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Old 10-09-2009, 11:53   #1
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(re)Fit to be (re)Ti(r)ed, or, Laboring On, Part I

Hello, all you who hang on our every word and have wondered if we sank, or
disappeared from the face of the earth, or some other calamity...

Neither is the case, though there were times we thought about it...

Spoiler: this doesn't talk about sailing or cruising or wrecks or diving or
any of the stuff I usually talk about. If you're not technically interested
in boat stuff, you might want to skip this one :{))

We landed in Saint Simons Island, GA from the Bahamas and uneventfully
cleared customs, who were kind enough to come directly to our boat. From
there, things got interesting...

Fit to be tied, or refit, to be retired, either way, it describes our latest
4+ months' adventures. As you'll see, one step forward, two steps back is
also a pretty good description :{/)

It started with a trip north to let Lydia help with our grandson, Harrison,
who'd just had open heart surgery at 10 months old. As quickly as we hit
the dock, we were pressured to be there immediately, so we hurried off as
quickly as possible. I'll let her tell that story in her log, but he's VERY

I'd expected to be there for a month or so, seeing family together and other
recreational pursuits. However, just as in cruising, our lives don't
usually involve a schedule, or has a constantly variable and changing one.
This trip and the following time was no exception...

When I found that Lydia would be totally unavailable during her time there,
but expected her time to grow less hectic in about a month, I revised the
cruising plan, abandoning the times scheduled for my kids and grandkids, and
headed back to the boat to start in on the chores list I'd been developing
in anticipation of our arrival at the dock so graciously provided for us by
our Angel, Saint Michael. He also loaned us his portable marine air
conditioner after a couple of months, which has saved our lives during the
last couple of months that we've had it.

Our transportation has been provided by our other Angel, Saint Steven, who's
allowed us to monopolize his lovely classic Mercedes for the entire time, as
well as accepted the dozens of packages which arrived at his home as we
received ordered parts. We couldn't have possibly done all we have without
either of them.

Once back on the boat, I started in on a 4-page list of projects. Lydia had
her own, two-week project of painting the aft cabin's ceiling, which would
wait until her return. Very shortly into it, less than 2 weeks, however, I
got a call, "GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!!" (You'd have to know Lydia well to
understand the emphasis :{)) - but it prompted a drop-tools dash north,

Once there, however, suddenly, the urgency to leave went away. However,
Lydia was still fully committed to her furry and maternal grandchildren and
unavailable on any of my excursions for my kids and grandkids. Had I known
that was how it would be, I'd have just gone about my business on the first
trip, visiting the kids alone, without the second mad dash up and down the
state (one step, etc.). However, now that I was there, I again went about
setting up time with my kids and grandkids while Lydia was unavailable. I
got to spend time with all of them and Lydia accompanied me to the last as
we headed south. It was wonderful. Likely, other than trips to visit us
under way, that's one of the very few times I'll have, other than emergency
flights home, in the next many years, as, when we leave this time, we expect
to be gone from this side of the world for the rest of our lives.

On the other hand, visits from kids and grandkids are already under way,
Lydia's daughter and I cooking up a surprise visit with her grandson over
Labor Day weekend, and my eldest is delivering his two daughters for a
sailing vacation which, if it suits them (never having had open water
experience), they'll stay with us after we meet their parents in St.
Augustine and make our crossing to the Abacos.

So, we get back to the boat and dig in. A 4-page list is daunting enough,
but as we worked our way down it, crossing stuff off as we go, we kept
adding more, eventually, about halfway through, resulting in a new-ish,
newly printed 3-page list. That's because, as I've mentioned before, a
boat - particularly one which recently had its 31st birthday, it having
launched in August 1978 - is like an onion. Peel a layer and Cry. Peel
another layer and cry again. Rinse, repeat, until you get to the good
stuff. So, what was supposed to be a couple week project instead turned
into more than 3 months, being extended innumerable times (well, I suppose I
could go back and count, but the mere thought gives me a headache!) as we
peeled and cried, Lydia discovered new stuff she wanted to paint or varnish,
or had the one-step/two-steps bite us again and again, as happened at the
last minute, such as electrical problems and mis-specified parts which will
delay our departure as we deal with them.

I'll try to make this brief, but it's difficult to compress all that
happened (and my regular readers know that "brief" is relative with my
writing!). I'll start with some lists, and then expand on some of the more
exciting, or egregious, or otherwise notable, moments. You can also see
pictures of our refit in my gallery, seen in the signature liine, of what
happened along the way... Well, as I write this on proofreading, the
pictures aren't up. If we have enough downtime with good access, I'll put
them up. In the meantime, feel free to browse the stuff which has been
added in the last few weeks...

