Saturday, December 10, 2011

December is Upon us and we are still at it

Well I have finally managed to make myself sit and catch you up to date before I get so behind that I forget what we have done. I know I will miss some things as we have been so busy and getting so much done that our heads are spinning and we don’t know whether we are coming or going these days. Hard to believe that it’s December already, where has the time gone? First off you might have noticed that the site has changed just a bit as I have been playing on adding links and in general just playing with the look of the page. Like I need more to do, but as I still learn more about this blogging and the site they seem to be making it more user friendly with new add on things one can do. Up at the top you will notice I have put an about us section, about the boat, from the galley, and contact us. I believe the only one with anything in it yet is from the galley section and the contact us, but keep checking back. If I happen to have a couple rain days there may be an opportunity for me to actually get some other stuff done. Okay, so where to begin…..Since I last blogged Dirk has finished replacing all the standing rigging. We have yet to take her out to adjust it but we have the tension gauge and tensioned them as we did them but now we need to put her under sail to complete it.

The tension gauge

I know Dirk is happy to have that task complete as it was many trips up and down the mast several times daily.

So here it is December already and the marina is in the full spirit of Christmas. Boats are decorated, some more than others.

A shot of the marina with Renegade on the far left
Apparently there is a contest that will give a month free dockage to the winning boat. Boats are judged by the people dining at the restaurant. With us needing to take Renegade out for a sea trial to adjust her rigging we really couldn’t do her all up and while we won’t win the contest we think she still looks pretty in her minimalistic lights. Everyone says she needs a Santa sitting on her stern seating and she would look like a sleigh. Maybe some other time when we don’t have so much work to do. 
Close up of Renegade with the Cortez bridge behind her
Our little tree we put up inside
When we bought Renegade she had just about all the electronics new and replaced. As we heard recently from the broker that sold her to the last owner, she had been struck by lightning. The owner had been given a substantial sum from the insurance and actually put it back into the boat. Good for us, and I have to say who ever did it,its a job well done. Most of the electrical wires Dirk is seeing have been labeled and are able to be traced around like they should be. The only thing we weren’t too happy with was where they had located the chart plotter and the radar. The radar had not been replaced although it still worked. The existing radar is downstairs at the nav station which is alright if you’re not underway and actually needing to use it. We decided to put in a new 24 mile Raymarine radar and chart plotter.

The new chart plotter with the 9 inch screen and the radar dome

The Chart plotter ended up being mounted on a swivel arm that attaches to the pedestal rather than the old one that mounted forward close to the companionway. Now we can sit at the helm and see the screen rather than having to walk forward to see what’s going on.

The helm before, as you can see the gray covered box by the companion way is the existing chart plotter

The helm after with the new chart plotter mounted to a new swivel arm
These eyes are not the eyes of a 20 year old anymore. We will keep the other chart plotter forward and use it for a dept finder. Other than that all the electronics are good. Maybe just a new marine radio and remote mike for the helm.

After Dirk had cleaned the fuel filter out he decided to take a look inside of our fuel tanks to see what kind of mess could be in there. What he found he wasn’t happy with. Lots of sediment littered the bottom and they were in need of cleaning. A good note to that was that he didn't find any water in the fuel, that's good. He called a fuel polisher to come and clean the fuel and tanks. They basically insert a tube into your tanks that pushes filtered fuel into your tanks stirring up the gunk while another tube sucks up fuel to be filtered. It all happens in a filtering system located on the dock with long hoses going into and coming out of your tanks.

Here is Dirk checking out the fuel polishing system
Once the filter gets full they change it out and continue to do this until the filter is clean. After about five and a half hours and 13 filters later we called it good.
Now that's pretty dirty
This also gave Dirk a chance to inspect the fuel tanks as we still have the original black iron ones. For their age they look pretty darn good and it looks good for us that we won’t have to go through the expense and work to get them cut out, dismantled and removed from the boat. The boat was actually built around them and it is a pain from what we have read to remove them. So it looks like we will only need new gaskets, an oil change and a few other odds and ends and the engine is ready to go.

