Saturday, September 28, 2013

September 28, 2013.

Happy Birthday to My Sweet Babu.

In general we've been busy as hell. On the home front I completed the installation of the new windlass. While we were at it we retired our old chain and replaced it with 200 feet of squeaky clean 3/8s inch galvanized chain.
Every 25 feet along its length we painted 2 foot sections of it red to eliminate the guesswork when deploying the anchor. We also cleaned up the anchor and applied some cold galvanizing paint. I figured that the
paint would only last a single anchoring but we had a friend that did the same and his anchor looked revitalized for a surprisingly long amount of time, so, what the hell.

This week was the big sale at Bay Ridge Liquors. Every thing in the store is 1 dollar over cost so its worth it to do a little binge shopping. As usual we arrived early, each grabbed our own cart and went a-gathering. Christy picked up 86 litres of boxed wine while I grabbed 22 handles of rum. Not bad for opening day. With so much of our adult beverage needs met on the first day Christy soloed the second day. She picked up another 50 litres of wine and 6 handles of rum. We should be set. I hope. If not there might be an issue.

I'm in the midst of making new dinghy chaps.
I don't like doing it but we find them to be a necessary evil.
A couple of yards of Sunbrella, some UV resistant thread, all the swearing the neighbors can stand and I’m suddenly a 1 man sweatshop.

At work I’ve recently had an interesting couple of jobs. This catamaran had an electrolosis issue. Yes, in the photo you can see completely through his saildrive.
Great access led to a quickly swapped transmission and drive leg in a touch over 4 hours. The owner was pretty happy about the lower than estimated labor cost since he had just dropped almost $7000 on the new parts.

While I’m on the subject of catamarans. This is another of those Nautitech Cats where the helmsman is sitting out practically on the sugar scoop exposed to the elements.
This little bench seat is inboard on the stern rail so the Captain and the admiral can both be seated near each other while broiling in the sun.
Of course it helps if the person seated there has an ass the size of a 9 year old child. What were they thinking? The average skateboard is twice the size of this “seat”.

On the monohull front I got to install a watermaker on a 51 foot Passport Yacht. It is a modular unit but all of the components fit nicely under the vee berth. The guys owned and lived on the boat for about a year and I couldn't believe that there was a space this large in a liveaboard that didn't have anything in it.

The thru hull for the watermaker had been installed during the original commissioning so that made things that much easier.

Locating a spot for the brine discharge was a bit challenging but other than that the install went very nicely and in less than 30 hours the guys completely automatic system is making high quality H²O.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 17, 2013.

Today was a great day at work. No, not another day of dealing with other people's fecal adventures. Solar panels.

I really enjoy installing alternative energy on people's boats. Today was a first for me though. I've installed a lot of traditional hard panels like the very popular Kyocera 130's. Today's panels were Solbian 100's.

When I first heard about the Solbian flexible panels I had some preconceived notions. I know that flexible panels are less efficient than rigid panels but evidently that has recently changed. New generation flexible panels can actually generate an impressive amount of power. So with the output difference between rigid and flexible panels being negligible there’s not really a downside to flexible panels except....the price.

Good flexible panels like the Solbians cost about 3 times as much as what rigid panels cost. After today's installation I realized that even with the higher price the flexible panels are competitive because of the ease of installation. In this case the panels are mounted directly on top of the bimini. The panels are attached to the bimini by zippers running around the perimeter of the panels.

I removed the bimini and took it and the panels to a local canvas shop. We laid the panels out on the bimini and the canvas people went to work. For $350 in labor and a $100 for zippers the mounting was pretty much taken care of.

Back at the boat, I remounted the bimini and zipped each panel in place in just over an hour. The topside wiring connections are all weather proof quick disconnect fittings so the wiring is as easy as it could be. Route the wires to the deck, a couple of clamshells and the wirings into the boat.

These panels each have their own regulator. So its mount the regulators, add a couple of terminal strips, fuse the whole enchilada, wire it to the ships batteries and pretty quickly you can be making power.

