In my humble opinion, they are the best yard in the area. Dennis, the manager, is the most customer centric manager I've seen anywhere - always a smile. And very easy to talk to. A font of information. Arturo, who runs the lift, Robbie who runs the yard, and all the other crew take care of vessels as if they own them. If I have one gripe about the yard it's the shower nozzle. It's one with a needle spray and it hurts my head.
Downtown Mamaroneck is a short walk away. The Mamaroneck Diner on Post Road has good food served quickly and is generally not crowded. Mamaroneck Avenue has loads of restaurants from the inexpensive to the wildly so. Guess which ones I went to. Also on Post Road is Brewer's Yacht Supply and Hardware Store which has probably everything you'll need for your projects, although it can be expensive. The people who help there are knowledgeable and really do help. Good for an hour or so browsing.
Here are the projects I wanted to complete:
- Close deck drain holes at or below the waterline as they had been redirected to the cove strip area of the boat a week or so before. That's four 1-1/2" holes to fill.
- Replace the stuffing box. I think 40 years of service is enough for one.
- Move the head overboard from an inaccessible area to a new spot below a recently cut hatch in the head sole. That's another hole to fill and a new one to make.
- Paint the bottom
- Add ring nuts to the rudder as an emergency steering system.
- Close over the port water tank with plywood. My friend, Leigh, did that. He's a wizard with wood. I, on the other hand, know how to make splinters.
- Replace man overboard pole with a better, more modern solution.
|Holes ground out to 10x thickness|
The biggest job, by far, is the fiberglass work filling the holes. A good angle grinder and the sanding cloth wheels makes quick work of grinding off the mushrooms of the through hulls and widening the holes for patching.
This work isn't hard, really, or even interesting. It's just a lot of it. First, grind out the head of the through hull. Then remove the hose/valve from the inside. Put a piece of Gorilla tape over the hole on the inside of the hull. This prevents several tons of fiberglass dust from getting all over the boat.
Next, dish out the hole from the center - about 10 times the thickness of the hull. But no less than 6" or so. I use epoxy and biaxial cloth from Raka Industries. They have epoxies for all purposes but I use their medium thickness, medium hardener which give decent working times in warm weather. Also, they mix simply with a 2:1 resin to hardener ratio. You don't need pumps or anything.
Cut the fiberglass in circles starting with one the full diameter of the dish and concentrically smaller by about 1" in diameter. I usually start with about 6 or 8 circles. For really thick hull areas you'll need more.
Here's a tip. You may want to try to use squares. Don't. They will peel off from the corners and fall off. It will make you angry. Make the circles.
When working on overhead or downward facing areas, use some colloidal silica to thicken the epoxy. Otherwise your patches will fall off. You don't need much - you're not making a putty.
After mixing thoroughly with the silica, apply epoxy to the cleaned ground out area and to the largest circle. Apply the circle and use a epoxy roller to roll out the bubbles and make sure the cloth is saturated. Continue to apply the circles in decreasing diameter until you've got them all in.
At this point, the hole is repaired once set up. Six layers of biaxial cloth is stronger than any other part of your hull. At this point, I just add more circles to build up the thickness.
Finally grind smooth-ish and fair with epoxy and fairing compound. It may take a couple of coats to get it right.
Easy peasy, right? It just takes time and patience. It will take two or three days because you have to wait for the epoxy to set each time before grinding or sanding.
In the meantime, leave it alone. The urge to touch it is great. At least it is for me. I should have taken more pictures but sadly, I didn't.
The next project which was to move the head overboard discharge to an accessible position was done. I struggled with what to replace the seacock with for months - Bronze or Marelon. Back and forth. Finally, I decided on Marelon. I had good luck with it on my Ranger 30 20 years ago and it's only gotten better. So that's what I used. With help from a friend I measured and gooped and installed and hey, presto! Now I can reach it. I had already cut a hatch in the head sole to try to access the old one (with no luck), so now it's right there.
