Friday, March 30, 2007

Running Rigged

Marathon Florida Public Library

Yesteday I bummed a ride to Miami with Jim and Tummi (a cruising couple I met here in Boot Key Harbor.) We drove up to the Dania Marine Flea Market.

This flea market bills itself as the biggest marine flea market in the world. It sure is big. 1200 booths. It is so big that the host city of Dania can't fit it any more. They are holding it this year in the parking lot of Dolphins Stadium in Miami. That's where we went.

I sure appreciated the ride. It was 2.5 hours each way. Thank you Jim and Tummi.

My mission at the flea market was specific. It was not just to spend money but to find some bargins for buying replacements for my running rigging. My halyards and jib sheets are not worn or chaffed but they are becoming hard and stiff. Too much UV exposure I figure.

I did find bargins. I bought two new halyards, 110 feet of 7/16 line with shackles already spliced on for $58 each at the West Marine liquidation tent. West Marine had lots of other things in that tent at great prices (for example, VHF fixed radios with DSC for $70). It took some discipline to not pick up anything and everything that looked like a bargain.

I also found a booth where they sold nothing but line, lines of all types and lengths. I bought a 150 foot piece of 1/2 inch Dacron to make new jib sheets with.

My mission was then accomplished. I would have liked to walk around and closely inspected what was for sale at the other 1198 booths. The only trouble was that I didn't have a key to Jim's car and carrying around 350 plus feet of line in my knapsack was a back breaker. After a short while I tired and sat down near the gate to wait for Jim and Tummi to finish their own shopping.

We got back to Marathon about 1700. All in all it was a very good day.

This morning I got out my needle, thread and palm and rigged my new purchases for sailing. The following account is a test of your knowledge of hard core sailing jargon.

For each halyard I rove the bitter end and hauled a messenger. The new halyards were already roven on the ends, so I merely transferred the messenger line to the new halyard, hauled back and the job was done.

For the jib sheets, I decided to do something to make Libby happy. She hates making fast the sheets with bowlines. I hate the use of shackles or metal hooks on the wild flying clew. The solution was a little bit of marlinspike seamanship that I learned from my old friend Steve Lambert.

For the new sheets, I measured out a length of line long enough for both port plus starboard sheets. Then I put a bight in the exact center and made it fast with whipping. Then I prepared a short length of spare line (about 1 foot long) and put a monkey fist in it, leaving a short tail. The tail I whipped to the sheets just below the bight.

Now, to make fast the sheets to the jib one needs only to pass the bight though the clew, then pass the monkey fist through the bight, and pull tight the whole thing. The whole arrangement is secure, very strong, light weight, and rapid to make fast and unfasten in any conditions. I think it is a masterful application of orthogonality. Most significant: it will not bash your skull when it hits you if the sail flogs while you are on the forward deck.

If you understand all that without a picture, then I salute you. If not, send me a complaint and I'll draw a picture.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Marathon Public Library

Today the winds and seas settled down for the first time in many weeks. A whole flotilla of boats waiting to start their nortward migration left the harbor. Many of them wanted to leave 3 to 4 weeks ago. They still have NE head winds, but they are 15 knots or less, and the seas are down to 2-3 feet.

Should we leave also? The farmer's philosophy, "Make hay while the sun shines," would seem to apply. But, I want to stay here at least one more week. We'll take our chances on the weather. There's no guar antee that it won't turn against us. On the other hand, it may turn to southerly winds. Last year we left around April 7 and we had a great sail: 22 knots southerly winds, and 180 miles in one day, our personal record.

I learned a new phrase from a sailing magazine yesterday. I saw it in an article about ice boats and ice boaters. The ice boater in the article referred to people like me as soft water sailors. Wow! I never thought of it that way. OK, I give. I'm a soft water sailor, but don't let me catch anyone calling me a softie.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Boot Key Harbor, N 25 24 42 W 081 05 42

My brother Ed lost his pet cat to the scourge of poison pet food that swept the country. That's a shame. Sorry for you Ed.

Yesterday we found that prospects for finding a buddy boat to go to The Bahamas is slim. There are a couple of boats here waiting to cross, but they’ve been here for months so one questions the seriousness of their intentions. Neither can we head north again for at least another week. The high pressure causing high E-NE winds promises to sit over us for yet another week. Oh well, yet again we’re marooned in paradise. What a life. :)

This morning I watched a nearby Pelican. He was trying again and again to catch an elusive fish. I saw the pelican dive into the water and fail to catch the fish. Then he took off again. On his second wing flap, just one meter or so above the water, he spotted something. In the blink of an eye he rotated his body 120 degrees and dove back in. His trajectory formed an almost perfect equilateral triangle 140 cm on an side. What a remarkable flying feat! On his ascent, the pelican could not have built up enough airspeed to get any glide action from his wings. Conversely, there would not be enough speed for significant drag forces either. I certainly could not match his feet in any aircraft I ever flew. Not even close. How he did it is a mystery. If I had access to slow motion photography I could maybe solve the mystery. Does anyone know of a web site or video clip that might illuminate this mystery?

My Averatec laptop just developed a vertical line of black pixels. It is clearly not a software problem. Sometimes it goes away if I rap the screen with my knuckles. I can also squeeze the screen frame near the top and the vertical line becomes 8 pixels wide. I have until October to return it under warranty. If so, it will be the 5th time I had to return it. It takes a month each time to turn it around so it is a lot of hassle. If I were confident that this failure was not an early indicator of a more serious failure, I’d ignore it. Does anybody have experience with similar hardware failures in a laptop?

Click here to see where we are. Then zoom out a lot to see the picture below. Those Bamamas seem tantalyzingly close.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Welcome Back To Marathon

Marathon, FL Public Library

Well, we got here last night about 2300 and anchored outside the harbor. Libby said, "That was about the nicest day sailing we ever had." It's hard to disagree with that. It was sure great.

The trip was very fast. Last year we sailed the same passage, from Key Biscayne to Boot Key and it took 24 hours. This time it took only 15 hours to do the 90 plus miles. We averaged more than 6 knots, and what's more we never heeled more than 10 degrees the whole time.

This morning we entered the harbor just in time for the cruiser's VHF net. It made us feel very welcome to hear several pepole chime in with "Welcome Back Tarwathie" I swear, this is one of the friendliest places around. No wonder we like it so much.

From the annals of the improbable. I just heard by email that our friend Chris, who is wintering up in Annapolis heard us check in on the Boot Key Cruiser's net. Huh? VHF certainly doesn't carry 982 miles. I suspect that the answer to the mystery is that Crhis was talking by phone to another friend here in Boot Key who was listening to the radio and heard us checking in Tarwathie. What are the odds of that?

Tomorrow we'll look for other boats waiting to cross to The Bahamas, before deciding on how long to stay here.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Another Lovely Day In Paradise

At Sea, N 25 00 W 80 27

Friday, March 23

Yesterday was gray and rainy all day so we did nothing. Today is quite another thing. That same strong persistent E to NE wind that is preventing us from crossing over to the Bahamas can be put to good use for another purpose -- namely to head for the keys. We're taking advantage of it. We left Biscayne Bay at first light. Now we are screaming down the hawk channel towards Marathon.

The sky is blue with scattered clouds. The water is a lovely turquoise. The winds are about 18 knots on our beam. The temperature is about 82F (28C). The seas are very modest, only 1=2 feet. Tarwathie loves it. We're doing between 5 and 8.5 knots, with an average about 6.6, on just a double reefed main and our yankee sail (i.e. the big jib.) Libby saw a sea turtle a little while ago. On our right side about 2 miles away are a parade of keys. We just passed the south end of Key Largo. We're
also overtaking and passing several bigger sailboats. That always makes us happy. We seem to be making 1 to 1.5 knots better speed than those 40-45 footers. All things considered, it would be hard to imagine a nicer day.

We just passed the John Pennycamp state park where one is supposed to be able to take a mooring on the outside and snorkel. Libby didn't want to stop, so we went on by. We figure to arrive at Marathon tonight about 2300. We'll probably anchor outside the entrance to avoid entering that crowded harbor at night.

p.s. I just listened to a congressman on the radio talking about cap and trade systems for CO2. Since according to web-based polls, our environmental footprint is 3 whereas the average American's footprint is 23, the income we stand to make from carbon credits should finance our retirement. Shh, don't let the secret out or everybody will want to do it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


No Name Harbor, N 25 40 37 W 80 09 48

Yesterday we decided to move to Biscayne Bay in search of other cruisers waiting to make the jump to the Bahamas. We needed some fuel and water, so Libby found a place called Crandon Park Marina in the Skipper Bob book. We rented a mooring there and Libby went to shore to do laundry and take a shower. She was soon back, saying, "No laundry. No shower." We felt cheated. Oh well, live and learn.

Today we tried again. First we went to "Hurricane Hole." It is supposed to be one of the more popular layover spots for cruisers to wait for a crossing to The Bahamas. When we got there, the place was empty. Not a single boat was anchored there. Uh Oh. I think we really missed the season.

We continued on a short way to this place. No Name Harbor is part of a Florida state park. Here there are a dozen or so other boats. We took advantage of it to walk around some of the park's nature trails.

I made the rounds to the other boats asking if they were crossing to The Bahamas, how long they have been waiting and how long they expect until the weather breaks. The results were discouraging. Many of them have been waiting here for 2 to 3 weeks waiting for the weather to break. Further, those with access to paid weather forecasts say that the present pattern won't change for more than a week. One guy has been here since March 1 and he plans to wait until April 1.

I'm afraid that's too much for my patience, and Libby's too. I know that real cruisers are supposed to wait up to 2 months for the right weather, but we're not there yet.
We're planning to leave tomorrow for Marathon in the keys. Down there we may still hook up with some buddy boats to cross to Bahamas, but maybe not. Either way we'll be in a place that we like to spend time.

This could change all our plans for the coming year. That's uncertain for now, but what is certain is that we're heading south on Thursday or Friday.

By the way, Biscayne Bay is a delightful place for just plain sailing. It is bigger than Lake Champlain, but there seem to be very few boats around. Today we saw only a half dozen or so. Even on weekends it seems to be a lot of space for so few boats. Part of the reason is that it is too shallow for most of the big fish, so fishermen aren't attracted to it so much.

If Tarwathie drew only 4 feet of draft rather than 5.5, we could go down the bay to Marathon on the inside. That route is a lot more scenic with nice places to stop on the way. Unfortunately, we can't so we'll go on the outside using Hawk Channel. We may stop in Key Largo for snorkeling or we may go non stop all the way to Marathon.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Beach

Miami Beach, N 25 47 54 W 80 09 00

Monday, March 19

Last night the winds increased to the point where even our single headsail was too much. We took it down and put up the staysail only. We had a secondary motive. If we could slow down our progress enough we could arrive after first light. It worked, but not enough. We arrived at Government Cut at 0500 instead of 0300. Oh well.

Preparing to enter I studied the chart book a little. I found a notation saying that private vessels may not be allowed to use Government Cut after 9/11 because of possible terrorist threats to all the cruise ships docked there. Uh oh. I decided to call the Coast Guard and ask. They were nice. After asking about my ETA and noting that two cruise ships were entering the channel now, they said, "OK you have permission to traverse the cut, provided that you not come within 100 yards of any cruise
ship." Good enough. In we came.

Everything went fine until we found our way blocked by a cruise ship cross way in the channel. He was turning around and his bow was on one shore and his stern on the other. We stopped dead to wait for him. Modern ships like that don't need tug boats any more. They have thrusters and steerable propulsion pods that allow them to turn in place on their own. It takes time however, about 15 minutes for this guy to complete his turn.

After passing the cut we turned right toward the Venetian Way bridge. It was about 6 AM. We called the bridge on the radio. No response. We tried again. No response. A third time. No response. Finally we heard another voice on the VHF. A man asked what bridge we were calling, so we told him. A few seconds later we called the bridge again, and this time we got a hasty response. I'm certain that the bridge tender had been fast asleep, and that the man on the radio probably ran a buzzer or
dialed a cell phone number to wake her up.

By 0645 we were securely anchored on the back side of Miami Beach near Venetian Causeway. We were both dead tired. The ride had been very bumpy and noisy and neither Libby nor I managed to sleep at all during the past 24 hours. Also, Libby's back hurt. Rough seas and bumpy rides don't treat her well. We need a way to protect her back during bumpy rides. Perhaps an elastic back brace.

We were soon asleep but in an hour or two we heard a loud honk. The annoying Miami Beach police were there to remind us of the anchoring ordinance. We have been reading in the boating magazines that Miami Beach continues to try to enforce their 7 day limit, despite the Florida State Law that invalidated the ordinance. Clearly, Miami Beach wants to make it as hard as possible for any boater to challenge them and win. They made me sign an acknowledgement of being informed. (I was angered later
to read in the fine print that I acknowledge that we are a "Live Aboard" boat or a boat "not in transit." That's not true. They are using the acknowledgement form to hoax boaters and discourage them more from challenging their ordinance. They even gave me a copy of their city ordinance. Four pages of single spaced text.

