2014-07-31

Another linkage in the chain

Something my American friends are not always used to dealing with is the worldwide preference for metric measurement. The SAE standarized Imperial (or "American", but it's British in origin) gauged and standardized tools and fasteners in the early days of automotive production, and knowing that the 3/8" nut on that new 1910 Stanley Steamer would match the 3/8" bolt from Mr. Ford's outfit no doubt made the assembly line and mass production run more smoothly. While there have been many variant fasteners and tools of unusual sizings before and since the widespread adaption in North America of SAE Imperial sizings...the British Whitworth system, still used in U.K. plumbing, comes to mind...the rest of the world uses metric tooling.
And this is only the beginning...
Now, unless you own, in addition to a Canadian boat with a Japanese diesel, a 1950s British sportscar, you will only be required to carry two complete sets of wrenches, sockets, fasteners, washers and nuts if you are restoring a boat. Get that? Not three. This is not a huge leap for a Canadian boat refitter, as Canada is the homeland of the Robertson screw and bolt, a type very popular indeed in Canada, but somewhat obscure elsewhere, that requires, in addition to the more widespread flathead/slot and Phillips/"cross" screwdrivers and bits, a set of Robertson drivers for hand and electric tools. I also have a bunch of Torx bits and drivers, which remain untouched and pristine as I have yet to enter one in the wild outside of the inside of a computer case...and even then, seldom.
But wait, there's more!
Allen or hex keys also come in metric and SAE sizings, and while I like them in principle, they represent another pair of tool sets and socket drivers I have had to acquire and, inevitably, must bring along. I don't resent this, per se, but when I think that I could disassemble a German engine in a French boat with only the tools I could pack in the most compact of tool boxes, it is to weep. And to list slightly to port with the weight of all these bits and pieces.

There they are, neatly organized inside of under the vise grips. I must have four sets of these between two boats and my house's garage
All this came into play yesterday on the engine. As the Drive to Drive continues, I am becoming familiar with the largely metric Allen screws, drain plugs, nuts and bolts of my Kubota engine. This (the "largely metric" part) makes sense, as it's a Japanese diesel marinized by an English company, and England, despite the Whitworth and indeed "Imperial" provenance, went officially metric in the '70s, even if that means, as here in Canada, that they are more or less getting around to it now. Proximity to the rest of Europe helps in Britain's case, as proximity to the States, noted disdainers of anything the French devised, doesn't help Canada's attempts to leave Imperial/SAE measurements in the historical dustbin. Net result is that I have to carry two more or less full sets of hand tools that drill, screw, lever or tighten/loosen. If it's a specialty item, like a really big socket or a prop puller, that's more weight and expense, but if I really need to pull off the prop, I'll need both.
Useful...to a point.
Occasionally, I'll find a tool/gadget like the adjustable rachet wrench socket pictured above, or a clever rethink such as this:
...or to another point...
...which makes me glad that industrial design students exist. Sometimes I even buy them. But there's no obvious, in my experience, replacement for a deep socket that can fit a buried bolt head attached to a nice long handle. So the embarrassment of hand-tool riches is wanted on the voyage.

Throttle linkage linked. Vroom.
Which brings us, inevitably, to yesterday. I hooked up the throttle and gear shifter linkages, an act I consider symbolic of progress, although it's just the latest step. The nut on the throttle arm was a 10mm nut, but as it was painted, I assumed it was something SAE. Nope!
 
This seems to work in that the shifter lever is shifting, but I think I should reverse that little bored-out piece.
So I was well-warned when I repeated the hook-up for the shifter on the hydraulic gearbox. As can be seen, apart from the particle-covered engine, which will be wiped down before first fire-up, there's an unappealing offset to the path of the Morse/Teleflex-style shifter cable. This photo makes me think I could just put the silvery cap on the little universal joint on the inner, rather than the outer, side of the shifter arm and straighten the hell out of that run. I have no evidence it's an incorrect installation; the engine transmission shifter arm came that way...but my developing instinct makes me think I need to get out, again, the metric spanners.

Which, of course, I have to hand.
Yeah, we'll get back to this level of shiny.



2014-07-30

Looking back and paying it forward

The cover leaves the impression that if you see a shark whilst crouching in the water, you should don a coat, but really, it's a good book.
Something out of the ordinary today, as I once again attempt to acknowledge the fellowship of sailing and the generosity of my fellow sailors by offering (wait for it) a book prize. Not too many blogs bother to hand out goods to their readership, but this is a special case.
These are Ken and Lynn from the well-travelled Silverheels III spotted, unusually for them, in front of a fireplace.
 The Handbook of Survival at Sea, by British author Chris Beeson, came to me courtesy of veteran cruisers (and hashers and boat repair in exotic locationers) Ken and Lynn from the Niagara 35 Silverheels III. Mrs. Alchemy, the Cabin Boy and myself spent at enjoyable evening with them recently here in Toronto as they were back (and shivering) for a vacation from their permanent vacation. They kindly offered me a copy of this helpful volume (along with a part-used tube of caulking which is going on the porch flashing), which had been, in turn, given to them. But they already had a copy. So did I, via the 2010 "Safety at Sea" seminar I attended. But, being part of a thrifty fraternity, I pledged to find this useful book a good home.

So here's the deal: The first person who wants it, gets it, but must come and get it, either from my home or my boat club. Contact me via commenting on this post, and leave a working email. I will reply with my contact info and a time on which we can agree to hand off.

I would suggest this is only practical, the book in question being of a $20 value, to those of my readers in the greater Toronto area, although if you are visiting by boat, that would work, too. Should I get no reply within one week, I will donate The Handbook to my club's Junior Sailing Program, where perhaps it will be of some use in keeping the little Opti and 420 crews undrowned, although they do a pretty good job of that already. Thanks particularly to Ken and Lynn for giving me the idea, and fair winds to you now that you are back in the sufficiently warm tropics!


2014-07-24

Raw, uncensored water


Not wanted on the voyage.

How many readers were aware that below-the-waterline hoses, such as raw water supplies to engines, were supposed to be, according to the American Boat and Yacht Council, who pontificate on these sort of things, the same hose used for wet exhausts, i.e. the wire-reinforced stuff that's eight bucks a foot? And not the admittedly less durable stuff called "heater hose", "red radiator hose" and other terms of endearment related to its far lower price? Alchemy has a standpipe from which several water sources lead; I discussed the idea of standpipes last year here.

Oh, look, it's loads of hose no longer up to code.
Now, there's a limit to my willingness to hew to the ABYC party line and even my insurers don't balk when they see our old friend Mr. Cheap Heater Hose running from the seacock on my 33-footer Valiente to the 1/2-inch elbow and barb of its little inboard engine's raw water pump. But Alchemy is destined for wine-dark seas, not the bar at Dalhousie YC (although we might go there at some point again), and therefore Steps Were Taken as part of the Drive to Drive.

The Beta 60's raw water pump: I believe I'm going to get a Speed Seal for that. And a vacuum cleaner with a pointy end down there.
Steps taken were the usual: expensive and dilatory. Despite having a spouse who works four days a week in a well-stocked chandlery on the waterfront of a city of nearly six million people, many of whom boat, the below-pictured little bronze elbow, which cost all of $15, took a couple of weeks to show up. A T-fitting for the exhaust system (more on that later) took six weeks. I have to wonder about the current business model of the marine supply business some days.

Forgot my camera, so it's the one that came with the phone from here forward.
I needed the little bronze elbow, which was 1.25" I.D. at the Perko Seawater Strainer end and 1" at the hose barb bit, to replace the original 1.25" to 0.75" piece of  plumbing that sufficed for the former engine. The barb leading to the engine pump is 1 inch, and so this swap happened.

Sometimes you feel like pipe dope, sometimes like Teflon tape.
I have an exceedingly manly 18" crescent wrench aboard. It's even got words like "Husky" and the less salacious "chrome-vanadium" on the handle. I gave both the inlet and outlet sides of the Perko water strainer a good crank and I do not anticipate that the 3/4" inlet side will fail to stop the 1" outlet to pump side from drawing sufficient water to cool the engine, mainly because the seawater enters the boat quite low down.
It's dim down here, but you can make out the ice cube tray I used to capture water from the old 3/4" hose, and see the new "to spec" 3/4" wet exhaust hose in its place.
I then dogged down doubled and opposing AWAB hose clamps, because they are better than Tridons for "mission critical" tasks like this and because sinking due to a failed clamp can ruin one's sundowner. It's the old "for want of a decent hose clamp" argument, to which I would be underexposed had two boats not sunk at dock at my club over the last few years due to inattention in this area.


