Thursday, 30 April 2009

Sick Baby

Sorry about the lack of posting.  The baby has been sick since Sunday, and still has one more day before he can return to daycare.

Doctor #1 (Monday), said that it was a virus, give him tylenol for the fever, his ears and throat are fine, bring him back Wednesday since he's so young, but he should be fine by then.

Doctor #2 (Wednesday), said he has a nasty ear and throat infection, he needs to go on antibiotics right away, and can't return to daycare until he's been on them for 48 hours.  great.  That would be noon on Friday.  So if he'd been put on the antibiotics on Monday, I'd have a happy baby back by now, and he'd be back in Daycare Thursday.  As it is, I took the early week off to stay with him, and hubby took the end of the week.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

GPS, meet VHF. VHF, meet GPS.

A few months back I was moaning to a co-worker (Don) about how I absolutely cannot solder wire. I can solder plumbing pipe, but that has little application aboard Iris. Iris is covered in wires of varying gauges and colours, and there are always bits to be connected. Crimping works often, but some things MUST be soldered.

Well, Don took pity on my soul, and showed me the tricks to getting wire to solder together. One lunch hour we sat and soldered together a data cable for the GPS. Yay! I went to hook the GPS up to the VHF Radio, and discovered that I would have solder the opposite end of the data cable (a basic 9-pin serial cable) to the transmission wires on the radio.

No sweat! Just solder those puppies up and plug her in! Except that after the plug her in bit, nothing happened.

Further conferencing Don, and we decided that the Serial cable we had "harvested" must have been a "crossover cable" (techie talk for something I don't know) and the RX and RT (or whatever) leads must have been reversed such that the googlebits were spamming up the flux capacitor. (I made that part up so I would sound techie).

Don suggested that I reverse the cables. Based on all my previous techno-experience, I thought that sounded like a great solution.

Last night I finally got around to reversing the leads, and the radio blinked a lovely little set of coordinates when I plugged the data cable into the GPS. Now the radio knows where it is, even if I don't. On a more critical level, I can now register the boat, and if anything awful happens, with a single button push, we can transmit our position and vessel to the Coast Guard, and get assistance.

If you are hooking up a Standard Horizon DSC -capable VHF, and would like detailed info on how our hookup went, let me know. We used a 9-pin serial cable so that (with luck) I can export my data to a PC after a sail and see where I was on a service like Google Maps or similar. I am not geek-inclined, but I really hope I can figure out how to transfer the data.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Weekend Work

Well Saturday was beautiful, and it would have been perfect for working on Iris but alas, car troubles had me spend most of the day on other things. I did manage to get the oil lamp properly installed in the cabin though, so at least I can take that off the to-do list.

On Sunday I was unbearably rude to our guests and spent the day tearing down the outboard. I replaced the water pump, and tried to put the shaft seal in, but there was no way I could reach it. This morning I stopped by the local Evinrude/Johnson dealer and was told that there is a special tool for that job. The tool is $85 or the labour to replace the seal is $90...

The Johnson dealership will call back when the seal is replaced.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Kinda-Sorta-Almost Got the Lamp Installed

SWMBO bought me a beautiful little gimballed lantern for my birthday. It was a total surprise. I mean, I pointed it out to her, negotiated a better price with the sales dude, watched as they wrapped it and packaged it for us, and put it in the car, but I was really surprised when I got the lantern for my birthday.

Anyway, last night I decided to put it on the boat so that at least one thing would come off the "to do" list.

I discovered that Lowes of all places stocks brass machine screws. This was huge since the chandleries want an arm and a leg for them. At Lowes its $0.68 for four! Wowzas! I bought 8, with the attendant nuts, washers, acorn nuts, and so on. Then I positioned the lantern on the wall, lined up the holes and went to work making holes in the boat.

Six holes in the bulkhead later, I was committed to the project. Just put the screws through the mounting holes in the lantern, and - What the??!!?? The holes in the mounting plate are all different sizes! Well, brass is a soft metal. With drill in hand, I re-drilled the holes. Now things should go better.

Just put the screws through the holes, and - Dammit! The screws are all way too long, they'll catch on whatever we hang in the hanging locker! And the holes in the smoke shield aren't countersunk!

Tonight its back to Lowes to get 6 more screws. 3 short oval headed machine screws, and 3 short pan headed machine screws. Why is nothing simple!!

Anyway, here is how the lantern looks with its temporary mount:

Thursday, 23 April 2009

2009 Calendar and Crew Info

I have been circulating crew info via an email list. It keeps growing, but I'm concerned. I've added folks to my list of "people who can crew for me this summer" email folder, but I fear overwhelming folks with stuff they don't want to hear. So this post is for the racers who are planning on coming out on race day. Please check in every now and then for updates. I will no longer spam your inbox with unwanted kilobytes.

First, the full summer calendar is below. Its kind of unwieldy. There is a lot going on. Also we don't expect to enter all the SGA races, but we are planning on being in EVERY LSIS RACE. Those races have a split fleet (so we have a fighting chance) and they have great parties. Plan on $5 per day for food and party. Exceptions Will be noted to crew who sign up to more expensive events (ie. The Georgina Cup - $25 each last year, but Sponsored by Mount Gay Rum - Free Booze!)

For LSIS events, its best if you can come for the whole weekend, that is Friday night - Sunday and spend the nights aboard Iris. If you want to drive and can only make one race that's cool too.

I don't think anyone could make it out to all these dates, but please remember that the more times you are able to make it out, the better you will do aboard, and then the better Iris will place. I am hoping to have 4 crew for each race this year. I know that is optimistic.

Our Goal this year is to finish better than 3rd (3rd last that is...) A lot of the fleet has gotten new sails so there will be tougher competition than last year. I have had our 155% genoa touched up, but for the most part our sails are in too good of a shape to warrant any major work, then again, they aren't new. Newfie got new sails. If you were out last year, you know what that means...

The Calendar Events in Blue I am planning on entering no matter what. Events in red we will miss:
  • May 23 - SGA Race 1 - Jackson's Point - 9:00 AM
  • May 23 - SGA Race 2 - Jackson's Point - 12:00 Noon
  • May 30 - SGA Race 3 - NOT ENTERED, other commitments
  • May 30 - SGA Race 4 - NOT ENTERED, other commitments
  • June 6 - LSIS Race 1 - Lagoon City - 1 or 2 Crew needed (Jamie signed up)
  • June 7 - LSIS Race 2 - Lagoon City - 1 or 2 Crew needed
  • June 13 - SGA Race 5 - Jackson's Point - 9:00 AM
  • June 13 - SGA Race 6 - Jackson's Point - 12:00 Noon
  • June 20 - SGA Mayor's Cup Pursuit Race - Jackson's Point - 1 or 2 Crew Needed
  • June 25 - SGA Race 7 - Jackson's Point - 6:00 PM
  • June 27 - LSIS Race 3 - Barrie to Cook's Bay - 1 or 2 Crew Needed
  • June 28 - LSIS Race 4 - Cook's Bay - 1 or 2 Crew Needed
  • July 2 - SGA Race 8 - Jackson's Point - 6:00 PM
  • July 9 - SGA Race 9 - Jackson's Point - 6:00 PM
  • July 16 - SGA Race 10 - Jackson's Point - 6:00 PM
  • July 23 - SGA Race 11 - Jackson's Point - 6:00 PM
  • July 30 - SGA Race 12 - Jackson's Point - 6:00 PM
  • August 6 - SGA Race 13 - Jackson's Point - 6:00 PM
  • August 8 - LSIS Race 5 - Barrie - Around the lake, overnight - I believe I have full crew (Mike, Patti, Jamie)
  • August 12 - September 4th Iris will be on Georgian Bay . There will be races at SGA while we are away.
  • August 13 - SGA Race 14 - Not Entered, On Vacation
  • August 15 - SGA Night Race - Not Entered, On Vacation
  • August 29 - SGA Race 15 - Not Entered, On Vacation
  • August 29 - SGA Race 16 - Not Entered, On Vacation
  • September 5 - LSIS Race 6 - Barrie - 1 or 2 Crew Needed
  • September 5 - LSIS Race 7 - Barrie to Hawkestone - 1 or 2 Crew Needed
  • September 6 - LSIS Race 8 - Hawkestone - 1 or 2 Crew Needed
  • September 7 - LSIS Race 9 - Hawkestone - 1 or 2 Crew Needed
  • September 19 - LSIS Race 10 - The Georgina Cup - Jackson's Point - 1 or 2 Crew Needed
  • September 19 evening - Georgina Cup Party in Jackson's Point (Free Rum!)
  • September 20 - LSIS Race 11 - Jackson's Point - 1 or 2 Crew Needed
  • September 26 - SGA Race 19 - Jackson's Point - 9:00 AM
  • September 26 - SGA Race 20 - Jackson's Point - 12:00 Noon

