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Odds and Ends

Work on my boat continues into the winter and will continue into the spring. I guess there is always something to do on any boat, especially a twenty year old boat. The fiberglass portion of the bow repair is done and for now, the boat is waiting for a sea trial with gauges hooked up to the engines to get a handle on what they need, if anything, to keep her running reliably. I know the port engine needs a valve job, it has since I purchased the boat in 2003. It was just easier for e to replace an injector every few years instead of removing the cylinder head. We took a compression test years back and found the number three cylinder to have lower compression than the rest. If we are going to take longer cruises I guess it is time to take care of that. At almost twenty years old I think it’s time to replace belts, hoses, and one thing I bet is often overlooked, freeze out plugs. There are a few other engine items that I would like to modify if possible, like the raw water pump mounting. To change a raw water pump on my engines, you have to loosen a motor mount, jack up the engine to take the load off that mount, remove a bunch of fuel lines and then you can take the pump off. In the tight confines of the engine room, it is virtually impossible for an average size male to even fit in there. The port pump is on the outboard side of the engine, right next to the water heater. That heater is all dented up from run ins with the jack and wrench handles used to get that pump off. Maybe a skinny water heater should be installed there. With the engines out of the way, there are a number of thru-hull fittings I would like to replace. I had one fail a few years back for the air-conditioning overboard discharge. Luckily I found that before any damage occurred. They are plastic and located very low at the waterline. I think they can be replaced with either stainless steel fittings or Marelon. The glass in the windshield and side windows leaks and it will have to be rebedded. One of the port-lights leaks a bit in heavy rain. I put in a new gasket only to discover that the Plexiglas itself is warped. So that comes out and a replacement must be made since that piece is not available from the manufacturer. The cockpit coaming pads are showing their age, and one section of the headliner is slightly water damaged from a leak repaired long ago. As I said, there is always something to do if you want to. Better to take care of some of the more serious items than to wait and get stuck someplace, or worse. Starting after Thanksgiving, I have been working on a plate for the bow that accomplishes a few things. I wanted something that would distribute the loads from the anchor line and windlass while protecting the bow from the anchor chain. I came up with a design that I believe will work. At first, I was going to make it from stainless steel plate, but the cost was almost double what aluminum plate would be, and stainless steel is very hard to cut. I have seen some boats that had “starboard” installed to do that, but it really has no rigidity to it when compared to metal. I came up with a hybrid design using the “starboard” and metal. Aluminum in this case since I can cut and shape it and it is less expensive while being fairly corrosion resistant. I made up a template for the shape and sent it to a metal supplier for an estimate. They could not cut it to shape, they would only supply the material for me to cut it. So that is what I did. I transferred the shape from the template to the aluminum using a black marker, and I used an awl and a straight edge to scribe a line to cut on wherever I could. I also drilled one half inch holes at every tight turn in the design to allow the jigsaw to make those tight turns. I did order some jigsaw blades online that turned out to be the best I ever used when cutting metal and using my ancient Rockwell jigsaw and a good amount of WD-40 had most of the shape cut in a few hours. Using a one and a half inch hole saw allowed me to cut the center piece out of the plate where the “starboard” insert will fit in. While I was set up for cutting metal, I made a mount for the cockpit camera I am installing. While all this was going on, I sent another template to a company in Florida that will digitize the template I sent them for the “starboard” base and using a computer guided router cut out the desired shapes I want. With three different pieces, I hope it will mesh together as I designed it without a lot of effort. Once I receive those parts, I can test fit it on the boat and make any adjustments needed to make it fit. Then I will take the aluminum plate to be powder coated to match the hull. After that, I can install the entire unit, including the windlass and the cleat that is mounted there for the anchor line, back onto the bow. When the windlass was removed for the fiberglass repair the wires were cut so I need to re-wire that. Then I can install the mast (again), the cockpit camera (after I run the wires for that) and whatever else needs to be done! This boat will be like new when it is finished. Stay warm my friends.

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