Thursday progress

In my earlier post Stuffing box flange is off! we achieved the job that has been worrying me most during lockdown. So with that done we spent the rest of this extra day off clearing more debris from the diesel engine and preparing for the electric motor.

This is the stern tube where it emerges from the back of the keel (after we removed all the paint). This is the same tube that, on the inside, we removed the stuffing box flange from. So it is a bronze tube about 1m long fibreglassed into the structure of the boat. The propeller shaft runs through it.
After help from the Rival Owners Association with think the 3 holes, in a line, are from something fitted in the past to cut ropes that would otherwise get caught around the propeller.

The single hole is matched with one on the other side and these should have grub screws in them to hold the cutlass bearing in place.

This is the cutlass bearing. It is a bronze tube about 20cm long that fits inside the stern tube. It contains a rubber bearing with grooves cut in it. This is what the propeller shaft turns in. The grooves allow water in as a lubricant and for cooling.

It needs replacing and we managed to get the rubber insert out but not it’s bronze tube. It seems that we will have to make a couple of lengthwise cuts in the cutlass bronze tube so that we can get it out. Then the new one should just slip in. H’mm, we will see how easy that is.

Then we made some more holes in the cockpit. Top, semi circular is where the holder for the old engine gear lever/throttle was. We will take it home and prep it for the new tiny electric throttle.

The rectangle below that is from the autopilot which we have removed for cleaning and to get easier access to all that wiring.

Below that a round hole and a square hole were from two vents, we think they were for the fridge compressor. We will be blocking them up.

The rough, round hole on the left is from the manual bilge pump. We are taking it home to service, we think it will be fine, it just needs a new plastic ring on the outside as the current one was broken. All the pipes for the bilge pump will be new and routes differently so that we have access to the skin fitting where they exit the boat (we will have it a bit higher too and it will have a proper valve on it).

To do these jobs we removed both the cockpit locker and the cockpit floor for light and access. Jane did some cleaning, to get rid of the diesel stains where we have removed the fuel tank from the cockpit locker. It is now so deep only her head pokes out from it. Steps are going to be needed, at the moment we climb across the empty engine room from the corridor on the left of this picture.

This is looking from the corridor across the engine bay to the area Jane was cleaning. It looks very different. Before the whole area was as dark as the darkest part in this picture. When we have finished cleaning it will be sanded and painted to look pristine. Then a new vertical bulkhead (“wall”) will separate this locker from the electric motor room.

Meanwhile I cut the big piece of wood and fibreglass out from the side of the corridor. It was the support for the fuel tank (and an edge to stop the tank slipping into the corridor. Yet more saving of weight and taking out smell (untreated wood soaking up diesel for 42 years, yuck!).

That big chunk came from the left of the floorboard in the next picture.

In the bottom left of the picture you can see a cut out in the bulkhead which was for the fuel tank tap. This is the bulkhead at the aft end of the chart table which you can see in the picture. We are having a smaller chart table so that you sit facing forward (back leaning against this bulkhead). So we are going to trim the width of the bulkhead to match that tap cutout. Another step towards making the corridor to our cabin wider and easier.

We have now measured and we should be able to store two bike frames (with wheels taken off) in this space to the side of the corridor. We will probably hang them from hooks.

The right side of the corridor as you look in this picture will also move as we don’t need as much space or sound insulation for the electric motor.

Finally, we have been able to make lots of progress around the boatyard. Here I’m partway through removing the storage box we built around it while storing it in the cockpit since we lifted it out in February (see Diesel engine is out. Zero fossil fuel cruising on the way). We hadn’t expected it to be stored there so long. Tomorrow, the yard are going to life it out and down to the ground. Then we can sell it 🙂

We were also able to sort a few things with the other people who work around here. Steve is going to clear away the stainless steel and old diesel and he has sold the rigid dinghy that came with Vida for us.

Trevor is preparing to fit the new toerail (it will look a bit like an escalator handrail), before lockdown Gary got the preparation done by cleaning and filling the joint that the toerail covers with special flexible epoxy resin. This will be a lovely job to have finished as it was in progress a year ago when we bought Vida.

Only after we removed the autopilot and came below did we realise that this has left a big gap to be filled between the galley and the cockpit locker. Planning the rewiring is quite a big job as our electrical system is going to be so different, plus the switch panel is moving to the other side of the boat. We are intending to fit plastic tubes as conduit for all the wiring so that it is possible to pull new wires through in the future. However, we have both 240volt AC and 12volt DC to do and they need to be kept separate.

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