220. 221. Whatever It Takes.

“I hear loud banging from your boat…are you trapped? Do you need rescuing?”

It’s so nice to live in a neighborhood with people who care.  I was taking my evening constitutional along the Foss Waterway when I received that text from one of our neighbors in the marina. Mike was alone on Galapagos. Was he imprisoned and struggling to free himself against dastardly criminals? Not this time. The sound she heard was the one that a small sledge hammer makes when it hits thick fiberglass below the waterline. Sound travels well by water and Mike was in full demolition mode while I was gone. In spite of how it sounded, he was not actually destroying the hull. It’s simply this: we’re back to boat projects.  It’s not enough to actually live on a sailboat. We need to be working on it as well. It’s been a nice break during the holidays but fun time is over for now.

Just look at this useless bottom shelf.

Mike was giddy with excitement when we moved aboard. He couldn’t wait to get up at 5:00 in the blessed AM, walk to the train, work a full and boing day analyzing airplane data, reverse the commute, then come home and start working on the boat. His pleasure is sometimes my pain, but I still don’t know where he gets the energy for this. It was with a certain amount of glee that he began our current demolition job. I say ‘our’ only because I get to watch, hand him the shop vac, and then I will get to do much of the finish work. Mostly at this point I praise his efforts and manliness when he is destroying things.

On the short list has been a desire to remove these huge fresh water foot pump enclosures from beneath each sink. They exist, right there in the middle of the easiest-to-reach storage space, should you want to have fresh water in the tap without using electricity. We understand the desire to be able to circumvent the electrical pump system should it break down, and we’ll be putting a hand pump at the sink in the galley during that coming refit. (We will also be carrying extra water in jugs, because that’s how I roll to appease my Amy G. Dala.) Our boat was built in 1974, a time when people had fewer choices in terms of creating their own electricity on their vessels. These foot pumps would have been necessary while at anchor back in the dark ages of my highschool years.

Now we have solar panels that crank out the amps, and pumps that draw very little power. The water to these foot pumps has been turned off for so long that the valve to turn it back on is almost frozen in place. To try to turn this valve will be to break this valve. That’s how much the foot pumps have been used.  Every time I go to put something away underneath a sink I’ve been irritated by these ungainly fiberglass housings. Why did they need to be so darned big? Seems Demolition Mike was irritated, too, so out came the tools of destruction.

One thing about our 1974 boat: everything is built hell for stout. Those Greeks really knew how to build boats to last. Mike had to power through close to an inch of fiberglass and heavy mahogany plywood. His tools of choice: the handy Ryobi multi-tool with flush cutting blade, a bottle jack for putting pressure on the cut pieces, a small sledge hammer for when the pieces fail to yield to the bottle jack, a pry bar, shop vac, and extra batteries for the power tools.

It felt a bit like sacrilege to remove such well built equipment. The original  pump, made in France,  was plenty corroded on the bottom, but it would probably still work if cleaned up. There are no moving parts. Just a seal to create a vacuum. The stainless fittings, however, are now a permanent part of this unit as the marriage of dissimilar metals put together has taken hold and they have become one.

I think it literally causes Mike pain to throw equipment like this out. We’ll probably put this on the free pile in case some soul is in need of an extra boat project.

These cabinets will finish out nicely and the extra, easy to reach, storage will be welcome. We can store a ton of toilet paper here! Or big bottles of vinegar and stuff. So excited! It’s the little things that bring joy.

Oh yes, we know those hoses need replacing. It’s on the list. We’re not very happy about it because it’s going to be a right pain in the butt considering where the thru hull is located.

Another small project has been replacing light fixtures. Why have only one project when you can have multiples? We live in a world of plenty. The boat came with several boxes of replacement bulbs for all the various types of light fixtures on board. We have incandescent lights, florescent lights, and halogen lights. They are all taking up too many precious amps, and there are too many different kinds of bulbs, some of which may be obsolete for all we know. Many of the fixtures have seen better days, like the sconces in our main cabin. The plastic shades are cracked and even more yellow than they should be due to age. So even though they work fine, we’re switching them out to these new ones with LEDs.

We found a nice source of attractive LED light fixtures on Amazon and ordered some to test out. We are quite pleased with both the quality of the construction and the quality of the light, especially for the price. Of course, we are not talking ‘marine’ lighting here. But when you consider that the light will last for at least 50,000 hours and there are no bulbs to replace, this is a bargain for us. Mike was sold on the amp draw: just .24 amps. Does that mean I get to use my milk frother while at anchor? Since we have extra amps and all…

We’re replacing some of the reading lights in the cabins with these little fixtures below.  They are smaller than they look but they put out good quality light that is the right color. I avoided LEDs in the past because the light was always too far on the blue spectrum for me and I didn’t like it. Blue light can be agitating. The technology has caught up and by choosing a warm white color we’ve been entirely pleased.

In addition, we tried these nifty little LED bulbs that work with our incandescent fixtures as they are also size ‘e27’, referring to the screw base. The quality of the light is very good, and they look like a regular bulb. We chose the warm white bulb and are quite happy with the results although they are very bright. We may see if this brand has some that put out a little less light. But this ‘win’ means we get to keep the fixtures we already have in the aft cabin.

I have a couple of larger projects on my list that I’m seriously procrastinating on. One involves paint and one involves that aft cabin. I’d like to tell you more but it’s making me tired to think about them.

For your amusement:


12 thoughts on “220. 221. Whatever It Takes.

  1. You’re reminding me to get back to work. Dang it! I have my new sewing machine, and need to get the materials back out, (put away for the guest parade). The mainsail cover is pretty close to the top of the list, it shredded a year ago. We have it covered with a tarp, and elastic netting, lovely, (not).

    I love all of your lighting options. You are going to have such a pretty boat, inside and out.

  2. Oh, I do not mean to induce guilt! How well I know the cry of the procrastinator. Indeed, it sometimes feels like I wrote it myself! I would say you inspire me with your big sewing projects, but actually it frightens me. I’ve got a sewing project coming up in the aft cabin. And I’m thinking it will be done, once more, by hand.

  3. hmmm… fresh water pumps are HIGH on the list of things that die in Mexico (etc) – – bring spare(s)! – – hand pumps are good but our galley foot pump allows us to use both hands while pumping.

    FYI, we setup an unusual but (we find) very useful installation: our fresh water foot pump goes to the sprayer/rinser nozzle. We use it all the time to rinse, saving water.

    (We also have a salt water hand pump, useful for saving fresh water too. Don’t use it here in BC.)


    • No worries there, we have an extra pump on board, and we’ll probably bring another one as well. I’d like to have a foot pump in the galley in theory. In practice, on our boat, there’s not any place to put one on the outside of the cabinet. Probably why they put this big thing inside the cabinet in the first place. I do like the idea of attaching the fresh water manual pump to the sprayer to be interesting. We’ll give that some thought. We want a salt water pump at the galley sink as well. No sense wasting our water on dishes.

  4. We want to install a foot or hand pump at some point. I hate the idea of being reliant on the electric water pump should it fail. Love the LED light fixtures – your boat is going to look snazzy when you’re done with it. Strike that, your boat already looks snazzy, it’s going to look even more snazzy 🙂

    • It is! And now I’m going to experiment with some paint, starting today, as soon as I remove the butt glue holding me in front of this screen. Thanks for commenting so I can procrastinate further. I know you are a kindred soul here. We’ll put some kind of manual pump in the galley so we can have access to water should the electrics fail. Maybe we’ll see one at the boat show we like.

  5. Wow. I can’t believe all the storage space you gained by removing the foot pump (it didn’t look nearly that big in the first photo). And I really like the LED light fixtures you chose — they’re modern and sleek.

    • Yes, those boxes are pretty big, taking up all real useable space under the cabinet. We considered saving the one in the galley, as we do need to maintain an ability to access the water should our electical system fail. But this entire system is 42 years old so it’s time to replace anyhow. I’m sure we can come up with something that takes up less space than what we have. The lights are really nice. We like them. We really like them for the price.

  6. Thanks for sharing. These are some of the same projects I tackle happily… I also don’t know where I get the energy for it. I never ever use the hand pump I placed alongside my sink when I did the upgrade to pressure pump and nice faucets. I also delight in finding a place for jugs of vinegar (and peroxide). Thanks for the link to the 12v reading lights! Check out sailpinga.wordpress.com to see my latest- a fresh water supply to the toilet using a bidet nozzle. I spent years calculated water usage etc before I decided, silly me. It is a rewarding life especially on the older boats crying out for our attention. – Mrs. O’

    • How delightful! Isn’t it amazing how finding a space for a gallon of vinegar can make your day? I love the idea of a fresh water supply to the head. We flush with fresh water here at the dock and I would love to continue the practice once we fulfill the dream of a water maker. Not on the list now, but who knows? I’m going to check out your blog! Yes, bringing an old and fabulous boat back to life is a rewarding thing.

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