Tuesday, May 30, 2017

For The Birds

How about this visitor that showed up on our masthead recently?

Actually, birds sitting up there are not my favorite thing - not even our National Bird...  perhaps especially not our National Bird.  See, that guy weighs 10-15 lb.  And that thing he has his left foot on was not made to carry his weight, or even half of it.   Thankfully he is too big to get both feet on it.

That "thing" is the sensor for our wind instrumentation - a pretty essential thing for a wind-powered vehicle.  See the spinner (wind speed) and fin (wind direction) out on the end?  I've already had to repair the direction sensor once due to an obese bird sitting on it and breaking it.

So, despite the delite of our neighbors (m/v Konocti Bay, who captured the photo), I shooed him off by banging on the shrouds.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Haulout 2017

We haul out Eolian every three years for a new coat of bottom paint.  Our last was in the spring of 2014, just before we moved her to Anacortes, so she was due this spring.

For the almost 20 years we have been responsible for her maintenance, Eolian has been hauled using a Travelift - a huge contraption that lifts the boat out of the water bodily using two enormous straps:

Scary sight!

This has not been an easy task for us.  First, the Travelift at Shilshole was not large enough to haul Eolian unless we backed her into the Travelift slip.  And we had to disconnect the topping lift for the mizzen boom and drop it down.  And even then, the mizzen mast was always very uncomfortably close to the cross beam of the Travelift.  Oh, and the boat yard required that we had no roller furled sails aboard when we were blocked up (apparently one came open in a windstorm years ago and boats got knocked over like dominoes).  So we always had to remove our yankee - not a simple task because it is so large.

Ah, but not this year.  First, in Anacortes, apparently it is the SeaLift which is all the rage, not the Travelift.  The SeaLift is just an enormous, self-propelled boat trailer.  The boat rests on inflatable bunks (8-10 psi) that contact nearly the entire length of the hull - a much gentler loading than the two straps on the Travelift.  As you would expect, the operator backs the SeaLift into the water and you just drive your boat onto it, just as if it was a 16' ski boat.  Unlike a ski boat trailer tho, the SeaLift has the ability to keep your boat level as it comes out of the water, up the ramp, and onto shore.

We didn't even have to take the dinghy off!
This yard did not require removal of our headsail, and we didn't even have to take off the dinghy!

Adding to the weirdness, the actual yard is about a half a block down the street and on the other side.  So Eolian actually took a trip on land, stopping traffic and everything.

Trundlin' down the road...
Sadly however, not all was roses and wine...  Eolian has a couple of depth sounder transducers mounted on fairing blocks on her hull, and I was afraid that the weight of the boat on them could cause damage if they lined up with the inflatable trailer bunks.  This has never been a problem with a Travelift, because the contour of the hull has the straps a long ways out from them.

Uh oh...

Yup, Murphy played his part.  The bunk lined up precisely on the transducer on the port side, as you can see - the uncleaned part of the hull is uncleaned because it was against the bunk when the hull was pressure washed.

It moved.
After things were dried off, it was obvious that the fairing block had moved towards the centerline of the hull.  The missing paint revealed the disturbance.

Long deliberation on my part concluded that the risk of damaging or breaking the transducer while removing it for a rebedding far outweighed the risk of a minor leak if we simply just thoroughly caulked the seam between the fairing block and the hull, and between the fairing block and the transducer (yes, it was cocked slightly in the block).  So digging out all the loose paint and caulking with 5200 was the order of the day.

Blocked up and waiting for the paint crew
While waiting for Eolian's turn with the paint crew, I used a small portable generator, a ladder, and a buffer and buffed out the hull.  It really makes a huge difference!

Wow - that makes it sound like I spent the afternoon buffing.  Not so.  Buffing out Eolian is a more like buffing out your house.  It took me Tuesday thru Saturday, working 6-7 hours a day to get it done.  But she looks like a new boat afterwards!

Fresh paint always looks wonderful
And then on Monday the paint crew finished their touch-ups, and once again we were headed down the street to the launching ramp...

What's wrong with this picture?
Would I use a Sealift again?  With our underbody configuration, I think I'll avoid it.  But the transducer works fine and is not leaking... yet...


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Getting Rid Of The Stink At The Stern

The Admiral has put her foot down.  Henceforth, there shall be no more bad smells wafting from our stern when the head is flushed.

And so let it be done.

Commercial versions of holding tank vent filters can be had - for something like $100.  And these are throw-aways...  after a year or so, you discard them and buy another.

