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Some decent progress…

Since the last update, I’ve been working on getting measurements for all the various panels that make up the furniture. 98% of the welding in the main cabin/galley is done. A few small strips of flat stock or angle that I missed, but realised were needed as the various bits of panelling were planned. In some spots there was inadequate support, so additions to be made. The entire main cabin and galley has been measured and sketched, so the next step was to draw out each panel to scale on to a 4×8 panel drawing to give the best use of a sheet of plywood. Got all that done last Wednesday with very little waste on the sheets. Thursday I went down to Home Depot and bought 4 sheets of 1/2 inch plywood. Pricey stuff, $253 bucks. I had them make 3 major cuts on each panel, so they would fit into the back of the pickup.

It started to get hot and muggy again, So I might get down to the club to do the individual cutting of panels tomorrow. In the mean time, some photos.

Here is one of the cantilever seats. Attached to the main cabin bulkhead at the forward end of the cabin.
Cantilever seat, aft end of the Dinette.
If you look you can see the strut supporting the lower frame about halfway down the length of the seat. You can see the top of the steel frame it is welded to, running behind the mast compression post. There are no frames there to support the seats, ergo, they have to be self supporting.
Aft end of Dinette seat, with the galley cabinet framework exposed. All this will have to be sanded down and painted before the panels are mounted.

I did some checking on prices for Mahogany plywood. Man, I though crap wood plywood was expensive. Try $185 for a 4×8 sheet of mahogany ply. Oh well, I suppose I could keep these things, clean them up and seal them, maybe glue mahogany veneer on them but the veneer is even more expensive. Thankfully I have about 5 years worth of boat funds deposited I’ve never used, been paying the expenses out of my pay check. No pay check, time to start dipping into that fund.

Anyway, the project seems to be coming together. The tearing down was done some time ago, and the building up is moving along. More photos later


Fall is upon us.

Starting to cool down pretty fast, from mid 20s last week to mid teens this week. Lot of work done since the last update. All the framework has been painted. Started to paint the inside skin with Amerlock. Had an annoying experience getting the stuff this time. I bought about 12 gallons of the stuff when I did the outside of the hull. Walked in, ordered it, paid for it and walked out, cans in hand. This time they wouldnt’ sell me any. Seems the laws are now super restrictive. You need a license and have to be a contractor or they wont sell it. You can imagine the steam coming out of my ears. Took a day or two to solve, I called the head office of PPG and got the local sales rep’s name and number. Called him up the next week. Asked me a few questions, said No problem and called the store. Stuff was ready by the time I got there.

The seat cover hinges have been tried and need some work. The idea works but the execution left a lot to be desired. Looks like a demented beaver had at them. Some of the panels I precut were finish cut and placed. The lockers are now starting to be used. Bonus. Less stuff piled up in heaps on every surface. Still need to put the front faces on them though.

I finally got round to removing the last of the sheet Styrofoam from the coach roof and the side decks, which I had left in with the hope that it would help keep the boat cooler in the summer. (Like that actually worked ). Finished taking down the last of the overhead panels a few days ago and pulled all the 2 inch sheet foam.

Next job is to scrape down every surface and get rid of as much of the tarry adhesive they splotched on the steel to hold the phone. That is gonna be a long tedious job. Doing the hull wasn’t too bad, you are working with the surface in front of you or below. This stuff is all overhead and I last about 2 hrs before my arms go to fall off. The other thing, when we scraped the hull, it was summer and the goo came off easily. Now it’s starting to be tougher to remove.

Once the goo is off, I can clean up the rust on the inside, as some of the hatch frames leaked over time and corroded the skin and stringers. Not too much of a problem but the temperature is starting to approach the lower limit for both the rust coat and the Amerlock. Anyway I’ll keep going on that as long as I can.

Once the interior is as done as I can get it, I’ll be starting to work on the AC and DC systems. The panels on the overhead had to come off to do this, so that job is already underway. I put in the shore power socket a couple of years ago and ran the cabling to the isolation transformer and back to the switch panel. I figure on one outlet in the galley, a short run of maybe 5 feet, the other will be at the main bulkhead. about 15 feet.

Speaking of the main bulkhead, I got the panels rough fitted so they lay flat on the rib. Not bolted in yet, that can wait for a while. But the result is as expected, no surprises there. May actually cough up the bucks for some mahogany ply wood. I think I can get them out of two sheets and have a good bit left over for other uses.

Aft bulkhead rough fit.
Center and port side bulkhead panels. Painted frames.
Stbd bulkhead panel
Overhead Galley hatch opening, corrosion. AC panel in the background. Scraped clean.
Not scraped. 😦

Started working on the mast head unit, bought a cast aluminum box, installed the terminal strip inside and mounted the Triwhite nav light on the cover. I have the cable and will have to bring it up off center as the mast head is full of the halliard sheaves. I figure on cutting a small plate to fit over the rough hole that exist, and put a cable ring round the top end to support the weight. Then bend it to fit into a notch cut into the side of the box. The next problem will be to run messenger lines back down for the radio cable and the mast head sensors for the navigation system. Same for the mast light. Somewhere in the piles and boxes is a 50 foot plumbers snake. Should do that fairly easily.

More to come. TTFN

Things are moving along.

The days were super hot most of July and August, so getting down here was pretty hit or miss. Being a lot older than when I started this rebuild, getting heat exhaustion or heat stroke is a pretty serious thing. The few times I tried, the two thermometers inside read 100f at the bow, 95 in the galley. I last about 2.5-3 hrs in that. Even drinking mineral water and taking salt tablets doesn’t do much. The heat literally sucks the energy out of you.

Enough whining. I have just about finished epoxy coating the skin in the main cabin and partially under the cockpit. There are a couple of awkward spots that can wait. Laying down on the crawl way and twisting round like a snake tends to make you roll off the crawl way and onto the fresh epoxy. Completely wrecked 2 tee shirts and a long sleeved dress shirt so far 🙂 I also started on the port side skin, using what epoxy was left after finishing the starboard side.

I’ve taken the seat covers for the starboard settee, and laid out the holes and cuts that need to be made to make the seats hinged. Next step is to drill pilot holes, route out the recess for the hinge and cut the seat into two. Hinge piece and the seat itself. Maybe today, more likely tomorrow. I also finished rough fitting the replacement panel that will make up the back cabin wall above the chart table as well as the missing plywood where the main hatch was raised up. Cut to fit, need to put shims in before bolting them in place. The aft panel also needs a tab welded to the under deck stringer to support the panel. The photo shows the two areas that now have plywood panels to fill the gaps. The photo is ancient, my camera is down on the boat and I’ll get some more recent ones next post.

The DC panel is now rough cut from that piece of mahogany, and the hinge reinstalled, next step will be to fit it and mount it. It will likely still need a bit of trimming. The template for the panel cut out is made up, so once the panel is mounted in it’s final position, I can place it and make sure the DC panel is perpendicular to the chart table surface before I cut out the hole.

It’s about time to mount the two solar powered Nicro fans (should have done this in the spring), gotta cut a 4 3/4 inch hole for each, through 1/8 steel. Since I’m basically installing them offset from the smaller original vents, I figure it’ll be a bunch of 1/16 holes around the perimeter, and then the sabre saw. Another thing to get going on, is the base for the forward hatch. Once the main bulkhead is in place, the forward cabin is going to be like a tomb. No hatch, no port holes. This is a bit of a pain, the curve at the aft side is a lot milder than the front. I have to mount the base, placing it on wax paper and then build up the huge gap on either side at the front. To that end I’m going to rely on my old standard filling mix. I call it Muffin Mix, as it is epoxy mixed with saw dust. It literally looks like a bowl of bran muffin mix. Good solid material, I’ve faired the keel on several boats with it, and it’s never come out, even with the expansion/contraction cycles of a Canadian winter.

Below is a photo of the hatch frames being built. Now imagine that the arc at the back side is 1/4 inch across that width. The backside sits solidly on the deck. Now imaging that the arc on the front comes up so the frame is 1 1/4 inches across the span, and the two sides are a good 1 1/2 inches above the deck. 😦

I just ordered half a dozen empty caulking tube for applying the “muffin mix”, should get here beginning of October. In the mean time plenty of other things to do.

’til next time.

Being retired is sooooo much better!

I retired 10 months ago and have been chugging along working on getting SD up and running, with an interior, electrics and everything. Some members of the executive saw what the COVID shut downs had done to the 2 year plan to stay on the hard and rebuild her. They took that into account and granted me another year, til April 2023 to get her operational.

To that end, the main sail is at the loft, getting the slugs replaced with slides. The mast is in a good spot on the racks to allow me to pull new cables/antenna wire in. The boat is in a good position, so lots of power both 120 and 240v.

I’ve been working on getting the interior framing done. All 1/8 x 1 inch angle, and it’s nearly completed, as far as the main cabin goes. All that needs doing now is to grind down the welds and redo the bad ones (of which there are a few). The last part that got welded up were the two end pieces for the C shaped dinette. These were a bit of fun to do, as they are cantilever boxes that hang out over the floor with no supports.

They are simple rectangular boxes but I added a diagonal on each face to support anything put on them. They work very well. I can stand on them without any problems or flexing.

The next thing is to clear out the forward cabin, and see about laying it out so the Air Head has a place to live, while still leaving me a good sized single bunk. The problem is that the head is taller than I have space for where I’d planned on putting it. So, either I put it under the berth or raise the berth up a few inches so the head can sit in its original planned location. We’ll see. Should be getting to that in the next few days.

I am just about at the point where I have to start bringing crap wood plywood up and start fitting panels to the frames. Thankfully I had stashed away a fair bit and a trip to the locker got all of that down to the yard. Grabbed the forklift and lifted it all up on deck a couple days ago. As it is, I have the counter tops already in place, and some of the settee lockers have lids and floors. (Stbd side only so far). I’m not too worried about looks right now, hell the settee tops on the stbd side caught fire once or twice from welding spatter. I use the chart table as a work bench, and it’s getting kinda beat up too. All this panelling will eventually be replaced with decent marine grade plywood.

I’ve gotten a start on the electrical panels, both AC and DC. I put the AC set up with the isolation transformer on the port side, with the starter battery. I figure on having two 120v circuits, one at the galley and the other at the forward end of the settees. The 12v panel is temporarily positioned, and the master switch and house battery are on the stbd side. Got a nice Blue Seas panel from a gent in the US, looks pretty sharp and has more than enough circuits for my needs.

So far it’s been a pretty strange spring. I remember moving into my apartment 11 years ago on the 1st of June. Lying in a pool of sweat, not able to sleep, and making a dash to the hardware store to pick up a portable AC unit of about 13,000 BTU. Even with that, keeping the temperature down was difficult, it was always in the upper 70s so I worked at keeping the humidity down. Made it liveable.

Right now it’s just over 70F, very pleasant and low humidity. Been that way since spring started. According to the forecast it will be staying in the 65-75F range at least til late June. We had a two day heat spell about 10 days ago, ran the AC then but its been shut down since. My bedroom? I open the window and put a fan up there. It gets down to about 55-60F at night. Very comfortable to sleep.

Since I retired, I’ve started to do an online course on climate change, just to see what they are basing it all on. Early days yet, so far most of what they’ve covered was stuff I know at least generally. The good stuff starts shortly. If you are interested, go look for and see. The course costs nothing and runs til the end of August. Believe in it or not, this will give you some ammo for those fun discussions.

Anyway, I’m about to take my buggered up knees and go down for a few hours of grinding and rewelding. I may get started on panelling, I have a couple of half sheets of 1/2 inch ply up on deck, too big to get down the hatch, so I might as well do that and get that cheap crap wood out of the rain before it delaminates. I’m taking my camera along to get some pics. Next blog entry will have them.

TTFN. Away the boarding party!

Been a while, lots of changes.

Well people, it’s official. I am now among the ranks of the retired. My last day in that hell hole was July 18, a free man as of 2300 EST.

As noted previously I was thinking about doing this more than a year ago, last October to be exact. But the contract was up, possibility of a package kept me hanging on as things got worse. My companies avowed mission in life is to get rid of all the Canadian workers they can, (Except for the hands and feet types) and farm the work out to offshore operations. I discovered well over 9months ago that my work had been shipped to a company in Egypt. Only way I found out was by chasing down the employee number of the guy who was now working my tickets and answering my phone. Needless to say, I got to watch a lot of Youtube, write more fanfiction and contemplate GTFO of there.

So the papers went in, I worked my last shift and then burned up 5 weeks worth of vacation. Officially I was retired on August 31st. I am finally able to start working on SD again, and have put in about 35 hours so far, getting back into the swing of it. The boats are all out now, so I can work on her in peace. Had to go down and rearrange the access ladder, we are packed in like sardines. But no problem, that’s been taken care of.

What I have done is mostly finishing up the welded framework for the settees, the galley counters and the chart table/cooler. The starboard side is mostly done, and the mistake I made in the port side settee has been corrected. I have to say, my welding is the pits, burned a fair amount of wire just trying to get back into the swing of it. Some of those first welds were down right scary. I haven’t got round to taking any photos yet, but soon.

Right now the major push is to get all the welding on the interior done. Once that is finished I can cut crap wood panels to fit, and use them as templates when I finally go to put in real marine ply. I have been tinkering with the DC panel, getting that built and a panel cut to fit into the hole in the aft bulkhead where that little odd ball locker was. Part of the welding is to fab up clips and weld them in place so the panel will have something to hang onto.

The fuel system will have to wait, the water is now turned off, so I can’t attempt to run the engine. Besides, if I did, all the winterizing would be blown out the exhaust. Spring for that little job. A buddy said it would be simplest to bring a compressor aboard and blow the lines out. Fair enough I have a 5gallon compressor that will do that nicely.

My battery solar panel crapped out, bought a new one, and have to schlep it down there, get the batteries up to snuff for winter.

Anyway, that’s it for now. More to follow as I get back into it.

Well, I’m not dead yet…

Life as it is today, is a very different thing than it used to be. COVID 19 has up-ended the world and put the boots to most everything in lives we once pretty much took for granted. Our club is located in a public park, and getting access has been a nightmare. Since SD came out of the water in the fall of 2019, I’ve seen her 4 times. Each time was a blitz to get something vital done, and then back into lock down. Our 2020 season was truncated, launching in mid summer and out again a month earlier than normal. We only had about 40% of our fleet in the water. This year, we just finished launching, the majority are in. Masts are laid out and being prepped, they start stepping next weekend.

I am the only one working from the office now, everyone else is working from home. They like being there, I love being alone in a huge building. I finally get to listen to MY music. The job has slowed down, the volume of work is down about 75%. Some days it’s hard to stay awake. My home life hasn’t changed much, didn’t have a social life to speak of even before COVID messed up everything. Aside from work, I go shopping once a week and the rest of the time off duty is spent writing, and playing online games. Lots of time playing games. I had 4 weeks off in April, wanted to get started on SD as the restrictions were lifting. BOOM. Locked down again. So I ended up putting something like 300 hours into one particular survival game, Valheim. (I love it, best one I’ve ever played so far).

Back to the boat. I am staying out this year, and retirement is looming. I was planning on being a free man by last October, but our contract expired, and the company usually gets rid of a bunch of people by offering packages. Still waiting on that, but I expect it will come soon. Once that happens, I want to get my butt down to the boat and get cracking. Whether COVID lets me remains to be seen. Personally, I think we will see an endless stream of variants. Seems like every time we think it’s receding, we read of another one hitting somewhere else. I deal with a lot of help desks in India, the people I talk to are scared silly. So the logical side of me says it is here to stay in one form or another. Time will tell that tale.

Once I actually get back to it, the first concern is finding out why my engine will not run for more than a couple of minutes before she dies of fuel starvation. Time for a thorough systems check. I suspect it’s either a blocked vent or a air leak I haven’t found yet. A possibility of some dirt in the new fuel tank exists but there is no way to clean the tank out as it is a welded aluminum tank with no access panel. I expect to find out soon enough.

The next thing is to get going on the DC electrical system. All I have right now is the starter battery for the engine. The house battery is in place but nothing exists beyond that. I had started on building the housing for the panel, roughed out using the most amazingly crappy plywood I’ve ever seen. As I’d mentioned before, the difference between materials in 1978 and now is staggering. Today you don’t get “wood”, they only sell “crap wood”. Where plywood used to be multiple layers, good on both sides, and glued with water proof glue, now you get splintered crap, knots, 3 plys instead 5 or 7, and glue that disintegrates at the mere sight of water. So I’m using the crap to make templates of everything, and will at some point, put in real mahogany plywood. The electrical system is designed, now it’s time to turn paper dreams into physical systems.

The list of things goes on and on, but as I said, Freedom looms.

Not launching this year.

I wasn’t planning on launching this year anyway, but COVID sure put the boots to our season so far. They plan on doing it July 3/4 assuming the Ontario government doesn’t extend the lock down. Our club is located in a public park, access is pretty tight, and with groups of no more than 10 allowed, launch should be interesting.

I last saw SD in December when I put the winter cover on. Life got into the way, so I wasn’t able to get down ’til sometime in March. Just in time  for the lock down. I have access for one day on the 19th, to get the cradle and boat ready so they can move it around. What happens after that, no idea. Oh well, I’m  on the last lap before retiring, plenty of time to work on her then.

Well, there is air out there at 0Dark30…

Hit the hay early last night, 2100. Very early considering I normally run 8 hrs out of phase with the rest of the world, and don’t hit the sack until about 0300. Got a good nights sleep, was up at 0430, and down at the boat by 0600. We were supposed to be off the dock 45m before our anticipated haulout, but we got off a bit late. Even so, it took them til about 0830 to get the first one out of the water and on it’s cradle properly.

My friend Boden and I spent the better part of an hour and a half motoring around in a holding pattern, while they got things sorted out. Even so, it wasn’t wasted time. We checked the turning circle radius, ran the engine from 1000 rpm up to 2000, tried reversing and steering in reverse. All things considered I am pleased with the way she handles with the new cable and chain steering. It should be even better once the rudder brake is  permanently installed. There is definitely feed back on the wheel with this set up, which was missing with the old hydraulic system.

One thing we noticed was an issue with the engine panel. If the rpms drop below 1100 or so, the panel goes dark, the tach stops dead, and the power and battery lights flick on and off. Not sure why this is, didn’t notice it yesterday but then I had it upwards of 1200 revs all the time. I’ll have to check this out, could be another poor connection. It might also have to do with the fact that there was only one battery hooked up, as the house battery is not yet on line (or even close to being online :p. Right now it makes a  really awkward paper weight).

We checked the hoses, through hulls, drip-less shaft seal and all the rest of it several times and not a drop that I could tell. Upon haul out, the bottom was not too badly slimed, most of it came off during the hour or so of running in circles. There were however, a lot of zebra mussels on the shaft, and the anodes. Some came off with the pressure wash but the rest will have to be scrapped. A job for  Monday. I’m staying away while the yard is full of trailers and boats. Hats off to John and the yard crew for putting me in a nice spot to work on her over the winter.

Monday, I’ll get started on winterizing the engine and filling the fuel tank right up full. I also need to set up the solar trickle charging panel.  Today, it’s time for a hot rum toddy.


Haul out is tomorrow, 0800…

In order to find a parking spot even close to the club I’ll be getting up at 0 dark 30, and heading down there a couple of hours early. Hell, I’m not even sure there is air out there to breathe at that time of day. But anyway, she is ready to move. I fueled her up this afternoon and bled the fuel system. Filled the raw water filter and the tubes from the through hull, and turned the key. Nothing. Turned out there was a poor connection between the panel and the engine.

Once corrected, she coughed a few times and caught. The only problem was a lack of coolant, to be expected as they totally drained the engine before shipping. I ran it ’til the temp warning sounded, let it cool a bit and added more. Had to do that twice but now she settles down to 165F at 12-1500 rpm. Checking the hoses, found a drip at the cooling pump, couple of turns on the clamp solved that. I’ve tried the transmission, it shifts as expected and the feathering prop is doing it’s thing.

So, tomorrow I have to back her out of the slip, past some other guys boat they parked there a few weeks ago, and head down the fairway over to the crane. The cradle has been reworked a bit, and the pads have been cleaned up and lubricated. She should be out and on the hard by 9am and then get a good pressure wash to clean off the slime. Actually I’m curious to see how much sheets off as she moves for the first time.

Again, more photos when I get a chance. Been too busy just getting the engine going.



The clock is ticking down to haulout…

I’ve been putting in as much time as the body can handle, and getting things ready for haul out which is in less than two weeks. The intent is to have the steering, engine controls and electrical, exhaust and fuel systems ready so I can start up the diesel and move under my own power.

To that end, the exhaust system is now completed, the fuel system is in place, just needing a dozen or so hose clamps. The starter battery now has it’s tray mounted, and the cables are ready to be terminated and installed. The engine control panel is in temporarily, and connected. I made up the mounting for the relay box, also designed and fabricated the rudder stop system. The plate and pin that mounts on the shaft was machined and is installed, and the rudder stop assembly is ready to be bolted in place. Here, once again, is proof that not one thing on this boat is square, or true. The stop should sit in the center of the cockpit wall, yet when lined up with the shaft, it is a good 6 inches off to one side.  I still have to reinstall the pedestal, cables, control cables and what not for the rudder to work.

This is the to-do list as it stands today.

Sabre Dance REFIT 2.0
Engine control cables Measure x
Order x
dismount chain and cable x
dismount pedestal x
Set up cables and control arms x
remount pedestal
set up controls to engine controls
manual engine shutoff cable. order
manual engine shutoff cable. install
reinstall and connect chain and cable.
Bulldog clamp order
Bulldog clamp Install
Machine and install rudder stop. x
Fabricate rudder brake x
Install rudder brake
Exhaust aft end cut and fit x
Exhaust fwd end cut and fit x
Install last hose clamps aft end. o/h x
Swim ladder fittings Order
Starter Battery box tray x
Anchor SB tray x
Starter Battery cable negative
Starter Battery cable positive.
Check and confirm alternator connections to battery terminals.
House Battery box tray
Anchor HB tray.
main battery switch.
DC Panel box and face plate.
Negative Bus
House battery cable negative to bus
House battery cable positive to Main switch
Cable Main switch to DC Panel
Order solenoid. x
Cut panel hole in aft cabin wall. x
Drill hole for cable through countertop x
Engine panel x
Fabricate engine panel and cable cover.
Engine relay box
Fuel Inlet x
Fuel hoses x
Hose clamps on vent hose.
Hose clamps on fuel hose
Secure tank to frame. x
Cover for Fuel filter
Stbd Outlet box cable to AC Panel
AC Panel box and face plate.
AC main wiring
Isolation Trsf wiring to AC Panel
120v cable to bulkhead
Panels for bulkhead
120v box and GFCI outlet
Reinstall the impellor for water pump.
Finish framing for settees.
set up and weld framing for the forward cabin.
Cut settee tops to fit
Install settee top hinges.
3/4×1 1/2 strips of poplar on either bulkhead support.
Mount door.
cut panels to fit galley sides and Cooler sides and end.
Facing for settees.
continue painting the insides and framing.
Check oil and coolant
Check mounting bolt torques.
Check coupling torque.
Fair the damage around the galley hatch.
Mask and paint both main and galley hatches.
Drill holes in hatch frame
Locate forward hatch frame, drill and tap 1/4-20
Remove and cover with wax paper
Replace and secure hatch frame
Mix epoxy wood and inject along edges
Remove frame, and fill voids with epoxy wood.
Mount frame, mark hole and cut out
Mount frame, with sealer, place hatch base and drill.
Rinse and repeat for galley hatch .

The work continues, I have 3 days off this coming week, and a couple next week to get it done. Hopefully the engine will be test run by weeks end, and prove to be OK.

I’ll post some photos when I can.