Strider Home Page

March 11, 2007

The big project for this winter and spring is the installation of a Cape Horn Windvane for self steering. Click here to go to to the page for that major upgrade.

Aside from the wind vane, this winter has not seen nearly as much work on the boat as last year. Just a few other things:

Removed skylights and cleaned up frames. I have two pieces of MR 10 Lexan ready to replace the old, crazed, and cracked acrylic. The new plastic will be many times stronger and has a hard, scratch resistant coating. Since most sailing planned is in northern waters, the renewed skylights will be clear instead of smoked. It will be nice to be able to lie in the V berth and look up at the mast waving against the stars through a large clear expanse of skylight.

I will be replacing the cheap fuse panel which was the only one I could find two years ago with two Blue Sea units with proper covers. These have levers for fuse removal and clips that won't weaken and make the fuse connections flaky. I'll also straighten up and bundle the maze of wire put in under the time pressure of the first re-fit after the boat arrived.

Removed Dorade box ventilators for refinishing. I'm also going to cut the vents down for better airflow and secure the boxes with metal clips instead of the weak wooden strips originally used.

Replace the power hungry dual bulb masthead and anchor light with a new Perko LED unit. These have very low power draw and no worry about nearly impossible to replace bulbs burning out at the top of the mast.

Replace steering gear cables.

Replace two cracked portlight trim rings.

Replace wooden jib sheet cleats with stainless steel. One was broken by the yard crew while docking the boat for haul out but it wasn't really their fault since the bolts were drilled too deep in 1980 and were barely supporting the cleat. Amazing it lasted all these years.

March 12 & 13, 2007

Replaced the fuse panels, converting most wire terminals to heat shrink fittings and generally rebundled and cleaned up the spaghetti explosion behind the electrical panel.

Now, where did I put those pesky fuse cover lables?

March 20, 2007

Two refurbished skylights.

With 3/8" MR -10 scratch and UV resistant clear Lexan replacing the dark and badly crazed acrylic seen behind. The new skylights will be 10 times stronger and we'll be able to watch the stars from the V-berth.

March 27, 2007

A milestone day. I reinstalled the two skylights and the refurbished dorade vent boxes. Strider is now watertight again so I can take off the cover any time. I can also lock up the boat.

The dorade vents were interesting. The PO (previous owner) had installed them with 1/4 inch stainless steel through bolts. This was reassuring because their placement by the masts makes their use as emergency foot or hand holds likely. Upon removal, I discovered that the impressive looking bolts only held down an "L" shaped piece of mahogany corner molding and the boxes were screwed into the upright arm with two small brass screws on each side. One good yank would have pulled either one loose.

I trimmed an inch off the inner side of each box and fitted them to the cabin top so they look like they were intended to be on the boat instead of just stuck on. The cowl vents will now be upright instead of canted out. The refinish was my trial run with Bristol Finish. Very tricky and steep learning curve. It has to go on like paint, flowed with minimal rebrushing and careful laps. I was never very good at that kind of brush work. Any rebrushing or attempts to patch things causes it to explode in bubbles. I did it the suggested way, six coats, one every hour, slop it on. I then sanded the bubbles and runs flat and put on two careful coats. It still doesn't look like a first class job but I doubt anyone will notice.

I wanted to screw directly into the sides of the boxes from below which requires precise drilling since the wood is only 5/8 inch thick. How to do this without a helper when the drill just pushes the flexible cabin liner down so you can't find the holes from below?

I put the boxes in place and marked around them with masking tape. I then drilled small holes in the four spots I planned to insert 1/4" S.S. hanger bolts. Then I screwed a small screws into the holes, went below, and pushed the liner up so the tips punctured the fabric. Next, I took the screws out and reinserted them from below so they stuck about a 1/4 inch above the deck. Setting the boxes in place on the screws, I pushed down hard so the screw points marked the wood. The boxes were then drilled in a drill press for the hanger bolts and the holes in the deck enlarged.

When I installed the boxes this morning, I bedded the edges in highly adhesive 5200. Normally, I loath the stuff because it makes things nearly impossible to disassemble. If I'm ever braced against one of these boxes with the boat knocked down on some dark night while I'm reefing or striking sail, I want them to stay put.

March 30, 2007

A day of stuff not on the list but that should have been. I completely disassembled the steering gear and discovered that it has apparently had no internal maintenance since the boat was brand new in Florida 27 years ago. Since monthly lubrication is recommended along with replacement of major parts every five years, it is a testament to the quality of Edson equipment that I only found one worn idler sheave. The main roller bearings though were as dry as bones bleaching in the desert sun and the steering should feel much smoother when the boat goes back in the water.

