Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Monitor Self-steering

I managed to make it through an entire Monitor installation without taking a single picture. Whatever - it's stupid-simple to install, and works like MAGIC! Pictures to follow. Eventually. Maybe.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Top off. Insulation was dry and looked good. Surprising.

Liner out

And plywood liner-liner out

Original structural newsprint.

For sale: 1 icebox liner. Small dent, will buff out easily.
Sawzall action complete.

Engel drop-in enroute.

Updates imminent. (Eventually!)

The Engel arrives, with giant thermos for scale.
Helpful instructions. Yep, that's pretty much all of it. Now we have to find something printed in Korean....

I added anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of foil-backed blueboard insulation around the already-insulated Engel box, because why not.
The box is hanging from a composite plywood ring. There's also some aluminum angle in there to stiffen things up.

TA-DA! The trim ring is cheap pine, and I'm slowly replacing all the counter tops with cheap laminate flooring. We're sort of waiting until we get to somewhere with cheaper and more reliable labor to do something fancier, but in truth I don't mind the "poor man's yacht" look....
We also ended up with a new large locker. No idea what we're going to do with this yet.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I wanted to mount my new Garmin 740s where it would be usable from the cabin and the cockpit, so a swing mount made sense. My companionway is lined with hand holds, and the inner cabin wall housed the compass and a light fixture, making room tight. I couldn't find a manufactured mount that fit right, and I didn't trust the PVC option (from a recent Good Old Boat magazine) to hold up a couple thousand dollars in electronics.

I had a foot-long teak 1x4 laying around, so I bought a small teak cleat mount, a 1/2"x3" stainless bolt, a nut, and some washers.

I first notched the cleat base so it would fit over companionway trim, and beveled it so the "top" (which fases down in this application) was level. I drilled a 1/2" hole, and using my wood chisel recessed the head of the bolt and expoxied the bolt in place. The block is secured with 2 1/4"screws into the companionway frame. A stack of washers provides clearance. The GPS is mounted on the provided bail mount, installed upside-down. A pair of heavy stainless fender washers sandwich the teak "arm" to provide a bit of extra support, and a stainless lockwasher keeps everything in place. I'll probably locktite the nut once everything is settled in. I'll take it all apart and finish the wood - eventually.

Cleat base notched, beveled, and drilled

recessed bolt

mounting pilot holes drilled in companionway frame, through trim

Finished product. The internal GPS works great, even through the bracket, teak board, cabin top, and dodger!

The hinge point
Next up: Installing a transducer and my new GMR 18 radar dome.

GARMIN 200/50 KHZ 12/45 DEG. ADJUST IN-HULL TRANSDUCER mounted under the starboard setee. It's glued on with 4200 and filled with mineral oil. I could only find foo-foo scented mineral oil at my local CVS, so the boat smells like a whorehouse now.

Closeup of the transducer mount. Performance has exceeded all expectations, and I have no holes in my hull.

 I decided to pull the mast to install the radar. I really liked the idea of having the radome up and out of the way rather than on a pole in the cockpit, and I'm pretty sure the mast hadn't been off since it went on in 1982.

KKMI hooked me up with a shed to work out of the rain. They're a little expensive, but the service is spectacular. I ended up pulling the mast on a Friday evening and sticking it back in the next Monday morning. Then I slept for a couple days.
Stick-less. Ouch.
The radar is mounted on a SeaView platform below the spreaders.

I added Antal fiber mast steps while I had the mast down. One of the best things I've done to the boat.
All new wiring, including the radar wire. I spent most of the weekend trying to stuff all that shit through the mast-to-deck hose and fittings.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

port gaskets

Rhapsody has 6 bronze opening ports, all of which came equipped with long-expired gaskets.

Crunchy rubber. This was one of the "good" ones!
I order 5/16 inch square Buna-N O-ring cord stock from McMaster-Carr.

I'll take this opportunity to just say thanks. The service was exactly what online service should be, but very rarely is. I'd done some research, figured out what I wanted, and found it online. I halfheartedly clicked the "order" button about 5PM, hoping I'd get something in the mail in a week or two. Around 9AM the very next morning my package arrived, all for a shipping charge of five dollars and thirty-three cents. So, McMaster-Carr, thank you!

I carefully cleaned out the old gaskets, tightened the screws, checked the glazing, and fitted the new gasket material into the groove. I sealed the ends with a dab of flexible super glue, and did not seal the rubber to the frames in any way. Reinstallation went as expected, although the rubber was not as flexible as I'd have hoped.

Rubber and glue

The ends of the rubber were joined on top of the portholes, where imperfections are not likely to cause leaks anyway. I used my trusty re-appropriated garden snips to trim the rubber to fit.

Prepare to snip....

Ready for reinstallation. The joint is under the cordstock/pointer, just to the right of center
Everything got a good coat of Lanacote (why not?!) and was re-installed. So far, so good....

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Rhapsody came with a 35-pound CQR on a short 1/4" chain plus nylon rode, riding on a small side-mounted roller. The mounting was not particularly satisfactory because the anchor could swing into the bobstay, and was mounted off to the side of the bowsprit.

Original CQR installation on bronze roller

Anchor locker containing 250 feet of 5/8 rode, 50 feet of 1/4 chain, and a spare 250 foot 1/2 inch rode. (Plus the usual junk!)

Original deck showing bronze deck plate for anchor rode

We installed a large stainless steel roller, a manual Simpson Lawrence Seatiger windlass, and 200 feet of 5/16 HT (G4/G43) rode. The windlass was mounted on top of the bowsprit, feeding chain through an existing gap in the teak. ABS pipe was sanded, heated, and "beated" to fit the oval chain feed of the windlass and epoxied into the deck for a chainpipe.

New Manson Supreme 35-pound anchor on new rode

Seatiger windlass installed on top of bowsprit

ABS pipe used as a through-deck fitting

Chainpipe from the inside, with 200 feet of 5/16 HT chain piled under it. The line is 50 feet long and provides the ability to cut the anchor and rode free in the case of an emergency, while retaining the anchor and rode in a lesser emergency.

A piece of the ABS pipe was split and screwed to the caprail to provide chafe protection. When taut, the chain just touches the teak and stainless

Final install from the front. The anchor is lashed to the lifeline stanchion, even though it's rock-solid without the lashing. And I think this is a cool picture....

The original rode was left in place, with a hook installed on the deck pipe cover for quick and easy retrieval.
We still have to find a place to store the CQR, which will serve as a secondary or backup anchor.

The Head

Rhapsody came with an old Raritan head with all the usual age-induced "features" - dry seals, random leaks, and even a cracked pump body. I tossed it and installed a new Jabsco toilet. I considered the Lavac, but was under the mistaken impression that the Jabsco would be a simpler affair. If only!

The original Raritan head

My first surprise was after installing and testing (not _that_ sort of testing, thankfully!) was water seeping from under the setee in which the holding tank is built. Re-sealing the openings (intake, vent, and pumpout) didn't help, so I used my reciprocating saw (part of a Ryobi kit, which has so far been a really great set of cheap power tools) to open up the plywood-and-epoxy tank, but still could not find the leak. I coated the inside of the tank with several layers of Gluvit, which stopped the waterworks.

After moving the pump to the other side and rebuilding the floor plate, I managed to get the Jabsco head shoehorned in, and then ignored everything for a couple months. I finally finished the plumbing, which ended up as this:

  1. Intake water comes through a seacock to the head pump
  2. Water from the head pump is routed through a vented loop and back to the toilet bowl. The vented loop keeps our boat from sinking in the event of head pump failure, and we continue to keep the seacock shut when we aren't aboard
  3. The toilet discharges into the holding tank. The holding tank is a plywood and epoxy built-in unit of about ten gallons. It's located under a settee immediately adjacent to the head, so plumbing is minimal.
  4. The pumpout pickup exits the tank to a T-fitting, where
    1. A deck fitting may be used to pump out the tank, or
    2. A Guzzler diaphragm pump may be used to pump the holding tank overboard through a seacock. This seacock stays closed and locked except when we're actually pumping waste overboard.

Jabsco head installed and plumbed. A little industrial, but very functional

Friday, February 18, 2011

engine data

Rhapsody is powered by a W30 Westerbeke 4 cylinder diesel engine turning a Westerbeke "short sailing" transmission, then a 1 1/4" shaft, then a 14x16 (?) right-hand bronze 3-bladed propeller.

