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September 7, 2003

Well, things are getting done...

We're in the process of cleaning up all the ports, hatches, and deck hardware prior to replacing them, and working away at the final plumbing and electrical projects.

In the last several weeks we've used lot of 3M Adhesive Remover and scrubby pads. Every bit of deck hardware needs to be cleaned up before rebedding it. First we scrape the big chunks of bedding compound off with a chisel or the wonder tool, a regular painter's 5-in-1 tool. Then some Adhesive remover scrubbing for the rest of the hardened goo, and WD40 for rust and dirt. Nice and clean! For things like cleats and toerail chocks, I'm also using a polishing mop on a bench grinder and shining them up a bit. I'm not going crazy and getting them perfect, but they do look pretty nice. The water and fuel fills were particularly satisfying. They were terribly cruddy and the water fills (solid stainless steel) even had some rust on the insides from being closed up tight for so long. We soaked them overnight in a strong Zud and water mixture, and the rust and crud came off. I polished them on the grinder and they look brand new! Replaced the rubber O-ring seals and ball chain that was broken, and for a very little effort we have perfect fills.

Neil reglazed the three large Bomar hatches, and we've cleaned all the old bedding compound and varnish off the ports and hatches in preparation for replacing them. Neil also sealed the edges of the port cutouts (in the new plywood behind the Formica liners) with epoxy to prevent water damage.

All of the stanchions are getting a once-over, and their backing plates (all of the deck hardware's backing plates) are getting cleaned. These are 1/4" aluminum, and some have been pitted with corrosion. Using "Corrosion Block", which dissolves corrosion, and a wire wheel on a drill, wire brushes, and the good old 5-in-1, we're removing the corrosion down to bare metal. On the plates that have a lot of pitting, we'll turn them over so that the good smooth side is towards the underside of the deck. We're debating right now how to do the installation. lots of folks, including Don Casey, of Good Old Boat fame, recommend using nothing at all between the deck underside and the backing plate. This is so that any leaks are more readily noticed, theoretically. However, all of our backing plates are behind liners or cabinetry. The other option is to bed them. Bill Seifert, in his book, recommends bedding in something that is really solid, like marine Bondo or thickened epoxy. he says this spreads the load much better as well as being more leak-proof. Nobody recommends using regular bedding compound, which can compress and cause uneven loading, as well as trapping water for more problems later on..... In any case the jury is still out on this one. We need to decide soon, though, since we hope to be rebedding stuff by this weekend!

We also removed the pedestal from the cockpit. Neil REALLY did not want to do that, since he thought it would be really hard to do. He'd planned on repainting it in place. But the engine room sound-proofing insulation that we applied to the overhead there with adhesive only (hadn't put in the screws yet) began to fall down, necessitating re-doing it, and we wanted to reckon with the pedestal bolts before tackling that projects, since they were more exposed. It was clear from some rust that the pedestal bolts were leaking a little, and we wanted to rebed them. With some trepidation, we tackled removing them. Not bad at all. A little pre-spray soaking and they pretty much came right out! So, we took the pedestal off the boat and repainted it (Interlux Brightsides with it's primer)...looks great! (We did the aluminum mast collar at the same time.) Edson is even sending me a new sticker so it'll look really spiffy. And we have our refurbished compass ready to reinstall as well.

Meanwhile, a bunch of those "little" projects that are supposed to take 15 minutes each, blossomed into big, messy frustrations. Item on list: -remove old hoses from forward head and replace with new. Sounds easy? No way. Apparently the hoses were installed BEFORE the cabinetry in the V-berth was installed. Also, it was old black water-heater hose, which is infinitely more flexible than the new, top-of-the-line Sealand Odorsafe sanitation hose we spent a fortune on. There was just NO WAY the new hose would make the same bends, despite several evenings of trying. Finally we had to build a sort of roller coaster of plumbing elbows, nipples, and adapters to make it work. We definitely did not want to use the (cheaper!) nylon parts, since the inside radius is a very tight 90 degrees, sure to clog!!! We spent 4x as much for bronze, with a much gentler bend. I know that you're supposed to have as few bends as possible in waste outlet hoses, but  there was really no option. Besides, it's just about the same as the original, which didn't seem to have any problems. We'll keep our fingers crossed. Even the intake hose was a problem. It passes through the bulkhead between the head and V-berth with a ball valve on the head side, which is a great design since it makes it SO easy to keep it closed there when not in use. But they installed that piece before they put the V-berth cabinetry in, and the old hose was bent to 90 degrees by the drawer cabinet behind it. Neil had to cut a big chunk of that cabinet away to even access the hose attachment (luckily it's inside the cabinet, not visible). It didn't seem right to compress the hose so much, restricting the water flow, so he added a plumbing elbow there which redirects the hose to a more appropriate place.

Other little projects that were so frustrating: removing the old brass drains from the vanity sinks (I wanted to put new stainless ones in.) It was enough of a frustrating project to even get them out, but when they were out, of course, we found that the cut-out hole is a non-standard size (1.5") and nobody makes drains for that size!!!!! Jeez. So, back to Plan B, and cleaning up the old drains and rebedding them.

And so it goes....... Neil is taking his 2 weeks vacation starting next week, so Saturday marks the start of an intensive boat work period for us. We're thinking we'll probably be moving the boat outside soon (just can't afford inside storage again) so we need to do the projects necessary for that move first. To that end, we'll start by rebedding and replacing everything we can on deck, filling up all the holes so no rain/snow will get in (though we'll be shrink wrapped). Then probably we'll tackle refinishing the mast and boom. We'll just have to see how far we get with all of this. Hopefully there'll be time to accomplish more, but at this point I've learned (I hope!) not to be too optimistic about what we'll get done in a given period of time. It's just too depressing when the things aren't ready to be crossed off the list when you expected.

September 17, 2003

Oh, joy! She's starting to look like a "real boat" again! Neil's vacation started this weekend, and we started putting back in the hatches. As usual, it ended up taking a lot longer than expected. You forget all the little things like taping up the deck and the hatch edges when you're estimating how long the job will take! But by now we've replaced all the hatches and ports, and are starting on the deck hardware. We are using 3M101 as the bedding compound, and it seems to be working well. We're using a lot, allowing for a good amount to squish out the sides to ensure a really good seal. (One of the reasons that the interior was so water-damaged is that this was never done correctly in the beginning!) Today we'll go around and tighten the screws down the last little bit, and in a few more days we'll slice off the extra hardened goo, peel up the tape, and hopefully not have too much clean-up with 3M Adhesive Remover to do!

Also, it looks like we're stating inside for the winter, which will make getting the work done SO much easier. It's a great relief to have that decision made.

Well, off to the boat yard!

...Next: Some pictures of the vacation work accomplished...