Monday, June 18, 2012

Nothing on a boat is ever easy

We had quite a rollercoaster weekend putting Horizon back together.

1. Saturday AM: Hydraulic steering reassembled and bled!  Leave it overnight for pressure test.
2. Saturday PM: Start engine to make sure all systems are ready for voyage tomorrow.
2a. Engine will not turn over.  Found that during steering pedestal work with hydraulic lines, wire pulled off switch.
3. Saturday PM: Start engine to make sure all systems are ready for voyage tomorrow.
3a. Engine started immediately and ran smoothly!
3b. Revs started dropping and eventually would not go above idle.  Must be fuel. Cogitated a while...
3c. Have not filled diesel tank so dipsticked it.  We still have 13" of fuel, maybe 30 gallons.
3d. Remembered I turned fuel off a couple months ago when we had a diesel leak.  Turned fuel on.
4. Saturday PM: Start engine to make sure all systems are ready for voyage tomorrow.
4a.  Engine cranked a while but finally started, ran smoothly, and ran in gear until temp stabilized at 170 degrees!
5. Sunday AM: Pressure and fluid levels held overnight but helm feels soft at stops and generally uncommitted to moving rudder.
5a. Bled through another 3/4 gallon of ATF until more foamy fluid and air bubbles were out of system.  Will leave until next weekend to verify pressure, fluid levels and steering stiffness holds before feeling sure enough of the system to take Horizon out.
6. Sunday PM: Dismantled A/C intake strainer system after only 3 weeks to clear out barnacles and weeds and replace chlorine tablet.  As difficult as it is to keep the marine water cooled system working, window units look more attractive every day.
7. Sunday PM: Our neighbor Rhonda helped us hacksaw a rusted shackle off the 60# CQR anchor we bought used a month ago then we made it ready on the chain rode.  Anchor is ready to go once I get the electric windlass wiring finished.  This week?

I don't think either of us realized how long Horizon had been disabled with the hydraulic steering system rebuild.  With all the initial leaks and bleeding of the system we ran through 5 Oilsorb bilge logs to clean up after the leaks from the old system.  And we probably used 20 Oilsorb mats during the bleeding processes for the new system.  Space is so tight there is little room to position buckets to catch spills so mats are the only way to keep the area under our bed oil and smell free.  One huge side effect of the cleaning process is the boat no longer has the mold growing medium of oil rich bilge water so she smells much less like a damp basement.  Now some occasional fabric softener should do the trick.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Weekend update

True to our word this weekend the last two port side plastic portholes were replaced.  Our neighbor Tom will now see only stainless steel portholes on his side of our boat.  A couple weeks ago we got our new mattress from JSI and it sure is comfy.  It is composite foam made of 3" of firm, 2" of medium and topped with 2" of memory foam.  Aaaaahhhhhh

We just survived a week of rather impressive storms and rain and it was nice to see the sun this weekend.  I am happy to say that while many other liveaboard boats on our dock had piles of towels out drying, we had very few leaks and they were all small ones.

The hydraulic steering motor/pump is back from the shop and this evening we expect to put it in.  Assuming it now purges correctly we will get to see how well it holds pressure and fluid long term.  After far too long a time it will be nice to have Horizon ready and able to sail once again.

I have been loading up on free Kindle books.  I have Kindle reader apps on my Galaxy Nexus and laptop and routinely visit a site ( is one among several) that parses all the best seller books Amazon is offering for $0.00.  The selection rotates but you have to sort through the bodice-rippers to find the gems like thrillers and mysteries.  Cruising this time I expect we will not have nearly as many paper books but lots more electronic ones.  Of course we are also loading up on cruising guides and other avocational reading from and SSCA.

Monday, June 4, 2012

6 to go

This weekend Julio got the 4 v-berth portholes replaced.  So of the 16 total, only 6 remain: one in the forward head, four in the main salon, and one in the galley.  Next weekend we intend to get 2 done in the main salon so the port side will be complete.  Our dock neighbor to port says it upsets his sensibilities to see the mixture of plastic and stainless portholes on "his" side of our boat :)

The newly rebuilt hydraulic steering motor from the helm is back in the shop.  We just could not get things to work so I took it back and hopefully they can figure out what is wrong with the pump.  We have had long discussions on the yahoo morganowners forum but none of the suggestions worked out.  We will see what the shop finds with the pump and hope things get squared away easily.

The radar is all hooked up and works great and we now have two chart cards in the HDS-8 unit: one for US coastal waters and one for the Caribbean.  Our electronic suite will be complete once I build the GPS hack for the VHF radio.  When we get the hydraulic steering working we expect to spend lots of weekends out getting used to the gizmos.