Friday, May 4, 2012

Grinding down.

We are grinding down to the last day here.  “Submit” will go into long term storage tomorrow.  We are not sure when we will get back to her.

The time spent coming down the ICW was slow and relaxing (except for careening on the shoal).  Life in the boatyard has been working, working, pretty much all day every day.  Delays accumulated for re-thinking projects, chasing down screws and bolts and nuts and washers and wiring and hoses and pieces of wood and on and on.  We did not bother to count how many times we climbed the 10+ feet up and down the ladder to get into and out of the boat.  I’ve squeezed, several  times a day, into and out of places a guy my size shouldn’t have to go.  We’ve sweated in 90 degree heat and high humidity and roasted in temps over 100 degrees inside the boat.

We did learn the most time consuming and potentially expensive words:  “While we are at it,”.

The engine project took on a life of its own.  It is nearly complete, and will have to stay that way until next visit.  Everything is done except to install the control panel and the engine compartment ventilation fan.  At least one if not both of these projects will require cutting holes in the cockpit seatbacks or elsewhere.

The modified engine bed is installed.  The fuel control cable was 3 feet too short so a new one was ordered and installed.  The raw cooling water hose was too short so new was ordered and installed.  A new shaft saver/transmission saver flexible coupling was added.   The driveshaft universal joint has been replaced.  The remote oil filter has been mounted.  The second alternator, dedicated to the house batteries has been mounted and wired in, and can be used to charge the house batteries.  It can charge the start battery if the primary alternator dies (dedicated to the start battery).  The fprimary alternator can likewise be called upon to charge the house batteries if necessary.  Our overkill fuel system has been hooked up, consisting of Racor double switchable 30 micron primary filters, a Racor 10 micron secondary filter and a final 2 micron filter.

The entire exhaust system was upgraded to ABYC standards with an increase in size, a siphon break in the raw water line, a new marine water lift muffler, a high rise gooseneck just inside the stern, a new 2+ inch hole in the stern and a new stainless steel through hull with flapper.  Thank heavens my old exhaust hose was too small.  When I removed it, I looked inside to find it was falling apart inside.  The outside looked fine, but the inside was breaking apart and large flaps of rubber were hanging loose to block exhaust flow.  

“While we were at it”, access to a storage cubbyhole was enlarged.  Water tank hoses were re-routed, the pump relocated and an accumulator tank installed.  Some of the wiring was cleaned up.  New lifeline stanchions were installed to replace the breaking old ones.  A new-to-us bow pulpit was modified by a local welder and we installed it along with backing plates and a new bow light (which fixes problems with the old bow lights not working).  Bow cleats were re-bedded.  The old mainsheet traveler was removed, holes filled, new holes for the new traveler drilled oversize and epoxy backfilled in preparation for the new traveler which will also have to wait to be installed until next trip.  Trim was repaired on an upper salon settee.  The refrigeration unit received some cleaning and corrosion control.  The propane locker drain was re-routed to correct problems with the old setup.  New “best quality” hoses were added to the bilge pumps and Barbara repaired the poor wiring connections.  She also cleaned and painted in the engine compartment/lazarettes.

Barbara is delighted with the “new” teak holder for the hand sanitizer in the head.  She also increased the holding capacity of her bookshelf, and is becoming a capable electrician and nut twister.  Her help has been invaluable since we have done everything ourselves except for Sean’s help when I removed the old engine.  I don’t think she had ever operated a hand-chain driven chain hoist or used her foot to push an engine into place before.

I won’t go into what is on the list for next visit.

 We’ve met people from several countries in this off-the-beaten-path boatyard:  Canada, England, Cuba, Australia, and more.   Ron lent me his car to run to Fastenal for bolts.  Cindy, from Montana, lent us her pickup for a couple shopping trips.  George, from Cuba, our next door neighbor to the west, has lent us his car for chasing parts, has taken us shopping and has volunteered to take us to our motel tomorrow.  Gordon, our English neighbor to the east, has lent me a drill and hole saws for making more holes in the boat, and given us epoxy advice.  His wife Susan gave us some delicious boat/home made dessert bread.  Steve has supplied materials for projects and probably saved our lives by buying a fan and delivering it to us.  We went out to dinner and shopping a couple times with Brian and Dawn Anne, Canadian friends who also have boats and sail on Flathead Lake in Montana in the summer, and were here to put their winter cruising boat in storage.  Our former crew member and friend Kathy dropped by to see us while vacationing in Florida.

Some folks here have been living aboard for many years and are doing maintenance or upgrades.  Others are part time cruisers like us, coming to retrieve and launch their boats for a summer run north to the Chesapeake, or bringing their boats in to put them to bed for the summer while going home for several months, then returning in the fall to re-launch for trips to the Bahamas or elsewhere.  Some have been coming here for many years.  Others, like us, are first timers.  Some live aboard their boats here and rarely or never leave.

We are looking forward to our Croatia adventure, and our summer of sailing in Montana and all our family and friends there.  We’ll do a couple hiking excursions and perhaps a little biking.  We’ll enjoy the fall weather and the old hunting cabin.  We’ll squeeze grandchildren.

We’ll return here as soon as we can to take on our list of projects prior to heading to the Bahamas or elsewhere.  Perhaps the much touted expanded restroom and shower facilities will be available by then!