How To Make A Fiberglass Tube, The Hard Way

3 Sep
Precision Engineering

Fiberglass tubes. Wow, think of all the uses. You can hold things up, or store stuff, or brace something, or just put a fishing pole in it. The tube my father and I were trying to make has an ID the same diameter as a 2″ aluminum pipe and is about three feet long. I would like to tell you what I’m going to use it for, but I can’t do that yet.

Of course you can buy fiberglass tubes, which I suppose is what most people would do. But why buy it when you can make it. ...

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Persnickety Impeller Pumps

26 Aug

attachment 1469430656
Essentially every marine engine has an impeller raw water pump. This pump sucks sea water through an intake, pushes and pulls it through various heat exchangers, then injects it into the exhaust, thus enabling a water-cooled exhaust made of flexible hose.

The first given about impeller pumps is that you must always carry a spare impeller. All it takes is a piece of flotsam clogging the intake for a few minutes, or someone forgetting to open an intake valve, and you’ll have a melted impeller, followed by the engine overheating from lack of raw water circulation:

Impellers are pretty tough. ...

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Repairing Serious Keel Damage Part II

23 Aug

Here is the second half of the keel repair Emory and I did on Noah’s Ark. The long gap in between parts I and II is in memory of the two and a half weeks that Emory and I sat twiddling our thumbs waiting for it to stop raining so we could finish the damn thing. Or maybe I got sidetracked… Either way, let’s jump back in.

At the end of Part I we had just re-glued the long crack running up the aft end of the keel, and it looked like this:

The next bit is always the most ...

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ANDERSEN WINCHES: Secrets of the Disc Spring Revealed

15 Aug

Andersen winch

I spent Monday out on Lunacy again and revisited Wills Gut, or McMansion Cove, as I’ve come to think of it, for the first time in three years. Before the sun went down I installed the new “disc springs” on my Andersen winches, a seemingly easy job that turned out to be not so easy after all.

Fortunately, thanks to the exploratory surgery I performed last time I was on the boat, I did at least succeed in acquiring the right parts. What I hadn’t realized is that the seemingly innocuous black plastic lids on these winches actually do ...

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Dropping the Stick – Mizzen!

6 Aug

Friends, I’m not going to lie to you.  I have a headache that feels like the devil himself is crouched inside my skull and is trying to force my eyeballs out to make room.  (And I didn’t even do anything stupid to deserve this headache, which I particularly resent.)  The point, at least as far as you are concerned, is that this post is going to be photo-heavy and text-light.  Unless I suddenly become hilarious in the next five minutes, in which case I will delete this paragraph and you will be none the wiser.  Ha ha!  I am a ...

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Getting what you need, and getting off the dock

2 Aug
Another pretty beach
This is the goal: an anchorage in tropical paradise. Tuamotus, French Polynesia

Anchored in clear turquoise waters of an idyllic atoll in the Tuamotus, we met a young Dutch family on a sabbatical cruise from Europe to Australia. Their home was a proven blue water boat which carried the couple and their  growing family across two oceans. Their two year journey held the common cruising mix of friends, adventures, and routine maintenance- along with the less typical “cruise baby” addition.

In Australia the boat was sold to an enthusiastic couple, eager to begin their retirement with dreams of cruising ...

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Where I’ve Been Lately

31 Jul

Friends, I’ve been withholding from you.  I have kept silent about the gorgeous, romantic and interesting places I’ve visited lately.  And I feel terrible about that.  So let me share with you.

Yesterday, Erik put a loving arm around me, put his lips to my ear and whispered, “it’s time.”  A thrill went up my spine.  Finally, we were ready to bed the backing plate for the new chainplate for the inner forestay.  Erik stomped off to the foredeck in the driving rain; I grabbed my 11/16th wrench and climbed into the anchor locker.  It was everything I dreamed.  Aluminum ...

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It’s a Sailboat, Sail It

30 Jul

All right, it’s been two days—where do I start?

Well I don’t really know. After a few hours, reading e-mail, talking to friends, I came to a conclusion: the head gasket is blown and the cause of the overheating that caused it was the Bar’s Head Gasket Repair that I used when I originally thought the head gasket was blown. I think what happened is that when I dumped the can of Bar’s in it jammed up the thermostat or at least restricted the flow. I’m guessing this because the temp just went straight up—it overheated at idle in under ...

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28 Jul

I was ready to go yesterday by about 2:00. The boat was ready and I was just unhooking the shore power when a gust of wind hit me. I stopped, looked up, and suddenly twenty knots was blowing white caps through the marina. The runways at San Carlos Marina are basically one boat length wide plus three feet, so I knew I wasn’t going to get out of my slip without risking some ugliness. I plugged the shore power cord back in and went below to pout.

Around seven the wind died down to manageable levels and I decided spur ...

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27 Jul

Man, that day did not go as planned.

It started off well enough. I picked up the fish—yay! Still alive. I can’t believe it.

July26 1This is how you transport a fish on a Mexican bus.

Then I got back to work on the engine. A while back I noticed that I seemed to be losing coolant. This could be from a head gasket leak, so I decided to try Bar’s Head Gasket Repair. Step one was to drain all the coolant in the system. I did that and flushed it a bunch of times. Then I disconnected the hot water ...

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