Sunday, January 29, 2006

If You Can't Pay 'em...Join 'em!

Hello to all. The long delay between posts is due to Scott getting a JOB! As long as we're in Fort Lauderdale for awhile I thought I might as well try to make back at least my yard fees ($28/day) by working. Yes, that's me in my official Stem to Stern team t-shirt. I've been taken on by the Stem to Stern guys who are doing the work on our boat! This works out great as not only do I get to make some cash I'm also learning a ton about boat mainenance by some true experts. (As you all know I only PRETEND to know what I'm doing after reading about it somewhere!) Art of Stem to Stern is trying to figure out how to bill me for me working on my own boat but I think I'm a little too sharp for that....maybe.

So far I've helped to pull wire on a 65 foot luxury yacht, sanded the decks of an old 45 foot fishing boat, polished the stainless (miles of it) on another luxury yacht, and helped to install the antenae on a 50 foot trawler. At first my body, although lithe and wirey, was complaining about doing physical labor but now all the parts seem to be working together more or less.

While I"ve been working in various boat yards on various boats, Sue has been slaving away on Enee Marie. She got the yard to set up some scafolding so she could sand down the wide toe rail and refinish with Cetol. It looks great and is now ready for us to re-install the bow pulpit which has been re-welded for us. Hopefully that will happen today along with beginning to string the new lifelines.

In a continuing effort to 'embrace the technology' I've hooked up with Vimeo so that I can embed video clips in this blog. Sorry, in the first one I didn't smile ...I was really concentrating. The second one is one of our attempts to digitally capture dolphins. Anyway, if interested, check out Vimeo. Really easy to get started!

View this clip on Vimeo

View this clip on Vimeo

Saturday, January 21, 2006

One week in Ft. Lauderdale

Progress each day with our re-fitting. Three hatches, the port and starboard main hatches and the aft-berth hatch have all had their plexiglass replaced and have been re-bedded to the deck with tons of 5200! Yuk - quite a job. Most of the time involved in this process is in the removal of ALL the old material of which there is quite a bit. The place where the frames bed to the deck is a half inch thick trim of teak. Nice except over the years owners have sanded this teak down to refinish it. When I took off the frames then you find that where they were it is about a 32nd to a 16th higher than the wood outside this. For us that meant lots of sanding with 60 grit paper until all was brought down to the same level. Others taking on this work should make sure you have plenty of time and that you can adequately cover the open hatches while you work. They look great and, as luck would have it, we had a little rain last night with no leaks! Didn’t rain that hard though so not a real test. The real test will be when we take green water over the deck at sea…not that I look for that!
Thanks to Art (Stem to Stern) for his time and patience in teaching us how to re-do our hatches. We love learning such usefull skills.

The refrigeration has been installed…finally! In the process of installation everything has to come apart. Luckily it all goes back, somewhere. This type of refrigerator is the Adler Barbour Cold machine. I had to make a little structure inside the icebox to hold the evaporator box and then lead the copper tubing along the inside of the box, out a hole on the port side, behind the galley drawers, behind the stove and into the cabinet under the sink where the compressor now lives. (Thus, the mess!) In retrospect I suppose I should have paid a little more and gotten the compressor that has the option for water cooling but I just hate putting more holes in a boat and that rig requires two more and a pump and tubing and so forth. The trade-off is that I now have to exchange heat with the air rather than with sea water. Even though the sea water may be quite warm where we are going, it is a better conductor of heat so the unit can work more efficiently. So, knowing that I’ll try to not ask too much from the unit. Also, the more air I can move through the cabinet the better. Right now the compressor will be drawing air from behind and beside the stove. I plan to install an exhaust fan in the cabinet door that will be wired in parallel with the compressor so that when the compressor comes on so will the fan. This should provide a constant stream of fresh air for the compressor. You can’t keep exchanging heat with the same air! Won’t work. Since in our opinion most refrigerated items only need to be cool and not ice cold I will also build a partition for the icebox to that it can have a cold section containing the evaporator and a cool section on the other side. By experimentation I hope that I can find a proper place for this partition so that I don’t eat up too much electrical energy. The unit needs to be recharged with refrigerant before starting her up as I heard the constant hiss of it as I connected the couplings. Oh well…

We hope the hull is drying out. The only evidence of this so far is that salt crystals will magically appear on the hull and you can feel them when you run your hand over the surface. This is the salt water leaching out and evaporating to the air leaving the salt behind. We put the moisture meter on the hull a few days ago but no real change was showing. Eventually we’ll take readings in various location and write the numbers right on the hull so that we can track the changes. An option to try would be to shroud the hull in plastic and place a dehumidifier or two within. Some say this speeds the process while others say it is a waste of time. We’ll see.

Living on the hard is, well, hard. We have to climb up a ladder about 10 or 12 feet to get to the deck. The land head is about 200 yards from here. There are no lifelines on the boat right now so that working on deck is a little scary and we have to be real careful. Refitting the lifelines and the pulpit is probably the next big project for us to tackle and that will remove this danger.

We also realize that life isn’t all work and projects and are finding time have some fun as well. (Not that working on boats isn’t fun. But it is work!) It especially helps when friends visit. Jim and Judy were in Florida for a family wedding and stayed in Ft. L for a few days. We had dinner together, great conversations, and lots of laughs.

We also had a great dinner at John, Debbie, and Rachel's - high school friends who live in Hollywood just south of Ft. Lauderdale. What fun to catch up on the past 25 years.

What will happen next week?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

I’m calling Friday ‘day one’ in Ft. Lauderdale. Our first full day “on the hard” which means the boat is up in a boat yard and NOT floating. The guys at ‘Stem to Stern’ finished stripping everything off of the hull today taking it down to raw fiberglass. Now the hull can weep away and we’ll keep her clean so that can continue. While they were doing that Sue and I went to Stem to Stern’s workshop to work on our hatches.

The hatches have had the old plexi removed but now ALL the old silicone has to be removed so that new stuff will bond. This takes awhile. Art helped us get started and made a couple of custom tools (torture devices) for us to work with. We worked on these from about 9:30 to 3:30 with a short lunch break. Whew! Not used to real work! They are coming along. We have a little more to do tomorrow and then we can learn how to bond in the new plexi and then they can be re-bedded to the deck. That will be good for our ventilation while we’re living here! Right now we have plastic and duct tape covering our hatches. Since it will take a month or more for the hull to dry out we are in no big hurry and want to enjoy a dry boat in a heavy rainstorm at some point in the future so it is worth it to get it right.

Saturday we returned to Art’s sweat shop. We finished cleaning the frames and then put on the masking tape so that the goo used to re-bed the new plexi doesn’t get everywhere. Art is a good teacher and showed us how to do one.

In the ‘by-the-way’ department …

We got the new name on the boat …well the old name but new for this boat!

Our new dodger has been installed. What a difference. We can SEE again! There will be a zip on bimini to go with this and new binnacle cover. New sail cover coming soon will be of the same color.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Grinding the hull...and then!!!

So the large project of removing all the paint AND the gelcoat from the hull is in progress. Here's Erik grinding away. Once this is done we can let the hull weep and wash it as it does. The washing removes the goo coming out which if left alone can actually re-seal that area and not allow any more of the water out. As to how the water gets in, well, that is a problem with older boats. The gelcoat under the bottom paint is not waterproof forever and bit by bit water gets by. The fiberglass itself can then absorb the water. If not attended to you will get ugly blisters...well, actually the boat will and then layers of fiberglass begin to delaminate from the boat. We don't have any of this so once the drying process is completed an epoxy barrier coat will go on and then the bottom paint.

We may be held up for quite awhile though because as we were watching the water and goo bleed out of the hull whose image should we see but, yes you guessed it, The weeping Enee Marie Madonna! I would say this is at least as impressive as her last appearance at a Chicago overpass.

Now we will have to wait for the parade of patrons to pay homage to the old girl. Well, maybe we can defray some of our costs with a brisk candle business on the side.

Stay tuned. This is sure to make the 10 o'clock news.

Monday, January 09, 2006

cruising...oh, you know!

"Cruising is repairing your boat in exotic ports all over the world."
-Popular definition of cruising

"There's nothing better than messing with boats"
-Some Winnie the Pooh character

As Stem to Stern began the process of stripping the old bottom paint off of Enee they found that we have water intrusion withing the fiberglass hull. Not too much blistering and no delamination yet so that's good. The bad news is that it will take a month for the drying out process to be completed. Well, in that time we will be able to stay on board in the yard and give the hull a daily scrubbing as well as finishing up ALL of our other projects. So, be prepared for this blog to be all about boat repair for a month and little about sailing!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Refit in Ft. Lauderdale

Enee is now up on the hard in Ft. Lauderdale at the Pier 17 Marina with many projects taking place simultaneously. What a surprise when she came out of the water! I wonder where I picked up that rope on the prop shaft? Never noticed any loss of power or anything. Guess I should dive under the boat on occasion to see what's going on down there!

Here's the short list of boat projects taking place.

*Take off old bottom paint (about 200 coats) and re-do bottom the Micron CSX
*Pulpit is off and has been re-welded. Sue and I will re-install...Yes, Sue, back into the chain locker you go!
*Re-do lifelines
*Fixing the dripping rear seal on the engine.
* Replace the plexi on the 4 deck hatches and rebedding hatches to deck
*Finish installation of the 12 volt refrigeration
*New dodger, bimini, and pedestal cover being built
*New dripless packing nut for prop shaft. While there was nothing inherently wrong with the traditional packing we had, there is a design flaw with these Endeavours. When the packing drips as it should when underway the water runs forward to the bilge but that path takes it right over the top of the fuel tank! Ultimately this will lead to serious corrosion of the tank and then water in the fuel. This dripless packing nut will take away that problem.

Final possible project for the boat is the installation of SSB radio. I think we'll probably go with this. It is a one time expense that will allow us many possibilities for weather info, email, and communication with other cruisers in the future. The move from there to a Ham license is not that big a step and e-mail is totally free if you are a Ham.

Whew! Much of the work is being done by Stem to Stern and they are doing a great job. At this time we are actually back in Chicago and will return first to Tampa where Scott's dad has a nice wood shop. There are some minor projects that can be built there and then on to Ft. Lauderdale. It looks like the boat will go back in the water on Thursday. We'll move back aboard then and sail out a couple of days later. Have to at least get the lifelines and pulpit back on before we leave. We're excited about these jobs! After sailing this boat about a thousand miles we have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done and Ft Lauderdale is a great place to get projects done.
Longer range plans have us continuing on to the Keys and then spending about a year exploring the Bahamas. The Bahamas charge $300 for a one year cruising permit so we intend to get our money's worth! Art from Stem to Stern has showed us some good hurricane holes in the Bahamas as well as noting that Ft. Lauderdale itself is a pretty good hurricane hole if you get far up the New River.

More pics to follow after we return to Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale.