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

Aug 26-27: Stainless steel rail and exhaust hose installation!

We're regulars at West Marine Sausalito. They know us by name. They know about our boat. We go there so much we've started helping other customers looking for parts. Compasses? Over there by the charts. Hose clamps? End of aisle 10.

Saturday morning we went back to check in. Everyone is doing well, Michael is not quite finished our chain-to-rope splice, but Jay had our Forespar MOB flasher. This is the last component in our MOB system, which now includes pole, horseshoe, flasher, mirror, whistle, drogue, water dye marker, etc. It still needs to be assembled.

We picked up a few other small parts, only $500 worth, and got out of there after only a few hours. This was a real success in terms of our disengagement efforts. With just a few more therapy classes we'll be able to drive by without compulsively stopping and hurling money at them.

Next we took a small detour to a BoatUS store, which is owned by West Marine and just happens to be right around the corner. It seems a bit silly to have two stores in such close proximity, but the prices on boat parts probably makes up for the poor location.

We dragged in our old rust-infested two-peice exhaust hose and were promptly ignored. When the girl did get around to us, she insisted they didn't have any new hose. When we said we were there last week and saw it rolled up in the backroom, she said they probably sold it.

Bimbo. Thankfully one of her more grizzled cow-orkers came to our rescue and cut us 15' of super-awesome exhaust hose. This stuff is crazy. It has two wires embedded in the middle of the hose, with two types of rubber on either side of the wire, and crazy stitching and panels of overlapping material. It won't burn, melt, tear, or flex. It took the guy a couple of minutes to cut it with a hacksaw!

We dragged the new hose up to the checkstand where the girl was working. She asked our helper if he could ring up some other people before he finished helping us. I wanted to beat her down with the hose. Sara saw the vein throbbing in my forehead and managed to talk me down.

Anyway, that was Saturday morning. It seems like we spend about half of our time researching or shopping for parts, and the other half of our time borrowing tools from others to install them. I guess the third half is installing the parts. Oh, and we spend about 50% of our time re-installing parts in different spots, or in a slightly different fashion.

We had a quick lunch at a new Mexican place, got to the boat, and right away slapped down the welded and curved SS rails. We didn't even finish unloading the cart full of new boat goodies. The railings look beautiful, fit perfectly, and are super strong. We then sat back and oohed and ahhed for more than a few minutes. They are just awesome.

Beautiful curved rails


Oooh, aaaahhh

Sam arrived and immediately continued working on the LCD TV and DVD installation. During the week we picked up the DVD player, passive audio and visual switches, and lots of cabling and connectors. Our plan is to have the Sirius radio, TV, DVD, (and maybe Xbox) hooked up to use the cabin speakers.

We had some problems getting the solder to wet onto the 8 gauge wire that I bought for the TV/DVD combo. I guess it's only a 5amp breaker and a 20ft run of wire, but we have to do everything to fight power losses!

While Sam and Sara were working on that, and quickly shopping for a cable we forgot to buy earlier, I finished the SS rail installation. I drilled and prepped the decks, then caulked the bases and installed the bolts with backing plates. They are rock solid.

Sara also moved the BBQ and installed the outboard mount on the rear stachions. This is a nice secure location for the mount, and apart from one small minor problem with the BBQ ("Help! It's about to fall in!") it went smoothly.

Next was the exhaust hose. I crawled into one locker, Sara crawled into the other, and we slowly routed the exhaust hose from the water lift muffler, through the insulated firewall, around the fridge compressor, through the port side lazarette, through a bulkhead into the rear lazarette, and onto the barbed thru-hull exhaust fitting.

Exhaust hose & water lift muffler


Exhaust hose through bulkhead

It was torture. The hose was so inflexible - probably due to the pair of wound wires inside - that we had to pull it inch-by-inch through the firewall and bulkhead. Pulling and bending the 2" hose, one inch at a time, was completely draining. Once it was routed, it still took another herculean effort to get the hose onto the barbed fitting! It took two hours, I was honestly soaked in sweat, but the new hose is in and will never ever need to be replaced. At least, I will never replace it!

Sam and I messed with the Sirius radio, but for some reason we're only getting audio from one channel. The Sirius has a 3.5mm (1/8" stereo) mini-jack, and we use a short length of cable to convert to RCA audio. From there, we run all the way forward to the passive switch under the TV, then all the way back to the stereo. Anyway, we have just a little more work to do on this. I think the mini-jack isn't plugging all the way into the Sirius car-mount.

We cleaned up as the sun went down, and watched the first half of "Hero", truly an awesome movie that nicely highlights the TV and sound system. Sam and Mike are our heros. Boat Heros. We went to Maya Palanque for dinner, and were home by midnight.

Sunday was another work-fest. Woke up sore. I guess the truck that hit me clipped Sara too. We both felt like senior citizens. Where are my teeth?

We got down to the boat early and installed the swim ladder. We're putting the mounts on both the port and starboard side of the boat, right at the opening in the lifelines, just in case we need to use the ladder for MOB rescue. The ladder is awesome, it just clears the water when it's folded up, and it'll go two or three feet underwater when extended down. Perfect.

Folded swim ladder


Whisker pole mounts

Sara installed the whisker and spinnaker pole mounts on one of the forward stanchions, and we figured out we're going to need a clip to attach them to the rear stanchions. Not done yet, but it's nice to have them out of the way!

Mike rolled into town and continued working on the anchor mount system. This project has been going on almost as long as my instrument installation project. There are four components: the anchor (45# bruce, purchased and ready to go), the rode (100ft chain, 300ft rode, being braided together by Michael at WM), the anchor mount (cut, formed to match the curve of the boat, drilled for the hardware), and the windlass.

The mount still needs a block of delrin to mate with the wooden bowsprit and some mounting hardware. It's almost done.

Windlass mounting location


Windlass in place

The windlass needs maintenance and mounting. The mounting part is what we've been working on for the last week or two. The holes are drilled, we filled the deck and core with epoxy, and this week we drilled out the epoxy. Seems like a big waste of time, eh? Yeah, it is. Anything to keep water out of the cored deck.

Mike routing holes in epoxy


Delicate job!

Anyway, Mike went to work on shaving off excess epoxy, drilling holes, routing out the big hole for the chain, etc. I "helped" a little, but was just getting in the way, so I went and helped a neighbour install lines and blocks on his spreaders for courtesy flags. I love climbing the mast. I'll climb any mast! Mike thinks I'm totally gay.

Sara went out and bought a bunch of organizers for the cabin, and after she got back we finally saw the elusive Briana bird! This bird has vibrant plumage, and is rarely seen at boat work parties. Sara and the bird quickly became involved in cabin-sorting, leaving Mike and I to fuddle around with stuff topside.

I installed the Harken stanchion-mount roller-furler line handlers going all the way back to the rear cockpit winch. This installation took 3x longer than it should have: I installed everything on the wrong side, then moved it to the second side and installed half of the blocks backwards, then I finally got it right. It's quite awesome now. Can't wait until we have some sails and we can try it out!

Furler line to winch


Furler line to cleat

That was it. Lots done, lots left to do. Sara's gone to Colorado for a week with her family (leaves this Thursday) and I'm going to live on the boat for four days over the long weekend.

Our first test sail is scheduled for Sept 9 or 10! We are very excited.

Lots of love,

This week has the following jobs on the list:

Carried-over to do: