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Cracking on with the job.

Got everything together for Mike to come and finish. Some time in November,  he’s tied up on some large jobs for at least 3 weeks. S’ok with me. I can get lots of other stuff done. Probably start replacing the wood cross beams under the crawlway with angle, and redo do it a bit. Probably raise it a tad. Finally got round to removing the old cockpit drains too, those Mickey Mouse patches didn’t do it for me. So, the hole saw went at it, and today I removed the 1/8″ patches. Tedious but done. I also cut the new holes for the cockpit drains, far enough forward that they can be reached from inside the cabin. I noticed the 4 2×2 posts were starting to rust, so 3 of them have been sanded down and given a coat of Tremclad. Being inside, the Tremclad will last for years. The last on gets done tomorrow and the other three get wet sanded and a second coat.

Had a rather interesting email when I got into work last weekend. “You are now qualified for retirement with 80 points of age and service.” Well Hallelujah!  Not that my pension is that great but with savings, and that, plus Canada Pension, I figure to get about 45% of my current income. So… the smoke pouring out of my ears has been pretty fierce the last few days, calculating. Long story short, If I live aboard my monthly expense come to $1350 in round numbers. This will pretty much keep me in the lifestyle I’m living now, only on the water instead of the cockroach palace I live in now. Plus it will leave some money over for trips and such.

I emailed my fearless leader and asked if they wanted me gone, to pay me half a year’s pay. They’ve been handing out packages left and right, since if one of us leaves they save about $15-25 dollars per hour, depending on who they hire or if they ship it overseas. 3 of my coworkers just left at the end of September, and they all got packages. However they all had more than  25 years where as I only have 18. We will have to see.

The facts are simple. I can’t retire until SD is livable. That costs money. So, either the company can pay me for 6 months and I get some of my benefits as well, or don’t and I’ll hang on for another year and bank oodles of money while still getting her done. Either way, I plan on launching this coming April, and shutting down my apartment in time to live aboard for the winter. My year’s lease is up on the first of June, so I can go month to month after that. If I get a package I can keep the dump until then and move aboard no matter what shape she is in by the end of May. I found out I can get a decent retiree’s benefit package from $160-200 per month. An extra $35-40K will by a lot of coverage for a long time so staying and losing the company benefits isn’t the killer I thought it would be.

One thing I have decided is that if I do get to go by the end of December, buying a lot of materials and hardware now might be a good idea. To that end I’ve ordered a bunch of stuff from Defender, and picked up a bucket of machine screws to put the panels on the furniture when the frame is welded. I’m about to hit Westmarine in Oakville with a huge order to complete the 12v electrical system. Thankfully I’ve already picked up a Blue Sea panel,  LED lights and nav lights, a stereo and speakers, new VHF with AIS and a chart plotter with GPS. The wind insturmentation  I’ve had now for about 6 years, in a box.

I’m going to need a lot of aluminum and plywood, so I’ll start measuring as soon as possible to get the stuff ordered. My storage locker is gonna get pretty crowded. I found a place to buy plastic panels for the ceiling, so a trip to Manitoba might be in the offing next spring. It’s gonna be a crazy year.







Ah, fall, Gotta love it.

The weather has been pretty good lately, and I’m pushing ahead. Days are shorter still but going down just after noon gives me about 6 hours. Tried pushing it a bit, not good for the bod. So we muddle along, things still get done. And let me tell you, being down at the club, getting dirty and burned in spots sure beats hell out of the “Job”. Like the councilor said last time I went of on medical leave for depression, this is my therapy.

Ok. I took the pulpit apart again, after establishing a center line between the stem and the baby stay anchor. This give me a straight line of about 5 and a half feet, projecting forward past the bow. (that humungous caliper comes in hand for all sorts of things). From this I’ve determined that I missed it again when I redid the cross piece. Now I’ve broken it loose again and will wait til Mike gets here, fix it with the Mk 1 Mod I Eyeball.


I may have to buy a new cross piece, will have to wait for the guys to appear. Having cut the angles, moving it around may open up gaps too large to weld across. (I doubt it, fill it with a small piece of scrap if need be).

