Sunday, August 26, 2012

Trucks Come, Trucks Go

Countdown to Delivery
In my life as a writer I find myself working right up to deadline most of the time. I know it drives editors crazy, but for some reason I do seem to function better on short timelines.

Which is all good, because two weeks ago I scheduled the boat transport truck to come and pick up Peponi. And I still had a LOT of work left to do before that day. So I set to it. Three coats of new bottom paint, mast wiring, battery install, charger install, fresh water system final hook ups, water heater wiring, electrical panel final hook ups, some paint here and there, and cleaning my way off the boat.

I also made a new filler board for the v-berth, as our mattress was made to fill the whole space. I painted the cabin sole in the head, varnished some of the interior teak, and built a shelf for the new electronics to bolt to. More than one late night was spent in a slight panic as I imagined all of the things I hadn't yet done.

The truck was scheduled to come on a Saturday. Friday night at around midnight I took the last of my tools and materials off and closed the companionway. I took the extension cords down and rolled up some painting tarps. And I went to bed, where I slept not at all.

Here are some of the final projects in color photograph format.

Black bottom paint over the first coat of red. Hull is polished and toerail is varnished.
A look at the beige accent paint that is going on all of the nonskid. On the foredeck I will add grit to the paint.

New engine in flight.

New engine in place. I had to cut the companionway to 18" wide to fit it through the gap.
Fresh water system primed and working.
Peponi's electronic suite. This is on the starboard side, aft end of the settee.
New filler board for the v-berth.
Child labor on the night shift, wiring the mast.
Masthead showing the anchor light, wind vane, and Windex mount. New tangs for the  shrouds as well.
The companionway.
The companionway under red lights.
The Day of the Truck
Where was Gus Sebastian when I had the boat hauled to the house in the first place? This guy is awesome. He arrived at 8:00 a.m. just as planned and had no trouble backing down our narrow curvy driveway with his 45 foot trailer.

If you need a boat hauler in the Northwest, this is your guy.
Gus backing in to pick up the boat.

Gus rocked the set up and backed the trailer right on point with one shot. Perfectly centered. Then came time to lift the boat off the blocks, so he enlisted a helper with a lot of XBOX experience...

Taylor learning to lift the boat. "Don't drop it," says Gus. Nice.

Then, before we knew it, she was off to the actual boat yard...

I'll admit to being a little choked up when she pulled away.
Before the truck cleared the driveway, my dad was already tearing down the stairway he had built to access the boat while we worked on it. And then I set to pressure washing the evidence away. 

Peponi now sits at Sea Marine in Port Townsend. They will do the final hookup of the engine, splash the boat and put up the rig. While they are doing that, I'll sneak over after dark and finish some detail work on deck and down below.

And then it's time to sail her home to her slip in Everett. Can't wait.

So last week while doing my usual scan of Craigslist for deals on boating stuff, I came across an add for a Cape Dory Typhoon Weekender. Cheap. Figuring something was probably wrong with it, I went to take a look, and damnit, the thing was perfect. The end result is that two hours after Peponi left for the shipyards, this happened.

1973 Cape Dory Typhoon Weekender. The newest resident of the Boat yard.
I might have a Cape Dory problem.

But with results like this, how can I complain?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

So Close We Can Taste It. Wait, That Might be Epoxy I Taste.

Pick Up
The truck comes next week to pick up our boat and deliver her to the marina where final engine installation and rigging will take place.

Mind you, I'm nowhere near ready, but once that truck shows up, the work at The BoatYard is over no matter what, so...

Over the last week or so I have finalized the fresh water system, the AC system, and a few other details. Before she is ready for the experts to take over, I still have to:
  • Finish the bottom paint
  • Hoist the engine into place
  • Install the engine controls
  • Wire the mast
  • Install the masthead
  • Finalize the electronics install
The new interior cushions are waiting for us at the shipyard, as are all the new rigging parts. Once delivered, it will be about two weeks before we're in the water. Just in time for the end of summer!

No Longer Anonymous
Our little sloop is no longer nameless. She was nameless when we bought her (the previous owner vaguely remembered calling her "Boomer" or something). But no more. Honoring Hayden's love of East Africa and our connection to one of the greatest places on the planet, our sloop is now named "Peponi," which means "paradise" or "in the wind" depending on who you ask or how it is translated. Either way, perfect. Peponi is also the name of a beautiful hotel in Lamu, Kenya. Lamu is far and away my favorite place in the world. Somali pirates not withstanding.
Peponi means "Paradise" in Swahili. Sort of.
As much as I dreamed of having a gleaming, perfect boat ready to launch when the truck came, I simply had to prioritize things into two categories: Before Splash and After Splash. Quite simply it came down to what needed to be done before the boat could hit the water and be functional (basic systems, integrity of the hull, and bottom paint) and what we could do once she was in her slip at the marina (interior finishing, "luxury" systems, deck work, etc.) So we have several projects outstanding that simply won't get done before we are in the water. But we are very, very close to being ready to sail.

I took advantage of being out of the water and not paying rent to do a few days' worth of finish work on the hull. It came to us chalky, scratched, and basically nasty. I had to repaint the transom (not a perfect job but it definitely passes the 3 foot rule). For the rest of the hull I used a combination of rubbing compound, 1500 grit sandpaper, and wax to get her up to a decent shine. 30 years of neglect can really wreck gel coat. Short of repainting, I think we did the best we could.

Not a brand new boat, but not neglected either.
Much of the teak on deck will have to be done later, but I did take a day to completely sand the toe rails (which took forever to get down to bare wood) and refinish them with 4 coats of Cetol varnish.

Toe rail refinished (and new registration #s too!)
One rather comical result of the location of the boat in the driveway is that the port side gets far more attention than starboard. The port side faces the beach and the southern sun, and has a big concrete driveway to work from. The starboard side is right up against the edge of the driveway, and the mast is stored on sawhorses right there, making moving ladders around and whatnot quite a pain. Let's just say the port side looks a little better.

Other Stuff
Not as cool to look at, but more important things have also happened.

I bought a used iPod on EBay to leave plugged into our new Fusion stereo. I just loaded all of my music onto it and now we have a portable juke box. 32 GB worth. That ought to do. And when it gets old, we can just click over to XM satellite radio, which is rather worthless on land in the Puget Sound because of all the trees and whatnot, but on the water it is perfect.

The simple AC system (two outlets, a battery charger, a water heater) is wired.
AC wiring in progress. Probably not to code. But it works.
Wiring the boat has been the biggest learning experience of this project for me. I will do it very differently next time (heh heh) based on what I learned about circuitry and wiring. What I did is technically fine but could be more efficient and better planned. The wire runs are redundant in some places and I made full end runs for each appliance rather than making branch circuits. Again, it's fine (and will be easier to troubleshoot if a lamp goes out) but the wire runs are bulky and the panel is crowded). So far I love the location of the panels I built. I can reach both from the cockpit, they are easy to access, and they are out of the way.

Fun with Fiberglass
If there is a second place finisher in the "what I learned most about" contest, it is epoxy and fiberglass. Now I want to use that shit to fix everything. My last chance to really glass anything will be after the engine goes into place, because I'll have to cut out the companionway to get it to fit. The opening under the stairs is 15" across. The minimum dimension of our new Beta 14 is 18". Sigh.

The last thing I glassed in was a new platform for the starting battery and the muffler.
A Group 24 battery box and Vetus Muffler go here

The thing I may be happiest about is the new engine. A lightweight, quiet, shiny red Beta 14. Last weekend I installed the engine control panel in the cockpit. Of course, I had to tear the old one out, glass in the space, and recut it for the new panel. But it looks ok.

Top of the Mast
I'm sure in parts of the country where boats are hauled out for the winter it is far easier and more common to maintain the gear at the head of the mast, but when the stick stays in the boat year after year, the summit of the boat gets neglected like crazy. No one likes to be hoisted up there to change a lightbulb. I've been working on the masthead electronics and wiring while the mast is down. Here is where we stand now.
Anchor light, Windex, and wind instrument

Stay Tuned
Photos of the delivery and other final work to come. And then a series of Before/After shots of the entire project. After that it should just be photos of sunsets, cocktails, and the rail in the water as we sail around the Puget Sound.