Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 11, 2011.

Late Friday afternoon we got a call from a guy on a mooring in the harbor. He couldn’t start his boat and had diagnosed it as a bad starter. I drove the company’s skiff out and towed him in to our dock.

The boat is a 1970 Cheoy Lee and is as beautiful a boat as I’ve ever seen.
The guys is a single hander and has restored this 41 year old boat to pristine condition. Or so it seemed. Now I know where that expression “Beauty is only skin deep” applies. Its about boats.

Topsides and inside, the boat is perfect. The electrical system was a disaster. Right away I found a really crappy connection at the starter. I fixed it and was pretty surprised when the boat still didn’t start. Next I checked voltage at the starter and it was only 10.1 volts while there was 12.6 at the battery. Crap. Corrosion or a loose connection.

All of his battery connections were deplorable and then there was the battery switch.
It was the original bakelite
switch probably installed by Thomas Alva Edison himself. It was over 40 years old and spun with virtually zero friction. When I pulled the switch off the bulkhead 3 of the 8 wires (all on one post) pulled out of their ring connectors.

I installed new terminal ends on everything and installed a positive buss bar. Once there was a new switch in place that actually went *clunk* when you turned it, the boat fired right up.
It was amazing how beautiful this boat was while the electrical system was a complete shambles.


Deb said...

We've only owned 2 boats, so admittedly I'm no expert, but what I've seen so far says that most boats (with the exception of ones you work on and ones Tim works on) have electrical systems in at least as bad a state as this one or worse. We pulled literally hundreds of feet of speaker wire out of both Nomad's and Kintala's innards. Speaker wire seems to be one of those universal features of all boats over 30 years old. People use it for EVERYTHING.

S/V Kintala

Chip Estabrooks M/V Scout said...

"It was amazing how beautiful this boat was while the electrical system was a complete shambles".

I dated a girl like that for awhile.....

Sabrina and Tom said...

Skin deep -true. The flip can be true as well. We teach on a C22 that looks old and tired at first glace but all the rigging, hardware and important stuff has been updated and upgraded. A woman fresh off a beautiful Shannon yacht once said to us "Pretty from afar but far from pretty" when we comment on her beautiful yacht.

Sabrina & Tom
s/v Honey Ryder Caliber 40 LRC

S/V Veranda said...

Lol Chip.

I just caught myself being pretty surprised. The boat just looked so darned special and the wiring was worse than I've seen on even the ratiest of boats....