This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Key of Sea Projects--Summer 2015

Another year, another set of the ongoing projects which always need doing on our Key of Sea. I'm only limited by the money available to do the projects. That is the money available over and above the day to day costs of moorage, repair and maintenance.

Over the past month or so I have been busy as usual for the time of year. Readying the Key of Sea for the summer cruising season and we have some exciting on-the-water adventures planned.

The upper deck wrapped dark blue canvas was the original location
to stow our new kayaks.
The biggest adventure is a 3-week cruise to the Canadian Gulf Islands. Unlike our 5-week cruise last summer, this one will keep us in the Gulf Islands, far south of where we ventured last summer. Never the less, we will be exploring a lot of interesting bays and coves. We'll have the benefit of our new toys to help us peek into some of the less accessible nooks and crannies that our boat or dinghy can't get us into or that we'd like to explore quietly and closer to water level. I am referring to our new kayaks which I have written about in the previous blog entry.

Project #1 was to attempt to build racks for the kayaks to hang from while we are under way. This turned out not to work as our boat isn't long enough for them to hang where we wanted them to--off
The railing  along one side of the boat turned out to be the best
solution given the size and space on our boat. We'll bungee
them to the railing.
the upper deck. Oh well. Turns out it will work to just lay them along the inside of the railing along the port side of the boat. Just a couple of bungees wrapped around each end of the kayaks should hold them in place. It will be much easier to bring them aboard and launch them from this location. So, project #1? Complete and total cost only around $20.


Finished cap rail. Wow!
Project #2: Refinishing the cap rail around the cockpit in the aft of the boat. The cap rail is the teak one by 6 cap that surrounds the cockpit on three sides. It was looking particularly worn, even showing bare wood in a couple of spots. I decided to strip the old varnish and re-varnish the entire thing. I chose Cetol natural teak and Cetol clear gloss as my products of choice. Three coats of each. But before I could refinish I had to strip the old varnish using a heat gun and scrapper. This turned out to be a pretty easy job. A little back breaking only because of the position you have to stand in to do

the work. But it went quickly. I sanded off the few blemishes followed by progressively finer grit paper and I was about ready to begin the varnishing.

The weather has been extraordinarily sunny and warm which made the completion of the project go much smoother and faster. Each coat was followed by at least 24 hours of curing. Weather here in B'ham can change so quickly so keeping an eye on the weather forecast is essential. Rain falling on freshly varnished wood work means you have to sand that coat down and start again. Something to be carefully avoided. The weather completely cooperated and the project turned out beautifully! So, project #2? Complete. Cost of this project? Something less than $75 due to the fact that I have tools that can be reused on future projects and enough of the Cetol products to do several more projects.

Soldered connector to plug into the VHS radio
Project #3: Installation of the new VHF antenna. This turned out to be the biggest pain of all the projects due to my own stupidity. I bought a very nice, higher end VHF antenna back around Christmas from West Marine. In the Spring I gathered the other connectors and tools to do this project and, on a nice day, went to the boat to do the install. Because there was already a coaxial wire running from the VHF radio to the old antenna, I figured I would cut off most of the coaxial cable that came with the antenna, add a connector and plug in the two ends of the cable to each other. I measured and calculated that I could cut off 18 of the 20 feet of cable leaving me a two foot pigtail to add my connector. BIG MISTAKE!

New VHS Antenna ready to be installed 
DO NOT EVER cut any wire off when it has been given to you. Coil it and tuck it behind a bulkhead in some other out of the way spot BUT--DO NOT CUT THE WIRE THAT COMES WITH THE DEVICE!!!!!

This made my job so much more difficult. What I SHOULD have done was run the new cable to the radio unit and pull the old cable out. Why not? A new radio. A new antenna. Why use old wiring? Ya, dumb idea. Now I know.

Long story short, I bought new wire (Uh Huh, I'd thrown out the 18 feet of wire that I cut off.) and ran it to the radio and antenna after soldering the new connectors to the cable. Voila!The radio actually works better than it did. So, project #3? Done. Cost? Aside from the antenna which was about $150, the connectors and wiring was about another $100. It should have only been about $10. Live and learn.

So, there you are, a few projects that took some time but being able to do more and more myself is saving me hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars avoiding having to call in a specialist.

Sometime I'll tell you the story of replacing my oil this year. Sounds exciting, huh? Well, anytime you can have fun AND save a several hundred bucks, well, THAT IS an interesting story.

Let The Winterizing Begin!

No photos for this entry. Too depressing....

I spent the day down at the boat yesterday. The Key of Sea sat forlornly, gently bobbing in her slip as if to say, "Come on, dad, let's go for a ride!"

Not today...

Instead, I carefully removed items from the boat and did some chores that only lead to one conclusion. Cold weather-proofing time has arrived again.

I removed the generator from its place right behind the fly bridge, lowered it to the cock pit deck below, removed the fuel can, wrapped the captain's chair in its new cover to keep the weather out, closed up the bimini.

I've noticed the hatch cover has leaked down into the cock pit over last winter and so I added some weather stripping and chalking to that in hopes of eliminating that problem.

On the plus side, I had a member of the Power Squadron down to do vessel safety checks on our new kayaks. I should have been done last spring but just got it done.

After they were inspected, I deflated them and packed them away in inside the salon out of the weather, I'll probably bring them home eventually since they take up too much room inside the boat making it uninviting should be decide to spend a winter weekend on the boat.

I hooked up the electric heater so it is ready should we go down for the weekend and to keep things from freezing during extreme weather.

Oh, I just got a new label maker and so I was finally able to put labels on a couple of unlabeled or incorrectly labeled circuit breakers.

Finally, sadly, I removed the standard from the stern of the boat and the burgee from the bow, wrapped them up and stowed them in the v-berth,

Still a couple of chores to do before draining the water and waste tanks one last time (we might go out for an overnight yet). I need to attach a cabinet door that broke in the master stateroom. I have the new hinges on so it is almost done.

The big job left is to remove the starboard alternator, have it bench tested and possibly replaced. About a $150 job if I do it. Chump change...