Sunday, October 26, 2014

I Have Returned!


Figure 71
When our 35 gallon fresh water tank
 below the front berth ran out of water, 
we just collected rain water through the
starboard galley portal.  Wing nuts 
had replaced dog ears

It's Saturday and it's warm and sunny. Low 60's. I felt like General Douglas McArthur returning to the Philippine Islands. I was armed to the teethe with Gray Enterprises portals (see below), I wanted to see how long it was going to take to change one out, having never done one before. I started with smaller one on the port side of the front berth. The first task was to remove the 15 interior screws. As these were the original portals, there were also the same number of exterior screws to remove. I went back inside and then carefully used an 8" mini-crowbar, the kind with the 90 degree honed edge, and proceeded to loosen the grip of the silicone that held the plastic portal frame to the interior wall. I was sweating the fact that I may have to make adjustments in the interior wall to accommodate the drain holes at the bottom of the new portal. With some wiggling the portal frame pulled out cleanly. To my joy, Mr. Cherubini and his design team has engineered a two inch slot for just such an event. I returned outside to remove the exterior frame. Remaining outside I sanded the rough edges of the opening and took a razor blade to removing any remaining silicone. I then cleaned the area with acetone. Did the same for the interior.

Figure 72
Gray Enterprises Portal Small


I turned to to find out if there was any information relevant to Gray portals and I was pleasantly surprised to find the exact, but enhanced, portals were available in the small Model 512 and large Model 715 sizes.  I bought all eight (4 small / 4 large).  I chose the following specifications:  white frame, clear lens, angled drain, black screen, white outer ring (new enhancement), white knobs with pin, gasket seal.  For sealant I went to Lowes and bought some GE Silicone II mold resistant slicone caulking for adhesive.  I love the Cherubini 27.  Sure the 30 footer has an entirely different interior with shower and I can stand up in it without bending over, but to me, the 27 is like getting into the equivalent of a Willy's jeep.  Not a lot of horsepower, and it may not be the prettiest boat with all the fiberglass, but everything on this boat works and works well.  It is reliable, responsive, turns on a dime, not that costly to maintain and the hull on this boat looks so good, that you think we had rubbed botox into it. Each portal took about 15-20 minutes to install.  Even I was amazed and to realize that all THESE PORTALS OPEN UP to let those cool breezes flow through the galley while gunk-holing.  Having heeled 35 degrees last year, I realized you don't sail with the portals open, unless of course you want to wash the galley floor with a fresh supply of water.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Third Time Is A Charm

Figure 69 - The future Club President
is driving the tractor while CM is nestled
in Her hammock for a short nap
That time of the year again when the winds begin to exceed 20 knots and the temperature is inching toward below 30 degrees.  For those of you who know the traditions of the Chesapeake Bay, in April we conduct the Burning Of the Socks to mark the opening of our sailing season.  Now it is time to begin to think about buying some new socks as the colder weather is coming.  Well, the Constance Marie is now an experienced member of our family.  She will be 35 years old in 2015. Hmmm, that means that we have owned her 11.67% of her existing life! I power washed her and set about to finalize the plan and schedule next a weekend that I will put in some new portals. This is her third time being pulled.  Everything went well to include putting the landscaping material underneath the boat stands. Big improvement over the past year, especially when the rain and snow manufacture muddy waters.

Figure 70 - Man those boat stands look
good all freshly painted!
Pulling and storing only took about 20 minutes and the engine oil was still hot so I changed the oil as soon as I could get aboard.  As I add more details and pictures later to this Journey, I will show you how I did that.

If you click on the picture to the left, you will notice the wooden footings for the boat stands.  They were made of regular 3/4 inch plywood and pretty much shot.  A few days later, I bought some 4 x 4 sheets of 3/4 inch marine plywood and cut them into one square foot sections.  I hammered two sections together creating 1-1/2 inch footing.  Did this for 15 footings. Took a Saturday afternoon to accomplish.  I then loosened the support panels at the top of each boat stand (ONE AT A TIME) enough to slip three new footings under each boat stand.

