Sunday, August 24, 2014

Rudder Cheeks

Just thought I'd start this post with a side profile of the boat when I showed up today. I continued using some compound on the last part of the port side. On the starboard side of the hull, I wet sanded by hand with 600, 800 and 1500 grit sandpaper. Used a spray bottle of water to wet down the hull. I started doing compound on the starboard side but got about a third of the way through then decided to call it a day. Temps got into the mid 90s with heat index forecasted at 100-105F. I was drinking plenty of water but I didn't want to over work myself in this heat.
Once I decided to stop using compound, I grabbed some tools and removed the rudder cheeks. I think they're made of mahogany and they're pretty big pieces of wood. The top of them, where the metal backing is at is where the tiller attaches. So, like the way I refinished the tiller, I'm going to refinish these pieces too. Instead of reusing the old carriage bolts, I have some new ones with hex head on them that will make it easier to remove later if needed.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Check Your Chainplates

I've heard it before by others for everyone's awareness to check chainplates. Other owners of a Nor'sea 27 have changed out their chainplates on 30+ year old boats because they saw cracks or ended up finding out there were cracks in them during removal. Like the old saying goes, nothing lasts forever and these chainplates are no exception. One owner took his chainplates off and while making the video, one broke in his hand.
While removing my chainplates, I noticed. some pitting and surface rust. They didn't really look TOO bad to me and still felt pretty solid. Then, I was down to two. The bow and the aft chainplate on the port side. The bow took a little time as it was flush with the surface and didn't want to lift up at first. The last chainplate on the side was another story. Each plate for the shrouds have a little block of wood for spacer. The bolts going through them stayed solid in place until I banged them out, but prying the plates from the boat was difficult because the bolts didn't budge. When I went to pull the last chainplate, it gave a little.
I thought it was odd since all the others were pretty sturdy but now I got one with a soft spot. Turns out, there was a hidden crack in it. It was hard to see at first but once I removed the spacer block, I pulled on the plate to exaggerate the bend to show the crack easier. It went right to the bottom of a bolt hole. It ended up leaving one bolt holding the half-shroud that was attached to it.
Can you see the crack?

How about now?
Pulled it to have it show up more
You can see the crack here with one bolt before the shroud attachment

Broke to show how much metal (on the left) was actually holding it together.
This is how the boat looked behind each chainplate.

Here I am, sitting inside the sail locker removing the nuts holding the bow chainplate in place. Just shows that a guy my size (6'5") can fit anywhere in my boat (mostly).

While I didn't take pictures of the chainplate areas after I cleaned them up and sanded, I can say their areas are looking much better, at least on the port side. I've started doing some sanding on the port side. I used 400, 600 and 800 all dry. Then, I read something that the sanding should be done wet so when I went to 1500, I used a spray bottle to wet the areas and sanded some more. It's looking much better so I hope this whole process is worth the effort.
I also have a compound that I found. It's made by Meguiar's and it's listed as a one-step compound. I also got a paste wax, Collinite Heavy Duty Paste Fleetwax that I'm hoping to bring the hull to a nice shine.
Here's how it looks after some compound. It'll need some more work but it's getting there. It probably hasn't been done in many years so anything is an improvement at this point. This is the first time I've done it since buying the boat a little more than 2 yrs ago.
Another project I'm looking at doing while the chainplates are off the boat is to repaint the blue stripe up by the toe rail. My favorite color is dark red. So, I looked around at topside paint and decided to get one in the color I want. It's Burgundy by Pettit Easypoxy. I'm thinking of re-painting the waterline too but not sure now if it's the right paint for it. Maybe someone reading this could advise me on this. The waterline will wait for now so no hurry. The top stripe is needed sooner before I get new chainplates in place.
Here's a quick snapshot of the color I bought. So more sanding, prep work and priming, etc.
Doesn't that look nice? :-)
Plenty to do on this old girl but it'll be worth it in the end.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Glassed In Bolt

Here's a video of the Airhead toilet I installed. It's more of a review to show how I have it installed as my head compartment is not very big. I find it is a good fit for my boat.

