Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Few Projects

My back is recovering nicely, I feel human again, and a day on the boat being productive is good for the sole.

Head Intake Strainer. I've had to take my Jabsco head pump three time, always to remove weeds ingested through the intake line; two in Chincoteauge and the other at Smith Island. I toyed with the idea of a filter, but it seemed like one more failure point and I had yet to survive a winter in the water. Then I read a post on Zero-To-Cruising about just such a strainer addition to a sister boat plugged by the same problem, but in the Great Lakes. Then it plugged again at Chincoteague and I had to fix it with my back in spasm. Enough is enough.
I had a suitable strainer--the sort of free cast-offs engineers hold on to--slightly larger than needed (1-inch for a 3/4-inch hose), made of polypropylene, and is 75 psi rated. Bigger is generally better for strainers, and based upon the stuff I have pulled out of the pump, I would not recommend a smaller size.

A 20-minute project, from searching for tools to tested and cleaned up.

Tender Revamp. She's 8 years old and looking a little tired, so I took her home for a spa treatment.

Paint. She had been slowly loosing air, So I started with a good scrubbing and a soap bubble search. Nothing. She stayed hard as a rock in my front yard for a week. I had purchased paint (MDR) with the thought that perhaps the air was simply leaking through the PVC, but I don't think it was. I painted her anyway; simply done with a trim brush and 4-inch foam roller. It looks fine, but in retrospect I would not recommend it, unless appearance matters to you. A few thoughts:
  • Don't paint on a hot day or even a very dry day. The second day was 78F with a good breeze and unusually low humidity; the paint dried too fast to self-level properly. I would shoot for 65-75F and some humidity. It is a latex paint.
  • I'm a little afraid the dark gray is going to increase sun induced pressure fluctuation. I expected a lighter color. Chose white.
  • Bow handle. The tender had a big molded PVC bow handle that snagged EVERY time we hoisted it out of the water. A hacksaw and disk sander removed it and 3M 5200 smoothed the edges. It has rings for a towing bridle; we leave a light bridle in place, and that works better than the handle anyway.
  • The fabric was thinned a few places. We built it up with 3M 5200.
  • So far the paint is staying on fairly well. The product reviewed well in Practical Sailor. It did stay on and did not stick to itself when I rolled it up, left it in the car for 8 hours, and re-inflated it at the marina after 4 days drying time. Rev. By November it was starting to peal here and there. However, it got no worse in the next year, so perhaps there were spots of wax that the TSp did not remove. Still good sunscreen, but 1/2 thumbs-down on the paint. Rev. By October 2011 the paint has worn a bit more, but not too much. It's still protecting the tender, though a fastidious owner might not like the look.
The floorboards needed paint too, since the bottom of tender is seldom very dry. The builder used common galvanized screws to hold the parts together; I replaced many with stainless deck screws. They may not be 316 stainless, but I have been using them for years without trouble and they are a steal compared to boat store screws (there's familiar ring to that...).

Rod Holders. Yes, they sometimes hold fishing poles, but also umbrellas, tiller extensions, oars, or anything long I'm tired of having underfoot. 2-inch PVC with 1/2-inch holes for the screw driver and 3/16-inch holes for the screws. Free from scrap and very useful. We had trialed the idea for a season with the holders secured with 3M foam tape; they broke off at the end of the season, but their utility was proven.

Seat Support and Storage. The seat is really not well supported if the tubes are not rock hard. We needed a place for the horn, ether, critter jars, sunscreen, drinking water, fishing permit, Jessica's operating permit, and so forth. A real milk crate (theft by conversion?) with some netting halfway up the back side and a pair of firing strips on the bottom to span the rubber floor joint strip makes a strong and corrosion-proof support. I considered making something out of fiberglas... and my sketches kept looking like a milk crate to me. we keep the PFDs on one side an a 1-gallon gas can on the other. Though it is not touching the seat in the photograph, it will be when weight is applied. We have 2 seasons on this addition.

Tender Suspension. Supporting a removable floor tender up high on the PDQ davits takes some fiddling; I won't take all of the credit, if any is due, since the PO made some of the modifications. I though to post this after seeing my neighbor's Gemini tender fall in the water in the past week (if you follow this blog you may want to check your boat--I don't have your phone number). All of the weight of his tender was supported by the floorboards, the inflation pressure went down, and the floor pulled out.

The transom is easy; just clip the fitting installed for this purpose. The bow is tricky. The weight must be carried by both the tubes and the floor. The PO installed loops in the tubes for a bridle and I added the loops through the floorboards. At first I had only the center loop but that caused the floor to bow and once, when the tubes were quite flat, pull part-way out; the outside loops solved this. I replaced the chafe pads above the rings--don't forget these or you will wear through the tubes. We leave the bridle attached to the tender most of the time; it is not in the way.

Other Tasks. There is always more....
  • Replace remaining two Hella fans with Boras. Strange wiring was found, again. Odd, since most other PO wiring was impeccable. Must have been hot and in a rush. I can imagine a hellish July install. OR perhaps I am looking at a mix of contractor and PO work.
  • Replaced line guides on a trolling rod
  • Took the Cruise-N-Carry AC home. Sucker is a heavy and a pain to maneuver in the salon on  daily basis (where it must be stored). I love it at night sleeping and hate it the rest of the time. Summer is over so she goes home and won't be missed... until it hits 90F again.
  • Stowed the bike rack under the bunk.
  • Painted numbers on the tender
  • Measured for some future projects
  • Replaced hatch (broken lens) in roof of salon. Since I had a spare (thank you, PO) and it was bedded with butyl tape, it was a 15 minutes job. Since then, I have replaced the broken lens and thus still have a spare. They arn't difficult to re-glaze... at home with a full shop!
  • Lubed the hold down latches on the engines; they're getting stiffer and I am getting concerned.
  • Cleaning. After 3 weeks on the boat, she was due. The last few days were too rough for cleaning and the sailing was too good!
  • Replaced a spent propane cylinder
  • Swapped a few Fall vs. Summer items from the boat
Busy day. All--except the painting--done after work. I got off early, but still...

I followed-up this work with an hour of floating mindlessly in the tender, just outside the break water in a fish-infested cove. I found a gloriously comfortable posture in the bottom, head propped on the bow tube, feet splayed, and arms... heck I forget. I fell asleep. And then some insensitive damn fish woke me. It's enough to make me take the bait off the hooks.


  1. Sounds like the perfect end to me.


  2. Oh, it really was. To lay back, tired but finished, listening to the waves slap and the wind blow. All was right with the world.