Monday, February 18, 2013

I am Mortified, Stupified, She is ELECTRIFIED!

Figure 19 - Mast Grounding and Keel Bolt
Well, the winter is wearing on and you can only stay in the basement for only so long.  After working some 35 pieces of teak and miscellaneous woods and by no means done, I was yearning to turn my attention to some else and so I fired up the portable heater on the boat and took on a another project:  This time it was the grounding wire from the mast.  It was  grounded to the front keel bolt.  It was not in good shape and partially broken at the connector. Let's talk about the grounding of this sloop.

[ABYC Recommendations, Marine Advisor, Spring 2001). Being the Constant Marie is a sailboat with an aluminum mast we have the starting point of a well-grounded lightning rod. This will provide a zone of protection for a radius around its base equal to the height of the lightning rod. Due to some vessels overall length, it may be necessary to install another lightning rod to encompass any areas that do not fall within the zone of protection. Don't forget that the mast itself must be physically bonded or connected through to the common ground - one of the keel bolts or if a encapsulated keel, to the grounding plate, in order to provide optimum protection.  In this case, to the Constance Marie's keel bolt.  The apex of the rod should be a minimum of six inches above any masthead device. The end should be sharpened to a point. The base of the mast or the mast step if metal, should be connected to a keel bolt on externally ballasted vessels. The preferred wire gauge is No. 6 or even better, #4AWG stranded copper. In no case should such a connection be made to a vessel with internal ballast. The result could be a hole blown through the bottom of the hull. Boats with internal ballast should have a copper ground plate of at least one square foot in size installed externally on the hull bottom. The grounding wire should then be connected to the ground plate. All wire conductors should be kept as straight as possible. All large metal objects above and below decks should also be electrically tied into the lightning ground conductor. This is a precaution against side flashes. Large metal objects include shrouds, chainplates, toe rails, sail tracks, winches, steering wheels, and bow and stern pulpits. These items can be tied into the ground conductor wire by a minimum #8AWG stranded copper gauge wire, or connected directly to the hull ground terminus.  And that's exactly what I did.

Figure 19
Front of electrical panel
You might remember earlier that the electrical panel was disconnected from all the AC / DC wires in the first days after the Constance Marie was pulled. 

Figure 20
Back of electrical panel
This is the original electrical panel designed for 1980. Hmmm, what was going on in 1980?
Yearly Inflation Rate 13.58%
Dow Jones Industrial Average 963       
Interest Rates Federal Reserve   21.5%
  Average Cost of new house $68,700   

Median Price Existing Home $62,200
Average Income per year $19,500.00
Average Monthly Rent
 Cost of a gallon of Gas $1.19
Average cost new car $7,200.00

Back to reality.  I was looking at an electrical panel that had the alternating current (AC) designed on the same panel as the direct current (DC). Of course the AC is like the power in your house and the DC is like the power provided by the battery in your car.  Things change over time and codes now require that AC and DC be on separate panels but the Constance Marie is a 30+ years old and I chose to keep things functionally normal.  I would focus on the DC conductivity and fix the AC later.  Remember, we moor the Constance Marie and not slip her at a dock as a matter of routine.  I bought some 5 amp, 10 amp and 15 amp circuit breakers to replace the old ones in the panel.

When I purchased the Constance Marie I discovered that I did not have an owners manual for 1980.  I found one for 1979 and could barely read the wiring diagrams, so I created one myself from physically eye-balling things and the little I could get from the documentation.
I did the same for the AC which was alot more simple.  Remember you can click on the picture to enlarge it.
Figure 21 - DC schematic of the Constance Marie
I checked all the wiring on the boat as best as I could and I was surprised to find twisted pair and not solid core.  I spent the next several weeks putting in new galley and berth stainless steel lights, new running lights, fixing the mast ground and putting in three ground fault interrupter (GFI) sockets in the galley, navigation and head areas. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

There's No Place Like Home....

It was a bit dismaying to not be working physically on the boat. After all, that is where all the projects that needed to be done could be found. I decided I would work on sanding all that teak I had removed from the boat earlier.This included all the berth and head sliding doors, clapboards, galley stairs, mouldings, storage cabinet doors, drawers, bulkheads, engine panels, helm cupholder and table and the bildge cover. I would sand them, clean the solid brass hinges and add solid brass cabinet fasteners to keep food stuffs and dishes from spilling out into the galley when heeling 30 degrees. (I have always been a dreamer!)
Figure 17 - Reworking a bulkhead on ye ole workbench 
I have worked with wood in the past and I was hoping that most of the pieces were solid teak, but I forget that boats like this were built for families at the right price.  I found that all the cabinets doors, sliding doors and storage doors were made of teak veneer.  Using a belt sander on such pieces would be risky as you can go right through the veneer and then you are stuck with blotches of the real wood.  Taking off the veneer would not help because the quality of the wood's patina surface would not premit it.  So I degreased each piece using Murphy's Oil Soap.  On the tough spots, I used that handy dandy steamer aforementioned.

Figure 18
Bilge cover and more.
 In removing these teak pieces, there was a lot of hardware to keep track of.  As I examined each piece of brass and stainless, I placed them in different plastic tupperware containers to be cleaned at a later date.

There was the need to continuously remember the guiding principal behind the purchase of the Constance Marie.  The overall intent of working these projects was to learn how a  boat is constructed and how things on that boat work.  This is not a restoration but rather more of a resurrection effort realizing that what I take away in knowledge from these efforts, will serve me well on my next boat. So in working these projects, functionality, not appearance was the driver.  I know that this may not be aligned with the thinking of many, but I have only been a sailor for a couple of years and its the performance I am interested in.  The wooden template with all the circles in it in Figure 19 below, is a shelf inlay in the Key Switch cabinet designed to hold jars or cans of all kinds.  I would place food stuffs like nuts, oatmeal, peanut butter, etc in it.
Figure 19 - CETOL is to Teak like like
honey to a bear's tongue! 
You might notice in Figure 19 also, the difference in the dark and deep maroon unfinished appearance of the drawer faces and a CETOL finished "washboard slat" used to secure the boat's entrance into the galley.  The slat was solid teak wood and a sander worked great.  I tend to like the lighter interior colors on an all fiberglass hulled boat like the Hunter 27, however Mr. Cherubini and the 1980's favored that rich boardroom look.  I guess we will see what we can do over time.  Ecletic might win out.  Hey! It's my boat!