Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Cleaning

Boats Decay - constantly. The constant motion of the wind, tide and waves causes boats to disintegrate at an alarming rate.
When I first bought my boat, I had high ambitions to install all kinds of cool electronics gizmos on her. After all, we do what we know, and electrical engineers, which I am, like electrical gizmos. I was going to install a cool stereo with cockpit speakers and maybe a flat screen TV plus a cool chartplotter. And what about that wireless NMEA repeater I was going to design? That was five years ago.
Since I purchased her, I have been fighting a never ending battle against entropy. I've replaced the head (yuck) and replaced the head discharge hose (really yuck). I've replaced batteries, chargers, bits of wire, pins, flares, sails, rigging, furlers, zincs, raw water strainers and hot water heaters. I even manage to scratch one item off my wish list and replaced my busted stereo. All in all, I have a list of 127 items that I've futzed with.
In May of 2007 I quit updating the list. It's not that I've quit doing projects, I've just quit keeping track of them. I mean, what's the point when the list is infinite and growing? I was once stripping old varnish off of my bow sprit at the dock, and this couple walks by. She says to her companion, "I would just love to own a boat. I would just lie around and read all day." Sure.
Each year I've been trying to do a non-maintenance project. Last year I installed a furnace (which is awesome - it has really extended the boating season). During this process, I finally installed a circuit breaker for the windlass. Only I didn't hook it up (got busy) until this year when I started my annual spring boat projects. Now these projects have a little more urgency. My insurance company required me to get a boat survey. A boat survey is where you pay a guy to tell you all of the things that you already know are wrong with your boat. Then the insurance company sends you a nice note telling you that you really ought to fix the items on the survey or you won't be covered. You have two months. This may seem like a long time, but how big of a dent can you make in an infinite list in two months? Most of the items in the survey list are not on my list. Items such as #12: No Bell - required for vessels of 12 meters or more. Okay, my boat isn't over 12 meters, so what is the problem? Or how about #13 - No Day Shape. For those that don't know, a sailboat is required to fly a conical day shape, apex downward when under power (72 COLREGS Rule 30) & a vessel at anchor shall exhibit where it can be seen an all-round white light or one ball. I don't know about you, but I have never seen either of these shapes outside of a coast guard rule book. Next time you are at the book store, check out your sailing magazine. See any day shapes. And why is this a condition of insurance?
I digress though.
This year's non-maintenance project was to hook up the hot water heater to the engine. Imagine nice hot showers while at anchor. I did hook up the heater and found yet another problem - a broken motor mount. No one else noticed it, and I suspect it is more important than that inverted cone. After I fix that, I'm going to work on those speakers.

From 2009_03_20 - Boat Works


kathiz said...

Hi Andy and Kathy. I just found your Christmas card from years ago - I hate I lost touch with all of T.B.'s kids. Looks like you are doing great. Please let me hear from you. Love to you both, as well as Cammie and family and Mike and Diane. Kathi Zagar (formerly Demarte)

Steve Szirom said...

Hi Andy. I met you on the BYC dock last Sunday as I was admiring your a previous Tayana 37 owner. I had hull #58 (Gitanes des Mers) and purchased her new in 1978 in Oakland, Calif. Since then it has changed hands several times and the latest owners are now here...
I also have a website, Oyster Yachting, which I just started to build at

Fair Winds,
Steve Szirom