I spent most of the day trying to remove panels in order to remove just ONE chainplate. The panels were long so I couldn't pop them out or slide them out of the way once the screws were removed. So, I took a Dremel and cut one piece enough to get a small fine toothed saw blade into the cut so I could cut down on other pieces to expose the bolts. I had an interesting surprise when I removed them. The bolt on the very bottom of the chainplate, was glassed in. I used a different bit on the Dremel and cut away the fiberglass around the bolt enough I could get a wrench around it to move it. Once the fiberglass was cut away, the bolt was easy to remove. The top bolt was harder to remove since it was up and behind another panel. The little shop-vac was necessary anyway to draw enough amps from the 1000W inverter on the truck for the Dremel to work. In a way, it almost felt like doing dentist work with the drill and suction. Sounded about the same.

Used Dremel on top panel that was cut

Used this blade to cut the rest by hand.

A couple more chainplates, and I'm done with taking them off the boat. I'll have to do the same process for the last port side chainplate. I also took the tiller off the boat to bring home and will put a couple more coats of varnish on it. Mainly to clean up a few scuffs. I was going to bring the rudder cheeks home too to refinish but decided that can wait for now.

I was looking at some info online about hulls and gelcoat and it got me to thinking about how nice of a finish others have on their boats. Looking at my boat, I would say the gelcoat is in really good condition. Looks nice and smooth. I'm thinking to use some compound and wax to get a nice shine on the hull. I may be able to just do a test spot to see how just a compound/wax would do before going through the entire boat.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Some Dis-Assembly Required

Part of this refit is to break things down in order to build it back up again.

I'm looking at doing a few things at the same time. I want to repaint the blue near the toe rail to a dark red. Not sure what type of paint to use yet. I've looked at Interlux Brightsides, Pettit Easypoxy, Awlgrip and whatever else I can find. Brightsides has "Fire Red" but to darken, would require some mixing. Awlgrip and Easypoxy has dark red and due to costs, I'm leaning toward Easypoxy, unless I find something else or a different kind is suggested.

In order to prepare for this, I removed the name off of the port side, not yet on the starboard. There was a sticky residue left over after I scraped off the letters. I looked up online what could be used and saw something about acetone. I tried it and it cleaned it up nicely.

sticky residue left behind after scraping

after acetone cleaning

I also used an electrical palm sander a little bit. There was a spot that sanded through to a darker color underneath and a spot that was chipped. I'll have to sand down some more but not sure how far to go at the moment. What ever was used for the current color, there was a little bit of a reflection on it. I might sand it smooth, put on some primer and put whatever I get over it. With a new color, I can then add new set of letters for the name, whenever I get some.

Sanded through to a darker blue

I plan on replacing the chainplates. Not because they're bad. Actually, they don't look too bad but they're old and for preventative measures it's good to make sure they're updated. Removing them from the hull sides, it will give the repainting an even surface.

Removing stern chainplates
The sides were not as accessible. I had to remove the panels to get to the bolts for two of the side chainplates. The same way on both sides. The big washers on the sides were epoxied into place so they're not coming off. After getting the chainplates off, I just needed to scrape some of the caulking that was used off the boat and the chainplate.


The third chainplates on each side will be a bit more difficult. The panels are not setup in a way to pop off or slide out of the way. Looks like I might have to cut away some of the paneling and add some trim to hide the cut. At least that's an idea I have. One side, I have the galley and the other side, I have the nav desk. The panels behind each extend behind another piece of wood or bulkhead. So creativity is needed.

Overall, I got the two stern chainplates and two from each side off. I still have the third chainplate on each side and the one on the bow to remove.