Now I am excited because the next project next weekend is to put a couple of new portals replacing the 34 year old originals.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Constance Marie Becomes The Constantly Missing

Figure 58
Cruisin' the Patapsco River where the
Constance Marie was born 35 years

Figure 57
A good wind that day

Frankly, I am tired of doing projects on the Constance Marie.  September is the month our club takes a "DOWN THE BAY CRUISE".  The Constance Marie one of 12 boats to make it this year.  10 days on the water.  Honestly, we used the iron sail most of the time because the winds were not favorable.  We gunk-holed at Worton's Creek, nestled in behind Rock Hall at Swan Creek, all but the Constance Marie went over to Annapolis. With the Beast being only powered by a 10-2, we could not keep up with the 18-30hp monsters. I had two other Vets on board with me.  We discussed our options.  We then realized that the 200th Anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner was being conducted today, Sunday, in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.  As a result there were numerous "tall ships" at port within.  The Sailabration agenda called for the tall ships to depart on Tuesday.  Decision made!  The Constance Marie would gunk-hole in Baltimore's Inner Harbor with the tall ships and sail out with them on Tuesday morning.  May the pictures below tell the rest of the story.

Figure 59
Sunset at Rock Hall
Figure 60
Passing under the Francis Scott Key Bridge
Figure 62
USS Torsk Submarine 

Figure 61
The Gazela and Sultana

Figure 63
Bae Guayas



Figure 64
Whatever Her name is, She is
a beauty
Figure 65
The famous Chesapeake Light Ship

Figure 66
USCG Eagle
So, the Constance Marie disappeared from the fleet for a couple of days while we provisioned the boat in Baltimore for the rest of the trip.  We joined the fleet at St. Michaels after traversing the Kent Narrows straights and its wicked currents.
Figure 67
Kent Narrows starboard side

If you veer off 10 yards you are asking for trouble. So now you know the story of how the Constance Marie became the Constantly Missing.

Figure 68
Kent Narrows port side

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hawaii Five-Oh - LUAU TIME!

Enjoying the summer sailing. Frogging around with keeping things clean, Engine was leaking some fluids and repaired that. Took time off to enjoy the remarkable July winds we are having in the Northern Chesapeake.  Not only once with a  PhD friend of mine, but also a second time with my wife, we took a single tack all the way to Poole's Island - that's over 20 miles. Unheard of around these parts.
Figure 55
Pineapple Burgers are yummy

Our membership is really good at volunteering time to help support the Club.  Friendships are started and welded together through the struggles of just maintaining stuff.  Our members can join a number of committees at their liking: Grounds, Waterfront and Docks, Moorings, Constitution, Education, Entertainment, House, Maintenance are the main ones.  We
need a Strategic Planning Committee.  I am working on that
for 2015.

Anyhow, we had a big turnout at the Club, Lots of Pineapple Burgers and the day finished off with a great touch.  It's nice to just kick back and enjoy good surroundings, good people and good food and drink.  It was a Chessy day!

The view below is overlooking our mooring field.  All told we have about 60-70 boats moored during the season.

Figure 56
Our Rear Commodore's boat moored right next to the Constance Marie.

Friday, July 4, 2014

A Midsummer Nights Dream

Figure 54
Going to a dual battery ACR
enabled system
We put the Constance Marie in the water mid-June. It's starting to get really hot out.  Weather forecasts for June shows that this will be a more windy month than usual.

ACR stands for Automatic Charging Relay.  I wanted to upgrade from one battery to two.  The ACR automatically combines battery banks when charging and isolates the batteries  when discharging.  The start isolation  option protects electronics on board from voltage sags and spikes during engine cranking.

