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Old 05-11-2011
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Riverside tales

Riverside tales


Hi, all,

We left you in a cloud of dust (well, fiberglass and bottom paint) and a
variety of other challenges in the boatyard blues.

Things are moving along nicely. The list of things/chores accomplished now
stands at 41 items, some huge, some small. Still to do, before we splash,
are another 19 items, some major, and, once in the water, another half-dozen
which can't be done while on land. There's a few non-critical things, too,
about a dozen, which we can attack if there's waiting time causing us to
figuratively twiddle our thumbs.

What we're doing, for the most part, is mind-numbingly technical or boring
to anyone not in similar circumstances or with similar experiences, so I'll
spare you the details. As usual, we'll eventually have pix of this refit
(there are already some present from before we left for a wedding in the
middle of April, under the 2011 refit section of the gallery link in my
signature block), including the gory details, as I put it in my notice of
pix being put up a few weeks ago.

Significant accomplishments, some of which had been vexing for months, or
which had developed during our initial time in this refit include:

We succeeded in obtaining a new dinghy from Walker Bay. That it took as long
as it did, and included conversations by phone with not only the VP of
Marketing (with whom I started the process nearly a year ago) but the CEO,
is discouraging, but, in the end, we now have the new-and-improved model in
hand and eagerly await the building of chaps (cloth covering for the tubes,
helping to extend their life by sheltering from the harsh UV environment in
which it lives, and minimize opportunistic abrasion) and the installation of
the St. Croix lifting system which will solve the original problem we had
with the dinghy. We remain enthralled with the features which led us to
purchase the Genesis 310D, and, with the improvements in design in this new
one in hand, as well as our additions to suit our particular use of the
dinghy, we hope to be trouble-free for many years.

We also (actually, well before the Walker Bay end-of-story) succeeded in
obtaining a new dinghy from Porta-Bote, the famous folding boat which looks
like a surfboard when lashed to our rail. While this was a pro-rated
warranty replacement (thus, not free, like the WB above), similar
improvements in design in the new unit make it unlikely we'll suffer the
problems which we encountered with our original. Now, I just have to fix
the 6HP unit which makes it fly over the water (overheated in Marsh Harbour;
presumed to be just a water pump impeller, which I have in hand), and
install the "proper rowlocks" system I modified our last one with. That
modification allows me to use my 10' racing sculls, long carbon-fiber oars.
With them, I can just about plane this very lightweight boat during the
stroke - but the recovery (when I return the oars to put them back into the
water) allows it to sink back into displacement mode (where the boat moves
through, rather than on top of, the water), so I don't use it for
particularly long distances in that mode :**))

We have, we believe, dried out the raw fiberglass we exposed while sanding
off every bit of covering material on the underwater section of the hull.
Technically a very extensive subject, the short story is that most older
fiberglass boats have material in them which, if water can get to the raw
material, will produce blistering. We didn't have any blisters, but saw
evidence of such material coming through a few spots on the hull. We ground
out the loose material - which, in some cases, went pretty far, as the
failed water soluble compounds (which didn't fully set up in the original
layup of the boat) leached out - and have been keeping the bottom pretty wet
in the course of another chore. The concept mentioned in one of my last has
been proven, as there is next to no area "wet" any more.

The keeping-it-wet part has been a result of our removing the old PoliGlow
surface we'd applied 4 years ago. Kept up with properly (impossible, on a
practical level, in a boat in the water), it makes old paint or gelcoat look
like it just came out of the factory. Left alone in the tropical sun, it
looks pretty crummy after a while (say, 4 years!), and, worse, bakes on.
Getting it off is very labor intensive, and to protect the raw hull from
getting the solution which has it dissolved as it runs down the sides as we
rinse it, we've kept a running water stream on the raw fiberglass. Likely
we'll have to do a light wash of the hull with the same remover before
preparation for finishing out the bottom to guarantee there's none there to
interfere with what comes next...

We'll fair out the hull with a special 2-part epoxy compound, both filling
in the ground-out areas, and, at some extensive labor, leveling it all off,
on a compound-curved hull, with a 4-foot long sanding strip. In the end,
the hull will be smoother than it's been since it left the factory, and with
the other compounds we'll put on it afterwards, it should be impervious to
water intrusion. That should end the issue of blisters for us and future
owners, we fervently hope. At a minimum, given that there were no blisters
evident when we came out of the water, it won't be a discussion point
between us and any future owner, as it was when we bought the boat!