If you wanna be booked in for a race/event please comment below, be sure to let me know who you are. I will not post comments with email addies or personal info (I may edit the personal info out and then post though...)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The "Before" pic

One of the guys on the Catalina Forum was asking how to lead lines aft from the mast to the cockpit, and this pic barely, sorta shows it.

Of course it also shows the teak rails before refinishing. This is from the ROMP sailing night last summer. If you look closely you can see a block attached to the base of the mast. The line goes from the block to a deck organizer that you can just see the edge of at the left of the photo. From there it runs back to a clutch just forward of the cockpit.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Sanding, Cetol and Stella Artois

For some time now Stella has been the unofficial official beer of Iris. Some of the other guys in the marina get quite excited about other types of malted drinks, but I like Stella, so on Friday after work I took all my teak into the garage, and after cracking a Stella settled in for some epoxying.

Lets back up by a couple hours (at least). Earlier last week (it may have been Thursday or Friday, I've lost track). I headed into town to my favourite chandlery with my mangled teak in hand. They looked at it, and said "So?!?" Apparently many folks have similar outcomes when removing their grab rails, and the typical thing to do is just to glue them up and move along. Since I already had epoxy at home, all I needed was a few basic supplies to be back on track. I got a tube of caulk and some bolts and teak plugs, and headed out.

All the stuff stayed in the back of the van while I continued ruminating, then on Friday night, the Stella was cracked open, the epoxy mixed, and I was in business. The first thing I did was to epoxy the chips that had completely broken off back on to the hand rails. In hindsight, I should have saved these for last and done the splits first, but now I know for next time. Gluing was easy. Paint the wood with the epoxy, put the chip back in place, clamp, have a drink of Stella, move along.

It took about 17 minutes to do both chips, and now it was time for the splits. I did the smaller split first in case something went wrong. I should have done the bigger split first, but hey, I'm on a learning curve. The way to epoxy split wood is to open the split, coat the wood with epoxy, and then tilt the wood so that the epoxy runs down into the split. A friend at work had suggested that he uses drill bits to hold the wood open. just put one across the grain of the wood, and roll it deeper into the split to open it up more. This works really well. I was able to cover the wood with epoxy, and tilt it so the glue ran deep into the crack. Just one problem, the epoxy was starting to harden. It ran slowly. Eventually, I was convinced that the split was OK, and I clamped it and left it for the night. Same with the worst of the splits which had the need for the epoxy to run the most, although by now it was even slower to run in and fill the gaps.

Saturday morning I came down to check my work. Epoxy was all drooly everywhere. Since the garage has a sand floor, I wasn't too concerned about the mess it had made there, but I wondered if I would ever be done sanding all this epoxy off the wood. Plus there were still traces of the old finish on the wood here and there that needed to be sanded down.

After breakfast I ran to the hardware store and bought a few sheets of sandpaper. Then I sat and sanded until after lunch. It was a long process, and I was aware of the good weather I was missing. I could have been doing so many other things! Eventually the wood looked like teak, and was ready for Cetol.

Cetol is a oil based coating that isn't varnish or oil. I don't really know what it is but it lightly colours teak, protects it, and still looks fairly natural. I wanted 4 coats of it on the teak before I put the wood on the boat. I got my last coat on around 10:00 PM.

Today the wood looks good and feels solid. I would post pics but SWMBO has the camera. Maybe I'll put them up once the teak is on the boat.

