Thursday, March 31, 2011

Done -

and good morning to you, Mr. Lizard!

Did a few more little things today. Put up the anchor shade. Wow! Did it ever shrink! That edge used to go to the mast! What the hell? How does that happen? Cleaned up a little. Put tools in zip lock with corrosion block sprayed inside! So there!

Reserved the paint that the yard will need to paint the bottom before we arrive.

This is the space where the linear drive will go to steer the boat. That old nasty air conditioner took about 30 seconds to rip out. I still have some copper piping to rip out. I probably could have paid for all the upgrades on copper I've ripped out of this boat! Sue and I agree. . . trying to keep a box at, say, 50 degrees when all around you is 85 degrees. . .well, expect problems! We're not going to try.

I met with Lesley one more time. She'll open up the boat once a week to keep the mold down. She's also chasing down the lady that is going go to make new seat cushions for us. I'm very excited to not be peeling myself off the vinyl any longer. The sample she sent over looks very nice. Lesley will send pics and estimate before proceeding.

Bought a 45 lb CQR anchor off a catamaran sailor. . .only $200!! Now we have two CQRs (this one looks to be a little bigger than our other one) and another smaller anchor. One more ought to do it for staying up north in Hurricane season. That and plenty of heavy line. I'll buy 50' of chain and maybe 200 feet of rope for this anchor when we return.

Sue and I return on June 6 and I've scheduled our launch for June 9. That gives us two full days to mess about on the hard before we splash. I've made arrangements for us to stay here at Cool Running as that also was a great find.

All in all a productive (if expensive!) couple of weeks. I'm so glad that things look like they will work as before. . .being a sailboat the systems are pretty simple and it's important to keep it that way. Fancy auto pilot is a big deal for us but completely necessary for long passages and especially for any solo sailing I do when Sue is in Chicago. Can't wait to feel the boat move under my feet again.

So any potential or current cruisers out there who have not been to Grenada it is an excellent place to outfit your boat. Lots of help and expertise here.

Looking forward to getting back to Chicago as well. Dying to see my family and for that good old Chicago pizza. Tomorrow night!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

PIeces Falling into Place

Cleared up another old problem today - that of the forward head sink not draining. Now's the time to take this apart when the sea doesn't come in! Good Christ! I hate working with that real stiff black hose - connects the sink drain to the sea cock. Finally got it off after much sweating and the standard swearing. Sure enough there was a fitting of some sort down there that was just the right size to completely plug the hole into the sea cock. So one more OLD problem gone away.

Mike from Enza Marine came back out with the rebuilt KISS generator. He put in new bearings and a seal that should have been there but wasn't. He said the bearings will take a few days to loosen up. We'll see if its a better generator now. It was already spinning nicely when I left the boat today.

Now, the big news is the linear drive for the auto-pilot. It did arrive and I messed around a lot with where it might go. First of all where it HAS to go is where an old air conditioning unit was. I ripped that out (easy enough) and began measuring and planning. It comes down to this: Not going to happen before I leave now. I definitely need to get a tiller arm from Edson to have the push pull rod from the linear drive work on . No good way to attach it directly to the quadrant. I talked with Frankie, the most clever builder/designer of fixtures, and we agreed on a plan. Working with him, Raymarine, and Edson while I'm back in the states I think we can get this baby put together. I'll do all the electrical connections when I return.

Found another leak on the dinghy and maybe this is the last one? We'll see tomorrow if dinghy is limp and sad or perky and happy.

Tomorrow I'm just going to clean and organize and not get into any major building/modifying projects. I'm hoping that when Sue and I return on June 6 the boat will be bottom painted and ready to launch on the 7th or 8th. We'll probably stay right here at Cool Running which has been perfect for this project.

Thanks for reading! Two months and we're sailing again!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Almost Done. . .

Good day today. Number one goal was to get the engine to pump water. Couldn’t find any obstructions so I thought I’d just narrow it down. I took off the boot to the heat exchanger. Now the pump only has to pump water from the bucket I’ve put in the engine room to the top of the pump! If it can do that then the problem is down range from there.

