Monday, 1 March 2010

A pleasant surprise

This time I visited the boat equipped for some serious messing about. I went alone as it would be quite difficult for two people to move around in the mess that I was planning to create. I bought a saw (actually, a multitool), light, various tools, gloves and masks and was prepared to cut up everything that was rotted. As I opened the hatch, I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of water in the cabin. I was actually overjoyed as I could now relax a bit, knowing that imminent sinking is not a big worry. It seems that the tarpaulin I had used the last time to cover the coach roof had done an excellent job keeping the water out. I always thought that the water was coming from the stuffing box or a sea cock but the fact that it was now almost dry meant that it was probably because of rain water coming in from the deck or the coach roof.

I had ordered a Black & Decker battery charger but it had not yet arrived so I could not start the engine and had to rely on shore power for all my electricity needs. Well, the house battery was still going but that was only re-charged by the small solar panel and I could not really count on it. I was however, happy to find out that I could power the bilge pump with the 12V drill battery which I could re-charge with shore power..

This time I intended to get some things done as during my previous visits I did not end up doing much at all. I wanted to cut all the rotten parts of the bulkhead, get the toilet seacocks unstuck and start the engine. The latter was not an option without a battery charger and although I read that you could start a Yanmar 1GM manually, I could not find a suitable winch to crank it. I had a go at the seacocks, trying anything I had together with brute force and although I always thought my level of brute force was pretty good, in this case it was useless. The seacocks wouldn't bulge at all! I was impressed and at the same time disappointed as the thought of having to haul the boat out to fit new seacocks was not appealing.

So I moved on to the task that I thought I could handle easier: cutting wood. Equipped with my new saw I started attacking the bulkhead and soon enough I had inflicted plenty of damage. The problem was that I kept finding rotten wood the more I cut. Where is it going to stop? At some point I had to remove some shelving to gain better access but I could not figure out how. I didn't want to take things apart or break things because it would be a pain to put back together. On the next visit I was a bit more determind and figured out that I had to apply a bit of force to take things apart. After I had removed the shelves I ended up cutting almost half of the bulkhead on the starboard side and my despair grew as the job seemed to be getting a lot bigger than I first imagined. I would now have to remove the sea toilet if I were to do the job properly. Is it worth doing this for half the bulkhead or should I just go for the whole thing now?

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