Monday, August 06, 2012

Ticking items off the list

It was a nice weekend at the marina. I got there late Friday night and had the entire weekend to crank out projects.

I got an early start Saturday morning and finally hanked on the new jib. The Starwind only came with a 70% storm jib, so that's all I've been using the past three years. I actually purchased this new eBay jib several months ago, but I thought it was going to be a 130%, and we had such a windy spring that I always thought it would be too much sail.

New jib

The new jib was a perfect fit, but it's not a 130%. It's more like a 100%, which is still great. I can actually close haul now, which was next to impossible with the little storm jib. The only downside is it just BARELY fits in my jib bag, so I may have to have my neighbor sew me a bigger one.

Next on the list was the cockpit table. This has been a work in progress for a long time, and I was anxious to see if my home-made brackets would work.

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The brackets worked great. The spring-tensioned drop leaf from McMaster Carr worked great -- the table flips up and stays, then you pull the bracket, and it flips back down. All the neighbors were impressed. So far the table is a complete success.

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The best part is that this table was about $30 in lumber, $40 in hardware and $30 for stain and varnish -- although I have plenty stain and varnish left over for the next project. Compare that price to an Edson table. I had a late dinner on it Saturday night.

Once the table was in place, I moved on to the next project -- wiring the autopilot. Since I don't have any wind instruments or chartplotters to plug into the Simrad, and I don't plan to add any, I figured the easiest way to deal with it would be just to stick a fused 12v DC plug on the end of the wire and plug it into a socket in the cockpit. Plugged in, it's on. Unplugged, it's off.

I already had a 12v socket near the instrument panel, but it was the old two-prong design, and I decided to just install a new waterproof car-socket type plug, so I can also use it to charge phones, etc. Since the wires were already running to the socket beside it, I just pulled them off, stuck them on the new socket, and it was good to go.

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But that's not all.

At this point I had to recruit some help because winch installation is a two-person job. Someone has to crawl back into the depths of the boat and hold a wrench while someone mans the screwdriver topside.

It's always interesting to see the hidden backside of various deck-installed items. In this case, the bolts on the starboard winch had been cut off flush with the nuts. It just took a couple turns, and they were loose. However, the bolts on the port side were EIGHT INCHES LONG! Even with an electric screwdriver, it was a pain to get them off because I'm trying to hold the wrench on the nut, but the nut is getting really hot from the friction. Then the hot bolts were burning my hand as I was trying to reach other bolts. It was not my favorite part of the day.

I made a run to West Marine for appropriately sized bolts, fresh fender washers and nylock nuts as well as a tube of 4200.

They really need to start making 4200 in tiny tubes. Why not sell me a 5-pack of tiny tubes for $15 instead of one giant tube that I can only use once? It was also some time after the bedding of the winches but before we finally cinched them down that I was attempting to squeeze some 4200 onto something else when the entire tube ruptured and exploded in my hands.

Do you know how difficult it is to get 4200 off your hands? I washed and scrubbed and washed some more, but I basically had no luck until about an hour later when it finally cured enough to peel off. I'm going to retract my previous statement regarding the long bolts being my least favorite part of the weekend. The 4200 explosion was definitely my least favorite part.

However, once the 4200 was off my hands, and the winches were finally secure, the weekend got much better. I did a quick cleanup, and we took a late afternoon cruise to test everything.

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Once we got out on the bay, we saw there was a huge regatta going on, and the sight of all those spinnakers coming up on the horizon was pretty amazing, especially since that was our plan for Sunday -- fly the spinnaker!

The new jib worked nicely. The self-tailers worked nicely. The autopilot worked nicely. The sunset worked nicely.

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We got a late start Sunday morning because I hadn't done any of the spinnaker rigging yet. And yes, before it was all said and done, I had to climb the freaking mast again.

The weather wasn't looking great, but it wasn't very windy, so we decided we didn't mind a little rain and set out to do great things.

Then we rain into this.

Waterspout!

It was my first time to see a water spout. Apparently there were three in the bay Sunday morning. If we had been on time, we would have been right underneath them. The crazy thing was, it wasn't even windy where we were in Clear Lake. We watched the waterspout for a few minutes until it disappeared and turned into a wall of rain. At that point, we decided to drop anchor and wait a bit to see if things would clear off.

After about 20 minutes we decided to press on, and continued towards the bay. It started raining on us. Then it started raining harder. We finally checked the radar, and saw that it wasn't going to clear off at all, turned around and motored home.

I spent the rest of the day cleaning. The bilge got scrubbed. The dishes got washed. I even opened up the cupboard and cleaned up that mess. A can of no-stick cooking spray exploded in there, but it took over an hour to scrub it all out because it was sticking to everything. Ironic?

The rain was gone, and the sun was setting by the time I closed things up for the weekend.

Sunset at Marina del Sol

Once again the spinnaker eluded me, but there's always next weekend.






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