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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.


Been some time since I updated…

The boat has been in the water now since the end of April. I worked on her in bits n bites, until the heat got too much. July and August, and most of September were a bust, way too easy to end up with heat stroke, as it was running 85-90 degrees below deck. Hell, most of the time I never left my apartment, other than to go to work and get groceries. Even so, heat cramps were a nonstop thrill.

Now that the fall has come, I have about 5 weeks to get  a bunch more done before she comes out of the water again. I hope to get the engine running. I’m still working on the fuel system, and both the AC and DC electrical systems. The steering is apart again, as I can’t get the engine controls in with it all together. I still have to machine the rudder stop, and fabricate the fitting that works with it. Once that is done and the cables are in, I can finish the steering for good. This week I expect.

In the mean time I’ve been roughing in the interior and it is coming together. I no longer have access to 240v power for the welder, so I picked up a new style 110v machine which is tiny, weighs next to nothing and seems to do the job quite well. So I’ll be back at working up the interior fittings again this week. I’m using crap wood plywood for the furnishings. The stuff you get at Home Depot is just that, crap. The materials I salvaged as I took the boat apart are light years ahead in quality. Amazing how people call the steady slide backwards in quality “progress”. I’ve stopped working on the settees, and am concentrating on the electrical panels. I was hoping to spend a few nights aboard before lift out but haven’t get the bunks built yet. Oh well, next year.

No photos at this time, I’ve got a lot of shots of partly completed furnishings and what not but nothing worth showing.

Post Splash Check…

Went down this morning, and after 20 hours, there is no noticeable difference in the water level in the deep sump. Had a tot of rum with the Sea Gods, and all  is well in the world. At least until I get organized and start phase 2. To that end, three things need doing asap. One, get 120v power on the boat so I can continue to work. Two, organize the 240v cord set that is supposedly available via the club. And three, clean up the friggin’ mess. After 4 weeks of  nonstop work, it’s a pig sty. Anyway today is done, I’m gonna sit back and relax til tomorrow and then get going again.




Worked steady from the 19th on. The surveyor came down on Saturday and checked things out. Was impressed with what I was trying to do, and wrote it up accordingly. The report got to the insurance company by Thursday and I had the papers by evening. Good to go for launch.

Here’s a blow by blow of everything since the 19th.

Finished the waterlock mount. Welded and bolted down. Located the manual bilge pump. Still need to overhaul it. Take parts down tomorrow. Need hose 1 ½ for that. Cut up piece for the chart table. Replaced the long screws for the filter. Mounted. Need 1 inch hose clamps. Tried to use the plastic bit for the fuel fill. No joy. Will use new inlet relocated to directly over the tank. Poured a beer into the bilge. Unless the surveyor has a really good sense of the funnies, I”m screwed.
Survey done. Got hole drilled for the cables, need to epoxy the base plate. Rebuild the Whale pump. Retightened the stern rail. Installed the anchor hawsepipe in the fore deck. Set 2 of the 3 bolts in the lower bracket. Last one was too short by ¼ inch. Tried to set the forward cleats, need new screws.
Epoxied the back up for the steering pedestal. Bought Batteries.
Bow cleats and anchor hawse pipe installed. Garbage off, winter frames off and stored. Lower bracket now completed. Need grease. Whale pump and hose installed. Fabed up the large washers for the under deck plate. Cleaned up the underside of the cockpit sole and painted. Unsnarled the anchor line. Needs replacement.
Pedestal in place. Missing two bolts. Holes not aligned. Pulled cables, Very little clearance on one, marginal on the other, will need to disassemble and clean out the holes. Picked up ¼ key stock and #8 screws for the 120V inlet and the electric bilge pump. Installed the 1 1/8 elbow and attached the hose for the electric BP. Tried to fix the boarding ladder, broke off again, can’t remove it as it was sprung into position. Worry about it later. Worked on electric BP mount, broke drills. Need more. Started setting up the stanchion, need to bring down sand paper. Perhaps polish a couple of them. Got 5 done ready to install.
Picked up 1 ¼ mandrel to cut packing. Packed the stuffing box, put in too much, almost stripped the threads. Put together the steering. No key way left underneath, brake will have to be top mounted. Put together the electric bilge pump and temporarily mounted it. Hoses are all in place. Cleaned up and reset 8 of 10 stanchions. Two need to be dressed down a bit, they clamped them and made them out of round.
Hauled batteries up into the boat. Painted the bottom.
PSS seal and vent installed. Coupling rough aligned. Radius bolts in radial drive installed. Anodes in place. Float switch mount partly completed. Last two stanchions still fubar. Most bases missing set screws. Sling marks in place, anchor tied down on deck. Rode inside, chain lashed down. Steering tested, OK but need rudder stop. Mooring lines in place, fenders in place.
Installed the DS and Sumlog plugs. No leaks. Pulled the shore power cables back into the boat. Had to re tap the drain hole at the bottom of the keel. 5/16 bolt wouldn’t hold. Opened it to 3/8. Not sure if it is leaking. Water in the bilge, up to the top of the bilge pump platform when I left at 1630. Both 2 inch marelons are leaking at the starbord to body joint. The 2 piece hose leaked, tightened up the clamps. Have to replace that hose asap. PSS seal is tight, Stuffing box is tight. Boat rides higher by about 4-5 inches at the stern. Bow still high, will change with the chain and the mast installed. Went into the water with no problems just after lunch. 1300.

I had a chat with the crane operator, who made note of his readings. His gauges showed 24,000 lbs, less the 5400lbs for the lifting rig. So, she is down around 18,600 lbs. Not bad at all. Approximately 3400 lbs removed by changing the engine, fuel system and ripping out all the interior.

Sweating about the lifting of the cradle wasn’t needed, they lifted her without any problems. When I walked past the place she had sat for 10 years, the fill had been replaced, and a new boat was sitting there.

A little bit angsty here, there are leaks that can not be fixed without pulling her out again. They don’t appear to be very large but they are steady. I’ll have a better idea of the rate when I go down tomorrow and see how deep it is in the sump. Hopefully not much over a foot. Other wise I’ll have to be down there every day to pump her out.

Anyway, some photos.


This is the engine coupling and dripless seal. I sweated buckets getting the engine mount aligned to the shaft centerline, put in  a bushing to hold the shaft centered, slaughtered a sheep, prayed to Odin and cussed a lot. It paid off. With the bushing holding the shaft in line, the motor was off by a 1/16 of an inch low. A few turns of the mount jack screws and all 4 bolts slipped in. It still needs to be precision aligned but for a first go round I’m ecstatic.


The bilge as I left it at 1630. I’ll take another photo when I get down there tomorrow.


Looks good back in her element. Got a lot of cleaning and painting to do this summer.


Bow shot. The rusty stubs on the side are where the bowsprit bolts on. Later this summer for that. I have to redo it, as it sits cockeyed.


As noted she is riding higher at the stern. You can see the rudder and the anode below the boot top line. She used to float with the boot top level with the water. I’d say she’s up by 4-5 inches.

Time to take a break. Back at it again tomorrow.



Racing against time…

The surveyor is due at 2pm on Saturday.

As I am putting things together, I’m finding the little things are the ones that are trouble. Got the vent hose for the fuel tank, but no hose clamps. Went to mount the fuel filter but don’t have the right machine screws, so it’s jury rigged. Miscalculated on the length of exhaust hose, (By 6.5 feet no less) and need a straight fibreglas connector for the hose. Can’t mount the manual pump until I have a panel installed to bolt it to. These things get added to the book, and I move on to the next bit.

The weather is pretty bizarre, lost 4 days to ice rain. Got down yesterday for 6 hrs, got a lot done. Went down today and lasted an hour working outside and humping things up on deck and into the boat. Had my brother to help, won’t be doing that again. Tomorrow is supposed to be the start of warmer weather, I’ll be down there early. In the mean time some photos for you all.

First, the fuel fittings for the tank. Shutoff valve on the fuel supply line.

Second, the goose neck with the exhaust hose running back to the stern from the waterlock. I need to drill a couple more holes and tap them but for now it is in place. I have hose for the last bit out the back but this is where I need the straight connector. I also have replace the outlet hose as it is decayed and sort of destroyed from  having the electric lines running through it.