Just add water
Next up is the connection of the control cables. Things have, ever so slightly, picked up speed. The weather is not too hot, either, meaning I can work longer stretches without feeling like I might keel over with heat stroke. Or the less happy plain old stroke.

The little, just-visible arrow is to show "dead center bottom" for the flap that is supposed to keep waves from backing down the bilge hose.
Above is the "skin fitting", a plastic through-hull bit of plumbing that will reroute the bilge hose from its current outlet on the port side second chine to the first chine, and slightly aft. This will be accompanied by the addition of a vented loop in the bilge hose line that should keep the water that needs to be out, out, and the water that is out won't get in. The reason for drilling a fresh hole in the boat is to utilize the existing bilge pump exit, which has a massive ballcock on it and which I suspect was intended originally for the use to which I wish to put it: as one side of the transverse exhaust I wish to have. I have to fashion a Delrin or similar HDPE plastic ring to act as a spacer, as that Seadog product cannot be tightened down to snug against my boat's "thinner than fibreglass" hull plating.

2014-07-22

Legging it on the beach

The traditional British pastime of getting a leg under. Photo (c) The Yacht Leg and Cradle Company.

One thing last fall's trip to France exposed me to was loads of French beach or beach fascimile (or rocks and limpets and muck) revealed by the somewhat pronounced tidal range of south-east Brittany. It's dependable in that it's well-calculated for most spots (thanks, Bloc Marine)  and ranges from about 4.5-6 metres over the lunar month and the state of the winds and so on.
Legs could be in pairs or just one with some sort of trim ballast and dependent on the firmness of the sea bed. Photo (c) The Yacht Leg and Cradle Company.
Now, while in certain circumstances, a large tidal range represents a complication, it also represents an opportunity, as many British and French and Atlantic and Pacific Canadian sailors understand. Sure, the currents of metres of sea water coming and going in vast, sometimes wind-aided volumes can be hard to sail in, but can also, of course, speed your boat in or out of its particular destination. Travelling at about five knots under motor, but 11 knots with the tide, can be a bit of a rush.

Cardiff Bay Tidal Barrage: Aside from all this water stuff, it cuts two miles off the bike ride to Penarth!


The British and others have dealt with their large number of drying height tidal opportunities in a variety of ways: sometimes through tidal gates that "seal in the sea" so that a harbour is essentially locked and does not dry (and cannot be entered or left unless the height of tide allows it). Such a scheme is in effect in Cardiff Bay, and other sorts of tidal barrages are rigged with water turbines that capture the energy in a dropping tide in a controlled fashion.

The Bay of Fundy is a logical place to make tidal power. This is the plant at Annapolis Royal.
Which, from the viewpoint of those keen on renewable energy and not seeing stinky harbour bottoms, is all well and good. But what if there were compelling reasons to deliberately "beach" one's boat?
Ar, scrub the barnacles, ye scurvy pre-industrialist workforce!
The proper, or least saltier, word for letting the tide gradually lay a boat down on its side is careening. or "heaving down". It was about the only way, short of entering one of the rather rare dry dock facilities available prior to the 20th century, to scrap marine growth from the bottom, to replace rotten planking, or to do the sort of caulking needed to keep the sea away from the cargo through leaks.

This is easier for full-keelers because they don't tend to heel over enough to have a porthole or hatch below the waterline when the refloat. Photo (c) S/V Moulin-Rouge.
In some places, when the weather is calm and the shoreline pointy-rock-free and of the right angle, careening is a good way to clean the bottom, service the prop and ream out the through-hulls. But it's not always easy to find the right combination of protected and properly pitched shoreline, convenient tidal range, and water that won't freeze your nuts off; this is why decent careening spots are often marked, to this day, on the better sort of charts. It was part of the "commons of the sea" as everyone with a boat had to get at their hulls sometime, and diving, where even invented, was dubious for the first few centuries.

The combination of a shallow beach, a big tidal range and a boat that will lay on its own hull this way without falling completely over is a rare combination. Photo (c) S/V Sea Comber

Also, in most careening situations, it can be hard to impossible to paint or to effectively scrap the last foot or two of the keel as it will never be fully dry. And you have to do the whole process twice...because only one side of the hull will dry out per tide.

