2010 Maintenance Log

4/3/10 | 4/25/10 | 4/30/10 | 5/1/10 | 5/2/10 | 5/3/10 | 5/4/10 | 5/5/10 | 5/6/10 | 5/7/10 | 5/8/10
5/9/10 | 5/14/10 | 5/15/10 | 5/16/10 | 6/2/10 | 9/23/10 | 10/9/10 | 10/10/10

Saturday, April 3, 2010

It was a beautiful, unseasonably summer-like day in what had become an unusually early and pleasant spring after a weird, warm-ish, and minimally snow-filled winter.  I'd had enough of the boatcover, so off it came.

I gave the boat a quick powerwash to remove winter grime, but she looked OK after her long hibernation.  In the coming weeks, I'd work on a short list of annual maintenance chores, with no projects of particular significance planned.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

The month of April evaporated with hardly a trace; I'd barely been aboard the boat since I uncovered her three weeks ago, and here it was, nearly May.  It was time to start really thinking about getting some maintenance work done.

At some point in the next week or two, I hoped to get the boat indoors for varnish maintenance.  Time would tell how the scheduling would work out.

With another beautiful spring day at hand, I spent the morning cleaning the inside of the boat, particularly all the lockers.  For the first time, mice had made a nest in the boat.  I'd discovered last December that some spare rolls of paper towels had been chewed, but at that time I'd not discovered where the bits and pieces had gone.  Without signs of an ongoing infestation, I didn't worry much more about it.

The other day, looking for something in one of the lockers beneath the V-berth, I discovered the nest:  a pile of shredded paper towel, but fortunately little else, though I'd noticed in December that there were a couple holes in the caning on one of the starboard locker doors. 

I found no other particular damage now, though, except for some plastic bags with their corners chewed off.  So I dragged the vacuum up on the boat and cleaned up the mess, and then removed and reorganized everything from these lockers, as well as all the other lockers on the boat.  While each locker was empty (most were already empty, as I'd removed most stuff from the boat in the fall), I washed the inside of the locker to remove dirt and such (minimal) and to freshen each space.

As part of my ongoing effort to reduce the volume of stuff aboard, I removed a few items from the V-berth lockers that I deemed unnecessary (I couldn't believe how many spare fuel filters I had on board, both 2 and 10 micron:  about six of each.  I decided three of each was more than adequate for any filtering emergency), and consolidated my engine spare parts boxes.  I'm not a packrat or hoarding sort, but I do have a thing about being prepared for the unexpected when on the water, so my spares inventory would never be called sparse.

I sorted out various unneeded bits of line and hardware from one of the saloon lockers (why did I have a pair of double cheek blocks on board?  Why did I even buy them in the first place, I wondered?) and cleaned them.  Since the beginning, I've used pieces of that plastic carpet protector--the stuff with the little nubs on the bottom side--to line all the lockers on the boat; the nubs hold the plastic off the hull, and provide an air space.  I've had great luck with it.  IN any event, I pulled this stuff out of each locker and cleaned both sides (just a little residual dusty-type dirt) and the hull beneath before replacing the plastic liners. Most of the usual gear was in storage boxes up at the house, which I'd go through later before replacing it on board.  I thought I'd do this during cold winter evenings, but of course I barely looked at the boxes once I'd stuck them in the basement.

There were a number of hardcover books in the shelves that had lived aboard for a few years, but which I decided need not remain.  Removing them would allow more space for books that we'd actually read aboard this year.

Last year, the fresh water tank became anything but:  the water picked up a nasty taste and odor that made it unusable for anything but washing; I couldn't even make coffee or cook with it.  Now, the water out of the old tank was never particularly delicious, and we never drink the water, but in all the past years I'd never had issues with it tasting through the strong coffee I make, or when using it to cook.

