Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sealing out the water

 Here is my solution for passing a cable up from the centerboard and turning it on a block to raise the centerboard.  I cut 3 pieces of oak and interlayed a total of four 1/8th inch rubber gasket material. There is a 1/2 hole through all the boards.  The first board has one layer below and two layers above.  The second board has one layer.  The cable snakes through all four layers thereby sealing out all water.  I will be lake testing this with a load in the spring.  Meanwhile I will need to add a raised section to the centerboard trunk decorative encasement so as to accommodate this new elevation. 

It's back to work tomorrow.  We will continue to finish the centerboard and its trunk as weather permits.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Summery of current projects

Just a note in summery of our present boat projects.  Our most pressing project is the repair and restoration of Belle, our 28 SeaPearl.  She will be our home away from home on the water. In addition to solving the leak, we plan to drill all the rivets out of the mast track and redo. Why? Because 3 have already pulled out at the base of the main.  Corrosion is evident on the rest.  There are hair-line cracks in the mast step on the main at the old welds.  We will need to have these re-welded. Then, of course, the steps will have to be repainted. I plan to re-paint the masts as well.  I rather imagine the hull and deck will end up getting a repaint as well.  Of course we are in the process of refinishing the bottom right now.  The electrical system needs some upgrading as well.  So much for Belle at this point.
I plan to re-finish Tridarka as well.  I have no intention of bringing the finish up to production grade but will make it easier on myself by painting the natural finish white to match the main hull.  We plan to make a Windfisher like platform to replace the current seating arrangement.  Thus we will be able to set up a tent on the platform as well as enjoy a spacious ride.
Lastly, The Boston Whaler Nauset will be getting a complete redo. This will involve complete hull resurfacing and painting. I will build the original mahogany center console and seating and re-power her with a 60 or 70 hp motor.  She should be a real looker and a great performer as well!
That should keep us out of trouble well into retirement.

One more thing before the cold

We sanded down the fill on the leading edge and shaped the Kevlar to conform perfectly to the edge. Great to have this done! Note that the gel-coat did not have any primer over it.  Not surprising that the anti-fouling came off in patches.  We will apply 2000/2001 epoxy barrier coat before applying anti-fouling next. First I will fair the edge of the Kevlar with epoxy fairing compound for a smooth rounded edge.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fixing Belle

Hope is restored! We're diging deep into the problems with Belle.  Everything looks worse when you don't investigate.  What we see is fairly reasuring.  The foam at the forward end of the keel is totally saturated with sea water.  Here we are digging it out.  On closer inspection there are no leaks from below, and the wetness is limited to the forward 1/4th of the slot.  We will dry it all out and pour floatation foam up to level.  Then we will glass over the top.  Question is, where did the water come from?  It now looks like the center board trunk is at fault.  With the extra 1000 lbs in the boat, the centerboard leaks out the hole in its top like a sieve.  I have the perfect cure.  I will raise the centerboard turning block up about 2 inches and place three rubber baffles in a row completely sealing out the water from below.  Then before reinstalling anything I will take it out with everything bare and sail it.  I will rebuild the trunk cabinet higher to cover the added height.  The full documentation of this will be posted. 
The hardest part of this job was getting Belle off her trailer.  Here are some pictures. Remember, only a 3 ton floor jack was used to raise her high enough for the trailer to clear.
Well there she is for the winter.  We'll give her a bottom job and repair the centerboard.  Stay tuned for these improvements.

Karen all dressed up, sanding the centerboard

We'll continue our efforts through the winter whenever weather permits.  Today was huge for us.  The shop was completely cleaned and reorganized. 1 and 1/2 acres of leaves were ground up and put to compost.  The board is completely sanded and filled.  Next we'll put 2 coats of epoxy primer and then the antifouling on the large centerboard. 

We decided to restore the Boston Whaler Nauset, 1970 vintage.  So there are no shortage of boat projects in the boat yard!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Saddest Day

A very sad thing happened yesterday. A dream vacation and the trip of a lifetime came to an end.  The weather had been pesky and held me back for a couple of days. The real nagging concern was when I went out the bilge filled and filled the cabin to about two inches of water.  I tried to dismiss it as the bilge only need to be pumped twice a day while at anchor. Yesterday, after the fog lifted and the rain ended I decided to head for my first anchorage on the trip.  I had barely gone a mile when the cabin submerged with about 2 inches of water again. I vigorously pumped out the bilge and watched it while I was sailing.  I could see a veritable stream of water coming back from the cabin area of the bilge, not up through the bottom of the bilge or from behind.  Clearly there is a crack or defect in the centerboard trunk.  In the past I have always had to pump the bilge a couple times of day or left the bilge pump on during sailing.  Clearly there has been an insidious leak or tiny crack that has widened with the stress of sailing specifically in 20 knots the first day.  I always wrote the small leak off to the boat being older.  Clearly a repair is urgently needed now.  Obviously I was not about to set out on a month-long voyage in this state of affairs.
I'll be working on structural restoration on several levels some of which I had planned in the next year before my retirement.  I am afraid this will be the last trip Belle takes before those repairs are effected which will take me into retirement.  I will not have another vacation ruined with these sorts of problems dogging me and sending me home beaten to lick my wounds.
This blog was created to document this trip. I am not sure I will even continue it. I may keep it just to have it for retirement.  For now, I'm afraid the buzz is over.  For those of you who I enthused about HF radio contacts on an LeXpedition, I apologize for letting you down.  If you think you are disappointed, think how I feel.  For now, so long.