Third, the fuel tank mounted, with the filter on the side. Note the really long mounting screws for the filter.

The furniture framework for the starboard settee/pilot berth/chart table.

The electric bilge pump, hangs down into the deep sump.

The deep sump, hose is from the manual bilge pump, the bracket hangs down against the forward face. Its a good 4 feet deep, full of boiler punchings and was a great place to lose tools before I got round to making a cover for it.

I’ll bring the camera along again tomorrow. TTFN


Work progresses at a fair clip…

Since my last post I’ve been doing nothing but cutting, fitting and welding. For some reason I can’t weld for shit anymore and a lot of the welds are pretty pathetic, but they are still solid and will do for now. Me and the MiG machine can’t get together and put out decent welds. I’m actually thinking of going out and buying a stick machine and go back to using rods.Them at least I can still do.

The port side settee was finished 3 days ago, with all the pieces in place and solid. I can go and get the plywood for the seats, box bottoms and back rest when I have time.  The last hanging shelf that I kept for tools is now gone as well. A left over chunk of plywood sits in the same position on the port pilot berth and all the tools are now resting there.


It’s still looking pretty trashy, but there is now order appearing out of the chaos. The welder and other bits are sitting on odd bits of plywood, and the small tool shelf just under the deck is more of the same.

From there I moved back to the stbd settee which has been (admittedly) mickey  moused together in a hurry to make up the storage I was ripping out. Compared to the port side, there isn’t one square joint  anywhere on it. But with a bit more mickey mousing, all the bits that were missing are now in place, and all the plywood that was cut for seat covers and box bottoms  has been redone, and works better. The backrest and the pilot berth are now solidly welded in place, and I’ve reused some of the old 3/4 inch planks from the crawlway as shelf material for the pilot berth.

The chart table was boxed in, with adequate access to the crawlway left. I now have rough dimensions for the cooler, which looks to be about 4.5 cu ft. I was going to use 6 inches of foam but that won’t leave much interior space. So a compromise of 4 inches will do. The cooling unit will just work a bit more. Considering most boats have 2 inches as a factory build I’ll live with 4. It should be possible to add more once the box is in place and fill the voids with more foam.

The galley opening for the stove was also  boxed in, but there are a few more parts to put in place there. I had to make up the template for the stove  so I could finalize the exact placement of the pivots. The template was made up last night and is ready to go. I’ve also priced out sheet stainless steel for the surround. Each piece will cost roughly $50 but can be custom sheared to fit once I provide the templates. We have a guy here at the club who is a wizard on a TIG machine and he can weld the box together. Again, later this summer.

With more space now in the main cabin, I finally emptied all the steel and other crap  from the forward cabin and its all sitting on top of the stbd pilot berth. That will remain material stowage until all the welding is done. Come launch anything there can be lashed down. Speaking of space, I cut the legs of the workmate down about 6 inches, shifted the plastic feet to the new ends and it now sits quite happily on top of the stbd settee. It’s just tall enough that the steel angle I’m working will will project over the top of the chart table frame. So now working outside yet. 🙂

With most of the main cabin welding done, it’s time to work on the final bit, the forward cabin. The material was picked up yesterday. It’s sitting in the back of the truck along with a load of gear I need to get on board for the survey. Unfortunately it is calling for 3-4 days of ice rain. I was planning on going down today, but the idea of skating on a tilted deck 15 feet off the ground put paid to that idea. So today at least will be spent on design work for the two electrical systems and having a look at the composting toilet. I need to figure out the dimensions for that space but I fear my original placement is not going to work. It may end up moved under the head end of the bunk in the forward cabin. Thank god for the constant air flow from the vent fan.

I have to take more photos, the ones on my camera are from work stages long past. I have to say that at the end of every day I can see things coming together. The main cabin is starting to look like living space. The only real worry I have is the survey. That should take place next Thursday or Friday and I still have a bunch of stuff to get done by then. Hopefully the weather will try and be at least a bit agreeable.

More later.