What do you on your boat in the winter?

What do you on your boat in the winter?

January 31st, 2010  |  by Marilyn  |  Published in Maintenance, Repairs, Ship's Log

People are starting to ask what’s happening with the boat, so I figured I better make a new post.

Have we gone sailing? – no. We did take her out one time on a windless (and very cold – the dock lines were frozen stiff) day to give the engine some exercise. I guess diesels work better if you use them, so they’re a bit like a dog that you have to take out for exercise. It also gave us a chance to practice maneuvering while under power, which is very important for being able to dock properly. It was important that I did well that day at the helm while approaching the dock, as Van had to jump from an icy deck onto a slick dock. All went well, though he had a hard time getting traction after he was on the dock while trying to tug the boat into final position. It was sorta funny to watch.

Do we spend time on Rainshadow? Yes, loads. We go down to the boat probably 5 times a week. When we first got her home, we spent a lot of time on her with big eyes, looking around, saying ‘I cannot believe we bought this boat!?!?’ We’re over that stage now, pretty much at least, and she’s starting to feel like ours.

So what do we do on the boat? We spent a lot of time exploring her nooks and crannies to find the goodies that the previous owner left aboard. I found some excess fabric from the main cabin re-upholster project from a few years ago – its very nice fabric called Ultra Suede. I’m going to use it to recover the seat in the aft cabin. I also found the leftover home decor fabric that was used for the curtains, and there is enough to recover the aft cabin quarter berth cushion. So that’s another sewing project waiting for attention. Van smiled at the 12v drill, and all sorts of other mechanical goodies and spare parts that we found.

We’ve also been fixing leaks (rain water, not seawater). Ack! They are making a mess of the nice varnish job. If you are Sid, the former owner, you’ll want to know where they were. So here’s the list: the electrical feedthroughs at the mizzen mast – the radar cable was dripping the worst and that’s why it was so wet around the rudder post area. Another is the monitor wind vane mounting block on the port side, particularly the bolt that never had a nut because it comes through the deck too close to the stringer. That’s why the varnish under the quarter berth was getting so wet, as this is a pretty serious leak. The water appears to be coming under the block, not down the bolt, so its a bit nasty to fix. We’ve only caulked around the block for now, but it will need to be remounted. And finally (we hope), the main salon hatch was leaking. We found the spare 9/16″ hatch gasket, bought the missing 2 feet at a whopping $5/ft, and then discovered that 9/16″ seems too large for that hatch. I had to go on deck and sit on the hatch to get it to close enough that Van could dog it down. Maybe it will squish enough to work better later, or maybe Van will keep getting a nice view of my bottom through the hatch glass each time we need to close the hatch again…. If we need to buy more, I’m getting it from Canal Rubber for a song (<$1/ft). Unfortunately I found this place after we had purchased the official pricey stuff with the worthless adhesive.

We also did nice work on the v-berth. Such nice work that it deserves its own posting. I’ll get to that as soon as I can, but a vacation in Hawaii is staring us in the face so blogging is not high on my list now.

And the big project at the moment is the black water holding tank. We’ve finally settled on putting it in the head itself, above the vanity. Its a clever place to do it, as we’ll have a gravity flow outlet when we can dump overboard rather than having to use a pump. Nor will we have to sleep on top a tank of poo, as we would if we had put it in the traditional place under the v-berth. So, we have a plan, the parts are on order, and after the Hawaii adventure, we’ll stuff in the tank and struggle with the hoses. Once that project is done, it gets its own page with pictures too.

But we’ve just decided that before we install the holding tank, which will hinder access to some chain plate bolts for one shroud, we need to pull the chain plate. Ugh. It was a little rusty, so that’s a good candidate for the anaerobic crevice corrosion that can result in the death of the chain plate, which may lead to dismasting. At the Seattle Boat Show this weekend, we heard Brion Toss, a rock star amongst riggers, say that 30% of dismastings are caused by failed chain plates, so if the boat is more than 20 years old (which Rainshadow is at a ripe age of 35) and its spent any time at all in warm climates (which she did back in the 80’s during Sid and Stephanie’s 3 year South Pacific adventure), then you MUST pull the chainplates to inspect them or face the consequences. So, we will BEFORE the holding tank blocks the access. But its one more delay in the whole process. ho hum

OH – and we also studied and got our HAM radio licenses so we can use the SSB radio. Van passed the General, so he can use all bands on the radio. He had planned to get the General (2nd level license) all along, and I was just going to get the Technician license (the 1st level one). We only realized a few hours before the exam that a Technician license would not be sufficient for almost all the bands available on the radio. I passed the Technician exam as I studied for it, but I failed the General when I tried to just wing it. That means I need to study up, pay another $15 and try again. Or, just use Van’s call sign, which is OK as long as he’s on the boat since I did pass Technician. Our call signs are:
Cap’n Van: KF7HEB
Favorite Mate Marilyn: KF7HEA

So we have been very busy busy busy on the boat. And enjoying it very much. We cannot wait for warmer, appropriately windy weather so we can do our first overnight cruise.

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