- Name: Lonnie Bruner
- Location: Washington, DC, United States
I live in DC, sail the Chesapeake Bay, have a lovely wife who's a web designer, a young son, an unruly hound dog, and am interested in most everything in the world. Oh yea, and I love the smell of burning trash in the Third World. That just gets me going.
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Thursday, April 15, 2010
Shit I've Fixed on the Sailboat in 2010 (Non-sailors need not read this).
I love reading the sailing blogs' lists of Spring fix-it tasks, but I'm always disappointed that they just make a short bullet-pointed list without good descriptions of what it took to do this or that. I always find that the smallest job on a sailboat takes MUCH longer than anticipated, so here we go, as I see that it should be written:
- Replaced seat drain flanges and hose mechanism. This was nearly the most uncomfortable task to complete because it required taking all the junk out of my cockpit locker and crawling around in tight spaces with my bare skin rubbing against 38-year-old fiberglass. On my boat, there's a drain mounted onto the port seat which drains the rainwater that would otherwise stand in a 5-foot wide spot on my cockpit seat. The hose that I removed was 38 years old and was the cause of a lot of rainwater entering my boat. The thru-hulls were so deteriorated that the boat was taking a gallon of water with each rain. I went to Bacon's and met an old salt who recommended that I buy Home Depot parts to replace it instead of spending big bucks at Fawsett's. I followed his advice, but nothing fit where the old rig had been so it took me many hours of hack-sawing, razor-blading and caulking hoses and metal to get it to fit. This is the classic jimmie-rig for me on the boat.
- Replaced cabin lights with fancy brass reading lights; added hard-wired v-berth light. I LOVE to burn my two oil lanterns in the cabin, but I need the backup of real electric lights. My port cabin light had voltage issues so with 30 minutes of investigative work with my voltmeter, I figured out that there was a bad connection where the wire had been pulled taut under the bulkhead. Easy repair. I've now got classic-looking brass lights over the galley and the port settee berth. I removed the old plastic incandescent light that I had in the port main salon into the v-berth so now whoever sleeps there can read without their headlight. Speaking of headlamps, I love them on the boat, but part of the beauty of having hard-wired lighting onboard is when you're sleeping and then wake up and can't find your headlamp in the dark, you've got your hard-wired lighting to guide your way.
- Installed Sony marine stereo system and new speaker. This will be the third stereo in three years -- averaging one a year. My first stereo I tried to go cheap; I bought a bona fide marine stereo, but spent very little money. The brand name was Pyle and I highly do NOT recommend it. That fucker broke in one season. Then, for 2009, I bought an inexpensive Sony car stereo because some old salt told me that you don't need that bullshit "marine stereo" shit unless you enjoy spending extra money. The stereo did fine through the '09 season, but the winter killed it when the melting snow found a deck leak and dripped all over the bitch for several months. Luckily, Christmas of 2009 brought me two $100 West Marine gift cards so I broke down and bought a quality marine stereo system with iPod input and the works, including remote control that I can operate from the cockpit. I also scored a $25 Poly Planar speaker (used) which I man-handled into the cockpit, with the help of Mr. Hacksaw and Mr. Metal File. There's really not much point to a boat stereo system that doesn't have a speaker wired into the cockpit. Now I'm looking for a cheap subwoofer that I can rig up inside the bilge, so if anyone can hook me up, let me know. This would do wonders for the 1812 Overture at sunset -- a long-held tradition of the guys' trip.
- Taped and sewed up the whomper. Yea, I know it's annoying that every sailor since the movie Wind refers to his biggest sail as a "whomper" but it's just so apt; the fucking thing is basically a 200% genoa and gives power like no other. During my March 8th sail, the damn thing caught on the spreader and gave me an 8-foot rip about 3/4 of the way to the top of the mast. My neighbor, and sailing buddy, Todd, helped me with the canvaswork and we sewed it up right. During my sail today, it held great. Actually, I think sewing a large rip in an old sail can be stronger than some of the original stitching because the new stitches are with UV-resistant thread that hasn't been exposed to sunlight like the factory-installed stuff.
- Organized all my bolts and shackles and shit. One of favorite things to do is organize my toolboxes and fishing tackle boxes on the boat. And damn, I have enough of them -- probably six, if you count the tool drawer and storage boxes of spares. I just love a boat with proper back-up that doesn't just increase the clutter level. I had a bunch of old caulk-coated bolts sitting in an old chicken livers container; I'm not kidding, the container still says "chicken livers" on the side. I put these into an old tackle box -- coincidentally, one with sentimental value, a tackle box that I've had since I was a young teenager; it still has Polaroids of old guys holding up fish taped to the inside that I took from a shoebox in a long-closed fishing shop back in the 80s; the fucking box barely closes with all those photos taped in there.
