On the Hard…Continued

Projects & Maintenance
Beta 38
Last week saw the arrival of the new Beta 38 diesel. It looks like a million bucks! So, it’s no surprise it set us back the better part of $10K. We opted for a few upgrades such as the serpentine belt system, the 120V Alternator and the very fancy waterproof control panel. I can’t wait to have it all hooked up and ready to run! Of course, we still need to build new engine beds for the new mounts. The stuffing box has been replaced along with the raw water sea-cock and thru-hull strainer. I’m awaiting word whether the shaft is still good. Regardless, we will have to get a bigger prop to accommodate the increased HP. Ka-ching!!! So far the yard has done a good job of alieviating us of any “spare cash” problems.

In addition, the epoxy barrier coat and bottom paint were applied. One more coat of bottom paint will go on when we get closer to launch. From the looks of it, everything below the waterline will be good for a long time. Knock, knock.

I spent the last three days giving our girl a much needed make over! I ordered some Irish Green #38 Gloss Boat Paint from Kirby & Co. and picked up a pint can of Interlux Brightside Black. Add to that the brushes, rollers, tape and rags. However before I started anything, I followed ancient protocol and performed a proper “De-naming Ceremony” – I found the following written by John Vigor to be well suited for covering all the bases:

“Mighty Neptune, king of all that moves in or on the waves;

“And mighty Aeolus*, guardian of the winds and all that blows before them:

“We offer you our thanks for the protection you have afforded this vessel in the past. We voice our gratitude that she has always found shelter from tempest and storm and enjoyed safe passage to port.

“Now, wherefore, we submit this supplication, that the name whereby this vessel has hitherto been known, “Makaira” be struck and removed from your records.

“Further, we ask that when this vessel is again presented for blessing with another name, she shall be recognized and shall be accorded once again the selfsame privileges she previously enjoyed.

“In return for which, we rededicate this vessel to thy domain in full knowledge that she shall be subject to the immutable laws of the gods of the wind and the sea.

“In consequence whereof, and in good faith, we seal this pact with a libation offered according to the hallowed ritual of the sea.”


With the right words spoken, I poured out the contents of a travel-sized bottle of Maker’s Mark Bourbon, assuming the Gods would much prefer that to cheap champagne. And it was done. Immediately to work I went – meticulously taping, prepping and sanding the old name off the transom. I took most of the day Friday, but once the prep was done I was quick to paint the gloss black onto the transom name board and the secondary top stripes.

The smaller top stripe was painted with Interlux Brightside - Black. Rolled and tipped with a brush.

The smaller top stripe was painted with Interlux Brightside – Black. Rolled and tipped with a brush.

Being that it was “Good Friday”, Lupe (the Yard Boss) suggested we appropriate some cold beer to usher in the half-day of work. I wholeheartedly agreed, as it doesn’t make any sense to watch paint dry without a beer within arm’s reach. As luck would have it, there was beer purveyor within walking distance of the yard. So as the black paint dried, we got wet!



Not wanting to temp fate by applying the new name the same day the old was removed – I called it a day. The black was still tacky to the touch, and my productivity was significantly curtailed by the beers and banter with the guys at the yard.

I got an early start the following morning and in no time at all had the transom stencil applied. With all the of prep done the day before I cracked open the Irish Green #38 and went to it – rolling on the paint with the roller and tipping with the brush. I did the transom name board first, then the boot stripe, and finally the large primary stripe. It took a few hours to do the first coat. By the time I was done with all the stripes the name board was ready for another thin coat for the lettering. Several passers by came to offer compliments. It was nice to get positive reinforcement. Lupe was impressed enough with my prep work and painting to offer me employ at the yard. I told him I may soon be indentured to him anyway – depending on the final bill.


After the paint was dry I gave it a very light sanding with some 400 Grit and wiped away the residue. I peeled off the stencil on the name board and couldn’t help but feel proud. Although I still needed to hand-paint the white lettering, it was looking better than I imagined.

