No-Nos and Good Practice with Thru-Hulls and Seacocks

27 Oct

A common boatyard misdeed is to install a thru-hull like this,
All images courtesy of Groco
then screw on a ball valve like this,
ibv wv 225
with an appropriate tailpiece connected to some item of plumbing below the waterline. This is done all the time, but it’s bad practice for several reasons:

1. The threads don’t match. I’m not the first to write about this: If you go here, on Compass Marine’s excellent technical blog, he has even cut a fitting in half to show the difference in the threads.

The thru-hull has straight threads (NPS, National Pipe Straight) and the ...

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Hauling Out and Back in Time

14 Oct
I hate to admit it, but after sailing two-thousand odd miles to get to Maine this summer I hardly did any sailing when I got there. Almost from the first day I got caught up in land life and before I noticed its passage summer was at its end. So instead of trying to gather a crew to head right back where I came from, I decided to winter the boat in Maine and take the time next summer to explore the coast. I got very lucky with the haulout.
The mooring I’ve been on for the summer is owned ...
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Engine Woes and Sailing Anyway

25 Sep

sailing to prony

I can always tell that we have been in port too long when Erik and I start to bicker. As soon as we start

breaking out the why-don`t-you-get-it-yourselfs and the can`t-you-show-a-little-enthusiam-heres, it

means we are cranky and bored. Time to move on.

Not that I have anything against Noumea. The people are extremely friendly and helpful, and a

baguette costs 80 cents. You can`t beat that. But we have been up to our eyeballs in stress about

what is wrong with our engine-propeller run. The short answer is, we can jolly things along for now,

but we need to plan ...

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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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