Monthly Archives: January 2014

Supervised by the Boss

Cuchulainn with Mast

Cuchulainn with her refurbished mast and up for the 1st time in several years

We decided to spend a day at the boat on Thu, working on various bits. Mainly, it was to admire the boat with its mast. See opposite!

It was just as well that the Boss came because some of the cushions had got wet and she  was able to sort them out and we took them all home to dry and get cleaned. Some of the water came from the cable channels either side of the boat which was being filled with rainwater via the windlass bolt and cable holes. A partial cure was drilling drain holes in the channel!

I fought my way through the excess cables and removed even more, mostly earth/ground cables from the old HF transceiver. The battery bay cover now fits and is back home for varnishing.

The uprights for the chart table locker are nearly complete and almost fit! Back home for a few adjustments along with the forepeak locker cover.

I started looking at the exhaust hose, with a view to replace it but it’s very well aged into the various fittings and will not be easy to remove. Next time.  Louis has removed the engine seacock which has clearly leaked for several years. It will be replaced with a larger intake, but also needs new fibreglass work to strengthen it and a better backing plate. The inlet to the engine has corroded and Marc from MarineWise is getting me a new one.

The cushions gave us a bit of a struggle packing into our car but everything fitted in the end. Our old Ford Focus would have been useless! Last job was to take the old bow rollers to Tanner Engineering to replace. They should be ready next week.

The Boss did enjoy her walk along the River Dart. Apparently she did wave from opposite the wharf, but I didn’t see her. I’ve paid for that omission!

Batteries Working (at last)

A cold saturday with lots of scullers/rowers etc were out across the river from Baltic Wharf. They’re pretty noisy with loud-hailers. So to continue with the batteries. Cutting, cables, stripping insulation, crimping into connector rings and fitting up to the battery isolators, Voltage Sensitive Relay and so on. Double check that the wires were in the right place and connected up and …. it worked! The first success! The bad news is that I think that some of the switches on the distribution panel don’t work. If that is the case, it’s a very tedious job replacing them on the panel.

The battery cable outlet to the engine bay has been cut in the wrong place! It’s right up against the heat exchanger so cables can’t exit there! So I cut a notch in the cover panel, now I discover that it was too small. Back home again for rectification!

Spent some time getting the chart table locker upright to fit only to find that I have trimmed too much off! The shape is done so at home I’ll cut a new piece of ply which can be fitted in a short time. The forepeak bunk hatch still needs more trimming. I’ll get there in the end.

Worked so long on the boat that when I packed up the gates were locked and the staff had gone home. Luckily, one guy still on site had keys and let me out, otherwise, I would have spent the night in Totnes!

PS The mast was craned up on Mon! Just got the bill! Done a good job, now the rest of the boat has to catch up!

Mast and Batteries

After several weeks, Grahame Harris has finished the refurbishment of the mast with all new standing and running rigging and loadsa new fittings. I’ve rewired the mast with proper tinned wire and not household flex so it will not corrode within the next few years. On Sunday, I tried to remove the worst of the Saharan sand/dust; it does look better. The mast should be craned onto the boat on Friday, hopefully.

The other job I continued, was sorting out the battery electrics. I’ve removed about 8metres of very thick battery cabling and got rid of the two battery selector switches (Plymouth Boat Jumble material). Installed the 3 new batteries in the proper place in the aft cabin. Next job is to fit the Voltage Sensitive Relay and isolator switches utilising the 80mm hole left by the selector switch. (Does any know where I can get nice pieces of GRP plates to cover that hole and others?) The windlass cables do a very roundabout route from the battery – isolator switch – aft locker and then to the bow (an extra 5 metres of unnecessary cable). However, it is very difficult threading wires around the boat with its double skin getting in the way.

The chart table locker continues to be a challenge to get the new components to fit! I’ve got the outboard curve correct for the central upright; now I need to get the top and inboard lines correct at home without cutting too much off! Next fitting later this week.

The washboards have got their 3rd of about 6 coats of varnish on; the tiller and cockpit instrument panel have got 4 layers, so I’ll start the rub-down/clean & dry/varnish cycle for the next 3 coats. I can only do one side of the washboards at a time so they will take a bit longer. It will start looking like a boat soon.

I’ve stripped all the paint off the windlass and will start priming the, now roughish, surface. It’s been coated in paint-stripper, scraped, wire brushed, sanded and sworn at. So it had better be good when I’ve finished!

I’ve given up on getting the winches back from the previous owner who appears to have walked off with them after we signed contracts and exchanged money. Another unexpected cost but I’ll try to retrieve the money through the small claims court. Please wish me luck!

Off soon to buy a Raymarine e7 Multi Function Display which has LOTS of bells and whistles (boy’s toy), a Standard Horizon GX2100 VHF radio which includes AIS and, damn-it, replacements for the bloody winches. The last significant expenditure will be the gas system. I need to contact Tim Beck for that.

Working in the Shade

A Friday visit with the Boss to check the fit of a few bits including the new washboards and to position the new lock which will be done at home after I’ve put 6 – 8 coats of varnish on. The main job was to transfer the 48 out-of-date flares (yes, 48!) we found in various lockers around the boat to a steel dustbin in the car. We then took them to Brixham Coastguard for disposal. They were most helpful when faced with flares with EXPIRY dates from 1993 to 2003!! The boat was new in 1987.

My solo Saturday visit was to complete a list of jobs, however, feeding 4 new cables through the mast was VERY time-consuming. Pulling through the cables dislodged decades of Saharan dust. The join between one old cable and the new broke so I had to attach a string messenger to another cable, pull that through and then play around pulling backwards and forwards to get the new VHF coax, combined tricolour and anchor lights and the Rotavector wind sensor from the top of the mast. Finally, the combined steaming and deck flood light cable was fed through along a different duct but only half-way up the mast. I probably walked the length of the mast (13m) at least 40 times, clearly, I needed the exercise!

I started removing the battery cables from the stern locker. I should make a fortune out of the scrap copper! There will be at least 12m of 8mm dia copper when I’ve finished. The real fun will be connecting it up – a job for next time.

The new battery bay locker cover will fit after some more planing, cutting &c at home. (I hope, ‘cos it’s L-shaped!) (Later in the week: Four pieces of ply for the lockers and the start of the chart table locker have been worked on in the hope that they will fit. The washboards, tiller and cockpit instrument panel now have 2 coats of varnish and are looking much better for it!)

The windlass now works after Merv at Mt Batten Boathouse freed up the jammed clutch with, I suspect, with alot of heat. The paint has almost all been removed with a benign stripper (3 coats, wire brushing, pressure washing as well. Also bought some half litre of 2-pack primer for just £38!

Saturday had the best weather for at least a week or so, I discovered that on the West side of the R. Dart below a hill means that we are always in the shade, whilst the rowing club on the opposite bank was in sun ALL DAY!

I didn’t finish the list by a long way!

New Year Check

On the day of high winds, high spring tides and heavy rain, the boat was worth a trip to check how things were. I also went via Plymouth to collect the Raymarine wind sensor from Mount Batten Boathouse, asked them to repair the clutch on the windlass  and had hoped to buy a couple of tools without any luck.

High tide was at 07:30 or so and the boatyard had some water across it, by the time I got there, the tide and water in the R. Dart was flowing out at about 2-3 knots. It hadn’t stopped by the time I left, some 3 hours after low water! Dartmoor is still full of water!

MarineWise were installing new fuel lines, so I got in their way! I managed to check the fit of the new washboards, discovered that the battery locker cover was too small ($%!£) and sealed the holes from the winch properly (some water was in the (forecabin). On the mast, I found that the wind sensor fitting was OK, the VHF fitting should be OK and tried but failed to remove the other 2 VHF aerial fittings. Graeme Harris has said that he will do the honours. One fitting is held in with 8 bolts; what to do with eight 8mm holes in two lines at the top of the mast?

Next visit, I can organise the battery cables and the rest of the 12v wiring. Do a final double check on the washboards and hope the lock has arrived. Start re-building the chart table locker. Get rid of the 48, yes 48  flares to the Coastguard, some dating back to when the boat was new, don’t ask!