It's been a while, hasn't it?
08 October 2018 | SHYC,Shelburne,NS
What can I say? I've been really busy!
Since our last post, we have been really busy and there have been a lot of non boat tasks, but somehow the upcoming cruise has still managed to creep in. Barb has had all her medical prescriptions renewed so we can take six months supply with us (I already did mine); we had a flying trip to the Binnacle to buy a couple of key items for the boat - a galley manual pump, had the chart plotter cartridge renewed, and bought 130' of halyard for the jib. In between we managed a visit with our daughter, a meeting with our banker, and a grocery trip to Costco.
Sigh. More jobs to do. More old ones to repair. Some of the repairs I have done already may have exposed additional ones that need doing as well and some have shown me jobs that definitely need doing before I trust Nelleke on blue water.
On top of all that, the boat chores seem to be getting done in spite of the fact that most days I have to restrain myself from banging my head repeatedly against the nearest wall in frustration. So many of the things that I did years ago that I thought were so clever and demonstrated such great skill and know how, are turning out to bite me in the gluteus maximus and chewing off a sizeable chunk of my ego.
I believe that I have already mentioned in a past posting that a number of our current problems have been due to half baked things that I have done and with my current stream of tidy up projects, this has only shown to be true more and more. For instance, I am constantly being reminded that the more connections that you have in an electrical cable the more points you have for failure. Both the ground and hot circuits had far too many connection points in them, and I am reminded that every connection point is an avenue for corrosion, and any corrosion offers resistance, and every point of resistance represents voltage drop in the circuit. Today was another example of just that in the hot circuit from the house bank, which wasn't providing enough voltage to the house utilities. I was lucky that there was enough heavy wire that I could shorten the whole circuit and eliminate 4 connections. I can't imagine why I had all of those in the first place! Any way. Now I don't!
I hooked up the ship's computer and put three coats of varnish on the cockpit seats. The boat is starting to look like someone cares and is ship shape and Bristol fashion. We have bent on the storm jib and brought the inflatable dingy and kayak from the house to the boat. The outboard still need an overhaul and we need to test out all the electrical and electronics aboard. I don't want to be underway when we find out that something doesn't work. Barb, in turn, has been finding a number of canvas projects to do before we leave.
Everything is starting to look good, though. I hope I don't jinx myself saying that!
Weather dependant we should be underway before the end of the month after a delayed Thanksgiving dinner with our daughter and her fiancé. I may even be able to help out at the club to take the docks out. There's a free hamburger in it for me.
Real progress....or so we thought
25 September 2018 | SHYC
Mike/cloudy, rain coming
I guess I have to do the good news, bad news foolishness, again....
First the good news. Nelleke is afloat again!
Hurray! At last! For a while it seemed like today would never come, and even then, as always, I was nervous that something bad was going to happen - the trailer wouldn't be able to take the weight; the stuffing boxes would leak excessively; something....... But no. The only potentially bad thing was that my attempt to save some money by only having one 12V battery to crank the starting motor was misplaced. Like before Yoki Yanmar really does need two in parallel to provide the necessary wattage to spin against the compression. At least that is an easy albeit expensive fix. A second battery. But then, that didn't immediately fix the problem. The alternative diagnosis was that there was a problem with the grounding connection, so after disconnecting and cleaning any corrosion off all of the wiring in the ground circuit, finding some small amount of corrosion and some loose connections, and after getting some advice and diagnosis from Jim, a mechanic friend of ours, we finally simplified the connections from the battery banks to the ground bus, reconnected everything and pushed the start button and yowzah, Yoki came back to life! So, that is the good news, we are afloat, and we have all the wiring working and the engine running.
Now the bad news. Two steps forward and then one back. First I have to replace the jib halyard. It didn't have a happy winter in the yard and is all sun perished and frayed. That's an easy fix but I will have to make the trip into Halifax to the chandlery for the line. The bigger issue is that Barb found a part of the master cabin ceiling that was water damaged and needs replacing. It will be easier than the mizzen step to fix as, unless you are jumping up and down on it, it isn't weight bearing, so I can do a rebuild from the inside with some marine plastic wood and some fibreglass. It's just that it is one more thing that has been unexpected added to the to do list.
Now we are cleaning below and bringing back aboard all of the stuff that we removed for winter storage. By we, I mean, for cleaning, my small part is simply putting all the tools away. Barb is doing the lion's share of the actual work. Only fair, I suppose since I did most of the work on the three major projects that are now completed. That still leaves some additional jobs that I would like to get done before we depart but they pale by comparison to the last ones.
First, I removed some more superfluous wires that had been under the cockpit since we got the boat. I know that some of them ran to the original wind direction and speed indicator but since we no longer use it, indeed, the instrument package isn’t even on the boat anymore, I decided we could and should remove them. They really were heavy gauge wire and there were three of them, so, when they were gone it was another bunch of space that was freed up. I still don't know what they were for (I suspect the original autohelm as well as the wind instruments) but as they had been disconnected for some time and we had neither sunk nor found that something wasn't functioning we have decided to just cut them off and remove them.
Then I replaced the bilge pump. The old one still pumped but only when I flicked the switch to manual which would necessitate regularly looking into the bilge to see what the water level might be. Obviously the float valve is stuck. The replacement pump is exactly the same as the old one, just newer. The hoses and the wiring were the same so it wasn't too big a job. Part of this job entailed rewiring the new pump to the control switch up in the cabin. On the surface this sounds simple except for the fact that after three owners and an equal number of pump change overs the wiring from the battery, through the switch, and to the pump bore no resemblance whatsoever to any sort of code, be it marine wiring, civil electrical wiring or even the code of common sense. One of the knuckleheads who had done this was me, if you twist my arm and force me to confess. Although, in my own defence, I will say that when I did it the boat was tossing about in a seaway, at night, and I was standing on my head in the bilge again fighting back nausea and grabbing for whatever was available to get the job done as quickly as possible. Not much of an excuse as I could always have done it properly under better conditions, but there was always something else to do that was more pressing at the time.
We also decided to put a continuous zipper pull cord on the stackpak for the mizzen since, with the Archbishop in place, it is very awkward to run the zipper back and forth. It will be much easier to stand by the mast and pull on one side to the cord to either open or close the zipper.
I finished a very easy job of installing the vane control for Saint Brendan. This was another continuous loop of small gauge line that we ran from the vane mechanism itself over to the transom where we could easily reach it to adjust the angle to the apparent wind. Again, a very easy quick task.
When I was crawling around in the cockpit lazarette installing the bolts for the wind vane self steering I noticed that there was a loose, disconnected wire that clearly was supposed to go up to the instruments and engine controls that are located on the binnacle. I had to trace this down and reconnect it. Finding out that it was a key part to running the engine wasn't something I wanted to find out after our launch. This involved removing the top of the binnacle and looking and feeling down into the binnacle post. Even then I couldn't find anything that it might have been attached to. I suspect that I might be one of the numerous superfluous wires that had been there since past projects. Time will tell, I suppose. If there is something that is required we will find out when we try to switch something on only to find out that it doesn't work. Oh well, at least I will know the first place to look.
Unabashed self congratulations
18 September 2018 | Shelburne NS
Just a quick post for today.
I can't help it, I am so relieved and happy at the same time.
All the major projects on Nelleke are done.
If you look closely at the photo you will see the two stack-paks, the solar arch or Archbishop, and if you strain your eyes you will see the vane self steering or Saint Brendan on the stern. You can't see the mizzen support but that was what yesterday's photo was for.
As I have posted before, there are still a number of smaller projects to finish and the outfitting to do but those can be done afloat.