Video! Weekend Boat Work edit

It has been a while since I have posted anything new, but recently there have been an influx of YouTube subscribers for some odd reason.  I am excited about the turnout, so I felt compelled to make a little bit of content.  This video shows my weekend's worth of boat work, about 6 hours on Saturday and another 2 on Sunday. The typical boat weekend is full of a variety of projects, as seen here.  Notes about the specifics are below:

0:00 - 0:16 - Intro

0:17 - 0:32 - Installation of anchor chain dead end padeye.  The end of my anchor chain will be attached to a length of rope, which will be ultimately attached to this padeye.  The rope will be attached to the last 4th or 5th length of chain, so that an additional length of anchor rode could be attached easily to the last link.  This padeye has a thick fiberglass backing plate that I made, and installed at one of the strongest glassed areas of the chain locker.  I am learning everything about the anchor set-up from Cap'n Fatty Goodlander's book "Creative Anchoring".  There was a lot of prep work leading up to this installation, including some major construction/fiberglass work on the whole anchor locker set up.  This is the last bit of installation for the chain locker.

0:33 - 0:55 - Installation of a small thru-hull fitting.  This was the vent for the head's holding tank.  I will be outfitting Windsong with a composting head, but decided to keep this thru hull in case I revert back to a tank, or for a future owner.  I threaded on a cap to seal it up.

0:56 - 1:24 - Installing the fairing block for the depth sounder.  This piece of wood makes it so the depth sounder is facing straight down.  I will sand up the gloopy excess and apply epoxy primer to the outside before installing the thru hull fitting.  

1:25 - 1:48 - I have been working a lot lately on the installation of my new anchor windlass (Lofrans Tigres).  I had to fabricate a mounting platform on the bowsprit, close up the deck holes where the old bollard posts were (they must be moved), moved the chain hole, and added a new thru hull for the windlass wiring.  All of this required fiberglass work that ultimately needed to be painted.  Here in the video I am painting the area after all of the fiberglass work has been done, and the windlass has been fully mock installed.  Paint needed to go on before final installation, and the rest of the deck will get a few more coats of fresh paint before I put the boat back into the water.  I painted on 2 coats this weekend, video shows only one though.

1:48 - 2:20 - Fabricating the templates for the head cabinet.  I am using a mix of the old wood and new to make the cleats.  The shelf and the face were old templates that I cut based upon the old, rotten pieces.  The rotten pieces were unfortunately not in good enough shape to get a full template, so I am now using my cardboard and hot glue gun technique to fill the gaps and create final templates.  I have the wood to make all of my cabinet faces now, just need to get the final measurements in before they are cut and installed.

2:21 - End - Cleaning, taping off, cleaning again, paint - laying down a couple of final coats of paint to the front end of the boat.  While this area had been painted a while back, I have done a lot of construction and fiberglass work that made the area pretty gross again.  After sanding down all of the bad spots, I started to repaint the area this weekend


GoPro POV Surfing in St. Augustine - Feb. 8, 2016 Swell

If you have read the About page, you know that surf exploration is the basis for rebuilding the boat and going on a cruise.  I've mentioned here and there over the years that I want more than anything to write about the eventual surf adventures with Windsong, and along with that I would like to make some videos and other surf related content.  

Recently I was gifted a GoPro Hero4 Silver, and finally had a great day of surf to try it out.  Below is my first surf edit using a mouth mount for the first person perspective.  Someday these will be made from the waves found with Windsong, but for now enjoy the views from my home break in St Augustine.


Cascading Errors - Steering Cable From Hell

The problem with learning how to do things as you go, is that you will fail...a lot.  The extra problem with doing this on a boat, is that failure can potentially cost a lot of money and jeopardize your safety.  Attempting to simply purchase and install a new steering cable has been a great example of why this whole boat-rebuild thing requires patience unlike I ever thought I had.  

I am currently trying to finish up the engine room and get everything in place so that the engine can be put back on the boat.  It has been awaiting return patiently in my garage for too long now.  This process involves installing everything that would be extra difficult, impractical or impossible to install once the engine is in.   One of the remaining items is to install a new steering cable, which routes above the engine in the engine room.  

One should expect this to be a rather simple task, but expectations about boat projects are more often than not shattered quickly.  My first mistake, as I have encountered many times, was an impatient dismantling of the original cable.  I cut the thing in a couple of spots not thinking of re-measurements in the future.   The second mistake was purchasing the replacement chain & cable far in advance of installation.  I tend to do this when I have some extra money to put towards boat parts, I will look ahead and get things that will need to be eventually installed.  I had not foreseen it taking this long to get to the steering cable installation, so I bought it about two years too soon.  