Now, the rudder. Taking that apart was an amusing job. Tried sawing off the shaft 3 different times, burned out about a dozen disks and got nowhere. The rudder wasn’t fabricated like the plans show, nor as I thought it would be. Finally ended up moving the cut back from the leading edge a good inch and a half, and bingo, clean as a whistle. Turns out they put a 1/4 inch strip into the rudder and then welded the shaft to the skin. My last cut hit right on the edge of that 1/4 inch strip and took it out just about perfectly. Live and learn, I’m doing much the same to put the new shaft in, only I’m using a piece of 1.25 x .5 inch channel recessed a tad into the skin for a good solid weld. It will be double welded, Channel to skin, and shaft to channel. Mike will love it.

img_0699detail Shaft nestles into the channel.

img_0704 Channel fits snugly into the rudder. A bit of fiddling with the notch at the bottom, and it’s done. And hopefully straight as an arrow.

Having the shaft and the lower bracket together for the first time, I checked out the ball bearing pivot. Works fine, with the shaft riding about 3-5mm above the lower bracket inner face. I’m off to KBC to pick up a tap and drill for 1/4-28 and a couple of grease nipples. After greasing the socket from below, the nipple comes out, into stores and the hole will get filled with a small cap screw.

The under deck structure is roughed in place, and as usual, planning went in the crapper, and I bodged it together. Somewhere in hell there is a special place for the guys who built this mess and called themselves boat builders. Anyway it is all tacked in place. Now I know why I hire Mike. He’s smaller, and more nimble. Trying to tack that stuff from below leads to interesting contortions and probably is why my back went tango uniform a couple of days ago. Thankfully Dr Eix (great guy) did the snap, crack n pop routine yesterday before I went down to the yard and this morning I’m more or less back to usual. Hadn’t seen him in almost a year, so we spent 10 minutes with me on the table and another hour and twenty yapping.

I’m going down again today, to cut the filler plate to size, cut out a few through hull holes and make up disks to fill the ones I need sealed. I’m also going to sand and paint the raw vertical tubes, the humidity has got them starting to fuzz up with rust. So time for sanding and painting with Tremclad.

I have run into a spot of bother, my insurance company needs a survey this year. So I’ll have to cough up $800-$1000 bucks for a guy to come down and tell me its an empty shell. Oh well, sucks to be me. However, this situation has caused me to think a bit on what I’ll do when I retire. To that end I’ve put in for membership to the American Boat and Yacht Council, one of the more recognizable Survey certification groups. Lots of learning, and it takes 5 years before you get the full certification but I figure it is worth doing. Either that or a thrilling job as greeter at Walmart or asking people if they want fries with their burger. Screw that.

Surveying is an interesting job. With all the mucking about I’ve done with boats and other stuff I figure I have a good sound base to start from. God knows, with all the lemons I’ve bought over the years, I’ve learned to pay attention.  Should have done this along time ago but hell, maybe I’ll live long enough to get it done. I could just print up business cards and open up a web page, ( the rules up here in Canada don’t cover any sort of licensing or certification) but if I’m gonna do it, I’ll try to do it right.

Nuff for now, burning daylight here.





So much for summer.

The days are getting shorter, half way to the shortest day of the year. Yesterday the sun was down by 19:10 and it was full dark by 20:00. It also appears that with the advent of fall, the temperatures just fell off a cliff. It’s 14:19 and the outside temperature is a balmy 60F. Good weather for me to get my arse in gear.

I’ve been working at getting all the welding pre-fab done. I’ve started to saw the shaft out of the rudder, in order to replace it with the 316 SS shaft which is now machined. Bitch of a job and it will take a while. I’ve also got a fair bit of work done on building the pulpit. This really annoys me, once more convincing me that this was the very first boat the builders ever did. Either the frame isn’t square to the center line or the bow is pushed off to starboard a bit. Anyway, the pulpit is noticeably cock eyed. I suspect it’s a bit of both. Still trying to figure out how to fix that.

img_0683        img_0686


First things first, the pulpit is removable so the ends have to be bolted. Then the tube needs to be trimmed to the funky angle needed to give a decent joint. So far so good.


Next, the first trial run

img_0673 It’s pretty obvious that this isn’t very good.



