Friday, February 25, 2011

Serial maintenance

Today Steve of s/vSiempre Sabado takes us along as he starts a simple project to see if moving his mainsheet to the end of the boom would be practical.  But as he demonstrates, one thing leads to another...
Today was a classic example of the "one thing leads to another" syndrome. Every boater is familiar with the syndrome. Well, maybe not Paul Allen or Ted Turner or any of those guys, but they're probably not reading my blog either.

Yesterday, Lulu took the canvas off the dodger to clean it up and make a few repairs. I've never quite liked how it fits since it's a little tall (the boom rubs on it when it's sitting in the gallows), and sits back a little too far (the forward pulley for the mainsheet rubs against the dodger).

Neither of these things would happen if we didn't have a mainsheet traveller mounted on the bridge deck. The traveller has been a vexation to me for a long time. It makes it impossible to sit on the bridge deck comfortably, it's in the way when getting into or out of the companionway, it puts the mainsheet right in the way when going forward from the cockpit, and it puts the mainsheet in the way of the companionway doors.

At our level of sailing (decidedly "non-performance"), the traveller is also not of much use to us. For awhile now I've wanted to move the mainsheet to the end of the boom to get it out of the way. I studied a bunch of photos of other Westsails to see the various arrangements and finally came up with something that I think will work for us.

So, today, I dove into the lazarette to get the handy billy that I had put together some time ago for ascending the mast if I didn't want use the steps for some unfathomable reason. For those who don't know, a handy billy is collection of blocks and line that can be used to lift heavy loads, among other things.

The reason I was retrieving it was because I was pretty sure the hardware and line would be just the ticket for rigging a boom-end mainsheet.

Once I unloaded the inflatable kayak, the Baja filter, a number of hanks of manila line, several canvas bags holding all sorts of goodies, and a couple of bagged sand chairs, I was finally able to grab the handy billy from where it was sitting on top of the battery box holding half of our house batteries.

Hey, you know..... now that the battery box is exposed, this would be a good time to relocate the batteries. Something I've been wanting to do almost since I installed them. It's just too hard to service them where they're at and I think they'll fit on the starboard side of the engine compartment alongside the starting battery.

Of course, before I move the batteries, I need to pull the starting battery out and clean the area up. I had a can of spray-on battery post protectant sitting alongside the starting battery. Sometime in the past year, the can rusted through and the whole little well that the battery sits in was coated with a thick layer of greasy purple gunk. Been meaning to clean that up for awhile, too.

The rest of the project was pretty straightforward: remove the house batteries, reroute the cables, make some tie-downs, and hook everything back up. BUT, while I was putting the batteries in place, I decided to move a bunch of the stuff that normally sits behind the generator somewhere else. Every time I pull the generator out, everything behind it just slides down and I have to screw with it when I put the generator away. So I got all that stuff relocated to the lazarette. While I was at it, I tied several hoses up out of the way.

While I was rerouting the cables, I was reminded that the vented loop on my raw water was adrift, and had been since I unhooked it from the bulkhead to make room for another breaker panel way back in Newport. It wasn't particularly dangerous since the hoses are stiff enough to keep it elevated and there's really no place for it to fall even if the hoses were supple enough to allow it. But, I still didn't like it and always meant to reattach it somewhere. Now seemed like a good time. So I moved some wires that were in the way, cut some wire ties that were holding assorted wires to the water hoses, and moved the vented loop to a spot on the side of the cockpit well where I could permanently attach it. All better.

After I cleaned things up and put my tools away, I noticed the handy billy sitting there. Oh yeah! I tried out the hardware on the boom, found an extra block in my rigging bag that matched perfectly and it looks like I have all the necessary hardware and line to be able to hook the mainsheet up from the end of the boom as soon as I get a couple of eyebolts or padeyes to use as anchoring points.

Not one of these things was on my list of things to do while we're at Marina del Palmar. But they're all things I've been meaning to do for a long time. And now they're done. I'm not sure why I even make lists.

PS: I know all the real sailors out there are probably going to give me crap about removing the traveller. Please save it. I don't know enough about the theory and use of the traveller to argue my side so I'm not going to bother trying. If it'll make you feel any better, I won't actually remove the traveller until I'm sure I don't want it, so I can always reconnect it if I want to. But I've got my doubts that I'm going to want to.<

PPS: for you non-boaters, a vented loop looks like this (this isn't mine as I had the engine compartment all buttoned up when I started this blog, so I just got this photo off the internet):
The vented loop is installed on any line that is bringing sea water into the boat. Without it, sea water could continue to siphon into the boat after the pump is turned off, or in the case of a leak or broken line. This could be very bad. So, a loop is run in the line well above the water line of the boat. A vent is installed at the top of the loop to allow air into the line and break the siphon.

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