Let ‘er rip. Wow! Lots of water spewing around the engine room. That’s a good thing. I put the boot back on hoping that this has somehow ‘primed’ the pump. Go again. Wheeeee. . . water is going all the way through the system and out the stern. Good deal. Unfortunately it is also spewing out around the pump plate at all four screw locations.


I realize I’ve changed out this plate for another I had on board. Certainly they are identical. The one that was on there had some of the paper gasket welded to it so I spent some quality time with a sharp knife scraping off the old gasket and trying not to deeply score the plate. I put this plate back on and try once again and now I only have a tiny drip from the top screw. I’ll work on this at some other time as I only like to complete 95% of any project anyway.

I talked to the people at Enza Marine who service KISS wind generators. They gave me some good information as to how to take the unit off the mast it is on and bring it to them. Unfortunately this process involves standing on a ladder on deck and said deck is already about 14 feet off the ground. I am so bad with heights.

The plan is to unscrew the hub that holds the 3 blades first. Then remove the unit itself. The hub is a left handed screw. Fine. I hold the axle with a wrench and try to unscrew the hub. No way. I try taking the whole unit off with the blades attached. I can’t turn that collar either. I’ve had it.

I call Enza back and tell them I’ll pay for THEM to take the thing off and get it to their shop. I nice guy, Mike, shows up later and working together we the the unit off. While sorting out the paper work for payment he looks at me and says, ‘So you’re Scott Welty”. I am. Turn out he recognized the name from the astronomy articles I’ve been writing for the Cribbean Compass. Oh the problems of fame! He remembered I wrote a column telling where and when to look to see the space station go by . . . and it worked! Who knew?!

So Enza has the KISS unit at the shop and will be in touch to get more money. Fine.

I have the dingy suspended up in the air and have been cleaning the deck down where she has been laying for these several months. Not too bad. Maybe now’s the chance to find that leak that has been driving me nuts in the dinghy. Actually suspended about 3 feet off the deck is a great way to work on it and clean it. I can blast dirt out from between the tubes and the hull which is hard to do when it is right side up. I spread soapy water as I work looking for tell tale bubbles. And there they are! right on the nose a significant leak. I buy some glue as the stuff that came with the dinghy repair kit has dried up and patch said leak. I’m happy about this but upon later inspection I see that this tube is still down so there is another leak (or more) to find.

I put up the dodger. I was afraid how this might look but it looks great. Plastic needs some tlc but overall it is fine. Now she’s starting to look like a sailboat again!

No good news on the remaining part for the auto pilot which was my main reason for coming down here. I was given the run around by the boys at Budget Marine today: "It’s on the truck, the truck is coming, any time now, Nick is getting it now". The day ended with me saying, I’m glad that Nick is picking it up now. If it’s not here in the morning I’m bringing the other parts back and expecting a refund. I can only be dicked around so long. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Mystery of the Non-Starting Engine. . . SOLVED!

Actually, this is a whole chapter in my book! I never really felt comfortable with the solution presented there but so it goes. The problem I'm referring to is the 1 out of 100 times when we'd push the button to start the engine and NOTHING would happen. No click no pop no whirrrrrrr. Nada.

So trying to get Enee started after 18 months on the hard I figured on having problems one of which was the same nada when I pushed the button. Well, I've always suspected the bargain solenoid I bought in Ft. Myers Beach (always go with marine grade!) so I bought a new shiny one at the Napa store. Looks just like the old one with two small posts for the low current side. . . that's the side with the push button and two larger posts for the starter current. These things are stupid simple. When a current goes through the small posts it energizes a coil (magnet) which pulls a plate down to connect the starter current. Simple. This way the 60 or 70 amps that go through the starter aren't' going through you tiny key switch!

I installed it and pushed the button. Nada. Ok, I'm probably dealing with a dead battery here but so dead it can't even turn on this little coil? NO, the battery runs the bilge pump etc so it might not be up to cranking the engine but it should make the coil click.

Well, I'm going to need new batteries anyway so I buy one and put in an order for 3 more for when we return. Trojan batteries. . .leave your joke in the comments. Now I will know that what ever is going on it is NOT the battery.

Connect the battery, push the button . . . nada. What the hell?

I talk to Frankie the yard guy and ask if solenoids are as simple as I think they are (meaning are they as simple as me!). Well, yes and no. Sometimes the case is the ground. . . remember the little dog in front of the speaker in the RCA logo. That was me. Ok something new to try!