In the fall, at winterizing time, I'd sprayed out the tank with fresh water, dislodging some suspect deposits.  But I wanted to do more, so now I filled the tank full  with a mixture of bleach and water and left it to soak for a a few days and kill off whatever might be in there.  I pumped some of the mixture through the lines as well to allow it to soak the insides of the supply lines.  Later, I'd drain all the bleach water and rinse the tank and lines thoroughly with a few flushes of pure water.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Taking advantage of a brief upcoming break over the weekend between projects at work--meaning that shop space would be available for a few days--I moved Glissando indoors for some annual varnish maintenance.

Before doing so, however, I drained the water tank of its bleach/water solution, then filled and drained it three times with fresh water to rinse out the remains of the bleach and refresh the tank.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

After setting up some staging, I got to work on the brightwork, beginning with the toerails.  The toerails were in generally good shape, though there always seemed to be places where water got beneath the varnish, usually at the lower edge next to the deck, which I never got sealed the way I really wanted to.  But a discussion of all that is wrong with my toerail construction is a topic for another day.

Sometime soon, I'd need to strip the toerails and completely refinish them.  For now I was not going that route.    I scraped away the few loose areas of varnish, then thoroughly sanded the toerails with 220 grit paper.  I also sanded the sea hood, companionway trim, and handrails to prepare them for their own maintenance coats of varnish.


While I was at it, I cleaned up the bronze ports, which were still in quite good condition from last year's annual maintenance:  no failures of the lacquer, and minimal staining.  This meant that cleaning them up was a quick matter of lightly sanding with 220 grit paper to prepare them for new coats of clear lacquer, which I'd do in the near future.

After cleaning up the sanding dust and so forth, I prepared the toerails for varnish my masking off the decks and rubrail.  Because I've had issues in recent years with my normal tape sticking badly to the well-worn Awl-Grip in the boat's channels, I chose to use a low-tack, delicate-surface masking tape on these areas (the blue).  For now, I only masked the toerails, as they needed the most coats, and I didn't have time to do the other areas I'd prepped right then. 

Finally, I applied a coat of varnish to the toerails.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

I began the day with my favorite folly:  refinishing the port frames.  Actually, maintaining the frames would be easy but for the laborious masking required in order to spray the clear lacquer.  I complain about this each year, though less because I don't like it (even though I don't like it) but more in order to pass the word to anyone out there that attempting to maintain a bright finish on bronze ports in this way is a ridiculous idea that I'd wish upon no one, and which idea should be immediately abandoned.

In any event, I spent the better part of two hours masking all the port frames inside and out, and covering surrounding areas with old newspaper to protect against overspray.  Then, after solvent-washing the frames (which I'd sanded yesterday), I applied several coats of spray clear lacquer, satin finish--4 or 5 coats, I don't remember.

Once the lacquering was complete, I removed all the tape and newspaper, taking about 2 minutes to undo two hours' worth of work.



In between coats, I prepared a few more brightwork bits for their varnish maintenance:  specifically the cockpit coamings, lazarette hatch, and swashboards.  All were in good condition and would require only the usual 1-2 maintenance coats.

Once the ports'  lacquering was complete, I masked off some of the brightwork on deck that I'd sanded  yesterday, but not yet varnished:  sea hood, companionway trim, and handrails.  I sanded the fresh coat of varnish on the toerails, then vacuumed and solvent-washed.  Finally, I tacked off and applied a coat of varnish to everything.




Monday, May 3, 2010

In between other projects at the shop, I sanded and revarnished the toerails.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Last year, I was forced to succumb to the dark side:  the white Awl-Grip on deck had reached a point where simple cleaning with mild soap wasn't good enough to improve its appearance.  The problem first manifested itself when, at that time, I found that sanding dust from my annual ports maintenance seemed to have stained the paint and wouldn't come away with soap or solvent.

So, last year began the cycle of minor polishing for these white-painted areas, the first step in an inexorable path to eventual repainting. 

Thus, I was forced to continue the cycle this year.  A quick hand-polish with 3M  Finesse-It finishing material, followed by a protective layer of Awl-Care polymer sealant, returned the cabin trunk areas to an appearance I could accept.