The cross piece was taken apart and welded to the tabs so that both sides would be of equal length from the #1 frame. As you can see, the crosspiece is now square (more or less) to the center line, but the two sides are intersecting at noticeably different angles. Damn.  BTW that huge aluminum thing is a humungous caliper for measuring across the hull. I will be using it to determine the distance between stanchions when I go to get the pulpit and push pit built. It will also tell me how much the stanchions are off vertical. The guys out fitting her didn’t shim under the sockets.


The last bit of welding I have is closing off the old forward hatch on the fore deck. To that end I have squared off and cleaned up the hole, and started to rebuild the underlying structure. I should be able to get all of this done by the weekend.


Bit by bit, things get done.

The heat wave just doesn’t want to stop. Currently 83F in the shade with humidity running around 65%. Oh well. Fall is coming soon. Got down a couple of weeks ago, in a minor somewhat cooler period, and  did some work on the exhaust. Using the cheaper hose I’ve laid out the runs and it appears that the plan to run it back to frame 9 and then forward on the starboard side will work just fine. The water box will sit neatly down beside the engine and the 15cm down/15 cm long minimums will be easily met and exceeded. From the water box, the hose will run just about vertical to the underside of the cockpit seats and then back to a gooseneck fitting I plan on having made up from 316 stainless tube. I’ll also replace the two cockpit fittings at the same time. Might as well get it all cut and welded at the same time. I’ll order the tube shortly.

Exhaust route 2 forward face Exhaust hose 3


Regarding the rudder shaft and log, I’ve finally settled on having the radial drive hub up. It still means cutting down the shaft log to allow for the stuffing box and clearance to put in the packing but it is decided and I just got back from dropping off the parts at the machine shop. There will still be enough room above the hub to put on a tiller arm and use that as the rudder stop, taking the drive, cable, chain and wheel out of the equation. Otherwise the stop would be on the outer rim of the drive, using that as the tiller. Still have a bit of time left to decide, but which ever way it goes, its off to the machine shop next week. If I do it right I can also use the tiller as a mount for the emergency steering shaft.

Got an email from my welder, asking if I was still alive. Can’t do much until the weather breaks but it is the end of August and tomorrow is calling for better conditions so it’s time to get my ass in gear again. I started futzing with the pulpit, spent a couple hours cutting out a pair of fittings to mount the first cross beam on the stem, the materials are all on hand now as well. The material for the closing in of the old forward hatch is also on hand. I’ve decide to fix the cheesy way I sealed off the old cockpit drains, which will require making up a couple of filler disks. And the rudder. Where to begin. The bottom fitting is a tad wonky so it will have to be redone but I’m not touching that til I get the shaft log back. Inside, I have to start thinking about replacing the crawl way frames with steel, save space and weight. The material for that is on hand for frames 7, 8, and 9.

All things considered I can see light at the end of this tunnel. The last of the welding will be done. Then the chipping can recommence, and e-coating. Through hulls all go in, as well as the depth sounder and sumlog. That will finish the hull and she will float.

I hate the heat!!!!

So far this month I’ve gotten 11.6 hours in. Last time I went down (yesterday) the thermometers inside the cabin read 87F and 91F. Time before that, 95F and 100F respectively but I got in 4 hours.  Found a dead bird that some how got inside and died of thirst. Man, talk about a stink. At least I didn’t have to go hunting for the corpse, I had visions of crawling round under the cockpit searching. Found it right in the middle of the cabin floor. Cleaned that up and  wiped the floor down with lacquer thinner, the stink went away for the most part.

That second last trip saw the 3/4 inch ply backing plate cut for under the pedestal, and the final position laid out and holes marked. Got it all epoxy coated over the next couple of days, and picked up the nuts, bolts and clips needed to hold it in position under the cockpit sole.  Went down yesterday and clamped the clips in place, and positioned the plate, then drilled two holes at 1/8 for screws to keep it located, then two at 27/32nds to allow tapping of the holes for 1/2-13 thread. Problem came when I went to open up the holes in the sole, couldn’t find the 1/2 inch drill and burned the smaller one to a crisp. I’m going to have to open up those holes with the die grinder. I have made up the tooling needed to measure the final shaft and log length. so far it looks like I can cut a good 10-12 inches off of the shaft and cut and re-machine the log about the same length. After that is done, I can get back to installing the lower bracket (correctly this time) and shaft log.

It’s about time that I called Mike again, to get the last of the welding done. I may try to install the under deck beams for the patch over the old forward hatch, my welding is once again good enough for that but I will let him do the shaft log. Probably get that set up for September, when it cools some. I’ve gotten Gerry Rolleson to give me a hand with all the through hull fittings when he gets back from vacation in mid August, and the concept for putting the exhaust on the starboard side for a greater distance and depth of fall seems to be feasible. The hose will loop back to frame 9, and then forward of frame 8 alongside the engine bearers. The cockpit drains will cross over the center line and then run forward to just aft of frame 7. They will co-located with the raw water inlet, and thus readily accessible from the galley. I may have to change out the hose at some point, although the hose is rated at 60 psi for fertilizer and other chemicals but the ribbing may be a problem.

It’s a bummer that the heat seems to go on and on but risking heat sickness isn’t in the cards anymore. Oh well, there are other things to keep me busy. Fuel system, and electrical system designs need to be worked on yet.



Floors are 2/3rds done…

Had a good couple of days, did some fiddling with the idea of running the exhaust over and down on the starboard side. Tested the hose run with the stuff I bought for the drains, and by looping it back to frame 9 and securing it there, then forward it is very doable. Lots of clearance on the shaft coupling. Once the crawl way frames are redone in steel, there will be plenty of room for the hoses to run under the crawl way. However, the anti-siphon loop will have to come up to just under deck level. Otherwise the hose will be just about dead level all the way to the stern. Not good. Still fiddling with that. Thinking about it, I could put the loop inside the cockpit lockers, that would raise it another 8 inches. Still not enough I think.

Finally got round to moving the fuel drums (1 full, 1 2/3rds full of diesel) onto a new skid. The old one was rotten and disappearing into the ground. Not to mention they were in the way of the step ladder for working on the waterline sanding. So that’s been taken care of.

As for the floors, 4-5, 5-6 and 6-7 are now all fitted, and bolted down. The removable portions are fairly tightly fitted, and the floor frame welds have been ground down. I still need to re-weld a few joints, but that can wait til fall and winter. Too friggin’ hot to be messing with that now. I was going to go down today and do 2-3, and 3-4, but it’s very humid and due to rain on and off. So that is scrubbed, at least for now. It is supposed to stop later and drop down to the mid teens. Maybe tonight? Who knows. It’s 1530 right now.

I’m aching pretty good, I think I’m gonna catch a nap. TTFN.


All the floor plates are down…

Got the last ones rough cut on Friday. Forgot the miter saw, so I couldn’t fit them over the various bumps and such so that was it. Temperature inside ranged from 87F in the bilge to almost 100F at head level (98.7F). Found I couldn’t stay working for more than about 15m max before I had to stop, sit down in front of the fan and guzzle half a bottle of mineral water. Took a mess of salt pills, but not enough. Had a cramp next morning. This weekend is blazing hot, so nothing planned. On the plus side, once they are all trimmed I can bolt them down and the floors are rock solid. Next will be to scrub out each bay and paint it.

On other fronts, I ordered the sheave idler wheel set, chain and cable, and mounting bolts from Edson, they arrived and were picked up Friday. With the idler in hand I can make the final determination on the length of the shaft log, and the rudder shaft. Since I pooched the bottom fitting I’m going to re do it. Doing so will shorten the rudder by 1.5 inches but it will do a better job of guaranteeing the bottom socket is true to the shaft log. After I get the final measurements I can take them into the machine shop, and get them cut to the right length and turned down to the right diameters. Then back to setting up the rudder and shaft log.

I’ve picked up the material to weld across the old hatch opening, and will be doing that shortly. I am tempted to put the patch in place myself, at least fit it in place and tack it. My welding is betting better, my first ones were atrocious. Being as I am using 1/8 material all the time, proper joint prep makes all the difference in penetration.

So far the weather appears to be cooler than last summer but when the heat hits it is brutal. I’m considering either working early in the AM or heading down after 10pm and work til about 4am. If I do it gradually I can skew my sleep patterns around without too much difficulty. Those cramps are a cast iron bitch.

Photos as soon as I can.