Something we've been working on

So, my Little Buddy has been a b**b baby from day one.  He never had a bottle for the first couple of months.  And then when we tried to give it to him, nope, no thanks, I'll take my Mama please.

This went on for sometime.  We tried different bottles, different people, nothing.  He'd take each bottle we gave him the first time we offered it, but at the second try... nope.  no thanks, tried this, didn't like it.  Where's Mama?

Eventually, he suddenly changed his mind.  Which was good, 'cause Mama was going back to work!!  When he turned nine months, we dropped his daytime nursing, and switched them to bottles.  So he was getting two bottles daily.  Except, even though he was nine months old, he still had to be held laying down, or strapped into his infant - toddler rocker, in the most reclined position.  It became known as, "the milk chair."  Because he would not tip his own bottle.  He would hold it, but not tip it.  Then get incredibly frustrated, because, well, he wasn't getting anything.  Just air.  No milk.  If you lay him on the floor, he'd roll over and go play with his toys, then get mad, because he was hungry.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, he figured this out:
 And now Mama is happy.  Because even though I loved snuggling my boy while he had his bottle, he's a year old now, and really, we need to switch to a cup soon.

Just so long as he dosen't figure out this bottle type any time soon:

Also, the same week he figured the bottle out, he also figured out how to go down the stairs.  He could go up the stairs... but down.... that was a problem.  So now he will go up four stairs (to the landing), then down four stairs.  Up four stairs, down four stairs.  Up four stairs, down four stairs.  Repeat.  Continously.  For an hour.  Who needs toys, when you have stairs?

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Happy Birthday Little Buddy!!

So, in all of the excitement of returning to work, I may have forgotten to mention something.

If I could just remember what it was….

Oh yeah, my boy turned One!

So, you’re waiting for the photo of the melting down baby now, right? ‘Cause with all the excitement of the party, it’s bound to happen?? Well, due to some careful planning by Mama, there were no meltdowns!! Yeah for a happy boy!!

We had his party a week early, ‘cause his birthday was the day before Easter. So that morning, Daddy, Big Sis, & Mama went to church as normal, and the Buddy Boy stayed at home with Mama’s cousin. He had a nice quiet morning, an early lunch, then an early nap… so he was fresh and ready to go for the festivities at two!

Umm… mama… what is that burning thing that you’re bringing towards me??

Cousin Katelyn helped the Buddy blow out his candles, since her birthday was um… yesterday? Two days ago… Oops… HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATELYN!!

Ohh… This stuff tastes good… you say this stuff is cake… I think I like cake.

I like Cake a lot… is there anymore of that Cake stuff left??

No? Well, I’ll hang out with Uncle Mike then. He’s wearing funny hat like I was!

Hey… this is a cool new toy!!! Mama, look at Grandma & Katelyn & I playing with my new toy!!

Ack!! There’s a girl in here!! Run away!

Alright, I guess I can share with my cousin… If I haveta.

Mama, I think she’s gonna throw that thing at me….
She’s gonna bean me Mama….with my own toy!!
No, never mind…. She’s just gonna sit on me... I can handle that!!

Happy Birthday Little Buddy!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Playing Outside

At the End of March, we had a couple of beautiful spring days. It gave one hope that spring may actually make it to Southern Ontario this year. The Buddy Boy and I spent a couple of great days outside

Mama, what is this stuff?? It feels kinda weird….

I’m not sure I wanna be touching that….
Hey Look….. I can pick it up!!

Did she just lick the stump?? Mama, I think that my Sister just licked the stump… can I lick the stump?

It’s fun out here Mom… can we play out here tomorrow too?

And then, Mother nature ina ll her wisdom, gave us this:

Note that this was where I was sitting with the baby outside:

The poor Robin's were so miserable.... I had to stop the car so that one could move out of the way when I was leaving the driveway.  If I hadn't stopped for him, I would have smushed him.
Mama, I wanna go out there!!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

8 Plugs of Failure

Ok, its actually only 4 plugs that failed, and it isn't complete failure, but still things didn't exactly go perfectly for me last night.

