“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.
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.
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.
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: