Sunday, April 27, 2008

Check. Check. Check.

Replaced Bilge Pump, Replaced Impeller, 4/27/2008

Today was a good day. All the problems of yesterday are solved:
  • The bilge pump replacement was the most interesting. The pump is way down the keel, and I couldn't imagine how I would possibly reach it to swap in a new one. Well, I don't know whether it was Cape Dory or the prior owner, but somebody did a really kind thing. The pump and float switch were mounted to the lower side of an "L" shaped panel. The upright portion of the "L" was screwed into the engine platform. Even so, it was barely reachable; Michele had to crawl down where I couldn't fit, and unscrew it. Once the panel was unscrewed, everything lifted out in once piece! The picture below shows the whole structure. I didn't have my camera, so I used the one on my phone. Not great quality, but I couldn't let this interesting piece go by without a picture. Anyway, West Marine had an identical pump, so swapping it out was easy.
  • The hot water is working now -- just needed to purge the air.
  • As for the impeller, I have no idea why it didn't prime. I got a brand new one today which came with some lubricant, and it slid right in. I poured water into the intake hose to help it prime, and it worked fine. The Jabsco impeller kit part number is 836-0001. I found the corresponding replacement kit at West Marine. I think the Jabsco part number for the impeller alone is 17935-0001.
  • The new windshield wipers are working great!
  • I tested the GPS/VHF wiring, and the VHF is getting and displaying position information. Can't wait to try a DSC call!
  • Last but not least, Michele did her usual incredible job cleaning the cabin, despite my tearing it up to do engine work almost as fast as she was cleaning.
Looking forward to getting out on the water...

Broke and Broken

Spring recommissioning is not going so well! The boat went in the water on Friday. Michele and I spent part of Saturday cleaning and recommissioning, hoping to get out on the water today. Had a few problems:
  • Broken wire connector on the fuse panel. No biggie. Difficult to reach, but easy to fix. It's one of those two-handed jobs that I could barely reach with one hand, but I managed to get it done.
  • Bilge pump not working. Scares the hell out of me to have the boat in the water with no bilge pump, so I'm going to try to replace it today. The worst part will be squeezing down into the bilge to reach it.
  • Cooked the new impeller. Very disappointing: I replaced the impeller earlier this year, and the new one didn't prime. It burned up quickly, so now I need to replace it again and figure out why it's not getting water. Not sure if the intake is blocked or what, but tracking down the problem should be pretty systematic. On the bright side, the engine turned right over on the first try.
  • Hot water side of the water system is not running. It's probably just airlocked, but this is a pretty minor problem compared to the others. The cold side is working fine. Unfortunately, I'm not thrilled by the performance of our new pump -- the pressure is kind of weak.
Back to the repairs today... sigh.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Refinish Unfinished

Refinished Swim Platform, Washed & Waxed Hull, 4/19/2008

On Saturday, Michele nearly completed her work on the swim platform. It's looking terrific -- a stunning difference compared to how it looked earlier. After sanding it to bare wood earlier this spring, she put two coats of Cetol Light on it over the past two days. Unfortunately, we're stymied by the weather again: rain for the next three days. I'll try to get out there on Wednesday and get another coat on before launch.

We also cleaned and waxed the hull. Topsides can be done when the boat is in the water, but the hull really needs to be done pre-launch. I had hoped it would be a simple, quick wash and wax this year, but it needed a bit more than that to bring back the shine:
  1. Washed thoroughly with mild boat soap and water, using a soft brush and a terry-cloth pad.
  2. Applied 3M Cleaner and Wax, working it in with a 6" random-orbital machine and terry-cloth bonnet, first going back and forth, then up and down. Wiped off the remaining light haze with a clean cloth.
  3. Waxed with 3M Ultra-Performance Paste Wax, applied by hand, and buffed with the random-orbital machine and terry-cloth bonnet. In a few spots where rain water runs down the hull leaving black streaks, we used some Starbrite Teflon over the wax, in hopes that it would help prevent the streaking (or at least make it easier to clean).
  4. A quick buffing pass over the entire surface with a lambswool bonnet. This goes super fast, and really helps bring out the shine.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bottom Job

Bottom Paint, 4/18/2008

A very damp, cool, spring left us feeling anxious about getting the exterior work finished, so Michele and I took Friday off from work to get started. The weather was beautiful, and we both muttered a bit about how it nice it would be to have the work done already and be out on the bay.

We made short work of removing the shrink wrap, and then started in on the real work. I donned a painter's suit, mask, and gloves to tackle the bottom paint, while Michele continued her work on the swim platform.

I used exactly 1 gallon of West Marine PCA Gold, which was enough for a full bottom coat plus an extra pass at the waterline. Last time, we had the marina use Micron Extra, but the West Marine brand was substantially less expensive, so we gave it a try. A nice suprise: the marina responded promptly when Michele asked if they'd move the stands for us. They took care of it within minutes, and we were able to paint the spots where the boat had been sitting on them.

In the meantime, Michele put the first coat of Cetol Light on the swim platform. It looks great already! Pictures to come later, when the last coat is done.

Monday, April 7, 2008

...And Wait...

Grrr... STILL waiting for clear weather. Is it too much to ask to have a few clear days and nights above 50 degrees, so I can bottom paint? I feel like I'm back in Seattle!