Sunday, June 30, 2013

A good weekend to stay at the dock

Our plan was to head out to Greenport, Long Island for a Friday-to-Monday weekend but the weather looked poor, so we stayed home. Nothing wrong with that, as it turned out.

Dock mates Bob and Diane's flowers looked great and ours will too, as soon as we get them going.

Saturday afternoon was devoted to watching our neighbors Lou and Janie put up the top on their Four Winns. They do this every year and it never gets easier. Beautiful boat but the snaps never get easier to put back on.

It never did rain but we were glad we stayed around. Sometimes, just spending time with others on the dock is really fun. Over the years, we have gotten to know each of them and it is nice to spend some time just chatting and seeing what new toys we have all accumulated.  This year, it's a new electric grille.  Frances wants one and we suspect, she'll find one at a great price.

Cocktail hour on A-Dock arrived at 5 PM under a nice bright sun. If you are reading this, have a boat and sometimes take a drink, these pictures probably won't look any different than what you have experienced. It's so nice to catch up after a long winter and a wet spring.

Our friends John and Joanne have new Lab puppy. What a great addition to the dock and she shows every indication of being a great boat dog.

Sunday dawned gray and cloudy but there were still lots of things going on on the dock. Frank and Barbara wanted to install a Rudder Position Indicator on their 351 Silverston and as soon as the engine hatches went up, the guys gathered, me included.

These things aren't easy to install but Frank figured it out even though he was going to have to make up some parts that the manufacturer didn't include.

We couldn't let the day pass without doing something useful ourselves so we tackled cleaning our inflatable, which we hope to use next weekend. It was really filthy, having not been cleaned since last year.

A half a bottle of "Magic Roll-Off" and some serious scrubbing with a scruffy pad and the old dink looked good enough to use.

Looks pretty good, huh?

Next it was time to move our dock mates Sue and Ron's nice new hard-bottom dink from our dock to the Norwich boat launch so they could could put it on their trailer and take it to have the Weaver davits mounted.

I volunteered to run the boat with Sue as my co-captain. This would be an adventure over uncharted waters but Ron and Sue trusted me. We boarded and gave the 1992 Tohatsu outboard engine a pull on full choke.  Off she went and on the second pull the engine idled perfectly.

We had some difficulty getting out from behind their boat (long story, not worth detailing here) but soon we were out on the big water.

Truth be told, we only had to run about 300 yards to the boat launch but it was still a fun cruise. We stopped briefly so that Frances could take these pictures.

Ron was waiting with the trailer and the new dink came out with a few cranks of the line.

Speaking of Ron, we celebrated his birthday on Sunday. Despite his expression in the photo below, Ron is a very observant and funny guy. He never seems to miss anything and always has a quip that is expertly delivered. We were surprised that he agreed to wear the birthday crown, but he did.

Happy birthday, Ron!

Next weekend is July 5 so we'll be at the dock and once again, not cruising. A-dock is always fun though and it appears that it will be pot luck and fireworks on Friday night. We're bringing chili so there may be fireworks in us as well as over our heads.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Buff, the magic polish

Our cruise to Greenport, Long Island had to be postponed due to a death in Frances' family. That sad occasion was made a little nicer when we got a visit from Frances' sister, Tina, who had flown from Oregon for the funeral.

Tina has been on our boat before and was quite at home there. Dinner preparation on Saturday night was accompanied by lots of chatting, as you might expect.  Tina is a regular reader of our blog so it's fitting that we include a couple of pictures of her. Actually, we had a really nice time.

 Frances also got to show off her collection of fine wine glasses, all plastic, of course. We really don't know where that woman stowes all this stuff.

 After dinner, our dockmate John Hanks offered to take Frances and Tina on a ride up the Yantic River to "Indian Leap," a very nice waterfall about two miles upriver from our marina. Off they went for a very scenic ride in some very shallow water.

 The last time we tried this with our inflatable, we ran aground many times. John was smart enough to make the trip at high tide.

Buff Magic
Knowing that we weren't going for a cruise this weekend, we arrived on Saturday morning prepared to apply some polish to the bridge, cabin and cockpit. We did the hull before the boat went into the water and it was a lot more work that we expected.

