Rambling 2017 update

Two three ENTIRE sailing seasons have passed since I last made an entry. That is not good blogging. And most of those memories are probably lost forever, sadly. But I will try and recap a little.

The fuel tank project was completed. I had a couple inches lopped off the bottom and it was re-welded. The boat smells much sweeter now.

The cabin table was removed. There was no easy way to cleanly remove it without pulling the mast, so I just took a multi-tool and cut it out. The interior feels much more spacious. I occasionally miss the utility of having the table; but mostly I am happy with how much easier it is to move around below. I think I may eventually add a Lugun Table or something similar.

Madre sewing up the new cushion covers

Madre sewing up the new cushion covers

New Starboard double cushion

New Starboard double cushion

I made the Starboard settee into a permanent double berth. Once I permanently screwed down the new extension (somewhat larger than than the pull out extension that came with the boat), I was able to add a couple drawers under it. Extra stowage is always desirable. The new bunk also got brand new five inch foam and upholstery (all cut and stitched at home) which is wonderfully comfortable to sleep on. Since it is permanently a bunk, now, I removed the folding seat back and trimmed the little ledge flush with the cabinet in order to make sleep against the hull a little less claustrophobic.

This is the forward locker area. You can see the chain up forward of the temporary plywood wall, and you can see the trial fit of the new floor. This will make the locker much larger, although the sloping hull sides will need some thought as to the best way to handle the space. The hose on the right is the vent from the air head going up to the deck anchor locker.

I am slowly putting together the pieces to make the forward locker (head) quite a bit larger. Since I went composting there is no longer a holding tank up forward, and I see little reason I can’t push the little removable wall forward closer to the anchor locker. This should be a great upgrade when I eventually get it done.

I installed a television. Yeah, I know. But I spend a fair amount of time just lounging aboard at dock at all times of the year. Sometimes it is just nice to sit back and watch a movie. And, frankly, small LCD TVs are so cheap now-a-days, that it really didn’t cost that much. Although I did install a new AC outlet for neatness sake.

Mama duck sitting on her eggs

Mama duck sitting on her eggs. For pretty much the entire summer.

I lost almost an entire sailing season (2016) to a duck who had moved aboard to raise little ducklings. Mama duck laid her eggs under the dodger and just sat on them. For months. One day one little chick hatched. No idea what happened to it as mama kept sitting on the rest of the eggs. Eventually, after waiting more than twice as long as the typical month or so for eggs to hatch, I had to evict her. Actually, I think she sat on those eggs for about three months. She was quite insistent and I didn’t want to bother her, hoping that she’d give up on her own. She didn’t.

Getting ready to take off on a weekend sail this past season, we had cast off the lines, and I pushed the throttle forward to be horribly surprised when the boat surged backwards into the dock. The engine control had pretty much given up the ghost. I ordered a new one, plus two new control cables (throttle and shifter) as I figured they were getting long in the tooth as well and got it installed. It works great; but the throttle control just doesn’t feel as sturdy. I’m not sure if I will get the same thirty five years out of the new one that I got out of the old. Ah, well. Progress.

I think I finally figured how to quickly and cleanly assemble and launch the Porta-bote. The key is to use a halyard to raise the bow of the Porta-bote while assembling in order to not have pressure on the bottom. It works much better. Also, once the middle seat is in, that same halyard can be tied around that seat and used to lift the boat. Then pushing it over the side is not a problem. Once the Porta-bote is in the water, climb in and install the bow and stern seats.

This year I sailed a bunch. I started in April, and had my last sail I think December 2nd or 3rd. I just finally winterized the motor yesterday while the snow was coming down.

This winter I hope to get some work done on the Port settee. I would like to extend it by a little, and install new foam cushions. I hope to also keep working on the forward locker. And if I’m really productive, I have some thoughts regarding rebuilding the galley and extending the port quarter berth aft a bit.

Whew…OK that was a bunch of stuff. And it is really only what came to mind as I was furiously typing at my dining room table. I’m certain there is much, much more that I missed. I am going to try to get some photos here and there to try to colorize this madness of a post, and I’m going to try hard to get back into blogging. I’ve been feeling the need to write, of late, so perhaps I can get myself back into the habit.

P.S.

Oh, while it is not directly related to the boat, I can’t believe I almost forgot to report the biggest personal news story of the past three years…We got married! Last July. I never thought I’d make that step again; but sometimes things just seem to come together.

Removing Seeker’s Diesel Tank

The aluminum tank, which sits happily deep in the bilge with all the sloshing bilge water, is a common problem on Bayfields. Pinhole leaks eventually appear allowing seepage of fuel into the bilge. It’s probably more of a problem with salt water boats; but after better than three decades, I guess it is fair that even fresh-ish water boats (the Upper Chesapeake) will start to have trouble. Seeker is not immune, and since I’ve owned her there has been an ever so slight amount of diesel making its’ way out of the tank. I’ve been diligent about sopping it up out of the bilge water with oil absorbing pads; but the smell permeates everything. It’s time to get the tank fixed.

DieselTankRemoval1

The fuel tank in the bilge. At this point I’ve removed the hoses from the tank and cut off the forward retaining piece of fiberglass.

I used my little Black and Decker oscillating Multi-Tool to cut the retaining piece of fiberglass off the front of the tank. It was the easiest part to cut so was where I started. In retrospect I suspect I may have been able to leave that installed and just cut off the fiberglass “wings” on the side of the tank.

There was fiberglass over the top of the tank as well which was easily removed but seemed to do little to free the tank. I cut off the side pieces with a reciprocating saw. I cut very carefully as I was more than a little nervous that I’d cut into the keel, or perhaps the tank itself. It turns out there was plenty of room next to the tank, though, and this job went quickly. It didn’t take much coaxing to get the tank out at this point.

DieselTankRemoval3The tank looks OK; but I wasn’t expecting a huge gash. I will have it pressure tested and repaired this winter.

While I’m at it I will probably also have a fuel sender installed. I’m not a fan of opening up the bilge so that I can drop a dip stick in to check the level. It’s not that it is a terribly complicated process. It is just that I really don’t like to introduce a diesel saturated wooden dowel and a wipe down rag into the cabin. I really, really don’t like the smell of diesel fuel. Not to mention that the fumes give me a headache.

The dirty bilge before I set to work with some magic orange cleaner and a toilet bowl brush to clean it up. I've also removed all the lines (fill, feed, and return...the vent is going to be tougher). They will be replaced with brand new lines when I get the tank reinstalled.

The dirty bilge before I set to work with some magic orange cleaner and a toilet bowl brush to clean it up. I’ve also removed all the lines (fill, feed, and return and vent). They will be replaced with brand new lines when I get the tank reinstalled.

For the first time in decades the bilge is fully accessible. After several scrubbings it is now as clean as it has probably ever been. It still smells a little foul; but I’m hoping that airing it out will eventually correct this. I’ll probably still end up scrubbing it out a few more times. I will have a sweet smelling boat.

Now, all I have to do is find someone who can fix the tank.