Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sea Strainers and Recaulking

Sorry, it's been so long since I last updated this thing.  Both our families were down here and left about a week and half ago, so we haven't really had the time to update the blog.  As stressful as it was, it was really nice seeing our families and showing them around St. Augustine.  My parents, of course, love our boat, but still want us to come back to NY and live a "normal" life.  You gotta love 'em for trying.  We spent 2 weeks hanging out on the beach, sightseeing around town, and dolphin watching from our dinghy.

Frank and siblings

Mommy and Daddy

Dolphin watching

Back to work on Moitessier....we recently checked our "new" sea strainer basket from Groco and you wouldn't believe it,  the seam on the basket corroded through.  We were so shocked to see this, as we just replaced this about a month and half ago.   Apparently, you're not supposed to use SS strainer baskets if you're in saltwater.  We were a bit appalled, because no where on the product did it say to not use this.  Not only that, but these were the only strainers available at West Marine and it seems "everyone is using them."  Surprising, huh?  We switched the basket to be a plastic one, so hopefully, it'll hold up better.

Corroded at the seam

We're currently in the process of recaulking our cockpit, a job that is not for the feint of heart.  The process is simple (note the sarcasm)...since we didn't want to spend $300+ on a Fien multi-master we decided to cut out the old caulking by hand.

What we did was, first, we took a razor blade and cut out each side of the seam (being sure to not gouge out the teak).  Then, with a small screw driver, we inserted the tip under the caulking, lifted, and peeled.  After this was done, we used the screwdriver like a chisel, scraping off the leftovers from the sides.  Where the deck has worn (where the seams are too shallow), we used it like a cabinet scraper, holding it almost vertically as we ran the tip along the bottom of the seam.  After this fun process was done, we used a piece of metal the same thickness as the seam (we broke a file into a couple pieces), and covered it with 80 grit sandpaper and ran it along the seam, sanding it square (note here that you should say goodbye to the first layer of skin on your thumb and forefinger).  Then, we vacuumed up the mess, and used acetone to clean off the rest of the grit and sawdust.  Now on to taping.  We taped off all the edges and ran a line of caulk (Teak Decking Systems) on the inside of each seam, making sure to pull the tape off shortly after caulking, because we wanted the caulk to settle nicely into place.  We spent all day yesterday doing this, it literally took from 10am-10pm, and we only got half of it done.   Though i'm sure the multi-master would have made this all much easier; thank the lord, we don't have teak decks!!

Cut each side of the seam with a razor blade

Use screwdriver to remove caulking 

Sand off inside of seams

Seams should look like this before taping 

Looks kind of cool with the blue...

All done

Before I forget to mention, we just replaced the pump for our AC unit.  Seems someone may have run it dry or maybe forgot to prime it and ended up burning it out, so we can now have some ice cold air coming in when we really need it.  Of course, we're limiting ourselves to how often we use it because 1) we're trying to get used to the florida heat and 2) we don't want to use a unit too much for fear of it breaking.  Seems we've developed a phobia for using things because we're afraid of having to fix it.  Sounds silly, but we're trying to prioritize our finances as well as projects by which one is going to get us out of here faster. (We justify fixing the AC because it will make working inside feasible ;-)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A New Leak

It rained 2 days ago, and of course, we discovered a new leak.  It was just above the pilot berth and more than a few drops of rain had come in.  We couldn't, for the life of us, figure out where the heck it was coming from.  After some thought, we figured out that it might be coming from the deck where the shore power connects.  So today, Frank took off the plate and replaced the hardened seal with butyl tape.  We're hoping that this is the source, as it makes the most sense.

Hole where shore power connects

Butyl tape seal

Old crappy seal. notice the ring where the deck cut out was and how it goes out past the edge (thats where our leak was coming form)

Right now, as I'm writing, he's trying to fix our air conditioning system.  For some reason, it keeps shutting itself off with an error message "HHH" blinking in the screen indicating that the system isn't getting a sufficient supply of raw water for it's cooling.  This means that either: something is obstructing the sea-cock (possibly barnacles), the pump isn't working properly, or the system needs to be flushed out.  We can rule out the latter because we just flushed it out and turned the unit on and after 10 minutes, the error message came on again.  He's now removing the water line because it's connected to the water-maker and reconnecting it so it connects in a straight shot to the pump for the AC unit.  Hopefully that works....because we don't want to have to haul out or dive under to clean out the thru-hull.

I just realized that I have forgotten to mention our internet situation.  It's been about a month now, and we finally have steady internet coming in from our super antenna.  This antenna allows us to catch signal from more than a mile away.  We installed it a couple of weeks ago, and after much troubleshooting with the guy who programmed the system, and finagling with a marina a mile away to get their password, we're able to get a consistent connection.  It works great and I'm really happy that we invested the money in buying it because we pretty much have free internet.  For those of you who are reading this and want to order it, we got it from this guy named Dalton who runs wififorboats.com.  He was really helpful and the unit wasn't too expensive for what it is.  Though you could get it cheaper if you order all of the parts separately, for us the customer support through wififorboats was worth the extra money  (Gee, I sound like a commercial for this.  Hehehe.)

Our super antenna

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Our First Dinghy Ride

We took our sails down, a couple days ago, to inspect and store them away from UV rays and out of our way while we work on re-rigging.  It was a job that we were waiting to do because it's been so breezy all week.  We were afraid that the sails would get away from us and flog out of control, so we ended up taking them down in the middle of the night.  We had been waiting all week for the wind to die down, and it seemed the only opening we had was that night. Funny, when you want there to be wind, it's nowhere to be found, but when you want no wind, it stays at a steady 20 knots....Aeolus is a funny and playful god.  Anyhow, we took them down with little trouble and brought them to the "Irish Sail lady" to have them repaired.  Seems we only have a year left in both our staysail and our jib.  So, another thing to add to our wish list.

Frank got the dinghy started a couple days ago as well.  For some reason, our outboard was having trouble starting.  Surprise, surprise.  Seems it was because old fuel had been sitting in it for over a year. He had to drain all the fuel lines, carburetor and fuel filters, and put in new fuel.  That did the trick and we were able to take our first dinghy ride.  We even got her onto a plane, which was really fun.  Felt like we were riding a bull.  Haha!  After our ride, we added this stuff called "Seafoam," which is a fuel stabilizer,  engine/carburator cleaner, and all around magic formula that we don't expect to work, but hope it will, so that Frank doesn't have to take apart the carb and rebuild it.  Let's keep our fingers crossed.

We're still awaiting our notarized bill of sale for or dingy as well.  Our broker screwed up royally, and failed to do the paperwork for it...good job, Tom!  His excuse for this was that he "forgot" that the boat came with a dinghy.  In the state of Florida, you aren't allowed to use any motorized vessel without registration, and in order register it, you must have an original notarized BOS and a statement of origin.  It had never been registered (because the previous owner had planned on using it in Sweden), and no one at the tag office seems to understand that, so they're making us jump through hoops just to get the damn thing registered.  Not only that, but Tom has misinformed us several times concerning the process, and we have ended up going to the agency three times with no success.  Apparently, Tom was being lazy about contacting the previous owner, and forged some fake documents (using Photoshop) which of course, the agency refused to accept.  It is now still in the process of being "taken care of," which he should've done over a month ago.  It's ridiculous how someone can take a 10% cut from the sale, and still fail to do something as simple as getting your paperwork straightened out.  It sucks because every time we use it, we are risking getting a ticket for having an unregistered boat until we get the notarized form from this guy in Sweden.  Now, you tell me, after you sold your boat and took a 50% loss on the price from when you bought it a year ago, would you prioritize going to a notary office to get the thieving bastard new owners (aka-us) the correct paperwork?  Frank says if he gets a ticket for using the dinghy, he is just going to send it to the broker to pay... seems fair enough to me.