Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cable Neatenization

This post originally appeared on Windborne in Puget Sound

Is that a word?  I don't think so, but I'm using it anyway.

When last we spoke about the mutiny of our Radar Officer, I had gotten the new radar working in the cockpit. But the cables, tho strung to near their final location, were looped from inside the cockpit coaming in a decidedly NOT ship-shape manner. I mentioned that I had ordered a cable grommet - well that grommet has arrived, and it was time to finish up the installation.

All I had to do was make a 2" diameter hole in the top surface of the coaming.  How hard could that be?  I got out my trusty drill and a 2" holesaw and went to work, expecting to take maybe 15 minutes.

Getting thru the teak coaming cap was a piece of cake.  And I knew that the actual structural fiberglass construct was under the teak.  What I did not know was that it was a full inch thick of solid fiberglass - Downeast certainly cannot be faulted for skimpy construction!

My poor holesaw was really not up to the task.  The narrow slot that the teeth made did not clear itself of fiberglass dust well, meaning that as the hole deepened the dust accumulated...  and melted.  Stopping frequently (after maybe 10 revolutions of the saw) and vacuuming out the debris, followed by picking off the melted and now solidified resin from the teeth of the holesaw made for very slow going.  It was a two-beer hole. 

But patience and perseverance won out, and eventually the coaming was breached.   Yes, you can see that I drilled some holes down thru the saw cut in an attempt to provide a chip clearance path.  It helped, a little.  But I had to keep clearing out the holes too.  Like I said, two beers.

And there is the finished product.  Looks pretty good, doesn't it?

When the radar unit is dismounted and stored down below, the cables go back thru the grommet, inside the coaming where they are protected from the weather.  I will eventually re-route the GPS cable to this grommet too, but that means re-making more than a half dozen connections.  A good task to do while at anchor on a quiet sunny day next summer.

Oh, and the old radar unit has sold.

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