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April 23, 2003

Sorry it's been so long since we've updated the site! Whew! we've been busy.......

Neil finished building the nav desk and subfloor; it is fantastic. Of course it still needs trim and doors, but you get the idea. We also spent a long day cutting, crimping, and installing the 1/0 to 3/0 cables we need. That's a LOT of very heavy cable! Thank goodness we splurged on the super high-grade, super-flexible stuff, I cannot imagine what working stiff cable that big would be like. What else have we been up to? We removed the stem and stern fittings. We also built the shelf for, and plumbed, the holding tank.

Holding Tank Installation- We had a real dilemma figuring out where to put the holding tank. The logical place for it is under the V-berth. but that is our only sail storage space! Center cockpit boats under 40 feet have pitifully scarce deck locker space, so all the extra sails need to live under the V-berth. And there's really no other locker space big enough for a holding tank. After much agonizing and measuring and rereading the Ronco Tanks catalog, we found a solution. An 18 gallon, 25x25x7" tank fits against the bulkhead in the engine room. It was sad to give up the newfound roominess we'd discovered there after removing all the old junk, but it was the only solution. Neil built an incredibly sturdy shelf for it to sit on, then made hold-down straps with metal straps and a bolt, so they can easily be removed. The tank has a well-insulated cover to keep its contents from getting too cooked (yuck) and we made sure to use the very best sanitation hose: Sealand's Odorsafe, which is supposed to be far and away the most odor impermeable available. Our aft head, then, is plumbed with a Bosworth Sealect Y-valve (through the bulkhead, mounted conveniently next to the toilet) to choose between overboard discharge and holding tank. When we're over 3 miles out, the holding tank can be emptied overboard thanks to another Y-valve before the seacock. It'll use gravity, as it's higher than the seacock, and we can flush it out well while it's emptying by spraying our seawater washdown hose into the deck-pumpout fitting. And, of course, it can be emptied dockside through that same fitting. When we were designing this we had input from Peggie Hall, who is sometimes referred to as the Head Mistress....she's made marine sanitation issues her business for many years and has just written a new book on the subject. She was a great help!!

We made the decision to remove all of the existing plumbing, after all. The freshwater system was grey polybutylene (?) tubing. We removed it and replaced with the new Whale freshwater system. This consists of red or blue (hot/cold) cross-linked poluethylene (PEX) semi-rigid tubing, and Whale's Quick-Connect fittings. They are very easy to install, uninstall, reconfigure, etc. It cost more than using regular old clear water hose, but we wanted to avoid as much algae and bacteria growth as possible by using opaque hose to cut down on light penetration. It was a good decision, as the Whale is easy to use and will be much easier to troubleshoot or reconfigure at a later point. I also ordered all of our new plumbing fixtures! We're going with Italian-made Wilcox-Crittendon faucets and showers. Snazzy!

Also snazzy: our new Force 10 three-burner stove, sitting in a box in our living room; our new self-tailing winches for the mainsheet and reefing lines; the new, custom DC distribution panel we've ordered!!!

May 2, 2003 An interesting day today... I'm about to order our refrigerator insulation from R-parts! This stuff is very expensive, but very efficient. One inch of VIP vacuum panel has an R value of 28, so you can super-insulate your refrigerator without losing precious space.

Neil's building the box liner this weekend. The liner itself will be made of fiberglass sheet, then one inch of VIP panel, then 3/4"-1" of regular extruded polystyrene rigid foam insulation. This will give us a box with R=31 throughout: much much better than most production boats, and waaaaaay better then most 20-year-old boats with water-logged old expanding foam insulation.

I also had a very interesting and comforting email discussion with someone else who is involved in a project much like our own. We met Ted through the Cruising World Bulletin Board and he is involved in a similar major renovation so that he and his family can go cruising. However, his wife is the one working and he's the boatbuilder and "Mr. Mom". It was really great talking to him and discussing the joys and frustrations of our similar projects.

May 13, 2003 We may have a big setback. Neil was up all night tossing and turning, and wasn't here when I woke up this morning. I called him on his cell phone and found him on his way to the boat (Uh-oh. He should be on his way to work...something's wrong...) Turns out he dropped the rudder last night. From what I can gather (bad cell phone connection) he found a bit of corrosion on the rudder stock. He's thinking that the worst-case scenario is that we will have to rebuild the entire rudder, because he's concerned about crevice corrosion affecting the rudder's strength. Now, we haven't had any experts look at it yet, or done any research on what it entails, but he sounds very demoralized about it. He is thinking that making a new rudderstock (skilled labor on high-grade stainless steel) is going to be wildly expensive. Not to mention that he will have to add: "build, fair, and finish a  new fiberglass rudder" to his already overwhelming list of projects. AAARGH! Why can't anything be easy????.


On a more positive note, our new Italian faucets and shower hardware arrived yesterday: that was a fun box to open!!!

NEXT: solving problems...and building more stuff...