Friday, December 20, 2013

End Of Season

I build a boat cover framework out of 2"x2" pine lumber then covered with 3 or 4 large blue tarps. I have no idea if this will survive the winter but the first big snow, about 5inches, had no accumulation on the cover. So off to a good start. 

But before the basement got too cold I did clean up all the wood from the cockpit that I removed. The cockpit coaming were in pretty rough shape, but some sanding, epoxy and varnish and they are pretty again. I also put the lazarette cover in clamps to straighten it out. I don't have a steamer but I wetted it then clamped and epoxied, so hoping it keeps flat after 4 months in clamps. 

Here's hoping everyone has a great winter season, and hoping for an early snow melt:) The Winter solstice is tomorrow, then longer days YEAH!!!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cockpit Coaming removal

I got it into my head to remove the cockpit coamings, and nothing is ever easy as it looks in the mind's eye:) Removing the mounting screws were easy enough most were wood screws but there were 3 machine screws with nuts on the back side. The two forward most and aft most were the machine screws.

Then the fun started! The screws were really redundant because there was enough tough adhesive that these puppies were not going anywhere. I started by using a putty knife and hammering it into the gap to break the glue. But putty knife blade wasn't long enough to get behind the winch stands or even to the bottom of the boards. So then after some back and forth on the Triton board I tried a hack saw blade, SS wire,  slight longer putty knife, and acetone. All worked but only very marginally. Then while explaining the problem to my wife she offered a bread knife! Humm... it looked long enough, thin enough and had a serrated edge, seemed perfect. I'm no longer allowed to liberate and re-purpose kitchen tools without express approval. So it was lucky we stopped eating gluten a couple years ago, which means no bread, so the knife wasn't needed any longer in the kitchen.

The knife worked great and the port coaming was off in about 20 minutes. The next step was cleaning the coaming surface. I use a mix of warm water, TSP, and Clorox. After an hour or so I rinse with fresh water.

Next came the starboard coaming and it was a different beast. It seemed to have a different adhesive. The knife stared to break and I eventually started using a hand saw blade that I could hammer into a crack that was opened by putting two putty knives together. But it just was not coming off:( Every little filament of glue was tough and the board wasn't moving after several hours.

So, in desperation really, I decided to try acetone again even though it didn't do anything on the port side. Well different adhesive, different result! I had the board off in 15 minutes!!!!

I really think when these go back in I'm using just a sealant and small beads at that. Now comes the cleaning,sanding and varnish!

Bread knife put to a higher use:)

Yeah Port side comes free!!!

This is going to take some work:(

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Death of a Classic Part 2

Today after a meeting I stopped by and took a few pictures, but only 3 before the camera batteries went dead:(
The owner has used end grain cedar as a core material. I don't think was a bad choice but then the boat cover let the winter wetness in which then froze and cracked. Next came the summer sun in the greenhouse which then "melted" the cabin top.

Side decks were also done in cedar.

The hull just needs fairing but that's about the only high note. 
Evidently the owner hasn't gotten on the ball about recycling. I really expected to only see a 9yrd dumpster filled with fiberglass and a large chunk of lead. I suppose another option is to drop the title on the yard managers desk and let him take care of the disposal. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Score details....

Here was my score from the 1964 Triton headed to recycler heaven.
  • Main Sail
  • Main sail cover.
  • Jib Sail
  • Genoa Sail
  • Bow Pulpit SS tubing
  • Large flat winch handle (2)
  • Small flat winch handle (1)
  • Main Hatch boards (3)
  • Opening ports (2)
  • Insert for the anchor chain pipe on the bow.
  • Wood pole for jib/jenny
  • Cockpit awing for use at anchor. But it's been chewed somewhat by rodents, so it may be just a pattern. 
  • Bronze 5inch cleats (2)
  • Tiller w/bronze attachment.
  • Couple SS trim pieces that cover the Hull/Deck joint.
The wood hatch boards and the wood reaching pole both have serious cases of black mildew, so today I'm  cleaning up one of the hatch boards. First I used a heat gun and scraper to get the old varnish off then TSP/Bleach/Water treatment.
I had thought about buying the remaining 4 opening ports and cleats for my Tiki build but then catamarans are very weight sensitive and those beautiful bronze parts are pretty heavy for what they are.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The death of a Classic

I stumbled upon a 1964 Triton in seriously sad condition. It had fallen victim to an owner with big dreams but limited budget and skill.

The entire boat has been sanded down to fiberglass, i.e. all the gelcoat removed then the decks and cabin tops were opened up. Next the balsa core was removed and the inner skin was aggressively sanded.

Side note:Whoever first thought to use balsa wood as a core material on boats must have been on acid.

Anyway, the results were that in several places the fiberglass broke through. Next it was stored in a work shed covered in opaque plastic which turned into hot house in the summer. The high temps then caused the unsupported cabin top to warp. So that now around the front of the main hatch opening is a 1-1/2 to 2 inch dip.

The owner has, wisely IMO, decided to recycle the boat. It's sad to see a classic go to the recycler but the economics make no other sense. There is a 6 month yard bill cycle coming up. The boat can't be sold whole for anything. So in a very real sense it has negative value. But it does have one thing that has some value, it's 3019lb lead keel. A quick check of recyclers found a local one willing to pay 40cents/lb. Thats $1207! That lead value plus the $350 I paid for all my parts and pieces and now were talking positive value. Sad ending to a classic but on the bright side, every remaining Triton just got a smidgen more valuable.

I'll get some pictures in a few days, it really didn't seem polite to gawk and snap pictures with owner standing there:)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Old Icebox and a good Sawzall aka Reciprocating Saw

Initially I really didn't want to fuss with the icebox. I was thinking to just caulk the cockpit hatch and screw it shut for the foreseeable future. But then I decided I wanted to change out the cockpit drain and deck scupper hoses.

Pic taken at arms length through the cockpit locker

OK no problem, just snake my way in to the port cockpit locker and remove the old hoses. HA, The Pearson brothers had a different idea mind, like never change them! I'm not a big guy by any stretch, 5ft 10inch, 150lbs, 29inch waist, 40inch shoulders and I couldn't get anywhere near a working position on those hoses. So remove the icebox! That at least will free up the port side.

The icebox was pretty easy to remove. First I took off the small top shelf, then seat back. With the seat back out there was a small piece of wood used hold the Icebox to a hull support. The only thing then was a couple screws that normally hold the engine cover in place. The front support bridges the icebox to the seat front.
Arrow shows the location where the icebox tied into the seat back.
Next was some serious yanking, twisting, pulling and shortly the whole box was sitting in the middle of the seat.

I thought about just hefting it out the hatch but a quick measurement said that wasn't going to work, so out came my Ryobi Reciprocating Saw from Home Depot, with a seriously bent blade from other abuses. A  Reciprocating Saw is one of those tools that doesn't get much use but when it's needed nothing else will really do the job. Well I suppose you could use a hand saw:)
2inch foam on a few sides. 
The foam insulation wasn't much. This shows the roots of the Triton as a day sailor. Well that and the fact that the cockpit lid for loading ice into the box just lays on top without any thing securing the lid. Just waiting to float away if the cockpit it ever pooped(filled with water from a braking wave).

Access to the ancient hoses. 
There we go ACCESS to the drain hoses!!! But this brings up another dilemma, I would like to make the cockpit lockers water tight like in James Baldwin's Atom. But if I put in a bulkhead where the back of the icebox was how will I access these hoses in the future??

Friday, June 7, 2013

Gee, 12+ year old bilge pump not working???

I started cleaning out the interior and the simplest thing to do was bring the hose inside and start with the simple green and scrubby. The water has to go somewhere and the bilge is the place. There is a garboard drain plug(threaded plug installed in the bilge to allow water to drain out when on the hard) in the bilge but it's up high enough that several inches of water can be in the bilge. So I brought the battery and solar panel from my truck camper and tried to hook up the electric Rule 500 pump. I suppose these cheap little units are not meant to be submerged for 12+years. So it was off to Hamilton Marine for a replacement. There is a nice Whale Gusher mounted in the cockpit but again I'm lazy and would rather let the sun and a SHURFlo 380 keep the bilge dry. Plus once I stick a float switch on it will empty when I'm not around and the boat is still far from rain proof:(  
Water level about 2" blow the floor. Very old bilge pump.