So, some disassembly required.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Beginning of a Refit

A lot of things have happened since my last post to this blog. I've been working on a college class so that has taken up a lot of my time. I've also received notification for a trip overseas for work that could last four to six months. My wife saw the boat for the first time and I thought I would take her for a sail, then find out the batteries were dead. The starting battery was just over 10 volts and the house battery was just under 9. From what I can tell, the shore-line charger went out on me. I was originally going to haul out in September or October to get ready for a work related move but with everything going on, I decided to haul out. So I took my car battery and a set of jumper cables and got the engine running so I could move it to the dock for haul out. Yesterday, it was hauled out, bottom pressure washed, and loaded onto the trailer and took it home, or rather to the storage lot in town.

The boat felt good during the tow. At one point, on a smooth part of the road, I didn't realize at first but I was going quite fast (75mph). No sway in the trailer at all. When I realized how fast I was going, I decided to bring it down a bit and went 60-65 on the bumpy part of the highway for the other two thirds of the trip. Drive down took an hour and now, she's tucked away in the storage lot again about 20 minutes away. Now, I plan on working on a sort of refit getting things fixed up.

Here's a list of some of the things I am looking at eventually doing:

1. Replace seacocks: Replaced one already and have 7 more. 1, maybe 2, from the head I removed I'm looking at removing and covering the hole(s) with fiberglass. The one I defiantly will remove was from the head water intake, that's located by the starting battery box. The other I'm considering is the overboard discharge. The discharge one I thought of just replacing, but not using, not sure yet.

2. Finish installation of Airhead: Need to connect electrical for the vent fan and connect vent hose.

3. Replace Fuel tank: Found out when I got the boat in the water and filled the fuel tank, that it was leaking so the boat yard pumped out the fuel. Need to eventually figure out how I'm going to remove engine to get to it. I've had some previous advice that will be helpful and of course plenty of info on the Nor'sea Group archives.

4. Hoses: Looking at replacing hoses for sink and cockpit drains and possibly those on the raw water lines on the engine.

5. Paint: Looking at repainting the stripe by the toe-rail. It's currently a worn down light blue than I'm looking at painting to a dark red. May consider painting the waterline stripe too. I thought of painting the topsides but now just thinking of going with regular compound/wax. The interior storage compartments are painted a yellow color that I want to paint with Bilgekote or maybe something else to brighten things up. When replacing the fuel tank, I want to paint the engine compartment too.

6. Exterior Wood: I'd like to refinish the wood. I know a lot of people say "leave it grey" but I like the look of varnish. I'm hoping the extra effort will turn out good results. I'm also interested in making a split door for the companion way to be able to close things up quicker, like being out on the water and a squall line shows up.

7. Canvas: Much of the canvas on the boat was worn when I bought the boat. Everything looks like Pacific Blue Sunbrella, which many boats have. I'm looking at changing the canvas to Linen color (light tan). I have thought of making a cover for the entire boat too.

8. Mast step: There are a couple times I visited the boat while it was raining and saw water at the top and bottom of the compression post. The step needs to be resealed. At the same time, I thought of replacing the mast wiring and there's a couple plugs coming through the mast step that would need looked at too.

9. Chainplates: There are other Nor'sea owners who have boats as old as mine and while removing their chainplates, they fell apart in their hands from hidden damage. With how old my boat is, I figure it would be good preventative measures to replace them so there is no doubt to their age and condition.

 There's plenty of other work in mind. This list is a start of what I have planned. I'm expecting this refit period to take a few years but I'll see how it goes once things get started. This list may seem ambitious but it's not something I expect to get done quickly by next season. I'm thinking a few years but reality may end up being longer.

Only time will tell.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Deck Vent Work Finallized

A trip to the boat turned out to be a good day. I finished some work on the vent. I took the tape I had around the vent off and cleaned up a bit of the bedding that had squeezed out. I used some wood plugs and filled the screw holes. Two of the holes were deep enough I was able to put them in easy enough and two others needed to be cut down. I put a couple coats of varnish on it too. Toward the end of the day, it had rained so the water beaded up nicely. I plan to apply more coats but this is a good start to protect the wood.