I started work early enough in the morning to discover that the throttle cable was frozen solid. It freed up later so I concluded that water had gotten into it through the missing rubber boot. Removing that involved multiple head down squirming events to snip all the cable clamps holding it in place on its run. Putting the new one in should be even more fun.

March 31, 2007

Installed the new throttle cable. I bought the new one six inches longer rather than six inches shorter "just in case" because I couldn't get an exact match. Once on the boat, I realize that there was some extra length in the old one which looped around in some odd ways to use up the length. First I kicked myself for not stopping and thinking about the run while the old one was in place. While trying to figure out a better way to use up the excess, I realized that the additional six inches would let me run the cable around the entrance to the engine compartment. The old installation had the cable in front of the engine obstructing all maintenance and inspection. It's now much neater and more convenient.

Put the steering shaft back in the pedestal and assembled the main steering gear components. Checked and adjusted both engine control cables then ran and installed new compass light wiring with an inline fuse to protect the lighter wire that is part of the running light circuit.

I bought a new wheel brake shaft from Edson a few days ago, very pricey like all their stuff but the home made "T" handle that was on the boat was difficult to use and bleeding rust from a steel screw inserted into an aluminum bar. The shaft arrived after I returned home and it turns out that the brake parts are either home made or after market. No easy way to rework the old parts which don't work quite right anyway so I'll be sending another hundred bucks down to New Bedford, MA.

Tomorrow's project, leading the cable for the GPS up inside the pedestal handrail which I brought home to drill. Much easier than running it up inside the pedestal and neater to boot. Handrail already drilled.

The other "after work" project was making new axles for the steering cable idler sheaves under the cockpit floor. I drilled new holes in long stainless steel clevis pins instead of buying new axles from Edson. They used bronze for both parts and stainless wearing against bronze should last much longer because the grain structures of the two metals are different sizes so will not interlock and increase galling and wear.

April 1, 2007

I was up at the boat early enough that there was still frost on the cover. I needn't have hurried, everything I needed to proceed was too stiff with cold so I spent the first half hour warming up epoxy and bedding compound with a heat gun.

The first task was to drill a hole through the cockpit floor inside the plastic foot for the pedestal handrail. I then epoxied a section of a ball point pen barrel into the hole to seal out water and form a one inch coaming inside the handrail leg. After threading the GPS cable through the handrail and popping in the rubber grommet, I threaded the cable through the pen cum bushing and reassembled the hand rail. Very neat. No more GPS cable running from the stern locker and around the cockpit to trip over.

That done, I installed the new steering chain and cables and then headed home for lunch.

The boat could now be launched on about four hours notice. It's good to feel like she is whole again.

April 9, 2007

The Edson wheel brake parts arrived Saturday so I put the steering pedestal back together. The wheel brake is now all original parts instead of the homemade arrangement I found when I took it apart.

This morning, I connected the panel end of the GPS power and data cable and installed a terminal block to take the NEMA data to the radio. Steering GPS power arrangements are now fully restored to functionality.

April 10, 2007

Today's project was installing the new Signet Knotlog indicator unit due to a failing LED. The original also had the very touchy analogue calibration and the button that converted it to a distance measuring device was inoperative. I redid all the instrument wiring in the process and had enough time left over to connect the GPS position data line to the radio.

April 11, 2007

This was a strange morning on the boat. I spent a good part of it going up and down the ladder and crawling in and out of the engine room with tools in my hand being filmed for a "this is Roger in his normal life" clip to possibly be included in the next History Channel show on the Titanic to air around July first. (If you don't know about my Titanic work, click here).

I did manage to get the old wood jib sheet cleats off and fish a bunch of dropped screws and other debris out of the bilge while trying to look busy though.

April 13, 2007

The job of installing the new stainless steel jib sheet cleats seemed unusually troublesome for something so simple. Then, I realized the date. I finally got it done, using "T" nuts so that I can easily remove the cleats for refinishing the cockpit coamings with out having to take the interior ceiling out yet another time. I hope to put it back in tomorrow for the last time.

While I was at it, I reconnected an unused electric line to the stern for use by the autopilot. These jobs shouldn't have taken a whole morning but it is Friday the 13th after all.

April 14, 2007

This is Titanic Day. Even before my involvement with the History Channel shows, I always marked this date as an appropriate time for a naval architect to contemplate his craft and its place in the universe. It could also be tomorrow when she actually sank but I have always observed the 14 th for some reason.

On Strider, it was a day of hard work. I put the interior ceiling back together over the quarter berth and then turned my attention to something that was not on my list. The large handy bin under the starboard "V" berth had its utility severely compromised by the lack of a separator between it and the knotlog and depthsounder transducers. Since breaking off the plastic through hull fitting for the knot log would sink the boat, I was especially careful about what I put in there.

