Exhausting Work...

29 01 2010 Posted by Daniel

Over the past week, as many of you may be aware, I’ve been refitting the exhaust system on Aletheia. Her old system was rusting through, leaking, and was generally a big mess. So I installed a new water-lift muffler setup. Its not quite finished, but I hope to be bolting it all together today. Its been a LOT of work.

To recap: I’ve removed the old, rusted exhaust system off the back of the engine. Had a custom exhaust riser fabricated out of galvanized pipe. Found a special metal fitting for water injection from another engine that fits mine, and added that in. Fiberglassed a new mount for a much larger muffler into the bilge, and had to make it removable for access to the propeller shaft. That last bit was a big trick. I also had to thoroughly clean out the heat exchanger on the engine and put in a new thermostat. Finally, I moved a lot of wiring from the new heat zone (the old exhaust pipe has a different path than the new one, so I have to relocate some cables) and shielded them with reflective foil insulation to provide better protection than they had previously been getting.

Now that its all ready to bolt up, I’m stoked. Maybe I can fire up the engine this weekend!

Almost complete...

16 01 2010 Posted by Daniel

Rain is falling gently outside as the dusk slowly fades to night. I sit in the inviting, warm glow of the cabin lights, drinking a beer, relaxing from a busy week and reflecting on my recent trip. I’ve been home to see family and get some work done for a client. Visiting my family was wonderful, and despite the short time I had to be with them we really made the most of it. As I was driving back, though, I realized that while I was gone I’d missed Aletheia. Family will always be “home”, but coming back onboard was, for the first time, coming back to my personal home, my space. It felt good to realize that.

To celebrate, I brought her a present: the finished wood panels for the new radio station. I’m happy to say that short of a few tweaks and finishing components that will likely go in on an as-needed basis, that project is complete. Here is a picture:

That little bookshelf-nook on the left side is where I keep logbooks, notepads, and relevant other literature. My sailing data repeater and VHF radio are next to the light (which happens to be a fantastic LED unit by Alpenglow - dual brightness red for nighttime and a very crisp white for legibility, and it pulls so little energy its unreal). The space in the panel, while very pretty, is going to be taken up by the SSB radio when I finally get it. And of course that’s the radar on the right - its an older unit but still a very good one.

All in all, a successful project and a learning experience as well. I’d change a couple things and I probably will over time, but its solid, its got much much better wiring, and its out of my way and more useful.

Stay tuned as we replace the exhaust, install a Vernalift fiberglass water-lift muffler, an exhaust riser, and a vented loop on the exhaust hose. Don’t know what any of those are? Not to worry, there will be lots of pictures.


12 01 2010 Posted by Daniel

Its 3 AM and Aletheia is rolling gently in her slip, moved by the wake of a passing tug out in the channel, or perhaps by the breeze. I’m finally getting some rest, having thoroughly cleaned her and prepared her for my departure back to Atlanta early the next morning. Over the past 24 hours, I’ve been extremely busy, knowing both that I would have to leave her for about a week, and also that the issues she’s having with her exhaust will need to be fixed before I can really sail her. We’re so close to getting out and sailing again after all of these recent projects and yet this latest issue has threatened to set me back at least another week or two again. In addition, “Mini Me” the dinghy has a set of serious holes worn in it, chafe from a recent storm which was strong enough to pick it up and smack it against a sharp edge on a stern fitting.

Nevertheless, progress continues. The new GFCI outlet I put in the navigation station for running my computer is working perfectly and allows me to have my phone charging within arm’s reach instead of all the way across the cabin. The 400W inverter is linked into the secondary AC feed properly, allowing me to use any of my onboard outlets or other AC devices from the inverter, provided it can handle the load. The new batteries are perfectly installed, baffled from aggressive rolling under heavy seas, and cross-connected to balance the charge each receives within the bank. I’ve also taken the trouble to completely re-run the port side wiring harnesses to encase the wires in split tubing, helping to prevent chafe around tight corners and allowing me to more cleanly bundle and route related wires. Its cleaned up that cable run massively and adds another level of professionalism to my work. And certainly not least, the finish on the new radio station is coming along quite nicely - I’m very excited to realize that I will be installing it quite soon in its final shape.

I’ve taken my last 30 minutes of the day to finish reading a fantastic book, “Fastnet, Force 10”, which is about a tragic storm that hit a large and famous boat race in 1979. Its a thrilling but sobering read and a good reminder that the effort I’m putting into this boat to ensure her reliability and safety is worthwhile. I set the book down, drink my last sip of hot tea, extinguish the berth light, and rapidly fall asleep to the gentle sounds of water against the hull.