Planning for Spring

photoI haven’t had much opportunity to post in recent months–let alone do any work on the boat. Seatoad sits in the driveway under a mantle of snow and ice. this winter has been particularly harsh–over eight feet of snow in Boston and still a month to go until spring. A few weeks after Christmas I pulled off the cover long enough to lay a bunch of planks across the gunnels. Good thing or the snow would have collapsed the cover long ago.

This afternoon I finally got around to starting a preliminary spring to-do list for the boat. There’s a lot that needs doing.

  • Refinish the hull inside and out–The exterior hull has lost much of its shine while inside the deck has almost no shine at all. This boat needs a major effort to restore its finish. I bought a nice variable speed Dewalt buffer and the chemicals I need. Just need to pads (which are surprisingly expensive!).
  • Install a fuel gauge in the console–Been wanting to do that for years. The OEM Wahoo! method of checking your fuel level (lifting up the seat cover and unscrewing an access port hatch) is pretty stupid.
  • Refinish all the wood–As much time as Seatoad spends in the sun, seems I need to do this every other year.
  • Replace the screws for rail mounts–I’m pretty sure these are the originals. almost all of them are rusted badly and the rust is leachimg out intro the surrounding gel coat. Last year I tried loosening a few and none of them would budge. They appear to be thru-bolted and rusted solid. This will not be easy.

The rest of the items are related–one way or another–to the repower I did last spring. While the new engine itself is great (a Honda 4 stroke) the work done by the service center was awful–sloppy and rushed despite taking six week. They even broke a few things on the boat in the process.

what I need to fix:

  • Salt water in the hull–After getting the boat back from them I started finding salt water in the hull. Never had salt water in the hull before. I need to reseal all of the engine mount holes. It’s possible also that in working inside the hull they cracked or otherwise loosened the tube that connects the sump basin to the outer transom.
  • Fresh water in the hull–I also started getting quantities of fresh water in the hull again–a problem I had solved the year before. Pretty sure this is due (at least in part) to damage they did to the rigging tube when fishing the wires and cables through the deck).
  • Engine mounts–The washers they used with the engine bolst are barely bigger than the nuts. I don’t trust them to distribute stress adequately on the old transom.
  • Prop–They experimented with several props before settling on the one they gave me but I’m still not happy with the result. The new engine didn’t deliver the speed I expected and the prop made a gurgling noise like it was cavitating. Need to experiment with a sharper pitch.

A new year…

The whole month of December without a single post! After a busy boating season I needed a little down time. But it’s time to get busy again. Been working on some bugs/enhancements to the gallery/upload pages and got most of it figured out yesterday while watching the NFL divisional round games (the Giants look like they’re peaking at just the right time…they’re going to be very tough).

Finally (finally!) in the first week of January got the boat tarp/cover fixed on in such a way that it won’t blow off in a high wind or cave in and pull loose¬† after a heavy rain/snowfall. Up to this point I had the tarp tied with sash cord. But a good rain would load the top of the cover with water causing it to belly down into to boat. This in turn would stretch and loosen the sash cord, and then the next really wind day would just lift the whole thing off. I solved the bellying issue by cutting a bunch of wooden slats to the width of the boat and then laying them atop the gunnels (plywood would have worked too but I figured that’d be heavier and more awkward to put on and off). I solved the loosening problem by doing what you’re supposed to do…affixing the cover with heavy duty bungee cords.

The battery is still in the boat, instead of down in the basement on a trickle charger like it should be. I wanted the option of still being able to raise and lower the motor. But now that we’re into the truly frigid months here in Massachusetts it’s time to put it where it belongs.

Tasks for the month:

  • Get that battery stored.
  • Gearcase Screw: When I went to change the gearcase lube last fall, I couldn’t get the top screw for the gearcase loose. It was frozen and the screwdrivers I had were in danger of stripping it. Just bought a larger screwdriver at Home Depot (the bigges they had…I’ve seen swords smaller than this thing) and will take one more crack at it. Maybe the cold will have caaused the metal to contract enough that it’ll loosen more easily. If it still won’t budge it’ll have to wait until spring.
  • Boat and Trailer Paperwork: I am habitually late when it comes to certain forms of paperwork…most especially registrations, inspections, excise taxes, and things of that ilk. Between the trailer and the boat, I still don’t have a clear list of what needs to get filed/paid for every year. AND in the off-season I picked up a second, smaller boat that needs to be dealt with as well. And then there are fishing licenses, Seatow membership fees…creating a list of this stuff seems like a good way to get organized.
  • Safe Boating Course: I took one of these when I was a kid, sponsored by the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Time for another one, especially as the waters of Boston Harbor are much, much more dangerous than the Pennsylvania Lakes and upper reaches of Chesapeake Bay I knew growing up.

Shopping lists for boat/trailer parts and fishing equipment will have to wait until February.