- Replaced my fishfinder/depthfinder trasducer mount; added ladder bracket. The ice flows blew hard into my marina and broke off my transducer which was mounted on a 1X1 piece of wood bolted to my transom. The shit was just dangling in the water when I first noticed it this season. I had bolted the old mount into the original ladder bracket, which I thought was the right thing to do, since I didn't want to drill new holes in the back of my transom. In hindsight, this was the wrong way. I fucking HATE the ladder that we've been using for three years. The legs would always fold up on people trying to climb back on the boat, and you could never properly stow that son-ofa-bitch because it was so goofy and big. Good riddance. I've now moved the transducer mount and bolted it through the transom after getting the balls to sit precariously in my dinghy and drill through it with the non-battery-powered Makita. Now I have a nice bracket which will hold the ladder, and the transducer mount is securely bolted next to it. This ladder is stowable in the cockpit locker and will be much easier for swimmers to climb back onto the boat with.
- Screwed in small wooden compass/windmeter/pencil holder. I have a great new sailing buddy who lives down the street and has an AWESOME wooden boat from the early 1960s. He built me a small compass/windmeter/pencil holder which is mounted to my starboard aft bulkhead so when I need to find a quick bearing or wind reading, I can reach down and grab the needed tools without letting go of the tiller. This may sound small, but it's the small things that make my sailing world happy.
- Added sailing collage for 8-year guys' trip anniversary. I posted this previously on this blog, but I now got it printed and laminated at Kinko's and stuck it to the starboard aft bulkhead.
- Hope to get the god damn ball valve for the head intake installed SOON. My boat is 38 years old. For some damn reason -- likely to save money -- the manufacturer used fucking gate valves for my toilet. Simply put, that old shit broke when ice got in there. There was water sitting where the hose connects to the valve and it just fell off when I put minimal pressure on it last December. As any good sailor knows, I need to replace this old crap with ball valves but it's been a negotiating back-and-forth with the various marinas in the area to get the best price and time. As you may know, my wife and I just had a kid and she's taking in reduced pay, so I'm trying to find the best price for a haul, paint, etc. The best price in the region is my marina, but getting them to do the work is another story entirely. The marina owner is a 300-pound dude who's very slow and seems to always been moving around the marina mixing epoxy or something while his (old school) railway sits empty, and making excuses why he can't pull my boat. But finally, today, I had a good conversation with him and he set a date to haul and paint the boat during the last week of April. I hesitate to mention the price, because it's the lowest in the region, but damn, this made my day today. I might have quality head valves soon! I have already figured out that I'll need a serious metal-saw to get the old valve off, but I think I can handle it. I'm expecting that it could either take 20 minutes or 20 hours to complete.
- Got fishing licence, bigger net, better/bigger rockfish lures. I SCORED at a fishing flea market in Essex Maryland. Damn, it was great. My fishing gear is now complete with a 1960s Penn reel (don't make 'em like they usedtuh), and net that actually fits the size of the fish that I actually catch, and big-ass lures that should nail 'em. I wish I had a photo of the lures I bought because they are as big or bigger than some of the fish I caught last season.
No matter what kind of light fixture you install, unless it is 100% plastic, it will corrode and/ or rust after 2 months. Sucks.
West Marine rules. Even if the shit you buy from there breaks or disintegrates in a year, it's still the greatest candy store this side of Costco.
Chicken Livers are one of the true pleasures in life, and even if you only have a container with those words on it, you're ahead of the game.
I just for the first time in my life bought a "marine stereo", so first, I need to learn how to install the f'er. Then I can comment on how much it sucks, or preferably, how much I love the thing.
I find that conventional depth-finders are only good for telling you how deep the water is directly below you, when it's too damn late to do anything about it. It's still cool to know how deep the water is directly below you.
Have you still not fixed that goddamn head intake?
Lonnie: Really, it's easy to pay someone to paint your bottom, but it's so much CHEAPER to do it yourself. Have you ever painted your bedroom?
You have much better luck than I do when it comes to fishing from a sailboat. It's like fishing anywhere else, Nothing! Ever.
I hate that ladder - I had a blood blister beneath my toenail for 6 months after it folded on me. I was secretly hoping it would last until the following sail trip.
Glad you replaced it.
I have some old house speakers with quality 12 inch cones you can have. poor man's sub. You might have to chop it down to fit it in the bilge but it's yours if you want it.
Spent a good half hour in my basement digging up an old WWII Royal Navy photo of paternal grandfather. If I find time I'm going to get it copied/framed and hold you to your promise of putting it alongside Lonnie. It's pretty small anyway.
You're a hard core boat owner. I'd be proud of this list if I were you. and I can't wait to sip beers and poke around the boat when you give me the tour.
The brass should be ok. It may have a patina on it, but that just makes it look more rustic. That's how my brass oil lanterns look and I don't care.
RE: painting. Check this out: the next marina will haul and block the boat for $351; I would still have to pay $150 for a gallon of bottom paint and paint it myself, which I was ready to do. However, my marina told me they'd haul, powerwash and paint for $300 which includes the cost of paint. I've got to spend time on the valves so I'll happily have someone else do it for that amazing price.
That ladder made me angry every time I looked at it. It's now in my garage.
I think 12" cones are too large but thanks. Maybe Best Buy will have something smaller.
Yes, the picture offer still stands. That would be awesome.
She's in the water all year long. Actually, she's probably been in the water for most of 38 years.