Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Yard Work

OneEighty on the blocks
Boat Yard. Janurary 2013, a new day, a new dawn. We have pulled OneEighty and she is now on the hard at Barber's Marina and Boat Yard (  This facility is as nice as any boatyard that we have seen between here and Canada.  Often the South gets a bad wrap as the Red Neck Riviera and people just think that our boatyards must be rustic wooden piers with broken down shrimp boats.  I must say that one of my favorite yards, Nelson's Boat Yard,  has some of these elements, and I love the people there.  Barber's is the regional maintenance facility for Hatteras Yachts, and to tell the truth, we were a little intimidated about bringing our little boat in here with all the big yachts.  Of course, it didn't matter to them, and they were perfectly happy to take our money and work on our boat.

Prop before
There were several things on the "must do" list while OneEighty was out of the water.  First she needed a bottom job which included pressure wash, sanding, and two coats of ablative anti-fouling paint.  Of course when you get that close to the bottom of a boat that has spent two years bumping it's way over 3000 miles of water, you find other things that need some attention.  Although there were NO blisters on the bottom, we did have one spot where the epoxy barrier coat was separated from the bottom, and we had to grind it out and reapply the epoxy coat.  The Max-Prop (which is a feathering prop like on an airplane to reduce sailing drag) had to be sanded, serviced and then repainted with a special zinc anti-fouling paint. New zincs for the shaft and props had to be installed, then there were small items like replacing the bronze grates that filter the intake holes in the bottom. 
Leaking injector pump
Just when I thought I knew what the expenses would be, I noticed that we had a diesel fuel leak coming from the side of the engine. Hoping that it was just a hose clamp or something simple, my inclination fears were confirmed.  The injector pump, which is the heart of a diesel engine, had gone bad and was leaking fuel at about a drop per second.  Not at all acceptable.  After much deliberation about what to do about it, and whether it was something I could do myself, I called in a professional diesel mechanic (at $99 hour) and had them do the fix.  A dentist would have been cheaper.  They removed it and sent it off to Test Calibration, a specialty shop in Mobile and they were able to put it on to some sophisticated test equipment and find out exactly what was wrong with it.  Well I got my moneys worth there.  It had a bad metering valve (whatever that is), bad transfer pump, and all the gaskets and seals were bad.  Time for a major rebuild. Done!

Engine all clean with new parts. Note the insulation
All in all, the boat stayed on the hard for 10 days, and while she was out, we were able to do several other things that were needed or wanted.  While the engine room was torn apart, we went ahead and replaced all the rubber belts and hoses.  We took off the alternator, which is a high capacity 130amp charger for big battery banks, and took it to a specialty shop in Foley to have it tested.  It tested fine, and we cleaned it up and put it back on, but knowing now that it was in good shape.  This was also a good time to finish putting in the noise insulation material in the engine room, which when the cover is put back on the engine, becomes my bedroom.  It is still not quiet, but it is better.  This is an old 55hp Westerbeke Diesel.  Runs like a John Deere, only louder. We replaced the throttle cable with a new one, and also put in a new sea-water pump and faucet in the galley so we can now wash dishes with unlimited salt water and rinse with fresh water to help save on our fresh water supply. That becomes handy when you are out of the country and water is scarce and expensive.
New seawater faucet on left
I also was able to install the housing for a new transducer which will give us not only the depth of the water, but has a fish-finder feature and shows the type of bottom and puts that information onto our chartplotter console.  Where you button up the engine cover, I was able to put new industrial vinyl wallpaper on part of the wall around the engine to replace the old which was battered and weathered.  It looks fresh.  Especially after having the hull compounded and waxed, she looks like she is ready to go back into the water. Finally, we added a satellite antenna that will give us XMSatellite weather information overlayed onto our charts. We then contacted Garmin and down loaded new charts for the chartplotter which include the latest and greatest charts of the Bahamas down to the Turks and Caicos islands.

It is now February and we are getting closer to our hopeful Feburary 28th departure date for our next trip.  The Bahamas and Exumas are on our radar.  First we have to cross the Gulf of Mexico, again. We will keep you posted.

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