We also decided to have the canvas bimini & dodger reconfigured after only a short time on board. When we got the boat she had a decent dodger but her bimini was so short that even at our short height we could not stand up without hitting the top. When seated you have a great view of the front but after cruising for a while we both realize that most of our time in any kind of waves is spent standing as its just more comfortable. At least for me it is. When you wanted to enter the cockpit you had to unzip the top or just about craw in. Hummmm, that’s not gonna work. We also wanted to have a full enclosure so we could have that “sun room” effect. We always saw people travelling all zipped up in the enclosure with just a long sleeve shirt on while Dirk and I were travelling looking like the Pillsbury dough boy due to the layers and layers we had on. How I cursed the rain when it was coming down and I couldn’t see because my glasses were soaked and I can’t see without them. Guess it’s the little things in life that can make one happy. So after many discussions we finally decided on a design. With the mizzen mast sharing the cockpit with us it made for some head scratching discussions. The canvas company made our new dodger frame but the aft frame for the bimini had to be fabricated and welded so they referred us out. Once the frame was built they came to pattern us, about a week later it was ready to fit and finalize.
Linda & Rita doing the final fitting
A couple days later the finished product was delivered and installed. Now all that’s left is the aft and side curtains which are still causing some head scratching due to the turns and twists, & the wenches and ropes that have to run to and from. Can’t wait to get it done and it already looks great in the Burgundy that we selected to match the existing cockpit and aft seating cushions.
New dodger & bimini matching the aft seating
For now we will keep the sail covers in gray as they are in just about new condition and they don’t look too odd with the color scheme. Dirk is also looking at the possibility of getting a sail rite machine so we can begin making our own canvas products and for  the future travelling we plan on doing they come in handy for repairing sails.

The scraping, re caulking and sanding is an ongoing project as we knew it would be. We learned our lesson about pulling too much caulk out at one time when we decided to do the entire raised section of the cabin top at one time. Mother Nature threw us a curve ball and decided to rain on us a day early, causing us to stop midstream, cover what we could with a tarp we had, and have every handy bucket and plastic tub we had down below catching the water coming in. Whew, what a frustrating day that was and it caused us to cancel our Thanksgiving Day plans in order to clean up the mess and correct what we could. Finally the rain stopped, the sun came out several days in a row and we were able to dry out the decks once again and Dirk was able to caulk with wonderful results.
The cabin top un-caulked and drying out

Cabin top, caulked, cleaned, and teak guarded
So far, so good, no leaks……Sandy & Eddie from m/v Tarquin have given us the use of their heat gun in order to get some of the major things stripped. Wow, how it makes life so much easier. We now have one on our wish list and we know with all this wood it will be used a lot. The transom is stripped, sanded and in the process of being re-varnished.
Dirk sanding the transom while hanging from the davits

Transom stripped, sanded and partially re varnished

I added gold to the details to match the gold in the name

Our lettering came in so Renegade will finally be named this week hopefully. We plan on having some sort of formal name change with a few folks at the marina to witness in the near future.

A peek at the name before she goes on the boat
And as my usual finish lately I am posting a couple photos of Butters doing what cats do best
Butters checks out every box that comes on board

Why does he want to be outside when he wants to know whats going on inside

Thursday, November 10, 2011

And The Work Continues

So many things are going on all at once with the work on Renegade that I’m not sure where to start. I know had I kept up that it wouldn’t be so difficult to try and play catch up. But that’s the story of my life and I guess if I sat around doing nothing all day then I would feel bad about it. That’s not the case at all for Dirk or me right now. Even the other tenants of the marina have taken note and stop by several times a day to see the progress, make small talk or ask if we ever take a break. Also since we are very close to the restaurant we have many people walking docks, looking at boats and it seems they always have questions about what we’re doing and where were heading. I don’t mind at all because I remember Dirk and I did exactly the same thing in the past.
Ok, back to the task at hand and that is to fill you in on what has been occupying our days. We still have been scraping and sanding the decks in preparation of re caulking. I usually do the scraping and pulling out the old caulk and Dirk follows up with the sanding and caulking.  Boy I tell you that caulking is one messy business and we decided to tackle a small area together one day. Due to the drying time you must pull the tape off at a precise time. Not too soon as you will drag the mess everywhere and not too late as you start tearing your tape apart as it is drying under the caulk. All the while the wind is blowing and you have wet ribbons of painters tape blowing about threatening anything you don’t want to get it on, which is everything. You end up getting it stuck all over your hands which in turn gets all over everything you swore you didn’t touch. We found a product to remove it from our skin which works great but it has pumice in it and on the tender flesh of the arms and legs you leave nasty red patches. We have about concluded that if you end up stepping in it that there are several days needed before it wears off.
We just about bit off more than we could chew one day and pulled out lots of seams to re caulk. Before we knew it the sun was beginning to go down and we had a few lines to go. So I went below, grabbed a flashlight and we finished it up in the dark. Can't imagine what the neighbors were thinking then.

 I had taken off to pick up another load of our stuff from my sister’s home and left Dirk to tend to task without me standing over him telling him how to do it. He ended up finishing the sanding on the back deck and got one half of it coated with TeakGuard. It looks wonderful and we can’t wait to make further progress on the rest of the decks. If we could only keep the birds off the mast. We have an osprey who has basically claimed our boat as its. The only bad thing about that is he/she brings her fresh caught fish, some of which I am very impressed with, and preceeds to pull it apart to eat it flinging what it feels inedible to eat all over our decks. To boot, It ends up pooping on the deck and for the life of me I cant figure how this stuff goes through them without killing them. The fragments of fish bones with sharp edges litter the deck and are pretty uncomfortable when stepping on them.  So birds, please spread the love around and visit some of the other boats in the marina. And also, please stop using me as target practice. Its not even funny anymore, its just a given...If Im outside on the deck Im getting pooped on.
Looking down on the back deck showing before cleaning and TeakGuard and after
Continuing on, I have just about completed scraping the entire cabin top minus the side decks and once we know we will have several days of nice weather we will knock that out. Its gonna be a full day of pulling caulk, sanding the seams, and taping, and another full day to re caulk. Dirk did get the top of the bow sprit done and the teak looks as brand new as the rest of it does.
Platform on top of the bowsprit before

Same platform same day after a bit of cleaning and TeakGuard applied

I have also been scraping the areas that will be varnished such as the hand rails, dorade boxes, and decorative teak pieces.  As I had said before, the cetol that I’m scraping off is layers and layers deep. It is about 1/8 inch thick in some places and is gummy and sticky. The color of it is really ugly too and it hides the beauty of the teak underneath.

Dorade Box with layers and layers of Cetol all cloudy, cracked and ugly

The back Transom with some progress made on the right side

I also started scraping the back transom area in hopes that we can remove the old name and finally re name the boat. I have since found out that I need a nice calm day or two to do this as standing in a bucking dinghy just isn’t the easiest thing for me. I spent one afternoon hanging on so hard it took my fingers on my left hand 3 days to quit tingling and have complete feeling again. I finally gave up after being soaked from water splashing over the sides and being so tossed around I felt like I was at some bar playing on the mechanical bull. But it was fun uncovering the wood carvings that had so many layers of paint and varnish on them. I need to decide what I will do with the carvings as there are two nice long pieces at the bow of the boat I would like all the detail to stand out on. Paint the details? Stain them? Hummmm

On the rainy days we have our projects that we have been tackling on the inside. When we first looked at Renegade we noticed that under the port settee there were what appeared to be two bar stool bases that support the settee in the down position. Raise up the settee seat and it becomes an extended bar top. While digging around we found the inserts to the bar stool bases but they had no seats on them. Dirk found some scrap lumber in the marinas second chance shelf and we found extra material in another cubby. Off to the fabric store, and I bought some foam for the seat and some quilt batting for extra cush. A couple hours later we had two seats installed and ready for use. We had decided to pull the big bulky table from here to open up the space so this bar makes a great place for us to have our meals when not on the deck.
A few materials including, some old wood, extra material, foam and batting

