Thursday, September 09, 2010

Moving Day - Part 3

Brands' Marina, our final destination, is one of the largest, best equipped marinas in the Port Clinton area. They have over a hundred slips, from 25 to 40 foot and more, both indoor and outdoor storage, cold and heated, workshops, locker room facilities and a ship's store for parts and accessories.

This will be "Second Wind's" home for the next year while I put the finishing touches on her, coat the bottom with barrier and anti-fouling paint, and rig her for sailing in the Spring.

For now, she will be moved into an unheated, indoor workshop for the Winter. I can live aboard in the marina while I work and use the locker room facilities, ship's store, and tap the expertise of their boatbuilders. With only about 200 more hours of work to do, I can work at my own pace, stopping work when the really cold weather sets in. Brands' is mostly a sailing marina, and the owners, Darryl and Connie Brand, are fellow Westsail 32 owners - a key factor in my choice of a marina.

We parked the boat temporarily outside the shop until they can get the space cleared. By the end of the month she should be indoors. The move went very well, no scuffs, scratches, or breakage. As far as I could find, the only change was that one of the locker doors came open (it was empty). Jerry, of Nautic Marine, did an excellent job of rigging and moving the boat and I highly recommend them. Not only was he careful, but he was the most reasonably priced of the professional transporter firms.

Stay tuned to the blog for further entries later this Fall and Spring. We expect to relaunch the boat by the end of April 2011.
Moving Day - Part 2

With the boat secure on the hydraulic trailer, the boat was slowly pulled backwards out of the barn. Unlike the installation five years ago, when the transporter was able to drive in the East door and out the West door, a large pond was now blocking the access to the West door, so now "Second Wind" would travel backwards to Lake Erie.

We were apprehensive about the clearance of the mast beneath the door, but it worked out fine.

Half way out, we halted for final adjustments and strapping to the trailer, and then the boat was rolled out onto the East pasture, much to the annoyance of the goats!

It's easy to see the door clearance in this shot. The boat sits down by the bow to keep the mast level for transporting. Our road height was just about 11' 8", well below the legal limit of 13' 6".

Funny how the boat looks smaller once it's out of the confines of the barn stall.

With great care the driver nursed the rig across the pasture and onto Troy's driveway, then with a wide swing to the left, he pulled onto the narrow two-lane road - on our way at last!

We planned to follow the transporter all the way to Brands' Marina, in Port Clinton, OH, but just as we passed through downtown Warren, IN, just three miles from the barn, the truck blew out his AC compressor. Continuing on to Lake Erie was not an option due to the design of the truck systems, so it was into the truck stop at I-69 and SR 5 for him.

The mechanics at the stop had the parts, but it would take most of the afternoon to change out the AC unit, so I went on home. We would meet up with the truck on Thursday morning at the intersection of I-469 and US-24, East of Fort Wayne.

I was just satisfied to be out of the barn and on our way. The boat seemed to ride well and we were confident that the trip would go smoothly.

Part 3 will show the arrival at Brands' Marina.
Moving Day, Part 1

After the milestone of the Christening Day, moving day was the next hurdle to overcome. Words cannot express how nervous I was and sleep the night before was not easy to come by. I kept worrying that I had forgotten something critical or that something unforseen would complicate the move.

The transporter was scheduled for 9 am and after we secured the mast and boom on top and I took time to pose with my heroes - Troy and Amanda Boyer. Not only did they give me a safe haven in which to work the magic on the boat, but they gave me moral support and helped out when I needed an extra pair of hands. I truly owe them a great debt of gratitude and look forward to taking them both sailing.

Just before the marine transporter (Nautic Marine, of St. Clair Shores, MI) arrived I took one last photo of the boat in her home of five years. She almost seemed reluctant to leave the barn, but looked shiny, refreshed, and ready for new adventures.

It's easy to see the tight clearance between the hull sides and the loft and barn wall. It was both a blessing and a challenge. On the one hand I could easily step from the loft onto the boat, but on the other hand, the working space for painting was cramped. The clearance from the tip of the bowsprit to the door was only six inches, and from the back edge of the rudder to the rear door was more like four inches! This was the cleanest the barn floor has been for over five years.

This is a good shot of the transporter's hydraulic trailer backing into position. The two rails straddle the boat cradle and transverse steel beams slid beneath the cradle allow the operator to lift the entire load into the travel position. After strapping the boat and the cradle to the trailer she was ready to move. The upper clearance to the top of the door lintel was about eighteen inches.

Part 2 will show the extraction from the barn!


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

FINALLY, Christening Day

September 4th was a beautiful day, albeit a bit windy, which forced us to keep the windward barn doors closed. We had a great turnout, about 40 people who came to see the finished product and watch as I smashed a bottle of champagne on the bow and rename the boat "Second Wind".

We spend a couple of days just "staging" the boat for her first public viewing. I installed the cabin-top fittings, mast pulpits, dinghy, etc., and set the navigation light boxes on the cabin top so folks could get a good feeling for what she'll look like in the water. The only major projects that we didn't get to were the recaulking of the teak decks and the finishing of the underwater hull.

The boat is going into "cold storage" at Brands' Marina in Port Clinton, Ohio, and they assure me that I'll be able to work on those items indoors. I also have some electrical connections to make in the engine room, but that's just the finishing touches.

The AC and DC breaker panels and the nav light control panel are wired and work properly (but I did need Troy's expert assistance in a bit of trouble-shooting).

The GPS works, showing us in the middle of a cornfield, but of course I couldn't check out the depth sounder function yet.

The VHF antenna cable now runs up the starboard side just below the pilot berth headliner and passes through the dresser cabinet and then up through a teak conduit, into the doorway lintel and then up into the mast junction box. It took some imagination and careful fitting, but it worked out okay.

The dome lighting puts off more than enough light for most nighttime functions, and the reading lights are remarkably bright. The fans are Hella "Bora" 3-speed fans and they do a pretty good job of circulating air in the cabins. The real proof will be on a hot summer day at anchor in the Caribbean! We can hardly wait for that magic day!

Barb couldn't resist "staging" the dinette with two sets of dinner ware (forgot the knives, forks and spoons) but the custom cabinet that our son, Michael built, won't be installed until this winter.

The sliding doors of the galley cupboards are just clear plexiglass. I spray painted a compass rose stencil on the back in dark blue and then oversprayed the back with a pale yellow. In retrospect, I think I should have used white instead, but perhaps next time we need to replace them I'll do that. For now it'll do just fine.

The stove is in my garage, in pieces, being converted to propane. We'll install it in the Spring.

This photo shows off the teak "conduit" for the VHF antenna cable and the door to the head on the right (actually it on the portside, since this photo is looking aft from the V-berth) and the dresser on the left.

We chose to keep the cabin floor, or sole as it is properly called, simple. For now it's just painted in an ivory one-part epoxy (Interlux "Toplac") and the plywood access hatches are just painted with the same non-skid paint we used on top of the cabin. The deck sole needs at least one more coat, plus the molded-in non-skid portions will get two coats of ivory non-skid. The plywood hatches will get teak and holly strips of decking. Another Winter project in my garage.

As I look at these photos I can already visualize some minor upgrades to improve both habitability and durability. It will give me something to do in Port Clinton.

We're really happy that we did the dinette table top with the Bermuda chart. We think it gives the right "tone" to the whole cabin and finishes it off much nicer than just a laminated top.

I learned very quickly that the dinette seating is snug . . . with four people seated the outboard diner has to be careful not to whack their head on the grabrail. It smarts!

The cushions that came with the boat fit fine, but we have four small cushions left over that we can't figure out what to do with.

The pilot berth was a big hit with the small children. They loved to climb up into the bunk and it took me a lot of vacuuming to get the cookie crumbs off the cushions.

This was a huge milestone. The champagne exploded (I'm glad I wrapped it up in a large piece of cotton fabric) just like in the movies and now it's time to move the boat to Port Clinton. The marine transporter is scheduled to pick it up on September 8th.


Coming into the home stretch, the final month of boat work, I really turned up the heat and things began to come together quickly.

Painting the exterior was an interesting experience with new types of paint: both one and two-part polyurethane paints, stupidly expensive, but worth the price. We had rolled and tipped the top of the cabin with one-part Interlux "Brightside" and it took three coats, sanding between each coat, to get a fairly satisfactory finish. It still showed a few brush marks, but it is a good "3-foot" paintjob (i.e., it looks good from 3 feet away. I would have used the two-part "Perfection" paint, but frankly I was a bit afraid of it, having heard horror stories about sags, runs, and humidity issues. I finally decided to use it on the hull and with the help of Troy, Amanda and Garrett, their neighbor, we rolled and tipped the first coat. It went on nicely, but we still saw brush marks and after much discussion, we decided to just roll the second coat with the foam rollers. It worked out great, except that the paint is chemically very aggressive and the rollers needed to be changed every ten feet of hull due to disintegration! It took a third coat to get it right, but it looks almost as good as a sprayed finish. I did the boot top stripe and the accent stripe in the same paint, also rolling, and we're all very pleased with the finish.

I had stalled a bit on the icebox installation, having been unable to locate the high R-value urethane foam but finally located a source in Indy that manufactures it and they cut it to the exact thickness (3") that I wanted and I was able to do the cutting out of the shapes on my table saw (the dust was nasty and I needed the respirator, like with a lot of the boat work). The box top and lid are fully insulated and the top is removable for later installation of refrigeration if I decide to go that route. For now there is an ice well and drain into the bilges for the melt water. It holds about 5 cubic feet of groceries.

The engine room lid, which is the cockpit floor, now has a lexan hatch installed to allow easy access into the engine room when at sea and I replaced the shortened teak strips. The cut-offs will be used beneath the galley stove.

The sliding hatch was in terrible shape, with a rotted plywood core on the sides. I dug out the old wood and slid in new plywood, epoxying it in place. The stainless steel side runners were also misaligned and they had to be carefully reinstalled. Finally, the inside surface got a coat of the light blue paint like we have on the cabin overhead and the top got a couple of coats of non-skid paint. The bedlog, the rails that the hatch slides on, were also misaligned and I adjusted that and opened up the grooves for the stainless sliders a bit to compensate for the slight curvature of the bedlog.

With the formal christening in sight, scheduled for Saturday, September 4th, I'm burning the midnight oil at the barn. 9 or 10 pm quitting time is normal now and on at least one night I worked until 2 am. I was tempted to just sleep in the boat, but I would have had to drag a cushion out of storage!