Upcoming projects

21 03 2010 Posted by Daniel

So, I’ve received a few questions recently about what sort of projects I have planned for Aletheia in the upcoming months. Here is a rough outline of what I plan to do.

Project #1: Pressurized hot water and shower
The first of the major projects will be to add a pressurized water system to the boat. This will support the installation of a hot water heater and a shower. I expect this to take a few weekends once I get all the parts together. Right now all I have is manually pumped cold freshwater and a manually pumped raw seawater backup. I intend to keep the manual pumps and add a standard faucet to the galley and forward basin for the pressurized water. In addition, the head compartment, which is already designed to accept a shower, will be plumbed and I will add a curtain on a track to try and keep the spray off the head itself and the cabinetry behind it. A fold-out seat might be in order as well. This is going to be a major improvement in the comfort level that Aletheia can provide at anchor or in a slip.

Other interior improvements will be full mosquito netting for all hatches and vents, probably fitted netting for the port lights, and peek-a-boo shades for the saloon deadlights. I have an array of more efficient lighting to install (Alpenglow fluorescents and LED reading/night vision lights) and several fans as well (S/V Hotwire fans). The “mattress” I currently sleep on is not terribly comfortable, so I will have that and the forward V-berth replaced with proper mattresses. I’m deciding between latex foam and spring mattresses - if anybody has any definitive comments please let me know.

I haven’t decided what to do for other furnishings or amenities, so if you have any further recommendations feel free to mention them.

Project #2: Bimini arch, solar panels, and a wind turbine
This is going to be a pretty big endeavour, as I will need to have a bimini frame with a structural arch custom made and fitted to the cockpit. On this arch I will mount two fairly large solar panels (shooting for 120W each) and an Air Breeze wind turbine. When I do this install I will also make some small but necessary improvements to the battery charging system layout. The arch will also hold my VHF antenna for the amateur radio, and I plan to hoist a second Marine VHF antenna on the mizzen.

Project #2.5: Dodger / Rest of Bimini
The second part of this project will be to finish out the bimini top and sides and add a dodger. I don’t think I want or need a hard dodger so I will be putting in a soft one to match up with the bimini top. The color will most likely be a light blue. At this point I will probably suck it up and pay for some very nice cockpit cushions and make a table so that the cockpit can be a social place - as it should be.

Project #3: Deck Non-skid repair and rebedding of deck fittings
The nonskid on my deck is nearly worn off from use. Its time to replace it, and I’m looking at many options. The best I’ve seen was some very industrial rubberized floor grating literally epoxied to the deck of a nice european boat, but I am not sure that I want something quite that permanent on my deck. I might settle for a good quality solid 2-part epoxy paint with UV stabilizers and a lot of high-grit sand or shredded rubber in it. Whichever way I go, though, the deck needs a good scrubbing, sanding, and recoating. At the same time, I plan to pull up and rebed most of the fittings on the deck. I’m getting small traces of water intrusion in a number of them - nothing serious yet but a little bit of effort now will save a lot of work later on. The lifelines will be completely replaced and a few of my stanchions are bent and I’ll have someone straighten them out. Finally I plan to rebed my deadlights as they leak in heavy rain.

Project #4: Autopilot
This project is going to be a fun one, for me, as its back to electronics. I’ve picked out a good autopilot unit (Simrad AP-24 system with a Jefa rotary drive) and will be integrating that with my current electronics. At the same time I’ll be adding a masthead wind angle and speed sensor. The autopilot is smart enough to steer courses based on the wind, and even handle tacking for me - a big help singlehanding. While I’m up the mast, I’ll fix up some of the wiring and replace all the light bulbs with LEDs.

Project #5: Roller Furling and running/standing rigging overhaul
I am not sure if I’ll actually get to this project or not, but I hope I do! I’d LOVE roller furling, and I know exactly what unit I’ll be getting when I get around to it - a ProFurl. At the same time, I’ll be adding clipping points for a forestaysail so I can run a smaller storm staysail inside of the furled headsail when the weather gets bad. While I’m doing this, the rest of the standing rigging will be fully inspected and retuned (it seems a bit slack to me, but I’m not experienced in rigging tuning - either way it probably hasn’t had attention in years). The halyards are in good shape but a lot of the important smaller running rigging needs attention - particularly the reefing lines and sail ties, which have gotten all ratty and need an overhaul pronto. And last but not least the storm trysail will be refitted to its track and given a fresh clean bag to reside in on deck, out of the way of UV exposure.

Project #6: Windvane
I plan to install a Hydrovane at some point as well, but that’s a bit off in the future for now.

Project # ??? : SSB Radio
I’m sure it surprises some of you to see me deprioritize this as much as I am, but the truth is that most of the other higher priority items deal with actually sailing the boat and they are pretty important. The unfortunate side effect is that projects like this get pushed to the back of the stack. Most likely, I’ll do this project after I have the next bottom job done, because that is the time when I will install the groundplates, service the electrical bonding system, and generally tweak what needs tweaking to ensure a good ground for the SSB radio. In addition, it depends on the rigging overhaul as I need to replace the backstay insulators. Once I feel comfortable with that arrangement, I will go ahead and install the SSB itself.

In addition to these defined projects, the ship will need some modest yard work done: a haul out, bottom job, cutlass bearing, and hull polish/wax. At this time I may have her topsides repainted as well, probably with Awlgrip, and have her lettering put on in paint and not vinyl. Also I will be reorganizing the cockpit electronics.

So, that’s the schedule of events for this summer. Expect things to start in earnest about the end of May, although I may start project #1 before then.

Sailing again!

14 03 2010 Posted by Daniel

So, after a few weeks sitting on our butts, Aletheia and I decided we’d go sailing. Gorgeous day in the bay here, and we’re sitting in our new berth as well. Progress!

Just thought I’d drop a note and let you all know I’m still alive and well and at sea. :)


05 03 2010 Posted by Daniel

Hello all.

Not much to report right now. I’ve spent a little time catching up with family and retrieving my other mode of transportation, and have returned to Aletheia looking forward to making some progress with her current situation. The engine parts are in, the alternator regulator replacement is in, and I’m in the process of cleaning out the galley and trying to reorganize it as well. There is a lot to be done, and most importantly I want to get the engine fixed so I can take her sailing again! In these tight harbors the engine is almost a necessity - while I could get the boat where I needed to without it, it would be much more difficult and potentially dangerous depending on the conditions and shipping traffic. So, I hope to have the engine all fixed up early next week.

In the meantime, I’ve started an interior organization project and am continuing work on the electronics as well. While I think that will likely be a never-ending project I do have some goals for the electronics (get my Amateur radio installed in the boat, get some new wiring run to certain places, install a VHF and a WiFi antenna on the mizzen mast) that I hope to be done with in short order.

She also needs a new autopilot, and I hope to do the pressure water / hot water / shower project in the next month or so. Beyond that, roller furling, the solar panels, and a dodger / bimini are on the list. After that, I think I’ll be ready to go pretty much anywhere temperate. If I decide to head to temperature extremes I will need to add diesel-based interior heating as well.

So, you’ll probably see each of these projects get attention as finances and time allow. I refuse to sit in the dock even with these projects going on, though, so some sailing is definitely going to have to happen again soon. If any of you want to join me on a windy weekend day, let me know!

I’ll leave you with a picture I rather like. This little guy was just watching us go by, chirping away on his buoy when I saw him:

Bird on a green buoy