New SHURflo takes up the job. 

But the kink in the bilge discharge hose had to be fixed. 
And how does rainwater get inside? First there is these neat little cockpit drain the simply drains inside? I have no idea if this was the original idea but seems a little strange.

Mystery drain in front of cockpit.
Mystery drain open into engine compartment.
Then there are the actual side deck and cockpit drains themselves which where clogged, kinked and basically fell apart when I tried to remove the hoses to clear them. So they for now they also drain to the bilge:( The upper rear line(cockpit seat drain) was dry rotted and ripped apart in my hands and the upper foreground line(side deck drain) is collapsed with a perpetual kink. These two lines are combining with the cockpit sole drain.
clogged drain lines

There is also the old transmission shifter slot in the cockpit sole and if there were standing water the old engine controls openings. Plenty of things to fix before Phoenix can be left on a mooring unattended. 

P.S. Update to cleaning the deck. Forget using Simple Green and brushes, use a pressure washer! I needed to buy a 2700psi pressure washer for some house projects so I decided to try it on the filthy decks. With a 25deg nozzle it worked fantastic. It did remove some chipped loose paint but that needed removing anyway.   I finished the entire deck in the time it took to clean one cockpit locker! And the deck is much cleaner than I was able to do with the brush. 

Monday, June 3, 2013


Certainly not the most exciting thing to do but every time I touch a surface dirt or paint chalk comes off on my hands. So today I spent several hours just cleaning. First came the mast and I attacked it with a hose, simple green in a squirt bottle , bristle brush,  a green scrubby pad. As I washed I inspected and liked what I saw. It was built in 1992 by Annapolis Spars Inc and is in generally great condition. The white paint is chipped in many spots all the way through the green primer to the aluminum but it's not bad enough to be stripped and redone. I may get some white Rustolium and touch it up but probably just wax it and be done. About the only real problem is the missing lower pins on the rigging. The yard managed to loose them all! 
Seriously moldy Main and Jib halyards

Then I climbed up and started on the cockpit. The entire boat is covered with at least 12 years of air pollution. Being on the hard near a major airport sucks. Those jets will turn a boat black in just a few weeks, so Phoenix took a ton of elbow grease just to get part of the cockpit cleaned up. The nonskid holds on to that junk tight. 
Even the topsides look better when cleaned:)
Starboard cockpit locker getting cleaner.
I got bored scrubbing and decided to see how simple green would work on seriously dirty teak.  Well it kinda works, but I broke down and mixed up an batch of water(3 qts)/TSP(1 cup)/clorox(2 cups) and that mix really does the trick! Still a lot of elbow grease but wow the results are great. After cleaning up the starboard coaming I can see doing some sanding and varnish. Really I'm too lazy to keep the teak clean and let it go silver because that also means black mold. I like the look of silver/gray teak but not when it's covered with black mold, which turns green when wet. Now that's ugly. But now that I've cleaned it up I suppose I need to finish the job and varnish. Certainly not the most important job, but having pretty teak and a clean hull make it more of a pleasure to work on the must have done list:)
A nice shade of green mold.

Mold does't look so bad when dry.

TSP/Water/Clorox quickly turns a nice shade of brown.

Left side(aft end) cleaned with TSP, Right side gets it next.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Aux prower!

Poor old Phoenix was abandoned and her trusty old Atomic 4 was heisted, so what should I do about aux power? I considered and rejected Electric(Torqueedo) and a new outboard( Tohatsu 6hp Sailpro ) but choose instead…..drum roll please…..A 1957 Evinrude Sporttwin 10hp 2-cycle outboard. I scored this classic motor in Annapolis off craigslist for a whopping $75. Heck the sporty outboard bracket that I got from Bacon's Marine cost that much:)

Classic lines:)

Note the manual choke, low speed idle mixture and high speed idle mixture!

Cool clam shell cover!
I started the rejuvenation of the Sportwin. That will basically be a carb rebuild, new points, condensers, coils, plus and plug wires. Also cleaning and lubrication as needed. 

90 DegsF at 9am in Downeast Maine USA oh and I moved the mast off Phoenix:)

For Christ-sake please you southerners take your weather back! I decided to move the mast to ground level to improve movement around deck and to better evaluate what is needed to make the mast ready for sea. After some test lifts of the mast in place and getting a feel for the weight I decided it would be simple enough to lower it over the side using some 2"x4"x8ft studs and a 4:1 block and tackle. The 2x4 across the rear pushpit (the safety rail around the rear) was supporting the mast head and only stuck out about 3ft. This one was fine just laying on it's side. The forward 2x4 was counter levered much farther, maybe 5ft and the mast foot was much heavier so I ended up making a T with another 2x4. It may have been strong enough but I was a little worried by the bend and these are just cheap construction grade pine 2x4s. And once the T was built there was zero bend. 

The mast foot was much heavier, but I used the same procedure.  However, I should have left the mast head on the ground as the old sawhorse collapsed and dropped it to the ground.  I really should have seen this coming:( As soon as I lifted the mast foot at the bow, the mast wanted to slide downward to the rear. Then when I reset the mast, the saw horse tipped. I've really got to get "THINK IT THROUGH" tattooed on my forearm or something. Luckily the ground is soft and no harm done.

After some quick measurements to determine if this "new" mast matches the original mast/boom dimensions I cleared up the area and retreated to the basement for other projects and the coolness.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Home at last

I didn't like having Phoenix at the bottom of the hill, it was going to make logistics to difficult and caused a tight squeeze on the driveway. So today I hooked up the trusty old F250, put it in 4 wheel drive low range and motored on up the hill. No slippage but the turn at the top is too tight. I'll need to get some landscape work done before Phoenix ever leaves her hill top perch.

A very sharp turn just past the tree on the left.

 The only problem is dual trailer wheels tear up turf when in sharp turns.

Monday, May 27, 2013

60mph to windward!

A 6am departure from Rock Hall MD on Memorial weekend Sunday was a good call, and I think the cool NE weather helped keep traffic light. Once Phoenix was hooked up I drove to Rt 301 and before getting on the hwy made my first of several routine equipment checks. They go somewhat like this..
  1. grab the non-contact infrared thermometer
  2. measure inner, middle, outer tread temperature on each truck and trailer tire
  3. measure the center, wheel bearing temperature.
  4. check the hitch and safety chains 
  5. check tension on boat straps 
  6. check mast position and supports, from ground level.
  7. reload on coffee
  8. done!
It was on about the third stop, IIRC we were at a Connecticut rest stop when the excitement, red angry moment came and found something else that needed checking. The rear two and middle two side supports were loose and Phoenix had a slight but noticeable lean to port! WHAT THE F! The marina guys had not tightened the supports and only the fact that I had two straps over the top and the forward supports were already in the full down position kept a disaster from happening. I didn't have a wrench large enough to tighten things up but I had a bar type clamp the did the job. After several minutes things were all straight and snug again.

My Ford F250 long bed crew cab did a fantastic job as a tow vehicle. And the 7.3L diesel had plenty of power and by keeping the speed in the 50-60mph range and not charging up hills it managed 12mpg! Not too shabby I think when towing about 10k lbs and have the bed and interior full.  I wouldn't hesitate to pull Phoenix short or long distance should the need arise.
Rest stop on the Mass Turnpike.

Her new home, until things dry out and she moves to the top of the hill. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

D-Day minus one...