How to replace a stuffing box: first you must worry about it for a few years. This is important because it makes you plan the job. In theory, it's easy. Disconnect the shaft and slide back, unclamp old stuffing box and hose, slip new one on, reconnect the shaft and Bob's your uncle.
One of my least favorite jobs is disconnecting the shaft and removing the coupling. In most boats, the coupling is a friction fit which in the intervening years has become a rusted fit. Because the 424 has a V-drive and because the engineers at Walter really thought things out and made the coupling a clamp fit with the coupling itself self-aligning as long as the drive was in the correct place disconnecting it would be easy peasy. And it really was, excepting, of course the location and the need to work upside down and backwards.
One of the disturbing things I found was that all 8 bolts on the coupling were loose - barely more than hand tight. A friend of mine had the same issue except his eventually sheared as more and more bolts fell out. Something to put on the checklist, I guess.
The new stuffing box came with hose and clamps from Buck-Algonquin, who also make seacocks. I've used their stuffing boxes before and they're well made as well as decently priced. The bronze parts of the boxes almost never fail. The rubber hose, as heavy duty as it is, is the weak part and it's the thing that needs replacement every 40 years or so. (Really, more often. Whenever you do any shaft work it should be replaced.) So although I thought it would be two days to do that job, in reality it was less than one.
So that's three jobs down.
|Rudder rings installed|
The next point of failure is the shaft. In some vessels, the shaft is hollow and can corrode nearly all the way through, usually in the gland that seals the shaft and prevents seawater from entering through the shaft bearings. At that point, of course, the emergency tiller is useless because it's no longer connected to the rudder.
The third point of failure has to do with the construction of rudders. Typically, they are foam filled fiberglass shells with the rudder post running vertically towards the front, with tangs welded to the rudder post spreading out towards the rear of the rudder. These tangs are what really transmit the torque from the rudder post throughout the rudder. Sadly, the weld that holds them to the rudder post is susceptible to corrosion if constantly wet and when they break, the rudder post turns but the rudder doesn't. In theory, they don't get wet. In practice, many times they do shortly after the rudder is constructed.
So, to deal with these types of failures, often the top aft side of the rudder has either a hole or two eye nuts connected through the rudder to attach lines to. The lines run up the side of the hull to winches or whatever and they, acting in unison, allow the rudder to be moved from side to side. People who have used them say they're really hard to use but having no steerage at all is far worse.
The next job was painting. It's not rocket science. But it does take patience and the ability to roll paint on in thin coats. Also, wars have broken out about what kind of bottom paint to use. I use Petit Hydrocoat because paint and I are not on friendly terms and it washes off with water. Also, it's relatively inexpensive and it dries quickly on a nice day. Recoat time can be 2 hours allowing complete painting in one day.
I used to use Super Shipbottom, a paint made in Florida by a man and his wife that worked so well because it was 60% copper and had no talc in it. Talc is the carrier for the bright colors in bottom paint but serves no other useful purpose so his paint was not great at colors - they all had a purplish tinge. But, boy did it work.
If you have any desire to make your own bottom paint, Super Shipbottom is for sale. The company, I mean.
Anyway, the key to a long lasting bottom paint job is make sure the paint on the hull is in good condition even if it no longer works, remove all loose paint, wash the bottom with soap and water and rinse well. Put new paint on with short nap rollers (1/4" or 3/16") in thin coats. Put at least two coats on the entire hull. On high wear areas, like leading edges and waterline down about a foot, put three or more coats. Done this way a good paint job should last three years without too much cleaning.
The last job was physically easy. Get rid of my man overboard pole and replace it with an SOS Dan Buoy. This is a weighted bag you toss towards the man overboard and it self-inflates like a life vest. It has straps that the poor bastard can hang onto for extra floatation and a light that turns itself on. The owner can recharge it with a kit and it doesn't take up all the space of the pole. Highly recommended. Sadly, as a single hander, I have no one to throw it to me but I live in hope of a mate.
That's about it for this haul out. The next chapter is installing and configuring my AIS and replacing the VHF antenna and wire on the main mast.
See you on the water!