Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pulleys, levers, patience, paint — March 31-- Big day today, put a second finish coat on the cockpit, and the day was nice so it seemed right to take the boat off the trailer and flip it over.  It’s Easter; my son is in Hawaii; My sons-in-law are working; and I’m impatient.  There is no help, but I want this boat off the trailer so the trailer can go for sand blasting and maybe powder coating, and it is time to get working on the boat bottom. 
I was pretty sure that one guy could get the boat off the trailer, but not so sure about flipping it over.  The boat weighs 400 pounds naked.  It’s 14-feet long, and it doesn’t have a handle.
So—I set up the Little Giant ladder with a sling.  Didn’t have a tackle so the main sheet was used to lower the aft end after I levered it up onto blocks.  Just muscled the bow down with a 2 x 4 lever.  After two-hours work, it was free of the trailer and on the ground—no body (my body actually) hurt. 
The ladder is rated for 300 lbs, but it will hold at least twice that much.
The main sheet was really one part short, but three parts were enough for this job.

The turning was a bit more tricky.  I rigged a snatch from the side of the car port—we call it the covered bridge.  I was able to raise the boat to a 90-degree angle of heel, then hold it with the line rigged to the wall purchase—change sides and lower the boat with just muscle power. Big project—no injuries and only a few Aleve required.  Definitely going to need more patience and some strong younger men to put this baby back on the trailer.
Barnacle glue is stubborn stuff.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Found ‘em--Monday, March 25, 2013—Turned out that the loop eyes—were available in Seattle (Fishery Supply)—if you knew that they were called “dead end bails.” For a mere $27.00 two tiny pieces of metal are on their way to me. Now I can get on with the less important parts of my life such as filing our income tax return.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Primer –March 24—It finally warmed up.  By 10:00 it was 48 degrees with a predicted high of 52.  Decided to just take a chance and spray the primer.  If I had paid for this job, I would be upset.  The first coat was a bit too thick and dried with a hint of orange peel.  By the second coat I had that dialed in and was beginning to understand the compressed air spray gun.  All previous experience is with airless.  As the morning wore on, three complete coats were applied.  The day warmed up a little.  It looks pretty good—much better than before.  The nice thing about a project this screwed up by the last guy is that even if your work isn’t perfect, it is way better than what you started with.   I have accepted that the goal of the project is to make the boat look presentable—not pristine.  (Damn!)

Minor Miracle – Today is March 21, the second day of spring—I’ve completed two bathroom demolitions, installed a couple of faucets, laid a tile floor, and earthquake proofed a grandfather clock.  But it still hasn’t warmed up enough to paint.  While it isn’t parting the red sea, the traveler car has been reassembled.  This is a pretty big deal since we dropped all 42 bearings in the boat and recovered all of them.  During  reassembly of the car individual bearings were dropped on the floor at least four times—and still recovered.  The little tool from Harken made it all possible—it is a short piece of fake track.  Of course I had to file down the rough ends of the tool and make five attempts, but finally it went back together.  


What I hate/like about me—After the car was assembled, it became apparent that the two pieces of hardware that attach the traveler adjustment blocks do not match.  I need to admit at this point that they don’t need to match, they work just fine.  But they don’t match--it would be nicer if they did match, and the fact that they don't match will annoy me every time I look at that piece of hardware.  After sixty-six years I have discovered that it’s best to just accept that I can be obsessive about some things and find matching parts. (I kind of like my obsessive behavior—but it can also be annoying to me and others around me.)  So far about 8 hours has been spent on the internet and several visits to local stores.  No luck except Barton Marine, Kent, England.  Sent an email this morning asking where I might find such parts in US.  Though I am perfectly willing to go to Kent, Eng, UK and pick them up, I dread the trip on I-5 to the big city.  I guess it’s time to suck it up and visit a good sized chandlery in Seattle.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sanding – March 14 -- I have the afternoon off—Just finished the demo on a bathroom and the plumbers won’t be there until tomorrow for the tub install.  The boat seats are sanded with 150 grit, and I get to spend the afternoon masking.  Trying to decide whether to spray or brush the primer.  I have air right by the carport, and a spray gun. The plan is two coats of primer and two coats of finish.  A little flatner will go in the final coat.  Hoping for a finish somewhere between satin and matte.  What I really need is at least 50 degrees and 70% or less humidity. 

Ready to paint –It is Saturday, March 16, and I have the morning free.  Later today I will earthquake proof (resist) a grandfather clock for a blind client.  But—no painting, the temp is only 48 and the humidity is near 100.  And, the downspout is sending water under the house. So that needs to be dealt with too.  Some warm weather predicted for next weekend.  Fingers crossed. You can look at my little home improvement business that is paying for this project at

