Whittling the list

Items on the maintenance list are being ticked off, miraculously, the list has not been circular, one of those lists that takes on a life of its own as it grows and grows, despite efforts to pare it down. A few things have expanded, but those are things that are better done while we have access to familiar sources, and most of all, wheels! The winches for the mast & boom that we regularly use for launching and retrieving the dink were showing some minor signs of corrosion, so it seemed like a good idea to dismantle them and clean them up. In the process, I discovered that some of the hardware was mild steel and was corroding in the aluminum brackets. The problem was discovered in the beginning stages so correction will be a matter of simply cleaning up the threads and replacing the hardware with corrosion-resistant stainless. A fresh coat of primer and paint and they’ll be ready for another couple of years service!


Some of the projects have been repairs, some modifications. We tagged the lock wall in Ortona hard enough to crack the starboard scupper on the foredeck, so that required a repair. We also ordered a new pair of large ball fenders for the planned trip north since we’ll be doing a lot of locking, and I’d really prefer not to have to do the scupper repair again! They were both damaged in 2008 when the boat was hit, and repaired at Osprey, but it’s a vulnerable spot if the rub rail tags something a bit too hard, so we’ve resolved to be more vigilant with fendering that area!


One modification I’ve been considering for some time is closure of the outboard scuppers in the cockpit. Some of the sistership Solo’s have flappers in the opening, but from what we’ve heard, they don’t help. The problem occurs in a quartering sea, when waves are coming from a 45 between the stern and beam (side). Periodically, the position of the scupper drain is such that the opening is submerged, and the wave shoves a large volume of seawater through the opening, flooding the floor of the cockpit with enough green water to overwhelm the lazarette hatch drain- it makes a hell of a mess on the deck, and worse, enough seawater gets slopped into the lazarette to require cleaning after being in even mildly rough seas. Since fabrication of a flapper valve would not be effective considering the function of the sisterships’ arrangement, and the fact that the drains are not installed on new boats, I decided to permanently close the opening. The opening outboard remains since the closure is not evident from outside the boat other than from just above the waterline. We’re looking forward to a dry cockpit the next time we get into those sloppy conditions!


Another modification is the addition of a sunlight viewable computer screen to the flybridge instrument console. The existing Raymarine equipment didn’t provide any room for additional components, so the only option was to remove it all and rearrange it to provide the most usable layout. That required filling the openings left by the old equipment, and cutting new ones. A final “after” photo won’t be shot until after the monitor is installed. It’s supposed to ship early in the week. It will be one of the last things to check off the list before we pull in the dock lines. The cabling and preparations to the shipboard computer are in place, awaiting arrival of the hardware! It will enable us to use the shipboard computer nav system (Coastal Explorer) while we’re on the flybridge. The Raymarine display does have a chartplotter function, but we opted not to invest in costly chart cards for all the areas we travel, and we prefer the functionality of the computer system. It will be a welcome improvement for this summer’s cruising as we spend more time up on the flybridge when the weather’s warmer!


Installation of a rear view video camera will aid in docking, and more importantly provide a rear view in a window on the chartplotter screen. We have had many situations where faster boats approach us without warning, so having the constant rear view in our line of vision will be a big help!


Varnish work is progressing, a few more coats and it will be finished. One of the scarf joints has been getting progressively difficult to keep moisture out of, so I opened the joint and filled the void with polysulfide sealer. The dark area is the result of sanding to bare wood. Not perfect, but it will bleach out to match in time. The only option to obtain a uniform color is to make the preparation uniform, e.g. remove all the varnish to bare wood on the entire rail. At some point I’d like to strip it but that’s not a project I’m ready to undertake just yet!


The window frame on the pilothouse doors was another cosmetic maintenance chore. Some water ingress in the joints of the frame and where the frame abuts the glass had caused some deterioration of the varnish, the best solution was to strip it do bare wood without damaging the veneer on the door, then refinishing it. A nice improvement, except that this sort of repair causes the surrounding area to look much worse, so it’s a creeping malady! Completion will include addition of a bead of sealant where the wood trim meets the glass, preventing water intrusion and the resultant damage to the finish. Another maintenance item is a bi-annual polish and wax of the entire boat. A grueling job, but the results are gratifying! Hard work.

That’s an overview of what’s been going on aboard, stay tuned for the upcoming departure for the Down East Loop!

One Response to “Whittling the list”

  1. Todd & Belinda on 01 Jun 2010 at 9:10 PM #

    Whittling the list? Sounds more like Barb is taking a chainsaw to it! Keep up the great work, I am sure the improvements will make paradise more like—paradise. Glad to hear all is well, hope to see ya before you cast off.