I’m starting to feel that I’m in the downhill stretch of this phase in the Lorilee Project.
Spring is definitely the rainy season here in Texas, as it has rained just about every weekend whilst I’m down in the yard trying to get things done. Progress has been slow as a result. Two weekends ago, it rained eight inches in one day! Of course, it’s sunny and beautiful when I’m in my cubicle staring out the window… Meh. There’s no sense in complaining about something that’s out of my control.
I’ve finished up all the painting on the mast, boom, and spreaders. I am SO glad to be done with that milestone. I intend to let the paint cure for about two or three weeks before reinstalling all the hardware and rigging. As I mentioned in a previous post, I bought all new lights and will be rewiring the entire stick. I haven’t decided if replacement of the VHF coax is in order or not. I’ve never done any 12V wiring before – or any wiring for that matter – so this will be a learning experience like everything else.
I’m fairly certain that I’m going to buy my friend’s radar system. He’s making me a really good deal, so I think I’m going to jump on it. I’ve been on the fence about electronics; the 21st century part of me wants the latest flashy gadgets and instruments, but the 18th century part of me wants to keep things simple and easy to fix. However, I intend to do a lot of sailing in the Gulf of Mexico in the next two years, which is littered with oil & gas platforms. Some of these platforms are unmarked, unlit, and have no audible alarms. I think having a radar system minimizes the risk of collision with one of these things. I may or may not keep it in the long run.
I was able to cross off a BIG item on my punchlist this weekend: the exhaust system. This was Bud Taplin’s biggest concern on the survey report. After the Vernalift muffler installation, I piped in a Scot Vented loop in the cooling water discharge, and ran a large loop in the exhaust discharge. Though it is not necessary, I’ll eventually put a Groco vented loop in the exhaust discharge as well, but for now, the loop will suffice. In the next major haulout, I’ll replace all of the through-hulls and seacocks, at which time I’ll put a ball valve in the exhaust discharge. Closing that off in heavy seas will be nice for peace of mind. (I’ll have to remember to reopen it though!)
Another little project I’ve been wanting to finish was the installation of new hawse pipes. The original Westsail hawse pipes were paper-thin bronze, and all of mine were cracked and leaking into the gunwale and down into the cabin. For non-sailors, hawse pipes are pipes in the bow and stern of a ship through which passes the docking/mooring/anchor lines or chains. These are supposed to be very strong and need to support a lot of tension at times. So getting these replaced was not only an aesthetic thing for me, but they needed to be done before Lorilee is splashed. The two bronze pipe halves came with a 4″ section of exhaust hose, which fits in the cutout in the gunwale fiberglass. The two halves of pipe then fit into the exhaust hose creating a tight seal – in theory. The hawse pipes were such a tight fit, that I had to squeeze them in using a ‘clamp’. Each pipe took about 2-3 hours to install. It was a pain in the arse!!! The pipes and respective screws were all bedded with butyl tape, so those things are water-tight now. I’m pretty proud of the result. :)
Lorilee had an old Wilcox Crittenden Imperial head. This thing is solid bronze and is built like a tank. Unfortunately, either due to poor grounding or strong stray current in Long Beach Marina (or a combination of both), the head was pretty much corroded beyond measure. Not to mention whatever seawater/waste that was left in the head had crystalized into some kind of concrete-hard solid. I was able to chip out most of it after a month-long soak in vinegar. However, I finally threw in the towel on this thing, and started scrounging eBay. In months of searching, I never found a WC Imperial for sale. But one day last week, something told me to do a quick search on eBay and I found TWO. And they were cheap! I immediately bought one of them and it arrived over the weekend. Lorilee came with a rebuild kit for the head, so I’m going to replace all the gaskets, valves and springs before reinstallation. I never thought I’d be this excited about a toilet! Hahaha.
The generosity and camaraderie amongst the sailing community is not something one can overstate. Last week I put out a message on the Westsail Owners Facebook page asking if anyone had a used prop I could buy. Not only did I get a quick response, but I had two people offer me their props for free – I just had to pay for shipping. Alex talks about good karma and paying it forward, and I’m quickly starting to realize that there is a lot of truth to that. Everywhere I turn, sailor’s are offering a hand, a tool, a spare part, or just a good conversation. So, I’m focusing on making generosity and kindheartedness a central part of my life – not just in sailing, but in all facets of my life.
It looks like this coming weekend we’ll be taking my friend’s boat back to Galveston if the weather holds. Maybe I’ll take some video this time :)