Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Is This Progress I See Before Me?

Today the offspring and I dropped by to visit the grandparents and check on the boat. Yep. Still there.

When I got out of the car, I was surprised to see Dad pop his head out of the companionway.

"What are you doing, Dad?"

He held up a length of chain and a small come-along winch.

"Figuring out how to get this engine out of here." It was then that I noticed the Hi-Lift parked by the garage. Painters were busily working on the house. "When they go home tonight we can use their lift and yank this thing out of here. If it comes out."

I had long ago unhooked every hose and wire on the engine. I had removed the starter and the fuel filters. It was stripped down as far as it would go. I disconnected the propeller shaft and unbolted the engine mounts. For a couple of months, The Beast - the original Yanmar YSM8 - had been sitting in the engine compartment disconnected from the boat. But would it come out?

What possessed Dad to want it out of there is anyone's guess. But as the kids tore off to the beach to search for treasure (read: shells they could color with permanent markers) I walked up the boat to see that it was pretty much rigged for lifting.

But the lifting would have to wait until the painters called it a day.

In the meantime, I went below and got to work on some other projects. I pulled out the propane hose that needs to be replaced and did a little sanding of the bulkhead. But I was totally unfocused. Then I saw the 100' spool of wire sitting next to the tool kit. I have tried several times to find a good wire run for the cabin lights. But since Cape Dory sandwiched the wiring between two parts of the hull, there is no channel in which to run new wire.

Determined, I grabbed the fish tape and started just jamming it in between the headliner and the hull. Dead end. Dead end. Sliced finger. Dead end. Swear word.

And then? Miraculously that damn fish tape slid from the overhead fixture at the galley right down to where the new panel will be mounted. I have to say I was a bit in shock at my luck, so I left the tape there, sat down, and had a beer. Progress!

After a cold Rainier (PBR wasn't on sale this week), I attached some wire and pulled it back through. Success. One wire run complete from panel to fixture.

The other four main cabin wire runs weren't quite so easy, but with the help of Offspring #1's long arms and skinny fingers, we were able to get wires pulled for 4 cabin lights (which will be one circuit), the fresh water pump, the bilge pump, and the propane fireplace.

Here is said child labeling a wire. The DC panel will go on the bulkhead to the side of the companionway behind her.

By then it was dinner time. And then came the big event.

I carefully drove the Hi-Lift next to the boat and lowered the bucket right over the companionway. Dad hooked up his lifting harness.

I crawled down into the boat and, using the come-along, started lifted the engine an inch at a time to get it free of the boat. It took a little persuading since one of the year engine mounts didn't want to let go, but after a little jostling, the engine broke free and smashed my hand against the fiberglass of the engine compartment. Awesome.

The big question remained. Would the engine fit through the opening under the companionway stairs? It's a safe bet that Cape Dory installed the engine before the deck was even on the boat, so this thing has never been through that opening. I have heard of other owners having to cut away some of the fiberglass to get their engines out.

At first I thought we were screwed. I tried pivoting the engine around the corner like moving a couch through a doorway. No dice. Several other attempts were equally frustrating.

And then I figured it out. By lifting the front of the engine straight up I could work it through the top of the opening. A few clicks on the come-along and there she was. Hanging on a chain, out in the fresh air for the first time in 31 years.

I hopped back on the lift and pulled The Beast free of the boat. Adios.

Dad grabbed a pallet and we set the engine down on the driveway. I have no idea what to do with it next. But driving that Hi-Lift is fun. I could go for more of that.

What a monster this thing is. 31 years of pure neglect.

I mean the engine. Not the girl. She hasn't lived long enough to suffer that much neglect. Yet.

Weirdly, the transmission looks brand new, inside and out. It isn't. But I can't figure out why it looks as good as it does.

So there is the engine.

And here is where it used to live:

Gross. Next step is to clear that space out, replace the thru hulls and seacocks, and paint it all out with a nice epoxy paint. Won't be long and we'll be ready for the new engine. Wherever that might be.

After a satisfying and solid day's work, the kids and I retired to la playa for a sunset fire. As is customary at The Boat Yard.

Thanks Dad.