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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.



Back at it again…

I took another leave of absence, as I have to be ready to launch by the 28th of April. Under the new club rules, they may toss me out after 18 years because I’m not in the water. Anyway, I got a lot of stuff done last September, but lost October for various reasons and then my pickup truck was munched in a collision at the beginning of November. So no truck, no tools for almost 3 months while the auto body shop played games. First they fixed half of it, and had to start again when I told them they missed stuff, then they gave it back and had missed even more. Anyway, the insurance paid out $20k to fix a two year old truck that cost $25k brand new. Should have been scrapped but then they would have had to by me a new one under the terms of my policy. Cheap SOBs stiffed me (as usual for an insurance company). Anyway, I was off with a monster bug half of January and  all of February as well, so there’s not been much done.

I got the rudder hung, with the bushings and bearings that were missing the first time round, the rudder swings like a barn door. The stuffing box is in place, (need to put in the packing though) and the radial drive is fitted. Currently drilling holes in the cockpit sole for the pedestal and the engine controls. The pedestal has been rebuild with all new components, and freshly epoxy coated.

I just spent the last couple of days fabricating the hanger bracket for the exhaust gooseneck, its ready to be primed and painted. This afternoon I got started on the dinette seating, framing it with 1x1x1/8 angle. There is about another full day worth of work on that. The starboard side setting is roughed in, that was done in September, and I have put in temporary floors so I have someplace to put all the gear that used to live on the shelves on either side. Those are now all gone but  for the tool shelf up forward on the port side. It can sit there as it doesn’t interfere with anything I’m fabricating now. I have a bunch of flat strip to weld into the stbd settee, and the whole chart table has to be framed.

I’ve cut up the old plywood pieces and used them for temporary cabinet tops, so I have work space again. My work mate is fast running out of room on the cabin floor, and will end up over the side shortly. I suppose I can cut down the legs and put it on top of the stbd settee, and still use it. I’ll have to see.

I’ve been puzzling out the 120v system and picked up a isolation transformer, galvanic isolater, a 120v 2 circuit panel, some duplex receptacles and other odds and ends. Wire has yet to be ordered. Again, it should all be put in by the time the surveyor is due. Or maybe not. Less for me to worry about under time constraints. I’ll  have to see how it goes.

The basic 12v system is also under design, and I have wire, panel, lights, and other bits. What I don’t have is batteries, and battery boxes. The navigation lights are on hand but without a mast this year (needs to be overhauled) I plan on mounting them for power motoring only. I’m going to build a small mast for the white steaming light that will simply bolt down on the mast step. The bow lights will be mounted on a small pylon on the fore deck as the pulpit and bowsprit are not going to be ready in time. This has to be in by the survey.

Anyway, so far so good. I’m pushing hard, and should be ready for the survey in a couple of weeks. My to do list runs something like 15 pages, thankfully about 80% of it is done, and a lot of it is small stuff. Just have to keep banging away.

More photos to follow.



Things progress.

Went down this morning for a couple of hours, and fabricated the tool needed to set the upper bushing for the rudder shaft. That is now snugly in place, and the rudder turns freely. The through hulls and seacocks were put in last Thursday and I was going to connect up the hoses between the cockpit drains and the seacocks but for some dumb reason I cut the second hose too short by about 2 feet. So I can either buy new hose (good idea as this stuff has the external helical skid strip and makes it hard to get the hose clamps on.) or purchase a fiberglas coupler, and use the two smaller pieces. Being as I am now over $75 thousand dollars into this project I think I’ll use what I have and get the coupler.

I cut and fitted the two struts that keep the fuel tank mount from twisting, they’ll get welded next time Mike is down. I have Thanksgiving off tomorrow so I am planning on getting some more furniture frames, especially the locker bottoms. With all the port side shelves gone, I’m piling stuff up in heaps on the floors. Time to bring some order out of chaos. I’ll also schlep the radial drive down to the boat, and see about finishing the plywood plate that is under the pedestal. It needs a few more holes  drilled and the holes opened for the cable to pass through, then get sealed with epoxy. When that is done I can put a second coat of epoxy on the cockpit sole and set the pedestal in place.

I guess it’s time to puzzle out the throttle and transmission connections now, and see about ordering the cables and fittings for that. Last week I ordered all the parts for my AC electrical system, less the cable and receptacle boxes. They should arrive shortly. Thankfully, I’m coming to the end of the expensive bits, and soon will only need to deal with finishing materials.


So far so good…

I finished my leave of absence on the 30th. All the major welding is now done. I still have a bunch of minor stuff to do, but that can wait til later in the year. Right now I’m pushing to get all the through hulls and the depth sounder and sumlog housings into the bottom before it gets too cold. The weather is truly bizarre, one day it is in the high 80s, a day later down to the 60s and a few days from now it’s going to bound back up to the high 70s. (but don’t worry, Trump says climate change is all bullshit anyway!)

The rudder shaft log is now welded in place, the piece of tube between the hull and the lower bracket has been cut free and it looks good. I’ve finished the lower bracket, and the bushing is installed into it. I ran a hone up through the hull section to clean out any rust and burrs, then the rudder Was lifted up into position and blocked. The lower bracket went on, and it is now supporting the rudder. The upper bushing has been half inserted with a bit of effort and the rudder swings like a barn door. I’ll need to build a tool to get the upper bushing bedded down. I’ll do that tomorrow.

