Saturday, August 31, 2013

August 31, 2013.

While I was working in a catamaran the other day I was pondering how “pink” has worked its way into every day life. I'm pretty sure the chick gang in Grease was The Pink Ladies.  I did have a crush on the Fonz's girl, Pinky Tuscadero.   Then Molly Ringwald made pink, pretty. There’s pink champagne, pinky rings and pinky swearing. We are fortunate to be “in the pink”.  We were not tickled pink to have recently received pink slips.

I've yet to see “pink elephants” but I do enjoy Alecia Beth Moore's (Pink) voice. I enjoyed the Pink Panther but thought Peter Sellers was a flop. I've had pink eye and didn't much care for it but I could listen to Pink Floyd all day.

So what I'm saying is that there’s a lot of pink around. But sometimes there’s just too much....

Friday, August 30, 2013

August 29, 2013.

Found this little beauty in a boat yesterday. It starts out on the left side as a single black ground wire. But through a series of piggybacked connections it became a cluster of grounds for 6 various lights and components. With a quick couple of snips it was on its way to the garbage bucket and replaced by a terminal strip.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sometimes work is just a snap

August 26, 2013.

Ever show up to do something simple like replace an old radome and have it turn into a test of wills? Me neither before today.

I was on a beautiful little trawler and all I wanted to do was remove the old radome and install a new Garmin digital unit. Its not like I was hanging in a bosun chair. I was standing flatfooted on the foredeck and try as I might my properly sized wrench wouldn't think of loosening the 4 bolts securing the old unit in place. I took off the lid and was disappointed to find that someone had an irrational fear of the unit coming loose and had decided to bed the bolts with 5200. Or maybe their concern was gravity suddenly quitting and water running UP into the unit, better seal that bad boy up for eternity. Crap.

I grabbed my breaker bar and put on a socket and really leaned into it. After the first attempt I found myself reciting righty tighty, lefty loosey. During my second attempt the 7/16's bolt snapped which would have been terrific had I not been really “into” it. It was almost as if I were attempting to fling myself off the foredeck. There was no danger of me landing in the water as I was flung with enough force to make it clear onto the next boat. Luckily, the bow rail of the boat I started on was enough to keep me aboard.

Upon examining the broken bolt I found that in addition to the 5200, red loctite had been used rather than more forgiving blue loctite. Double crap. What a bunch of Northoles, thank God they couldn't find a welder.

When the second bolt broke I wasn't nearly as surprised and by the time the third one let go it was run of the mill. Unfortunately the fourth bolt decided to play games and wouldn't break cleanly. It was a delicate balance as I pulled and the bolt slowly turned and backed out. It was tight as hell until the minute it was free and with every turn I was expecting the “snap” and lurch of another broken bolt.

After removing the unit I slipped the new one into place and oh look, the bolt pattern is different, time to get out the drill. Crap.....

On a totally different note.....I helped with dinner in the galley this evening and we were successful in putting out the resulting small fire.

Friday, August 16, 2013

August 16, 2013.

Another week finished. It's a little bizarre how much faster the week flies by when you enjoy your work. It's been glorious waking up to temps in the mid sixties the last few days and it makes everything a bit easier as well.

As far as work goes it was a run of the mill kinda week. Installed some new davits on a sailboat, replaced a few bilge pump float switches, rewired a mast and installed some new stuff here and there. All in all a very pleasant week.

I did formulate an opinion on a subject that I’ve been aware of but had never given serious consideration. I've read multiple opinions that instead of dropping a bundle of money on marine battery cable that its okay to use welding cable as a substitute.

Last week I had to replace some 2/0 cable that ran through the bilge of the ships engine room. The wire was welding cable and the sheathing on the cable was definitely not up to the rigors of a marine environment. After a few years of exposure to diesel and oil the wires covering had turned into Jello. The covering had expanded so that it was 40% larger than the wire it covered and without the support of the covering the wire itself just went limp. I could pinch the wire between my fingers and rip the covering. So my opinion is that you can save money by drinking cheaper rum but you really shouldn't cut corners when it comes to your wiring.

And no matter what wire you choose, either way it really ought to be wired correctly.  This was actually a positive cable.  I guess the wee piece of red shrink tube at the end was supposed to be the clue.   I found this 2/0 cable today that had been stripped WAY back, the terminal was crimped on and the perpetrator tried to cover the 3/4's of an inch of exposed cable with some shrink tubing. Nice.

One good thing about powerboats is that every once in a while you come across a really nice stateroom.
This stateroom looks warm and inviting to me. It would be a shame if it burned to a crisp because of shoddy wiring. Speaking of shoddy wiring, take a gander at this.....

Today I was fortunate enough to encounter the smallest Praying Mantis I had ever seen.
I find that the little ones are much tastier....

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August 6, 2013.

We got a call from a gentleman who just invested a major chunk o' cash in a very large sailing catamaran. Its a couple of years old and on the surface looks to be a pretty sweet ride. Unfortunately for him, spending close to a million dollars on a used boat really doesn't guarantee that the boats actually in very good shape. There’s been more than a few issues but his tender was to be today's area of concern.

He launched the dinghy that came with his new boat and found that it wouldn't start. After arriving I launched the dink and it was true, it didn't start. I figured that I'd check the battery first and see if it was just dead. The battery did in fact hold a surprisingly satisfying charge but as you can see from the photos the wiring left a lil' bit to be desired.

Of the 2 wires hooked to the positive post, the red one is cut off down the line and doesn't actually connect to anything.

The black wire is from the engines starter and had been connected by twisting the wire onto the exposed neck of the red wire. I'm guessing the surveyor didn't really give the dink much of a go over. I thought Helen Keller was dead but evidently she’s still alive and surveying boats.

If that wasn't enough, when I pulled on the wire to pull them apart the cable end popped right off the battery post. Between the loose terminal and the twisted wire this dink really never had a chance. But after a little TLC the dinghy is once again among the living.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

July 29, 2013.

This will be the Cliff Notes version of the last month because there's been some shit happening. The unedited Directors Cut will be out at a future date. Its taking me a while to write so block off some time because its gonna take a weekend to read.

The last month has been a blur of changes . The mast is back in the boat. There was treachery and deceit. Ebb and flood. Illness, whether feigned or real, either way, not ours. Karma. Susurration. An oblivious captain steering his little ship towards the rocks of failure, pushed by an onerous tide. Plotting, double agents, subterfuge and weeks of rain. Brunch!

We were both fired. Complete poppycock. Unemployed for 5 hours. Karma once again reigns. Negativity lifted. Loads of sex. Joy in the village. Honesty is not a dirty word. Appreciation flows. Respect is earned.......not awarded because you expect it.

Right is still right. Bug eyed Chia Pets be damned. Sweltering heat. My dog ate my homework. Friendships both real and imagined. Happy Hours. Brightwork. Voodoo. Ants.