Saturday, November 30, 2013

Anchor roller

Before starting this next boat project, we had a fabulous Thanksgiving, thanks to Frances, who really knows bow to do it. She makes her own pie crust and that, together with apples that were given to us by our dock mates, Lou and Janie, turned out a prize winning apple pie.

Even the turkey seemed just right, as did the squash, mashed potatoes and creamed onions. We say this every year, but this really was the best Thanksgiving!

On Saturday, we returned to our next boat project. Replacing the old anchor roller with one that would accept our new 35 lb. hinged plow anchor.

In previous posts, we showed us removing the old roller and cleaning the bow pulpit.  Now it was time to buy a new anchor roller.

We researched all of our alternatives (there weren't all that many) and decided on a Windline CRM-1 roller. Prices on the internet were all over the place but we settled on Defender Marine, which is close to us so we could actually see it and measure it. We saw this particular roller for almost $350 but at Defender, we paid $169.99 and we were able to talk to some real boaters who knew what we were trying to accomplish.

Then we drove back to the boat and test fit the new roller. Are any of these boat projects ever really easy?

Of course, the new roller doesn't fit the holes in the pulpit used by the old one. We'll have to close the old holes up with some epoxy and filler. We're not sure that the roller is far enough forward of the edge of the pulpit. The old roller that held our 18 lb Danforth stuck out much further.

Mounting this thing will take a little thought. We can't reach the pulpit using our regular ladder so we're going to have to bring down an extension ladder. The new roller is 3/16" thick steel, so drilling that should be fun, but doable.

We also brought home one of the two little ladders that hook on the cockpit coaming. The coaming is high and without these little ladders, it's really a big step to get on or off the boat.

This ladder was on the boat when we bought it and three years ago, we disassembled it and refinished the teak steps. We bought a second ladder that was almost an exact match for the original but it had oak steps.

Given the use this ladder has had over the past three years and the fact that it is outside in the cockpit all the time, it really isn't in bad shape, except that one of the rubber feet had given up the ghost.

When we refurbished this ladder the first time, we stripped the steps completely and applied five coats of Sikkens Cetol Marine Light. Even after being stepped on literally thousands of times since then, the Sikkens is still in very good shape. Only the step edges need attention. But, since it's home and it's cold outside, we'll disassemble it again and see if we can build up some Sikkens on the wear points.

Not very exciting, we know, but it's part of the fun we get out of maintaining our boat.

Sunday morning presented us with some ice here in Hartford. At 7 AM, we backed the car our of our garage and then slid all the way down to the street. Not a great way to begin a quiet Sunday morning.

Within a couple of hours, the ice melted and we decided to load one of our extension ladders into our station wagon and take it down to the boat yard. We wanted to get access to the bow pulpit so we could see how the new anchor roller would mount.

Perfect. We'll leave the ladder at the boat, locked to one of the jack stands, just in case someone else decides that they need our ladder.

What we're trying to figure out now is how far forward to mount the anchor roller. The old one, with the 18 lb. Danforth, stuck out a lot farther than this.

Maybe someone at the Silverton Owners Club can help us with this.

Below is a video we created about applying CPES to the teak strips we took off of the bow pulpit. If you know us, just skip the video. It's fairly boring and the audio levels are too low. But it gave us valuable practice in editing and with things the way they are, knowing that is a good thing.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

In the shed

The boat came out of the water last Monday and from the looks of the place, so did a lot of other boats. When we left last weekend, the docks in the shot above were full. From what we understand, the yard crew worked even through the rain to get almost everyone out. Today they looked tired and were allowed to quit at noon.

Ken and Elsie Gouin, who own the yard, head off for Florida each year on the day after Thanksgiving and Ken likes to know that the majority of the winter storage boats are where they are supposed to be before he leaves. Ken's middle son, Wayne, heads up the crew.

During the summer, Ken and the crew leveled more area in the front of the yard to gain additional  space, especially for bigger boats. As part of that, they they buried utility lines and installed water and electricity for that new area. Ken is a retired shop teacher who can do just about anything.

As you can see it's a little tight in the shed but it always is. We know most of the owners of the boats around us so it doesn't make any difference. (Just noticed how crooked the boat name is on our bow. We'll fix that too.)

Chances are, by next weekend, they will have moved those mast dollies in front of us and put a boat or two there.

We left our bridge enclosure up this year and it is a tight fit. Looks like we have about a foot a foot between our top and the underside of the shed roof.

If we were three or four feet over to the left, the top would have scraped on a girder that runs from the back of the shed to the front. This parking is all done with a hydraulic trailer pushed by what was once an airplane tug.

While we were there today, we wanted to measure the bow pulpit once again.

We were interested in knowing what the distance was between those railing bases (5-3/4") before we go out and buy a new anchor roller. We don't know if the new roller will even mount that far back (we doubt it) but it's probably better to know this stuff before before we visit Defender in Waterford.

Down memory lane
We've been at Portland Riverside for 27 years. Our Silverton is the third boat we've had during that time. The first one ("Mad Dog") was a 28 ft. Luhrs (wood) that we bought from a guy in this yard. It needed quite a lot of TLC and in those days, it was easy to get a crew to help: just give them a lot of supervision and a case of beer.

Here we were in July, 1986 and that old boat still wasn't quite ready to go in.

Amazing. I think Bill still has those shorts.

That old Luhrs leaked just as all those clinker-built boats did, but we took it all over and had lots of fun with it. When we bought the second "Mad Dog," a 32 ft. Chris Craft Sea Skiff, we gave the engine in the Luhrs to someone who had ruined his by not winterizing it properly. Then the crew at Portland Riverside kindly cut the Luhrs up with a chain saw and burned the pieces during the winter  in the wood stove in their shop.

Can't do stuff like that any more.

The river looked pretty nice as we got ready to leave. But the winter boating season has started and we have already started a list of things to do.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Yes, the boat is still in the water

They just didn't have time to pull it out and put it in the shed. The docks are thinning out, however. Pretty soon, they will be removing the docks, too.

It was a beautiful day here in Connecticut so we decided to do a little more work on our bow pulpit. If you've been following, we removed the anchor roller and little teak trip strips last weekend and it made sense to us, since the boat was still there and we could work on the pulpit, why not try to clean it up while we could still reach it?

There was lots of accumulated dirt under where the roller and the trim pieces had been fastened. We ran some 400 grit sandpaper over the pulpit and noticed that it was mostly just dirt. Then we squirted on some cleaner and scrubbed it with a brush. The results were okay. There was still some crap on the pulpit but we have to think that it will be covered with the anchor roller.

Before we started, we mounted our cam in its usual place on the bridge and unzipped the front window. The video that resulted (highly ended for length) is of almost no interest unless you know us, and even then, you might just nod off while watching it. But it was fun making it.

After that, we came home and did what most other property owners around here do at this time of year: raked leaves. We tried to make stop-motion video, but since Frances wasn't here to help, it wasn't the crazy Bill-runs-around the yard video that we had planned. More snore, but fun for us to watch when the snow is flying outside our kitchen window, as it soon will be.

On Sunday, we went to work on the teak trim strips that we had taken off the anchor pulpit. They were pretty well abused with lots of raised grain and embedded varnish and who knows what else.

We hit them with a belt sander and finished off doing the edges by hand. They will be fine once refinished.

The picture at the beginning of this chapter is of one of our vacuum bags.  We love these things because all of our towels, pillows and other stuff are vacuumed down into a half-dozen easily storeable containers. What would fill both of our v-berths, sucks down to six bricks that can live in the  bottom of a closet for the winter. Frances inserts a clothes dryer sheet into each one before compressing them.

The video is somewhat silly but, what the hell, it's just boating, off season. That makes us all a little crazy.

In the coming weeks, we'll get back to real boating.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Last weekend in the water

Portland Riverside Marina is just about full. There were six boats scheduled to come up the river for storage this weekend and we saw at least two or three arrive. We were busy taking the last of our stuff off the boat when this sailboat pulled in.

The Captain of the sailboat said they had run aground just south of the boatyard. "The depth just went to two feet in no time."  Right. This must be his first winter here. The river does that to you if you aren't watching the charts carefully.

It must have been cold coming up the river, judging from the way the were dressed.

We took more stuff off than we usually do because we want to make some "critical" repairs such as adding reading lights in the v-berth and fixing the leaky faucet in the galley. Both of these projects require access to space that is usually filled with stuff, so off it goes.

We will also replace the old Danforth anchor. It's marked 18 lbs. and that's way too small for a boat the size of ours, as we found out the last time we tried to anchor at Block Island.

 We bought a hinged plow anchor several years ago but it wouldn't fit in the existing anchor roller.

That's because plow anchors require a different roller. This particular anchor is a 35 lb. size and from what we've read, that should give us the holding power we need. Now we'll have to buy the right roller and while we're at it, refurbish the anchor pulpit. That's a good winter project.

The inside of the boat looks nothing like it does in the summer and that's okay for now. We'll unpack everything in the spring.

We just had to shoot a photo of this before we left on Saturday. This houseboat (or whatever you call it) is on a mooring not far from where we are docked. It is truly a cottage on the water. Someone built this thing and even added solar panels to the roof to recharge its batteries. It has a front porch and a cooker and what looks like a couple of kitchen cabinets. It might even have a head, but let's not even think about how that might work. Insurance and registration?  Probably not, but we have to admire the effort.

On Sunday morning, we began talking about the anchor roller and how we were going to get it off. Once the boat is up on jack stands, it will require quite a tall ladder to reach the underside of the pulpit. But why not take it off right now when we can stand next to it at the dock?

That's what we did. Luckily, the anchor shackle cooperated and we were able to remove the anchor from the rode. The anchor roller (it appeared to be original equipment) was bolted to the pulpit with 3 four-inch long stainless bolts and nuts. They put up a fight but did come off.

We also removed the six teak trim pieces that were screwed to the pulpit. It looks as though they also had never been taken off. We'll refinish them over the winter and while no one will ever notice how good they look once the are reinstalled, we'll know that things have been done right.

The pulpit now looks pretty bad. Most of that is just dirt and mold and it should clean up nicely.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Winterizing the boat

Of course, it had to be a beautiful day, a perfect one for a fall cruise. But, we're here in Portland with lots of other boats and since we understand cold weather is coming, it's time to begin winterizing the engines and the boat plumbing.

The video is a little shaky. Our tiny camera really needs some support but here's what it looked like as we got ready to winterize the engine.

We bought all the stuff we'd need two weeks ago. Twelve gallons of pink antifreeze, three gallons of engine oil and two oil filters. Turned out the oil filters were the wrong ones. How did we possibly buy Fram PH-6 when we needed PH-8A?  How long have we been doing this? Luckily there was a NAPA close by so the right filters were easy to get. Guess we'll make a note of that in our boat log.

As you probably know, this is a sloppy process. We had a large quantity of puppy training pads in stock and we used them to sop up any oil that might be spilled. Our method is to crack the oil filter loose with a filter wrench and then slip a zip-lock bag around it. The filter and all the oil in the lines are caught by the zip-lock bag. The filter drops into the bag, we zip the bag up and we are ready to go.

The photo shows our remote oil filter assembly. We learned long ago that the engine mounted filters were much too difficult to change without spilling lots of oil into bilge, so we installed these. The remote filter assemblies were inexpensive but the oil lines that we had made at a local shop were not. But, that oil going through the filters is pretty important so spending a little for really high quality hoses is really worth it.

We pre-filled the new oil filters by sticking a funnel in the bottom and pouring in new motor oil. It takes a while to really fill the filters but once filled, it's easy to screw the new filter in. We like the Fram filters because they have a rough coating applied to the bottom that makes them easy to grip when oily. We also wear elastic gloves and when this process is complete, we will have gone though at least two pairs.

Then it was time to pump the oil out of the engine oil pans.  We now use a vacuum pump and after going through three or four electric oil change pumps that stopped working after one or two seasons, we began using this one. We had warmed the engines oil by running each engine for about 30 minutes before we got started.

The directions for this pump say to pump the handle 16 times. (The tube from the pump is pushed down though the dip-stick tube.) Sixteen pumps gets us about a quart but when we recharge by pumping 16X a few more times, we get 4-1/2 quarts from each engine. Each ring on the pump appears to be a quart. This is our third season with this Marpac Fluid Extractor pump and unlike other more expensive electric pumps, it continues to work just fine.  Two guys at the boat yard stopped us and asked us about the pump. It can be bought at Defender Marine for less than $60.00.

After that, we poured a gallon of Rotella 10-W30 oil into each engine and then started each one to check the oil level.  The oil lines to the remote filters also have to be filled, so neither engine showed "full."  We added some oil to fill the remote filter lines and the oil change part was complete.

Next we began the process of filling the engine cooling systems with antifreeze. We've found over the years that we feel comfortable with three gallons in each engine. We have fresh water cooled engines so the pink antifreeze is only protecting part of the heat exchangers and the exhaust elbows. It doesn't take much before we see pink coming out of the exhausts.

Our method of adding the pink antifreeze isn't very elegant although it always works. We use a big old five gallon bucket on which we mounted a fitting, a shut-off and a length of hose.  Don't laugh. We're cheap New Englanders.

Then hose from the bucket is connected to a "T" fitting on the seawater intakes for the engine. Sure, it drips a little but it only takes two or three minutes before the seawater pump on the engine has sucked the bucket almost dry.

Did we "fog" the engines? This year, we didn't, only because we didn't have any Marvel Mystery oil on hand and we we don't like pouring motor oil down the carbs. We think the engines will be okay for the next six months without fogging.

After finishing the engine winterizing, it was time to do the boat's fresh water system. We have 45+ gallon water tank that was almost full. (Shouldn't have been, but that's another story.)

We opened the faucets in the head and galley (both hot and cold) and let them run to empty the tank. It's amazing how long that much water takes to run out.  Once the pump started to spit air, we shut the faucets and added six gallons of the same antifreeze to the water tank. Then we opened the hot water faucets and waited until we saw red antifreeze coming out in the sinks. Notice we said hot water faucets. We don't disconnect and drain our hot water heater separately. We simply run antifreeze though it very thoroughly. Once we saw pink from the hot water side, we did the same thing for the cold water lines.

It's really great to see pink stuff coming out of those faucets and the head.

 Bet this is the only blog that will show you a marine head at mid-flush!

To finish up, we opened the deck hose that Frances uses to wash off the deck and water her flowers. We also poured antifreeze down into the shower sump until the pump came on and opened a "T" at the air conditioning cooling pump line that is much like the ones on our engines. The AC pump isn't self priming so it takes a while to get it to suck, but it eventually goes. We run a full gallon of antifreeze through it although that may be much more than we need.

Pink antifreeze is now everywhere and it's time to complete unloading the boat, which we at least started on Sunday. Never realized how much stuff we have on this boat!

Yeah, we know. We say this every year.