FirstCoatGreen2 SecondCoatGreen

The following morning I went back to the yard with coffee in tow and all but ran up the rickety ladder to brush in the white lettering and finish the new name. I was well rested and steady handed, so it was quick work and took less than an hour. I stood looking at the transom for a bit before undertaking the second coat of green on the boat stripes. By 2PM I was done! After all the brushes were clean and scraps thrown away, I went and stood behind the transom to take a good long look at my work. So long “Makaira” hello “San Patricio”!




On the Hard

Projects & Maintenance
Old bottom paint off and all blisters sanded and filled.

Old bottom paint off and all blisters sanded and filled.

Our second week with the boat out of the water was marked by St. Padraig’s Day weekend and more progress on all of the “On The Hard” projects. The previous weekend was used to prep the old Faryman for removal. I disconnected all hoses and linkages, along with the mess of wiring leading to the engine. My toils proved worthwhile, for the yard made quick work of hoisting out the Faryman without having to do the tedious work. I also managed to salvage the ridiculously priced flex coupling, which prior to removal was deemed worthy of a full warranty refund by the good folks at Farymann North America. Jackie and I were relieved for that, as the reimbursement will assuage the sticker shock of the new engine cost.

The Farymann R30 taking a much neede rest.

The Farymann R30 taking a much neede rest.

With the boat out of the water awaiting a new Beta 38 engine, several projects are underway in the meantime. The hull has been stripped of all the old bottom paint and all the blisters have been sanded and filled. Word around the yard was the thickness of our hull was more than ample – well over an inch thick in some places and no less than an inch thick all around. nice and solid! After a few coats of epoxy barrier coat and some new bottom paint, she’ll be good below the waterline for a long time to come.

A few large blisters and a few clusters of small ones - not too bad really.

A few large blisters and a few clusters of small ones – not too bad really.

Once the Farymann was hoisted out, we had the space to get into the engine room to really clean it. I pulled out the non-working water heater along with a few other redundancies, and terminated most of the loose wire runs. There is a considerable amount of half-assery that will need to be retrofitted, but thankfully nothing we can’t manage ourselves. It’s easy to take shortcuts in such a limited space, but the extra investment in time for a proper installation pays off in the end – and it looks tidy too. I predict I’ll be an expert in wiring by the time we’re through. It’s funny, all the random jobs I flirted with whilst getting lost on the way to college have now cumulatively asserted their worth. However, I’ve learned that anything that needs fixing on a boat takes 2x longer than its terrestrial counterpart – no matter how simple the task. The guys at the yard learned this long ago, and that’s undoubtably why they move so slow.

Jackie did an amazing job of scraping and cleaning the engine room.

Jackie did an amazing job of scraping and cleaning the engine room.

Of course, the dirty fuel tank was top priority. After mustering the guts to plunge cut a giant hole in a perfectly good teak & holly cabin sole it moved pretty quickly. Beneath the 3/4″ thick sole was another 1″ of fiberglass and ply forming the structural floor. I cut that approximately 2″ smaller to act as the support lip for the hatch. Before cutting into the tank, the 60+ gallons of fuel left had to be drained. It nearly took the whole day, 5 gallons at a time, but we got that sucker bone dry.

Draining the fuel tank...

Draining the fuel tank…

Safe, read safer from explosions, I used the packaging provided with the 10″ Seabuilt ports as a cutting/drilling template and put all the necessary holes on each side of the internal baffle. However, when drilling the holes for the aft port I hit a second internal baffle that I had not accounted for. With 2 baffles, the only access we had to clean the after most tank liner was the fuel sending unit hole which, is less than ideal. In the meantime, with the two 8″ holes cut we could see the crud within the tank liner – the inner aluminum was caked with brown gunk.
Installing two new fuel tank access ports.

Installing two new fuel tank access ports.

We cleaned the tank with degreaser and scrub brushes as best we could. Jackie was in up to her shoulders and got a majority of the cavernous tank clean to the metal. The aft baffle will have to be pressure washed through the small 3″ diameter sending unit hole. After that’s done the tank will be good as new. Later down the road I may rig an inboard fuel polishing system separate from the fuel intake filter to ensure the tank stays clean inside. For now we’ll be fine with pre-filtering new fuel at the inlet during pumping.

No wonder we were having fuel problems! Just look at that muck coating the entire tank liner.

No wonder we were having fuel problems! Just look at that muck coating the entire tank liner.

