Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bungee hatch holder

A good way to hold a cockpit hatch lid open is with stout bungie cord, as shown here. The slight amount of stretch required to get the cord over, for example, a sheet cleat makes it very secure, much more so than using non-elastic line. Also, the elastic bungee will stretch enough to accomodate seat cushions. You can secure the bungee with short fat screws holding finish washers. Just pull a loop of bungee under the finish washer, tighten down the screw and trim the bungee - works great.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wrench sizes

A great time and temper saver is a list of the wrenches you use for occasional tasks.  Reaching the transmission dip stick ("trans. 11/16 socket") or engine zinc ("9/16 crescent") may require the skills of a contortionist, but at least you know you have the right tool in your hand.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Parts list

These are the parts I use in winterizing Journeyman's Westerbeke 12B engine, a 10 H.P. Diesel. The parts add up - $152.97! I could save a few bucks buying an aftermarket oil filter, but filters are critical and a filter is cheap compared with a worn out or blown engine. The engine has two on-engine fuel filters, the elements for which cost $9.90 and $21.66. Journeyman has two 11 gallon fuel tanks (each in a cockpit locker) and each tank has its own Racor fuel filter - a very nice system, giving redundancy to protect against bad fuel, and providing clean, dry fuel before the fuel even reaches the first on-engine fuel filter. The Racor filters will take out water as well as fine contaminants and are world famous for efficiency, but even on line the best price for replacement elements is $25.00.

There are three zincs, at $4.69 (for the engine's heat exchanger), $10.99 (shaft) and $7.64 (the Max Prop's hub zinc). The heat exchanger zincs last about two years but I replace the shaft zinc and the hub zinc every year.

I already had a spare raw water pump impeller so I didn't buy another; same with the belts.

The rest is non-toxic antifreeze, Sorbies to absorb spilled fuel and oil, and of course the engine oil. I have always used just a gallon of antifreeze, saving a bit for the potable water system and the head, but this year Joe at Portland Yacht Services, who knows Diesel, told me to use two gallons. He also said to be sure the engine was at full operating temperature before letting it take up the antifreeze, to make sure the thermostatic valve was open. You got it, Joe.
I generally cut a piece of Sorbie to fit in the oil pan below the engine, where it lives year 'round until replaced. The Sorbie absorbs oil and fuel and rejects water, so it keeps any drips from finding their way into the bilge.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Stove fiddles

Journeyman has a two burner Origo alcohol stove. It is not pressurized but burns quite hot and clean. I am very happy with it. The stove lives in a stainless box which contains spills and is easy to clean. The stove came with gimbels, but I could never get them to work well and I am not sure they are a sound design - most gimbled stoves have an oven and are deep and, you might say, well ballasted.

In any case, I needed fiddles and the solution I came up with works well. In the photo you can see two brass rods, 1/4 inch (6 mm). I cut them about a half inch longer than the box is wide, and I then had a machine shop cut threads in each end for an inch or two. (The service was very inexpensive - less than ten dollars.) I then put two brass nuts at each end of each dowel, and locked them against each other so they are tight. I drilled holes in the stove box to fit the dowels (slightly overlarge) and, by flexing the dowels slightly, fitted the dowels into the holes.

The bottom dowel holds the stove in place, and the top one keeps pots on the stove. The dowels are easy to remove, non-corroding - a good simple design.

Perhaps it goes without saying that the best way to heat water on a boat stove is with a tea kettle. Not only is it efficient and lets you know when it is at the boil, but one can leave unused water in the kettle and stow the kettle in a locker, where it won't spill a drop.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tack Hooks

Journeyman was originally designed for roller reefing, but now she has old fashioned reefing, so called "jiffy reefing." When I bought her there was no very good way to secure the tack, and I used to lash the new tack (reef cringle) to the boom with some low stretch line, which took a while and was generally unsatisfactory. Modern booms often have tack hooks with which one can easily secure the cringle, and I decided to fashion one for Journeyman.  You can buy the hook at a good supply store. I secured it to the flange (used with the roller reefing gear) with a stainless steel padeye through-bolted and secured with I think 3/16 inch bolts, backed with washers and secured with Nylock nuts, which are resistant to loosening. The system is easy to use and plenty strong, and it cost little.
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