It was a pseudo-busy boat weekend, although I don’t think there’s much substantial to show for it. On Thursday I wrapped up a couple dangling projects and continued working on the dodger windows. Those are coming along mostly nicely and after just a little bit more dusty sanding and a few tiny patches of epoxy, the frames should be ready for painting and then installation of the plexiglass. Here’s how they look right now:
I was stymied a bit on Sunday when one of the dockhands came over while I was grinding and said “You’re not allowed to work on your boat in the marina,” which seems like an overstatement. I do sort of understand the rationale against grinding, since there’s a lot of noise and dust involved. But, oh well, I’m essentially done anyway. I probably don’t have any more grinding to do while my boat is here, but hopefully nobody complains about a little light sanding here and there.
Friday I spent most of the day wandering around buying parts for a planned overhaul of the nav electronics setup. I’m going to gut the cubbyhole everything’s currently in, build a couple shelves and put a nice hardwood face on the front, flush mount a few things, and mount the rest behind the scenes, with (I hope) a reasonably organized strategy for routing all the wiring. Turns out the most difficult part is finding wood in Singapore. I finally got a lead from Brian today that will hopefully result in some nice 1/2″ teak, mahogony, oak, or similar.
When I got back to the boat late in the afternoon Friday it was pouring rain, which eliminated window work, so I ended up building a new light fitting for the nav table. The old one was flickery, had a partly melted plastic diffuser, and used bright white LEDs. I found a new fitting (exactly the same except not melted) at Marintech. As sold it was a 24V incandescent tube light, but I gutted it because I only wanted the housing. I bought some of the 3M PVC-coated 12V LED strip stuff — one strip of warm white, another red. I also picked up a 3-way switch; I replaced the 2-way switch in the housing with that (after filing away some plastic to fit it in), and then wired the warm white LEDs to one end and the red LEDs to the other. Soldering the LED strips wasn’t very easy but I eventually got it working. Here’s the LEDs wired up to the switch:
The LED strips are adhesive-backed, so I just stuck them to the back of the housing for now. If the adhesive later comes loose (I doubt it but who knows) I can always just hot-glue the strips back in place:
After mounting the fitting, putting the diffuser in place, and waiting for dark, here is what the warm white light looks like (or well, as close as my camera can capture it):
In person it’s quite a bit brighter. A lot more palatable than the old stark white LEDs. When you flip the 3-way switch the other way you get some cool red night lighting, which will be great for looking at paper charts if needed, or reading any other material without un-dilating our pupils:
Again, it’s a lot brighter in person. Probably not the most urgent project but a fun way to spend an hour on a rainy afternoon. The LED strips aren’t super-cheap, but I think they’re pretty reasonable for projects like this.
Yesterday I made an effort to take some measurements of the prop shaft. I need a new prop along with the new engine, and every prop shop seems to have a lead time of at least 2-3 weeks, with some much longer. You need some reasonably precise measurements of the taper and keyhole at the prop end of the shaft, which as I found out are not easy to get with the prop underwater, fouled with barnacles, while holding your breath and trying to use plastic calipers. After examining my measurements out of the water, I think I’ll probably need to go for another swim and measure again before ordering the propeller.
In the course of swimming to get the shaft measurements I gained a renewed appreciation for the importance of an easy boarding ladder. The boat is heeled 5ish deg to starboard right now (one water tank is full, the other empty; and there is a bunch of diesel still sitting on the starboard deck), so the boarding ladder was up a few inches higher than usual. It was pretty difficult to get out of the water. I think it’ll be necessary to add a couple auxiliary rungs; I’ll try rope first, but I may just end up buying a new ladder as there are other issues with mine. I’ve also started thinking about some kind of ladder quick release reachable from the water, in case of a man overboard situation. Always something else.
Today I finished the wire transfer to order the Beta engine. Once Beta Marine gets that I expect it should be about 6-7 weeks before the engine arrives in SE Asia. Need to get about a million things in place before then.
Tonight I was taking some measurements of the boarding ladder when I noticed a bunch of commotion aboard Golden Ocean, a 46 ft powerboat next door. After a few minutes I realized the owner and a bunch of the marina staff were frantically trying to figure out how to keep the boat from sinking. Turns out he ran into a buoy at 15 kts; somehow made it back to the marina; and then realized there was a huge gash below the waterline near the port bow. The boat was noticeably low in the water. I grabbed a few of my biggest buckets; a big PVC hand pump; and my snorkeling/scuba gear. The marina staff arrived pretty quickly with an AC gas-powered pump that saved the day. I was a bit disappointed in the preparedness of the staff to deal with a sinking boat though (aside from the pump). They stuffed a couple garbage bags in the gash, which didn’t really do much. As I type this they’re still pumping away and planning to do that until morning, when they can get a tow to a yard. The whole thing did make me realize I’m actually decently well prepared for a similar situation — plenty of buckets, pumps, epoxy putty, old sail or vinyl material to temporarily cover a hole, 5200 to seal it on, etc.