Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dock Lines

Summer 2010

New set of docklines. Hardly worth a post, but I just love the look and feel of brand new lines, so I'm sharing a picture here :-)

I added the whipping to the bitter end (see inset). I like doing that, it's fun and it looks nice.


Summer, 2010

We hired Courtney (who did our anchor roller) to make nameboards for Mariner II. She's a great carpenter, and I think this has to be some of her finest work! Particularly the transom nameboard, which is curved in two directions to an exact fit of the transom curve. Just beautiful! In addition to the boards pictured here, there's a smaller nameboard on each side of the flybridge. Here's a picture just after the initial mounting while Mariner II was out of the water.

The nameboard is thru-bolted to the transom. Mark helped me drill 4" access ports on the inside of the cockpit fiberglass liner, to allow access to the structural transom and back side of the bolts. The fiberglass liner is about 1/4" thick, and there's about a 1" gap between the liner and the transom, which is just enough to slip a wrench in and put a washer and nut on the back of the bolts. The transom itself appears to be about an inch thick! The board for the hailing port is small and light, so it's just screwed in, not thru-bolted.

Bedding Deck Fittings

March 2010

After last year's deck leak, we realized we better take care of rebedding our remaining deck fittings, before it happens again. Michele and I rebedded nearly everything on deck: stanchion bases, cleats, anchor chain locks, ladder base - basically everything but the teak handrails, which seem to be in good shape... for now.

I also made new, larger backing plates for the cleats and the chain locks. I'd been concerned particularly about using our forward cleat to break the anchor free when weighing anchor. That should be ok now.

We also raised each of the flybridge attachment screws, and put sealant under them. We had a few little water leaks through the wheelhouse ceiling, probably from these screws. No more leaks, so I guess we got it.


March, 2010

John came down from PA in his 911 to help us wax. First time we've ever had the entire boat waxed, pre-launch... Thanks, John!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hanging Straps

Our aft mooring cover doubles as a cockpit bimini. We have a stainless frame that attaches to the cockpit gunwale to support it. When we're not using it, the frame sits around the perimeter on the cockpit sole, where I often stub my toes on it.

I made some hangers out of some webbing/straps to hang it from the gunwale. They're attached to the underside of the gunwale with a bolt and nylon locknut. On the inside, there's a hidden post for a "lift-the-dot" type snap. There are four straps: one port, one starboard, and two along the transom. The frame sits in the loop when the strap is snapped in place.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Engine Maintenance

Winter 2009-2010

In the past, I've had moderate success extracting the oil via the dipstick. I've never been able to extract it via the extraction tube. While winterizing this year, I had no success, period. I tried my electric oil change pump, a Jabsco hand pump, and a vacuum pump -- no luck. I started inquiring of other Cape Dory 28 owners, and learned that it should be much easier. In particular, I watched Mark extract the oil from Brandywine's Volvo engine (via the extraction tube), and I was astonished at how quickly and easily it was done! Clearly, there was something wrong with the extraction tube on ours. I soon concluded that it was clogged, but was not able to unclog it using a wire.

My next strategy was to worm my way underneath the engine and remove the drain plug, planning to replace it with a drain kit to make future oil changes easier. No go: I could get a large wrench on it, but the plug wouldn't move, at least not with the limited leverage I could get in the tight space. (And, sadly, I think I injured my back trying.)

We were planning some professional maintenance anyway, so I added the extraction tube to the list. During the winter, we had Dick Vosbury come down to do a few things:
  • Removed and clean the heat exchanger.
  • Remove and clean and oil cooler.
  • Replace the alarm unit on the bridge.
  • Clear the oil extraction tube.
Voila! Oil changes are a snap, now! I'm using the tall vacuum-style pump from West Marine in the picture above, basically the same as Mark's. Big enough to get all the oil in two trips, and it does it very quickly (10 minutes).

Sea Strainer Gasket

July, 2009

Uuuuuuuuugh. On our way back from DC, we anchored overnight in an area with lots of weeds on the surface. Before getting underway, I opened the sea strainer to clean it out. When I closed it back down, I apparently crushed the old (and brittle) gasket, which broke into a couple pieces. The result was that the sea water intake was drawing air through the lid, rather than drawing water from the thru-hull. The engine overheated, and we were towed in to Colonial Beach. One symptom here worth noting: We were running fine for several hours at low RPMs (7-8 knots), as it seemed there was enough water flow like that. Overheat occurred within a minute or two of cranking up to 10 knots.

I was disappointed in myself for not having a spare gasket. A package of gasket material from Napa took care of it. I used the strainer lid as a template, and cut a new gasket out of cork material. A little waterproof grease (Morey's Red) also helps keep the gasket in place, and helps seal it down.

The gasket kit stays on board all the time, now. A hole punch also comes in handy, for punching holes in the gasket where screws pass through.


June, 2009

I despise mosquitoes. Seriously. We inherited some window screens from the prior owner that have mostly kept the bugs at bay (pun?), but they haven't been doing the job lately.

The old screens were pretty simple - just fabric screening with velcro borders sewn in, and self-adhesive velcro strips attached to the inside of the window frames. The velcro was no longer staying attached, and whenever we took the screens down, the velcro on the frames wasn't very pretty.