The settee with the bulky table removed

Left side of the setee with the bar top up

Final product with the bar stools complete
Dirk’s indoor projects consisted of removal of 5 8D batteries and replacing them with 4 8D AGMs and one group 27 that will be a start battery for our 4k generator. We originally had 5 8 D’s and decided that 4 should be enough if we put the solar power on before we start to cruise. The surveyor originally noticed the batteries bulging in the survey which is never a good sign. We thought that we could live with them while on the dock attached to shore power for a while. Dirk however noticed they were getting very hot and hardly taking any charge at all. We thought it best to go ahead, bite the bullet and spring for new ones. It took several guys to load them onto a rolling cart the dock master had. He and Dirk had them pulled from under the salon floor and put them on towels so they could be drug to the front berth and hoisted out the hatch using the main halyard. At 165 lbs each there was no way anyone could lug them up the companionway. From there they were swung over the boat and lowered onto the dock. The new ones were installed the same way and after doing that chore Dirk was whipped for the day. Can’t say I blame him.

Three of the batteries under the floor, you can see just how big they are with Dirk in the photo
Three of them installed and ready to get back to work

Dirk also removed the old huge dinosaur of a television that we had in the salon. When they installed it they had to cut into the closet behind it as it extended through the bulkhead into the closet and took up some nice space.  Once he had it finally free we found that it wouldn’t fit through the doorway and we ended up removing the forward hatch and heaving it up that way. We ended up donating it to the marina lounge although they don’t have cable here someone is trying to fish up an antenna. At least we are rid of it and we ended up getting a nice 24 inch flat panel and putting it on a swivel in its place. So now all the entertainment factors are taken care of for now.

The new entertainment cabinet, with the X Box DVD player and stereo
A biggie item that we have been dealing with this week is the rigging. When we purchased Renegade there was no documentation of how old the rigging was and the person we bought it from had no idea either. So really there was only one thing to do and that was to assume it was original or close to it. There were several places where we saw wear and a couple burrs on the cables. We originally had thought that this is something we would have done when the boat was on the hard in the boatyard and we could have the experts handle it. When we were quoted the price Dirk decided to do some research on cost for materials and doing the job himself. It would be a big job with many trips up and down the mast but for the price we were gonna save in labor it was basically a no brainer. He elected to go with swages on top and the new Hi-Mod mechanical fittings on the bottom. He premeasured the lengths he would need, adding a bit for error. The cables came back to us pre cut to the approximate length, swaged on the top so that Dirk could insert them into the spreader bases and once run he could cut the extra off, add on the Hi-Mod fitting and tension the cable. He made several trips leaving the top of the 60 foot mast for last. There were two cables here and it took him about an hour to get them done. He and I were both happy for him to be on the ground once again. So the main mast is done and he has the mizzen mast left which if the weather plays nice can be done next week.

All the pretty new rigging coiled and laid up on deck

That small black item at the top of the mast is Dirk
I zoomed in and Im sure he had to force that smile

And believe it or not, our list continues on with some new toys that we purchased. Well not really toys but necessities that are, new to replace the old. Renegade came with a nice dinghy, nice in its day, but today it hangs like a wet noodle just about folded in two from the davits. She holds air about as well as those cheap beach floaties after a hard days use. So since she has sat deflated for so long all the trim pieces have come unglued and are hanging about. Dock master here said that it is one of the saddest looking dinghies he had ever seen. We concur….And to top it off the engine that sits proudly on her is older than Dirk and I. By now it’s considered an antique; just wish someone would pay an antique price for it. It’s a 1957 Montgomery Ward 12 horse engine and with just a little tinkering Dirk got it up and running. We keep trying to sell it with the condition; you must take the dinghy also. Hummmm, any takers?
She holds her age well huh?

