Tuesday, 28 August 2012

...almost there...

...absolutely knackered, but got loads done and to all intents and purpose my stuff is done and she's good to go back in....

...first - the mast foot is fixed...  my thanks to C&B Marine [clicky]at Chichester Marina - Chris is one of natures gentlemen and did an amazing job on the mast foot.... looked like new. Best of all only £45...  not bad given the time/materials required, and way cheaper than a new one - even if I could find one! Very happy, and recommend him/them completely if you need any welding or metal fabrication of any kind...

From this..


To this:



Not bad, eh?

Drilled out the mast foot for four rivets (monel [clicky] as recommended & 5mm or 3/16th) - two of the rivets are fitted, but I only have a hand riveter and it was bl**dy difficult to close them up due to the harder metal than aluminium.... for anyone coming after me, it's just about do-able with a hand type, but only just - you'd be better off with a lazy-tongs/concertina type gun. At the moment my plan is to put the mast up and put the last two in using some lazy tongs if I can find some to borrow...

Next - the hole is now filled....

From this:


...sorry for the picture quality - duff camera setting.

To this:


Superb job...  I got this done through the chandlery in Emsworth Marina [click here], they have a guy who does all the glass fibre repair work - he's been doing it for years, and it shows..  I had the good fortune to be there when he did this....



So - from memory (and I was also making tea for some of it!), he:
  1. ground out both sides (he did the inside by hand "so I didn't have too much dust to clear up"!) 
  2. then sealed the inside with some parcel tape, 
  3. filled from the outside with a thick goop of resin (he works in polyester by the way - not epoxy) before putting some parcel tape over that from the outside to keep it in place...  
  4. then applied the heat gun to set the mix quicker...
  5. After that he applied some sheets of CSM on the inside, and then 
  6. moved outside to sand the hole down and fill with about two or three layers more of that goopy resin this time with chopped strand mat cut up into it to make it strong....  
  7. applied the heat gun again, another sand down, and he then 
  8. applied a filler and sanded that down
...job done for that day - not a word of a lie he did the lot in about an hour, amazing to watch....  
He'll come back and do the gel coat this week - he reckons he can match it exactly, I've told him it looks good enough already!

A nice to have while I had the time was some prettify'ing in the cabin - like most boats of this age my headlining was drooping, especially at the back near the radio/companionway where I'd also lost the sheet that used to hang down behind the radio covering the wall...

When this stuff comes off there's loads of old decayed foam and glue left behind so while I had the time I whipped off the ceiling panels, and re-stapled (£5 hand stapler from B&Q is my wonder tool of the year) the surviving foam to take the sag and wrinkles out - just stretch and staple - I also whipped off the radio (steady on...) and cleaned up and and then painted the wall behind.... all screwed back and it now looks much tidier and I was left thinking why the hell I hadn't done it years ago, as 30 minutes work made a huge difference to how the cabin looked...  much cleaner/neater.


Last of all I fitted and wired in a new masthead light - as per the previous post I went with a straight forward anchor light as I already have nav lights at deck level - happily I was able to re-use existing drilled holes in the (home made stainless steel) mast head fitting, and I re-used the existing wiring.... having thought long and hard, I also decided to just go with windex rather than an aerial/windex combo...  there'll be time for a new aerial another time....

Proper job..  all screws/nuts/bolts stainless.....  despite appearances the mast is still down at the moment, just a spot of photo twiddling....


Just need to get that gel coat done and I can't start thinking about launch dates....

I also need to decide on my strategy as while I'm fairly certain I've fixed the source of my leak there's still a certain element of doubt...  I think my plan at the moment is to leave the mast down, launch before a good high tide, moor up to the club pontoon for an hour or so and monitor for leakages, and depending on the results of that I can then bring her out again, or take her under the bridge and back to the mooring...

Monday, 20 August 2012

...making progress...

...or two steps forward and one step back... 

...I've sourced someone who can re-build the mast foot and have delivered it to them - he's called and said it will be £40'ish which is cheaper than a new one. He also reckons it'll be ready by tomorrow/Wednesday (22nd)....

...just spoken to the Chandlery and they're hoping to get the glass fibre'ing done this week as well - I'm dropping off keys tomorrow morning so will know more then...

...and one step back?  Well when I dropped the mast, it looks like the mast head light finally gave up the ghost and dispatched the top half of itself to the depths (that's everything in the picture from the black collar half way up to the top - so also the red/green bit).

It was very old, the lens's were brittle/crazed, and there was a crack in the bottom held together with amalgamating tape - it owed me nothing so I'll replace it while the mast is down with a plain straight forward anchor light...  my boat has separate navigation lights so it was always a little over the top....

Unfortunately the windex lived on top of the light, so that went as well...  and again - I was having problems with that this year as well so maybe someone was giving me a hint...  I'll replace it, but I'm in two minds at the moment whether to just get a windex on it's own, or get the VHF aerial/windex combination and kill two birds with one stone...

I'll sleep on it...

