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s/v Galena (Westsail 32)
...a middle-aged maid of fading beauty and questionable virtue
Who: Bill Shaw
Port: Key West, FL, USA
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The bowsprit is finished

I finally finished the bowsprit and reinstalled it on Galena. She looks so much better with her nose than without.

The weather was fantastic and so there were several of my dock-mates on hand to help. Billy (s/v Betterdays), Terry (s/v Cloud Nine), and Gene (s/v SeaWoof) were all helpful in not only lifting the bowsprit into place, but also in solving the many inevitably problems that surfaced as I tried to bolt it into place.

We assembled the platform to the bowsprit and tied a halyard to each end just so we wouldn't drop it. With the platform in place it weighed in at about 75-lbs.

Then Terry and I swung it into place on Galena's bow. Once it was wedged between the Samson posts it stayed in position with the forward end hanging from the jib halyard.

The bowsprit is attached using three half-inch bronze carriage bolts. They go through the deck and into the chain locker below. There is also a bronze ring-bolt that carries the intermediate forestay to the bow tang below the bowsprit. These four bolt holes in the bowsprit had to align perfectly with the existing holes in the boat.

Since I was re-using the teak top trim piece, I used it as the template for the placement of the holes. But the bowsprit is over 5" thick. And my vertical alignment was not quite perfect. Even though I had marked and drilled the holes on the bottom of the bowsprit, once in place we found that the aft-most bolt was just a little (1/16") off. After much debate between the four of us on how to resolve this, how to get all of the bolts into their holes, we came up with a series of methods. Fortunately the first one worked. We kept the forward (ring-bolt into bow tang) nut in place and pushed down on the forward end of the bowsprit, tilting the aft end up. That allowed the bolt to angle just far enough aft to find the hole. Much pounding and twisting of nuts later the bowsprit was in place

Of course, while laying on my back stretching to reach the forward most bolt as it protruded into the top of the chain locker, I accidentally dropped the bronze nut into the pile of chain. Do you know how fast and completely a nut disappears into 300-feet of chain? Do you know how hard it is to buy a 1/2" bronze nut in this place? After a trip to the local marine and hardware stores I realized I would have to haul all that chain up out of the locker to recover the nut. But with one last search of the nooks and crannies I found the nut nestled in amoung the links.

All of that assmbly stuff took about 3 hours. It was enough work for one day. I blame the short days of winter with my decision to stop work and hit the bar for a couple of cold ones.

The next day, after recovering from a nasty hangover, I reinstalled the rigging, the pulpit, lifelines, one of the anchors, and generally cleared the foredeck so she looks a bit more seaworthy.

I found that one of the whisker stay turnbuckles was broken. That is, the toggle on the left-hand end was turning on the threaded shaft. A quick trip to the local West Marine disclosed that a new turnbuckle would cost a whooping $57. But just the T-bolt would only cost $17. And they happened to have the left-handed one in the proper size for me.

The whisker stays were new. The old ones have become corroded and frayed. I had the people at Chesapeake Rigging make up a new set for me. The cost was a bit much at $180. But it's a one-time cost; these should last as long as the boat. And they did a fine job.

After I tightened up everything I noticed that I had put one of the turnbuckles on 'backwards.' As a general rule of thumb, the turnbuckle should be affixed so that the right-hand thread is attached to the 'fixed' tang and the left-hand thread attached to the wire. That provides a more intuitive and consistent direction when adjusting the tension. I'll have to remove and reinstall that turnbuckle sometime soon, before I forget. Once the rigging settles, I'll also have to remember to install the codder pins to prevent the turnbuckles from loosening.

All that effort resulted in yet another trip to the local pub to recover our strength. Yes, Terry was a bad influence on me all weekend.

Google Earth

I've just discovered Google Earth. One can overlay one's own data on that great Google Map imagery.

The free version is good. But the $20/year version has some important additional features. One such feature allows you to connect your GPS and display your routes/waypoints/tracks.

But $20/year is a bit too much for someone as cheap as I.

I found that I could export my Garmin GPS files to the "universal" .GPX format files. Google Earth will read those files without modification.

But GE will only display information in time sequence. That is, two days of tracks will 'play' through, showing pieces of the route taken one after the other; but not all at once.

I wanted to show the entire route at once. I found that I could save the imported route from GE as a .KML file. I used a text editor (my all-time favorite text editor is Text Pad; I've been using it for about 10 years) to combine the 'time divided' track sections into a single element. Reading that ,kml file back into GE gives me the result I wanted. The whole route is displayed as a single track.

GE will 'compile' the KML into a KMZ file. I put compile in quotes because that kmz file is nothing more than a .zip file containing the KML and any other user-entered information (such as graphics).

Since the KMZ file is in fact a zip file web browsers will automatically download and save the file with a 'zip' extension. GE isn't smart enough to see that the zip file is really a kmz file. And Internet Explorer is too smart. It looks inside and sees a zip-file format and over-thinks the issue. As an experiment I just changed the extension on a kmz file to '.zip' and winzip works fine but GE says "nope, can't use it." I changed the extension to .kmz and GE works fine.

So now I have to publish it and that "zip" file will not automatically download properly. So I go found a solution: Go to Google Earth Communities and start a new topic in some relevant community (i.e.: Transportation, or Sports) saying "Here's my trip!". After entering a description and hitting 'continue' button, GE will allow you to attach a file to the bulletin. That's the key. Here is where you upload your .kmz file. GE will store the file and give it an index number. Then you can view your entry, hover over the link in the bulletin, and copy that HTML code from the bulletin to your web site.

The links look like this:
and the href comes out like this:

  View Trip 1 (Winter 04-05) in Google Earth

  View Trip 2 (Winter 05-06) in Google Earth

Oh, before any of this works you have to download Google Earth and install it first, of course. But it's free and fun and seems none threatening to me.

Bowsprit Reassembly

After painting the bowsprit with the same paint as was used on the hull I began reassembly.

I glued the teak trim piece to the top edge and attached the anchor rollers and eye band. I found that I was missing one of the through-pieces of all-thread (later found under my workbench) and replaced it with a 7" stainless steel carriage bolt. As with most of the stainless steel tangs and plates on the Westsail, this one at the aft end of the anchor roller bracket has a square hole cut for a carriage bolt.

And even though I had sealed the inside of the bolt holes with epoxy, I added silicone sealant around the bolt holes for a little extra rot protection.

I was going to completely assemble the platform to the top of the bowsprit here at home and then transport the entire thing to the boat. But it would be just too heavy to maneauver into place. So I'll reassemble it the same way I disassembled it: in place on Galena.

Also, Chesapeake Rigging let me know my new whisker stays were ready. I had them rebuilt because they were rusty and had quite a few broken strands.

Bow Pulpit Nav Lights

Time to get back to work.
The bow pulpit had been removed (to replace the bowsprite). While cruising last winter we had destroyed the port side navigation light. So I decided to replace the lights and the wiring.

Since I was using the Perko LED Navigation set I could use much thiner wire. I went from 16 to 22 AWG.

Now a little polishing and it's ready to go back on Galena.

Here's the bow pulpit resting in my driveway after the lights had been installed.

Leaking Portlights

Galena's portlights were leaking (surprise, surprise). The wood on the inside of the cabintop surounding the portlights is delaminated. I removed one of the small forward portlights. I placed placed some tape on the inside of the wall. Then I painted a lot of West System epoxy on the edge, allowing it soak in between the delaminated layers.

Then I clamped it while it setup. It turned out pretty good. I'll rebed the portlight and it's bolts. That should stop the leaking.

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