It’s my post, so I can make up words if I want to! A “liveaboard” lives aboard, right? We haven’t done that yet, but we plan to, hence the term “protoliveaboard.”
Upgrades to the boat are proceeding well, so we gave notice at the AirBnB of plans to move onboard next Thursday, 17 May. That’s one week today.
Perhaps we’re overdue for a more practical post outlining what we have been doing in the sixteen days since we arrived. The word, “we” includes our technical expert and mentor, Nathaniel Dieter of Good Marine Services, who has proven absolutely invaluable. In no particular order, “we’ve” done the following:
- Removed, cleaned, dried and stowed the winter covers;
- Drained the water tanks, added a few jugs of bleach, let it sit for a few days, and repeated. The last fill used a commercial water purification product. Once aboard, we plan to drink jugged water for a while, until we can get it tested by a lab, but it should be fine for washing;
- Each water tank load was drained into the bilge, along with a jug of expensive Bilge Cleaner, which served to both “sweeten” the bilge and give a good test to the bilge pump. I made sure to also tested the manual bilge pump;
- Tested the water system and the toilets, which will henceforth be called “heads”. The shower nozzle and galley faucet were replaced and everything applicable in the aft head and galley was caulked;
- Added fuel stabilizer;
- Replaced hoses. Lots of hoses. Engine hoses. Water hoses. Waste. Heater. Drain. Lots of hoses;
- Replaced two through-hull valves. The outlet valve for the macerator was frozen, the Y-valve broke off in our hands when actuated, and then the handle on the manual bilge pump outlet port broke off. The remainder of the through-hull valves got a workout. They’re good for now. I bought wooden bungs and a mallet in case I’m wrong;
- Assembled the fly-bridge cover, which was stored in bags in the V-berth. It didn’t fit very well, and the Bimini leaked like a sieve at the first drop of rain, so we had low expectations for its utility. Debbie contacted canvas makers Sea Tops, adjacent to our berth at the Anchorage Marina, and they kindly agreed to come dispense opinions. To our delight, we got a detailed description of how to rejuvenate it enough to get a few more years out of it. They offered to show us how to pressure wash it ourselves, following which they will help us restitch the seams and apply a sealant. Impressed!
- Upgraded some yucky electrical work, which formerly included Marettes, solder connections, and what looked like Mechano parts. Nathaniel transformed the engine room from a rat’s nest of ersatz wiring projects into a veritable wall-mounted electrical schematic. He added a mechanical switch to isolate our aging inverter-charger from the batteries; a decision that took me a week to appreciate;
- Replaced the entire house battery bank. Originally consisting of six AGM-type 6 Volt batteries, wired into three 12 Volt cells, the batteries were of unknown age, probably circa 2006. They were replaced with Surrette-brand lead-acid batteries of 230 A*hr capacity. The total battery bank should have about 690 A*hr of capacity, which should suffice for several days on the hook. If we venture out longer, a 2 kW Honda generator is standing by;
- Replaced the depth sounder transducer, and tested the unit. Likewise, the radar, chartplotter and autopilot were satisfactorily tested, to the extent possible while tied up. Likewise for the horn, windshield wipers, lights and engine instruments. Problems persist with the comm radio;
- Came perilously close to using dynamite to replace the refrigerator;
- Inventoried the boat, and bought sufficient “domestic” items to live onboard comfortably, including dishes, pots, pans, and bedding. Enough totes, bins and tubs were acquired to give everything a nice dry storage place;
- Scrubbed, soaped or painted nearly every interior surface. Admittedly, the V-berth is a disaster area, being pressed into service as a workshop for the time being; and
- Debbie spent several afternoons carefully sanding the boat’s former name, “Arranmore,” from the name plates astride the cabin*. It was a feat indeed, as she was working above her head and could only use one hand, owing to the wrist fracture in February. Then she and Casper started whispering. The fix was in. Casper is eager to move onboard. We’re soon to be protoliveaboards no more.
Finally, there is a list of items yet to be addressed. We need to replace a fitting on the engine that cracked while swapping hoses. That will require some hunting in the mystical world of Perkins 6-453M Diesel engines. We have yet to install an alarm panel with high water, fire and gas detectors. A second bilge pump is being installed, and the wiring for the pumps is being modified to go directly to the batteries. We also have a small issue with the engine shut-off solenoid, and a wiring snag to chase with the cabin heater thermostat. There is also safety gear to acquire. We’re getting closer…we move onto the boat next week.
* Have no fear that we will respect nautical traditions regarding the name change to “Casper.” A virgin goat is currently tethered to the transom. Once it has been painted mauve, we plan to launch it via catapult in a northerly heading under the first full moon while dancing naked in a pentagram made of red M&M’s. If that doesn’t propitiate Neptune…