Around noon we were caught up on sleep. I went ashore to sample the delights of the famous Miami Beach. Libby wasn't interested. I chained the dinghy to a wall up one of the canals, and stepped ashore. I took a local bus down to South Point, the southern end of South Beach. Then I walked back about 4 miles, two miles on the beach and two miles in the heart of downtown. This place certainly validates the images of Miami portrayed in Miami Vice, CSI Miami, and other Hollywood productions.
It is filled with the rich, the young and the beautiful people. They dress in skimpy outfits, not much difference between beach wear and street wear. Here and there on the beach one could even spot a topless woman. The wealthy Jews who live in the condos were mostly not visible on the beach or in the streets. Miami Beach was impressive, fascinating, but at the same time excessive, decadent and repulsive. I'm glad I took the time to see it first hand, but I have no wish to spend more time here
than necessary.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Look Out Miami, Here We Come

At Sea, 26 23 58 N 080 01 37 W

I was planning to wait until Monday to sail to Miami. Accordingly, I was going to sleep in late on Sunday. Libby got up, however, and looked at the weather and looked at the charts and started making hints that we should go today. I got up, looked around, thought about it, and decided that she was right (she's right maddeningly often).

Anyhow, we prepared for an offshore voyage. It has been 4 months since we were on the outside. We secured things and dogged hatches, and rigged the jack lines. By 11:00 we were away. Since then it has been a delightful day for sailing. The wind is behind us at about 17 knots. We deployed only the foresail and the whisker pole, which makes Tarwathie very easy to handle. We rigged the monitor to steer us a course only a couple of miles off shore (to avoid the Gulf Stream), sat back and relaxed.
We've averaged 4.8 knots since then with seldom the need to touch anything.

Near Palm Beach we encountered a lot of sport fishing boats. They now have kites on their lines as well as outriggers. I guess when the kite dips, they have a bite.

After a while the fishermen dropped behind us and the water turned from green to blue. Ah so. I glanced at the depth sounder. The depth had dropped from 130 feet to 400 feet. She shallow shelf down here doesn't extend so far off shore as it does north of here.

One thing we didn't plan well is that the GPS says we'll arrive at 0300. We plan to come in through government cut. If we feel nervous doing it in the dark we'll just stand off until first light.

p.s. Our GPS's tide tables are off by one hour until the traditional time for daylight savings begins. It is going to be wrong two times every year until 2009 when my chip runs out and I have to buy a new one. Why can't they leave well enough alone. Should I be mad at Congress for passing such a bad law or mad at Bush for signing it?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Why Boating Accidents Happen

Lake Worth, Florida, N 26 45 32 W 80 02 38

Saturday, March 17

We hit Jupiter Inlet just after noon. It was midday. A lovely sunny day. Saint Patrick's Day. Saturday, and peak of spring break season. There are three closely spaced drawbridges there and we had to wait for two of them. There was more boat traffic than just about any place we've ever seen. It made Libby nervous so she asked me to take the helm.

I'm not sure it was a good idea. You see about half of those small boats going past us were filled with coeds on spring break. They were dressed in the skimpiest bikinis one could imagine. They were all drinking beer and jumping up and down in time with the booming music. Poor old me. My eyeballs were lika deer's in a shooting gallery. Bang - look at those to port. Bang - there's more on starboard. Ahead. Behind. In every direction there was jiggling teasing girl flesh. The only reason
that I didn't run us aground or ram any other boats was that I was stopped dead in the middle of the waterway waiting for the bridges. Believe me though, if there was any critical task for me to do at that moment needing any fraction of brain power, I would have flunked.

Women don't believe how little control men have over their behavior in such situations. Just because the men enjoy the gawking so much, women assume that they can not gawk. Fortunately for me, Libby doesn't get mad when I gawk. That, and a thousand other reasons, are why I love her so much.

The blood is starting to return to my brain once again and, oh yeah, there were other things we saw today.

We left Stuart around nine. It was cold and blustery, but as the sun rose higher in the sky, the weather turned delightful.

Before coming to Jupiter, we passed through Hobe Sound. I love the beauty of that place. The waterside homes are so beautiful and the vegetation is so lush and green. I think it is one of the most beautiful scenes we've seen south of Maine.

We're at anchor in Lake Worth near the inlet. It is almost exactly the same spot as our very first night at anchor on Tarwathie two years and one week ago. Our plan is to wait for good winds to go offshore and make a day's run to Miami. The weather forecast is unfavorable for a passage to Bahamas up to and including next Thursday. We might as well take our time.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Gassed Up

Stuart, Florida

We signed up for another day here to allow the refrigerator man to come. His name is Fred Schultze. He's an experienced man who just struck out on his own. He fixed things fine for us.

At first, Fred was puzzled by the high suction pressure of the Technautics unit we have. He said that he never saw one so high before. He said that he was afraid of putting too much coolant in. That's as bad as too little. We couldn't call Technatics because it was too early in the morning California time. So we read the manual. It said, "Ignore pressures. Fill with coolant gas until no bubbles appear in the sight glass." That's what he did and it fixed things.

Fred had a very neat tool that I never saw before. It was a digital temperature sensor that appeared to work from reflected light from a red laser. It read temperatures from a distance and it did it instantly. We were able to pan it over the surface of the cold plate and actually see the temperature distribution throughout the plate. Very cool, no pun intended.

Anyhow, we're refrigerated again and I ran off to the supermarket to buy a supply of ice cream. We (mostly me) are seriously addicted to a dish of ice cream before bed. When we're out of the country and no ice cream is available, I'll probably have withdrawal symptoms.

Did the Winlink work OK yesterday? I hope so.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hello From Winlink

Stuart Florida, N 27 11 44 W 80 15 41

Good news. My ham license finally arrived (KB1NCH). Today is my first attempt to use Winlink (The free email for HAMs only) compared to Sailmail (the $250/year email for anyone who pays the fee.) This is the first

This morning I decided to do a quick double check on the engine after it's first 7.5 hours of use. I checked the fluids, then I checked the pan under the engine. Uh oh. I found a lock washer painted red. The whole Beta engine came painted red so the color was a solid clue that it came from the engine and not something else. A little more searching and I found a nut to match the washer.

It looked like the nut and washer from one of the control cable connections. I opened up the cockpit floor to see below. Sure enough, the nut and washer came from the throttle linkage connection to the cable. It was a tight space in there but within 20 minutes Libby and I had the washer and nut back on and securely tightened.

New things need frequent inspections to guard against infant mortality.

We decided to backtrack to Stuart Florida just because it sounded like fun. The trip up was nice and by 1300 we were in Stuart and riding on one of their moorings. A couple of dolphins swam up as we picked up the mooring. They must be the Stuart welcoming committee.

Soon after I discovered a free WiFi connection. It is not from the marina. I think it must be an unsecured modem in one of the nearby homes. OK by me.