I un-wire the solenoid and play with it with alligator wires (I'd have figured this out sooner with a LOT less swearing if I'd not left the battery in my multimeter!). Ah HA! the frame of the damn thing and the left terminal are what activate the coil. The right terminal is apparently there to torment physics teachers who think they know about electricity!

Back in she goes. I connect one wire to the left side, one wire to the case (the ground) and the output wires to the starter. Gotta work now!


I hope no one was walking past my boat just then to hear the language that was coming out of the engine room. Now I am completely stumped. . . again! I know the damn thing worked when it was in my hands but now it's not working. . . what's different? I take wires off (and just so you know, taking the wires off involves me craming myself into a corner of the engine room with that stupid light on my head) one at a time and just bring a positive lead from the battery over to that left terminal. Nothing. Then I take off the ground wire (which is attached to the engine block) and just connect the thing to the + and - of the battery. CLICK!

? (RCA dog again)

crickets . . . .

The ground wire?

So now I put a wire on the case and touch it to various places on the engine for ground and listen for the click. This is hard as the engine is painted so not a whole lot of bare metal to use. It turns out to not work where the ground wire has been connected since we had the major overhaul in Ft. Lauderdale in 05. This is a connection to a bolt that attaches the water pump to the engine block. It used to work, then it worked 99/100 times and now its not working at all. What the hell changes about a bolt in an engine? Well that's it though and I have to find a different connection which I do and I test before putting all back together.

All right now. All back together. Got a new battery. Got a bucket of water for the pump to suck from. . .I'm ready. Key on. . .BZZZZZZZZZ, hit the switch. . .

And. . . .

It was like we'd never left. The old Perkins turned over about a dozen time and fired right up! Imagine me doing the dance of joy!

The bad news is (and there's always some bad news, right?) is that the pump is not sucking water. I know the impeller is good as I inspected it yesterday so maybe some clogging (not the funny dance thing) on down the line. BUT that's for tomorrow. I am DONE!

In other projects, I raised the dingy up off the deck using the jib halyard and while ugly under there it was mostly just dust and came up with a squirt from the hose. The tougher stuff will probably come up with some scrubbing and detergent. I've decided to leaver her on deck for launch. I patched a couple of dings in the hull with epoxy.

I opened up the outboard and it looks like new in there. This has got to run so I'm not going to try to muscle this off the boat to test.

I ordered our new, smaller genny from the sailmaker so that should be ready for us when we return in June. Fun to have a new sail and I'll probably have lots to say about that once we get under way.

And finally back in the bad news column, I turned on the switch for the KISS wind generator and she just won't turn. I can turn it with a stick but in a breeze that should have had it spinning nicely . . .nothing. So, there's a question for tomorrow to see who works on these things.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nobody Works on Sunday

And it's pretty true in the islands. Like just about everywhere when I was a kid, nothing is open on Sunday with some exceptions. I decided I needed a day off as well. I also decided I needed a real cup of coffee after a week of Folgers instant. I walked to the New York Deli not knowing exactly when they opened but I had been there last week so . . .I get there and see the closed sign. Darn. I walk up to check their hours and when I get to the door a hand flips the sign to open! Perfect! I have a cup of joe and a bagle while reading my book, Room which damn well better have a happy ending!

From there I decided to walk along the beach. Beautiful morning. light breeze, partly cloudy probably about 80. I walked all the way to the other end of Grand Anse Beach to a joint we know about called Jenny's Place (Jenny was Miss Universe in about 1879 or something). Looks like Jenny's place (not unlike Jenny herself) is undergoing renovations. I stopped here and there to read and/or take pictures.

Stopped at the grocery store and walked home. Whew.. . . .that's a lot of walking actually but I've done a lot of that in Chicago anyway. Now it's lunch, laundry, read, write, and basketball. I'll get on boat stuff tomorrow big time! Only 4 working days left and I've not started either engine!

Yesterday I cleaned up the helm station. You know, you cover what you can on your boat to protect it from the elements but by doing so you just create a mildew hotel! Cleans up easily enough though with detergent and a sponge.

The competed replacement regulator and solenoid for the propane locker. From know on there will be NO metal in this locker. Going with a 20 lb and a 10 lb fiber tank.

That's it from Grenada.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Another Day Another Puzzle

Today was to be engine day. Time to see if the iron genny will run again. I put the cover back on the pump. Did not change the impeller since it looked fine and besides, I can't figure out how to take it out anyway. Checked the fuel filter and changed it. If she runs I'll want to look at this filter right away and see what sort of crap is coming up out of the fuel tank. I checked the coolant and that is right at the top. I put a bucket of water for the pump to suck from and we're just about good to go. Give a little throttle as we usually do, turn the key. . . buzzer comes on. That's good. Press the button and . . .


Well here we go then. This is something I'm used to (doesn't mean I like it). We have this problem on occasion and it's a whole chapter in my book (buy the book!). We suspect the starter relay and it certainly looks rusty and nasty like so many other components to the boat. So I trot on down to the NAPA at the Ace hardware. I show the guy the bad relay. He clearly had never seen one before and was sure they had nothing like that. OK. . . then he said wait a minute and went back to the shelves and came back with just the thing! I nice one too as it is in-cased in plastic instead of rust-able metal.

Back to the boat. Install the new relay. . . turn key. .. .press start. . .


So. . . If I had another set of ears on board I would have that set listen for a clicking noise coming from the relay. If the relay is clicking but nothing is happening then you know the problem is on the secondary (starter) side. If it's not even clicking then the problem is on the primary (push button) side. I don't think it's due to a low battery. A low battery would at least give a groan and turn the engine a half a turn or so but that is certainly another concern.

Monday I'm going to borrow somebody with ears and listen for the click. I'm also going to try to borrow a fully charged battery and see if that makes a difference. I'm really sick of this problem and hope I can FINALLY solve it before I leave.

I also took off the helm cover and cleaned up all the mildew on that and our cockpit table. I think before I leave I'll put up the dodger and the big anchor shade we have to better protect the boat for the last two months of her stay in the yard.

I'm taking the rest of the day off - went to the store and scored some White Castle hamburgers! Wheee Hooo. I'm taking tomorrow off as well and working on school stuff so there is not so much to do on the weekend when I return.

Comments and suggestions certainly welcome as usual.

Friday, March 25, 2011

One Week In

It's Friday! I wonder if I'll get a day off tomorrow. . .doubt it.

More hard work today but coupled with some successes.

Just for the hell of it I turned on the relay for the propane. I should hear a characteristic click when this happens. Nothing. OK. Open the locker and what do I see. . . RUST. The whole solenoid/regulator assembly is just a pile of rust. So I take the ugly business off and put it in a bag and off to Island Water World. Once there I pull it out of the bag and Johnathon, the Brit who runs the place and knows simply everything about boats says, "God God"! I say, "I need a new one of these", and he says, "Well we don't have one just like that!
"No I don't want it just like this I want it like this but working"! He is a smart ass.

So I bought new regulator and relay. The relay is so that propane cannot come into the boat unless you switch it on. Safety device and an important one since propane is more dense than air. (See how I slip in some science when you're not expecting it? That's what I do.) Now it's fun with pipes, elbows and various parts that have to fit in the locker AND leave room for 2 - 20 pound propane tanks. This has always been a tight fit so instead of worrying about how to make it just barely fit I decide to just change our cruising motif to 1 20 lb tank and 1 10lb tank as the reserve. We'll use the 20 pound tank and then switch to the reserve knowing that it's time to buy propane and top off both tanks. I also want this 10 pound tank to be the new fiber kind like our 20lb tank. Our deck lockers are not dry. Not by a long shot and although they have drains there are two problems with that. One is that they drain forward and we are not always in trim for forward draining due to dingy and outboard on the stern. Two, the drain is raised up so that unless you tip the boat forward about 30 degrees not all the water is ever going to drain. This is killer for steel tanks with that steel rim at the bottom. That's dust on our steel tank. Dust. So maybe someone wants to buy that tank and paint her up but I'm done with steel propane tanks on this boat. OH, and this job? 100% done! Wired her up and heard the nice click!