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Clear title – This gets complicated.  The boat has no manufacturer’s plate and no sail number.  Not a hint of what year it might have been made or its hull number.  It also doesn’t have a title which would be fine if I only raced on lakes. But, I plan to race on Budd Inlet, navigable water, so I will need registration, a title, and some numbers on the bow.  Once got a ticket from the Coast Guard—don’t ever want another.
Glen meets me at the title agency, I talked to Maria on Monday, and when Glen walks up to the counter she starts laughing.  “What are the chances,” she looks at Glen, you guys are together.  I talked to you (Glen) last year.  How could two guys, talk to same person about the same boat a year apart.”  She is gently scolding Glen.  He is contrite—she laughs.
Of course I still have to pay sales tax, license fees, transfer, Derelict Boat surcharge (that pays for removal of derelict boats around Puget Sound), and other assorted fees.  The total for license and fees comes in at about $190.
I get a provisional title, and 10 bucks worth of flowers for Maria who was actually able to do a double transfer on a sailboat with an uncertain ownership, no title, no number, and an uncertain future. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The meter starts to run -- Of course I spent fifty bucks on the way to Glen's house to put together a new trailer hitch insert.  (Turns out Glen lives very near my old house off Mullen Road and saw the lighting strike the tree next to my kitchen.)  This boat has 1 7/8” ball; my truck is set up for a 2” ball.  I find out I have five of those 2-inchers, but not one 1 7/8”.  Also need a new insert because my other trailer has large tires, these are smaller and require an insert that lowers the ball an inch and a half.   The following day I price and acquire paint:  three quarts for $170.
I own this now --  Thursday, March 7, 2013  On Thursday I actually make sure I can step the mast and set the boat up myself.  The mast goes up pretty easily—but I should have hooked the trailer up to the truck.  I get a bit of a teeter tauter ride as the boat moves up and down with my shifting weight.  I realize that I don’t know how the outhaul works for the main.  It will be clear later—or it won’t, and we’ll just make something up.
Bearings everywhere-- It’s nice day, so with my five year-old granddaughter Lynn’s help we strip off all the standing and running rigging.  The mast will live under the roof of my carport suspended from the rafters.  Every detail of the rigging is documented with pictures.  It could be months before it goes back together—far too long to rely on memory.  I remove the Harken traveler car.  Imagine my surprise when 42 little black bearings come cascading out and roll forward along the seats into the covered bow area.  Damn.  Now, Lynn really is helping.  She crawls forward and finds every one of the 42 bearings. With three hours work the boat is ready to begin paint prep.  A friend from college days, Fred, has been sailing around the world--slowly--17 years or so.  I will ask him what to do about the bearings. 
Fred keeps a blog that is so interesting and filled with exellent photos that even non-sailers like it.
Turns out you need a special tool to reinstall the bearings--it's on order!


Monday, March 18, 2013

These posts are lumped together since we are catching up on the last few months.
The boat – Saturday, March 2, 2013  --  An Olympia guy, Glen, has his boat, a 14-foot C Lark, listed on the local sailing club pages.  Asking $1300.  I’m only a little disappointed when I see it; she’s rough.  Trailer’s rusty—of course.  Sails are new—even smell new.  Some previous owner has installed a Harken traveler, which required some new fiber glass reinforcement.  While he was at it (has to be a guy it’s too rough and nasty for a woman), he reinforced the edge on the seats. He didn’t bother to sand or paint. Barnacle marks dot the bottom paint.  The top side gel coat is very oxidized.  The rudder looks home-made, but maybe not, Clark’s first boats had a few homemade looking items.  I tell Glen, “I would have to see the mast stepped and rigging set up, but I need to tell you before you do all that work, that I would have to pay you substantially less than $1300.”

The deal --How much would you pay he asks?  I want the traveler and new sails; this could be a very fast boat.  It’s been a long time but I seem to remember the only thing better than racing is winning.  The appearance can be fixed so I said $800?  Glen was hoping to get $1000—he paid $1400—which is the price for a one-owner boat stored inside with no cosmetic issues and worn out sails.  I say $900.  He counters with fenders, extra line, reminds me that the standing rigging is even newer than the sails; we settle on $950—probably a bit generous, but I promised Patti that I would come home and vacuum.  I could probably say, “$800 call me if you get tired of waiting for a higher offer, but for 150 bucks I don’t want to wait.  I want to start racing in May, and there’s a lot of work to do.


Could be original--could be good homemade.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Idea

The Boat Project, 2013

The idea  --  January, 2013  --  Decided that I was working too much.  Life is short.  My brother’s death last month at age 60 reinforced that you need to do the things you want to do while you can still do them.
I spent weeks looking at boat ads, and was amazed at how inexpensive used boats are.  What to buy?  Part of me wants something that can take my grandson on a one or two day overnighter, but I definitely don’t want something that has to be moored—want to own the boat—not be owned by the boat.

The Decision

The decision  --  February, 2013  -  I know that any decision based on what your kids or grand kids might or might not do is silly; I need to focus on what I want to do.  I do know that Patti will probably never set foot on this boat.  The most I can hope for is that she will have dinner at the Hearth Fire restaurant and root for me if we race on Thursday nights.

After looking at countless ads for San Juan 24’s, San Juan 21’s, Mutineers, C Larks, Snipes, Stars, etc, I finally decide that what I want to do:  Get some kind of dinghy and race on Thursdays.  If it is scheduled, I will do it.  Home repair customers and family will need to work around my schedule.  Surprising how many dinghys have lost their rudder.  By the end of February I have kind of made up my mind.  I am pretty sure that it will be a C Lark.  Fore more information about C Larks: