Thursday, December 23, 2010

Some great videos

I've been searching around Vimeo for sailing documentaries and stumbled across a few good ones I'd like to share. These offer a great glimpse on what it is like to cross oceans on a small sailboat, all of the good and bad things.

This one starts off a little slow and disjointed, but eventually follows a couple crossing the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean.

Blue Water (part one) from Richard Gooderick on Vimeo.

Blue Water (part two) from Richard Gooderick on Vimeo.

These are segments from what will be a full length documentary about a guy near my age who buys a small boat (26 foot Contessa) and sails from Holland all the way back to his home in Australia. While my inspiration to fix up and sail a boat is a bit different than his, I can relate a lot to him.

Trailer for the full length:

Between Home (documentary trailer 2010) from nickj on Vimeo.

Segments from the movie:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What to do with some old equipment?

In the process of rebuilding Windsong I am uncertain if I should ditch some old equipment or try to keep it going. At this time none of these pieces of equipment are functional, and I had not bothered troubleshooting since I figured I'd try to salvage what value I could out of them by selling and upgrading. However, as the list of things I need to buy grows, I am further seeking to save a buck. Please tell me if I should keep it or ditch it.

1. 1993 Seafrost SA-III (134A) Series engine driven & 120 volt refrigeration & freezer system. I would like a DC system, but have given the current one some thought. It is already set up, though I would like to give the boxes more insulation before cruising. I plan on cruising in the tropics, and I know that matters when choosing a fridge system. I am curious if this old system is worth keeping though.

I don't really like the idea of an engine driven system, I'd rather keep my batteries topped with solar and an good alternator and have a constant cycle DC system. Is that a good idea or should I seek to get this one working? Would this old system have any value to sell? Any particular units I should look at to buy? Since the system uses chill-plates, and they are already installed, would it be worth ditching the engine driven compressor and just buy a DC run unit to use with the existing set-up? If I have a DC unit, I question keeping the AC unit since if I were to be tied to shore-power I would be charging my batteries regardless.

2. 1983 Alpha 4404 Autopilot. I would like a windvane for my self-steering, but want some sort of back-up and for motoring. I figure I would get a wheel pilot, but this old beast is attached to the boat. There is a mechanical control arm, a cockpit control unit, and a compass unit. I wouldn't know where to begin to start troubleshooting this, but would be willing to give it a shot. If just one of the three parts needed replacing, would these old things be worth trying to get going?

Any opinions from my wise readers would be appreciated!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

This is a documentary (1 hour 15 min) about a group of crust punk/hippie kids who scrap together and buy a cheap sailboat, fix it up, sail to the Carribean, live off the land/ocean, and have a kick ass time. They have barely any money, but live out a dream.

This is what I'm trying to do with Windsong, though I am taking a bit more time with the rebuild. I have a lot of respect for what they did, but have a few gripes on how they went about it. I love that they sail everywhere without using the engine, catch their own food, and that they did all of this on such a budget that skill was needed to overcome easy technology. They squatted, stole materials and did some other things that I don't condone...but it's their spirit I love.

Hold Fast: Stories of maniac sailors, anarchist castaways, and the voyage of the S/V Pestilence...

Hold Fast from Moxie Marlinspike on Vimeo.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Out comes the Engine!!

In the last post I had gotten the shaft coupling separated from the transmission. Since then I had disconnected everything from the engine and had it pulled out yesterday. It was pretty exhilarating to get it out and begin the engine room project.

The following was done to prepare for the engine pull:

-Remove refrigerator compressor and its mount
-Disconnect all hoses - water feed, fuel feed, fuel return, exhaust
-Disconnect wiring harnesses, starter battery wire, grounding wires
-Remove alternator (want to replace it, and it gave some extra room to get to wiring and mounts)
-Disconnect coolant water expansion tank and hose
-Remove belt
-Remove air silencer/intake (needs to be replaced, flimsy and always falls off anyways)
-Separate shaft coupings
-Remove engine room side insulation (for a little more room to work with)
-Remove motor mount nuts. The rear motor mount nuts were so rusted and frozen, I needed to use a combo of drilling through them and a dremel cutoff wheel to get them off. They were easily the biggest pain of this whole process.
-Disconnect the transmission control wire
-Disconnect throttle control wire
-Disconnect tachometer wire

Picture time!

Engine and Engine room before anything was removed:

Removing the coolant water expansion tank hose:

Side panel insulation before removal. In poor shape

Front stbd mount. This one was easy

Front port mount. Needed to remove the fuel tank hoses to get to it. Post alternator removal as well.

Mostly disassembled

Engine room

Things that have come off

View from above after removing companionway stairs

Up comes the engine!

Will it fit!?

Piece of cake


Engine room post removal. Cleaning this place up is one of the big reasons I wanted it out of there.

Notice the piece of motor mount lying there. The aft, port mount rusted in half!

The Abyss (aka, the bilge). Cant wait to clean that out

The shaft

Packing nut with loose flax packing. This is what allowed water to spray all over the engine room. Can't blame it for failing after seeing the poor condition of the mounts.

Engine all cosy on the ground, ready for work.

Cant wait to clean and paint the beast.

Now the work begins!