I didn't have time for a coat of varnish on this day, though I sanded and cleaned the toerails in preparation.

Before Treatment

After Treatment

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

To ensure I got the fourth coat of varnish on the toerails, I began my work day by applying the varnish, knowing I'd be working outdoors on other boats for the remainder of the day.

This coat came out well, and I deemed the toerail varnish maintenance complete, with four new coats.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

I worked on a few odds and ends during some spare moments of the day.  I had noticed that my Strong Track on the mast had pulled out the screw that holds it in place at the bottom, so I retapped for the next size screw and installed it.

I installed the stanchions and lifelines, now that the toerail varnishing was complete.


I sanded and varnished the second side of the cockpit coamings:

For a while, I'd been considering removing my mainsheet traveler.   This had become a frequent topic of discussion on board during sailing days in the past year or two.  Simply put:  I almost never used the traveler, and when I did, it was more out of some sense of obligation than anything else.  

That in and of itself wouldn't be enough reason to remove it, but having the traveler where it was, and not being used, impinged on a prime seating area in the cockpit:  the aft deck.  Sailing offwind on an idyllic summer day, I often like to sit on the poop deck, where I can face directly forward, steer with the tiller extension, and have better views.  Having the traveler there was something I could work around, but if I wasn't ever using the traveler, why should I have to sit across the 2" tall device?

Over the years, I found that I could tweak the sail shape satisfactorily with the rigid boom vang, which reduced the utility of the traveler.  Plus, I was just too lazy to mess with it during tacks, for the limited improvement its repositioning ever made on this hardly-stellar-upwind-to-begin-with boat.  In the end, comfort won out over the two times per year that I might grudgingly play with the traveler.

Still, I never considered its removal to be a job of prime import, and I doubted  I'd get to it this year.  So I was as surprised as anyone, on this particular afternoon, to discover that I was ready to tackle the project immediately.   One never knows how the mind will work.

Removal was pretty straightforward.  10 years ago, I installed the traveler with 1/4-20 bolts and polysulfide sealant.  I was able to remove the bolts with relative ease, after which it took a bit of careful prying  to break the hold of the sealant.  Once started, though, the remainder of the traveler released easily.  I scraped away the cured sealant and washed the area with solvent to remove the residue.

Next, I used a large countersink to bore out the tops of the fastener holes, and lightly sanded the top area of the little raised platform where the traveler had been.

I masked off the area, and filled the overbored holes with a fairing/filling mix of epoxy, microballoons, and cabosil, intentionally leaving a bit of the material in between the screw holes by using the tape as a sort of screed guide.    I thought this would make eventual sanding and fairing easier for reasons that made sense to me, but which I can't express on this page.  I pulled off the tape, and left the epoxy to cure overnight.  I'd need a second coat tomorrow.


Friday, May 7, 2010

First thing, I water-washed the epoxy fill, then sanded with 120 grit paper on a sanding block.  After cleaning up, I applied a second coat of filler, this time a fine Alexseal fairing filler.  Again, I masked off the area and filled between the tape with the filler, which I found made it easier to sand the filled holes smoothly with the adjacent areas.


Because the Alexseal filler historically requires at least 24 hours' cure time, I placed some heat lamps over the repair for the balance of the day to ensure that it'd be fully cured by the morning, when I wanted to continue the repair process.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I continued the traveler repair process.  First, I sanded yesterday's fine filler with 120 grit paper to remove most of the excess, then  finished up with 220; I also sanded the entire top surface of the molded platform on which the traveler had been installed, since my paint patching process would involve respraying the entire top surface, as far as the radiused corners.