First list - new stuff which we either did or installed (not in any
particular order, either by significance or date):

Standing rigging
Sta-Locks on all deck-ends of the standing rigging
Harken Unit 3 furler
Windlass and start batteries
Mack Pack sail cover and lazy jack system
Backstay turnbuckle (we discovered a bent one on one of the shrouds, and
swapped it as it matched, the new one being different, but on the backstay
less noticeable, during the new standing rigging installation)
Shade Tree Awnings supports and modifications
Radar 4-conductor cable to meet factory spec, to cure inop radar since new,
and installation
Grind mast openings to allow above, much larger, cable to pass
Aft head faucets
Complete interior repaint and varnish - which expanded, every time it got
looked at, from the aforementioned ceiling repaint original plan
Forward bilge switch float
Auto small bilge pump
Kiss Wind generator blades and seals plus new bolt receivers fabricated
Blipper radar reflector and mounts
Anchor roller
Spreader boots
Wifi bridge/router at the top of the mast
12V computer and new wiring thereto
Wiring compartment for all computer related stuff
1 Terabyte hard drive (supplementing the 220, 300, 400 and 500G ones already
in place)
Satellite weather direct receiver (takes pictures in real time of weather
satellite images)
Satellite orbital program (to predict satellite location and footprint)
Satellite orbital program (to activate receiver without having to leave it
Wind propagation program (wind forecasts)
Internet faxing
Winlink High Frequency Radio email for Hams
Several navigation programs
Fishing rod holders in Vee
S/VHotwire "Port fans" throughout
Strong point mounting of the life raft
Spinnaker halyard (3rd since we bought the boat - this one occasioned by the
genoa problems on the way from the Bahamas)
Sinks in both heads, new faucets forward
Fresh water pump (3x,failed - see one-step, etc.)
Shower pump forward
Mack pack lettering (one-step, etc.)
Aft head S/V Hotwire fluorescent light
Aft head toilet plumbing assembly all but the bowl
Salon hatches (one step, etc.)
Aft hatch glass (well, Acrylic) replacing solid fiberglass
4 diesel, one gasoline, jerry jugs, plus sew covers, snaps/straps and
fabricate mounts
Chartplotter charts
Cruising guides
Engine Hoist (one-step, etc.)

All oak trim off and sanded and varnished and replaced - hundreds of screws!
Epoxy and caulk forward head - remove all teak in the process
Dig out and repair and revarnish floor dings (one-step, etc.)
Dig out and epoxy rot, in some cases applying new wood material
salon seating
under nav panel
aft head
Repair forward head door frame, previously attempted unsuccessfully many
times including early in our original refit
Dig out and regrout all tile and seal in aft head and galley
Standoff arm at the top of the mast for wifi and VHF antennas
Rebuild wind speed and direction instrument at mast top
Resolder all wind instrument connections at junction
Solder all sound system switches, replacing troublesome press-on connections
Tension inner stay (between deck and hull in Vee) for staysail
Dinghy repairs and goop (one-step, etc.)
Computer upgrade and memory
Remount printer cabinet - broken cleat
Reefer circulating fan (broken wire) and gaskets (upgrade) (one-step, etc.)
Main engine muffler rebuild
"Tuneup" on 15HP outboard (one-step, etc.)
Adjustments to allow full power on 6HP outboard
water pump">Raw water pump rebuild
Vinegar treatment on Perkins (removes scale)
Repair vee fan (blade kept falling off - NOT a PortFan)
Dissasemble and ship Harken furler removed in new rigging
Exhaust muffler rebuild (failed fiberglass, fabricated new intake tube)
Exhaust extension rebuild - broken in 58 knot gale when hitting the dock
Anchor roller cage welding
Bilge pump and engine sounders
Engine temperature gauge
Shade Tree Awnings fastenings
Pressure wash engine compartment and bilge
Reinforce and Sew bimini tears at corners
Sew bosun's chair repair and improvements
WHAM (remote, wireless) microphone for helm to nav VHF (one-step, etc.)
Captain Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure umpteen places
Inland Marine's Inflatable Sealant on the dinghy
Recover (inlet/outlet plugged) and use spare 50 gallon water tank under
settee, unused even by prior owner
Vacuum both water tanks of accumulated sand and debris from 30 years of
unfilteredmunicipal water
Repair genoa shredded in Bahamas passage
Repair tiny nicks in spinnaker and modify sleeve
Repair cockpit table holding bracket
Repair and relocate engine temperature gauge and sender
New zippers and fasteners throughout the bimini, restitch and waterproof

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back...

