Sunday, August 3, 2014

Boatyard Work List

Our stairs, at present, come forward into the cabin by almost 2 feet more than the designer originally intended, to make space for the air conditioner and accommodate the different dimensions of the new engine. Note the huge landing area, top step, 4 (mismatched) teak boards wide.  Also note the bottom step, with one corner cut away.  This is mostly to provide at least limited access below the nav station, but it also provides great entertainment as unwary visitors miss this step and take a tumble!

So, if you're like most of our friends, you're wondering why we're in a boatyard, again, getting ready to shell out some major coin for boat work, again.  Also if you're like most of our friends, you're too classy to ask directly, just in case the answer is embarrassing (don't worry, it isn't).

About 10 years ago we replaced our boat's then-25-year-old, sadly mistreated Westerbeke diesel engine for a new Yanmar (love it ever since!).  The Yanmar, however, was a bit taller than the old eingine it replaced.  The installer told Dan to cut down the stringers in the cockpit so there would be room for the new engine along with its recommended vibration-dampening engine mounts.  Dan did the work, slowly chiseling out fiberglass by hand, in winter, upside down below the cockpit sole.  Only to be told by the installer, "oops, never mind, we measured wrong, it won't fit after all, fill it back in, we'll just use regular engine mounts, you'll have a bit more vibration but it'll be okay.  After all, its a sailboat, you just run the engine to get out of the slip, then hoist the sail and turn the engine off and, you know, enjoy the wind power."  Yeah.  Uh-huh.

Well, we're no longer just weekend sailing the Chesapeake Bay, we're motoring up and down the U.S. East Coast and crossing the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas, running the engine sometimes for 8 hours a day or overnight.  The engine works (awesomely, I might add) but at certain rpms you get a vibro foot massage while standing in the cockpit.  And it turns out that over time, that vibration not only makes your feet tingle, but adds unnecessary wear on the engine and transmission.  So we're (finally) getting a do-over and correcting the installation.

At the same time, we have an opportunity to correct the air conditioning unit the previous owner had installed.  Can't blame her for trying; she lived aboard year round on the Texas coast -- can you say, "hot and humid?"  She needed a/c!  But the location has always been problematic.  She put the a/c in front of the engine and had a carpenter bulk the companionway stairs out into the main living space, making going below decks a bit awkward, but tolerable.  After we repowered, however, the location of the stairs shifted even further into the living space, making it that much worse -- virtually guaranteeing bumped heads for the uninitiated, and making access to service the engine challenging.

So the plan while we're here, is to replace the engine mounts with proper vibration-dampening ones, and while we're messing about in that area anyway, relocate the air conditioner.  In the past, I'd considered that latter project an aesthetic one, and it never made it to the top of the "do" list; our list always prioritized (1) make the boat safer; (2) make it sail faster; (3) everything else.  But as we age and become less agile, well, realigning that access is a safety issue, if not yet, then in the future.  At least that's what we're telling ourselves, because we're both pretty enthused with the prospect of getting this finally done right.

You know what the hardest part is, though?  We've been living on this boat for 12-1/2 years.  And while we're pretty careful about acquiring material possessions, you pick up a t-shirt here, a book there, an extra bottle of hot sauce somewhere else, and pretty soon every locker is packed as fully and efficiently as can be.  We're losing two lockers to this project, which means their contents have to go somewhere.  Good thing its a dreary rainy weekend, as we contend with sorting, re-sorting, and re-stowing our possessions.  Amazing how much we've accumulated (and secretly grateful for the incentive to weed things out.)

A straight-on view of our existing stairs.  Compare it to the designer's original intention, (next photo).

The stairs as originally intended, note the top step is only two boards wide.  This is a photo from another CSY33 that is for sale on Yachtworld.  (Note that I'm neither recommending, or not-recommending, this boat; merely that it is one of two sisterships to ours that is presently for sale.)

Ah, and in my fantasies, the replacement stairs would be as gracious as these on El Galeon Andalucia, where we were volunteers last winter.  (and hope to be again, next year)

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