Sunday, October 19, 2014


I have this pull switch with LED in the galley. The previous owner told me what it was, or what he thought it was but I don't recall what he said. I think it was once used for turning on the compressor for the refrigerator unit in the ice box, but there's a different switch for that in the starboard quarterberth.

I went around finding some wires that didn't go to anything any more and took them out of the boat. Not much, but it's a start. I've read how people will remove loads of wires from their boats that don't go to anything.

Here's what I got out of the boat.

Turns out, I found the wires on the other end of the switch above, also in the quarterberth where all wires end up with the electrical panel just above it. I couldn't pull the wires from the switch, it's wedged up pretty good. I could cut all the wires and clean up what I can get to but decided to leave it for now. Maybe I could use it for something else, just not sure what right now. Besides that, if I remove the switch and LED, I'm left with a couple holes.

I also took out the shore power charger. I think it went out on me that caused my batteries to go dead. I may have found a replacement but still working on it. It'll be a while before the boat is back in the water so I still have time.

I also took out the old GPS, a Garmin 546s, that I intend to replace with something more current. This replacement will take some time since new units cost much more than I can afford at this time. I will sell this unit soon along with a Garmin Vision card for lakes.

I've also painted a second coat of burgundy on the starboard side of the boat. It turned out to be a nice day. I only did the starboard side so I now have two coats on each side. Now it'll be the same number of coats on each side.

Cold weather is setting in so there may be less work on the boat itself. Lately, I've been working on varnishing the rudder cheeks and the spacer boards for the chainplates. I had hoped to get the chainplates on before it got too cold but still need some more coats of paint on the boat.

I've also been hearing discussions (from non-boaters of course) who question the point of being on a boat. The assumption is that unless you're actively piloting the boat, you're just sitting around and not doing anything, and thus bored. It would seems that non-boaters would find sailing a boring useless pastime but those of us who are fortunate enough to take up sailing know better. There's always something to do and certainly not boring. If it was, I wouldn't be doing it.

I find it funny the perceptions non-sailors have when it comes to boating.

There are others who post sailing type quotes and I find these to be pretty good that can relate to how I think of sailing.

Aside from what it teaches you, there is simply the indescribable degree of peace that can be achieved on a sailing vessel at sea. I guess a combination of hard work and the seemingly infinite expanse of the sea - the profound solitude - that does it for me. - Billy Campbell

"There are those that stand at the shore looking to the sea, wondering, and there are those standing at the helm looking back at shore, knowing." - Kurt Leisenfelder

“A sailor’s joys are as simple as a child’s.” — Bernard Moitessier

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Some Bling

Bunch of projects to report here. This has been on going since my last post.

I stripped down the old varnish on the rudder cheeks. The finish that was used before was worn and the wood itself is cracking but overall, not so bad that they need replaced. These are large pieces of wood, I think mahogany that's 3/4" thick. Taking the old varnish off, they showed some nice looking wood underneath. They soaked up some thinned Epifanes varnish when I mixed 50% mineral spirits so they'll take quite a few coats to really start looking good.

Sanded down

First coat of varnish, thinned 50%

First coat on one side of chainplate spacers

I was chatting with others online about my chainplate replacement and there was a mention of Collinite Metal Wax as being a good metal polish. I took them up on that suggestion. I don't have a bench grinder with a buffing pad as another Nor'sea owner, Greg, did so I wanted to find an alternative. I found at Lowes hardware store an attachment for the drill that accepts sockets. This allowed me to spin the bolts quickly that got them to polish up really nice.

Here's a video showing how the bolts were getting polished.

New chainplates made of 316 stainless arrived. They are nicely polished. Looking forward to getting them on the boat once the paint work is finished. These together with the polished bolts will look pretty sharp on the boat.
Aside from replacing the chainplates, the other big project I'm doing while the old one's are off is to repaint the blue stripe by the toe rail a different color. On a couple nice days, 13 and 14 Sep, I painted some primer to get it ready for the top coat. I put a coat of primer on and came back the next day to sand smooth and paint a second coat. The second day was sunny and it was drying pretty quickly. Next, will be having to sand the second coat smooth and put on the top coat of Burgundy Pettit EasyPoxy.

First coat of burgundy
 27 Sep, I sanded down the first coat of burgundy on the port side. I sanded the primer on the starboard side and painted the first coat of burgundy. I've thinned the paint pretty good but still getting brush marks. It's likely to be because it's been warm out and very windy. I may try adding a little more thinner but not sure how that would work. I'm expecting to paint several coats to at least get an even color.
Sanded first coat

Second coat on port side
A lot of work has been done but still much more to do. I've been working once a week in the weekend. Not enough but I'll take what I can. All this work will get the boat looking better than it has in a very long time. This boat will be ready for another 30+ years soon enough.

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.