Sunday, November 11, 2018

Little Solar Update

I've been using a 50 watt solar panel to keep the batteries topped up. This weekend I decided to put up one of the 100 watt panels on the side.

I first drilled a couple holes for the little kick stand that helps keep the panel positioned. I first setup the panel to the outside of the stanchion as it normally would but since I'll still be in the yard awhile, I turned it around so the panel would mainly be over the boat.



Normal setup

Still well inside of the hull side


While set for charging normally



This is where I turned it around



View from the cockpit
So far I really like how this is looking. I'm happy I chose this position for a solar setup. I'll still have to put up one on the port side. This would do well for a cruising setup.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

a couple updates

I've been in and out of town lately.

Went to Sacremento for a week for visiting wife's family, then not long after, we were in Vancouver, B.C. to visit more of wife's family, then we were near Long Beach, CA for a wife's work trip for a month.

Trying to get back into working on Rhapsody. At least since returning from the latest trip, I have mounted the AIS transponder under the nav desk. Now, I think I just need to find a splitter to share the masthead antenna or route a cable for a new dedicated antenna for it, but not necessarily on the mast. Testing it at ground level, in the truck while sitting in the marina, it gets pretty good reception and signal does get out just fine.

and that little red board is just a bluetooth audio amp that I connect with my phone to listen to some music while I work.


I have also been installing some insulating material in the starboard side quarterberth. That uses up the material I had on hand and frees up a little space I have on the boat. Still a little more to do but it's coming along.



Saturday, May 26, 2018

Still At It.

Been four months and no posts, what gives?

Well, "life" is what happened.

Not to worry, I've still been plugging away on the boat when I can, so maybe I can say a little about what I've been up to. (and, no Matt, this isn't a 12 part mini-series)

The main reason I haven't posted any updates is that there's little progress going on at any one time. I mean, how many times can I really post "still working to scrape off bottom paint" before that gets old... believe me, it's getting old for me too. Since progress is slow on paint removal, I'm looking to hire someone to finish that part, then I'll do repairs of deep pitting/holes before applying a barrier coat and bottom paint.

Back in December, I signed off on the last paperwork I needed to retire from the military, only my actual retirement date was April. You'd think that now I'm retired, I'd have plenty of free time to work on the boat, right? Nope, wrong. So. Very. Wrong. I'd say now, I have less free time than I did before. Mainly because I have a 1yr old. Wife still works so I'm at the house most of the time watching the little one. She is getting to be quite the handful and SUCH A DADDY'S GIRL. I can't do much without her right beside me wanting to be picked up.

So, I still only get one day a week, Saturdays, to visit the boat. Most Saturday's anyway. Because of my retirement, I had to get a new drivers license and re-register my vehicles in Virginia since I can now no longer keep Tennessee. That ate up a couple weekends getting vehicles inspected & emissions testing. Then another weekend was my daughers first birthday. Basically, it ended up being about a month I couldn't get to the boat. Other weekends it was just slow progress in some part because of the weather (RAIN) but worked on other smaller things instead.

While I was going to wait until the boat launched, I decided to go ahead and get solar on the boat. Nothing setup just yet. Since I can get to the boat only one day a week, which is the only time I can charge the batteries, I figured solar woud be good to use to keep the batteries topped up the rest of the week. I'll post more on that later.

I also got an AIS transponder. I've been testing it the last few visits to the boat using one of the antennas on the truck. Works pretty good and hope to install that in the boat soon as well. I plan to post more on that later as well.

Not much else to it. Just wanted to show that I'm still at it, when I can. Soon, wife and I are going out of town for a couple weeks to Vancouver, BC, so that'll eat into the boat work too. Wife has plans on visiting other places too.

At this point, I'm not sure if I'll launch this year but I'll keep at it.

It'll launch one of these days.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Engine Wire Harness

It's been a little over a month since I visited the boat. One of the inspection ports on the fuel tank, while covered, wasn't bolted down. I decided to bolt it down and saw water drops coming out from the rubber seal. I opened it up and found the tank almost full of water. Surprising as I didn't realize that much water was in there. When I first installed new seacocks for the cockpit drains, I didn't put sealant on them right away. At least, not until I saw a little water sitting on top of the tank. Didn't think then to look inside. While the tank was filled with water, the bilge was dry. So, it'll at least hold fluid. To get the water out, I decided to get one of the water hoses laying around the boat yard to siphon it out. Went to the local hardware store to get a drill powered pump and got it started. once the siphon started, I disconnected the pump so it would flow out on its own. Then went inside to make sure the hose was at the bottom of the tank.


I left the inspection port uncovered so any moisture in the tank could evaporate. Good thing I removed the water when I did. The temperatures the past month has been in the 20s (highs) for quite a few days at a time. don't need that freezing.

The seacocks I installed are now sealed up, but I only have 3 installed. I still have one more to install for the cockpit drains. It'll take a little more time to get that setup as it's next to the little shelf the old water-lift muffler sat. So the backing plate is probably going to be triangular instead of round like the others. The hose on the seacocks are a bit annoying. Every time I try getting them on, they don't go very far and can get only one hoseclamp around it. For some reason, not enough hose gets on the barb for two clamps. I've been using Dawn dish soap to lubricate the hose and barb, but still nothing. They sure are a tight fit.

This weekend, or rather yesterday (20 Jan), I visited the boat and installed the wiring harness on the engine. Finally found a reference in the service manual... on the very last page... for were the wires went. The wires are color coded so that helped. There was a couple things I wasn't quite sure on so I looked at older pictures I took to see where they went. Now, the only thing left is to run a power cable from the battery supply to the engine. I have some 4 ga. wire laying around that I can use, and just need to order connectors. I'll get them from genuinedealz like I did previous times.