But these are not complex devices.  Could I make one?

Sure.  The idea came from Drew; my additions are the methods for retaining the charcoal.

Well, first the charcoal.  "Activated charcoal" is a kind of charcoal which is manufactured to have incredible surface areas - as much as 500 m2 per gram... and these surfaces are loaded with active catalytic sites.  It is the perfect thing to use to adsorb and catalytically deactivate head odors (primarily H2S).  And it is cheap and easily available.  I got this 1 lb bag of granules (don't use the powder - too hard to contain it, and too much pressure drop for gases flowing thru the bed) for just over $11, delivered to my doorstep:

1 lb. activated charcoal:  $11
Next, we need a container for the charcoal, one which can be inserted into the holding tank vent line.  I had some scrap 2" PVC pipe, so all I needed was some fittings:

Pipe fittings:  $5
... a glue-on cap (on the left), and a screw-on cap with its glue-on female half.  To provide a way to attach fittings, I drilled each cap and threaded them with a 1/2" NPT pipe tap.

12" of 2" PVC:  $0  (scrap)
So here's what the finished filter will look like.

Of course, if I just pour in the charcoal granules, they will just run out the holes in the ends.  How to retain it?

Scotchbrite pad: $0 (stolen from the galley)
I robbed a Scotchbrite pad from the galley and cut a couple of disks out of it, sized to snugly fit inside the PVC pipe.  The Scotchbrite is perfect for this because it has pores small enough to retain the charcoal, and yet it has so much open area that it provides virtually no pressure drop.

But:  if I just put these disks into the ends of the pipe, they will wedge down against the pipe fittings, making for quite small flow areas.  So I needed to support the pads with something else that would have the same extremely low pressure drop characteristics, and yet bulk up perhaps 1/2" below the pads.  VoilĂ !  Enter the shower scrunchy:

Shower scrunchy: $0.89
A small piece of this cut off from the wad is stiff enough to provide good support and yet is almost all open space...  no pressure drop at all.

Scrunchy - umm, well, scrunched

Now to assemble the pieces.  First, I glued the end cap and the threaded female fittings onto the pipe.  Next, I stuffed some of the scrunchy down the pipe.  And then put the Scotchbrite disk in... and immediately discovered a problem.  Getting the disk to remain perpendicular to the pipe was impossible once it contacted the scrunched scrunchy.

And then I hit on it:  another piece of scrap pipe, this one 1-1/2", which nicely telescoped in the 2" pipe.  Pushing the scotchbrite disk down with the pipe ensured that it remained perpendicular.

1-1/2" pipe telescoping installer
It also provided a secondary benefit.  Pushing it down and compressing the scrunchy, I was able to fill most of the charcoal....

Filling charcoal thru the telescoping pipe
...and then by jiggling the 1-1/2" pipe up and down slightly while withdrawing it, the charcoal remained in place, compressing the scrunchy by itself now.

Add the second scotchbrite disk
Then to finish, I added the second scotchbrite disk and stuffed the rest of the scrunchy into the end of the cylinder.  The last bit of the scrunchy went in thru the pipe fitting hole in the cap.

Et voilĂ !

Blowing thru the completed filter shows that there is almost no pressure drop, and yet the charcoal is held firmly in place.  Success!

Now I only need to find the time to cut the vent line and install it.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Upgrade Overdue

Cassette tapes anyone?

Almost immediately after we got Eolian, we purchased a small stereo for music aboard.  It was pretty close to state of the art at the time, and included a CD player, AM/FM radio, and a cassette tape deck.

That was nearly 20 years ago.

We don't have any cassette tapes any more, and despite many cleanings, the CD player portion of the stereo was frustratingly skipping.

After 20 years, it was time for an upgrade.

As is usual on a boat, getting something of a size that would fit in the designated compartment was not a sure thing.  And, surprise, surprise...  Most retailers and most packaging do not disclose dimensions.  So we had to buy something that we hoped would fit, based on the size of the packaging and the internal cushioning they always include.  Cutting to the chase:  the new stereo is quite a bit smaller than the old one, because: cassette tapes?  What're those?

Hello bluetooth!

Time and technology march on...  the new stereo dropped the AM radio and the tape deck, but gained bluetooth capability - something I've been wanting for some time.  So now I can play music from my phone, or from my laptop (where most of my music resides) thru the stereo!

Oh, and it doesn't skip either.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...