I'm guessing "Malaysia"...the travelift, not the boat.
While the usual cruising boat tactic involves the sort of strap and hoist affair of the Travelift system pictured above, followed by jackstands and cradling on land, the admittedly efficient process isn't cheap and Travelifts themselves aren't necessarily common once away from Western ports and the richer sort of marina or yacht club.

Ladder optional.

Another primarily British method of getting at the bottom of the boat when the tide is out is the twin or bilge keel design. Consisting of two keels offset from the centreline of the hull, and a strong, slightly shorter rudder, bilge keelers will happily sit on the exposed sea floor, allowing all sorts of necessary maintenance.
A slightly faster looking twin keeler.
Utilitarian as this is, they aren't great sailers due to the drag of two keels, and while I'm not entirely sure about this, they don't seem to show up on boats over 30 feet in length, probably because the heavier sort of boat would require far too large and strong keels to support the mass of the rest of the hull, which would create even more drag.
Now, that looks cleaner, lighter and more compact than even jackstands. Easier to stow, too.
Here's where the "beaching leg" comes in. It's a extendable adjustable aluminum sleeved pipe, in essence, with a load-spreading "foot" and tensioned lines to keep it vertical. The main weight of the boat rests on its keel and the legs only have to provide balance, in the same fashion as the training wheels on a child's bike.
It's engineering, sure, but it's not rocket science. It's basically a strut. (c) S/V Panope

There's no particular reason why one couldn't make them oneself, and in fact, that is where I got the idea: from a Cruisers' Forum thread on making one's own beaching legs, although I had seen them mentioned on occassion in the more obscure cruiser narratives. The poster named "Panope", who has an interesting refit thread of his own here, has a boat perhaps even more densely built than Alchemy,

There's a family resemblance, I will admit. Photo (c) S/V Panope.
It's a Colvin 34 and is clearly a labour of love. But as is so often the case when I see gifted craftspeople with intriguing boat ideas, it's the little self-starter projects that catch my eye. Beaching legs could be stowed on deck and rigged at the pipe gunwhales of Alchemy in a rather straightforward manner. I like the idea of not having to haul out for minor fixes, painting or prop servicing. While I'm sure they do fine work, if the prices listed here are a guide, I would be willing to try my hand at making my own from plate aluminum and pipe. I already know we have a good keel bottom for this sort of setup. So perhaps Alchemy will one day stand proud with the tide out, and we'll have the boat with the nicest legs in the harbour.

The less-confidence-inspiring single-leg option. Hope it stays calm.





2014-07-18

When friends go offshore


S/V Giulietta in Cascais marina a few days ago.
The first saltwater delivery I crewed on was on the then-new Giulietta off the course of Portugal in 2007, as related here. Giulietta is a custom-built Delmar Conde 1200 (in other words, a 40-footer), and she is not only a strong and well-conceived design, but is still impressively competitive, as her proud owner, who goes by Alex Gman on Facebook, will tell you.
A hot boat, and well-crewed.
He's right to do so. His well-crewed (mostly with youthful, fearless dinghy sailors) boat is very competitive in ORC class sailing in Portugal and in fact took first place in 2013, as in "best ORC boat in Portugal" and may do so again this season. This is pretty impressive given that 40 feet is not a huge race boat and that Giulietta's competitors are a bunch of larger Swans and other big ocean-rated vessels between 50-60 feet LOA. He's sponsored by a number of firms, including our mutual friends at Fortress Anchors, who I daresay are getting their money's worth out of the deal, given the steady improvement and persistant podium appearances of their logos.
Alex with old-man sailor beard and silverware, with his more appealing and charming wife Julieta beside him.
Alex and his crew have a new challenge at the moment: getting the light (12,000 lbs.) and generously canvased Giulietta to the Azores for some more racing. As far as I know, Giulietta has not been on an actual ocean crossing, although the Portuguese coastal waters can be brutal enough, as well as sporting a near-continuous line of cliffs and pointy, hard parts.
Alex doesn't believe in reefing...he says it just slows the boat down.
Giulietta is going to the Azores to participate in the Atlantis Cup Regatta in Horta, also known as "the Autonomy Regatta", perhaps because you have to sail across a quarter of the Atlantic to get there. Regardless, I thought it might be interesting to note that Alex, who was once self-described as "not a computer guy" (which is strange as he's a very successful engineer working worldwide) has gone over to the tech-savvy side of sailing, and is using a DeLorme InReach device (think "Spot Messenger" with Twitter-like text capabilities), and is also visible via AIS when within VHF range from the Marinetraffic.com site and also via Vesselfinder.com here.