Water tank job is 98% done. All hoses are connected and ready to go. have to still epoxy the elbow to the plate I made and I need a better plug for the old feed hole in the tank. Then I'll put the numerous screws back on the access plate. Much swearing there usually so new rule, Lucy the grand daughter can never come aboard when grandpa is working on the boat!

Speaking of screws. . . I've been all over looking for that 1/4" thread, 1/2", flat head, tapered, brass screw for the engine pump. No luck. I did find on board a replacement impeller with the proper paper gaskets so I'm ready to go if only I had one screw (don't go there!). Then, I'm finishing up with the water tank and looking through my machine screws for one more to hold down the plate with the elbow and what does my pointer finger find? Not one but TWO of the exact screws I've been shopping for! Wheeeeeeeee!!!! Life is so exciting. Lottery? Kids Play!

Tomorrow I'll try to extract the impeller...not sure how to get it out of there but have tools and a short fuse so that ought to do it! This means I could probably try to start the engine tomorrow too. I'd like to go back to Chicago having heard the diesel bang.

Now I will digress. . .

Recently I've been teaching high school physics at a private school. It's been a good gig but pretty different for a guy coming from 20+ years in the public school system. So lets go back to where I had no idea what to do because my water tank was leaking. I was stumped and I had to drop the tools and just think about it. That little experience made me think about a test one of my students turned in and on a problem he wrote, "We've never had a problem like this!". He had no work and no idea how to do it. He was upset. Now I'm thinking, the whole idea of problem solving is to exercise those brain muscles so that you CAN solve a problem you've never seen before otherwise what's the freaking point? Sure you've never seen it but it is ABOUT the stuff you've allegedly been learning. I mean, that's how we got to the moon, right. Or. . .

Hello Mr. Beige. I've read your resume and I see that you are very good at the odd numbered problems and have even had a go at the occasional even one. Good show! We have just the job for you. You'll get a nice tidy cubicle and in there you'll solve problems that are just like the ones you've already solved. We can't pay you much for this obviously but it should be enough for you to spend beyond you means, produce some nasty children who you will resent and they will return the favor, pay your mortgage, and die happy! Let's get started shall we!

Sailing is such a microcosm of what is right and wrong with the world. I know it's not a big deal that I used a part for what it was not intended to solve a problem but somehow that's everything too.

That's it from Grenada. All comments appreciated as usual.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Zen and the Art of Water Tanks

To any who have read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance you'll recognize this rap. To those who have not read it. . .

WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR? :) This book should be required reading for all teachers, sailors, and humans.

Anyway I had several goals today one of which was to check out the water system. We topped off both tanks (65 and 85 gallons) before we left. This to keep green type things from growing in there. Tried the pump to see if water would come out at the sink but nada. Pump is running but no water. This is not unusual and if you search the archives for 'pump' or 'drinking water' or 'suicide' you'll see what I mean.

So what seems to be the problem? Well, I tried various things to narrow it down all the way to a bucket of water with a hose to the pump and nothing on the output side. . .what's a bilge for anyway? OK, pump can pump water about 2 feet horizontally. Now we're getting some where. Watching the semi-see through (or do you see it as semi-opaque?) lines I notice air bubbles on the input side of the pump when trying to draw water from either tank. Hmmm....Well, maybe all the water went away. So I squirt several gallons of water into each tank. NO. I open kitchen and head faucets. NO.

Now I sit and stare at the forward tank. There is about 3 inches between it and the aft tank and in between I see water and a steady drip from the forward tank where the fitting is for water to head to the pump. OK, so this is where the pump is sucking air, right? This is bad then. I cannot get my hand between the two tanks and if I could what would I do? No way to tighten anything. My hand would be a hand sandwich!

Mommy! Shit! This tank is molded into the the boat and leaking where I have no hope of getting to.

Breathe. . .

Wait. . .I got it. What if I plug that pipe from the inside of the tank and then suck water from the top of the tank (like a straw) via a new line to the pump. The fact that the water has to go up to get out means nothing in the world of conservation of energy! YES! That's then how I spent the rest of my day (nearly). We now have a new access to this forward tank. In true sailor fashion I used what I had and modified it for my needs. This tank had a capacity meter on top that has never worked. So I drilled a hole in it for a two ended barb. Now a short piece of hose goes into the tank and a longer piece is fed to the pump. I've not sealed it all up yet because I don't have a good plug in the old feed. I need a nice rubber stopper for that. I think I'll leave this 90% completed (my favorite!) and bring rubber stoppers back with me in June.

On another note, our water tank once again has white rocky deposits in it. Sue cleaned all of this out some time ago but now it's back. I suspect some chemistry is happening due to water + bleach + aluminum tank. I've collected some deposits and plan to take them to the school chemist when I get back to Chicago. This is one of those annoying problems where you look in your water tank and go , "GOOD GOD! What's going on in there"? Then you realize that you have been living, drinking and cooking out of said tank for several years. So, I think the main annoyance of this distillate is that it gets caught in the screen up stream from the pump and has to be cleaned out occasionally. Nobody died yet!

So, what about Zen etc. There is a wonderful part in the book where the author is going to do some maintenance to his bike. Something major like grinding pistons or what ever. But to do so he has to take some trivial cover off and the last screw has stymied him. So his day is spent on that one screw instead of all the fancy maintenance he was going to do. So. . . can't get too mad. This is the hand you were dealt today. Got to just follow it and maybe you'll end up learning some screw removal skills that will be useful later.

I have pictures of plumbing supplies but they are WAY too cool to share here!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Today's mission was to try to remove the cover plate from the engine's fresh water pump to get at the impeller. I haven't had a look at that for a long time as the screws were very stubborn. So. . . I got a can of thread loosener and sprayed liberally. It seems where the screws go on the pump there are tiny holes behind so you can squirt stuff in there perhaps right into the threads. Now its cram myself into the engine room, clamp the vice grips onto the jumbo screwdriver, take a deep breath and PRESS (and turn). I try very hard to NOT let the screw driver slip out of the slot as that just ruins any chance later. Nothing.


nothing. I rested and just tried again. Amazing! Got two right away. 10 minutes later the third came out.

1.5 hours later and much more swearing. . . YES! I had tried to use one of those screw extractors but it just kept making a nice smooth cone shape in the screw. Now there was NO slot left at all. Duh . . .I finally realized that with 3 screws out I could rotate the whole plate and loosen the screw that way. The impellar looks fine with no missing blades. One less worry.

That was my afternoon. I'm done. Can you tell which screw was the problem? Of course now I can't put the plate back on without finding a replacement screw. I checked at Budget Marine but no such screw in brass. I'll have to check at Island Water World and I'll also get on the net tomorrow and check with other cruisers. There's a pretty good bet that someone has it.

I did meet with Lesley the very nice lady who has been opening Enee up once a week for an hour and keeping her looking and smelling nice. I think Lesley smelled nice too but after the engine room, well that sets the bar pretty low! She is going to keep at it for April and May and make Enee ready to go for June 6 or 7. Before we arrive she'll wash down the decks as well. She's also going to try to track down some people who she thinks can make new seat covers for us. It's been pretty fun to peel ourselves off the vinyl down here in the tropics but that's enough fun.

For deck washing to happen the dinghy is going to have to move. We correctly lashed dinghy to the deck to keep it save and secure for hurricane seasons. But now it's in the way and I'm crammed in with other boats so getting the dinghy off the deck presents a problem.

For another day!

Question for all the experts out there. I think the batteries are charging ok. When I disconnect the charger they sit at 12.6 volts as they should but WOW are they HOT. Should batteries be that hot, almost too hot to touch from charging? I don't think so but I'm going to read up.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More Progress

Lots of rain here which slows me down just a little but plenty to do below. Here's today's accomplishments/questions/plans

1. The yard guy ripped out the old anchor windlass. He had a grinder to saw off the bolts in the anchor locker (clearly a Sue job!). Then with crow bar (crows? . . .really?) and muscle he got it out of there. Hammer and chisel and the wood pad is gone too. Now they will fill the holes (I am no longer allowed near epoxy) and cut new hole for chain access. This looked like real work so I busied myself with playing with prime numbers. You never know when that will be important.

2. I went on a quest for new batteries and got a price at Budget Marine and Island Water World. I was thinking of pulling the trigger today but then in the bus on my way to Island Water World I thought, why do I want to buy new batteries, charge them up and then abandon them for 2 months. I've decided to wait on batteries until our return.

