Live Free 2 Sail Fast

Strippin Isn’t all Fun and Games

Stripping is hard work!  For those of you who know what I’m talking about, you know that stripping is hard and not all fun and games.  NOW I know why people pay a great stripper, cause it’s long hours in the heat and has sucked the energy out of me big time.   (more…)

Chain Locker/Bilge- Cleaning and Painting Recommendations (For Dummies Like Me)

My day often starts with a decent plan consisting of things to do and things I want to actually finish, to be crushed by weather, sick kids or circumstances beyond my control and I’ve come to accept that.  This morning I had planned to continue scraping the teak on the port side of the boat in hopes of moving on to sanding, but rain effectively helped me to cease that work.  I even had some goals for posts I wanted to write to get a bit ahead of myself to start May off with a bang, but of course the rain effects my Wi-Fi, so things are reallllly slow to upload even here on an American dock.  So I sat down to knock out a post I’ve been thinking through for months, as I’ve been slowly working on cleaning and painting all the bilge spaces on Tulum, from Bow to Stern.  I’m not done yet, but I’ve knocked out enough work to be able to credibly share my methods with you in hopes that you might learn something or at least come away from this post knowing you do it better?  This info should be straightforward and easy to understand and you can get your spaces clean and smelling good without spending a lot of money or time.  So here we go:

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Boat Projects with No End?

I’ve commented before that my normal posting days are M/W/F/S/S, so if I miss a post it’s likely that we’re out sailing, I’m swamped with a project or I’ve just been lazy and didn’t get to it.  Time seemed to fold between this week and last week.  Before I realized it the seam of time had thrust May upon us and I had more projects unfinished than ever before.  I knew I could knock out some small projects last week, but several turned into monsters and have stretched into this week.  

Last week I experimented with a 3-part clear epoxy based covering for varnish or Cetol, with impressive results.  The Awlbrite Clear Gloss system comes with 3-components mixed together, easily applied with a brush.  The system says to use multiple coats and IS more expensive than a normal clear coat but is said to last longer.  I was initially told it would hold up to 7-years in direct sun, but then the guys at the store said 3-years in direct sun.  Since the area’s I’ve applied it to are not in direct sun, I only used two coats (but will use at least three coats for areas in direct sun).  The results were great.  The stuff dried fast and hard- but we kept kids and dog off of it for at least 24 hours….a huge accomplishment on my boat.  Here’s a couple of quick pics-

Transom Platform (under dinghy and solar panels) with the system already applied.
Cockpit floor, inside the doghouse.
Another view of the cockpit floor.

Last week I also started messing around with trim on the cabin windows of the boat, especially with the weather getting better.  Here’s how it looked as I started:

Contemplating how much work I had in front of me!
Work in progress with scraper and heat gun, Day 1
Scraping and cleaning done, have to still sand before even thinking about varnish or Cetol.

I have (10) cabin windows to get done as well as multiple other smaller pieces of teak on deck before I even think about the mighty toe rail.  Might I mention that we went from a boat with almost no teak to this boat…with a freaking LOT of teak.  This isn’t a complaint….just an observation.

I skip around on projects when the weather doesn’t play right, when I run out of supplies or when I get bored with one and move to another.  So last week I also started working on the promised curtains for the boat.  This involves cutting fabric, doing the edge work, taking down the old metal blinds and putting up new curtain rods.  This is before I ever get out the Sailrite.  But I did actually get to the sewing machine, get all the curtain rods mounted and made enough curtains for four windows before running out of supplies.  I’m now waiting on the supplies and the boat looks pretty funny with three covered windows out of six in the main Solon.  Here’s what the curtains in my room look like now (I’ll do a full story with before and after pics when the project is finished):

Curtains in my room, keep in mind I did not pick out the fabric.

And as a parting shot to make you smile and tell ALL your friends to follow LF2SF:

The morning after the second coat of Epoxy Clearcoat in the cockpit, Quincy CANNOT figure out why she can’t get back in her doghouse.

PS: Weds coming, are you signing up?