This frame for a plywood partition is not a particularly neat piece of work.

Consider however, that it is inside the near side of this hatch which is too small to get an eyeball and two hands on any critical point at the same time.

The bulkhead is located right at the lower left corner of the picture. This project used up my full store of boat workers tricks and a number of words that would have made Don Imus blush.

Here is the plywood installed, Close fits under these conditions are a real challenge.

I then replace some of the skylight trim dislodged during that project and vacuumed out the whole boat from bow to stern. I'm running out of things to do before the cover comes off and I can start on the windvane installation.

April 20, 21,22, 2007

Today (Sunday) is the day I finally finished the list of projects at the top of this page (other than the windvane).

The cover came off Friday, always a great day in the boating season.

Saturday, Barbara and I went up together. She stripped teak trim with heat gun and scraper while I installed the new port light trim ring. I decided not to replace the one that is just cracked because they are nearly impossible to remove without tearing out big chunks of fiberglass from the cabin sides due to the previous owner's use of adhesive bedding compound. Personally, I think every boat owner should be required to get a note from his mother before being allowed to purchase 5200.

I took Barbara home and returned after lunch to clean gobs of useless household type silicone sealant smeared around the portlights on one side in an attempt to stop the intrusion of water that was coming from somewhere else.

Sunday, I replaced the masthead light, stripped the teak cabin molding Barbara didn't get to. Thinking about Barbara prompted me to take a close look at the lifelines which resulted in removing the top course which are now in the car for replacement. Finally, I removed the boarding ladder steps.

Back at home, I put the steering wheel into a small inflatable kiddie pool with a good dose of chlorine to whiten up the rather dingy ropework that covers it, stripped the ladder steps, and then cleaned them with teak cleaner.

April 29 and May 1, 2007

Sunday was raw, rainy, and unpleasant, a good day for a messy job. Barbara and I went up early in the morning and rubbed down the old bottom paint with Scotch Brite pads on sanding handles to prepare the surface for new paint. Barbara actually did most of it while I took the old name off the transom and compounded it in preparation for drilling a hole right through where the name was to install the wind vane.

A check inside revealed small leaks around the skylight frames. Those ugly gobs of silicone were doing something after all.

Monday was a wash out due to rain. I returned to the boat today and ran a thin bead of white silicone around all the skylight frames. The bedding visible in the joints between the frames and trim rings was cracked and weathered in many spots. The new sealing job is nearly invisible and should make them tight.

May 2, 2007

Weird weather day. I left all the portlights open yesterday because of a dry weather forecast. Last evening, I heard of possible showers and groaned. I woke up early this morning to sprinkles and looked at the doppler radar on the computer. It showed big globs of green. I thought of my tools under the open ports and jumped in the car with just coffee for ballast.

I drove through rain that thinned to sprinkles by the time I reached the boat where the ground was still dry. I closed all the ports, which takes a while on this boat. When I went back on deck, the sun was shinning! All that rain just evaporated as the green blobs reached the coast and the sun came out.

Since I expected rain and was in a hurry, I hadn't put everything I needed in the car so I ended up driving back to Portland again aand then returning to the boat.

I fixed a cracked portlight dog I found while closing the ports, another of those unexpected jobs that keep cropping up.

Then, drilled the hole in the transom for the self steering gear mount. That job went remarkably easily. More on that when I get back to the Cape Horn portion of this website.

The fellow from the rigging shop then showed up with the new lifelines. Those went on quickly, fit perfectly, and look beautiful.

Then back to Cape Elizabeth to watch my son play baseball.

May 5, 2007

Three intensive days. At the boat or on the road at 6:30; once back in the evening. Eleven hours today and I'm writing this while waiting for Bristol Finish to dry. I'll put too more coats on tonight.

It's all about the windvane now so you'll need to click over to the Cape Horn Windvane page for the story until I pick up again here with other projects. They'll be few and you should be reading about the launch before too long.

May 9, 2007

The self steering gear project is finished! This saga will now continue on this page.

We're down to the routine things now, bottom paint, engine recomissioning, and launch.

May 10, 2007

This was bottom painting day. Yikes, do I ache! I also reinstalled the boarding steps. It's time to call the yard and see when they can put the boat in the water.

May 14, 2007

Down to the routine stuff. Since the last entry, Barbara and I waxed the topsides, cleaned up the inside and hauled all the tools and debris home. Today, we put all the cushions aboard and picked up the sails. The boat is now a ready to launch except for checking the mast and lubricating the sail track. The yard said they can put her in before the weekend.

If you've read this far, you either have way too much time on your hands or are one of the couple of friends this web site is primarily intended for. So, I'm going to bring this section to a close. Click on 2007 home page links for stories and pictures of our sailing season.

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