A fairly typical outcome: Giulietta is in the lead.
Of course, a lot of this fine tracking technology will be turned off (and probably unplugged) during any actual racing, as Alex's hesitations about using AIS and these fairly recent tracking technologies was, as he said to me, "not wanting to give the competition any clues". Which, if sail racing is your sport, is very understandable.

As of July 18, 2014.
Now, Alex is currently reporting (it's around sunset on July 18th as I post this in the eastern Atlantic) strong winds on the bow, i.e. westerly winds. As he has a fine crew, a strong, well-equipped vessel, and is himself an excellent sailor, I have few worries for his five- to eight-day passage, but I do find it intriguing how easy it has become to actually see, more or less in real time, where a little boat on a great big ocean is...and to have them say something to the world from their deck.
Evidently, closehauled on starboard
Would that I could be there...I was graciously invited, but the timing is wrong for work and airplanes and boat fixing. But I find it encouraging that I can follow along, even from the pilothouse of my own docked boat.  Boa viagem e bons ventos, amigo!

UPDATE 14.07.21:  They've arrived in one piece.


2014-07-17

Accessibility issues

Plumbing: Holes, hoses and shutoffs...do you know where yours are?

My last, feeble muttering in public was about...sad to relate...keeping the boat clean. I suppose a corollary to keeping things clean is to keep them accessible. One of the upsides of owning a custom boat is having no compunctions about sawing or drilling through a non-structural part of the interior to make an access hatch or other “points of egress” to a particular potential trouble spot, like the lowest part of the head hoses, or to making the aft cockpit sole removable to get at the transmission or the stuffing box.
Handy if you'd thought of it. Photo (c) Regina Sailing.


Of course, this demands all sorts of planning and a deep knowledge...and a good record...of what is behind the trim. As fewer cars owners can do minor repairs in their driveways, I would suggest that fewer boat owners know where some of the wire runs, hoses and vent lines actually go in their boats.
This used to be standard practice, even on "cheaper" cruisers. It's easier to do your own.

My experience of proposing such modifications of access is that owners of production boats are quite resistant to cutting holes in their “highly designed” vessels, even though it is newer, often “modular” designs that the most egregious cases of “burying” critical gear occurs.

Clearly labelled and next to a light source. (c) M/V Sea Spirit

A friend of mine thinking of buying a boat a while back had a 2011 Hanse 355 surveyed. The very good surveyor, Wallace Gouk, acting on my friend's tip, found a flexing part of the hull that was unsupported by an untabbed bulkhead. Not a failed tab...a spot never tabbed. A big freaking void. Helpfully, it was adjacent about three holes cut for wire and hose runs, further compromising the strength of the bulkhead at that point. And with the Hanse's typically modern production cruiser-style of modular design, it would have been nearly impossible to rectify this issue without cutting out half the cockpit. This boat was lovely to look at and has the clean lines of a good sailer....even as I said at the time (grumpily, because I dislike the majority of production boats I've seen since about 2000) "it annoys me less than most". I got annoyed afresh after seeing some of the pictures from the survey...eek.

Expectedly, this issue of "tabbing absence" was a deal-breaker for my friend, who moved on to a much better-built 2002 Dufour. Of course, the guy selling the otherwise reputable Hanse had no clue,  I would have wagered. My friend, on the other hand, worked for CS in the '80s and is the sort of guy who goes out in 30 knots on Lake Ontario because it used to be common knowledge that wind makes the boat go, and more wind is better, until stuff breaks, and that's probably the skipper's fault for an incomplete knowledge of physics. The baseline assumption is a well-found boat. Our materials science when it comes to boat construction seems to be far ahead in certain respects of the actual execution on the factory floor.

I am, with allowances made for crew and conditions, similar in spirit, and not out of some antediluvian machismo, but because it's exhilarating to sail in a stiff breeze and to feel the spray and to play the waves and run through one's hypotheticals should something go wrong.
Condofied to the max. I am unwilling to board such a boat to see what the access situation is.