Mack pack - back twice
Varnish and color matching - putty, teak dust, plastic wood
Paint matching and removal
Drill drowning
Orbital sander dying
Paint adhering failures
Liberty stix (long story for another time)
Wifi/vhf connector/standoff misadventures - three times
Fein tool failure
Shade tree stix
Fresh water pump - twice
Dinghy damage and repair
Rudder packing
Disappearing supplies
Broken tools (jerry jugs, outboard, orbital sander, fein, mack pack bracket)
Outboard "tuneup"
Sourcing paints, charts, dinghy goop
Chartplotter with new chart
Wham mike
Engine alarm sounder circuitry at the very last minute

As I write this, Lydia's still at the varnishing, revisiting or adding to
all she's already done. The major reason(s) for our 3+ months, rather than
the 2 expected weeks, in our refit and projects were that nearly all she
took on required me to help either the entire time or most of the time,
taking me away from "my" list, or, more significantly, the Onion (peel a
layer...) and, much more significantly, all the stuff she added to the list
as we went.

I must say that the outcome of all her continually-changing targets is
stunning. Every time she looked around, the new work made stuff which
hadn't been redone look unattractive by comparison (despite the usual
response by anyone visiting of "Your boat looks so great - it's in marvelous
condition!!), and another project got added. Many times, there were items
which were entirely redone after she'd already done it, chiefly places which
now have gloss rather than the new satin finish varnish she put on first,
but some paint areas as well.

There's virtually no place inside the boat which had paint or varnish which
hasn't been refinished. Where it got even more time-consuming than that
extensive chore would usually be is that in addition to removing every bit
of paint - 20 years' worth - from the headliners, most of the trim was
removed andsanded before varnishing and reinstallation - and some of that
removalexposed chores which would have to be done in repair. Most were
minor rotor leak areas, but one, under the Nav power panel, required major
surgery and reconstruction, and the area near the forward head had the same
but to a much lesser degree. Every nail in the teak trim was set with a
nail set, most of the hundreds of screws in all the lovely oak strips
installed by a prior owner were replaced, and on and on as the project list

Of course, despite my characterization of the onion, every such instance was
symbolic of my tag line at the bottom - we got blessed every time. Just as
in our rehab after our wreck, we uncovered areas which we'd not have known
about, and our home is better for it.

On the other hand...

Some things are better left alone, it seems :{/)

My attempts to make our primary outboard run better (it didn't develop full
power, and at full throttle frequently sounded and felt like it was running
on one cylinder) sounded very straightforward as described by the technician
I spoke with: Remove all the coil contact points and burnish them and

Except that the center bolt between the two coils broke off in the engine.
No problem, if a nuisance - I have an EZ-Out kit, which removes broken
bolts. Except that when I went to take the outboard off the mount on the
stern of Flying Pig, one of the handles attached to the screw-down washers
which holds it tight to either the dinghy or the on-board mount broke due to
the bolt attached having become corroded, making turning the bolt very
difficult. The plastic handle wasn't up to the strain. Dang. No easy way
to make that work without a new handle, more on which anon. OK, I'll deal
with that later. Back to the broken bolt in the head, I broke three
successive drill bits in trying to drill it out to accept the EZ-Out. And,
when I DID finally get it drilled out, mangling the area around the hole in
the process, the EZ-Out broke off inside the head. UH-OH...

Inquiries about replacement bolt/handles for the mounts were not
encouraging, so I tried to kill two birds with one stone, visiting two other
machine shops I'd gotten to know when my favorite (on which, more, soon)
hadn't been able to do a project I'd taken earlier. Both looked at me like
I was crazy - they wouldn't dare try that fiddly bit. However, Dominey's
Prop and Shaft machine shop had their backlog down to manageable levels, and said they'd not only be able to do both chores (drill out and address the
bolt, and fabricate a new handle), but would be finished the next day.

Famous last words - it did, eventually, get done, and very well, I might
add, but it took 5 visits, the last of which involved a 3 hour wait,
including that they didn't have a replacement bolt available, and had to
source it. During that wait, I saw them turn a solid block of aluminum into
the second of the handles (I wanted one as a spare, as one on the 6-HP looks
like it might also go sometime soon) on a milling machine. The first one
they made (ready when I came to pick it up on my 4th visit) was Stainless
Steel! Somewhat, to put it lightly, more substantial than the factory
plastic, that should not be a problem in the future, and I spent several
hours lubricating and running those hold-down bolts in and out, in hopes
that I'd not have to revisit that problem again any time soon.

Once all that was settled, I set about to reassemble the ignition segments.
A bit fiddly, as the new bolt hole was a bit off-center, and the top of the
bolt receiver was a bit unlevel after all the abuse, but with some washers
and some care, all the brilliantly burnished stuff I'd done went back on.
Oops... Try to start the engine, and there's not so much as a flutter.
Choke, no choke, squeeze the bulb (yes, it was going the right way), rinse,
repeat - nothing. Call the outboard places, most of which have closed
already, but finally get one who opines that I've put it back together again
correctly. Back to the dinghy, and try again. Puttt. Puttt. Putt-putt.
Putt-putt-putt. Well. This is at least encouraging. Several more pulls,
and it runs, but not very well. Full throttle (restricted in neutral) has
it barely running. So, I put it in gear and ran it against the lines. Gets
better - hooray! So, I turned it bow-to-dock and let-er-rip. Eventually,
it ran smoothly and powerfully. As there was entirely too much to do, I
didn't take it out for a spin, but I concluded that it just didn't like
sitting on its side for the very long time it had been off its mount.
Running for a while cleaned things in the carburetor (I presume) to a
satisfactory level. Proving the prior problem's cure will have to wait
until another day.

The 6HP, when I put it on the dinghy to help Saint Michael work on _his_
boat, barely ran at all - just an idle. That, too, apparently suffered from
the extended period on the dock, as disassembly revealed just a stuck
throttle. Hours of lubrication and manual manipulation through its full
range finally, and, curiously, all at once, freed it up, and it, too, now
develops full power. However, apparently I'd reset the idle too low when I
backed it out trying to get the full range of motion of the throttle plate,
as it wants to die at idle, so that's something I'll have to revisit (one
step, etc.), too.

I'd bought a new fresh water pump during the local Boater's World
liquidation, as the one we'd been using has a very small drip - only when
pumping, curiously - and I'd wanted to replace it. So, since it was the
same type, it should have been a plug-and-play, right? Not so fast! The
mounting holes (of course in a very inaccessible location under the sink)
weren't the same, so I had to make new ones. The connections for the water
went on pretty easily, but the electrical pigtails were much shorter, so I
had to relocate the block they connected to, as well.

Hallelujah, it's VERY quiet, due to the change in the way they mount the
motor to the frame in this 15-year newer pump. What's this? It's running
all the time, on-off, on-off. Fiddle with the pressure setting, no change,
other than it runs more, now. #@$%^&*()! Off it comes and the prior, still
leaking slightly, gets reinstalled in the same inaccessible spot.
Disassembly reveals a faulty pressure valve seal on one of the lobes of the
pump. A few days later, off to West Marine, who accommodates me with a
replacement, even swap, as the new one was well within warranty. As long as they were giving me full credit, I upgraded on the swap in the original, to
a higher volume pump more closely matching the ones we'd been using before.

Hopeful, I remove the old one, reinstall the new, larger and presumably
better, replacement in the same holes as the one which won't shut off,
connect up the plumbing in the same inaccessible location, having to try
several times for the totally invisible connection to go on the aft nipple,
and fire it up. What's up??? It's pumping air along with the water. Can
we be out of water? Switch tanks, no joy. Remove and replace the invisible plumbing connection. Same story.

Take the pump down so I can be sure the fitting's on right, reinstall (one
step...). More of the same. Remove it and put in my old one. Works like a
champ, if I don't mind the small drip when it's running (not when the
pressure valve shuts it off, though), so it's not anything in the plumbing
or empty tank.

Back to West, who doesn't have another in stock. The only one they have
similar is $50 higher, and the only notable difference is 5PSI higher water
pressure, which I don't need, never mind that I don't want to spend the
extra bux. Sigh... However, I'm in there the next day, and they have
another on the truck for tomorrow (that being yesterday) and they'll set it
aside for me to pick up later. We'll see how that turns out... Addendum,
later, as I proofread - no, it wasn't on the truck, and the next truck won't
be in for another week, before which time we'll have left... We'll live
with our leaky one until we rebuild the other two which have been waiting
for their in-the-bin repair kits since shortly after we bought the boat (one
step, etc.)

Lydia's had her share of frustrations, too. Her attempts to match the color
of teak to repair various holes and/or dings went through many experiments,
starting with painters' putty, moving to teak dust (interrupted by her
grabbing the wrong jar and using dry grout the first time!!), and settling
on a color of Plastic Wood. Each of those also involved varnishing, and
later removing, the experimental compounds, until she settled on the Plastic

Likewise, despite absolutely manic compulsive attempts to make sure the
paint was properly prepped (disregarding our inability to use the
specifically recommended spray-on remover for all the places in the aft
cabin headliner [remember the 2-week project?? - that - the aft cabin
ceiling was all that she was going to do] which had been peeling and
chipping due to inadequate preparation by our chief refitter way back when),
some of the areas of the new, color-matched paint were either peeling or
bubbling or flaking off. In the end, we concluded that the special roller
we used didn't put enough product on, the close-edges (despite the many
hours of taping, and then, retaping those teak pieces which weren't removed) sanding hadn't been aggressive enough, or something else undetermined by the paint pros who specified our paint for us after our detailed description of
what we were doing, was at work. More redo... (one step...) - but it turned
out beautiful in the end. As I type this, Lydia's resanding some fiddles - I presume she didn't like how they looked after the second time she did them - and will apply yet another coat of varnish...

