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The Two Captains



letter_W.gif (500 bytes)here to begin?? I was born in a small town in the middle of Indiana-wait, that may be too far back. Let's start with our arrival back in Independent Boatyard on the 19th of October.

TacklessII had been hauled on August 5, about 5 hours after our last charter guests had departed. Over the next day and a half we stripped her down like a hurricane was on the way, because we would be gone for the next 10 weeks (Good foresight since Georges did come through!) In addition to stripping her we had to do it in a way the workmen could still get in and reach the forepeak for some scheduled fiberglass repairs.

While we were away on our land tour, the local fiberglass shop removed the headstay (wire that holds the mast up towards the pointy end of the boat) chainplate and the bow roller plate (piece that the anchors roll out over) to reinforce the fiberglass on the bow itself, a weakness we'd discovered the previous spring when we had the rig tuned. This turned out to be quite a job as they had to cut out the anchor locker divider, make a special wrench and socket tool, recruit a couple of long armed skinny people walking by and FINALLY cut a hole in the deck just below the forward anchor cleat. Actual repair only cost a few hundred $$, but the "remove and replace" cost is something we have vowed never to discuss and we thank the stars we were not here to watch or help in this nasty task.

Only other repair to happen in our absence was to refit the refrigerator door. A source of lots of lost cold air since I have owned the boat. This may be a good time to explain that over the last 8 years of ownership there have been many areas that needed work. Some major and some not so major, but all required either time or money both of which were often in short supply. Major stuff usually went to the top of the list, and everything kind of fell where I could work it in. Some were great replacement, done- right moves and other were "just-get-it-to-work" fixes. Our goal in this refit before the cruise is do it RIGHT even if it takes longer. SOOOO…

Back to the door, removal to the shop, cut the ends off, reglass, spray paint with the good stuff, reinstall. The damn thing fits exactly the same, but only leaks in one corner now rather than three. That's progress and again we will not discuss cost. Oh yeah, the crack fiberglass man's response to the fit---"it should have worked".

Now we are on the scene and ready to rip into our list, and the weather here in Paradise turned most un-Paradise-like. It rained, and rained, and rained harder, took a breath and rained more. I have had one water leak on TacklessII since I have owned her, but since it was mostly caught in the dishes, I hadn't worried too much. Several attempts were made to cure it, but nothing worked. About 3-4 weeks before the end of the season the same leak had appeared on the other side of the boat. Now this was serious, not only was the expensive SSB radio in jeopardy but the CD's live there too. So war was declared on both leaks: stripping the teak trim the length of the boat from midships to the bow, pulling, tearing, cutting as much of the "old " 5200 sealant out and then replacing it with over 20 tubes of new stuff and remounting the teak trim, all freshly sanded and painted. Then we took all chainplate covers off (3 on each side) and cleaned all the "old" stuff out to replace with "windshield sealant" (a cure we learned from a boat owner in Florida, and ONE of the only sealants I haven't tried to stop the leak in the past). Next Gwen and I took out the stanchions on both sides. These stanchions, much to CSY standard, are bolted through the deck into the hull and must be accessed from the inside of the boat). It required a deep 1 5/16 socket, "-driver and a few holes to be cut for access. Once out, again clean out hole and repack and replace. Feeling pretty good about it we waited for the next rain, not really wanting to test fate by actually turning the hose on it. Well, it (they) still leaked. So here comes our fiberglass guy again. We remove the hawse-hole fitting that have two brass "rings" on each side Between them is a fiberglass tube that "floats" in sealant through the deck. That's got to be it! Instead of using the usual sealant, we'll have it "glassed in solid" heh-heh, nothing can get through it now. Wrong-next rain and the water still comes in-both sides. The only thing left is the curved wood pieces on the "step down", sooo-here we go with more sealant. Next rain comes and….. great news-only one side still leaks and it gets caught in the dishes-so I figure I'm pretty much done…. once I fine a funnel to "screw to the hull and run a hose to the bilge.

Rest of yard work went fairly quickly. House batteries (4-6 volt) were scheduled to be moved out of the engine room and placed under the Nav station. Not a particular easy place to get to but the only space that could hold them. In removing the port (left) water tank from under the main salon settee (it also had developed a leak), we discovered the tank was built in a "L" shape. If we cut off the end there would be plenty of room for the batteries and even more of them. So here comes our fiberglass guy again, and he has a carpenter with him. New battery box is made and now the house bank has 10-6 volt batteries for a total of approximately 1150 amp/hrs. That's a lot of CD's and videos!!! New end will has been glassed on the tank, and we give up only about 15 gallons of water in our storage capacity. Several new inspection ports were cut in the settee cover so that the 6-8 inches of space over the tank can now be used for storage. Every inch of space has to be opened up so we use it for what ever will fit. (any idea how much space a case of toilet paper takes up on a boat?)