A side benefit to both of the above, Lydia tells me, is that I'm starting to
recover the shoulder and arm musculature I had before my injury which
resulted in 3 shoulder surgeries and, to this day, prevents my right arm
from doing exactly what I'd like, or most people take for granted. Strange
physical therapy, but, hey - whatever works! :**))

A critical event was shaping up in what those who were with us on our last
passage to the Bahamas, with my granddaughters, will recall occasioned a
delayed departure from St. Augustine. The welding done there on our bow
roller system, and, before that, in St. Simons in the "roll bar" type of
cage around it, was a stopgap measure in an old and rusting-out system.
Here, the yard has taken off all of that, and, in the course of fairing out
the area which would receive the new make-up of the removed parts, revealed
a crack in one of the main supports. I just cut that out, and new will be
added, in the course of the rebuild. I'm also having a stainless steel
replacement built to mimic the urethane rollers which keep getting cut up by
the chain and relatively sharp shaft (only 1/4", on a 24" length leading to
a 55# Delta anchor) as they get raised as we leave an anchorage.
Expensive, compared to the plastic ones, but that should be the end of it.
When a plastic one fails, all that wear and weight falls on the bolt which
acts as the axle, not a good thing! Between the potential for expensive
damage, and the nuisance value of having to change that at sea, this is a
small added expense to what should be a new-like system when it's all
finished.

Our saloon (like a living room and dining room combined in a boat) had been
a challenge since we bought the boat. The seat covers,while very expertly
done, and of top quality material, were classic retirement home style, so
Lydia made some lightweight covers out of remnant material from WalMart,
which served the purpose for 4 years. However, the seating was very
uncomfortable on 30+ year old foam, and, as well, the shape of the seating
structures made for an uncomfortable back. I designed an improvement for
the shape, and we commissioned a fantastic contractor to make new covers and
cushions. Those will go in shortly before we leave, as the boat is pretty
well torn up at this time, and leaving them out keeps the new ones from
damage.

The same is true of the aft cabin sleeping cushions covers, custom made for
our custom Tempur-Pedic clones in both sleeping cabins. The forward cabin
covers were replaced when they were inadvertently discarded by my sister
when we visited them in Maine a couple of years ago. The aft covers were a
material which proved to be too attractive for Portia, the seagoing cat, as
she loved to use them for a pincushion. In addition, while we attempted to
duplicate the covers which come with a "real" Tempur-Pedic mattress, the
fabric was a bit too light to stand up to the daily rigors of folks (that,
of course, would be us) sleeping on the 4 separate sections of that berth,
made that way for ease in handling when we had to get to the storage spaces
underneath, and cloth and seam failures were beginning. Accordingly, we
engaged our contractor for that task as well.

Not critical, but on my wish list for nearly as long as we've owned the boat
was a new cockpit table. The design remedied the three major functional
shortcomings I disliked, that of the inability to put nearly anything on it
without running out of room, the inability for anyone, whether just us two,
or guests, to actually EAT at it, and, a very flimsy support system. That it
was white with only wood (not even teak) trim only added to my ennui. My
design made it wider in the "cocktail table" configuration, suitable for 4
to eat from in its expanded configuration, and nearly bulletproof in its
stability due to the hinge (it folds flat, vertically, when not in use,
freeing up the space in the cockpit) and support redesign I did. Finding
the parts needed for that to happen was a bit of a treasure hunt, despite my
knowing (conceptually) exactly what I wanted, but after I did, it all came
together under the talented hands and tools of another contractor, this one
referred by our tailors.

A host of other, lesser, and non-critical improvements were made, problems
solved, and comforts achieved, but there are still many miles to go before
we sleep, so to speak. However, we've been vigorously attacking our to-do
list, and are pleased with the progress.

From Fort Pierce, FL, we'll be going to various places in GA for a month,
playing grandparent (and parent, too, though Lydia got most of that out of
her system with her 4 kids in the wedding gathering/family reunion we
sponsored for her family when Emily got married) to her about-to-be two, and
my 6-soon-to-be-7, grandkids, and my 4 kids (if you can call folks who are
all married, the youngest of which is nearly 30, and eldest of which will be
43 soon, kids). During that time I'll try to get up the most current
pictures of our refit activities; if I succeed, I'll send a short note as I
did last time.

So, for now, we'll leave you hanging.

Until next time, Stay Tuned!

L8R

Skip

Morgan 461 #2
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anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in
particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and
you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not."
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