Finally after a couple weeks delay Phoenix is on her trailer ready to roll!!! I drove over to Rock Hall at the crack of dawn this morning to beat any Memorial Day beach traffic. The Bay bridge can back up something nasty on Saturday mornings but this early it was a breeze. I did need to secure the rigging and retie the mast back. Looks like the yard workers got tired yesterday evening and a bit sloppy. Then check/filled the trailer tires, check adjust the truck airbags, check fill truck engine and transmission etc and I think I'm ready for the 700+miles to come tomorrow. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Composting Toiler It Is!

Another couple hours at Phoenix today cleaning out junk which included removing the old toilet. This thing really looks vintage, aka old and tired and the ancient seacocks were frozen in place. I just decided I really didn't want to mess with putting in a new nonsensical marine toilet installation, especially since the entire system would need to be bought. So today out it came and straight to the dumpster. I'm not sure of the material of the thru-hull but a swing of the small mallet sheered them off.

The old simple toilet, the way it should be!

I was also pulling off the running rigging to clean and hopefully reuse. While studying the lines to write down which goes where I came up short on one function. Can somebody help? This block mounted at the spreaders is meant to lift something but what? I've never used a spinnaker and it looks like the boat was rigged for one, is this block part of a spin rig? There is no deck fitting to lift an inner sail with a wire luff.  I'm pretty much a main and jib kinda guy, nothing fancy, help:)

Mysterious block

And to reference to my last post about fin keel boats here is an example that is near Phoenix. So how much performance penalty does that three bladed prop/anchor, strut and shaft impose, especially in light air?
Probably could be a fast boat, except for that prop!

Also I counted the boats that I think need to move before I can retrieve Phoenix, 7 maybe 8. Luckily they all look like cared for boats so my fingers are crossed that they move out fast:) Unlike a poor old Southern Cross even further back than Phoenix. That SC has a 1996 registration sticker!
Phoenix in deep storage.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Could a cutaway full keel be faster than an fin?

I suppose the short answer is no, but its fun to think about a Triton that has nearly all extraneous drag components removed that lines up against a fin keel boat dragging a propeller, multiple thru-hulls, speed sensors and who knows what else. I just started thinking down theses lines after admiring the keel on Phoenix. When viewed from behind the keel looks no wider than the rudder. Well maybe a little:)

This is a result of the the external ballast and I've read somewhere that later, after #383 IIRC, Tritons with encapsulated keels are a few inches wider. Now on Phoenix I plan to remove all the below the water line thru-hulls, remove and fill the aperture for the prop. She should have pretty good light are performance for a cutaway full keel boat. But I suppose any modern clorox bottle boat will still take her.  I hope to get her in the water and racing with the Northport Yacht Club on the Penobscote Bay this summer so maybe I'll get to surprise a few of those bottle boats:)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Triton Toilet, what to do???

What American and international rule makers have done to the small pleasure boat toilet is nothing short of ludicrous. The rules for dealing with human waste aboard has made the average head look like the plumbing for a nuclear reactor. Here are a couple examples of the plumbing aboard Triton #503 that James Baldwin rebuilt and Triton #381 that Tim Lackey rebuilt.
Triton#503 built by James Baldwin

Triton#381 built by Tim Lackey

Triton#381 built by Tim Lackey
My own experience with the typical marine toilet installations have been less then pleasant. I was so disgusted that I finally installed an ‘Air Head’ composting toilet in the Head compartment of Rubicon our Heavenly Twins 26ft that we lived aboard of a few years. Overall I was very pleased with the installation and would recommend the ‘Air Head’. My only real issue was the cost! That simple piece of roto molded plastic cost nearly $1000.
Heavenly Twins "Rubicon" Air Head composting toilet

Now to be fair when compared to the full cost of a standard marine head with all the valves,pumps,seacocks,holding tanks,deck fittings and toilet represent a fairly large chunk of change! Granted depending on your boat some or all the parts may be in place, but “Phoenix” has a simple pre-holding tank era toilet so basically I'd need a complete installation like #503 and #381 to make it legal.

So whats a frugal guy to do? I seriously thinking about just building a simple bucket composting toilet. The problem is the urine is not separated as in the Air Head so much more sawdust, peat moss, etc must be carried. I'll need to ponder this topic topic for awhile.