The old and new, the good, the bad, the ugly
So seeing as we will need a reliable dinghy and engine, which is our car after all when we are cruising. We decided to purchase a 10’ 4” hard bottom AVON dinghy. And to go along with that we got a 15 horse Mercury engine. In the past we had the 9.9 and it did great getting on plane with just Dirk & I on board, but if we were loaded down with laundry, groceries, or another person, there was no way.  It’s a bit skinnier then our last one but it has a nice compartment up front that will house the dinghy anchor and chain

A purchase we made last week was a spur of the moment item that we knew we would need and the opportunity opened itself up to us so we jumped on it. There was a nautical flea market in the parking lot of the marina we are in and of course we had to go. Lucky us, no driving. George who runs Cortez Yacht Sales was selling a practically new engine lift and with us planning on a 15 horse we knew we would need something to help get that sucker on the engine mount on the back rail. Dirk got it mounted to the deck and we got to try it out yesterday. It also breaks down so that when we are sailing and wanting to use the mizzen we just pull off the upper section and the boom is free to swing.
The new engine sitting on the engine mount with the engine lift attached
There are also rumors of new canvas and stainless in the works but this post is too long as it is and I’m anxious to get this posted so that story will have to wait. Before I go though, here is the latest photo of Capt. Butters checking out the bow sprit, man that makes me nervous….but he seems very comfy there.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Are we done yet?

Unfortunately we have only just begun, and we were getting into a rhythm before we had to stop again and handle some of life's stuff. Some of what we have been working on is the teak decks as there are several spots we had leaking. Dirk sealed the chain plates on the aft deck which stopped several of the larger leaks but we still had some of those mystery leaks that appear and like others we are having trouble tracing them down.  One of the worse ones was in our aft head cabinet and we really didn't realize how bad till we started removing the shelf and carpet. We ended up tearing the inside of the cabinet out and we are letting it dry thoroughly before rebuilding it.

When Dirk rebuilds the cabinet I will post it

To stop the other leaks we started the teak deck caulk removal and replacement along with scraping and sanding in the cockpit as it seemed the easiest place to start. Also since this is the first time for us trying this we figured if we were gonna practice it should be in an area that had cockpit cushions covering them most of the time in case it didn't look the greatest. I spent many hours scraping the finish off the teak, in some places it was so thick that it resembled molasses and was gummy, other places it just swiped right off.
The general condition of the entire deck
Once that was done, the task of scrapping out the old caulk began. Again in some places it was so gummy and seemed wet turning my skin black and sticky making it a real mess. Other places I could just vacuum it out as it was so dried out and crumbly. Someone in the past on this boat decided that it would be easier to just take a router and rout the joints out. I wish they hadn't, what a pain as the lines are not exactly straight and they made them so deep now which allows for more water intrusion.
The only reason we are spending so much time on the decks is we would like to get a couple seasons out of them before spending the time, energy and money to pull the teak up and have it replaced with a new fiberglass deck. I have pretty much been the destruction person and Dirk is doing the final sand and caulk replacement which has been the cause of much hate and discontent to the caulk. Usually he ends up wearing as much as went down on the decks. We thought about leaving the decks bare once the caulking was done and let them gray naturally so they would be less maintenance, but after talking to a couple people we decided to give TeakGuard a try. TeakGuard is not an oil, nor a sealer but it penetrates the teak and protects it from the black mold and mildew that likes to grow on teak and it keeps it with that wet look. Below is a shot I took of before, during and after.