We also lucked out finding a refrigerator technician who could come tomorrow to recharge our fridge with Freon (or some environmentally acceptable alternative). He was the fourth one we tried. All the others were solidly booked a week or more in advance, and we really don't want to hang around a week for any more repairs.

This evening we took a walk around the town. It is very nice. Stuart has one of those touristy downtowns with lots of little shops. My friend June on Albion would love it. Most likely she's been here already. I understand now why Stuart, along with Vero Beach and Marathon, are among the cruiser's favorites.

p.s. With Winlink I can now use the Winlink position reporting system to leave a bread crumb trail on the map. To view my current position, click on Position Report in the Links section in the right column of this blog page. To view the bread crumb trail (only one crumb so far) click on the Track link.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

On The Move Again

Peck Lake, N 27.114450 W -80.14316

First thing this morning, I opened up the cockpit floor and checked the shaft coupling with the feeler gauge. To my surprise, everything checked out OK. The four bolts holding it together were matched to less than 0.2 mm difference. The tolerance was 0.01 inches (0.25 mm). So I started the engine, put it in gear and advanced the throttle to 1000 RPM. I didn't go more because we were still at anchor. I put my hand directly on the shaft. It rotated smooth as silk.

We raised anchor and pulled out into the waterway. After steadying out at cruising speed at 2000 RPM, I opened the hatch in the floor. Then I took the boat hook and pushed it down until it rested directly on the rotating shaft. There was no vibration that I could feel.

Oh well, I was just paranoid. After so many months of worry it is hard to let one's guard down and admit that things seem OK.

With that behind us there was nothing left to do but enjoy a splendid day out on the water. Boy does it feel good for both of us just to be on the move once again.

There is not much scenery but the weather was perfect. We crossed the Saint Lucie River at the inlet and we could see numerous working boats in the inlet working on a major dredging project. We had heard that the inlet had shoaled to less than two feet depth in some places. Dredging was long overdue.

Our destination for the day was Peck Lake. This is a place were we anchored before and extolled the natural beauty of the spot. One can go ashore and walk through a path less than 100 meters long and come out on a splendid beach. The beach is inaccessible to land-bound local residents.

I noticed that the boat anchored behind us was a Hallberg Rassey 42 from Bassel, Switzerland. I remember Bassel. It is near Leibstadt where I worked at the nuclear plant a few times. That part of Switzerland is very beautiful indeed. I also remember going to the Stockholm Boat Show years ago with my friend Ken. Ken and I were both enamored with the Hallberg Rassey boats. Before seeing Tarwathie, I was of the opinion that they are about the most beautiful and practical sailing vessels ever made. Of course they cost far to much for me to own but neither could I afford Anna Nichole Smith as a squeeze.

Libby and I went to the beach. Surprise. Instead of unspoiled nature, we found a steam shovel and huge pipes. It turns out that the sand they are dredging from the inlet, 5 miles north, is being pumped to the beach down here. In the long run it will improve the beach.

Anyhow, we walked down past the dredging project to an unspoiled part and I went in for a nice swim.

Tomorrow morning we'll decide whether to continue south to Lake Worth or to backtrack a few miles to Stuart. We've never been to Stuart.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Repowering Day 17

South Beach, N 27.457420 W -80.302420

Sometimes it is hard to keep a smile on, despite the fact that we're living the luxury dream life.

Monday we launched Tarwathie after 2.5 weeks in the boat yard. As the travel lift lowered us in the water, the first thing I checked was the propeller shaft to make sure that it didn't leak. I looked down there and, OH NO, water was streaming in. I told them to haul us back up immediately. Poor Libby was beside herself with disappointment. I wasn't very happy either.

It was leaking around where we had sealed the shaft log with marine epoxy putty (Marine Tex). I bought another Marine Tex kit from the boat yard and we laid on lots more. We built it up to the same level of enclosure that Al Hatch had on there. Bud Taplin told us that wasn't necessary, but he was wrong.

I plugged us in to shore power to wait for the next morning to retry. After some time we noticed that the refrigerator motor ran all the time and that the freezer was barely getting cold. Something went wrong with it during the two weeks it was shut down.

This morning we launched again, this time it didn't leak HOORAY, but we are $400 poorer. That was the boat yard fee for hauling us out, sitting it on blocks and putting it back again. Boy can mistakes be expensive.

Anyhow, the new motor started right up and we worked our way out into the channel. Oh how nice it is to be in the water again and mobile. We fueled up and bought a block of ice for the fridge. It will take a week or more to connect with a refrigeration man.

On the bad side, there is a noticeable vibration when we are in gear. I'm not sure if that's because the engine is much quieter and smoother than we ever had with the old Perkins, or whether there is some problem with the alignment. To be sure, we pulled in to a nearby anchorage. I rowed to shore and walked to a hardware store to buy a feeler gauge. That's what I need to fine tune the alignment of the "motor saver" coupling according to an instruction sheet I have. The sheet says that the four bolts have to be tightened alike with no more than 0.01 inches difference among the four.

I'll work on the alignment in the morning. In the meantime, we are just enjoying a lazy sunny afternoon out on the water without doing work.

Repowering project summary

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Repowering Project Day 16

Fort Pierce



This morning we had to move out of our apartment, so Libby stayed behind. I went to the boatyard with a single task in mind -- to reconnect all the wiring.

It wasn’t hard. I just took my time, taking one wire at a time, checking its identity, and length, and continuity using an ohm meter. In a couple of ours everything was connected and made fast with tie downs. I also installed the two new flooded batteries. In the process I discovered two wires from Tarwathie’s original that were redundant -- they simply paralleled other wires.

After lunch I started on the pre-start checklist for a new engine. I had trouble getting fuel to the engine. The fuel lines were full of air, and the lift pump didn’t seem to lift anything. I used a vacuum pump to suck fuel into the fuel lines, then I pumped the lift pump for almost an hour. No fuel appeared at the bleed screw.

I was reaching the point where I was going to call for help when I remembered Bud Taplin’s words on the subject. He said, “The engine is self bleeding. The fuel pump and injector lines are already filled with fuel. Just start it.” Even though this contradicted the checklist, I decided that I had nothing to loose.

I ran our hoses over to the nearest water faucet and made a temporary hookup to the sea water cooling inlet. It leaked but that was OK.

I turned the key to run. The panel lit and an alarm sounded. GOOD. I turned the key to Start. She cranked. I let it go for 5 seconds, and it coughed. I cranked it a second time and she started right up. HOORAY! The first thing I did was to test the stop solenoid. (I’m haunted by the runaway engine incident in Elizabeth City last year.) It stopped right away when I pushed the button. GOOD. I started it again. I checked the cooling water flow. It worked. GREAT. I checked the throttle and the shifting. It revved up. It shifted into forward and reverse. Libby was standing on the ground and she saw the propeller spinning. WOW. It revved up more in forward than reverse so I have a small adjustment to make. OK I checked the battery voltage 12.6, then revved up the engine, the voltage changed to 13.8 . WONDERFUL It was charging OK.

