart and messed with it. Then I blew out the air line. It was full of fuel. I think when you overfill the tanks it siphons into the gauge. After blowing out the line everything seems to work. There is a slight leak in the old plunger that you use to pressurize the system. I'm going to order an old one from ebay to rebuild the plunger. I think it might be as simple as an o-ring, but I'll mess with it more later. For now it's working. I also got the wood supports for the dinghy floor back from the carpenter today and primed them. Tomorrow I'll paint them.
Date:Wed Nov 17 01:27:10 UTC 2021

Homemade Sourdough

&nbps;&nbps;&nbps;&nbps; Today we spent the day looking for hydraulic fittings and when we came home to the boat the sourdough was ready to bake. We did find a couple old Corningware breadpans at a local thrift shop. So tonight was home made chili and fresh sourdough honey bread. And as it turns out even Lila likes the bread. We fed her little pieces and she at it after a whole can of chicken so evidently she was not just hungry, but she likes it too. And of course we finally had to move the salt from a cardboard container to something waterproof. it was getting clumpy and the cardboard was soggy after even a few weeks. The old 1970 stove is made for real cooking not just weekend play time. And it warmed the boat up nicely on a cold fall evening. Last night the temprature outside dropped to 35F and in the morning the 58 deg water was making low mist and steam fog across the water. I'll post a picture of that as well.
Through the portlight... I ain't going out there... it's cold out there...
This is the view you want to come home to!
Can't beat fresh honey sourdough bread!

Date:Thur Nov 18 23:50:02 UTC 2021

Old Stuff

&nbps;&nbps;&nbps;&nbps; Sam and I worked 1/2 the day on the teak grates that are on the floor of the cockpit. We have one more to do so we should be finished tomorrow. We are pulling out all the old bronze screws that were poking through because the teak has worn so thin. We are drilling the holes out epoxying and pinning with dowels. Perhaps this will get us a few more years service on the old parts. We will sand them down and oil them after we are finished. Then we can start on other things like deck boxes.

I had someone come and look at the engine yesterday so that we could fix a water leak in the raw water pump, and check a rattle I was hearing in Cyl 3 or 4. It turned out to be 3 and it was not valves as I feared but is a noisey injector. We are going to replace/rebuild the raw water pump and and put in a new injector.

I also received the Simmonds Precision levelometer that I ordered from ebay. I took it apart. It's so beautiful with it's brass bellows and meter setup. The plunger is not the same but it will work in a pinch. I love old simple equipment. It's elegant in it's design and I don't know why we don't continue using things like this. Things that are built to last and built to be re-built are simply amazing to me.

Often times when I fix things I'm a bit unorthodox but typically I rebuild/fix them stronger and better than original. I'm much more concerned with functionality than I am with beauty. I find the beauty in the function more than the form. Should I have used cross grain bungs out of teak? perhaps. Should I have used groved trunnels to contain the glue better? perhaps... but the solid dowels hold tighter slip less and the thinner layer of glue holds better. If they expand at a different rate, as long as they don't split the wood they just get stronger. Do they look pure and polished and professional? No, not really and they're not all lined up either. Why not lined up? becuase if you line up every screw on the same grain line the wood will split. So they are dancing randomly around the pieces of wood to not hit the same grain. If they do eventionally get wet and deteriorate then they are easy to drill out and replace. And if they last another 10 years I've done well with $4 worth of dowels and 12 hours work.
Date:Sun Nov 21 14:28:17 UTC 2021

Good Morning

 Good morning everyone.  
 I've been working on the blogging system this morning. 
 Yesterday I was sanding on the grates and today I will be sanding more. 
 The pegs on the end are harder than the teak so they are not wearing 
 down with the sandpaper the way I would have liked them to.  
 We had visitors yesterday!  It is so much fun to meet new people.  More 
 later.  Sanding to do. 
Date:Mon Nov 22 00:16:34 UTC 2021

Cockpit Grates

Well it was a long day of sanding the cockpit grates. But on toward evening I finished with them and then cleaned them and had a look. I'll post pictures. The trunnels look great and they turned out better than I thought!. Next steps are to oil them. My next project will be the Ships wheel.

This evening then I took apart the aft head cabinets again to attack the leak in the vacuum tank. I found the leak. I put metal tape over the crack and sealed the entire thing with black rubber caulk. When it dries tomorrow I'll try it and see how it holds.

Hannah made stew with local vegetables that we got at the farmers market yesterday in Beaufort. She also is making sour dough and pumpkin cake.

It's been a good day! I posted some new pictures of Grace at Solomons Island MD from a month ago. They are in the sailing album! check it out.
Lots of sanding and taking out bronze screws and replacing them with trunnels!
50 years old and still going strong! teak is amazing. And now the screws arn't poking my feet any more!

Date:Tues Nov 23 02:55:47 UTC 2021

Makeshift Tent

Today we put the tent back up over the Doger and the wind is blowing cold out of the north. I oiled the grates in the cockpit again and decided to tackle the vacuum tank again. So I took some pictures of the tank and caulk so I could see better. And pressed on it a little so I could hear the leak. After several tries I think I have it stopped. The vacuum is so strong it sucked the wet caulk into the crack and so there were small holes in the caulk that I stuffed with more. But this time I let it dry before trying it and it seems to be holding. Previously it was holding for only about 5 minutes. So far it's been 30 min and still holding strong. YEA!!! It looks like a black caulky mess and I suppose I should have used 5200 but this time it will be removable. If this fails, I'll take the whole thing apart and 5200 it. It is supposed to get down to 29 tonight and be below freezing at night for the next 5 days or so. Hannah made bread today, two loaves, and we had fresh bread and a wonderful Stew! Well it's late and I want to get up early and get on the other projects so time for bed. Nite Nite.
Date:Tues Nov 23 22:42:52 UTC 2021


Today I worked on an anti-siphon device for the exhaust system. We shopped for food for Lila and ourselves. Mom almost went in the water. The wind is blowing strong out of the North (COLD!!!) and the boat moved away from the dock as she was stepping there. She hit her shin on the dock and nearly went in. But caught herself and held on to the stanchion. Sam and I hauled her back onto the boat. No one was hurt, thank heaven. Hannah is making pies for Thanksgiving and we're debating about cooking a turkey in the oven. For now we're trying to stay warm. There's a pretty fierce chill in the wind and even with the heaters going it's a bit chilly on board.
Date:Sat Nov 27 00:41:12 UTC 2021


The last few days have been busy. Organizing the boat, working on wifi extenders for neighbors (and ourself) cooking for Thanksgiving and trying to stay warm. I fixed a little switch that goes from red to white for the boat lighting. There was a loose wire so I re-crimped all the wires and put them into a screw in switch instead of slide on connectors.

I have been working on wifi extenders/repeaters for the last week. I have been testing the groove 52 hpn by mikrotik. It seems to be doing well. Bob Stewart at Island Time PC has all the configurations and hardware to make everything work! There are many marinas that are making off the shelf extenders taboo. They repeat the signal with multiple names and it makes an RF mess if you have everyone doing it. Bob's method is like the old "bad boy" system that is an AP with a big antenna into a little wifi router for inside the boat on a private net. So it's not a "repeater" in the pure sense. And you can improve your speed and signal at long distances down the dock or even at anchor 1/4 of a mile way.

We locked the cat in the v-berth while we went to thanksgiving dinner and when we got back she was in the main salon. We don't know how she did it. Cats are amazing. She might have opened the door. She might have climbed over the door. She might have found her way into the bilge and out the other side. We simply don't know how she did it. But I guess that the V-berth is no longer secure.
Date:Sun Nov 28 00:32:29 UTC 2021

Zeus and Wifi

Today I got all tangled up with the B&G wifi-1 and connecting it to the zeus touch (t12) The wifi-1 says that it will do a combination wifi to the internet and lan to the touch so you can use an ipad to control the zeus touch and also connect to the internet at the same time. I though that I'd use the wifi-1 to be my boat wifi secondary router and the groove52 to be the long range connection. Well, the software on the T12 is too old to configure the wifi-1 with the combination remote control and internet at the same time, so I thought that I'd just configure the wifi-1 manually. It does have a web interface and it does have a command line interface. After a couple hours I was locked out and had to hard reset the wifi-1. It uses an old version of busybox (a small linux distribution for embedded systems). But it was from 2013 and the combination configuration was from a much later version of the wifi-1. I don't think it will work.

We spent the mid day cleaning up and re-organizing the boat and then later in the day Samantha and Nuckols dropped by for a visit. We had a nice time but Lila was not well behaved and scratch/hissed at Samantha. After they left we had soup, Gluwein, cinnamon and pie dough. Hannah is cooking down the turkey bones for broth and will make a Turkey and Dumplings tomorrow.
Date:Mon Nov 29 01:47:02 UTC 2021


Today I rewired the Radio power and AIS power behind the navigation panel. Then I spent the day messing with the wifi. I have a groove 52 installed now and ran the ethernet cable through the deck and up the port side standing rigging on the mizzen mast. There was previously a hole there for a 12 volt accessory and I just commandeered it for the network. Now that the antenna is out of the boat it runs much smoother. I'm debating whether to run the ethernet back inside the boat to the nav station but that is a bigger project. For now it sits by the auto pilot and existing wifi-1 box. We had turkey and duplings for dinner with honey carrots and sweet potatoes all local grown. Hannah is outdoing herself in the kitchen. We are getting low on water and have to make it to thursday before they are going to turn it on again.