My friend who probed the Hanse hadn't sailed for about 25 years when I first took him out  in my Viking 33 a few years ago, and when he saw the high boom of a modern Hunter and asked "should we help them? They've broken the gooseneck and jerry-rigged one higher!", I realized that such is the impression modern boat design can make with a sailor who's been out of the game for some years.

Funny, sad or true? All three, I think. (c) Bill Bishop/The Marine Installer's Rant

Modern boats can appear to be crippled. They can also seem underdocumented, largely inaccessible (who has seen the rudder post?), and products of committees of introverts. Clearly, this is not universal, but it's common enough to make me happy that with a wide-open (in terms of access) custom boat, I can make my own fixes...and even my own mistakes...without too much in the way of hidden and potentially nasty surprises.

2014-07-15

Not dead, just washing

What can I say? Paying work slacketh not during my summer, nor do boat part suppliers move faster. I've made some progress on Alchemy, but nothing I consider blogworthy at this point. Valiente has supplied some actual sailing, on the other hand, and I decided to clean her up a bit...also an excuse to buy a new, on-sale power washer.
The stowed Portabote may be a source of windage.
The missing bits needed on Alchemy are part of the raw water supply circuit; I need to work in part to pay for the AWAB-brand hose clamps I insist on using below the waterline. What can I say? See a few boats sink at dock because of poor hose clamp choices, and it affect a man. So your garden-variety Tridon and whatnot are kept high and visible. The new, mandated "wet exhaust grade" hose is pretty spendy, as well, when compared to Ye Olde Radiator Hose, found on most boats.
Almost beautiful in their way, but they are frighteningly expensive...and I get a discount.
I will shortly be moving onto other hook-ups in the Drive to Drive, but I'm still sourcing a decent house bank price. I've decided that the L16 format discussed here is probably the way to go, but that I need not go with Trojans, which I have come to believe command an unjustified premium. But I can get motoring with just a start battery. On the near horizon is getting a skin fitting and punching a hole for it through the hull for the bilgewater hose; the current set up is using the port side of the dual exhaust setup noted here...I actually have all the requisite parts in place and aboard, but if I set it up in the fashion I want, there's no outlet for the bilge pump. Which is, of course, a touch problematic.
 
A reasonably clean old girl
Well, at least my decks are, if not shiny, less grubby. Dockmate Jeff's sparkly Dufour 36 is, frankly, of unusual gleam for a 12-year-old vessel, and while no one would accuse me of nautical fastidiousness, I like to be in the top half of the Grubby Barge range, even if it doesn't help the speed as much as a hull scrub.

The guy on the other side of Valiente got a dock just for his jetski. Go figure.
It has been pointed out that I have been spending more time on Facebook than on this blog, and while technically true, this is arguably because Facebook is far more hit-n-run for a quick blather than an essay about whatever's occupying my boaty mind, featuring 20 links and 15 non-blurry photos. But I can see a bit of time opening up shortly, and hope to get back to the work my work subsidizes...and even to blog about it...soon.

2014-06-05

Incrementalisms

The nature of my work demands my presence at a home office, and while this is a far more amenable setup for me and my anti-social tendencies than in an office, which I gave up at the end of the 20th century, it does mean I occasionally have less time to do boat jobs than I would prefer. Take yesterday: I couldn't leave the house until 1430h, leaving about four hours to play with before dinner and family time would call me back to shoreside. So instead of tackling some of the remaining, if time-eating, engine jobs, I thought to do some small things. I have to do them sometime, and it's better than sitting at home awaiting developments.

The pilot berth is the "before" shot. Actually, there are items visible that are getting installed next.
I tidied up my bits and pieces locker, which contains various small tools and designated plastic boxes labelled "plumbing bits", "self-adhering tape and electrical tape" and "marine-grade wire". And so on. I've found smallish tackle boxes and similar plastic tool boxes (many of which have been salvaged and repaired by myself) a logical way to parse order from chaos in the boat bits biz. I was driven to this some years ago when I had to tear apart Valiente looking for a flaring tool. Well, that tool is now in the black box with the green painter's tape. The action of labelling is, for me, the act of remembering. Wouldn't be the first paradox I've encountered in this process.

