Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Launching the boat and a Sea trial

We finally launched our boat after a year of renovation and repairs.  The day started early (for us) because there were still a few things to prepare for.  All the floor boards and cubby-holes that cover thru-hulls were exposed to allow quick inspection.  We also gathered the tools for our rudder installation (we removed the rudder about a week ago to allow us to replace the lower Teflon bushing/bearing).  While we were there (and after inspection), the aluminum housing also had to be replaced.  The plan is to pick up the boat, and while the guys put a layer of paint on the very bottom of the keels, we will be busy re-installing the rudder.  And hopefully we can get it done before they are needing to get us to the water - they don't like tying up a huge lift like this for very long.

On her way back to the ocean

Shiny new rudder housing

Ready to begin the descent 

The rudder only took about 30 minutes and then we let the paint dry for another 30 minutes before heading off.  The launch went great with no real excitement - we couldn't have asked for a more perfect day.  With Chris and Joyce from s/v Saltrun on board, we headed out for our first ever sea-trial.  After Chris got us out of the launching area and headed out to sea, everybody from s/v Catchin' Rays took turns at the helm and getting a feel for the boat. The winds were calm and the sun was bright - just a spectacular day to launch - timing is everything. 

Chris and Joyce arrive to help us with the sea-trial & docking
Tami getting some guidance from Chris

Here I am doing my Captain Ron impression 

Justin acting like its another day at the office

Brandon drives the boat like his Chrysler Crossfire



After a couple of hours, we headed back to port and our new home in the marina.  Justin had the helm and Chris had his back.  Although everything went well, docking a 17,000 lb. boat is a little trickier than expected - you can't man-handle them very well.  We settled into our new home and tried to get everything back in order. 
The motley Crew

The first problem on the new list of repairs are that both mixing elbows on each engine leak due to a small hole although the starboard is much worse than the port (new stainless steel ones are already on order.)  The second problem is the circulation pump on the a/c system leaks at a broken fitting - easy repair, but part two of this issue is that we can't figure out how to even power up the system.  The only other hiccup was that our boat kept tripping the floating dock's breaker - they say that the floating dock has a very sensitive GFI, and for some reason our boat kept tripping it.  So we had to move to another spot by ourselves - thankfully, it was a straight shot to our new location because we had to do it by ourselves.  

Sittin' at the dock of the bay
But all in all, it was a pretty successful day - now we just have to start tackling all the new things on our to-do list.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lifting the Boat

I went back and forth on the decision about whether or not to remove the starboard rudder.  I've known for a long time it had a small amount of movement in it at the bottom - and I did get an opinion on it soon after the purchase.  The first guy told me not to worry about it, that it really doesn't  move that much (about 3/16" front to back) and he maybe right.  But it's been bothering me for about a year now...and the fact that we've repaired or replaced just about everything on the boat except the rudder - one of the most important pieces on the boat - kept gnawing at me.  So, I got another opinion - and obviously this one agreed with me - you gotta fix it.  And the decision to repair our wobbly rudder was set in motion.

First was trying to decide if I thought it was the teflon bearing/bushing and/or the aluminum housing that it goes in.  So the thought behind it on my part was that teflon should wear out faster than an aluminum housing - so for $150, I had France send me two bushings - an upper and a lower.  But in the mean time, I figured that we're pretty handy and we might as well start tearing into it while we waited.  And it really only took about 30 minutes and we were dropping it down - of course it only goes down about 18" before it hits the boatyard surface, but it was enough to see that it wasn't only the telfon bushing, it looked like the aluminum housing was messed up too.  

The never-ending rudder shaft
A frantic call to France was quickly placed even though by this time, it was already 7:00pm in France, but I tried anyway.  To my surprise, Mr. French man answered the phone, and while it was too late to find out pricing or availability, we did set in motion getting the housing here as soon as possible.  

So today, we lifted the boat to get the rudder out so that the housing could be replaced.  And the reason for the post is to express how extremely nerve-racking this process really is.  When you've only seen your boat resting peacefully in a boat yard, to have it picked up 3 feet in the air takes some getting used to.  And we thought 3 feet wasn't going to be enough - seems our rudder post is quite long.  And just when the travel-lift was maxed out on it's lifting capabilities, we pulled the rudder out.  Now its time to get that housing out - wish us luck (you have any ideas how they place a rudder housing in a boat?....we don't either.)

If you need Brandon, just text him, he's usually available
Getting the keels sanded and painted while it was in the air
Don't talk to me, I got a lot on my mind.
The underside of our starboard keel
The whole crew...and Daisy drinking some water

Friday, November 7, 2014

Video - Refit Part 5 - Watermaker and Solar Panels

I'm happy to announce that this will be my last video in the "refit" series that I've been making for the past year.  Although we have a rudder bearing/housing to still replace, we've serviced all 7 of our winches, and there's still a few more things to do - there will be no more in this series, at least for awhile.  I think I have well worn out the welcome when it comes to making repair videos, and am more than happy to move on to the "sailing" videos - starting with, of course, the "splash" video.  Today we watched a 43' Fountaine Pajot Belize - which is almost identical to our boat - get launched, and it was exciting.  The realization that we will be floating in about 2 weeks is pretty cool, and we're all waiting with great anticipation.  So, thanks for watching all the videos up 'till now - now the real fun begins (and I think it will be much more fun for the people that watch my videos and for me too.)  Enjoy.