A couple of months ago I was finally ready to install the cable and went to the boat exited to get it on.  After routing it through the pedestal and sheaves, I soon realized that the cable length on one side was just a few inches too short to make a full connection.  This was a result of a poor measurement on the original cable, and not rounding up to the next biggest size.  

So I try to return it to Edson, but they tell me that since I bought it (1.5+ years ago) they revised the way they make the cables and chains and can no longer accept returns of the old one.  DAMN!  So I figure no problem, I could sell the thing on Ebay and get some of my money back.  So far that hasn't worked out, it has been listed for a few months well below what I paid for it and still hasn't gone.  Shameless plug, if you need one here it is:

Edson Marine - Steering Chain & Wire Kit 2S2B7

So I purchase a new, longer cable/chain kit.  I got a size thicker too, something I got wrong on the first buy.  This time, for whatever reason I gave myself on that day, I ordered one WAY over-sized in length.  I got a longer chain (why? I don't know....the old, shorter one worked fine), and the cable length many feet longer (even though I only needed a few inches).  I may have had a few extra beers telling me to go over-cautious because I still don't know what I was thinking.  

I go back to the boat once I receive the new kit and proceed to install it.  Everything is going fine, and I have finished the installation attempting to get the tension on the cable right.  I realize that I needed to undo the clamps on one side to get more tension before tightening the bolt.  I remove the clamps and to my surprise the cable beneath one of them was split!  How this happened was simple over-torquing the bolts on the clamp.   The clamp bit into the cable and did damage as I kept torquing it.  These are the type of clamps I am talking about:


Here is the damage:


Of course a split like that is unacceptable on a steering cable, so it had to be replaced.  Luckily I was able to find an adequate length and size of new cable at our local second hand marine store Sailors Exchange, they even had two lengths so I bought the other as a spare.  I learned a little bit about hand crimp terminals and made a replacement for the split cable.  

This past weekend I go to the boat ready to finish this job once and for all.  As I am routing the cable through the pedestal, through the sheaves and back to the steering column, I started to notice a smell of burning plastic while feeding more cable through.  I look down and notice smoke coming up through the pedestal, and a small flame on the cable just below it!  I yank up the cable and proceed to burn the heck out of my hand in the process.  It quickly dawned on me that the house battery bank is directly below the pedestal, and the cable must have laid across the posts of a battery and started pumping current through, heating it up.  I had just oiled the cable so it lit on fire easy.  

I quickly grabbed a glove and pulled the whole cable/chain out of the pedestal and off the battery.  Panicking as I still see flame down below, I opened up the engine room and blew out the small candle burning off the battery.  I got out of there immediately because of the fumes, and stood by with the fire extinguisher in case anything more happened to the battery (as in blow up).  After a few moments of calming down and having the fumes fanned out, I inspected the battery and realized the cable must have been laying on the case.  The battery shell itself was melting away and I could see inside the thing.  


To top off the horrible mistake, the brand new cable I just made was also damaged to the point of needing replacement.  Enough heat to melt and damage some cable threads.

So here I am, with another cable to replace and one of my four house batteries ruined.  Luckily I got the extra cable at Sailors Exchange and know how to do the fittings, so that shouldn't be a problem.  But batteries are not cheap, and the potential safety disaster I encountered shook me up a bit.  I have somehow done this entire project with minimal injury and only a few close calls.  But this was definitely one of the worst and dangerous moments.  

A few days of cooling off and reflection have done me well.  Mistakes like these take a lot of time and is a set back financially, but there are so many lessons learned I can look beyond the inconvenience.   Maintaining that attitude has been crucial for this entire project.  

EDIT:  I started inspecting the two cables fully to see if parts of them could be salvaged.  Somehow about 6 other spots on the cables were burnt/melted as well!  Luckily, the prior mistake of getting way too long cables has paid off, and I was able to find two 8' sections that should be long enough for the full cable length.  More confused than ever on how the cables could get so ruined!

Video Update! Final Bottom Job Work

Today I have a special post with a new video of the final bottom job work!  It is a bit of a long video where I go into a lot of technical stuff about fiberglass, epoxy and how to fill small holes in the hull bottom.  I finish up the fairing of the bottom job/blisters, and finally put on some epoxy barrier coat. As you will notice in the video, I mention a new website: One More Wave.  If you go to the site, you will see that it goes straight to The Quest for Wind and Waves site.  I will be slowly migrating everything over to the new website over time, and will be doing a bit of re-working how I approach this thing.  More details to come, but if you start seeing the name of this site changing don't be surprised.

For now, enjoy the video!

