2015 Spring Workup On The Boat Begins

The weather has finally warmed up enough to begin working on the boat. Have some very ambitious plans for this year, including pulling the engine and having it rebuilt by Randy, the mechanic who looks after the Ranger with such loving care. The engine, a Mercruiser 188, is essentially the same as the Ford 351 V8 found in a 1975 Mustang and Randy can rebuild one of those in his sleep! Also most of the *bogus* gelcoat that was slapped on the upper hull to make it look shiny before I bought it has peeled, leaving the fibreglass looking dull from oxidation. I plan to buff it and wax it the way it should be done and hope it’ll bring the glossy 1975-orange-rec-room finish back to new.

2015 Health Update

Well, here we are one year after the quintuple bypass and what a difference! I completed the Healthy Heart Program at St. Paul’s Hospital (for the second time in 10 years!) in November, and in January began continuing the cardio and strength-building exercise at the local Rec. Centre. Over the months I’ve observed steady improvements (of course I use a Polar strap and graphic displays on the cellphone!) and am in better shape than I’ve been in since my late 30’s.

2014 a bust with the boat

Just as I was getting ready to do the Spring workup on the boat in April, I suffered a mild heart attack – no damage to the heart because I caught it early enough, but did wind up having quintuple (x5) bypass surgery on Apr 9, 2014. Recovery was quick, and eventually launched in July, but with a tired old engine in the boat and a recently-rebuilt engine in the chest I didn’t take it out much … played with building a parallel GPS display with a Raspberry Pi and spent some great evenings in harbour.

A New Season Has Begun (to the tune “New Day” from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s ‘Cats’

A new season has begun – almost – with the old Sangster! After installing a new main fuel tank, which required gutting the whole main cabin to the hull, re-fiberglassing the main deck, rebuilding a sub-deck, recreating the main cabin, removing the head, holding tank, and spare water tank, we’re almost ready to go.
The really good news is that the engine fired up again first go, although it’s been sitting idle for months after that whole exercise of getting salt water in the oil pan last fall. Now just some rewiring to complete (tore out the old faux-fur headliner and discovered the original wiring for lights, wipers, etc. were routed to the rear of the cabin then forward across the ‘ceiling’). By the grace of God may have it on the water before the end of June … Yay!

A Whole Year Later With the Boat

And what a year it has been! Got the starter rebuilt ($75) and it worked great. However, just before launching last season (2011) discovered the main fuel tank was leaking into the bilge. Drained it and ran all summer on the auxillary tank (plus two plastic cans). All was fine until first day back at work in August … got a phone call, “Hi, this is the marina calling … your boat is taking on water, can you come do something about it?”
Threw the trailer on the truck, raced over to Horseshoe Bay, pulled it out of the water (they had pumped it!) Discovered 2-1/2 gallons of salt water in the oil pan, drained it, changed the oil, ran it up, repeated several times, all seems ok. Just in case, drove over to Alberta one Sunday/Monday to pick up a replacement engine. (Immediate problem was that the ‘hot’ line to the bilge pump had corroded.)
Figured it was time to replace the gas tank, so gutted the cabin to the hull, cut open the deck with the circular saw, pulled the old tank, got a replacement built, installed it, and had Stewart’s Yacht Services do the deck replacement fibreglass work (nice job, good price!) I built a new sub-deck for the port side seating, fixed the starboard side cabinets, pulled the auxillary water tank out, removed the head and holding tank, and painted the interior deck. Pulled all the faux fur headliner, reassembled the cabin.
Still have to connect the new gas tank, replace the batteries and main cables, re-route the interior cabling (lights, etc) which were hidden by the faux fur headliner, and test the engine again. Also plan to install access hatches to side compartments (outboard of the stringers) to make it easier to check and drain (think I had taken on about 700 lbs of undetected water there!)
Hoping I can launch this summer, but between the cold & wet weather and the 7-day-a-week work schedule there’s not much time to work on it! Oh well, once the new building is complete (3 years?) hopefully I’ll have some time to work on it!

Getting there with the boat …

Getting closer to launch day … got the leg back on (successfully, I think!) and tried to fire it up … got one cough, then the starter wouldn’t engage! Finally bit the bullet and pulled the starter off the engine – a LOT easier than I feared – and it is crap: bad bearings/bushings, etc, etc.
However, once I find a ‘new’ one and install it, we should be good to go. Shift cable completely replaced, new gymbal bearing, a better prop, new DSC radio (push the red button for 3 seconds and it automatically issues a digital MAYDAY, complete with GPS coords!) … hopefully this summer I can not only cruise smartly and smoothly up to the gas dock, I can get underway again without any problems!!

Windows – good grief!

Been experimenting with writing a program in C++ to access mysql database on the server. Wow – I had forgotten (due to being spoiled by Ubuntu linux) just how complicated and frustrating it is to install developer software on Windows! However, old scar tissue served as the needed filters, and I finally got a solution that works … VC++ 2010 Express combined with MySQL 5.5 using the old API’s … perhaps a little messy, but it works fine! Cheesh!

Winter Boat Maintenance Blues

Dad-gum alternators! Trying to remove one from the boat engine … I don’t think it has been removed since the motor (Ford 302 V-8) was built in 1975! The hinge bolt is firmly corroded to the alternator housing – even an air-driven torque wrench can’t move it! Need to replace the solid-state electronics, as the voltage regulator got cooked with the overheating issues last summer. Cheesh!
Also, major work on the leg … seal shields on the ‘sealed’ main shaft bearing disintegrated, throwing shrapnel into the the u-joint bladder, causing salt-water leak … cleaned the shaft, replacing the main bearing and seal … the u-joints seem ok.

Boat running sweetly!

Just back from an overnight trip to Secret Cove … left Horseshoe Bay Sunday at 3:20, stayed at the Secret Cove Marina (excellent food!) and back today. The boat purred all the way up and all the way back, even shifts properly after a 1:45 run!

Vancouver Traffic

IDIOTS! I sometimes wonder how the City of Vancouver staff can get dressed by themselves in the morning! All traffic off the Lion’s Gate Bridge is being routed along West Pender … which makes sense and is ok, EXCEPT there is a movie being shot on West Pender near Burrard, closing most lanes. Do these people not talk to each other??