New Fuel Tank ports installed and tightened.

New Fuel Tank ports installed and tightened.

Other than that, I found that the water pressure pump was operational – just needed to be properly wired with an inline fuse. I removed the sea strainer with plans of soaking it in vinegar, but during disassembly the heavily corroded metal parts disintegrated….so we’ll be getting a new one. The drain pipes for the cockpit were positioned to smack my head every time I ventured passed the engine room threshold, so I’m re-plumbing those to be sure that doesn’t happen anymore. There’s a few surveyor recommendations that need to be addressed too – all to be accomplished before we launch…..Oh yeah, and we’ll be painting the new green and black top and boot stripes and the new name on the stern! After that, the hitherto “Makaira” will henceforth, officially be known as the “San Patricio.”

A funny thing happened…On the way to the yard.

Maritime Musings

I pushed off from the Shoreline Marina slip just after 8AM for a quick solo cruise up to the yard in Wilmington. The planned 3 mile route would take me out around Queensway Bay and Piers J and F, then up and in between Piers D and T, under the Gerald Desmond Bridge and under the double-draw Commodore Schuyler F. Heim and Henry Ford bridges. Just beyond the two draw bridges were Cerritos Yacht Anchorage and Eddie’s Marine Services, the final destination for haul-out and bottom paint. I performed a radio check before leaving and pre-programmed the frequency on the radio telephone to 156.65 MHz (Channel 13). Once I was near the bridge, I would call the draw tender to request raising both bridges. Both bridges when up allow for 163 feet of vertical clearance, but in the down position the Heim and Ford bridges are 38′ and 6.7′ respectively – not nearly enough for the mast to clear. I was looking forward to what I imagined to be an exciting display of the limbo dance with our boat and 2 large bridges! What could possibly go wrong?

3 mile course from Shoreline Marina to Cerritos Yacht Anchorage.
3 mile course from Shoreline Marina to Cerritos Yacht Anchorage.

After clearing the marina breakwater, I raised the RPMs on the motor and made way for Pier J. It was a gorgeous morning, and the only other moving boats I counted were fishing vessels on their way out and the Harbor Patrol. Being within the harbor the water was calm and I was making good time. If not for the cacophony of the Farymann, it would have been a quiet morning. I began singing a few Irish standards to compete with the engine racket. Singing “Dirty Old Town” helped pass the time and distract me from the lingering unease that something was bound to go wrong – at any second. Nevertheless, I was already about halfway, with  the Gerald Desmond Bridge insight.

With the tankers at their moorings it was like sneaking passed sleeping giants. I was now heading up the channel between piers D and T. I slowed momentarily as the Fire Department tug backed out of a dock up ahead, but as they sped away quickly I had no need to adjust my course. I brought the RPMs back up, being respectful of the 5 MPH limit…and perhaps the only one to do so. As I passed underneath the Desmond Bridge I heard the zoom of the cars overhead. I was reminded of a gondola ride in Venice and the requisite kiss for passing under each bridge. I wished Jackie was with me so we could respect the tradition in kind. With the Desmond bridge now behind me, it was a left turn at the inner harbor and onward to the two big limbo bars.

As I neared the double draw bridges the channel narrowed considerably, and up ahead to starboard was a BIG Russian tanker being off-loaded at Pier A. I lowered the RPMs just above idle so I had a better chance of hearing the radio. I hailed the draw-tender on the posted frequency….
I hailed the draw-tender again on the posted frequency……
For charm’s sake I hailed the draw-tender a third time………and nothin’.

The sign posted on the bridge informed me that the signal to raise the bridge was 3 prolonged horn blasts. Without a working horn my only option was the $19.99 Horn-in-a-Can. I pulled it out of the cockpit locker, raised and pointed at the bridges and squeezed. PHHEEeesssssssss! Before the damned thing could even get started it quit, and did little more that spew out freezing liquid. Some horn that was. I resisted the urge to throw it as hard and far as I could.