Catching Up – Interior - Part 1

Much of the forward progress this past year has taken place inside the boat.  Since the last update videos I have cleaned out the interior, and painted the entire cabin and locker spaces.  I have done work on countertops, and have even installed some wood trim just to give myself some inspiration to see how it will be.  Some of the woodwork installation was also functional and necessary before splash, such as the companionway stairs and compression posts.  I have also nearly completed the primary electrical systems both DC/battery power and AC/shore power.  That has been a fun project and will probably involve a few blog posts. One of the biggest milestones for the interior was getting the companionway stairs rebuilt and back in place.  For a few years I have been climbing into the boat without any stairs, a risky thing and a long drop.  The companionway stairs are a great example of how one simple project turns into many, mostly due to the order of operations things must get done.

In order to have the stairs in place, I needed to remake and install the stairwell walls, of which the originals had rotten badly.  Before I did that, I needed to install the floor base in the galley/companionway area (old one also rotted).  Before that, I needed to finish all the work on the fuel tank I intended to do.  The fuel tank itself was a major ordeal, taking a few months to get it right.  So just to get the stairs back in, I had many semi-big projects to deal with before I even could get to the final result.

The fuel tank was an interesting and prolonged project in itself.  I knew I needed to clean the interior of the tank because even after getting the fuel polished during the sail around the state, I continued to clog fuel filters each time the boat went offshore and shook up whatever was on the bottom of the tank.   My goal was to open it up by creating access holes, and clean the thing as best as I could.  In order to do that I needed to cut a big hole in the fiberglass floor to access the top of the tank

Fiberglass & wood floor cut away to reveal the top of the tank.  Access holes ready to be cut.


The tank was also quite full of old diesel, of which I had a friend with a fuel tank in his trunk pump all of the fuel out.  I got rid of a problem, he got many gallons of free diesel.  After that I researched the design of this fuel tank and understood that a large baffle went down the middle of the tank, meaning I needed two access holes to be able to clean the whole thing.  I cut two big square holes, and found an absolute mess within the tank.  A good 1/4 inch of black gunk on nearly every surface.  I spent a lot of time cleaning it out with a pressure washer and by hand, and with many baffles all around the tank this was more complicated than it sounds.  Pumping out the water and gunk that settled on the bottom with each cleaning was not easy, but I eventually got it mostly spotless and dry.

Once the tank was clean, I made clear  lids for the access holes with Buna-N (fuel safe) rubber gaskets.  The lids are secured by many #10 machine screws that I drilled/tapped holes for.  This was not an easy task as I had never drilled/tapped before, but it all worked out with a lot of learning and effort.




IMG_2343Once the fuel tank was finished, I was able to make and install the floorboard that would cover it.  The old floors were 3/4" plywood with teak & holly veneer.  Those are expensive, and obviously prone to rot if not taken care of.  I have been doing a lot of research for other options for floors, and have narrowed it down to using a fake wood vinyl (expensive) or cheap interlocking rubber floor tiles.  Regardless, the galley floor area needed a hard cover for the fuel tank, and for the companionway stairwell walls to be mounted on.  So I used the old floor as a template and cut out some new plywood (always sealed with epoxy, primed and painted for rot protection) and installed it with a board that can be removed to reveal the tank access.


With the floor board installed, I then proceeded to make and install the companionway stairwell walls:



With those finally in, I could then have my stairs back in place.  However, much like everything else the stairs needed a lot of work themselves.  I stripped them down from their old stain, repaired many broken spots with epoxy, varnished, etc.   I did a poor job documenting the full rebuild of the stairs, but I do have a few pics after they got sanded down and repaired:






After the stairs were fully rebuilt, they were finally back on the boat and I could get into/out of it without serious risk of injury!  I also wanted to make some modifications to how the stairs are used to access the engine room.  The old way was a piano hinge at the top of the stairs that would raise and expose the engine room.  However, this didn't make much sense to me as it completely blocked all access to the hatch without removing the stairs all-together.  After seeing a few other Downeasters that made this modification, I went with heavy-duty side hinges to allow quick engine room access, and retain hatch access.  Recently I have been doing a lot of work in the engine room (some pictured) and this easier access has been fantastic.

You will see in the pictures that I have also installed some sound-proofing in the engine room.  I went with the soundproofing materials from, which had very good reviews and the product was less expensive than the typical stuff from most other vendors.

In these pictures you will also see that I have given the cheap, dense foam floor tiles a try here in the galley.  I found a wood-pattern version that I really like, however it is not as cheap as the solid colors.  It was easy to cut and install, though I did a poor job of matching the floor shape, and I intend to make it correct whenever I finalize the floor decision.  This was more of an experiment, and so far I am in favor of it.  However, the floor seems to be developing some sort of bubbles at the top as it has been exposed to the brutal Florida summer heat.  I'll have to see what I can do about that.

Stairs as they were when I first got Windsong

The hinge at the top of the stairs did not sit right with me









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