So, our Repowering Project is complete except for the clean up. We need a day or so to clean up, and put things away. We need to do something with the gel cell batteries that we’re not using any more. (No nibbles on my for sale ads on the batteries.) Pay the bill. Launch. And take off on a shakedown cruise. The manual says to change the oil and to recheck all bolts for tightness after 25 hours of operation.

Repowering day 17

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Repowering Project Day 15

Fort Pierce


We made good progress this morning. We finished hooking up and adjusting the control cables for the throttle and gear shift. Then I set about to finish the exhaust system.

Because we moved the muffler to a different location, the old exhaust hose didn’t fit any more. Rather than replace the whole thing I elected to put in a splice about 8 inches long. I first tried a slightly smaller hose to splice it but that didn’t work. I set out on a scavenging hunt around the marina. Soon I found a piece of 2 inch O.D. water pipe. I used the grinder to cut off an 8 inch length. (Yes, the grinder again.) I also used a hole saw to cut a passage into the lower compartment where the muffler would sit. It worked. The pipe splice piece stuck through the hole and mated the hoses.

The final step was to secure the muffler so that it wouldn’t rattle around and more important so that it would not touch the rotating propeller shaft. Libby suggested using a piece of webbing to make a strap. That was an excellent idea. I screwed down the ends of the strap and the muffler is made fast.

We also cut and fit on new fuel lines. One for the supply and one for the return. That went smoothly.

After lunch we diverted to a side project. When Bud Taplin was here he spotted a potentially serious flaw. A toggle used to secure the boomkin stay to the tang had half failed. If it failed all the way when we had strong following winds, we could have been demisted. I was mortified that I didn’t spot the fault myself. I can’t say how long it has been broken.

Below is a picture of the broken toggle after removal.

Anyhow we ordered two new toggles from West Marine (at $45 each, wow!) and now they arrived. After lunch we set out to install them. We were almost done when BANG, the head of a bolt fastening the tang to the mast popped of. It simply fractured.

Uh oh. That means that all the bolts and the tangs -- all the stainless structural pieces for the boomkin and rudder fastening were suspect. But that would be another major project because carpentry makes the inside of most of those bolts inaccessible. We have enough with projects this year. We’re not anxious to add any more weeks or months on to our boat yard stay this year. We bought new bolts and replaced the top bolt on the tangs both port and starboard. Those were the two we could reach. Some other time, before any ocean crossings, we’ll replace the others. Al Hatch claimed to have replaced all the standing rigging in 2001, so that should be good for a while. Also, last year we replaced one of the chain plates and inspected the old one with a penetrating dye test. It showed no cracks.

The picture below shows the new toggle.

I remarked to a passer by captain in the boat yard at how shocked I was that such a substantial toggle and bolts should just fail that way. “Ha,” he said, “No surprise. 15 years is all you can expect for the lifetime of stainless steel parts that are under tension. Bronze, on the other hand, lasts a lifetime.” Whoops. I didn’t know that. Add that piece of knowledge to my boat owner’s library.

By now it was 1600, nearly the end of the day. I used the remaining time to fill the engine coolant, and lube oil and the transmission lubricant.

Tomorrow, we tackle the one remaining step before starting the engine. That is to reconnect all the wiring.

Repowering day 16

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Repowering Project Day 14

Fort Pierce,


The morning hours were consumed with non boat yard errands. I went to the WiFi hot spot at the city marina to post a blog, and to check with the FCC on my HAM license (it is not posted yet), to pay our boat insurance bill, and to post an ad on Craig‘s List for our gel cell batteries. Then I drove to the machine shop and dropped off the shaft, the hub, the nut and the pin. I explained to the machinist what was needed. He said, “tomorrow.”

I also bought a piece of lexan to complete the customization of our engine panel. The lexan will extend the panel to cover up the hole cut for the old engine’s panel. I wanted black plastic, 1/4 inch thick but I had to settle for 1/8 inch transparent. I also bought a can of black spray paint to make it black.

Libby stayed behind at the apartment. She wrapped birthday presents for grandkids, and then she did our federal and state income tax declarations.

I picked Libby up and drove her to the post office. When we were returning from the post office, I got a call from the machine shop. “Surprise,” he said, “it’s ready.” I drove back to the shop and picked it up. He bored out the face of the hub a little bit rather than taper the shaft more. Then he cut too far so he gave me a flat washer to put under the nut as a shim. The fit is very tight but it fits.

Finally, we stopped at West Marine to pick up a part I ordered. By that time it was 1200 and time for lunch already.

After lunch Libby and I tackled the propeller project straight away. We got the shaft back in. The fit was very very tight. I wish that the cutout in the rudder was a little bigger. Then I attached the coupling, and bolted it to the engine. Then we put on the key, the hub, the nut and tightened it down enough to drive the pin in. It took a lot of force to drive the pin in, but it’s done.

To complete the job, we reassembled the propeller, packed it with grease, set the pitch for 18 degrees, greased it through the grease fittings, and secured all the screws with cotter pins. The job was done by 1630.

Libby is tired, but I am beginning to feel deeply fatigued. I’m too old for to work so hard 7 days a week. If we push hard, and there are no more setbacks, then we need two more long days of hard work to be ready. That means launch on Saturday. Allowing an extra day for contingencies, and that means Monday (the boat yard doesn’t launch on Sundays). As anxious as we are to get this project done, I’m afraid of mistakes when working while fatigued. I may have to force myself to go slower even if it means several more days here. Dean Chapman emailed me advising patience with this project too. Good advice but hard to accept.

For several weeks I have been entertaining myself by visualizing the Elitzur-Vaidman double slit experiment that they call “quantum imaging in the dark.” I read about it in Scientific American. For decades I have been using Scientific American to help me fall asleep. I settle on some difficult concept and try to understand. Sometimes I can spend months going to sleep contemplating the opening few paragraphs of a single article. Once I spent more than two years falling asleep trying to grok supernova collapse and never did get it. Last night I had a breakthrough. I think that I now grok quantum double slit behavior of photons. Very cool and very weird. Now I’ll have to find a fresh sleep aid. Tonight I’ll try to explain it to Libby.

Repowering day 15

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Repowering Project Day 13

Fort Pierce

Why is 13 an unlucky number?

This morning we finished off the second coat of bottom paint. It looks sharp, but the black color still looks strange to us.

While Libby painted, I fiddled with the gear shift control cable. I still don’t have it right.