After completing a few other odd jobs on board, including installing the batteries, I masked off the area to be sprayed, solvent-washed and tacked off, and then, over the course of a couple hours, applied four coats of Alexseal white finish primer using a disposable Preval sprayer.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

It was a good day to take care of most of the engine pre-season maintenance.  I began with changing the fuel filters: two primarys, a 30 micron and a 2 micron cartridge.  I didn't change the engine-mounted secondary filter based on the condition of the primary filters.  Changing the filter cartridges was straightforward enough, though the 30-micron version continued to baffle me with its inability to drain the filter bowl through the supplied petcock; this time I didn't even try, being fully prepared for this eventuality.  Over the years, I'd tried everything I could think of to make this drain work--certainly there seemed to be no reason why it wouldn't work--but I couldn't.   Some things defy logic.

In any event, I changed the cartridges and laboriously refilled the filters with fuel with their supplied plunger pumps.  Maybe I was just getting older and crankier, but this process seemed to take much longer than I remembered.  I could have poured clean fuel into the filter from the top before installation to make the process quicker, but that makes things messier, and besides, I didn't remember it being so time consuming to pump the fuel into the pair of filters.  I might revamp my fuel system next year with a new, single turbine filter and a primer bulb.

Left:  Old 2-micron filter and the fuel that came out of it  |  Right:  Old 30-micron filter and the fuel that came out of it

Afterwards, I reassembled the raw water pump with a new nitrile impeller, and installed a new air filter--the first one in many years, and it probably wasn't critical to do it now.  I needed to change the oil and filter, since I hadn't done it in the fall (my oil-sucking device failed), but that would wait till the boat was back outdoors.


To wrap up the day, I sanded smooth yesterday's primer on the traveler platform, cleaned up, solvent-washed and  tacked, and applied three coats of Alexseal snow white with my little sprayer.

In the morning, I removed the tape and paper.  I'd purposefully left the seam between new paint and old right at the radius of the raised traveler platform for easier blending between old and new.  In another day or so, I'd work to fair and blend the hard, taped paint line between old and new.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Yesterday afternoon, I took a few moments to make up and tack in place a backing plate for the new mainsheet padeye.  I made the plate from 1/2" thick fiberglass and secured it beneath the desired location with hot glue and epoxy adhesive.


With the plate thusly pre-installed, I could drill and tap for the fasteners to secure the stainless steel padeye, completing the project.


Continuing to knock small projects off my list and get the boat ready for launching by the end of the weekend, I painted the bottom.


I installed the cockpit coamings.

Over the winter, I'd had a new Delrin sheave made up to replace the original Bakelite masthead sheave for the main halyard.  It was a simple matter to install it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I love my engine.  After setting up my bucket and hose, and checking everything over, I could barely get my hand on the key before the engine had started; she was very enthusiastic to fire.  But again, the raw water impeller wouldn't pull water out of the bucket on its own and didn't seem to self-prime, an occurrence that I'd been noticing for the past couple years when running the engine on the hard.  I had to shut down and prime the pump, after which it worked fine.

I ran the engine for several minutes--15 or 20--to warm the oil for changing.  At one point, throttling up for a bit, the engine hesitated a bit, a sign of air in the fuel system--air left over from last weekend's filter change.  The engine didn't die, and eventually worked the air through on its own.

After shutting down, I changed the oil and filter.  I used a new motorized pumping system.  Years ago, I'd had one of these self-contained oil changers, but I gave it away to someone when I sold my powerboat and bought a sailboat with an outboard engine.  Of course I'd regretted giving it away ever since, so after last year's frustration with the oil sucking thing that I'd been using, I decided to bite the bullet and buy another real oil changer.  This time, I'm not giving it away no matter what happens.

The new smaller size Yanmar replacement oil filter sure is easier to change than the larger original, which was so tight to the alternator (at least to my oversized aftermarket alternator) that I couldn't get a filter wrench on the filter without loosening the alternator bracket.  The new ones, being roughly 1/2" - 3/4" smaller in diameter (and also shorter) fit in nicely, and are easy to replace.

Oil change complete, I ran the engine again.  Again, I had to prime the water pump--a minor irritation, since it only happens during these test runs, but nonetheless it was an issue I failed to understand.  In any event, after a few minutes' running, I shut down, checked the oil again, and added the requisite bit to make up for the oil filter's capacity.

