Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Bilge Water Blog #158

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

This post is a bit out of order. I filmed this right after I discovered that the fuel tanks had been leaking and before I started removing the old tanks. My big concern was to get the contaminated water out of the bilge.  I need to have a functioning bilge pump, but I can’t allow the pump to engage when there’s fuel in the bilge. Nope, wouldn’t be good.

I used a hand pump to pump out the bilges into jerry cans. With that out of the way, I used some oil absorbent pads, and some eco-friendly grease cutter to clean the mess up. I am pleased with the result. It was a quck job and not as gross & messy as I had anticipated.

It’s good to have clean bilges, dry and tight. With this little job done we can move on to building the new tanks.

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

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Clean up & Test fit Blog #157

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

Both tanks are out, so now it’s time to start the replacement phase of the project. Step one is to get all the old expanding foam and assorted hardware removed to create a nice warm, welcoming spot for the new tanks to inhabit.  There really wasn’t much technical about it – peel off, dig out,  the foam cut out the old straps and viola! Done. Well, mostly done. The tank holds are now ready to do some test fitting of a new template tank.

The first rendition of the tank template was made out of cardboard.  It was designed from the  blue prints of the original tanks. The modification that was made was to remove about 6″ from the bottom of the tank in order to make it fit. I don’t believe there exists such a beast as a modular tank. The new tanks will have to go in, in one piece.

Spoiler alert: The cardboard template didn’t fit.  The reason was not what I suspected. In the vid. I stated that there was an old exhaust hose that had been routed up & around the tank and a couple of metal straps, and some wiring.  Well none of that was the reason the tank would not fit.

The reason was the width of the tank across the top. The space in the hold is 16″ wide. The tanks are 23″ wide. So….. how to reshape the template to make it fit?  I don’t want to kill the volume of the tanks. They were designed to hold 38 Gallons of fuel. If I lose 5 or  10 gallons I could live with that but any more would be unacceptable.

Like most projects I undertake, I figured it out. But if you want to know … you’ll have to wait till next week. 😉

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



Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Port tank out Blog #156

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

After the disappointment of missing the year’s sailing season due to the leaky fuel tank problem, I get cracking on removing the fuel tanks.  When I created this vid, I had already removed the starboard side tank.

The port side tank presented a different challenge – it was full of fuel. Well, not ‘full’ but it had about 20 gallons of diesel in it. Good thing the leak wasn’t too bad. I would have HATED to have 20 gallons of diesel sloshing around the engine pan & bilge. That would have been a major bummer. Colonel Bummer? Certainly General Bummer.  I digress…

I bought a couple of gizmos to facilitate removing the fuel. One worked the other did not. That may have been more user error than anything but the mission that I chose to accept was accomplished. I got the diesel fuel out.

Now then, having removed the fuel I realized that it was quite contaminated. Water and years worth of accumulated dirt. It wasn’t really ‘sludge’ like you’d expect from an old tank but it looked like black, finely ground graphite powder mixed with the fuel which then settled to the bottom.  Oh well, time to get rid of it. No problem.

Problem: what to do with contaminated fuel? It’s not as easy as it would seem.  At least not around here. What’d I do with it?  Well I’m not telling you because the enviro-weenies would lose their minds. But let’s just say a certain gravel / dirt road has a nice water-proof coating on it now. You’re welcome.

Once the fuel was removed and disposed of in an environmentally responsible way, I got to removing the tank.  I used a ‘zip-disk’ on my angle grinder to accomplish the task. I just LOVE appropriate tools.  The right tool for the job makes all the difference in the world between a frustrating and grumpifying day and a happy we-got-er-done day.  In this instance we got `er done.  😀   Yeah, so I basically cut the tank into bite sized pieces.  The opening through which the tank needs to come out is approximately 16″ wide.  The tank, at the top, is 23″ wide. Problem.

No problem, zip disk to the rescue.  Ting tank walla walla bing bang. A bit of sweat, some gymnasty contortions and that bad ol’ tank was sliced, diced, and removed. Yep. End of day – no more fuel tanks.

It’s fall now and winter is coming. I want to get the majority of the work done so that when the nasty weather arrives I can keep Little Bear buttoned up and dry.  Well .. onwards!

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

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Wiring the Pulpit Blog # 143

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

Ok, let’s get this out-of-the-way first:  In this vid there is some pixellation / editing going on.  Some intrepid viewers have already raised an eyebrow and asked.  So here’s the somewhat embarrassing tale of woe.

The blue coveralls I am wearing are cheap, paper, throw-away coveralls. I like them because they breathe really well so I stay cool. However, they have one MAJOR design flaw. When worn, if the wearer bends over far, or squats the crotch rips out.  In fact it rips out without so much as a “how do you do?”.  At least with fabric the wearer gets the tell-tale ripping sound with these things … nothing.  So I was happily vlogging away completely oblivious to the naughtycal wardrobe malfunction exposing the main junction.

I didn’t realize it till I got home and started to edit the vid. I then took about 5 minutes out of my day to laugh at my  idiotic self.  Once the giggle fit ended I decided not to re-do the vlog but to just edit out with a pixel mask any offensive bits that may or may not have been making a bid for freedom.

Truth be told, while this catastrophe was unfolding I, being a neighbourly type, helped a boat returning to the dock get tied up. All the while oblivious to John Thomas making his début appearance. I did notice the odd looks but they were thankful for the help, so I suppose it’s all good in the end. So to speak.

So that being said, this vid isn’t about old pirates being blissfully oblivious much to the chagrin of the boating public. It is about wiring the pulpit and replacing the pulpit lights.

Enjoy. And don’t laugh.


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




I said, don’t laugh.

Little Bear Westsail 32 goes for a sail! Blog # 142

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

I enjoy working on Little Bear. Really, I do. But after two years I’m really itching to get out there on the water.  So, even though the boat isn’t really ready, although there are tools and parts scattered all over, although the head doesn’t work, although the lights are only half working – I decided to get out for a sail. Sail meaning ‘motor’.

July first; Canada’s 150th birthday seemed like as good an occasion to get out and go for a trip down the river and around the bend. So that’s what we did. Dread Pirate Admiral & a friend took Little Bear out to see the fireworks in White Rock…


Of course, seeing fireworks means that we’d be out in the dark. The Admiral said that without a head there was no way we’d be anchoring out so we had to navigate back to the dock in the dark. Fortunately the tide was right and we managed to get her back to her slip without mishap.  Although it was a bit of a white knuckle ride up the river.

Special thanks go out to all the power boats with their 5′ wakes blasting past us to create the atmosphere of a hurricane in full fettle.  So kind and thoughtful of you. Blessings.

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

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.