After that, we decided to take a break. We drove to Vero to check our mail and to have a brunch at Panera Bread.

After lunch I decided that we would remount the Max Prop propeller. That’s where we ran into trouble. The propeller doesn’t fit onto the new propeller shaft.

Here’s the deal. The back end of the propeller shaft is tapered and then threaded, and a small hole is drilled through near the very end. The propeller hub is similarly tapered. One puts a key into the keyway on the shaft, then slides the hub over the shaft and the key. Then a special nut (part of the prop) screws onto the shaft and butts against the hub. Holes in the nut line up with the hole in the shaft. A small pin locks the nut into place.

In our case the hub would not slide far enough onto the shaft to let the nut screw down.

I called Fred at Max Prop support and described the problem. He said, “You can’t do that. The hub has to be fitted on to the taper before cutting the threads and before cutting off the end of the shaft.” He suggested turning the hub on a lathe to shave a thousandth of an inch or so from the tapered hole. I called Bud Taplin. Bud is the one who commissioned the shaft to be made. Bud said that it was supposed to be machined to the exact specs for a Max Prop. Bud suggested a simpler alternative -- machine some material from the forward end of the nut.

I called Fred back with Bud’s suggestion. He said that if we did that, the nut would be so deep in the hub that the pin could not reach the holes. He was right.

I asked the marina for the name of a machine shop. They said Turner Machine Shop on Orange Avenue. I drove over there with the hub and explained what I needed. They said that because the hub’s hole was tapered that it would be nearly impossible to do without having the shaft. They said that it would be easier to machine the shaft.

So I went back to Tarwathie and removed the shaft. Oh no! After all that work to put it in. Fortunately, I did not have to undo all my work. I unbolted the coupler from the engine, and removed the coupler from the shaft on the engine end. Then I removed the stuffing box. After that, Libby and I were able to go outside and pull the whole shaft off from the rear. Without the propeller hub on it cleared the rudder barely. It actually rubbed on the rudder the whole way out.

Tomorrow morning I’ll take the shaft and the hub and the nut and the pin over to the machine shop.

At the end of the day Bud called back with some more ideas. While talking he said that he realized that most customers buy a new prop with the new shaft, and that the shop can custom fit the hub to the shaft while still in the shop. That agrees with what Fred said about cutting the threads after fitting the hub.

Sigh. If there was ever a time when the saying “we got shafted” was appropriate, this is it. This will cost us a day. Now I’m worried about meeting our self imposed deadline for launching on Friday. Don't get me wrong thouth. I'm not mad at anybody. These things are terribly complex and technical. It’s easy to understand how a new circumstance, like buying a new shaft without a new prop, can cause a misstep.

In the software world we always assume that when doing complicated things that we will have to make several attempts and testing cycles before everything can be expected to work. Indeed, it would be foolish to expect it to work right on the first test. This time we are dealing with hardware, not software. Can we expect everything to work first time without retries or prior fit tests?

I also bought a set of metric wrenches today. I found that none of my wrenches work on the new Beta engine from England. Of course, I’ll have to keep the old wrenches too for everything else on the boat.

Repowering day 14

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Repowering Project Day 12

Fort Pierce, Monday

This morning I studied the engine manuals learning about the hook ups and seeing what I could do about the gel cell problem. You see, I have two new gel cell batteries and they are a problem.

There are three types of storage batteries available: conventional lead acid, gel cells, and absorbent glass mat (AGM). Conventional and AGM batteries charge at 14.5 volts, but gel cells can only tolerate 14.0 volts. On the old engine, I had an external charge controller which could be adjusted for any voltage. The new engine comes with an alternator with a built-in internal voltage regulator. It’s not adjustable.

I called the Beta factory to see what I could do. They said that I should find an auto electronics shop to modify the alternator to bypass the internal regulator and use the external one instead. I asked around and found an alternator and starter shop. The proprietor was Henry. I dismounted the new alternator and my charge controller, put them in a box and went to talk to Henry.

Henry gave me a great education about alternators, how they are constructed, what can go wrong, and how the owners mistreat them. After a long talk I decided that it would be illogical to mutilate this new alternator. I decided to buy conventional batteries instead. I’ll try to sell the gel cells somehow. Then I went back and re-mounted the alternator.

One thing I learned is that if you accidentally run down your batteries to nothing, that running the engine to recharge them ASAP can cook your alternator and ruin it. 100 amp alternators can not put out 100 amps continuously. You need to recharge at full amperage for a few minutes, then let the alternator cool off and the batteries recover some on their own. Lower amperage alternators are more robust and not vulnerable to this problem.

I regret having chosen gel cells two years ago. They have caused constant trouble ever since.

In the afternoon I modified the cooling water plumbing to fit the new engine. Libby rolled on the first coat of bottom paint. The new paint is black. It makes Tarwathie hard to recognize. We are so used to her bottom being blue. We use ablative paint and overcoats should have contrasting colors. When the black paint wears enough to see blue, that marks the degree of wear.

Finally, I worked on installing the Morse control cables for the throttle and gear shifter. The gear shift is giving me fits. I’ll have to finish it tomorrow.

Libby Versus The Gulls

I filmed the movie clip last Sunday on the beach near our apartment.

By the way, there are now more than 500 posts on this blog. I love this medium for communicating with family, friends, fellow cruisers and sometimes random strangers. What do you think?

