Catching Up

Sorry for the month of silence. No excuses.

I’ve been terrible about posting while ashore. Perhaps its because I don’t anticipate the mundane yard work is of general interest. Or maybe I’m just exhausted every evening. Regardless, I haven’t been doing a very good job of sharing information.

I could probably fill you in on everything that has happened until now but that would be too much information. So this entry will share a few highlights from the past month and I’ll do my best to post more frequently going forward.

Probably the biggest highlight for me was flying home for Thanksgiving. It was nice to see Nicholas and those other people. I was particularly thankful this year for carbohydrates and cranberry sauce.

I missed these guys

Much has been going on in the boatyard over the past month. The removal and application of bottom paint went smoothly. A full strip to bare gelcoat and epoxy barrier coat and fairing may still be in Andante’s future but that would have been overkill this year. Thanks for your input on colors: She looks great with her new green bottom.

The two other big jobs I was looking forward to were the replacement of the steering chain and cable (and two worn sheaves) and installation of new engine control cables. The steering work was much easier to accomplish on land than in the water. But boy was it messy. And cramped. And did I mention messy?

But after dreading it for months it was strangely enjoyable to do and very satisfying to complete. And given the critical importance of both steering and engine control and the unknowns of 30+ years of stainless steel crevice corrosion, getting these jobs done is a real confidence boost as I contemplate heading further offshore.

A view underneath the cockpit before cleanup started. Access is through sail lockers on either side of the cockpit. The steering chain and cables translate movement of the steering wheel to movement of the rudder. For several decades the maintenance of the steering system appears to have consisted of smearing heavy grease on the cable and the bronze sheaves. The red cables on the left are the existing (and likely original) engine control cables. These are constructed much like the brake cables on a bicycle and translate motion of the speed and gear levers at the helm to controls on the engine and transmission.
In the confined space under the cockpit it was hard to get far enough away to take a photo of the entire steering system. The key element is the steering quadrant that is keyed to the rudder post. The steering cables engage the quadrant and make it rotate. The cables are pre-stretched 1/4″ 7×19 wire rope — but they will still stretch more when loaded. I expect to be checking on their tension regularly for the next few months.
Topside end of the old engine control cables at the helm. Somehow these got really greasy too. The black lines are tracers I attached to the old steering cables to allow the new ones to be sucked into the correct path through the various sheaves.
New steering chain and cables before installation. The chain is about twice the size of a bicycle chain and is made of stainless steel. I have no idea how many times I climbed into and out of those lockers. But my knees know exactly how many times.
My feet. And also the internals of the steering pedestal. The steering chain (barely visible) rides on a sprocket attached the the wheel shaft. The mechanism at the top is the wheel brake – tightening a knob on the starboard side of the pedestal clamps brake shoes against the shaft and locks the wheel. And the black and yellow wires provide power to the compass light — the compass usually sits on top of the pedestal.

Every day here is full of little jobs too numerous to relate. For example, today I climbed the mast (twice) to fix a navigation light that was acting erratically. And replaced screws in the starboard chainplate covers. And prepared to sew new zippers on the bimini. And inventoried the supply of flares and smoke canisters.

A few of the more notable jobs over the past month (defined as those for which I took photos) included removal of a 25 gallon water tank to free up some prime storage space, cleaning and polishing the prop, and installing a new seawater foot pump in the galley to save water when washing dishes.

The old port upper forward water tank (25 gallons). Removing this created a convenient spot in the main cabin to store all sorts of things and allowed some of the plumbing in this area to be simplified and/or removed — again gaining space for storage. Our total water capacity is now about 160 gallons which is still quite good for a boat this size and perfectly adequate for a crew of 1-2. With a few adjustments (e.g. salt water pump in the galley, drinking more beer) we should be able to delay installation of a water maker for several years.
I like a smooth and shiny prop. Hopefully the evil barnacles do not.
New foot pump in the galley provides seawater for washing dishes. I hadn’t really planned to share a photo of all the other stuff under the sink, but there it is. In case you are wondering, Dawn makes a nice lather in salt water. Even really cold salt water.
Andante back in the water. Traffic noise isn’t as annoying at the dock as it was under the bridge. And it is very nice to feel the boat move again even if just gently rocking from passing boat wakes. (Feeling the boat move while on land was a definite no-no).

Schedule update: I’ll be in NC until a few days before Christmas and will return to NC a few days after Christmas. Weather permitting, I hope to cast off and begin heading south again shortly thereafter. There will be a few days of fueling and watering and provisioning in Beaufort before we head out into the Atlantic.

2 thoughts on “Catching Up”

  1. Love your blue light Christmas decorations! Great photo of Paula and Nicholas too. Glad I didn’t have to work on the steering mechanism – it was nasty.


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