Monday, September 15, 2014

Two Projects at Anchor

We have found that many projects can be completed at anchor, rather than tied to the dock.  As long as you have the necessary tools, fasteners, paint, varnish, etc. aboard, there is no reason at all to not do the work in a more congenial atmosphere than the marina.  

So, while we were at anchor in Blind Bay on Shaw Island, we completed these two projects:

Project 1:  Replace the zippers in the aft section of the cockpit canvas

There are four zippers here, and four sections of canvas that needed to be taken below.  I used a seam-ripper to remove the old zippers, but removing the old thread was a much bigger chore.  Because the thread on the exterior was rotted to the point where it had no strength at all, almost every single loop had to be laboriously picked out by hand.  But our monster sewing machine (a Sailrite LSZ-1) had no difficulty sewing thru 4-6 layers of sunbrella and the vinyl window material.  Given what canvas work costs these days, this machine has paid for itself twice over already.  And thank heavens for a large battery bank and a good inverter!

Project 2: Replace a leaking 36 year old fixed port

The new port

The new port gives great ventilation
while at anchor!
This port was installed by the factory 36 years ago.  It was ugly, but I didn't want to mess with a sleeping dog...  as long as it didn't leak.  But when the leaking started, time to kick that dog off the boat - I ordered a new one.  The replacement is an opening port, which provides us some delightful cross ventilation when at anchor, but it is somewhat larger than the old fixed port.  That meant that I had to use a saber saw to enlarge the opening (there's that inverter again...).  Because of the tight clearances, it was not possible to leave the guide/table on the saw when cutting, so I had to hand-hold it...  a recipe for breaking blades, and yes I broke a bunch, but I got the hole enlarged.  Then I coated the exposed foam core of the deck with polysulphide to prevent wicking of moisture, should any get by the seal with the deckhouse.  Finally, I installed the window with a dozen #10 stainless pan head screws.

Bonus:  The window is exquisitely clear, giving more light below!


Robert Salnick said...

Rick at middlebaysailing ( posted this comment - sorry Rick, it got lost in the shuffle of intermittent internet connectivity:

Nice work, Bob. New ports are wonderful - more light, no leaks, fresh easily working dogs.

Great you can do the canvas work too. Replacing zippers sounds hard, but I guess with a bit of experience it gets easier.

I've had better success cutting fiberglass with an angle grinder. Looks like you may not have had enough room for that, though. Fiberglass eats saber saw blades for lunch, and much added difficulty without the table/guide.

Robert Salnick said...

Zippers are pretty easy Rick, as long as your machine is up to the task

And yeah, an angle grinder would have been better if I could have gotten it in there. But saber saw blades are pretty cheap...

Anonymous said...

For $15 you can buy a carbide covered saver saw blade in the esoteric blades section of your local hardware store, it will last forever and do a great job cutting fiberglass, and the dust is way less itchy than from using normal saws. I went through at least 20 blades before I discovered it building my boat, and it's still holding strong without sign of letting up. Little carbide die grinding bits for a Dremel also work wonders.

Robert Salnick said...


Yeah, I used to have one of those grit-edged blades. But it was too short and so it kept coming up out of the work and then the tip would hit the work and bend the blade. And the blade bent way too easily because the process of brazing on the carbide took the temper out of the metal. Eventually it broke, because of metal fatigue I suppose.

I really should look for a new one, of appropriate length. Thanks for pointing me in that direction.


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