Relatively robust plastic box: $2 at Active Surplus. Skinny gaps are prevalent aboard, and slotting things like this between bigger tool boxes reduces movement and chafe. Or so I hope.
Removing an elderly nuts and bolts set of plastic drawers to a more prominent position (which I had to do as I couldn't access "BRASS SCREWS" without hazardously lifting the whole five-kilo mess free of the locker) made space I could use. I've noticed as I've been ramping up the electrical work that I use the above four tools (two kinds of crimpers, a really nice Ideal wire stripper and my beloved $9 used Klein cutters) in conjunction, and so it made sense to pack them together instead of leaving them on the helm or hanging from a clamp. And lo, they fit into something I'm guessing held Internet installing tools in the '90s, and which cost a few coins.


The recently acquired Powerpole spares have come in handy for the various test leads and runs I'm doing that have to be disconnectable. This includes the fairly considerable runs that go through the pilothouse roof. At some point, I will be laying down spacers to isolate the aluminum from the steel frame, and I'll be sealing the flange from water ingress with a combination of HDPE spacers used as bushings and washers,  EPDM rubber stripping and good ol' butyl tape. The new Tricrimper, by the way, is giving me great results in a way that the otherwise fine Ancor crimper was not.

A little loud in more than one sense, but surprisingly effective.
One of the reasons I like our new Standard Horizon GX-2200 is that it has a number of secondary functions that I am actually likely to use beyond the usual "VHF and AIS" functions I've already mentioned.  One such function is the PA/Fog Horn. Above is pictured a 7.5 watt/8 ohm "PA/talkback" horn I got at the closing of Kromer Radio a couple of years back, again, for a handful of coins. While I've already ordered the "official" PA/Fog Horn from Standard Horizon, I thought to see if I could get this working, despite the impedence difference. Let's say I wasn't planning on alerting the fleet.

Well, it works, all right. While I had to be careful with output levels and the inevitable feedback, I was able with this antique to both use it as a reasonable PA and to hear the variety of sound signals the GX-2200 is able to produce. I've sailed in fog, and my wife or son is quite accustomed to standing on the bow with an airhorn of some description even in clear weather, as we've encountered kayakers emerging from behind seawalls before. Andnot only is the ability to make sound signals mandatory, I think it's useful to be able to make yourself audible in tight situations or to unlit and unbeaconed vessels, such as fishing boats. Again, this is a situation I've had before, where I've heard someone (in bright fog) and have narrowly avoided a collision. The GX-2200 will run AIS and fog signals simultaneously, which is also a plus. Anyway, even temporarily wired, the thing works, and it was a little odd "listening" to the outside noises in "talkback mode".  I would imagine I'll use this particular speaker for intercom or external speaker use, like to hear Ch. 16 if I go below decks. What is interesting to me these days is how items I essentially purchased "on spec" are now actually getting installed. Yay for me.

Who doesn't like red balls?
The old black one cracked and fell off. The new one is more lurid. Something similar will eventually show up on the outside helm. Dual levers are more "powerboaty", I think.
 
Not seen: a bag of Power Lugs. Seen: $1 LED sticky lights for the underside of locker lids and so on.
This is the MaineSail-recommended FTZ battery lug crimper. As mentioned in the last post, a lot of luggery is approaching, and this is the right tool. It took some time to source.

Squint and all is revealed.

The legend on the labels gives guidance on the die settings. Seems pretty straightforward, but then I've been trying to get this one right, as the ability to make up my own cables in as conductive a manner as is possible is important to me...and important to keeping my expensive batteries content, if that's a term one applies to lead plates in an acid bath.

Crimp, rotate lug 90 degrees, and crimp again. That'll never come off, or so it is hoped.
The dies are coded and rotate in order to make a crimp tight enough, if done correctly, to exclude moisture ingress, to mechanically bond to the conduit, and to make the electrons within think "I didn't even notice I was leaving that battery!"  And these and some other little and less photogenic jobs made up my late afternoon.  I also met my new dock neighbours, Kris and Jenny, of the Mumm 36 Ace, mentioned in this blog which appears to be written by one of their crew. Now, I've never seen a Mumm 36, although I've seen plenty of Mumm 30s (there are several at our club), but it looks like a pretty hot sled, especially from the early '90s. Let's just say that the contrast between Ace and Alchemy is pretty obvious, but while I appreciate and enjoy a well-built race boat, I know what I prefer to take offshore.

The next-dock neighbour's ride: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoYV0T6lhDE 
Don't know why it's failing to embed!