Three day weekend this weekend in the UK - I'm going to use some of the time to fit the light/windex, and some of the time to do some fettling in the cabin. I feel the need to take down one of the ceiling panels and re-fix the foam lining....while it's down I'll also clean and prep the surface behind the VHF for some paint...

Thursday, 16 August 2012

...find the leak...

..so with Pap ashore I could now devote some time to finding the cause of that leak...

..first things first though and a visual check of the whole hull, the good news is that she doesn't appear to be holed..  no holes/cracks or abrasions to be seen .. (I can't be certain until she's back in the water though... )

Next I then checked the rudder stock as I remember one of the other guys in the owners group telling us that he's had problems with his being cracked, and the stern locker filling... on Pap the stern locker has a couple of drain holes coming through to the main bilge/cabin so the water could have come from there..  I jacked up the front of the boat, emptied the stern locker of accumulated crap (how many 'useful' pieces of rope can you keep??!), threw in four buckets of water and retired underneath the boat to look for drips.. and nothing....tick...

...while I'd been on holiday I had a bit of a eureka moment and decided to test my theory - I'd noticed when I was pressure washing her after the recovery, that there had been a tide line on the port side deck which started me thinking about the sink outlet skin fitting...  I taped over the exit on the outside of the hull, filled the sink with water, and then shone the torch underneath, and saw this..



..bit clearer in this one...



...yup water...  looks like I found my cuplrit....  seemed to be leaking from the join between the two fittings rather than the actual hose...  got the jubilee off, went to pull off the pipe, and the entire inner fitting just snapped off... plastic fatigue...

Next, just to be sure I then dropped the nose down and let the water from the stern locker drain into the main boat, and added three or four more buckets full - still no leaks.....  tick...

Last of all I then checked the skin fittings for the toilet (two of them); these are gated valves, but I've never used them in all the time I've had the boat - if I had my choice I'd get the valves removed and glassed over, take out the old toilet, and fit a chemical loo..  either way they look good - firmly seated, hoses look fine...

...so - new fitting required for the sink, or fill it. Now I can never see the point in making holes in a boat - there's no need unless you have an inboard engine, and I see even less need for something as flippant as a sink drain, so I'm going to fill it - spoke with a friend who runs a local chandlery and he says it's a cheap fix, and is exactly what he'd do - I'll make arrangements soonest, and depending on how cheap it is I may even do the toilet entries as well....  could do it myself, but for piece of mind I'll get the professionals in...

...next I turned to the mast - less problems than I thought - mast is fine - I'll drill the old one's out...


Mast foot not so good - this is original (so 40 years of abuse and aluminium corrosion) - as I see it I have two choices - replace it (Z Spars might be worth trying), or find an Aluminium fabricator and get it repaired....  going to have a go at the latter first....


Onwards and upwards...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

..he's back...

...just back from a few weeks in the sun, certainly put the British "summer" in contrast - sunny every day, 35+C temperatures (one day we had a 45...!) but these things never last, and all too soon it was over and we return to grey sky's and rain...  but at least we get a curry...

The trip was not without it's own challenges however....  on the last morning before we went I took the opportunity to pop out to Pap for breakfast, just to make sure all was secure before I disappeared for two weeks..  imagine my shock to find that she was significantly lower in the water than she should be... 

Jumped on board, slipped back the hatch and found about 3 or 4 inches of water in her... when I'm due to be packing for holiday, I'm faced with a sinking boat....

Now this year we've had issues with some boats being holed at their moorings as a result of having sat awkwardly on exposed ground tackle (the weather has been so stormy it's possible the moorings are being scoured by tide/wind exposing the sinkers, and ground chain more than they normally would) so my first concern was that she'd been holed..

Whacked the electric bilge on and started sucking water back to where it should be (good news - battery was not flooded) then dug all the seat boards up to see if I could see where it was coming from... nothing.... no clues....

Checked the skin fittings for the toilet - no leaks...

I have no other skin fittings below the water line so I'm forced to the assumption that the hull is leaking from somewhere I couldn't see, I have two hours of tide left, and I'm going on holiday in 12 hours... oh, and I haven't packed....

No good - she was going to have to come out.. no way I could go on holiday for two weeks and leave her on the mooring...

A quick call round (early on a Sunday morning!) and I managed to rustle up some tractor/lift support from the club (it is simply not possible to say how grateful I was) but being mid-season I didn't have the A frame/mast crutch on board, I'm on my own, and there was no time to get home to get it, and  I needed the mast down to get under the bridge to the club slip .. oh well, needs must and no choice, so I rigged the new mast head halyard to the main sheet, slipped the split pin under the furler, and started to drop the mast... true enough it all went to rat sh*t, mast veered to the side, couldn't get it back in time, and I popped the (new) mast foot...

Having recovered the mast, I tied it all down, and within 30 minutes I was ashore in the pen on the trailer...  went home to get mast crutch and pressure washer, and having returned I did a quick tidy up, pressure washed the hull, and went home to pack and go on holiday....  more in the next post...