3. But then. . . on the bus back another epiphany (which actually is the 3rd Sunday after the last quarter of the 3rd full moon of a month with no R). . .anyway, it occurred to me that I may have left the battery selector switch to OFF. If the charger delivers its juice via the selector switch then my conclusion to the deadness of the batteries is wrong since no electrons (or other fundamental particles probably ) were directed their way! I changed this when I got back to the boat and we'll see where we stand tomorrow.

4. I cannot remove the plate that gives access to the impeller so I'm going to walk to Enza Marine tomorrow and talk to them about getting a whole new pump. Then I can put the other one on the bench and work on those screws AND have a back up pump. I may ask them about doing a general engine maintenance update as well. They are good people and do good work.

5. So, no engine work really for me so I turned to the auto pilot stuff. I mounted the brain box in the galley. This puts it in easy reach to the helm and for leading wires from the flux gate compass and if you can work 'flux gate compass' into a sentence you really got something going there. Mounted said compass under the starboard settee and fished wires through the below decks nastiness and up to the brain box. Also fished wire from brain box to the distribution panel for power. Unclear at this point what size breaker I need for this so I just let the wires hang. ,

Once again the boat EXPLODES due to any projects but I kind of love it because I know how cool it is when it all comes back together.

The tool bench.

My nav station

Where we live. . .who wants to visit?

Do not be frightened children. . . I come in peace.

Hey. . .that looks like a day's work so off to De Big Fish. Had a beer with Jack the solo sailor. We shared a bowl of fries and talked sailing routes.

More crawling around on hands and knees (wait, this is not with Jack, ok?) today but that's all good stuff. Looking forward to tomorrow. . . who isn't?!

It's raining again. Lots of rain here and this is unusual as it's the 'dry' season . . . mon!

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Productive Day

Just so you know, a productive day in boat language means you spent a few thousand dollars. Good thing we love our boat!

Yes, this was the day that work began in earnest.

1. Got power and water to the boat. Looks like the batteries are taking a charge but I'm going to let them cook for 24 hours and see if they can turn the engine tomorrow.

2. I cut a deal with the yard to remove the old windlass and make a 6" by 8" hole in the anchor locker so that I can get at the chain when we are weighing anchor. They'll make a lid too and then I'll probably fashion some sort of dam around it to keep water out of the chain locker below.

3. Talked with the sail maker. We're good to go just about on the new genoa. Tomorrow they're going to haul over the existing genoa to compare to what is being planned. I don't want to end up buying the same sail.

4. Receive 2 of three parts for the auto pilot although at first when I opened one of the boxes there was a very nice VHF radio inside. Guess I should have checked while in the store! Easy swap and now I have the control head and another piece. I'll look at instructions tomorow and see if this is do-able or if I'm going to farm the whole thing out.

5. Got our cell phone back. We loaned it to friends (Thanks Merenge!) who then left and left it for us at the boat yard. Still works!

6. I cleaned out the anchor locker so we could plan that job with the yard. Also cleaned out the starboard deck locker. . .YUCK! These things have a drain that is in the forward corner of the locker but the boat is blocked a little aft. Lots of water got in and stayed. What a mess. this is where we keep bottles of oil, gas additives, cleaning supplies, etc. Some of said bottles had lost their integrity (like me but long ago). But, like lots of boat things it looks way worse than it is. Some detergent and sponges and all good again. I'm not storing anything in there any more. Well, maybe Mismo when she's bad (always!).

7. Made an initial clean of the engine room. Looked like at some point the rain water came up to the oil pan and distributed oil to various points. Again, looked worse than it was. It's clean enough now for me to work in and see if the old girl will start (tomorrow).

8. Walked to the ACE and bought about $200 worth of new hand tools. I'll keep these shiny. . .really!

So a good day of good honest labor. It's funny but I was very happy to have my head stuck in some uncomfortable places again and working like a rented mule!

And yes, the pretty teak that we worked so hard on is back to this. Oh well. . .

So here's the end of the day at De Big Fish. A cold one, the sea, and my journal. I'm good.