The ACR has two load connectors on its back panel.  "A" connector goes to the positive terminal of the Starting battery and "B" connector goes to the positive terminal of the House battery. Both batteries' negative terminals get connected to a common bus bar.  A 2 amp fuse is between the House Battery and the ACR and between the ACR and the Start Key Switch.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Like a Tick On A June Bug

Figure 52
Garmin 740 mounted above the pedestal over the binnacle
For this month, the major task is to add some needed electronics to the Constance Marie.  By all standards, installing a Garmin and using a hand-held radio for communications is no where near as elaborate as many of the boat systems in our yard.  The Constance Marie is a not a blue-water boat and I doubt She has ever been offshore far enough to lose site of land.  Her home is in the northern waters of the Chesapeake.  Heck, don't even need bottom paint because the water is all fresh until you basically hit the Rock Hall area.  Remember, we have those five great rivers joining together south of the peninsula.

Figure 53
Tie-wrapping of harness and transducer cable
Well, I thought long and hard about how I was going to install the Garmin and the transducer.  I bought it at a great price at the Annapolis Sailboat Show.  Plan A was to place the transducer as far forward as I could go.  I have 20 feet of cable to play with and did not want to get an extension cord for it.  I tried to get an electric sander underneath the head's sink to the left in the corner where the bulkhead meets.  The hull seemed pretty flat there to get the 22 degree or less angle I needed for the transducer to work correctly.  Just could not make it work so we went to Plan B.  Plan B positioned the transducer on the port side storage as far forward as I could get it.  I ran the transducer cable back along the port side storage inside the galley, through the storage cabinet where I have the Battery Switch, into the battery box and through the bulkhead into the engine compartment elevating it be tie-wrapped to the conduit of wires leading to the Instrumentation Panel in the cockpit.

One of most stupid things I did last year was to not run the transducer cable up through the pedestal and binnacle while I had the behind the engine compartment opened up and was working on the muffler and rear drain hoses.

LESSON LEARNED:  Think ahead and try to anticipate the needs of future projects so that you can plan better their approach rather than going to extremes with creative ideas.

Hardware inside the pedestal is tight because the steering is done via a vertical chain leading to a cable system to steer the quadrants leading to the rudder. What I decided to do was to cut a 1 1/2 inch hole through the cockpit floor and run thick walled PVC pipe up to the binnacle.  Hey it's my old boat, not yours!  I did in in such a fashion where I could permently seal the pipe through the floor but disassemble it in two places above the floor of the cockpit for when I needed to gain access.  I then cut some plexiglass and tie-wrapped it to the stainless steel support holding the cockpit table wedging it nice and secure.  I then hooked up the Garmin  to the plexiglass and connected the cable emanating from the verticle PVC pipe.  When not in use, just push the cable into the pipe and cover it. Went back to the transducer, added the polypropelene to the transducer overflowing the angle flange and gently lowered the transducer into its pre-set positioned.  We now have replaced the knotmeet (which I left in the throughhull) and depth gage.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Mother May I?

Figure 51
Frayed lines on the Main Sail Sheet
Last year I noticed that the main sail sheet was frayed and so I decided to replace it now.  The "traveler" system on the Constance Marie is rather unique.  Unlike most boat with tiller setups, the Constance Marie  does not use a traditional horizontal traveler.  As you can see in Figure 51, the main sail sheath system is pretty cool.  40 feet of 1/2 inch line. The Constance Marie is outfitted with Schaefer vangs, and blocks.  I prefer Schaefer because they are durable, reliable and moderately priced compared to its competition.  

You can see just below the block to the far left, the frayed sheet.  This system is meant to control the angle of the mainsail so that you can maximize the wind efficiently. I have no interference moving around and the galley entrance is not incumbered with a horizontal traveler like so many other boats are designed. Way to go Mr. Cherubini!  The Hunter 27 is a very easy boat to sail.  My wife is just over 5 five feet and she skippers the boat as well as I do working the Genoa and Main Sail sheets.  

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April Showers Bring Mayflowers

Figure 49
The Helm area, well, if you dropped
food on it, the three second rule
would be too long!
With April's warmer weather, I took a break from working inside on the features of the Constance Marie and decided to address Her finish.  I would start with the Helm area.  Needed to replace the four stainless steel hinges, clean the dirt, sand the teak pieces, fix the compass binnacle, replace the teak footers that you step onto to get into the boat, placed a new motor support for the dink's engine, cleaned up the ladder and teak steps and put a new stern light on.  The Constance Marie has no bimini.  That project is for next year.  The original knotmeter and depth finder were not working, so I knew that I would want to get them replaced prior to mid-summer. 

