sailing homepage : trip reports : summer refit : rails & dinghy

Aug 5-6: SS safety rails and our new dinghy!

Sara and I drove to a swapmeet super early on Saturday and picked up a few essentials: a radar reflector for install high on the mast, a huge chartbook of San Diego to Panama, and a couple of other bits and pieces.

We mocked, measured, cut, and assembled the new stainless steel tubing around the cockpit. It looks good, but isn't very strong - it needs more work. We put together the SS stanchions and caps, and Sara and Mike attached two supporting tubes solidly back to the deck. Of course we ran into broken screws, crappy hardware, and all sorts of other dramatic setbacks along the way.

Whoops! We forgot an appointment to see a dinghy, so we quickly cleaned ourselves up and zoomed over to Alameda. We met the craziest woman driver ever. We tussled on the freeway, lots of handwaving and cutting off ensued, and it turns out she was going to Alameda too! She got a bit freaked out as we matched every turn she made, and eventually ran a red light to get away. Hahaha.

We bought the old dinghy and outboard from an 80-year-old couple who were stripping everything valuable off their boat before they sold it. Seems to be the thing to do. Loaded it up (had a scare when the guy got short of breath) and headed back to the boat.

The outboard hadn't been run in 5 years, but I got some gas on the way back to our marina and we optimistically put the dinghy in the water and mounted the OB on back. With just a bit of fiddling, it roared to life! Success! Well, kinda. I spent a few hours messing with the engine, and taught Sara how to get the boat up on a plane. It's only a 10HP engine, and it definitely won't plane with more than two people, but it'll work fine for us. Mike and Sara took the carburetor off and I'll rebuild it one night this week.

I finished doing the engine room rewiring, and we're now ready to connect the instruments. The binnacle (steering wheel post) is ripped apart, and we're going to put the chart plotter, radar display, speed and depth instruments on top in this nifty (read: expensive) instrument mount.

Sara got the old painted-on boat name ("Sea Dragon") off the back of the boat with this horrible sludgy paint remover. We just ordered the new boat name vinyl stickers ("Wanderlust"), along with our hail port ("San Francisco Bay, California"). Next is application, then we're coating the hulls with a layer of this plastic polymer stuff to get some real shine in the hull. The boat already looks amazingly different and new, can't wait until we get it really gleaming.

I got the chain-to-cable-to-quadrant steering system partially removed; the rigger will finish the job this week. Our surveyor thought the cable looked a bit frayed and was suspicious. While removing the attachments, I discovered a collection of broken SS braided wire. Losing steering would have been a nightmare, good thing our surveyor knows his work!

Mike and I wrestled with the engine and extracted the stuck stop-engine lever and braided SS line. Mike then somehow managed to disassemble the cable and straighten the metal plunger. We then used one of my super-cool motorcycle racing tools to force a dry lubricant into the cable, blowing out all the gunk, salt, and old grease onto Mike. He's a sport. We reinstalled everything (dropping a sprocket in the bilge and spending time fishing for it), but finished this one small job on the same day we started it. It feels so good to finish a job. Any size job.

Anyway, that's it. Seems like a lot now, but when we're there working it's just one setback after another.

Here's the plan for this week:

Did I miss anything? Mike is on vacation this week, so Sam you'll have to hang out with Sara's hot single friends who will be helping with the boat name and poly-laminate covering.

Later ya'll,