Monday, July 25, 2011

Long Overdue Update

With the entire Northwest in the third month of seasonal affected depression, you can understand why I might be lacking motivation to update a blog. I know much of the country is in a heat wave, and I don't want that either, but the rain and gray is starting to get to me, and I grew up here. You can imagine how it is affecting Hayden, a southern California girl used to sunbathing and flip flops.

There is much to update! Just because we haven't been posting here doesn't mean we haven't been working. The big news is that it looks like we are on target for a launch by the end of August. Yep. Our little Cape Dory will be in the water this summer. (Fingers crossed).

This past week was really the first time the progress seemed real to me. We are definitely building up rather than tearing down, and I can list the remaining projects without a spreadsheet.

Our BetaMarine 14 is here, resting at the SeaMarine shop in Port Townsend until we are ready to drop it into its new home behind the companionway stairs. That will be the last thing to happen until we get the boat trucked back to the marina. Then we will focus on the rigging and actually setting the boat up.

But for now, let's take a look at some progress!

Battery Boxes
The battery "box" in the boat when we got her was nothing more than a rotting plywood shelf with two Costco wet-cell batteries sort of wired to the boat. I still can't figure out how he had them wired.

The Battery "Solution" as we Found it.
So I tore that mess out and ground the space down to clean fiberglass. Then it was a matter of building back up. We are running 2 Group 31 AGM batteries for our house bank, which is overkill but will give us weeks of off-the-grid power. A smaller AGM will serve as the starting battery.

The next image is of the marine-grade plywood shelf I built and installed in place of the old box.
The Battery Shelf Tabbed to the Hull and Clear-Coated with Epoxy
You can see one of the logistic problems with the install in this photo: the thru-hull for the cockpit drain is under the edge of the shelf. If I put the support as far inboard as I wanted to, I would have had to move the thru-hull. No thanks. So I offset the shelf support a bit.

Here is the view looking aft from the companionway:

Note the small lip around the outside to keep things from sliding around should the tie-downs fail and the openings forward and aft for drainage should any water get on there. From there I painted the whole thing out with my trusty white BilgeKoat paint. The two battery boxes fit perfectly:

They are parallel wired and sitting on a trickle charger as I write this, waiting for the final wiring to take place.

The Fuel Tank
It may shock to you learn two things. One, the old aluminum fuel tank was leaking and corroded when we bought the boat. And two, finding a direct replacement for it without resorting to expensive custom tanks is pretty much impossible. Here's a glimpse at the old situation:

The Old Fuel Tank

Out of the Boat

The Existing Space

That little nook is a dimension that doesn't exist in modern tank building. For a while, as I searched for a new tank, I had the dimensions memorized. One limitation you can't see here is the same as for the battery shelf: the thru-hull for the cockpit drain limits the fore and aft length of the tank. Behind the bulkhead forward of the tank is the galley, so we can't go that direction either.

I bought a 12 gallon Moeller tank that was pretty close to fitting, but with the existing shelf I just couldn't make it work. So...out comes the Sawzall and the grinder. And the dust mask.

I tore the whole thing out and started from scratch. Again. Here is the new shelf built of 1/4" marine plywood and glassed to the hull.

The New Tank Shelf Tabbed to the Hull
This design created a big dead space under the shelf that is accessible from the engine compartment. Rather than block this off, I decided to make a cupboard for storing engine spares and tools. The access won't be great with the engine in place, but for things I don't need often, it should be a good solution.

Showing the "Dead Space" Beneath the Shelf

With the Facia on and a Cut Out for the Door
For some reason I don't have any photos of the tank in place. But it's there and plumbed to the deck fill and the tank vent with new hose and fittings. The Racor fuel filter will hang on the facia aft of the cupboard door.

Electrical Panels
The old electrical system was a total disaster. From the panel to the wiring, everything was a mess. I tore it all out. New wire, new fixtures, and new panels.

The old panel was on the small bulkhead above the galley:

That had to go. Here is the space after it was gone:

The square cutout to the left is access to the back of the cabin top to fiberglass in the old holes from the instruments. More on that later. The main electrical panel will go on the starboard side of the companionway where there was just an empty bulkhead. On this side, above the galley, we decided to have a small panel with the LPG control and a couple of 12 volt outlets for charging phones and whatever else. It is also accessible from the cockpit, so we could run a spotlight from here as well. Here is the panel I came up with, made of mahogany and marine plywood, stained with Cetol Marine Teak. The blank space above can hold an instrument display or another switch if it becomes necessary. We'll leave it blank for now. The panel will hinge on the left-hand side and latch with a cabinet latch.

 On the other side of the companionway will be the main distribution panel. It will have the AC and DC switches, the bilge pump switch, an AC outlet, and a battery meter. Here it is with the AC and DC panels installed. There is enough room on the back side of this for a few bus bars and other wiring niceties.

There are many more projects under way and just about completed, but I think this post is long enough! More soon.