Even though the panels are a lot more expensive the installation is a lot quicker. If you're paying for labor, the savings could offset the priciness of the panels. I've installed 400 or 500 watts of panels on boats and it can take a couple of days. It just depends on what type of frame you have to build to support several large rigid panels. These flexible panels can be sewn to your existing dodger and bimini and they weigh virtually nothing. So for all those boats that “have no room for solar”, thats all changed....

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September 9, 2013.

The eldest girlchild called us the other day and invited us to a wedding. Hers. Weddings are fun so whenever we're invited, we do our best to attend.

The ceremony was to be performed at the City Hall in Manhattan, NY. Being new to all this, I found the whole process interesting. They had to go to the city a few days before the big day to pay for and pick up their marriage license.

On Monday we all trekked to the city to meet at City Hall at around 1100 hours. The staff averages about 70 weddings a day beginning at 0900. Just like a New York deli when you arrive the bridal party gets a number.
There were hundreds of people seated in a long narrow room waiting for their turn at entering the Marital Bliss Regatta. There were overhead screens showing what number marriage was being performed. We had 21 weddings ahead of us so we all strolled outside and hung around in the Bridal Gardens.

It was a nice shady spot with flowers and benches. The trippy thing was that there were always at least a dozen brides milling about. There were small clusters of family all around and each one had its own bride. It was kinda like an 80's music video.

New York is one of the states that have approved same sex marriages so throughout the day I saw girls marry girls, dudes marry dudes and some of the traditional guy/ girl weddings. I even got to see guys dressed as girls get married. It didn't matter who was marrying who, everyone was pretty darned happy. It would have made the day if someone had had an inter-species wedding but alas there were no barnyard animals anywhere to be seen. But it was still quite the show.

When our number was called the kids had to sit and sign the paperwork before moving into one of the several marriage chapels where the actual ceremony was performed.
After a quick bite to eat we all walked to the center of the Brooklyn Bridge to take a few pictures.
Then it was a 20 block forced march to the small restaurant that the kids had had their first date in oh so many years ago.

It ended up being a wonderful day and fun was had by all.  Allow me to present Allyson and her husband Sunil of the Veranda Clan.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 8, 2013.

This week we had a call from a captain whose “bilge pump alarm went off every time he flushed the toilet”. Ut oh, crap.

I went down to the boat, a 44 foot catamaran, to check things out. I figured that if the bilge pump was going off every time the toilet flushed, then there had to be a fecal parade making its way into the bilge. Simple right? its not like it takes Columbo.

So I pulled up the portside floor boards and found the bilge full of poopy and a swarm of house flies. Great. Give me some latex gloves and I don't mind dealing with bilge crap. But the swarm of shit fed, free range house flies spinning around my head brought the crapiness up a level. Oh look, once your gloves are covered in shit you can't really swat the flies either. Great.

I figured that there must be a major plumbing leak so that when the captain flushed the head it flowed into the bilge rather than into the holding tank. Then the alarm would go off when the bilge pump was activated to pump the water overboard. So I flushed the toilet and watched as the water flowed into the bilge from someplace forward in the boat.

Then the alarm went off but the bilge pump didn't activate because the water wasn't high enough to lift the float switch. Huh? The plumbing all looked intact so I flushed it again and once again watched as water headed for the bilge. The alarm was already blaring when the float switch activated the pump and drained the bilge. With the bilge empty the float dropped and the pump stopped but the alarm continued to wail.....

It turned out that the “alarm” wasn't the bilge alarm but the holding tanks “high level alarm”. The holding tank was completely full, triggering the alarm and since the vent hose had popped off its fitting a quarter inch fecal water pistol was spraying against the inside of the hull every time the toilet flushed and shite was making its way to the bilge.

So it seemed that the good captain had neglected to pump out his holding tank for quite some time. So it wasn't a plumbing issue at all. I'm still astonished to find the answer to some issues is so simple. You fill the tank, you've got to empty it. At some point the captain has to be smarter than the boat.