Afterwards, I loaded a lot of the gear back on the boat:  cushions, life vests, towels, etc.--all the stuff that I'd removed in the fall.  As always, it was nice to put the interior back together again.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Rigging day.  Over a couple separate sessions or an hour or so each, I reinstalled the halyards and rigging, and set the mast down on the pulpits for transport.  This completed the major work required before launching; now all I needed was a launch date, now tentatively--but far from firmly (an issue at the boatyard end, not mine)--set for the week of Memorial Day. 

Over the next couple weeks, I'd load some basic stores on board, wash the boat thoroughly, and do whatever else I felt needed doing, but the boat could go at any time now and, frankly, I wished I'd just wake up and find her magically floating on my mooring, rigged and ready to go.

Tuesday, June 1/Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Launching probably doesn't technically fall into the "maintenance" category, but it is the culmination of the spring's maintenance and preparation efforts, so it seems fitting to include it here.

In the time following the last update, I wrapped up the spring maintenance/preparation chores, including loading some gear and stores on board, and taking care of the final final preparations required for her transport, launch, and rigging.

With the unusually fine weather we'd had all spring, it somehow felt like it was July already, and I felt very late--though I only launched two days later than last year.  In any event, the boat went in the water on June 1, and the next day I delivered her around the 14.6 miles to her mooring in Buck's Harbor.

This year, I even managed to install the masthead wind instruments properly; last year I'd mistakenly installed the anemometer upside down.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

With travel plans for the end of the month, the end of the sailing season came early this year.  I decided I'd be more relaxed if the boat was home before we departed for a week's vacation at the end of September, so on the 18th I brought the boat around to the boatyard on an absolutely gorgeous early fall day (typical); after the boatyard hauled the boat and unstepped the mast, the boat arrived home around mid-day.  I hired out the transport as I'd decided earlier in the summer to keep my truck and trailer for yard-use only.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

After a week's vacation, then a busy week back at work with the usual catch-up, my first chance to deal with the boat--still in her "just-arrived" condition--was now. 

The first order of business was to strip the standing and running rigging from the mast and get the mast up on its winter sawhorses on deck.  With that out of the way, I removed all the gear that needed to come off for the winter:  food and drink, clothing, towels, and all the boat gear from unrigging the boat, such as sails, canvas, and so forth.  You know the drill.  Fortunately, the boat had been relatively minimally loaded (for me) this season, all the more so since we never went on a cruise, so unloading was less of a chore than on some years.  Still, the sheer amount of stuff that comes off the boat every season amazes me.

Afterwards, I drained the water tank, and winterized the engine, head, and water systems.  Once again, the raw water pump on the engine was reluctant to draw in water without my first priming the suction hose.  This has happened each time I've run the engine on the hard for the past couple years.  I got it to pump after priming, but the flow seemed less than usual, so I didn't run the engine longer than necessary to draw some fresh water, and then two gallons of antifreeze, through the system.

Not surprisingly, when I dismantled the raw water pump after shutting down for the last time--which I do each fall--I found that the raw water pimp impeller was shot.  This Globe nitrile impeller, which I installed new this spring, featured tears in five of the six blades, and one blade was completely missing.  I'd not been aware of any cooling water issues during the summer--I check the flow at each use--so perhaps running the pump drier than it should have been had destroyed the impeller during the winterization (though the reason I use the nitrile impellers is that they're supposed to last up to 15 minutes completely dry).

In any event, the missing blade--plus the poor condition of the remaining blades--pointed to the reason the engine, once primed, had not pumped what I thought was a normal amount of water through the exhaust.  I didn't find the missing blade in the pump or the outlet hose, so I removed the hose where it connected to the heat exchanger and found the missing blade there; I was able to extract it from the small hose nipple with two small screwdrivers. 

Perhaps it's time to go back to the normal rubber impellers.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Covered!  What else is there to say; nothing's really changed about how I've done this since 2001. 




Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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