I love the demolition work. That’s the easy part. When everything’s a mess and you’re just ripping and pulling apart old greasy fittings and hoses, knowing that it will never be going back into the boat.
That’s what we’ve been focusing on the past couple of days on Arcturus. Last week I managed to unhook all the hoses and wiring from the old diesel and unbolt all the engine mounts and the shaft coupling while Mia was out for a run. Yesterday was time to actually pull it off the engine beds and dive into the fuel tank (another of the ‘might as well while we’re in here,’ items I’m replacing in the engineroom. At this point, it’s…everything).
Mia and I drove down to Gullberg’s Marina in Västerås where the boat’s been hauled out since last September. The bummer is that I can’t drive myself – my USA driver’s license expired here in Sweden after I’d been a resident for a year, and I’m still in the (lengthy) process of getting my Swedish license. You’ve got to jump through all the hoops, including all the tests, as if you were a new driver. It’s long and expensive, and means I need a chauffer (or a bicycle) all summer long.
Anyway. I’d decided long ago that this engine refit was going to include everything, and not just the diesel. My friend Ted Reshetiloff, who is living aboard with his young family in the Caribbean on their Wauquiez ketch Demeter, asked me on Facebook if the new Beta is going to just ‘drop in’ or would I have to built new mounts. ‘What do you think!?’ was my only response. So to that end, we’ve undertaken to re-do the entire engine room and cockpit lockers, from the fuel tank and shaft seal to the battery box and the fuel tank, ‘while we’re at it.’
Yesterday started with lifting the engine off the beds and onto the cabin sole. I’d done this once before using the boom as a crane, with a tackle attached on the end of it, and it worked quite well. Since the mast is unstepped, we didn’t have that option this time. So I rigged a solid beam across the companionway with a dyneema strop onto which I fixed the tackle, and this accomplished the same thing. Only problem is, now the engine is on the cabin sole – I can’t get the tackle high enough to get it outside and onto the ground. We’ll need the marina’s tractor for that, and will do it when the new Beta arrives – old engine out, new one in. But the new one will remain on the cabin sole for some time until we refit the rest of the engine room. I’m very glad we’re not living on the boat right now.
Next came the fuel tank. On the old Seabreeze’s (which by the way are celebrating their 50th birthday this year), the metal tank is strapped underneath the cockpit sole, suspended above the shaft. The fuel fittings are copper pipe. We’d done right last fall by topping up the diesel tank to avoid condensation, but yesterday it came back to haunt us. So we took as many old containers as we could find at Mia’s dad’s farm and bought a small siphon pump at a local hardware store and spent a good hour or so siphoning out as much fuel as we could before removing the tank, which actually came out rather easily. Mia stopped on the road along the way and I ran the rest of the way home again, my last 8 miles before the marathon on Thursday.
Last evening I spent much of the time at my desk upstairs in the house listening to The Knife and designing the new fuel tank. I’m working with Vetus in the UK to source all the parts for the tank, and they in turn are having a custom plastic tank made for us by Tek Tanks. I love the design process, and it was difficult for me to simply recreate the old tank (which I ended up doing), rather than try and design something new and better.
My new tank design.
By designing the new tank custom, I can spec all the fittings and where they will go. I added an 8-inch inspection hatch and a second fuel dip pipe to feed the diesel heater, and positioned the new fuel fill inlet in a more easily accessible spot that it was before. Vetus’ super flexible fill hose will allow me to use the same deck fill spot (albeit with a new fitting), but route it to the new tank fill so it’s easier to attach. Mind you, all of this is happening under the cockpit sole, which is difficult to access to say the least. The new plastic tank is white, but transparent enough to see the fuel level, so no need for an expensive fuel sender and gauge.
Today’s project will be to figure out where the heck the Beta is (it’s somewhere en route form the UK to Sweden), and start cleaning up the filthy bilge area in preparation for painting.