Tuesday, July 03, 2007

It's Happening!

Or, I did it!

To be more specific, I bought Pelicano (pronounced Pel-lee-can-o or just as it looks like), the first Pearson 424 I saw. She's hull number 8, built in Rhode Island in 1978. I think I am the fourth owner. She will be renamed Pelican. She's the good ship Pelican!

What attracted me to this particular vessel was that she had new standing rigging, her bottom had been reinforced with up to 7 layers of fiberglass and then barrier coated, and the interior is in great condition. Also, she has a layout that's more open - the galley isn't 'U' shaped. That's good and bad.

What attracted me to the 424 is that it's a proven cruiser with a good layout. It's a ketch with very usable sail sizes. And having already pressed the rail to the water, she's strong as hell!

Finally, she's not painted or Imron'd or Awlgripped. All the 424's I've seen have horrible cracking and crazing vertically up the topsides where the paint and the gelcoat haven't expanded and contracted at the same rate. This results in the gelcoat being pulled away from the substrate. It's visible on many older boats. And it's ugly, and very, very hard to fix. Read that as a total repaint. Nope, not interested.

But mostly because she has a number of very interesting projects - including sail and running rigging upgrades, new instruments, autopilot installation, hydronic heating system installation, a super-duper entertainment system, and high power 12v system upgrade (that's the portion before the circuit breaker panel). Also, simple maintenance that you'd expect in a 30 year old boat.

I plan to talk about all these projects in what can quite possibly be nauseating detail. But this has been my dream, sort of. Many self-help books on these subjects, I feel, miss critical details. The first of which is why a project should be done and what thought should go into it before you cut holes in your boat.

The projects fall into three categories:

  1. Safety. These directly affect the safety of running the boat.
  2. Ease of Handling. These affect how hard it is to manage the boat. Normally, they don't affect safety, but make the whole enterprise more convenient.
  3. Creature Comfort. People can live anywhere. In boxes if they have to. But this is my home and office, so I should be able to have some of the finer things in life, at least.

Naturally, they overlap. Convenient sail handling helps with safety when the wind pipes up. Warm belowdecks helps with creature comfort and therefore safety. You get the idea.

Before anything happens, the first project is the upgrade to the high power portion of the 12v electrical system.

During the survey, we found that the battery switch doesn't turn off the batteries. Also, since the boat has 2 - 4D batteries and 1 - 8D, the surveyor recommended I wire the batteries all together as the house bank and add a Group 31 battery as the spare starting battery. You may recall this is what I did to Inertia.

This entails the replacement of the 30 year old battery charger, installing some buss bars and a new Xantrex charger/inverter with a Link 2000 monitoring system.

I purchased this system from Jack Rabbit Marine who have good prices. However, since I last did business with them they have changed their modus operandi. They only provide phone service from 1 pm until 5 pm Eastern time. They accept questions via e-mail at info@jackrabbitmarine.com. Their excuse for this is that most people order via the internet and use email, and that they are a small operation. In my humble opinion, the thing that really made them outstanding was that they were available by phone during normal working hours.

Even more annoying is that without telling you, the potential buyer, they will ship any order over $500 as Fed-Ex direct signature required. What does that mean? It means that someone has to be at the address when Fed-Ex arrives and they have to sign right there - Fed-Ex can't go to the neighbor's. They can't accept a note with your signature. Someone has to be at the address when they show up. If you happen to work and leave the house before Fed-Ex gets themselves going and get home after they've gone home, you're screwed.

So now, I have to drive 2o miles out of my way to pick it up. For a few minutes more, I could have saved them the effort and just picked it up at their place. Highly annoying.

They are, because of this, off my 'A' list for suppliers.

I've mentioned Sailors Solutions before - they've engineered an LED light that's more natural in color and is dimmable. Since the largest electrical load in Pelican seems to be the lighting, I'll be replacing them soon.

I've already replaced two of the 30 year old fawcets, and added a filtration system so I can drink out of the water tanks. It just removes the 'plasticy' taste.

My Raymarine ST-60+ instrument set has arrived, along with the C80 display and ST-6002 linear drive autopilot. I can't wait to get that going! The autopilot will make my life ever so much easier.

The Lewmar 48 three speed winches need servicing, so that's a priority, too. As I start one project, of course two more pop up. It's the nature of boating, and especially a 30 year old boat.

There's just so much to do, and that includes selling and moving out of my townhouse!

And I still want to go sailing! Waaa! See you on the water!


RichC said...

I wanted you to know that I'm looking forward to reading your blog and your brainstorming as you work on your dream. A big congrates as you've taken a pretty big first step. (great to hear you've already put the rail down ... that mean your sailing too!)

Good luck and know that at least someone is envious. :-)

Zen said...

Yeah, I feel ya with FedX.
Bloody pain in the arse it is.
anywho... congrats on the new boat, glad your getting some sailing time in.