Well, I have good news and bad news from this past weekend. The bad news is my boat is out of commission and I have more work to do with the holding tank plumbing. The good news is I got a couple more projects completed, tested them out during a quick sail, and they all work great.
I installed my cam cleats for the jib sheets. This photo shows what I decided to do:
Placing it here at this angle allows me to snap it in and out from the windward side. Granted, I do have to reach down and place it under the cleat, but once there, you can easily make adjustments. I find it so much more convenient and adjusting the headsail is now so quick and easy. With this setup I can still use the cross sheeting method in heavy weather by just taking it back around the cleat. Now my crew won't be as reluctant to make slight adjustments to the sail since they don't have to rewrap it around the horn cleat. Not that that was hard, but now it's just so quick and simple.
Another project I installed was my Davis Tiller Stay. It was very easy to install. I just had to stop by West Marine and buy some small clam cleats and stainless steel bolts. Originally I thought I would simply tie the small ¼" line provided to the existing stern cleats. It turns out the line is a little short for that, plus it would be more in the way of sitting against the stern rail. The small clam cleats are closer inboard, freeing bench space, and also are safer in that you can simply lift the line and have the tiller completely free in case of an emergency maneuver. Here is a photo of it installed:
During our short sail I tested it out a few times. It sure is handy now that I can take my hand off the tiller and not always ask someone to take over. For example, as we were heading down the channel back to my marina, Dave lowered the main sail, I set the tiller to stay straight under motor and then I furled the head sail and raised the keel. Then I helped Dave with the main and got back to the tiller. Someday I may invest in an AutoTiller (electric autopilot), but for less than $25 compared to $400, this is a good starter. With this tiller stay and my cam cleats, I can now single hand my boat. I wouldn't want to in very strong winds, but with this calmer weather we've had lately, Dave and I could maybe both take our boats out at the same time single handling.
I was able to fully test out my new bimini and it fits perfectly! There is enough clearance under the boom, maybe an inch with the boom pulled in and when the boom is out, the main sheet clears the back of the bimini.
Here are a couple photos showing the clearance:
Here I am with the boom out:
Here is Dave at the helm, with the main sheeted tightly (you can also see my new flag flying):
I'll have to see how it fits with the main sail reefed another time. There is a chance the boom may be lower.
With the bimini mounted on the genoa tracks and the nylon straps clipped to the stanchions, moving forward isn't too difficult. As you can see everything is mounted outside the lifelines. The head room in the cockpit is just less than 6'. I can almost stand straight; I just have to tilt my head.
Sitting in the back of the cockpit you can see right over the bimini and check sail trim. The bimini makes such a difference on these hot summer days. Being in the shade and having the breeze (although light on Sat.) makes these 90+F days much more bearable.
Now on to the bad news... I tried to get my holding tank pumped out for the first time. Who knows how many years it has been since it has been pumped out, but it wasn't completely full. I just wanted to clean it out and try to remove the odor. I went over to the dock and first found out that I need a key to open the cap. My boat didn't come with one, but luckily a neighboring C-27 let me borrow her key. We then connected that suction hose to the deck connector and tried to clean out the tank. Nothing was happening. I went back down below to see what was going on and found out that the previous owner cut the pump out hose and plumbed it for overboard dumping only! He cut the hose going to the deck and connected it to a manual pump which is connected to a thru hull. I have no idea what he was thinking. Now I have another project to add to my list and first I will have to empty the tank. I'm thinking about using some PVC piping to put through the tank top opening, connect it to the dockside pump, and suck it out through that. Then redo the plumbing correctly. I thought I was done with the waste plumbing when I installed the head. Not looking forward to this project.
Now the worst news is that my engine is out of commission, which means so is the boat. Everything was fine during our short sail when we test out my new projects. The outboard performed fine when we left and on the way back to the marina. Just as I arrived to my slip, I noticed my outboard seemed slightly sluggish and then I saw a small amount of smoke. We secured the dock lines and I shut off the engine. I noticed how hot even just the engine cover was. On Sunday after sailing on Dave's boat, we stopped by and checked out my engine again now that it was cold. We started it up and the water was barely dribbling out of the cooling system outlet. After a lot of research, I'm thinking it's one or a combination of three things:
1. Salt build up in the water cooling passage ways. This is likely the problem since I have never flushed the engine. Dumb mistake, but now I learned.
2. Impeller may need to be replaced.
3. Thermostat may not be working correctly.
Well, hopefully when the engine over heated no severe damage was done. I'm going to have to order the water flushing attachment and it won't get here in time for this coming weekend. The first thing I will try is to flush the engine cooling system. If water flows freely, then there is a good chance it is the impeller or thermostat. If it still slowly flows through, then I may look into ways to dissolve the salt build up. After that, hopefully things will be fine. I guess I'll have to wait and see.
I sure am anxious to get my outboard fixed, especially now that I got all these projects done that make sailing her even more enjoyable.