I got it in my head that after I got home last night I would spend 15 minutes and remove the plugs from the teak grab rails. The plugs had to come out so the screws could come out so I could get the goop off the bottom of the boards, so that in the amazing weather this weekend I could re-stain and re-install the teak.

The guys on the Catalina forum were patient with my newbie questions and explained the process in great detail.

In this pic, the handrails are sitting on the partially completed stitch and glue dinghy that Chuck and I have been building for 1-1/2 years. Its a weekend project. I know of 8 others that have been built in the time it has taken us to complete the stitching. That's pretty sad, really.

Step 1.

Drill a hole in the middle of the plug. The drill bit isn't supposed to come out of the chuck when it hits the screw below, and eventually I got a feel for not killing my drill bits, but lets just say that if I ever do this again, it will be with a lot of really cheap bits.

For the folks keeping score at home, I only managed to actually break one bit. I was using 1/8" HSS bits, I don't think that really matters though. I received advice on 2 methods for removing the plugs - one was to get a drill equal in diameter to the plug and drill straight into the plug exactly on centre. I am sure this work for people who have mad skills. Alas I do not. Details to follow.

Since I don't have mad skills, I used an alternate method which I will refer to as the "Screw Jack Method." If you've ever used a screw jack you know what I'm talking about.

Step 2.

Insert screw. It sounds simple, and it is for 97.2% of the human race.
Either I am not human, or I fall into the other 2.8% I chose to believe I am human. Testing to follow at a later date.

I figured a screw with an aggressive thread, long enough to reach deep into the wood would be desirable. On my shelf of assorted screws, I found a deck screw. The idea with the "Screw Jack Method" of plug removal is to put the screw into the hole drilled in step one, until it bottoms against the bolt hidden under the plug.

The screw will then act as a jack, lifting the plug out of the hole. Like this:

You may have been expecting the WHOLE plug to come out of the hole, as was I but apparently the plugs had a better idea. The better idea was epoxy. For reason's I don't know, the screw heads and the bottoms of the plugs were sealed to each other with a thick layer of epoxy. The only way I knew of to get the epoxy out was to chip away at it. Which I duly did with a wee little pick.

Then the screw was all wiggly, so I pushed it out the hole... It came out nicely but brought a big chunk of teak out with it.

Yowzas! I saved the chip, and will have to attempt an epoxy job to reattach it. If this job goes anything like my previous epoxying attempts... well lets just not go there.

I had the screw out and had the technique down. now there was only another 7 plugs and screws to remove.

Of the 8 screws, 4 would give me trouble. All of them were epoxied in, with 4200 sealant, and clear silicone goobered up and down their threads. This shows that previous owners were doing maintenance, however; I think some of their efforts may have been misguided.

I swapped out my deck screw for a much beefier wood screw that I have no idea why I own. I have a box foll of these. I think there are something like 100 of them. They are 3" long and about as big around as my pinky. Since I was hitting a solid bed of epoxy after about 1/4 inch, the screw diameter didn't matter as much as how aggressively the taper bit into the wood. With the larger screws I had much better success. I still found that the worst screws though were the ones at the ends of the rails.
Here is one rail getting ready to let go. The split is at the depth of the head of the screw below. Since the screw head is bonded to the teak via the epoxy, and there isn't a lot of working room in the hole, there isn't much to be done for it.
The top of the board will come away, but at lest the chip is big enough that i can hold on to it to epoxy the wood together. For re-assembly I will be sure there is no wet epoxy in the holes, and I will likely ream out the holes. The following pic is the resultant chip from the split above. (that's some insulation on the floor. I know someone is going to ask, but that's all the details you get.)
Now I don't claim to be a craftsman, I don't even claim to be proficient in these things, but honestly, I felt awful every time I saw another split open up as I removed the screws.
Here is the worst split in the whole process. I am not sure if this rail should even be used. If I epoxy it back together, would I trust the repair going forward in heavy weather? The split follows nearly the centre of the grab loop back about halfway down the length of the loop.
What a sickening feeling it would be to grab that rail, and feel it come apart in your hand. My woodworking friends assure me that an epoxied repair is stronger than the original wood since you are gluing together the weakest link, and since the epoxy is stronger than wood. I will have to ruminate on this for a while before I decide what to do. Part of rumination will be checking the price of replacement parts.
To repair a split like this I am told that you open up the split with some small shims, and then inject epoxy into the split. Once you have decent coverage its clamp and pray that the fix holds.
I am thinking that I will replace all the bolts that were in the boards since they are badly gunked, and are bent beyond belief. I wonder how they were installed, or what happened that they were so mangled.
At the end of the day, I had all my boards plug and screw free, here they are waiting for next steps which will include another once-over with the sander, and a treatment with the stripper to remove the final bits of whatever they were finished with. The bottoms of the grab rails will be cleaned up, and then it will be time to slather them up with cetol (4 coats plus)before re-installation.