Engine data:
Serial Number 1517C102
Spec HBW100

Oil Filter:
  • Fram PH8A 
  • AC Delco PF2
  • Baldwin B-2
    Bosch 0-451-104-001
    Deutsch D539
    Donaldson LFP17-0008
    Fleetguard LF3313
    Goodyear L-8A
    Hastings P115A
    Kendall K1
    Knecht OC-4
    Lee LF-1A
    Lucas F-678
    Motorcrap FL-1A
    Napa 1515
    Pennzoil PZ-1
    Purolater PER-1A
    Toyota 15601-41010
    Wix 51515

Secondary Fuel Filter: FRAM C1191A

Primary fuel filter: Racor 500 FG with 20 micron filter element

Oil Capacity: 5qt 30WT (Delo 30 Weight Oil)

Transmission Capacity: ~1/2qt ATF
Transmission Plug: 17mm (11/16 in a pinch)

Raw water pump V-Belt: part number 9375 or Gates 17375

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Computers and navigation

We purchased a HP Mini 110 Netbook and a GlobalSat BU-353 USB GPS Receiver, and installed OpenCPN rather than buying a chartplotter. It was terrible - every time we really needed it, either HP or Windows was busy updating something, had crashed, or had lost connection to the GPS. The only way to re-gain GPS connection was to reboot, and we never - not one time - got the machine to shut off on it's own. So you have to hold the power switch until it dies, then deal with the "oh geez, Windows got all crashy" errors after it restarts - in about 5 minutes.

We installed Ubuntu Linux, and so far so good. The install was a little tricky due to HP's use of a non-standard network card, but there is good help available on the Internet. A cold boot, from pushing the power switch to looking at a chart in OpenCPN with a GPS fix now takes 35 seconds. Total number of Linux crashes to date: Zero.

However, we're still ogling the Garmin GPSMAP 740s. Not being able to see the laptop screen in bright sunlight is inconvenient at best, and the option of radar and depth information integrated with charts is VERY appealing. There's also the weatherproof factor - we KNOW we're eventually going to get the HP wet and it will die, we just hope it doesn't happen at an inconvenient time. The Garmin will happily ride out weather in the cockpit with us. Decisions, decisions....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fresh Water

Rhapsody has a single freshwater tank of yet-indeterminate size (60 gallons?) under the V-berth. Hand pumps of indeterminate model are provided in the galley and head sinks.

Head Sink

Galley Sink

I was able to get both pumps working with a thorough cleaning and a bit of plumber's grease.

The galley countertop/sink seal was a bit rough, and I needed to remove the sink to install the stove gimbals, one thing led to another and I ended up with a battery tray fiberglassed  under the galley sink counter aft of the sink and a new (temporary?) vinyl countertop.


The boat came with a single very dead D6 battery installed under the starboard countertop. I upgraded to two banks, a primary bank of 4 new T-105 Trojan 6-volt batteries (480AH) installed in previously almost-inaccessible space under the galley counter, and a secondary bank of a single ca. 90AH Group 27 cheapy "marine" 12V battery, installed in the original battery box (which is now mostly tool storage) and used only in the event of primary bank depletion. A new BLUE SEA Automatic Charging Relay keeps the secondary battery charged and isolated. All new Ancor Marine Grade Tinned Copper Battery Cable ties everything together through a new Perko 8501DP Marine Battery Selector Switch, and a new LinkLITE Battery Monitor keeps track of capacities and voltage.

The primary mode of operation is to simply turn the Perko switch to (1), which engages the main battery bank. The deep-cycle batteries are more than sufficient for engine starting. In the event of main bank depletion, turning the Perko switch to (2) isolates the dead primary bank and puts all electrical load on the backup. The (both) position has no useful function in this system is generally unused, but remains available and could be used to combine two partially-dead banks in an emergency (Thanks N8Kraft!).

Original battery box, now containing a secondary battery and tool storage. We still need to somehow insulate and isolate the battery posts - rough weather could cause a short.

An aside on tool storage: Commonly used items are now in roll-up pouches created by my very talented wife. They take minimal space and make everything easy to find and very portable.

Screwdrivers rolled and tied

Galley sink cabinet cutout removed to show batteries. The batteries rest on a wood and epoxy shelf and are restrained with nylon tiedowns.

Batteries and tiedowns. I had the cables made. I measured what I needed, and they cut the cables according to my measurements - then installed the ends. The result is that everything is about 2 inches too long. I try to pretend it's more "upgradable" that way.