• By Mark Paul

Closing Out the Season

The season is quickly winding down, for us at least. We have a busy fall schedule ahead, including a trip south, a birthday celebration, and many, many bags of leaves to be filled as the trees go to sleep for the winter. In the fall, cleaning up the leaves takes up a good bit of my time. We still have a few more trips to go on the boat, but I am already planning winter work to upgrade the systems in the engine room, including engine work to make her more reliable for a very long trip. I am still looking for a better suited vessel for that trip, but have had no success at this time. Toward that end, I have continued chewing away at the little details to get everything squared away. One of my port lights started dripping a little in heavy rain. All four of them needed new hinge assemblies because they would not stay in the raised position when opened. It took some time to first find out who manufactured them, and then find out where to get parts. It turns out they are Bomar port lights, and I could buy parts direct from them. I ordered new hinge assemblies, and enough gasket material to re-gasket five of them. I only have four but wanted some extra if I made a mistake. Finally, in October I had enough time to get started on the job. Taking the tools I thought I would need including my trusty hot air blower (my wife’s old blow dryer!) I got to work. The first part was taking all four windows off and installing the hinges. They are made up of a number of pieces and it took a few minutes to take them apart. I had to lay them out in order so I remembered how they went back together. After the first one it was pretty easy and an hour later they were all done. Now I had to tackle the gasket that leaked. It came out easily but left a good amount of glue on the aluminum frame. Using the hot air blower and my favorite chisel I was able to heat up the glue and scrape it off. Obviously, I hated using the chisel for this, and I know my father in law would not have approved (sorry Arthur) but it was the only tool that was right for the job that I had. After as much of the glue was removed as I could get by scraping, I used acetone to remove any residue. After the frame was all cleaned it was time to install the new gasket. I used the old gasket to measure what I needed for the new gasket and left it about a quarter inch longer. After cutting the ends making sure they would meet up square, I removed the cover of the self stick tape and started applying the gasket to the frame. Working counter clockwise I pressed the gasket to the frame making sure it stayed put and was following the frame perimeter tightly. As I came back to the starting point I applied crazy glue to the ends and pushed them together holding them tight for a minute. After I was sure they were glued together I pushed the gasket onto the frame the rest of the way. I then closed the port light to keep pressure on the gasket for some time. With the amount of rain, we have been having it was not long before I was able to check for any leaks. After one night of heavy rain, I went out and checked the tray I put under the window. Turns out there was a small amount of water in it. I wondered what I had done wrong. I opened the port light and looked at the gasket. Everything looked normal to me. I had a hunch and took a straight edge placing it on the plastic window itself. The window was slightly warped. Maybe off a little over one sixteenth of an inch end to end. While sitting there and wondering about getting a new window made, I noticed each window latch (two on each port light) had set screws in them. I realized they were there to adjust the tightness of the window against the gasket. I tightened them up evenly and now I am waiting for some rain. If needed I can take the window out and have a new one made over the winter since they are no longer available from the factory. In the meantime, we still try and get out as often as we can, though admittedly not as much as we had hoped for. A quick lunch, an early breakfast at anchor has been about it. I had an interesting solution to a breakfast problem we encountered. Turbo cooking! We planned to head out on a Saturday morning and have bagels while on the hook. Kathy took out the bagels from the freezer the night before and placed them in the refrigerator. The next morning we got our brunch together, coffee, orange juice, some grapes and of course the bagels. Kathy cut them and buttered them at home, but they were still very cold. I had an idea and we headed out to the boat. There is a microwave onboard but you need to be at the dock for shore power. We got to the boat and I had an idea to get them hot. At this point let me give the required warnings. Coffee may be hot. Don’t try this at home. Stunt cookers used for filming. In my mind I see someone placing a cold pizza on their engine and ending up with Mercruiser parmesan. Or a fire. I opened up the engine hatch and placed a bagel wrapped in tinfoil next to the turbo charger of each engine. The run out is about twenty minutes. We anchored, got everything set up and then I opened the hatch. So far so good. I removed each toasty warm bagel and we opened then up. Butter was melted, not burned (one did have a scorch mark on it, better pay attention to placement next time!) and the temperature was just right!

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