We have to begin my admitting that the Gelcoat on our boat isn't in very good condition. We had washed the boat thoroughly last weekend and now attacked the old Gelcoat with Shurhold Yacht Brite Buff Magic (a compound of some kind) and then Shurhold Pro Polish. To make it even more fun, it was sunny and about 85 degrees. (Yes, you can apply these two products inn the sun.)

The result was interesting. First, the Buff Magic, which we applied and removed by hand, without a polishing wheel, takes off every stain and surface scratch and any oxidized Gelcoat that is on the surface. It also cleans up stainless steel fittings and railings very nicely. We came equipped with a couple of dozen terry cloth rags that we use to wash the cars and we used every one of them. Buff Magic really loads up the terry cloth rags quickly and when that happens it is much more difficult to get off completely.

The directions say that there's enough material in that can to do a 40 ft. boat. It turns out that there was just enough to almost do our 34 ft. boat. Maybe we were using it too heavily.

After the Buff Magic, we applied the Pro Polish, which looks and feels like ordinary car polish but is supposed to actually penetrate the Gelcoat and protect it.  We sure as hell hope it does.

On our old Gelcoat, we didn't get a glassy shine but we did get a very smooth surface. It was easy to tell where the Pro Polish stopped just by brushing a finger over it. Probably good enough for this year because we'd rather be cruising that polishing.

The application of Buff Magic to stainless steel is worth mentioning. It takes off every bit of stain and corrosion and will turn a 2 ft. square application cloth black very quickly. If that's followed by Pro Polish, stainless railings and fittings look absolutely beautiful even if they are 33 years old as ours are.

While out Gelcoat doesn't look like new or even close to it, it is remarkably clean.

No amount of washing could ever make our cockpit look like this. With the Pro Polish on it, water beads up everywhere so maybe those nasty black rainwater won't collect as fast.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Finally, two nice days

This weekend was nice after five days of rain. The good news is our new hatch didn't leak and the first thing we did was to mask the hatch and apply deck paint around it to cover the scuffs and stains left after removing the old one. It's not a very good picture but the result was a nice, neat installation.

We also found some time to mount our Icom IC-V8000 ham radio on the bridge. We wrote about fabricating a mount for for this radio last winter and we had everything done except the antenna. We ended up using a GAM Electronics antenna that was tuned to  2-meters. These antennas are very well made and don't require a ground reference. In fact, with the GAM adapter, it mounts on a 4-ft. Shakespeare marine antenna extension so no wires show. After soldering on the antenna connector, we made our first contact with a station in Waterford, CT via a repeater nearby in Norwich.

But this blog is about boats so we'll get back to that subject.

On Sunday morning, we started the day washing the boat. We used one of those green "scrubby" pads to peel off the grime from the deck and cabin sides and there was a lot of it. The boat really hasn't bee washed thoroughly this year so this took a little time.

After that, Bill headed down to the engine space to "check the fluids." We know, checking the fluid levels in the engines, transmissions and v-drives isn't something that most boat owners do often but our machinery is 33 years old and we try to respect that. So, down we went. Yes, you have to crawl all the way to the back of the engines to check the v-drives.

Turns out, the fluid levels were all good.

Weather permitting, we're heading out to Greenport, Long Island next weekend. We were going to take the boat over to the fuel dock and spend some money on refueling but it didn't make much sense to untie all the lines, hoses and cables just to refuel and then have to do it all again when we came back to the dock.

New dog on A-dock
Our dockmates John and Joanne arrived this weekend with a new puppy. She's a back lab and just seven weeks old. No one on the dock could encounter this beautiful young puppy without stopping to pet her and she loved the attention. She pees on the dock right now but in a few weeks, she'll grow into those big paws and we hope, become a great boat dog.

Here she is with her boss, John, and our friends Janie and Lou.

Don't you just love that face? We mean the dog's face.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Replacing a hatch

We began planning the replacement of our large center hatch early last spring. The original equipment hatch, a Taylor-Made, that is no longer made, had given us pretty good service until one of the arms that locks it shut, broke off. Then it started to leak and since it is directly over the v-berth where we sleep, the hatch needed to be replaced.

Some searching around the Silverton Owner's Club yielded the fact that a hatch that would match the opening in the deck was no longer available. The opening was 22-1/4" x  22-1/4"  and after a lot of Internet research, we found a Bomar hatch that was 22" x 22."  Good enough, we thought.

When you measure these hatches you also have to consider the radius of the corners. The corners of the Old Taylor-Made hatch had quite tight radii and once we got the new hatch, we found that the corners on the new hatch were different.

Put more simply, a 22" x 22" hatch will fit in the 22-1/4" v 22-1/4" opening only if the shape of the corners are the same. In our case there wasn't an exact match.

Here's our deck with the old hatch removed.

To make the new  hatch fit, we had to enlarge the corners. We did that with a rasp fit to our electric drill.  It took a while and a number of test fits but finally, the hatch dropped into place.

The hole in the deck looked like this before the new hatch was dropped into place.

That blue tarp is there to keep the shavings from ending up in our bed.

Based on a recommendation from Defender Marine (where we bought the hatch), we bedded the new hatch in 3M Marine Adhesive Sealant Fast Cure 4000 UV. Hopefully, this stuff will work, although it is the same sticky white consistency that makes you wish you never owned a caulking gun. We cleaned up the residue with MEK, although other solvents will work.

Here's the new hatch in place. Let's hope it doesn't leak.

A couple of words about this Bomar hatch. After finding it on the Internet, we ordered it through Defender Marine, a company near us and one that we trust.. When we ordered it, Defender warned us that Bomar/Pompenette was "very slow." Turns out they were right. It took almost three months for our hatch to arrive at Defender. Our cost was $479.

The new hatch is powder coated aluminum and has two nice friction arms to hold the hatch open at any angle.The hatch window is darkened acrylic that looks okay now. Let's see how it stands up. We hope to sleep under it, nice and dry.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer begins with "Puppy Pads"

A couple of weeks ago, we noted that during our trip from Portland, Conn. to Norwich, we developed a pin-hole leak in one of our hydraulic steering lines. The tubing had rubbed against the arm that connects the two rudder posts for 33 years and the hose finally wore through.

The fittings on the ends, we learned, are reverse flair fittings and although everyone told us that any good hydraulic shop could make a new hose with these fittings on it, that turned out not to be true. We visited three companies that make hydraulic lines all day long and not one of them had the parts to make up a new section of line.

Then we called, also known as Southern Charm,  and in three days we had a new section of hose and right fittings for the ends. We knew boaterstore because they rebuilt our upper helm a couple of years ago. They are really a good source for parts and service for the Hynautic steering systems used on so many Silvertons and other boats.

It took about five minutes to  make up the new hydraulic hose.

We added a short section of plastic water hose over the nylon hydraulic hose to protect it from chafing after it was installed.

The new hose was a pain to install and we won't bore you with what it takes to bleed the air out of the lines after the new hose was in place and a full quart of new hydraulic fluid was added. It took us more than an hour but ti was worth it. Our steering is back to normal and we learned a lot about how it works.

After all of that, we were left with the hydraulic fluid that had leaked out from the old hose into our bilge.  Our bilge always has some water in it because that's where the water from our air conditioner goes. (Note to self: fix that next winter.) We needed to soak up that oily water with something and we discussed a number of alternatives. Bill suggested buying 50-60 sanitary napkins. They soak up stuff, right? Frances pronounced that they would be much too expensive. Then we came across Puppy Pads and  for $10, we bought a bunch at a nearby Ocean State Job Lot.

We packed a number of them into the well around our aft bilge pump and some along the stringers where the bilge water was oily. Then we left them to see what would happen.

This weekend we opened the engine covers and there they were, every Puppy Pad full. We used plastic gloves when we pulled out each pad and put it in a large, waterproof garbage bag. We've taken them all home for disposal at a site that accepts oil-contaminated material.

Our bilge has never been cleaner.

This weekend, Pooka, our boat cat, returned for another summer of fun. He jumped out of his carrier as though he had never left and took up watch at the door.

Boating is all about having fun and this guy knows how to do it.