Yesterday I picked up the last of the exhaust hose I need, the fuel fill hose, a new fuel filter with a metal bowl (as is now required by ABYC specs), a transom outlet for the exhaust and a Vetus gooseneck for the exhaust. I’m still not certain where I’ll mount the gooseneck but the parts are now all on hand but for the clamps.

The fuel tank mount is just about done, I just need to cut a couple of diagonal braces and weld them in place. The fuel fill has been cut down by 3 inches to allow the hose to follow a more gentle curve. I’ve glued down the plastic insulation strips with 5200, and the tank is ready to go in place. Putting on the proper fill hose is gonna be a bitch as it is as stiff as hell. I still need to determine where the fuel filter is to be installed and get a fuel shut off valve.

The holes for the through hulls are just about done, still need to put on another coat of epoxy, and clean up the blobs of sealer that hold the pads in place. The DS and sumlog are also ready to be installed after I put one more coat of epoxy in that area.

One thing though, as I frame up the interior bits, I’m running out of room. I expect at some point in the near future I’ll be doing the cutting and fitting in the cockpit or on deck. The starboard  settee is framed, and the galley is also framed. The port side settee parts are being cut and fitted, and that is the end of the floor space for my workmate. So out it has to go.

A trial fit of the fuel tank onto the mount.

I’ll take some more photos on Wednesday and update.




Finally getting something done.

I’m under the gun at the club, if I don’t launch this coming spring I expect I’ll be asked to move on somewhere else. To that end I just took a 4 week unpaid leave of absence and have been banging away since the 3rd of September. So far we’ve got a fair bit done, and tomorrow we put in the rudder shaft log. Beyond that there is still plenty of odd bits to be welded, and I’ve already started to set up the framing for the interior furniture. Heading back down there in a few minutes to continue setting up that stuff.

Well another summer starts…

Been a while since I wrote something. It hasn’t been a good winter. The winter cover is in shreds, and as usual, piles of other peoples’ trash litter my work area. Spent the last couple of days cleaning up the mess.

On the plus side, the rudder, stanchions and the reducer for the raw water inlet are done. I still have a good deal of welding to get done, hopefully before the end of May. I’ve decided to let the contractor do it all. I’ll start work on cleaning up and e-coating the exterior, chipping rust and painting. The pedestal is ready to be sprayed white, just waiting on the weather to stay above 60F. There are spots on deck, particularly under the fairleads for the mooring lines that need to be chipped, blasted and e-coated. They also need a bit of reworking so the rust won’t be as hard to clean up if it comes back.

I started to  clean up and organized the interior, you’d be surprised at how much junk has accumulated below. So a couple of wheelbarrow loads are headed to the waste bin. One thing I need to do is find out where to dispose of stale gasoline.

Anyway, I’ve been off work for the last 6 months with severe depression, just can’t wait to get back at it, and actually  get something done. Retirement is closing in awful fast, even though I may continue to work after 65. Having a heart attack and with retirment coming at you like a freight train does tend to focus one on more important things. I may even contract out the lining of the interior. We’ll just have to see.

Those the Gods wish to destroy…

First they make mad. No kidding. Nothing has been done since my last post. Either Mike was busy or I was busy or sick. So nothing. Nada, zip, zero. Strike one.

Next the boat tossed me a curve ball that may or may not be a simple fix. Being as the jokers who built her decided to double plate the bottom, and I’m putting in Marelon sea cocks and through hulls, one requires the two sheets to be nice and tight to each other and parallel. These ain’t. Well, 3 out of four may be considered close but one of them is skewed pretty badly. I pray that there is a special place in hell for the clowns who bodged this hull together.

Possible fixes include clamping and welding the sheets after cutting them with a grinder in a star pattern, and clamping, building sea chests for the bad one and welding the other 3, to cutting a large hole in the bottom and putting in a 1/4 or 5/16 plug large enough to give the sea cock a flat base to sit on. Currently it’s freezing and snowing, so not much is going to happen much before the new year. Strike two.

Next, the club is busting my chops because I’ve been out of the water so long and they want me in, or leave if I’m not done in 2 years. I’ve put in for a dock but still have a lot of work to do that CAN’T be done on the water. So a major push is in order. I’ve already decided that if i can’t make launch again this year I’m going to have her moved to Port Credit and hire their shop to make right the engine alignment, the controls and the fuel system, then have them launch it there.

Or I just may say F,,K it and stay ashore anyway. I’ll know more by the middle of April. Welding to be done, a lot of small welding I can do like the fuel tank mounts and what not, but getting the outside bits chipped and  painted requires me to make more  noise. Apparently they had noise complaints. As in 1 complaint. Which by the way no one said boo to me about. Strike three.

Now the piece de resistance. Apparently I had a heart attack about 5 weeks ago. So it’s off to a cardiologist and all the rest of it. Hell, I didn’t even notice it, unless it was a bit of tightness in the chest that I thought was caused by a new medication I started that day. Oh well. In the mean time I’ve lost it again and am now off work for severe depression. Given the above what would you expect. Our contract at work is history as of the end of November and the company is being prickish. So who knows. Anyway I’m off for an indefinite period. SAD has a good bit to do with it too. Dark and gloomy days don’t help. Strike four.

Who knows. I may just say screw it and pull the plug anyway, boat livable or not. With my pension and the government pension plan I figure I can keep the apartment going for a good while. I just won’t have building funds. Trying to figure a way around that now. More later.





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.