On to sand and paint the bottom with four gallons of the "good stuff" purchased in St. Martins earlier in the year. Installed a new Maxprop, 3 bladed self feathering prop that is suppose to let us sail about a knot faster, and not spin the transmission under sail, saving wear and tear on the cutlass bearing. This is also at a cost that will be forever buried in the computer program.

Finally, we launched. Mad dash to check all the thru-hull fitting I had taken apart to see if I put them back together right. I had also completely disassembled the rudder post and steering quadrant to repack the stuffing box on the post. First time on this one and that "puppy"'s a big one, but I must have done it right because no water came in and the rudder still turns (both are a good sign). While the quadrant was off. also had a mounting plate made for the new autopilot to soon be installed.

From the gantry we backed the boat about 45 feet to the work dock for the remainder of the bow work to be done. The new prop worked very well for this leg of the trip and I was again pleased that I had assembled another piece of nautical equipment and it WORKED. Don't think that just because it's new that it is going to work. (The fact I had a yard mechanic help install it did take some of the pressure off me.) Once the bow was done we left for a trip downtown to Yacht Haven for yet another pair of guys to work on the boat.

Our plan is to remove the 110 volt refrigeration system, keep the engine drive system, and add two 12 volt systems to the existing boxes. When underway, we'll use the engine drive (as we usually did) and while sitting at anchorages for several days the 12 volt system would maintain the temperatures in the boxes. This requires battery power, (thus the new, 10-battery bank) and the addition of 2 75-watt solar panels to mounted to the top of the bimini.

Refrigeration is a strange and expensive thing on a boat. Like computers, I know just enough about it to be dangerous. We have a good friend and refrigeration man downtown---we went downtown.

The new batteries had to be wired in to the panel, as did a new selector switch that can go from shore power or generator(soon to come) plus tie in the inverter when neither shore power or generator is available. I was fairly sure I could do the job myself, but Gwen was urging me to call a very good friend, mechanic/electrician, to do it. My mechanical and electrical training go back a long way to when I used to help my Dad in the garage on the weekends and later in our family business. And I'm quite proud to say I can name about any tool you want me to hand you. I've used those same skills over the years on TacklessII and have tackled a lot of things some others may shy away from. So, when the fancy new switch arrived and it had 8 connecting poles to which I had wires to hook up, and the wiring diagram looked like some kind of new math-A1,A11,A111,B1,B11 etc., in a nice formed pyramid-??????…. "Gwen make the phone call!"

Dennis arrives for the consultation, says no problem, makes a list of materials, quotes the amount of time he thinks it will take, and we agree on the hourly rate and when he can start. A few days later he arrives to tackle the project-rewire new house bank, tie in the new switch, add an additional circuit board and clean up the current one. It was also agreed I needed to be close for any explanation of current systems. It went pretty smooth till he got to the "clean up" the current board part. Several whistles, nasty words and moans later, he said "this is really unique!". I said "really unique in that it is so in ingeniously done, really unique as in well thought out, or really unique as in really screwed up!" Without a bat of the eye he said "really screwed up"! My only defense was to say that "everything works", most of the time. 3 days later the wiring is done, and it looks great, like a boat right out of the factory! And, only one wire not attached to anything that we can figure out. Engine room and wiring are now ready for the just- ordered generator, and when it comes….I'm going to hand the tools to Dennis.

Returning to the slip at Independent Boatyard, we started the final pre holiday list. New Formica in the galley, replumb the sink to include a macerator pump (we now have a garbage disposal of sorts), and install the new Force 10 stove (it has a broiler, and an automatic igniter!) Add that to the new shelves behind the sinks, new smoked glass doors and a big hole in the ceiling over the refrigeration boxes waiting for the new compressors, and you have the update on the galley.

Engine room got a new shelf over the engine and transmission that will enable me to move all the junk off the work bench so that some work may actually be done. The old battery box and water heater (it barely stayed together well enough to get it outside-didn't leak however) got torn out, so that the bottom shelf can be replaced to fit the new generator when it comes next month.

Tomorrow we sail down to Yacht Haven again to pick the 400 ft of new chain that will hold our new 60 lb CQR anchor. It was a hoot to get the anchor. It arrived via priority mail with an address label on the plow head and the postage taped to the shank.

The plan is to leave from Yacht Haven on our Christmas vacation (we're taking ourselves on charter!), BUT the alternator did not kick on this AM for the morning run so I have to get it going. We have two spares but the problem seems to be in the control cable that is used by the monitoring system and there is only one of those-no spare. God I love the boating business.

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Published at Burlington, VT