 Most of the exterior wood has turned grey. There's still some old varnish still flaking off. Some time, I'd like to finish the rest of the exterior wood. I had a bottle of Teak Cleaner so I wanted to see how it would work on the grey wood. I started off with a test spot but then spread over most of the port side. I like that it turned out well. It might work well in getting it refinished.

Wet from rinsing with fresh water

Transition between grey and cleaned teak
 I want to get the Airhead ready to use. Then I can go for a weekend sail and stay anchored out. I took one of the two coir bricks and added water while in a 5 gallon bucket. I broke it apart as it absorbed the water. The brick ended up expanding to fill half of the 5gal bucket. I didn't put any of it in the toilet but left it so it will be ready to go. Now, the only thing I really need to do is to wire up the fan for ventilation and it's ready to go. I might do something for a temporary setup until I can set it up better but I'll have to see what I'm able to find.
At one point, I was adding the second coat of varnish around the vent. One of my dock neighbors who was around decided to check out how everything looked and got to talking. I set down the cup of varnish and next thing I knew, I saw it had spilled over onto the deck. Not too crazy about it so now I need to find a way to get it off. I've already been suggested to try a heat gun and/or acetone or some other solvent. Hopefully I can get it cleaned up and looking nice again soon.
Just goes to show you not everything turns out great.

Apparently the neighbor makes suggestions saying certain things are not good for when I sell the boat. He said having a composting head would make it hard to sell. Today, he saw a small amount of varnish and run off of the vent base and said it would make it hard to sell the boat.

And NO I'm NOT selling my boat.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

New Hole in the Boat

Previously, I was working on getting a block of wood to the curved shape of the cabin top. I cut away much of the material that I didn't need. I tried sanding it but the paper was loose so it didn't work out well so I got another sheet of 60 grit and taped it down to keep it from moving. This worked out well and took quite a bit of material off that smoothed it out.

Today was a very busy and productive day. I got a lot more done than I thought I would. I originally thought I would only be able to install the vent on the cabin top. It was a bit nerve racking since I was about to drill a new hole in the boat. To get an idea of placement, I placed the fan housing from the Airhead toilet on the ceiling to see how much bend there was in the hose.

I used a 5/16 bit to drill out the four corners to mount the wood block, but not all the way through. This allowed the  #8 screws I got to be countersunk below the surface. I used a smaller bit to drill through the rest of it, then the pilot holes into the cabin top.

I taped around where the block was being mounted. I also used tape around the block. I used Dolfinite bedding compound to bed the block onto the deck. Dolfinite has been recommended by other Nor'sea owners numerous times so I thought I would give it a try this time. A dock neighbor suggested I use 5200 or 4200 and said he never heard of Dolfinite. I wasn't about to go buy another type of sealant.


After using the Dolfinite, I smoothed it out on the edges and removed the tape. I wonder if I should have waited for it to setup before removing the tape but it seemed to work out well. I then used a 3 inch hole saw to cut out the center of the block. Turns out the cabin top is about 1 1/2" thick.

Nice skylight

I mixed up some epoxy. I used it to coat the interior of the cutout of the deck only, not the wood block. I only used it for a single coating.

The vent I got is a Vetus Mushroom vent. I took the base and drilled pilot holes for the screws I got at the nearby shop.

I also used Dolfinite on this too. I put some of it in a ziplock bag and cut the corner out of it to spread it out a little at a time without putting too much on. After placing the vent base back on, I decided to leave the tape in place this time. I also put the top piece of the vent in place and the knob that is installed from underneath.

I put the fan housing over the hole that was drilled out. The surface was flat enough, I didn't need to put anything else over the hole to mount the housing. I also ran the vent hose like the second picture at the top and it reached where it needed to on the head.

I mounted the head and the liquid tank onto the base. There wasn't much clearance for the mixing handle so I may cut that short for it to do complete turns.

There's only a few other things that need to be done to complete the install. I need to connect the wires for the fan that's mounted in the housing, install plugs on the wood block to seal the screw heads, connect the vent hose to the head and then it's pretty much ready to use.