Must… Keep… Working…

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

Almost hate to put a red engine in this clean, white room.

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.

Lenbo LED Floodlights

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.

I also installed a new bilge pump switch for the aft bilge. Better now than later.

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!

14 thoughts on “Must… Keep… Working…

  1. Completely random and unrelated to your post except for the vague link to the mention of Astoria….but when we lived there, there was this great place near the water (can’t remember the name) where you could order the “Chef’s Mess” which was basically whatever the chef felt like cooking for you. The only thing you could specify was how hot you wanted it. They had great garlic jelly too. I wonder if you’ve run across it and if it is still there? When we go back to Portland next year to visit the family, we’ll have to get out to Astoria again and look for it.

    The boat looks great by the way!

    • There will always be a time for a headlamp but with these lights, I can see well enough for 95% the work that will be done. I keep the headlamp nearby just in case.

  2. 2 thoughts. Get rid of those fuel filters and aquire a pair of Racor 500fg. Those hoses will never be easier to deal with than before the new engine lands on the beds so don’t put that off. It would be best to replace the hoses with new.

    • I will eventually replace those filters with the Racor 500 series. They are easier to service. And the fuel lines are being replaced with new A1 line this weekend when I move the filter system up the wall. I would really like to change the filters now but at around $400 for the pair plus the inevitable $100 for miscellaneous bits and pieces, I start to thinking maybe the old filters won’t be that big of a problem.

      • We had one of those spin-on Racors when we bought our boat. Switched to the Racor 500 for various reasons but the difference in price of the filter elements would be almost enough to offset the cost of the 500s. Seems like I remember the small spin-on filter cartridges costing something in the neighborhood of $30 each when I could buy the paper elements for the 500 for under $5 each.

        Also, good call on the wifi antenna. We use the Alfa as well and have had very good luck with it. We keep trying to convince other cruisers but they all seem fixated on buying the expensive ones.

        -Steve

        • I’m getting a lot of peer pressure to put get the Racor 500s and I don’t need much more to push me over the edge. I’ll drop by Englunds and see what they have but I am guessing they will be quite a bit more than the online price I’ve found.

          Glad to hear your Alfa is working well. It is always a risk to write up a product after only a few days use.

          Also, your cousin Curt recently emailed me with some advice on having Andromeda towed. Maybe we’ll get to meet sometime.

            • Steve,

              Curt dropped by yesterday, the 29th, and we had a good time comparing notes on Cals and looking at Andromeda. I noted the resemblance to you right away.

              Since Curt is familiar with these waters, I picked his brain on crossing the bar and other navigational considerations. Maybe when we get Andromeda fit for service I can lure him aboard for a few day sails. Melissa and I will probably want some crew the first few times we take her out.

  3. Pingback: 5/13/2014 – Wiring | yodersafloat

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