A Dirty Post- The Last Pumpout

Thursday afternoon, Tulum got it’s last poo-poo pump out (from Pepe La Pooforever, as we had ordered and were set to install the second Air Head Composting Toilet on our 51′ sailboat.  I’ve been longing to go away from toilets on a blue-water sailboat that consume both electricity and fresh water, knowing we had several options to achieve this very goal.  First, we could have kept our toilets and pumped saltwater through them.  They still would have used electricity, but we could have run saltwater through them.  This means you get saltwater in the lines and the holding tank (which means associated smells) and you still have to macerate/pump to get the stuff out of the holding tank and out of the boat.  We could have also gone to pump heads that used saltwater and we could have installed a 3-way valve, meaning the remains just go over the side when we’re at sea or out of the US.  This would mean no electricity and no freshwater + nothing going through the holding tanks.  Or Option #3 was to get rid of the systems and install full composting heads, meaning I don’t have to rely on holding tanks, power or water to get the remains out of the boat.  I like that.  So, I’ve just installed the 2nd Air Head and we’re up and running. (more…)

Installing a Composting Toilet on a Sailboat: For Dummies Like Me

As I alluded to on Monday, we took the plunge, and bought and installed our first composting toilet on our cruising sailboat, Tulum 5.  

Why did we make the decision to buy, install and use a composting toilet on our cruising sailboat?  

We’ve been thinking through changing out our toilets since buying the boat, for a variety of reasons.  Like other cruisers and boaters, I was concerned about the fact the our brand of toilets needed valuable power to run and smelled MUCH better when we were running fresh water through them (we have two).  We do have an option on Tulum to run salt through them, but fresh water smells better.  I was also concerned because although we have a 3-way valve on the boat; if we’re ever in a port we have to get our tanks pumped (at a cost of course).  Here in our Marina, this involves either moving the boat every week (we have two girls and two adults living on the boat full-time) or getting both our tanks cleaned once a week by a service.  We opted for option #2, which involves a $ cost…of course.  A composting toilet involves nearly no electricity (small amount for the vent fan but it’s not needed if you rig the right passive vent), involves no water at all, has few moving parts and is easy to dump and restart when needed.  Most major brands of composting heads are Coast Guard legal (meaning they’re just fine on boats) and…..best of all….there’s little to no smell.  Smells from our toilet, lines and holding tank have been an issue.  Although the holding tank looks fairly new and in good shape, it often wafts an unspeakable odor.  We’ve checked the vents, tightened the hoses, put in the right tank deodorant and done what the experts tell us to defray the smells, to no avail.  I’m not that penitent  about this decision to move on from a traditional boat head to the reality of a composting system.  Lastly, the Airhead Composting Head sits higher than the tiny toilets on our boat.  I love sitting down and not eating my knees when I’m sitting…and I’m a pretty short guy.  Lastly, why did we choose an Airhead over other brands?  I researched the other brands online for several weeks, but I liked the gentlemen I talked to on the phone with Airhead when I called.  He answered all my dumb questions and was thorough with me in all the details.  He knew his stuff and was proud of the product.  That’s who I wanted to buy from and we did. 

What about the install, doesn’t it take a lot of work and expense to get that done?  

Nope, the install wasn’t that bad.  I’m no mechanical, construction or electrical guru (at all) and I knocked it out in less than half a day.  But….this was after the minor electrical work was performed by Cedillo Marine (619-496-4116) to get minor power to the out vent fan (or you can use a passive vent) which took less than an hour.  Honestly, this is an install most folks on boats should be able to do themselves and Airhead provided good directions with decent pictures.  If I can do this….you can do this. (more…)

ReBlog: Shipyard Vid: Install of Our New Composting Head — Have Wind Will Travel

I’ve been working on projects non-stop in anticipation of some down time while we’re visiting my brother and his family and attending the Pacific Sail and Powerboat Show (soon).  I also know we’ll be heading to Catalina Island over spring break for a bit of a shakedown cruise, gotta knock out a few things first.  So this morning I’m adding more detail to the “Boat” page on LF2SF.  I’m also super excited to have one more of my milestones knocked out for cruising, which is adding composting toilets to Tulum and getting rid of the electric, freshwater toilets we have currently.  I’m halfway there, one toilet installed and one to go.  I’ll bring you more about the install on Wednesday.  In the meantime, you gotta go look at the “Have Wind Will Travel” website with photos and video of their own install.  Make sure to check out the site and consider following them.   

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Saturday Sailboat Musings

I’m up early Saturday morning as usual because Quincy the Dog needed to go out, and when a Great Dane won’t let you sleep, there’s no ways of it you can avoid taking her for her walk. I used to just be able to open a glass door from my room at home and kick her out into the backyard, but here I’ve got to walk her and will continue to do so until November. When November comes, we’ll have to start taking her to shore 2-3 times a day for her walk and runs whenever we’re sitting in a harbor. It was a long week but I’m not sure why. I was in my 3rd class in a series at TRLMI, called Marine Electrical Systems. The course runs from 6pm to 9pm and after a day of work, it often turned into long days. I’m glad I took it, but there was alot of theory and equations. My days are filled with working on the boat and doing boat related projects, which I love to do + picking up and dropping off kids and dog. This week I was able to tour and photograph a 41′ Formosa Yankee Clipper built in 1980 in Taiwan. She was very similar to the boat I grew up on and brought back lots of memories. She’s on Sailboat Listings and will soon be available through a broker, but I’ll bring that to you in a separate story Mon or Weds. I also needed to get the Check Stays down from Tulum’s masts (so I could get them to the rigger for updating), so I rigged up my pulley’s and went up the mast for some adventure. Tulum’s Main Mast is 65′, so the second spreader is well off the ground:

Tulum’s Main with the check stay already taken off. It goes to the 2nd spreader on this main mast and to the top of the mizzen mast.

Here’s the connection at the second spreader that you have to manipulate to get the wire Check Stays off:

Shackles that have to be undone mechanically and by hand, with seizing wire that must be cut beforehand.
Tulum 5, from the second spreader.
And two Check Stays, off the mast and into the Riggers.

Next time up the mast, I’ll bring my track lube and my anti-corrosion spray for the metal parts, plus I’ll start the laborious task of getting mast steps back onto the mast. The frustrating part about this for me is that there’s tons of open mast step holes all over the mast (that’s how I’m getting water in the boat from the rain) and I finally found the mast step that matches those holes exactly. However, that specific mast step is priced at $20.65 per step, as opposed to the steps I can afford at $8.56 at the same store. Both steps are aluminum, but the more expensive one is also larger, meaning it would take fewer steps to get them up the mast. Very frustrating for me. So I let out a big sigh and bought a rivet gun. I’m gonna tackle that project myself and rivet the new steps on with holes I drill as much as I have to-

Ok, we’re changing up the website, we’ve turned on Patreon and I’ve started messing with my new video camera to try to start getting the editing and filming started. We’re gonna streamline our look a bit and try to professionalize the site a bit more. If you’re reading, keep it up. If you’re visiting, cool, thanks.

Boatyard Haulout Projects and Goals- What did we actually get done? :

Several of my previous posts discussed goals and lists of things that I envisioned getting done while in the boatyard- some by the professional staff and some by me. The original links to those projects are at the bottom of this post but I’ve cut and pasted the actual lists, with what we did and didn’t get done…some of it being a pipe dream I didn’t have time to actually finish. Here goes:

Boatyard:

  • Bottom (hull) properly cleaned and prepped by the boatyard and at least three coats of paint added to stressed areas and two coats added to most other areas. Done
  • Book Shelves installed in master berth and salon and shelving for storage installed in cabinet where the washer/dryer used to reside. Done
  • Have the Rudder dropped and inspected.  New seals and gaskets installed.  Figure out the reasons for minor water ingress up the rudder tube.. Done
  • Propeller Shaft- either install a Dripless Seal (SureSeal Shaft Seal System) or confirm that the packing gland can be re-packed and proper tension can be maintained on the current shaft nuts.(yeah yeah,,,ha ha)- Done
  • Take out the faucet in the forward cabin head and install a fresh water foot pump.  (so my girls can’t leave the water running and drip all the fresh water out of the boat).- Not Done
  • Have the main bilge pumps safety checked and fix as needed. Done by Subcontractor but NOT DONE CORRECTLY!
  • Change the current gray water setup to a 3-way valve so it can run out of the boat vice into a large grey water tank.  Empty the tank and clean it.- Not Done
  • Close and seal the extra through-hulls on the boat.  Unfreeze struck through hulls and handles. Done

To Be Done by Me:

  • Using the templates I have, cut and install the new sound/heat barriers in the bilge spaces under the galley floors. Done
  • Install new heat/sound barrier in the engine room. Not Done
  • Take off heat shield material on engine exhaust piping and install new heat shield and heat shield tape. Not Done
  • Find out where the lower coolant drain is- drain and change engine coolant. Not Done
  • Find out where the engine thermostat is- change it (make sure you buy extra thermostats). Not Done
  • Drain and Change Engine Oil. Not Done
  • Figure out how to get into the space and change the impeller (take existing impeller kit and buy two more prior to changing it). Not Done
  • Change the primary Fuel Filter (canister)- at the boatyard we’re right next to a large Marine store- get extra canisters. Not Done
  • Change the primary Oil Filter (canister)- at the boatyard we’re next to a large Marine Store- get extra canisters. Not Done
  • Pick up Main Sheet (getting a new one made) and reattach to the main.  Take off the mizzen Main Sheet and have a new one made. Done
  • Install new speakers in the cockpit, stern boxes and main salon. Not Done

Many of the goals above that were mine to do in the boatyard simply didn’t get done because I didn’t understand several things about the yard. I had assumed I’d be able to do engine work while hauled out, but the yard didn’t have any available facilities for waste/oil disposal or would have charged me by the gallon. I think that’s crazy, but that’s their policy. Weird, since my own marina encourages us to use a free shoreside waste disposal area and it’s free. I also couldn’t do as much engine work as I would have liked just due to the guys working in or near the engine room. For at least three days, someone worked on the getting the shaft seal undone and repacked and then there was the whole job of getting multiple through hulls drilled out of the engine room compartment. The yard then had to grind them, epoxy them, fiberglass the holes and paint, which took another several days. I basically wrote off those projects and determined I would do them back here at the marina. So that’s my list and I’ll write more detailed posts with pictures about several of these jobs as I go. What you won’t see if any write-ups about folks who didn’t do an excellent job. Just won’t waste my typing time with folks who didn’t do the job right or finish the job to my satisfaction.

Touring a Cheoy Lee “Pedric” 36

Part of the fun of a boatyard is getting to see lots of different boats, really up close and personally.  So when my friend (and broker) called and asked if I wanted to come check out a composting head on a really unique boat, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.  I had seen composting heads before and am already sold on them, but the boat is a diamond in the rough and a unique piece of classic plastic.  The Cheoy Lee “Pedric” 36 was built in 1985 (perhaps only in 1985) in Taiwan, carries lots of water and fuel for her size and this particular boat comes with multiple surprise additions.  As soon as I went onboard, I could see she was a diamond in the rough, being brought back to life by my friend and broker, who’s determined to give the next owner the best boat possible.  With a composting head, barbecue, dinghy, outboard motor and watermaker; this boat will make a single sailor or cruising couple really happy when she finds her forever owner. (more…)

Prepping for Haul-Out, Thoughts On My Own Projects

http://livefree2sailfast.com/2019/03/02/haul-out-and-yard-work-on-the-horizon-for-tulum-v

After I published the project list (above) I had discussed with the boatyard, I started thinking through everything I would work on while Tulum was out of the water.  This is in addition to getting the kids fed and to/from school every day (Quincy will be in the kennel and Michelle is on business in Japan for two weeks).  As I went down the list, it became longer and longer and there’s no way I’ll finish while she’s out of the water.  So I just decided to think through it during this post, knowing what tools and supplies are on the boat – while having to think through what I need to get out of the dockbox.  Here goes:

  • Using the templates I have, cut and install the new sound/heat barriers in the bilge spaces under the galley floors.
  • Install new heat/sound barrier in the engine room.
  • Take off heat shield material on engine exhaust piping and install new heat shield and heat shield tape.
  • Find out where the lower coolant drain is- drain and change engine coolant.
  • Find out where the engine thermostat is- change it (make sure you buy extra thermostats).
  • Drain and Change Engine Oil.
  • Figure out how to get into the space and change the impeller (take existing impeller kit and buy two more prior to changing it).
  • Change the primary Fuel Filter (canister)- at the boatyard we’re right next to a large Marine store- get extra canisters.
  • Change the primary Oil Filter (canister)- at the boatyard we’re next to a large Marine Store- get extra canisters.
  • Pick up Main Sheet (getting a new one made) and reattach to the main.  Take off the mizzen Main Sheet and have a new one made.
  • Install new speakers in the cockpit, stern boxes and main salon.  Run the wires and install Amp and Stereo Face.

Should be an interesting haul-out, as most of the week looks like we’re going to get rain.  This means I can’t do the deck sealing and I can’t start the varnish nightmare, so I’ll focus on the projects above.  Should keep me busy.  It I get through even half the list, I’ll be impressed.