April is a busy time around the boatyard.  Manlifts (Fig 50A) be;pw are brought in to allow folks to check out their anchor lights.  Boats are being launched into the moorings field. 

Figure 50
A little sweat equity and She is
starting to look like a real Lady
I shopped around on line looking for 3 1/2 inch stainless steel hinges.  Went to the usual places on line and around our town, but could not find anything under $30-60 for each!  No way Jose!  I was shopping at Lowes and noticed the gate hinges and there they were!  Stainless Steel 4 inch hinges for $9 each.  And believe it or not 2 of the four holes lined up with the others.  I would patch the others before bolting in the hinges applying a good seal of silicone. I noticed that the yellow life ring in Figure 50 was mounted on the inside rather than outside.  I reversed it and made the starboard seating area much more comfortable.

Figure 50A
Yep, that's the Constance Marie
35' down the main mast. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Beware The Ides Of March

It's the beginning of March and looking for projects that I can complete indoors.  The key switch was unreliable and the tachometer was faulty as well.   I wanted to keep the same instrumentation cluster that Westerbeke provided.  The plexiglass was was all scratched and there was no cover over the key switch.  The upper left hand corner and bottom right hand corners of the instrumental panel were broken off.  Below you see the repaired instrument panel casing.  I used JP Weld as the moldable ingredient to build up the corners.  I created some "corner moulds" using stiff cardboard and poured in the JP Weld like it was cement being poured into columnforms.  Let it cure for 48 hours in my basement.  A little sanding and some black paint and we were as good as new. 

Figure 47
Instrumentation Panel

I then went down to the local hardware and had them cut a piece of Lexan 2'x2' 1/8 inch and came home and measured it to fit.  I needed it to be pliable so that I could get it back into the original position on the face of the instrumentation panel.  If you look closely, I made 45 degree 1/2 cuts at each of the corners so that the corners would not be pressured during the installation of the Lexan.  Figured it would be a good way for any water to drain out if condensation appeared.

Having accomplished this, turned my attention to the Johnson key switch that Andy had located last year to replace the one that was not working reliably.  This switch is the kind where you put the motor key in, push it and  make a quarter turn to the right to warm the glow plugs.  Then after the presribed time (depending on the outside temperature), you then complete another quarter turn to crank the engine. The switch was a little sticky.  I took care of this with some dry lubricant, the same stuff you use on your masts to help the sails hoist easier.

Figure 48
Into the ABYSS - The backside of the
Helm's Instruments Panel
Next, I turned my attention to the rear of the instrumentation panel seeking to understand why the tachometer was not working well.  I sat down at lunch and reviewed the engine wiring schematics in the Westerbeke Owners Manual.  Located the "brown" wire in the harness that goes from the harness to the alternator.  Found a loose connection and presto, we have RPMs being indicated.  Of course I did this with continuity checks while not running the engine.  Remeber I am a rookie at all this stuff. :)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Welcome 2014!

Figure 45
Chilling on a chilling day.
Have you ever been so passionate about something that you lay in bed at night trying to fall asleep and you can't because you figuring out how you are going to get something done.  That is me.  I keep going over the portals and hatches that need to be repaired  But these will have to wait.  We have to ensure that the structure of the boat and essential features are functional.

Well, it's January 2014 and the club had some fun events during the holidays.  Aside from some of the members being comforted by our great fireplace at the club, we had a great Commodore's Ball, a huge turnout for our annual Thanksgiving Dinner and our Christmas fund-raiser for the local kids.

Figure 46
Thanksgiving Dinner at the Club
I have been busy researching the internet and determining what vendor I will buy what parts off of.   I discovered that I could get some pretty good deals through Amazon Prime which provided me a one shop stop for reviewing items.  I always compared prices among 2-3 potential vendors before selecting.  I wished I had access to the all the experience of the club members over the years as to where and what items were found to be reliable from which vendor.  Something to think about for the future.  It would be nice to have an online database in our club website.