Friday, September 24, 2010

September 24, 2010

We were rushed off the railway three weeks ahead of schedule... so another job could go up.

After 3 weeks of working till our pants fell off sunrise to sunset and beyond... we made it happen.

Nevertheless, we have reworked the steering gear to go from chain and cable to hydraulic. This entailed removing the existing rudder table and having a thousand dollars worth of machine work done to the rudder shafts to straighten the blades and cut a straight section long enough to install an upper bearing and tiller arm. Bircher Machine Incorporated did the machine work on the shafts, Jim is a great fellow to work with and made it possible for us to get back in the water in time by coming in over the weekend.

We took everything out down to the hulls planks, and started fresh with marine plywood laminated together for rudder blocks. Inside this, we installed a fiberglass tube. Inside the fiberglass tube, we bedded down the existing 3 1/2 inch rudder tubes and packing gland back filling it with epoxy and cotton fiber, with 3M 5200 around the top flange.

With that done, it is our hope that no water will be able to get into the planking or plywood sheath around her hull.

Next up we moved the stern thruster from the port side to the starboard side to get it as low in the water as possible. We had to cut one of the flanges down so that it would not hang below the boat.

Next we installed the brackets for the swim platform.

Photo's of this saga are missing some stages, as we didn't have a chance to slow down for much.
We put the rudders in, drilled the shaft collars and were pushed overboard within minutes... So no rudder shots.

Next week we will be plumbing the hydraulic steering system, installing the tillers and tie bar... and generally tying up loose ends that need attention from speeding along the last few weeks.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 5th 2010

Since my last posting we have made some substantial progress.

The starboard fuel tank started weeping diesel, so we cut a hole in the deck large enough to slide both of the 5 ft x 5 ft x 3ft tanks out on deck. Each tank has around 540 gallons capacity. These two steel tanks are being replaced by a pair of coast guard approved aluminum tanks made by RDS down in Florida.

While the tanks are out, we removed the rear bulkhead of the engine room that had been patched in places, and are replacing it.

We removed both generators from her engine room, and purchased a Caterpillar C15 with a sound enclosure.

Moving outside, we finished removing the bulwarks on her bow. We pulled up the exterior plywood on her foredeck and put down a layer of half inch marine grade plywood bedded in epoxy. It was a repeat of the rear deck and side decks... pull it up, scrape tar and grind to bare wood. Right now we are working on the new toe rail that will widen towards the stem and gain height as it runs forward, trying to recapture some of her original lines.

While we have been working on the toe rail, it has come to our attention that the rub rails aren't straight... nor the same profile throughout their run. We'll be correcting that, so your first impression walking down the dock is that of a yacht.

The winch head and anchor chute have been removed, as while they are stainless... they were not a high enough grade to take and hold a mirror finish without rust spots reappearing. The owner wanted an all chain rode, so we tracked down two electric anchor windlasses. Anchorlift Aquarius, for those wanting a sneak peek... Two shots of 300 foot G14 3/8ths acco anchor chain are in her chain locker, with crosby alloy shackles. She had originally 3/8ths BBB, but the G14 offers substantially higher working loads.

The chain brought her bow down a bit. The bulwarks being removed took it back up a bit. Setting nearly 2 tons of steel tanks on her stern deck brought the bow up a bit... All these changes in short succession are the primary reason we have gone back to mechanical work and put the interior on hold. If the boat isn't trimmed out (meaning loaded with what she will carry normally...) the counter tops and beds will run at a different slope once she is loaded.

We made the choice to haul out for hurricane Earl, and are back out on the railway until mid October.

We'll be dropping the rudders, and having some machine work done on the rudder shafts to convert to hydraulic steering. The original chain and cable still functions, but it has enough questionable pieces that we want a fresh start.

While we are out, I will be moving the stern thruster further down. When I put it in after building her new transom, I goofed and put it much to high, trying to avoid cutting into her stern timber. They make snorkels to help with shallow installations, but I'd rather have it as low as it can go before adding something that makes it quite difficult to change props and replace zincs.

Speaking of thrusters, we've moved away from hydraulics on board and have on order electric heads to replace the hydraulics on the thrusters. When we went electric on the windlasses, it made sense to go electric for the rest.

Pictures of all that has been going on... soon.