I'm sure this is more than enough to digest for now, so I'll leave you here,
and pick up again in the next posting.

Until then, Stay Tuned :{))


Skip, still working as this is typed

Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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Old 11-09-2009, 07:06   #2
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(re)Fit to be (re)Ti(r)ed, or, Laboring On, Part II

Hello again - the second post in a very brief time, unusual for this log,
but it's because the entirety was entirely too long.

We left you with some of Lydia's frustrations during our unexpectedly long
refit. Of course, in addition to those you've already seen, I had my share,

In addition to the broken tools in my 15HP outboard cleanup, I broke several
other tools along the way; three RotoZip blades during the fabrication of
the mounting board for the jerry jugs, I totally exhausted our Ryobi orbital
sander during the sanding of the hundreds of oak strips (Home Depot credited
it against an upgrade to a Ridgid with lifetime warranty), the installation
of the bracket for the new Mack Pack (broke a tap in one of the drilled
holes, prompting epoxying over it and the other hole I'd already drilled and
tapped - thank goodness it was before doing all 4! - and starting over on
the bracket), and the new, factory part, on, count-em, 4 Fein finger sander
pads separating the moment they were used. That's in addition to my trusty
cordless drill which went overboard when bumped as we moved the dinghy
preparatory to sanding the bottom...

Ah, yes, the dinghy. Stupid pet tricks, those we learn from, the hard way.
It had been left in the fecund river for 3 months, where it grew a small
reef under it. Lesson #1, don't do that! No problem, Saint Michael has a
pressure washer, it will come right off, as soon as I'm through with the
engine room and bilge. Nope - barnacles everywhere, and some other grassy
stuff, refuse to be pressure-washed away.

No problem, Lydia knows that OnAndOff promises you spray the stuff on, let
it sit, and scrape away all the barnacles with no problem. Out comes the
trusty Hyde scraper with the 2" carbide blade, one of the half-dozen
different variety of scrapers we used to remove the paint on the headliners,
and Lydia sets to work. Oops. They must have meant something else, and
especially not on an inflatable. Umpteen holes/scrapes in the outer fabric,
most of which leak. Lesson #2, don't do that!

No problem, though, we've got patch material and clamps, proven to do a
great job on sealing up scrapes. Well, not. Still leaks, somewhere, as the
tube on which the most of them are located slowly goes down despite not
revealing themselves in the spray-soapy-water routine. Not only that,
during the moving-around of the dinghy during all this patching, there was a
"plop" as a strangely shaped thing in the repair kit met Davy Jones. Never
could figure out what it was, unless it was for rolling out the patches, and
in my prior life as a distributor for inflatable lifting systems for boats,
I knew many ways to do that, so, no big deal. Back to the deflating tube...

What to do? Turn to my trusty internet connections and ask, of course.
Nearly unanimous support for Inland Marine's products, for inside and out of
dinghies in aged condition (never mind that ours is nearly new!). West
private labels their interior stuff, which I'd heard from a personal
contact, as well as my respondents, which really works. Only one challenge.
The dinghy has to be tumbled, end for end, side to side, angles for angles,
in order for this goop to go on completely, several times over a 4-hour
period, and you have to remove the valves in order for it to go in.

No problem - lots of beef nearby who have offered to help us rotate the
boat. But when I go to take out the valve, there's no ready way to remove
it. No problem, off to the internet again, to the maker's website. Guess
what the "plop" was? Bingo. The valve removal tool. Back to the internet,
the resultant search determines that the best is to order a new kit, just to
get the tool. More delay, but it eventually arrives at Saint Steven's, we
fetch it and install the goop, a third to each section, even though only one
leaks. Works a treat, and they recommend saving some in case you want to
reapply to any stubborn areas .

During inflation (they start with only full, not "hard," tubes), we saw
small amounts leaking out and sealing edges of a few of the patches. Hmmm.
No wonder it deflated. Later we decide to put the remainder into the
leaking tube, and go to remove the valve, which results in the inside
portion dropping into the tube! OY!! So, all three of the tubes have to be
deflated in order for the outer one we're working on to get soft enough for
me to work it back up to the hole. In goes the goop, and since the suspect
remaining places are all on the bottom, near the stern, once we reinstall
the valve, we just rock it and lift the bow over the recommended 4-hour
period, being rewarded with additional exudate through the same patches.
However, finally, it's hard, all around, and that job (occasioned by several
stupid pet tricks) is finished.

On the subject of the reef which appeared on the bottom, however, there's
good news in that department, as our ablative bottom paint (designed to
gently slough off, as well as inhibit marine growth) seems to have done the
job admirably. Boats around us in the docks have small reefs growing at the
waterline (which we double-coated when we painted the bottom), whereas we
had nothing. Suspicious, however, I ran a long-handled brush over the
bottom in a couple of places. No resistance, and if I started at the bottom
and pulled up, nothing came with it. I presume the bottom is clean, perhaps
by virtue of the tides which have a powerful current associated with them,
the equivalent of traveling (which would clean a bottom with ablative paint)
at normal cruising speeds for perhaps 25% of the time, and slower for about
50% of the time. Nice to have some good news :{))

Remember the drill which went swimming? It had a level in the end and the
top, allowing great alignment for places which could use a level. It took
along with it the sanding disk which we were going to use on the bottom to
prep it for application of a liquid rubber (Inland Marine, again) outer
coat. Home Depot won't sell me just a cordless drill, any more, and the one
which came with the least extra, a flashlight (which, it turns out, we've
used a lot, so maybe that's ok), doesn't have that level feature,
raggasnagglegiggafratz! They also don't have the right sized sanding disk
for a drill, and, given the success in our interior gooping, we abandoned
the exterior rubber for now, particularly as it takes a full week to cure,
and the dinghy's already been on the dock for far too long.

Oh, that...

We've been hassled by the manager of the condo docks we're in on a variety
of levels, most of which went away when, after I emailed him about it, he
learned that we were indeed known and accepted by the dock owner who rents
to Saint Michael (whose boat is on the mooring I helped Saint Steven recover
on our last trip here). However, not unreasonably, the condo association
has a rule that dinghies are not to be on the dock. So, we hurried and got
it off and back in the water following our interior leak solution.

It's now hanging from the arch davits, where we've installed pool-noodle
sections to prevent rubbing against the stainless, which left marks on the
sides of the tubes where it contacted the stainless when we tightened our
restraining straps. Before that, however, I'd attempted to stiffen the
arch, which, due to my shortsightedness in my original design (only one
stiffening inner bar, leaving off the one at the front so it wouldn't get in
the way), is way wobbly for my taste. No joy there, either, so we'll just
have to live with it as it is. The good news is that the solar atop the
arch is putting out lovely amps, as is the KISS wind generator.

Ah, yes, the KISS. During our trip over from the Bahamas, which those of
you with long enough memories to remember the last log post here will recall
was pretty lumpy, it backwinded, resulting in bearings which dislodged, and,
apparently, damaged the blades. Our enormously supportive (much more than I
think is warranted) distributor,, who'd installed it
originally, sent me another set of blades, and I bought the seals and
bearings needed for reinstallation.

However, on disassembly and reassembly of the housing, it turned out that
the bolt holes had been stripped in three out of the four holding the front
cover to the housing. Helicoils were the answer, but it would take a
machine shop to do that. Dominey's was totally booked, but the local NAPA
shop said they could do it. Not so fast - they looked at it and blanched at
the thought of having to epoxy reinforcements to allow the already
helicoiled mounts, three out of the 4 having rotated in the fiberglass, to
accept new ones. In the end, I drilled out the holes, epoxied them full,
redrilled and then tapped them, using the one remaining helicoil to center
the others. After failing with my first caulking of the nose to the
housing, I dug out all that caulk and started over (one step, etc.). That
part worked well.


Balancing the blades is a very good idea, as, while the factory
weight-matches them, in the actual installation, due to the hand-made
individual blades, inevitably the weight distribution makes for uneven
"live" weight - that is, static, on the scale, they weigh the same, but
under free rotation, the nature of the fiberglass assembly means that each
blade is slightly different from the others and the weight distribution
makes for an unbalanced hub.

Having been a model airplaner for many years, balancing props on 20,000+ RPM
engines, and having received the special spindle with the tapered shaft
needed in my original purchase of the KISS, I knew how to do that and set
about to balance it. WHERE'S THE SPINDLE??? We've turned this boat upside
down in the course of this refit, and while I know exactly what it looks
like, as John, our distributor, pointed out, it's no more than 25 feet from
my nav station where I typed my frustration to him, we don't know where it
is, notwithstanding that I thought I knew exactly. Oh, well, another order
(cheap enough, and if we ever find the original, we'll have another to give
to some other unfortunate along the way!), another delay (it could have come
with the bearings and seals), and I set to.

I didn't take pictures, of course, because I was fully involved with both
hands, but over the course of two days, using a fiddle as one rail, and a
hand-held monster screwdriver as the other, I got it to the point where the
heaviest blade took over a minute to rotate 90* from either direction, and
angling the screwdriver slightly off level easily made the 5' diameter
blades rotate on a 1/4" center (no leverage to make it roll with a large
diameter) of the spindle.

I think it's balanced :{)) (Who me, obsessive compulsive??) The proof is
in the pudding as it's silent as it spins, and the blade ends match
perfectly, or at least as perfectly as the eye can see, something which John
says is virtually unheard of. It was wonderful to see and ("not") hear the
end result as the amps flowed into our battery bank.

Along the way, we'd planned to have my eldest two grandchildren join us for
boat camp. That date started in June, was moved to the 4th of July weekend,
then got moved later, several times, and, finally, in frustration, Lydia
said that all bets were off until she said otherwise. When they, a month
ago, had an opportunity at a house on Saint Simons Island (where my
daughter-in-law had spent much of her childhood), for the 8th of September,
we laughingly said we'd certainly be finished by that time. Heh. Maybe...

Boat camp is our word for what we hope will be a regular occurrence of
grandchildren visits. I'm sure Lydia will detail more of that in her next
log, so I'll not go into detail, but in this case, we'll do a sea trial down
to St. Augustine with them while my son and his wife enjoy a working
vacation (he's a sysop for a major cell company and can mostly work from
wherever there's a broadband connection, this house included). If they
enjoy the open water and one or more overnights, after some time together
with their parents in St. Augustine, they'll go with us on our crossing to
the Abacos, stay a couple of weeks, and fly home from Marsh Harbor.

Our many other misadventures are hinted at above, but you get the idea. My
last-minute-Louie stuff has mostly been related to making all the various
programs I had to transfer on my computer upgrade, defrosting the
inches-thick ice from the freezer, and installing the last-minute parts
which are yet to arrive as I type.

Among them is the Mack Pack, back from its second trip back to the maker
(one step...). The first was "Wow - why didn't we think of that??" when we
saw the lettering on one of their brochure installations. When it came back
(more delays, of course, not counting the broken tap inside the boom end as
I installed the bracket), we were horrified to see that I must have
mismeasured, as it was substantially too short. Conferences with the
marvelous folks at Mack Sails, and their local rep, James, revealed that
their website instructions on measurement were contradictory, and I'd not
gone far enough forward for the bottom measure. In addition, which isn't
figured into their web instructions, I'd ordered a bracket to allow a much
higher mounting of the tail of the unit, altering the measurements
significantly in addition to the mistake from the confusion.

James and I remeasured with the bracket in place, rather than the usual, to
the topping lift, finding that it was at least 5" too short. No problem,
send it back, they'll make it right. Just more delays. And, postscript to
that set of misadventures, we're making some new mounting points on the
forward end of it to match the ones present on our original, as those avoid
the hardware-on-the-mast conflicts which would result if we used their
intermediate fastening point. Certainly not Mack's fault - but another
delay, but, again, one which will improve the end result.

However, back to James - when we were chatting with him, considering a new
Mack Pack, he'd noticed something which we'd not - broken strands on one of
our shrouds. It was on the outside, where we rarely were, on the side we
rarely board from. WOW! Talk about blessings. A failure could result in a
dismasting! Better to replace it. Better yet, better to replace it all,
as, no doubt, it was at least 15 or 20 years old, and we'll be on this boat
a long time, God willing. While we're at it, let's replace the furler on
the Genoa - that same furler those with long memories may recall we'd just
spent $900 to have repaired a year ago following our Maine passage. So, we
did, a very substantial upgrade indeed, with the accompanying shock to the
bank account, and the old one, following a very laborious disassembly, was
snapped up at $400 by a fellow Seven Seas Cruising Association member who'd
been looking for exactly that furler for a long time. Recycle, I say!

In the end, James worked on our boat three times: The first was to replace
the standing rigging, which he did at the expense of delaying his vacation.
That was the first time we expected to be gone, later than expected, over
the 4th of July weekend. The second was to come back and assist with the
proper (re)measurement of the Mack Pack installation. The last was after
his _two month_ vacation (we were still here!), when he welded up some
cracks in the bow roller cage, a common failure point on Morgan 46s. We'd
met him, very early on, learning that he was a Mack Sails representative, as
he sent our sails off for repair. The genoa, by the way, turned out
beautifully, and the spinnaker sleeve modification should make our lives
easier in the future.

Back to recycling, one of the improvements we made was another of those
onion jobs. We removed the aft head sink to address some delamination in
the sink surface, and in the process broke one of the spot welds on the tabs
which held it in place. In the "while we're at it" mode which seems to
lead, always, to something else, we replaced the faucets. However, when we
received the sink back from the welder (a referral from Dominey's, who was
totally booked at the time, they also repaired our cockpit table holding
bracket and fabricated the brackets for our Blipper radar reflector), it was
a mess, electro-spotwelding being not a common welding shop item.

Casting around for ideas which didn't involve trying to grind out the welds
and buff back to the brushed finish of the original, I thought to replace
it, but found that all the round sinks I uncovered on the internet were
unreasonably expensive, hundreds of dollars each. Thinking Home Depot might
have something better than I was finding on the web, I stumbled upon a
square sink with the right sized basket and faucet cutouts which I thought
could work for size. (Instead of the common practice on boats of mounting
the faucets on the countertop, which leads to potential - and usual - rot
from moisture, this had the usual household sink mounts on the sink itself).

