Monday, July 23, 2012

Generating Frustration

Now that the lift muffler has finally arrived, we asked the yard to pull our new engine back out again so that we can get to installing the rest of the components of the engine.   First we bolted down the lift muffler by screwing down squares of cutting board material onto our wooden stringers and attaching the lip of the muffler to these squares.   We then started to route the 3" exhaust hose through the boat to the stern where it would meet with a gooseneck and out the engine exhaust through hull.  Of course, when we tried to do this, we realized that the new hose would not fit.  Problem was, because our new hose is a good 1/2" around in diameter larger than our old hose, we weren't able to fit it through at the narrowest spot. We discovered this by taping a rope to the end of the 20' hose, while one person hung upside down in the "clubhouse" pulling the end of the rope, the other person pushed the hose through on the other side.  While we were doing this, we got to a point where it just would not budge.  We pulled, pushed, and yanked and since it was in the bilge under our floorboards, we could not see what it was getting stuck on.  After a frustrating 15 minutes, we decided to stick a camera under the floors and took a photo of the area so we could see what the problem was.  One look at the photo, and we saw that the damn hose was not going to fit.

Lift muffler finally in!

Of course, the narrowest spot happened to be directly under our generator, an inaccessible part of the boat, and in order for the 3" hose to fit through; we would have to remove the generator and either cut away the shelf wall that it sat on or figure out a way to circumvent this narrow space.   Either way, the damn 400 lb generator had to come out!  As usual, I was in utter denial (when am I ever going to learn?) that this was the case.  I just couldn't believe that we were having yet another one of those "boat jokes" played on us, so of course, I stubbornly tried to jam the hose from the stern of the boat and  feed it from our lazarette.  Frank had told me this was not going to work, and after 3 hours of hanging upside down and sweating and cursing in the clubhouse, I conceded that it was not going to fit.  No matter how hard I tried, no amount of wishing was going to get that thing in without moving the generator!  Frank was right, but my stubbornness blinded me, and I learned my lesson the hard way.  After climbing out with scratches, bruised arms, and a bruised ego, I discovered that the hose that I had jammed half way through was stuck between the lazarette and steering quadrant!!  So another hour wasted, hanging upside down and feeding the hose back out inch by inch all the while cursing Frank for being so pragmatic.  Grrrr.....

After this fiasco, we (or should I say I) came to terms with the fact that we had to figure out a way to get the generator out.  This was not going to be an easy ordeal...We had decided a while ago that we were going to sell it as the space that it sat in made servicing the engine next to impossible.  If you were able stick your hand between the wall and the generator, you had a about 2cm of space of either side.  This meant that it had to be removed from the space just to change the oil, a ridiculous idea as it is a 400 lb beast.  

The next day, when I was at work, Frank decided that he was going to tackle removing the generator by himself.  He had spent the night before removing all the bolts and screws securing it to the floor of the "generator room" to prepare for this task.  I don't know how he figured it out, I think perhaps in his sleep, but he had devised a plan where he was going to take a crowbar, lift the generator up off the shelf, and from there, put it onto wooden blocks.  Then somehow he was going to create a ramp (as the shelf was about 5" off the floor), where it would come down off of and onto a plywood board with 2 2' long 3/4" PVC pipes that would act as "wheels" and simply roll it into our living room.  From there, it would be lifted out via crane by our yard through our butterfly hatch.  Imagine my surprise when I received his text at work with photos of the generator out.  I couldn't believe he did it on his own, and I'm so proud that he macgyvered his way out of what seemed an impossible solo task.  I'm truly impressed and wish that I could be half as resourceful as him.  Instead, I have a slew of bruises covering my arms, proving that not only am I not resourceful, but hard-headed as well :(


The empty generator room
PVC "rollers"

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mirror Mirror on the Wall....

While we were awaiting our custom lift muffler to be built, Frank got really antsy and decided to make Moitessier prettier. He hates waiting around for parts, and I find that he gets really grumpy (and mean) when he's not working on the boat and towards our dream.  So to stay occupied he decided to take on a couple of cosmetic projects inside our home.

Mirror Before
First, he decided to replace our mirror in the head.  This had been something that had been bothering him since the day we got the boat.  On the forward wall of the head, there was this pathetic square of mirror that you could barely see yourself in, mounted asymmetrically on the center of the wall.  I could tell it hung in the back of his mind as to how to fix this as he would bring it up in conversation at least once a month.
Mirror After!
"This mirror is so small and stupid..." "What do you think about taking it down and painting the wall...."  "Damn...this thing is so ugly hanging here...." "I don't understand why anyone would mount such a tiny mirror in this beautiful space..."  One day, it dawned on me while I was laying in bed, that instead of taking it down and repainting the wall, that we should put up a mirror in the same size and shape of the actual space.  I mentioned it to Frank in passing and of course, he was thrilled with it.  He obsessed with the idea for about a week and finally decided to just go ahead and do it.  We were hesitant at first because we thought it would be very expensive to get a custom mirror cut, but after discussing it with a local mirror/glass company, we discovered that it would cost a mere $25.  DONE DEAL!  That same day he made a poster board template and brought it over to get the glass cut.  The mirror fit perfectly on the wall and it was pretty easy to mount.  A tube of mirror glue from Home Depot, a piece of stained molding to cover the edge (as the mirror had to be cut 1" smaller than space in order for it to be fit), and Voila, I no longer have to hear him moan about that damn mirror in the head again!  Not only does the head look so much better, but the optical illusion it created gives the impression of a larger space.  Now I can freely pop my blackheads without having to lean over our sink.   Aah....the finer things in life.

Still need to fill the missing pieces
Being as the mirror project went pretty smoothly and quickly, Frank was still antsy for things to do.  He decided that workroom needed some re-organizing.  One thing we hated having to do was rummage through an entire drawer of sockets and wrenches searching in vain for the ever elusive 13mm socket that, of course, we would need in the midst of our daily dose of engine yoga.   So he decided to mount them on the back of the instrument panel case.  This makes things easier to find as everything is right at hand  as well as free up valuable drawer space.  In the process, we discovered that we have 3 incomplete sets of sockets and wrenches with an equal amount of doubles.  Derr...

Now that the tools are nice and organized, he decided to install manual foot pumps for our fresh and raw water.  We had existing hand pumps that were beautiful and shiply, but the idea of having hold on with one hand, wash a dish with the other, all while pumping with your teeth?  This was not practical unless somehow you had a third we opted to install Whaler Tiptoe II foot pumps.  We had first used these when we crewed a Swan 48 from Bermuda to NY, and were sold ever since.  Unlike the typical foot pumps that have a protruding lever that inevitably catches                                                            ankles, these twist and lock flush with the floor.  A simple twist of the foot and they pop up ready to be used.  Brilliant!  I didn't like the idea of drilling 3" holes in the beautiful teak and holly floors in Mykitchen.  Luckily Frank was smart enough to install these while I was at work, otherwise I really would've had a fit.  They look great and utilize a space that would've otherwise been inaccessible.  Though impractical, we didnt want to let go of the beautiful brass hand pumps, so in order to keep the aesthetics, we decided to leave them in place and use them as the faucets.  We removed the innards of the pumps and saved them in a ziploc for future use.


Bowsprit turning to dirt :-(
Fortunately and unfortunately, these projects went by faster than what we're used too.  Yeah, that's right nothing is ever good enough :P Frank used this downtime to do a little poking around....Never really a good idea.  I hate leaving him alone when I go to work because I always come home to a new troublesome/expensive fix of something he decided to inspect.  This time, it was our bowsprit.  We had long known of the probability of our bowsprit having rot.  This is a nearly 30 year old mahogany timber that lives a fairly rough life on the bow.  It is not uncommon for rot to develop around screws and in areas underneath where air can't easily circulate.  We had read on the Hans Christian forums that this is a pretty common problem, especially near the Samson posts as well as where it lies against the deck.  In order to better inspect it though , the windlass had to be removed.  Of course, when this
was done, there were clear signs of extensive rot.  We were hoping that if there were some issues that we would be able to scarf in a repair.  With our luck, we weren't able to get off the hook (or off the hard) so easily.  After the initial discovery of rot, it was clear that we had to remove the bowsprit one way or another.  This naturally was not an easy task.  The bowsprit and pulpit combined weigh an excess of 300 lbs, not a small sum when it's 12 ft overhead.  We had to commission our yard to come with their forklift and carefully slide it up and out.  Fun Fun!  Thankfully, the people we have working here are really skilled at what they do and nothing too exciting happened.  Though the image of it hanging on the boat by an inch and balanced on the other side atop a ladder stacked high with wooden blocks still makes my palms sweat.  I was pretty pathetic and may have caught a fly or two when my mouth was agape during this ordeal.  The forklift operator even laughed at me and told me not to be such a girl about the whole thing.  Hehehe....oops.  

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Engine Part 1 of many...