So with little else to do until communication was established, I was reduced to making nice circles in front of the bridges. I was hoping I would be seen, and thus not so easily ignored. I switched to neutral and hove to. I lowered the RPMs to idle and tried to hail again….
I waited a good 5 minutes and hailed the draw-tender again, and this time requesting the bridges lifted. Amazingly enough was a quick response, all of which was completely unintelligible – just squelch and mumbles. I most certainly did not copy that reply. My request to “SAY AGAIN, OVER” was not answered…..Again. And again.

For nearly an hour I made circles in front of the bridges - trying to hail the draw-tender with everything but smoke signals.
For nearly an hour I made circles in front of the bridges – trying to hail the draw-tender with everything but smoke signals.

For nearly and hour, I made my fun little circles in front of the bridges. Meanwhile I was in contact with the boat yard asking for their help in hailing the bridge. Unfortunately they could do little to help. Of course, I was all the while diligently trying to hail the bridge. They must have heard me, even as I explained my “No Horn” situation politely – to no response. I jumped up and down on the stern waving to no avail. It was starting to feel like a Twilight Zone episode, were the sole antagonist slowly descends into madness. That was me in front of those bridges – doing those fun little circles – laughing maniacally.

In my last attempt to radio the bridges I had drifted far too close to the Russian tanker than I wanted to be. I shifted to forward to gain some distance from it when just as I did, the boat jerked forward and the engine room produced a loud CLUNK. The boat quickly shook like a rifle report, and the engine stopped. Immediately, I peeked down into the engine room through the companionway. The Farymann had torn itself away from the (port side) motor mounts and had come to an inopportune rest on its side. “Are you F@&king kidding me?!!!”

Before I could think, I dashed to the bow and dropped the anchor. In what seemed like seconds, I let out over 150ft of anchor chain before the 50lb plow grabbed the bottom of the shipping channel. I was now without engine and anchored in a shipping channel with a BIG tanker just 200 ft away. Needless to say, this aroused my ire! I took a moment to recite all swear words known to mankind, and then went ahead and made up a few on the spot. Still at the bow pulpit, I gave the rigid one finger salute to the bridges. Had I grown a pair of wings at that moment, I may have widowed the poor woman unlucky enough to wed a draw tender.

With no other option, I let out 150'+ of anchor chain - keeping me about 200' away from the Big Russian Tanker on Pier A.
With no other option, I let out 150’+ of anchor chain – keeping me about 200′ away from the Big Russian Tanker on Pier A.

Yet, a cooler head prevailed. I called the yard and shared with them the pickle I was now very much in. Within 15 minutes, 2 kind souls in a skiff pulled up to me and tied up. I raised the anchor and we limped away from the BIG tanker back toward the bridges. Thankfully, the skiff had a working horn – and we gave it 3 prolonged blasts. However just as soon as the last horn sounded, a mile-long freight train approached the Ford Bridge. We knew well enough that the train had priority. So with power from the skiff, we resumed my signature fun little circles in front of the bridges.

Once the train passed, I hailed the draw tender, yet again, and this time declaring our distress status……they didn’t care to respond. So we circled….and circled. As another train came and went. And only after another 30 minutes of fun circles did we try the horn again. We held the last horn longer than needed – just to drive the message home. Unbelievably, the draw tender sounded the “Approval” horn blast and the buzz and hum of the hydraulic lifts started up. The traffic gates went down and both bridges were now raising up….and up….and up. We waited just long enough to be sure the mast would clear and passed under the bridges. On the other side I could see the draw tender station. As my two rescuers waved a thanking gesture as we passed, I hoisted a finger straight at them to convey my gratitude.

At the yard dock I called Jackie to tell her the tough news. What was supposed to be a quick $2000 bottom paint job, was now more than likely going to be a new engine job too. Although we had planned to replace the Farymann eventually, we hadn’t planned for eventually to come so soon. In no time at all, the yard crane pulled our baby out of the drink and set her atop boat stands. Jackie came to collect me after lunch, and gave me a ride to my truck at the marina before going back to work herself. I took the rest of the day off – and enjoyed some well deserved Guinness to excess. After a few pints to put things in perspective, I was thankful to be able to laugh about the days events with no damage to life or limb.

Disregard the following if you are not in the draw-tending profession:
If you happen upon this blog and find yourself to be the draw tender who failed me, please do go f@&k yourself.