Some of the little stuff is what really adds up in getting things ready. So, in addition to running power to the engine, I still need to reinstall the exhaust hoses and new water-lift muffler. I also need to connect the fuel lines, make a vent hole in one of the inspection plates, install new stuffing box, replace cutlass bearing and some other things before I get to working on the bottom to prep it for barrier coat and bottom paint. I hope to launch this year, but like always, we'll have to see how things go along the way.

I recently ordered brakes for the trailer. I was thinking to work on that this weekend but right now I'm looking at putting the effort towards the boat to get ready to sail again first. Until then, the brakes are sitting at the house. I'll post more on that when I actually do the work on it.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Brakes, winter project

Brakes come up in discussion once in a while on the Nor'sea owners group. For good reason.

For owners who tow their own boat, trailer equipment is important to keep in mind. A Nor'sea is a big investment and the trailer should be well taken care of too. It's a very large load for most people.

When it comes to brakes, many boat trailers come with surge brakes. They work with brake fluid. When the tow vehicle slows down, the actuator, that attaches to the hitch, compresses when the load continues to push forward then builds pressure in the lines activating the brakes. The load can still push the tow vehicle before it stops. If there's no fluid (or not enough) in the brake lines, stopping is all on the tow vehicle. Dangerous!

The trailer that came with my boat is equipped with surge brakes. Other owners suggest the conversion to electric brakes.

With electric brakes, when the tow vehicle activates the brakes, the trailer can actually slow down first, pulling on the tow vehicle to a stop.

That's going to be one of the things I'll be working on over winter. Just today, I removed one of the brakes currently on the trailer to see what I have to work with so I can order some supplies.

I've been getting bottom paint off the boat. Nothing to exciting there. It takes a long time too because of the lapstrake hull. I recently described it to another guy in the yard, it takes twice the effort for half the results. I'm sure other Norsea owners could agree with me on that.

I may not have posted in awhile but I am still working on getting the boat ready. Lots of things going on, not boat related too.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Scraping The Bottom

Last couple visits to the boat, I was working on scraping the old bottom paint off so I can prep for barrier coat and bottom paint.

The lapstrake hull is one thing that makes this task take longer. Those ridges of the hull takes a little extra effort. Someone asked me recently why I don't just do a little sanding and start painting over top of it. Since I want to use barrier coat, I wanted to start over, taking it down to gelcoat and build up from there. Plus, the paint that's on the boat now, wasn't really well adhered to the hull anyway. It was already flaking off. While some areas are fairly easy to remove, other areas, is a bit more difficult requiring taps to break it up.

Once the old paint is off, then I can sand it down to rough it up for the barrier coat. A little late in the season to work on the bottom, I know, but I can at least do some prep work now, while weather is cooling down. At this point, I may just wait till spring to do the painting part.

Looks like this is going to take longer than I expected. I should have known, it IS a boat after all.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Stern Rail Removal

Been a while since I posted but I'm still at it. Had some family visits that kept me from visiting the boat for a few weeks and the other time, I've been slowly making progress.

Recent activity include removing the stern rail and the wood that was damaged from the tree that fell on it during Hurricane Matthew. Still haven't had it fixed yet. I took off the pieces, cleaned up the goop that was used for bedding, some of which was still soft, and got it ready for repair. I emailed a shop nearby about getting it fixed a couple weeks ago but no response. I'd visit the shop, but they're only open during the week and I'm only able to visit the boat on the weekend.

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bent leg on the rail (left side in picture) needs straightened



Weird seeing the stern without the rail.













this is showing the hull/deck joint.


Really need to do something about those wires going through the deck.
This picture above, you see the wires coming up out of the deck. Out of three wires, I'll only be using one, for the stern light. The other two were for the old radar dome antenna and an external GPS antenna. The wires were being held (if you want to call it that) by what looks like 4200 or similar material. It had worked loose and allowed rain into the aft storage. The hole itself looked to just be a 1 inch hole drilled and there's a couple smaller holes that would suggest a fitting of some sort would have been mounted before. I'm starting to think about putting in a patch of some sort to cover that hole since it's right at a bend, and not a good place for any fitting. Woo Hoo! more fiberglass work!

I'm thinking a cable pass through like a Blue Sea CableClam would be useful. Since the stern has the rudder/tiller and a cleat, I think a good location for a pass-through would be just below the hull/deck joint. Will have to take a closer look as things continue to come together.





brown bedding material was still soft and pliable.






the metal fitting was removed from both sides for easier removal of the wood. Will get cleaned up too.

Transmission now mounted





Just thought this was a nice view when coming out of the quarterberth


While I have been installing new through-hulls and seacocks, I thought to show the process I was using to install the third one for the cockpit drains. I used this process before with the raw water seacock using the How-To website by a user who goes by Maine Sail on sailing websites. For the raw water seacock, I used Sikaflex 291 for the bedding compound. This time, I used 4200 as I had a small tube on hand that needed used before it dried out.

complete assembly


sanded the area the old seacock was placed, cleaned with acetone


added thickened epoxy

added the entire assembly and waited for the epoxy to cure



through-hull held in with the boat hook. through hull was also waxed before setting up for easier removal





4200 for bedding


As I was trying to put hoses on the barbs, a couple of the seacocks worked loose already. The pipe tape I used didn't seem enough. I took a suggestion from someone to use a sealant. I then disassembled the valve and hose barb on the installed seacocks, coated the threads with 4200 then reassembled. Don't think they're going anywhere this time.

At this time, I only need to install one more seacock. There's a small shelf next to the hole the old water-lift muffler sat so I may need to make a modified backing plate for it.

Shelf where old water muffler sat.

I've also removed the rudder, but I'll talk about that next time. I have some things to look into first.