Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Plugging holes Blog # 141

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

So many projects, such little time. Actually, I have all the time in the world. If I don’t mind spending all my time doing DIY projects on the boat.

I continue working on the wiring making sure that it works while keeping it neat at the same time. Now there’s a challenge.

The time has come to fill the holes in the bulwarks. Due to the foam and ceiling I was unable to access the top nuts on the chain plates when I removed them. So the simplest solution was to cut 1″ holes and access the nuts that way.  Well the chain plates have been back on the hull for quite some time and the wasps haven’t made nests in there yet this year, so in a pre-emptive strike against the wasps, I decided to fill those holes.

I made some plugs with some G10 I had left over from doing the backing plates for the through hulls. I then used some thickened epoxy to ‘glue’ them in pace. I’m happy with the result.

As always fair winds, following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Post Splash Projects Blog # 140

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

“Moonch up”. That’s the operative term for this video.  I thought the projects would be well suited for a collage of video clips.  I was wrong.  Each of these projects, in typical boat-land fashion, have grown and taken a LOT longer than anticipated.

The first project was to replace the bilge pump.  Well that didn’t happen. The pump is still non-functioning.  Because.  Don’t judge me.

Ok, I’ll tell you why: the old pump had  a 1″ outflow port. The new one has a 1 1/8″ outflow port.  I tried to find a step-down coupler but couldn’t find one. I then thought I’d just force it. After all 1/8″ isn’t that much. However, when I tried I realized that the hose (it must be original; 41 yrs old) was cracked and checked.  So I ordered new hose. Then I discovered (of course) that the through hull for the bilge is tucked away behind a fuel tank.  To move the fuel tank the engine has to come out. *sigh*.   No! I will find a way to do this without removing the engine.

I did manage to get the coax for the VHF run. So, I have a functioning radio but I still need to tidy up / fasten down the cable.

For the very first time in my life, I took a trip up the mast in a bosun’s chair.  This has revealed a couple of ‘needs’.  One; a better solution than a chair.  My wife is just barely able to crank me up the mast, and she’s too short to see the stuff at the mast head when she is hoisted up.

The other ‘need’ was to get a new winch.  I was blessed to find a good quality winch for much cheaper than I had anticipated.  The new winch will facilitate sailing, and it will help with the bosun’s chair situation. It’s self-tailing, and 2 speed. So Dread Pirate Admiral will be able to hoist my lard-butt up without too much problem.

With the sails back on the boat and the boom flopping around it became apparent that the boom gallows need to go back on. That created a whole new set of challenges. But we overcame. Got it done. Yes we did.

The sail maker identified the need for a tack fitting for the inner jib / stays’l.  I decided on replacing the turnbuckle pin with a shackle. I did that without too much of a hassle.

I spliced the bow pulpit wire for the nav lights.  It took a while as my soldering iron struggles to heat up enough to solder the heavier gauge wire outside in the wind. Once the splice was done, I threw the switch and was amazed to see that the old incandescent lights actually lit up!  I’m going to swap them out anyways because LEDs are just much more power friendly than incandescent.

I work in a large company. We have GREAT benefits. One of which is generous sick leave. The idea is that if you get sick it costs the company less to have you off at home, than it does to have you come to work and make other people sick reducing productivity. One of the guys decided to be a hero and come to work sick. Of course, I got the bug too, didn’t I? You can hear it in this vid. I sound stuffed up. That’s because I was. Total cold-head. 😦  For the love of all that’s healthy, if you’re sick – STAY HOME. I have a boat to work on for Pete’s sake.  Ok, enough of a rant. Back to our normally scheduled boaty happiness.

As always fair winds, following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Tiller project Blog #136

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

The tiller on board Little Bear is a beautiful piece of wood. Unfortunately, time & weather have taken their toll. The tiller has actually delaminated.

It would not do to go to sea with a defective tiller, so I take the time to rebuild it and make it strong again.

As always fair winds, following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Cape Horn Windvane pt.2 Blog #134

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

In this session I complete the installation of the hardware for the windvane. And the sun comes out! Yaaay. It’s always a pleasure to see the sun!

I apologize for not getting a better close up of the install I know this would have been of interest to other DIY’ers. But it’s not rocket science and pretty straight forward. I’ll likely do a video of the vane in action once I get it rigged and we’re out there sailing.

As always fair winds, following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Cape Horn Windane pt.1 Blog #133

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

With his episode, I get to install a bit of hardware that Little Bear has never had before: a windvane.

I chose Cape Horn Windvane for a few reasons:

  • Price
  • Simplicity of construction
  • Reputation
  • Proven track record

I’ve never sailed with a windvane before but I can see the value of not being glued to a tiller / wheel.  I expect to do a lot of single-handing so being able to roam about the boat without having to tend the tiller seems to be a very good idea.

The Cape Horn also has the ability to integrate an auto-pilot. And because the windvane supplies the power for the tiller a smaller, efficient pilot can be utilized. Bonus.

Installing the windvane was fairly straightforward. However, for the first time during the refit of Little Bear I hurt myself.  I caught the tip of my  finger between a strut and the chuck of my drill. I basically ripped my finger nail off.  In the video you can see the moment it happened.  I dropped the drill but it is tough and suffered no damage.

I have yet to rig the vane with blocks and line but I don’t think that will be a big deal.  I just have to follow the instructions correctly and away I go!

As always fair winds, following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Bowsprit Platform on! Blog #132

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

This episode is all about getting the platform installed and aligned. There was a bit if a curve-ball I had to deal with but nothing that liquid joinery didn’t take care of! Oh the wonders of modern technology & chemistry.

The one part of this job that I wish I didn’t have to do was to take off the forestay. But the bowsprit pulpit won’t go back on with the forstay / furler in place. So, off it came.

The biggest challenge was to drill the holes for the support blocks and get them aligned. I explain in the video where you can actually see what I’m describing.

As always fair winds, following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Bowsprit Platform Prep Blog #131

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

After leaving everyone hanging in regards to how I expanded the thru-hull hole, I reveal the mystery of how I did it. A simple enough tactic and it worked very well.

The next project is to get the bowsprit platform mounted on the bowsprit. Without the platform, sail management at the front of the boat would be a very scary proposition. So, the platform must be reinstalled. The teak for the platform was in very rough shape when I took it off. Previous episodes show how I repaired & restored the wood. I’m glad I put the effort into restoring it. Teak is beautiful wood and holds up well in the maritime environment.

The first thing I did was to epoxy the G10 brackets I made into place. They are probably a bit redundant as they are an addition to the sprit that wasn’t there when I bought the boat. But considering that the platform is fairly thin compared to what the plans call for, I feel better having them in place. Stronger is better, in this case.

The sail maker came by while I wasn’t here to measure the boat for sails. This may prove to be an issue later on.

As always fair winds, following seas, and God bless.