Encouraged by the expected size-fit and the lack of countertop rot
potential, I brought it home. We measured carefully to make sure it would
fit and made the decision to swap. The results impressed us, and we liked
it so much we did the forward head, too! So, you might say, we've addressed
everything but the kitchen sink in our refit :{)) And, always the recycler,
we also took out the manual freshwater pumps which we've never used, and
took up valuable sink-top real estate, and offered them, and the undamaged
round sink from the forward head, up as free-to-good-home items for the
cruising community.

Another one-step was my ordering the pole needed to mount our engine lift,
one I'd salvaged long ago, before we even left our first refit. The web
site is very clear; I had a St. Croix 175 lifting arm, and, as so many of
our shipments have been, they rushed it to us as we weren't going to be here
very long. Unlike the dozens of others, this one is for real, as I got it
on Friday of the weekend we're leaving. Imagine my dismay when it didn't
fit! A panicked call to the seller revealed that we had an old-style lift,
but they hadn't changed their website picture (in 15 years!) - nor the one
which came in the instructions, for that matter, leading me to order the
post without expecting any difference issues.

Discussions of workarounds, returns and exchanges, and the like eventually
came to their offer to send me a new arm (fitting the post we'd bought),
gratis, to Saint Augustine. What to do? No car, no address there. But
wait! My son and daughter-in-law will be on Saint Simons for several days;
they'll ship it there, and they'll bring it when they come to either visit
or pick up their daughters. Another blessing in disguise of disaster :{))
So, now we have the original arm we (now) don't need. Guess what, of
course - one of our dock friends just bought a boat with a (the old style)
pole, but no arm. Recycle, I say!!

And, finally, just before we leave, we stumbled upon a most valuable
resource, Nautical Creations, who will fix the remaining bimini challenges,
including replacing all the zippers, restitching it entirely, and
waterproofing it before returning all of it to the boat and redoing our
fasteners. As the difficult fit and failing zippers has been a thorn in our
side for the last couple of years, this is a real blessing.

Well, you get the idea. The last of the parts (well, almost - there's one
last item I'll share at the very end) has arrived or will be overnighted to
arrive Tuesday morning. Over the Labor Day weekend we'll be installing the
Mack Pack, repairing and upgrading the engine and bilge pump alarms, the
last remaining chores, as we finish stowing our over $2000 of provisions
(lots of stuff is unavailable or costs the earth [paper products in
particular] in the Bahamas) and make ready to get under way. The other
dozens of refit and upgrade or redo items will have to be in your
imagination, unless they come up in conversation in later log posts.

As to the title...

I think I've officially entered geezerhood. I was 64 this year, and some of
you may recall my lamenting my finally having to go to corrective lenses a
while ago. About 6 weeks ago, however, I was also fitted with my first set
of hearing aids. It's batteries which are the last to arrive of the dozens
of shipments we've already received (well, technically, the new engine hoist
arm will be the last, but we won't be receiving it directly). As they're
closed at this writing, I can't confirm, but they are the promised overnight
due to their screwup on what should have been been a Friday delivery.

So, retirement isn't all it's cracked up to be. As my Dad said early in
his, "You know, when I get up in the morning, I haven't a single thing to
do. Yet, by the time I go to bed, I haven't finished half of them!" We've
been working 14 hour days, pretty much, from the beginning of June to the
present. Sometimes, like with the refrigerator, which had unexpected
problems which kept me up even later, it's 1 or 2 or 3 in the morning before
we get to crash.

So, as this portion was being written last week, I toddled back off to bed
at 4AM, the third early-morning rest in a row, this time, however,
occasioned by awakening from a very vivid nightmare about losing Flying Pig
to thieves and vandals, a disaster we can't deal with, being uninsured.
Fortunately, it was only a nightmare, something very rare for me, and we're
very safe, and thrilled with our newly brilliant home.

And, to the last part of the title, I continue laboring on while Lydia and
the kids/grandkid go to the beach on Labor Day. I knew that their surprise
arrival would throw a monkey wrench into the works of our last bits, not the
least of which was a totally unexpected (apparent - haven't gotten it
troubleshot yet) wiring problem preventing me from installing the new engine
alarm sounder (no noise with the key, but the engine starts). So, I stayed
behind to try to get further along before MY kids and grandkids arrive!

Our next, and presumed all in the future, logs will return you to your
regular programming as we relate our travels and excitements of life aboard
Flying Pig.

Until next time, stay tuned!



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
See our galleries at Web-Folio -- Your Portfolio on the Web !
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and/or Flying Pig Log | Google Groups

"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to
make it come true. You may have to work for it however."
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in
its hand
(Richard Bach)
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