It was another whirlwind weekend in Astoria for Melissa and me as we continue our monomaniacal efforts to prepare Andromeda for her new engine. The Betamarine 60 horse engine has been delivered to the shop that will build the mounting hardware and cut the prop shaft. Now there is really some pressure on us to finish our cleaning and painting. And find someone to help us move the boat. And schedule a haulout. And, And, And.
But let us celebrate the small victories of this weekend. All of the cleaning and painting of the past few weeks are really starting to show. Just take a look
You will note that we have taken the head and holding tank hoses off the wall temporarily so that we could paint behind them. Early on, I envisioned removing and re-installing this arrangement but have lost courage. It still seems likely that we can simplify or at least shorten some of these hose runs, but we will save that effort for another day.
Next weekend I will move the fuel filter and valves up higher on the wall and then paint that area. I wanted to make the fuel system a little easier to access so that maintenance and switching can be done closer to eye level. The raw water strainer will be removed for painting and re-installed where it is.
In addition to the all the painting, we installed a pair of 12 volt LED flood lights in the engine room. At fifteen bucks a piece, I can hardly believe how much warm white light these tiny little lights put out.
Each light draws less than an amp and is roughly equivalent to a 55 watt halogen floodlight. I think I will add two more which will surely light up all but the furthest recesses of the engine room. The lights are really designed as outdoor landscape lighting so they are waterproof and powder coated aluminum, making them great for the marine environment as well.
But if you want to buy LED lighting and pay five times more, Melissa found what appear to be the exact same lights at Englund marine for $80 each. The only difference between the two is that the ones at the marine store have a longer cord. Put the word “Marine” on a product and you can charge whatever you want. Go here to check out the expensive ones.
Let’s step out of the engine room for a moment. The paint fumes are making me woozy. Another project that bears sharing is our effort to steal WiFi from hardworking Americans (or Canadians, we aren’t choosy). I had read an article in Practical Sailor describing a number of systems designed for the marine environment that act as powered antennas for WiFi signals. Most of these systems use a PoE (Power over Ethernet) amplifier attached to a marinized antenna and cost $200-$300. After spending countless seconds on the Google, I found a device that not only brings in WiFi from all over town, but delivers it to a small wireless router which gives every computer on our boat its own connection. With this setup, we now have a fast wireless connection that works just like connecting to your router at home. Price? $85.
The two products are the Alfa 2 watt long range WiFi antenna and the Alfa R36 Repeater/Router. The setup is a bit more complicated than I would have liked but the results so far have been very good. The Port of Astoria has free WiFi but the signal was poor at our location. With the antenna mounted about ten feet up the mizzen mast, that signal and about twenty others come in strong. Many of those are password protected, of course, but enough of them aren’t to make finding an open network pretty easy.
Next weekend I will be going it alone to finish up a few tasks in the engine room and try, once more, to find someone willing to tow us to the haulout. Melissa volunteered to have a spa day in Seattle with Claire so that I could have a day of rest. Ha! Must…keep…working!