On the far right of the photo is what the deck looked like when we purchased Renegade with several layers of something on her decks that was peeling and chipping with every step and gummy and gooey in the areas that didn't get any wear. To the left of that is the deck with the caulking removed and sanded, ready to have the caulking replaced, wood cleaned and guarded. On the far left is one of the cockpit seats that have been completed and TeakGuard applied. From what we understand if you reapply a coat about twice a year it will stay like this. No sanding when its time to apply again. About as maintenance free as you can get and still get this look. It goes on very easy with a foam pad or foam brush and cleans up easy. I will keep you posted on how it holds up. I'm wondering if I want to do my bright work with this or if I should varnish it. Varnish will look nice and shiny but there is a lot of it and it will need to be maintained. I have also been hearing a lot lately of people using epoxy and varnish on the bright work and I am doing some research to see if that would be a good route or not. 3 coats of epoxy and 3 coats of varnish sound a lot better than 12 coats of varnish. The jury is still out on what to do but once decided I will let you know. Any thoughts? Input would be appreciated.....On another note we have been doing a bit of work down below getting our new digs up to par. We have moved to the aft berth since the last posting and since we are the types to watch TV before heading to bed we decided to mount a television at the foot of the berth and took the extra DVD player from the salon and mounted it under the shelf.
shot from the galley looking into the aft berth, as you can see the covers on the seat need to be done over, hummm its been a while since I have sewn. Time to relearn.
The television mounted on a swivel arm so we can enter the closet behind it with the DVD player mounted under the cabinet to the right.

I love our aft windows, waking up to scenes like this
and if we are really tired seeing the sunset before heading to sleep
When we first got Renegade we noticed there was a TV antenna mounted on the mizzen mast but when Dirk followed the wires he noted they had been cut and left to dangle. Hummm guess it doesn't work anymore. Since we are in a marina that doesn't provide cable that meant the only television we were watching were shows and movies that we had on DVD. After tracing a few wires around and re-connecting them Dirk found that we indeed did have a working antenna. Yippie, 40 channels to watch and nothing notable on. Oh well, we have a choice now at least and I get to watch my home make over shows I love so much when I have a moment that I'm not so tired that I fall into bed as my eyes are closing. I'm still cleaning a lot, wiping down headliners, walls and everything else while Dirk has been taking care of maintenance issues and in general getting to know the boat. What switch turns this on, what does this switch do? Whats that noise when I flip this switch? So many things to learn when you purchase a different boat. One item Dirk has marked off his list was to clean the fuel filters as they seemed to have a bit of crud in the bottom of them. Once he got it drained, and taken off to clean it was amazing how much gunk there was.
That doesn't look good
Wondering how long it had been since it had last been looked at. So after cleaning it up he got it reinstalled and moved on to the next project which will be covered a bit in the next post hopefully if I remember to cover it. One project we knew we wanted to get done when we bought the boat was to have the canvas redone on her. I don't think what is on there now is too old but the zippers are are pulling out and when you zip or unzip it the teeth fall out left and right. Besides that, it is an unattractive gray color and we want to match the cockpit cushions and the back deck cushions that are Burgundy. So were looking at having a full cockpit enclosure done with strata glass enclosure for those cold dreary days and 3 new sail covers done plus the UV lining of the Gib done all to match. We have a quote given to us that is expensive but I think about what others would charge so to put our minds at ease Dirk requested a 2nd quote from someone else. Hopefully this project will get started soon as the weather is slowly beginning to change. We did find out that we have just about a full sun cover for the boat. Sweet.....We had the main section up and it gave lots of shade to relax under and will help to keep the boat cool in the dead of summer. We also found other assorted canvas items that even we aren't sure of where they go. As I said at the beginning of the blog about taking care of life's "stuff". Well when we first started cruising several years ago we put all our "stuff" into storage units in Alabama. We wanted to make sure that we enjoyed the lifestyle and if not we had all our "stuff" to start over on land. Well as you have guessed we love this life and cant imagine moving back on land any time soon. Once one retires from the military you are given up to 5 years to make your final move that the military will do for you. Well our time is up this year so we took the opportunity to drive up and empty the units out. We sold some furniture while there and now our "stuff" is on a truck and on its way down to Florida here to deal with. I see garage sales, donations, and garbage days in our future. Its amazing what we hold on to thinking we need it all and once you live a life with minimal items you realize that all this "stuff" is just distracting and you can really do without it. Oh sure we will hold on to our sentimental objects that have a place near and dear to us but the longer we did without all that other stuff the easier it is to part with it. Hopefully soon I will have a new post talking about redoing the rigging, batteries that need attention very soon and new toys for the boat. Till then.....
Here is Capt. Butters enjoying some time on deck. I think he spotted a fishing bird on a rope here.