Tomorrow I've designated as engine day. I'm going to take apart as much of the diesel as I can to inspect and clean and then see if I can start her up. Same with the outboard. Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

First Evaluation

Good News! Things are not as bad as I might have imagined. Our BIG paint job below still looks great. Topsides paint is dirty but not coming off. Whew! Cetol on the topsides wood. . . forget it. GONE. That's it for that project. From now on all our topside teak is going natural. I'm a busy writer you know and I can't spend all my time directing Sue on where to scrape and paint!

Bad News - There is still a LOT of work to do!

I used my brief visit today to just get a sense of what I need in tools and materials and to prioritize the coming projects. I had asked the yard to plug in the boat but that didn't happen so without power it was hard to inspect engine room and, ok, I'm afraid to go in there. But, engine and engine room clean up is number one starting tomorrow after I get power. I'm not sure what an engine that's been standing for 18 months needs but I'll make sure it has oil, hook up the hoses that I took off and see if she'll start! Why not? Let's cut to the chase. I then need to remove the cover on the impellar. It's been stuck for awhile and I need to see what's going on in there. Here's the rest but this list will mutate

2. Buy tools. Oh my god. My tool drawers are just piles of interestingly shaped chunks of rust. I guess these were hand tools in the mesolithic era. christ. I should have put all the tools in bags with oil sprayed in. Well, it is fun buying new tools and, honestly, some of these tools have been with me from the 50's. Really!

3. Rip out the old windlass. I couldn't get the bolts off of this thing before we left so I doubt I'll get them now. I think I'll just cut around the whole thing (it's down in the locker for the anchor chain etc. I needed to open up that space anyway to get at the chain itself to prevent the castling problem. Time to not be fine tuned with this and just get a saw, cut around it and rip it out of there. Then I can make a lid and make nice with the hole.

4. Batteries - When I get power we'll see if they charge up ok. I'll check the water in them first. They were dead today (~10.2 volts). If they come back I'll have to decide if I can mix them with a pair of new, similar batteries. I know this is frowned upon but so is buying 4 new batteries. I want to upgrade from 2 to 4 because...

5. Install autohelm. This would be higher up the list but I know all the parts are not in yet. Looking at 1-4 I may have to hire out this job to be completed before we return June 6.

6. Dinghy and outboard - Dinghy has a leak that I CANNOT find so I may give this project to the sail maker who does dinghy repair. The outboard has been sitting outside (the cover I taped on is gone with the wind) for 18 months. But it's a good Tohatsu and I expect it to start.

Finally (for today) it's good to know that our boat wasn't completely abandoned. Looks like a sparrow made a nest in the boom. I saw her fly out while I was walking around the deck. Maybe a friend for Mismo!

My Digs

Here's some pictures from Cool Running . . .



Living room

Nt much in the fridge yet!

View from my window. One of those mast is Enee Marie!

This is a great location! It's 8 am on Sunday and I can hear power saws and hammers from the boat yard. I guess I'll not be the only one re-commissioning!

But first I'm off on a quest for coffee and then to the store which opens at 10. I'll get supplies for my stay and then go visit Enee and begin to form a plan.

Then a nap I think!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


For a bit. Just got into Grenada. Long layover in San Juan but saw some basketball (too bad Huggins and Calipari couldn't both lose!). All flights on time with no excitement. . . except the waitress in the San Juan airport finding me 20 minutes after I left. I had left my debit card! That would have made the trip extra exciting!

I'm staying at Cool Running. Apparently this place has always been here but we would have never noticed. VERY handy for what I want to do. I can see the boats in the yard from the balcony here. I've seen Enee Marie from afar but will get on board tomorrow and begin to make lists.

And then take a break!

Holy crap. . .the Caribbean air is wonderful. 80 degrees. Sure a little humid but feels great after a long winter in the Windy City.

Ran into some old friends at De Big Fish and got some updates on other people we both knew.

Look for pictures tomorrow. I tried tonight but I think I'm taking HUGE pictures with my new camera and I want to sort that out.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Heading for Grenada

Finally! Tomorrow I fly to Grenada for 2 weeks to begin the job of re-commissioning Enee Marie. Some People in Grenada have done some of the clean up already. My main concern is getting auto pilot installed, modify the anchor locker, start the engine, repair the dinghy, start the outboard, and 1,000,000 other things that I've not discovered yet.! Stay tuned starting this weekend for daily updates and pictures as the work progresses.