Repowering day 13

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Repowering Project Day 11

Fort Pierce

We made it a short day today. A lazy Sunday. We didn’t leave for the boat yard before 0900 and we left at 1530. Here are our accomplishments.
  • I ground smooth the cured Marine Tex around the shaft log. Then I tightened down the nuts on the log from the outside, and made fast the stuffing box to the inside of the shaft log. That completes the mechanical installation.
  • Libby and I completed the installation of the new copper foil grounding plane for the SSB radio. The penultimate step was to attach the foil to the grounding post on the automatic antenna tuner box. To do that required working on one’s back on the floor of the starboard lazarette compartment. That space is extremely tight. I couldn’t do it because it required focusing my eyes on the post from less than two inches away. I can’t focus on anything that close. At least that was my excuse to ask Libby to do it for me. As always, she said sure. It was a tough job and it took most of an hour.
  • The new Beta engine panel with gauges, alarms and the ignition key is taller and narrower than the old Perkins panel we removed. I used the grinder to cut the hole in the cockpit bulkhead taller. I’ll have to find a piece of black plastic or plexiglass to extend the width of the panel to make it cover the hole.
  • Electrical connection of the Beta Engine amounted to plugging in the panel. Except for the hot and ground leads to the starter motor, all the 25 or so wires are preconnected to a single plug and socket. Cool. Except for the problem of battery voltage (more on that tomorrow) the electrical installation is complete.
  • There were some sharp screw ends on the cabin bulkead that have been cutting our forearms every time we reached into the engine compartment from the cabin for the past two years. I used the grinder to cut them off and grind the ends smooth.
  • Next job was to hook up the exhaust system. In a marine water box muffler system, the heated salt water exiting from the heat exchanger is injected into the exhaust gasses. Our old muffler was mounted higher than the exhaust manifold of the engine. To prevent the water from running downhill back to the engine, there was a big vertical U section of pipe between the engine and the muffler. Bud recommended remounting the muffler below the level of the exhaust so that no U pipe would be needed.
  • The pieces of exhaust hose that I have would be six inches too short with the muffler in the new position. I set out to scavange a suitable piece of pipe from the junk heaps in the boat yard. I searched the whole yard, and found lots of interesting junk but no pipe of the right size. However I did find a length of 1.5 inch exhaust hose that could be used an an inside splice to the two sections of 2.0 inch pipe that I needed to join. That will do the job. I cut the hose to the right length with the grinder.
  • I dismounted the muffler. It’s hold down brackets were severly rusted. Therefore I used the grinder to grind them down to bare metal and sprayed them with Corrosion Block. (Isn’t it interesting that when one holds a grinder in one’s hand that everything in sight seems to need grinding.) Yesterday, the man at the next boat opened a tube of 3M 5200 Marine Adhesive. He used only a dab and asked if we could use any of the rest. It hardens in 48 hours after first opening. I took the man’s 5200 and bonded the muffler brackets to the side of the hull way down low by the propeller shaft. When that cures, I’ll finish the exhaust system.
  • Now we are on a mission to Home Depot to buy a 2.5 inch hole saw. That will be our last task for today. Tsk tsk, how lazy we were.

The picture shows Tarwathie’s stern where a lot of the action happened. From left to right you can see:

  1. The butt end of the propeller shaft.
  2. The bronze hub of the Max Prop
  3. The shaft (It is about 2 inches too short to put on a zinc collar like I used to have. The zinc on the end of the prop will have to be my only zinc.)
  4. The bronze cutlass bearing surrounding the shaft
  5. The shaft log flange surrounding the cutlass bearing
  6. The Marine Tex putty cementing in the shaft log.
Below is what it looked like when we first hauled it out of the water.

Repowering day 12

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Repowering Project Day 10

Fort Pierce

One last time we started first thing in the morning. Libby stayed behind and Bud and I went to the boat. Our task for the day was to recheck the shaft alignment and finish the shaft installation. Here’s the steps.
  • Grind down the fiberglass in the stern to make a flat surface for the shaft log flange.
  • Temporarily attach the shaft coupler to the engine. The end of the shaft extends through the four inch open hole in the stern. By eye one can see if the shaft is centered in the larger hole.
  • Use the nuts on the engine mounts to adjust engine tilt until the shaft is vertically centered in the hole.
  • Use the shaft itself to move the engine on the mounts until it is centered left and right.
  • Slide the shaft log down the shaft into the hole to verify the centering. It slid in and out with no resistance -- perfect alignment.
  • Now tighten down all the nuts on the engine mounts and on the bolts that fasten the mounts to the boat.
  • Remove the shaft and install the stuffing box and the “motor saver” onto the the shaft. Bolt the motor saver bolts firmly onto the shaft and onto the transmission.
  • Go outside and mix up a batch of Marine Tex marine epoxy putty. The putty goes on the shaft log tube and flange.

  • Caulk the washers on the brass bolts and nuts that will fasten the shaft log. Then bold the shaft log in place.
  • Use the remaining marine putty to build up mass around the outside of the shaft log. When complete the log should be invisible and be completely molded into the hull.

  • Wash your hands, clean up, and pat yourself on the back. The major part of The Repowering Project is now complete. We were done around 10:00, just before a cold front passed that dropped the temperature 15 degrees in two minutes.
When we were done, I thanked Bud profusely and drove him to Vero Beach. We met Richard from Viking Rose there. Bud was going to look over Richard’s boat and then Richard will drive him down to the airport at West Palm Beach for his flight home.

The rest of the day I took as a day of rest. Libby and I took a long barefoot walk on the beach. That’s excellent R&R.

I’ll write more about my remaining projects tomorrow, but we’re definitely on the down side. Thanks to Bud, all the worrisome parts of the project are done. As a matter of fact, now having been through it once, I’m available to assist any other Westsail owners who want to repower and who can’t get Bud Taplin to do it for them.

Repowering day 11

The Repowering Project Day 9

Fort Pierce

Phew. Today (Friday) has, been a long, been a long, been a long day.

We started first thing in the morning. This is our last day of Bud’s help and all day long obstacles and emergencies popped up. I had to slap them down as fast as they arose. It made me feel like a project manager again working on the Virtual Bidding Project at NYISO, when I had to slap down obstacles so fast that I felt like tennis practice.

  • We stopped at Inlet Hardware, the only real hardware store within miles. We needed 2.5 inch 3/8 stainless bolts. Home Depot doesn’t carry stainless bolts. Inlet hardware was a tiny store but luckily they had the bolts we needed. We needed 7 of them and they had exactly 7 left in stock.
  • Bud said that we would be ready to lift the motor in within an hour, so I checked with the boat yard. The fork lift parts were in but not installed. It would not be until afternoon that we could lift the motor. Oh no! If we lose half a day we can’t finish.

  • We did what we could. We knocked out the fiberglass to expose the shaft log and pulled the log out.

  • We burnished the stuffing box fittings and I repacked it with new flax and stuffing box lube. (Cruisers be aware. You need stuffing box packing on hand.)

  • The drill that we borrowed from the boat yard yesterday disappeared overnight so we couldn’t borrow it today. Bud and I hopped in the car and drove to Wal Mart to buy an electric drill, and a grinder, and a grinding wheel, and a grease gun and grease. We had to also stop at Home Depot before finding all the things we need. It bothers my tightwad nature to buy power tools for one-time use. However, there is no place to store such tools on Tarwathie, so keeping them is out of the question. The shopping trip took about 90 minutes.
  • Bud finished drilling and bolting down the aluminum adapter plates for the motor mounts.
  • We used the grinder to grind down and smooth the area around the shaft log in the stern. This makes room for new epoxy to mold in the shaft log after installation is complete.

  • We removed the motor mount brackets from the rear of the engine and installed to Westsail 32 custom brackets that Beta supplied with the motor. One of the brackets didn’t fit right. Either the bracket design or the motor design had changed. We used the grinder to cut out a 3/4 by 3/4 inch notch in the bracket to make it fit. That cost us a half hour.

    Bud called Beta Marine and gave them a few choice words. He has several other Betas in the pipeline for Westsail installations. Beta promised to mount the brackets in the factory and to make any modifications necessary so that Bud wouldn’t have to do that in the field.
  • After lunch we really were ready to lift the motor in. It took us 3 hours to be ready not 1 hour. I checked on the fork lift status and Horary! it was fixed just that minute. Within 5 minutes the driver brought over the lift and we started the lift. So as it turned out, the broken fork lift truck didn’t really cause us much actual delay.

  • The process of lifting in the new engine was similar to removing the old one. Nothing was exactly straight forward. It took three of us (me, Bud and a boat yard worker) about 30 minutes of fooling around, pushing, pulling, twisting, and coaxing the heavy thing with a come along to get it in place. Along the way learned that come along in Spanish sounds like come along in English.

  • At this point the motor was sitting on the mounts but the mounts were not fastened to the underlying adapter plates.

  • The next step was to align the motor and shaft. This is where Bud’s special knowledge came in . We temporarily bolted the shaft to the motor using the shaft coupler. That made the shaft a very long extension pointer. We maneuvered the motor to center the shaft through the open shaft log hole in the stern. The shaft is one inch in diameter while the shaft log hole is four inches in diameter, so there is room to maneuver. We wiggled left and right, and we adjusted the nuts on the forward motor mounts to adjust tilt until the shaft passed through the center of the hole. We also had to add half inch aluminum shims under the forward mounts. To double check, we got down on the ground and pushed the shaft log on to verify that it indeed slipped easily around the shaft and into the hole. When that was done we could say that the motor and shaft were in perfect alignment.

    Ah so. I had been wondering how that was accomplished. Now I know.

  • With the alignment possible we marked the places to drill holes for the motor mount bolts with a magic marker. Then we lifted the engine again. This time, the fork lift was gone but we rigged a sling over the boom and used a come along to do the lifting. It worked fine.

  • With the motor dangling in mid air, we needed to drill and tap two holes for each motor mount. That work was slow and hard. Bud did the first two. It took a lot of muscle to turn the tap in those big 3/8 inch holes in the aluminum place. Bud got tired out so I said I’d do the rest myself. Bud said, “OK but be very very careful to not break the tap.”

  • You guessed it. I drilled and tapped three more holes fine but on the fourth the tap snapped in half, leaving the tip in the hole. Oh what a klutz I am. I felt terrible. Worse, I was fearing that my screw up would prevent us from finishing the job. It was nearly 17:00 already.

  • The first remedy was to obtain a replacement tap. I called Inlet Hardware. They said, “Yes we have one but we close in three minutes.” I was much more than three minutes away. I jumped in the car and drove as fast as possible to the nearest NAPA auto parts store. When I got there and told them I needed a tap, they said no problem. Unfortunately, it turned out that they had every possible size of tap except the one I needed. I jumped back in the car in search of another store. I found an Advanced Auto Parts store and asked them if they had a tap. At first the guy didn’t understand. He though I needed a tool to remove a stubborn bolt. After much talk and searching I found a whole tap and die set of tools on the shelf. I bought the whole set. There was no more time to screw around.

  • Back at the boat, Bud finished drilling and tapping the last holes. He wouldn’t trust me to do it any more. Just about sunset, we lowered the engine onto the mounts and bolted it down. THE HARDEST PARTS OF THE ENGINE SWAP ARE NOW COMPLETED!

  • That leaves only a little work for tomorrow. We have to remount the shaft on to the engine, this time including the “motor saver” between the couplings. The motor saver is a plastic device designed to act like a shear pin. If we wrap a lobster pot line around the propeller when at high RPMs, the motor saver will give way instead of over tourqing the engine crankshaft. That way is saves the motor from being ruined. Then we recheck the alignment one more time, tighten down the mounting nuts, bolt in the shaft log, put new epoxy around the shaft log and we’ll be done.

Bud is a great guy. He originally had plans to fly home today. Then he was going to leave Saturday morning. Now he’ll stay to work with me tomorrow morning and try to catch a late afternoon flight home tomorrow evening. In the meantime, he is going to visit Viking Rose, a Westsail 42 in Vero Beach to look as some things for Dick and Penny. They’ll then drive Bud back to the airport.

Remaining for me to do after Bud leaves is to hook up the engine. Fuel lines, water lines, electrical, and exhaust all have to be fitted and installed. I think I can do these things, but I also think that we’ll be busy for another week here up on the hard.

Ironically, last week the boat yard was a stickler for the rules. Nobody from outside could help me or even climb up the ladder on the boat. Only the yard workers or approved local contractors could help. I agreed then on the understanding that the yard could supply the needed workers on Thursday and Friday this week. Surprise, now on Thursday and Friday all the workers were busy and not available. On the other hand, nobody seemed to notice that Bud and I were doing the work without their help. I feel sorry for Bud, he is really too old for doing such strenuous stuff, but he is a real trooper and the job got done.

Dick and Bud At The End of the Job

Repowering day 10

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Repowering Project Day 8

Fort Pierce

Another day with a lot accomplished but a lot left to do.

I picked up Bud Taplin at the West Palm Beach Airport around 10:30. We returned to Fort Pierce just in time for lunch. By 13:15 we were back in the boat yard ready to work. Bud is a lot of fun. He has good stories to tell. He just returned from a cruise from Chili to Argentina through the Straights of Magellan.

Then we got some bad news. Despite the fact that I agreed with the boat yard a week ago to have helpers available today and tomorrow, all their guys were busy. More bad news, the fork lift truck that lifted out our old engine was broken down and waiting for parts.

Still there were things to do. Bud measured for the motor mounts. Together we removed the shaft log and the cutlass bearing and the old motor mounts.

The boatyard shop guys punched out the old cutlass bearing and put in the new one. They also let us borrow tools and they cut an aluminum adapter plate for us with their hack saw.

I fired up our Honda generator to power the electric drill, but it wouldn't run. Murphy's law struck, the on/off switch lever had become decoupled from the motor. I'll have to take the generator apart and re-attach it. In the meantime I got out my 200 foot extension cord and I managed to find a plug outlet less than 200 feet away.

By the end of the day we were nearly finished installing the new motor mounts. Bud said that wasn't too far off target for the first half-day's work. The stainless bolts that Bud brought with him have shoulders a little too long. We'll have to find a real hardware store (not Home Depot) tomorrow to find the right ones.

If they get the fork lift working tomorrow, we have a shot at being on schedule by tomorrow night. That means getting the engine in, bolted down, the new shaft in, and the engine and shaft aligned. Then Bud leaves. The remaining work, hooking up electric, fuel, coolant and exhaust is for me to do next week.

Repowering day 9