The window frames on Mariner II have a recessed track on the exterior, so I decided to try to fit real screens in that track. I had my local hardware store fabricate one aluminum-framed screen as a test. The trick is to have the screen large enough that it will sit in the track without coming out, but small enough that I could wiggle and flex it into place. My test on the starboard side worked out ok, though I reduced the measurements just a bit for the port and aft windows.

For the side windows, it helped to unscrew the vertical support, which allowed me to pivot that support outward while slipping the screen into place (see last picture). The aft window was more difficult because there was no way to pivot the vertical section; I had to flex the screen frame quite a bit to bend it in, but I managed to do it without breaking it. If I were to do it again, I'd reduce the size even further, maybe another 1/4 or 1/2 inch. The only real downside that I see here is that we can't easily get to the opening section of glass from the outside, so there's no good way to clean it. We just hose it down aggressively, and that seems to keep it reasonably clean.

It was tricky getting them in place, but it worked and they look nice. They were cheap, too -- only about $20 per screen. You can say that about very many boat improvements!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Anchor Roller

May 16, 2009

We had an anchor roller installed, which should give my back some much needed relief! It was fashioned after Mark's aboard Brandywine. A small starboard pulpit thru-bolted to the deck and bedded with sealant, a stainless "universal" roller, and a chain lock (which isn't visible in the picture). We actually have two chain locks (don't ask): one is directly behind the roller on the rode locker door/lid, and one off to the side. It actually works out pretty well, as I can just move the chain off to the side when I want to get in there.

Looks like I might need a nicer anchor now....


April 25, 2009

Stinky job, but needed to be done. We were noticing more and more head odor in the boat, so we replaced all of the sanitation hose. The hose ain't cheap. I think we paid $8/foot, for Trident 101/102 premium hose (white) from Defender. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking.

Holding tank under the v-berth. The outlet from the tank is forward. Note the "T": The vertical hose goes up to the deck pumpout fitting, and the hose heading off to the left (port) goes to the pump, the vented loop, and then to the thru-hull.

The tank's intake hose (discharge from the toilet) is on the aft side. The discharge hose along the port side connected through the whale pump, through the port side of the v-berth, to a vented loop in the hanging locker, and finally to the thru-hull / seacock.

Here's the overboard discharge on the port side. Discharging untreated waste is illegal almost everywhere now.

New sanitation hose in place. We eliminated the "T" for the overboard discharge. This had the added benefit of reducing cost, because we would have needed another 15' or so of hose.

No more overboard pumpout. I temporarily capped off the seacock. Long term plan is to use the seacock for a washdown pump.

Job complete, panel back in place. The panel shown here is about 8" below the v-berth surface, providing some storage beneath the v-berth. This panel was the hardest part of the job: the screws holding it in place were painted over and countersunk, so they stripped very easily. I had to drill the heads off a few of them.

Access Door

April 23, 2009

A nice little addition. Our PFDs are in the aft bench, which is a little difficult to access because you have to pull up the cushions and panel of the bench seat, while working around the table. We wanted an access door in the side. Mark (of Brandywine) referred us to Courtney Murphy, who does "freelance" marine work and carpentry. She put a nice access door in place on the side of the aft bench, right by the wheelhouse door. Here's a picture of the opening... I'll have to take a picture of the door as well - it looks good.

Update: here's a picture with the door in place:


April 23, 2009

Our flybridge windscreen has had a crack through it ever since we bought the boat. Having mostly completed the higher-priority issues, I finally had a new windscreen fabricated by Total Plastics in Baltimore.

I brought them the old windscreen (in two pieces), and they used it as a template. One interesting point... The old one was hard, inflexible, and curved to fit the shape of the bridge. They explained that the inflexibility was likely due to age, and that the new one would not be curved when I came to pick it up. It would need to be "cold-fitted", drilled, and mounted. This was concerning to me, but all turned out well. It was a perfect fit. They did a great job, and I'd certainly recommend them.

Ready or Not

April 4-6, 2009

In past years, we had Mariner II hauled at our home marina, Shipwright Harbor. It's a relatively small marina with limited yard space, so the boats are crowded, making off-season work difficult. In winter 2008/2009, we were hauled and stored by Herrington Harbour North, because we had heard that they not only have a much more organized yard with power and water close by every boat, but also that they stay on time with their haul/launch schedule.

Well, the strict schedule came back to haunt us! We had been hoping for a little more prep time this year, but we had to finish up in a hurry, or miss our launch date and go to the end of the line. My sister Melanie and her daughter Adara, visiting from NY, helped us get the cover off, get some Cetol on the swim platform, etc. I did the bottom paint the next day.

Ready or not, she went in the water during the week of April 6. Once launched, we finished some of the remaining upkeep and recommissioning work over the next few weekends, including more Cetol work on the rest of the teak, general cleaning, etc. Waxing the topsides took us through May 16, as we worked it in between trips.

  • More Cetol work


Tons of updates coming shortly... We've made a lot of repairs, updates, and improvements since mid-2009, and I finally want to get them documented. Some of these will be posted out of order, but it's the only way I'll get this done.