It has been much, much too long since I've last updated this blog.  Sorry, we get caught with so many projects and trying to update the blog at the same time is very time consuming.  I enjoy it because it chronicles everything we have ever done on Moitessier, but the act of sitting down and writing can very easily be put off when you are caught up in other projects.  Many apologies!  Our engine is finally sitting inside the boat.  About a month and a half ago, we hired out the yard to make engine mounts adaptors so that the new engine can fit on the old stringers.  The way the yard accomplished this was to first try to get the engine to sit where it needed to sit by hanging it from a crane and aligning it to the shaft.  Once the engine was floating and aligned to the shaft, they then took the measurements required to make the new mounts.  John, the owner of our yard, came onto the boat, and aligned the engine in a matter of, what seemed to me, a few minutes.  The way he did it was impressive to say the least.  What he did was dangle the engine into our engine room, using his crane, and sat there as he positioned the transmission to the shaft coupling.  As he eyed it, he shouted out commands to the crane operator to either lift the engine up half an inch up or down to get it be exactly as he wanted.  This was done through him relaying a message to his assistant who then shouted out via our portlight to the crane operator.  He also fine tuned it using a chain adjuster and ratchet straps.  When he finally got the engine to were he wanted it in relation to the coupler, .004 of an inch , he simply clamped the two together using lock jaws.  He then took measurements of the engine in relation to our stringers and measured to make new engine mounts to accommodate for the difference in space.  Had we gone a different route, we would've had to modify the entire engine bed and do some fiberglass work to build up to the appropriate amount for where the new engine sits.  This would've been very sloppy and would've taken us quite some time. In a matter of hours, he fabricated some pretty nice lookin' steel mounts that compensates for our new engine's smaller size.  

John adjusting the engine via crane

Shaft coupler lockjawed to transmission

New mounts! Sitting on Polyflex plastic isolators.
In the meantime, we had to get a custom lift muffler made.  We had been searching for weeks for a lift muffler that would fit within the existing space in relation to the our new engine, Apparently lift mufflers only come standard in sizes and configurations that are right for every other boat but ours.  There were a list of problems that made for finding an off the shelf muffler next to impossible that lead to us having to get yet another thing custom made, much to our chagrin.

The first major obstacle was finding a lift muffler that had an inlet and outlet that could accommodate our shaft running down the middle of our boat.  Because most off the shelf lift mufflers have the inlet and outlet on their centerline, and our shaft runs right above the centerline, we didn't have the clearance necessary to accommodate the exhaust hose. This meant that we needed to have a box with the inlet and outlet to one side that was also large enough to hold the water in the 20' long exhaust run. We had looked into Vetus Water-locks,  but the largest ones they had that could accommodate a 3" exhaust only held up to 5 gallons.  We have a 20' exhaust run, that's right 20' as our engine sits pretty much amidship, so it really had to be a far bigger than that.  The sole purpose of a lift muffler is that it needs to be large enough to hold the volume of water in the exhaust hose so that when the engine shuts off, the exhaust water does not back siphon into your engine.  Using the volume of a cylinder (of the exhaust hose) formula, pi x radius squared x height, we were able to figure out that the lift muffler box needed to hold about 7 gallons of water.  We added to that an extra 20% buffer as is recommended, and though the hose is not always completely filled with water, these are the recommended guidelines in case of rough seas.  We didn't want to risk every getting water into the engine, better to err on the side of caution.

My technical drawings to Centek..

The process of the designing the custom box started with making up a template.  After guesstimating an approximate size, we built a template out of poster board and placed it in the space.  From there, we figured out where the the inlet and outlet would be positioned as well as at what angles they needed to bend at so that when we connected the 3" hardwalled exhaust hose, we wouldn't have to do too much wrestling as we've learned that hose is really hard to bend and manipulate.  From there, we drafted up a couple of technical drawings with measurements for where everything was supposed to be and the exact angles they were to be at and sent them over to Centek Industries.  After reviewing the drawings and discussing your needs, they draw up their own technical drawing and get your final approval and send it out to be fabricated.   We finally received the box this week, a month and a half after initial contact with the company.  I can't say much for their customer service as the salesperson I worked with was really, really frustrating to deal with as he never got back to you for days on end and  even then it was because I would call and follow up/harass him.   I'd hate to complain but it really was the worst customer service I have ever dealt with, but on the brighter side the box did come out exactly as requested. We just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope that it fits, which won't be until we lift the engine out again, and put in the new box in (we're thinking of bolting it to a piece of starboard that would be attached to the old wooden/fiberglass stringers. Before all of that, the shaft and coupler need to go to a machine shop to be faced and mated before the engine can set down for its final fit. Then, it would be a matter of  bolting the thing down, installing the exhaust system, and doing some wiring.  We have the control panel and wiring harness mounted and run, and Frank was able to make a shelf out of the preexisting cutout to our old control panel so it all looks cohesive and not sloppy. We are looking to hook our alternator up to an external regulator as well but thats for later. More to come on the engine project in future posts.....

Centek's Technical drawing to us...
The finished lift muffeler
Frank's new shelf...can't even tell that
it used to be a control panel