After all this excitement it was bedtime. Too Bad buddy boy stole all the pillows...

I like Pusgetti's!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Good Weather ahead!

Looks like this weekend will be a major maintenance event. The goal is to get home early on Friday (18 degrees) and get the teak stained, and a Nicro vent installed in the hole in the foredeck.

Saturday morning (16 Degrees) is the Teak re-installation session, followed by the tentative de-tarping of the boat if the teak is all looking good.

Teak re-installation/de-tarping to be followed by interior clean out. There are more tools in the boat right now than there are in the house. Seriously, SWMBO was trying to fix the swing set in the back yard last weekend, and every tool she needed was on the boat. That's pretty bad. This morning I couldn't find a slot screwdriver - likely they are all on the boat as well.

Interior clean out to be followed by bleachy wash down of the interior. Its a spring ritual. If I get the teak on and the boat cleaned out I'll be a happy guy, but that means major task #3, the engine rebuild will still be waiting, and I MUST get the bow wet sanded and our proper registration numbers on there. Hmmm. I wonder how far I'll get over the weekend. Maybe I can do a little wet sanding after work each night, hanging upside down from the foredeck...

I think it would be easier to just wait until the tarp is removed.

Back at work

Yesterday was my return to work.  After a year off with my boy.  Ugh.

The BB sitter said that the BB did quite well.  He was a bit clingy in the morning, but other than that, he had a great day.  But it still broke my heart when he saw me that night, and his eyes lit up, and he chanted "Mom Mom Mom Mom" as he crawled to me as fast as he could.

Monday, 13 April 2009

12 Volts of Success!

Yee-Haw!! The wiring works!! 12 Volt rewiring is duly removed from my "To do list."

After spending weeks twiddling my thumbs, I finally found the root of all wiring evil, and I think I tackled it. I now have 2 batteries each showing 13.X volts, a switch that disables the shore power charger, and properly fused circuits all around. All that needs doing now is for some zip ties to clean things up and regular monitoring of the juice boxes.

Next on the list - completion of the solar vent installation, and re-installation of the teak. Then I can de-tarp and get the outboard running properly.

Tentatively looking at mid to late May for launch... Actively soliciting help in a couple dry runs of rigging the beast!

I spent a bunch of time on Friday getting the decks clean so that the teak will bed properly when re-installed. Learned an important secret there... Lee Valley paint stripper will eat away 3m 4200 sealant. The job went a lot easier than I had anticipated. I'll try to post pics later.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

April Blues

Here it is mid-April. My American friends have their boats merrily bobbing at the end of a dock, but poor Iris is still sitting in her cradle in the backyard waiting for launch. It will be about a month before she goes in the lake. I haven't even called the marina about a launch day, nor have I called a hauler about moving her to the lake. I so behind on the pre-launch stuff that I wanted to have sorted out that its depressing.

I need to get the teak all sanded and stained this weekend, and then reinstall it. I need to sort out the electrical, clean out the interior, and get her back in summer trim. I need to finish installing the solar vent in the head. I need to tear down the lower end of the outboard and rebuild it.

What I need is to have time on my hands and good weather. I don't see that happening anytime soon. I hope I get the solar vent and wood work done this weekend. Then I'll just have the outboard and electrical left to sort out.

We'll have to see how it goes.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009