April 5, 2010
The good news is we have a new bottom – which you will never see – except in pictures. Notice the new high energy aluminum anodes, and the reference cell just forward of the anodes on the starboard side – nice shiny propellers, too. The swim platform is covered in plastic to keep it as dry as possible. You can just see the new transom anodes below the plastic. We had to leave D/V at the docks over night while the fender job setup.
On first glance you may think DESERT VENTURE comes with wheels. No, those are the travel lift wheels. D/V has just been lifted and is about to get a fresh water wash down and ultimately launched. Notice the nice black fender around the top edge of the platform. Doesn’t she look all pretty in her new paint?
The bad news is that going into boatyards is a costly event, even if you plan, and we hadn’t planned a boat yard period for this spring. Our original plan was for a survey and a simple bottom job. But, there is nothing simple about our bottom, and it turned out there was more bare aluminum than the captain expected. Apparently, previous boatyards painted over tiny bits of bare aluminum, which ended up causing us to need more extensive work done – which took longer – much longer! And, two additional jobs were added to the list. There was a repair of an old repair, from before we bought the boat, done on the stem just above the water line. The fender on the swim platform perimeter was also redone – due to poor work in 2005.
Boat yards are dirty places and as much as you hope the work gets done properly and in a timely manner, the minute they take your boat ashore you pretty much lose control of the boat. Most of the boat yard dust is gone, and D/V has ceased to smell “industrial” after a few hours of ventilation. DESERT VENTURE has a very sound hull, the bottom is in great shape, swim platform fender is complete, and we shouldn’t need to go to a boatyard for a couple years. Yeah!
Bruce worked every bit as hard as the yard boys – probably harder, almost every day we were in the yard. He spent a few days behind the port main engine, with me standing by handing him tools and parts, etc. It’s a tight fit and impossible to know every tool that should be taken with you to do the job. Without me standing by, he has to get in and out of the hole constantly. My standing there helped make the job go faster and easier. It wasn’t that exciting for me. I stood by waiting for a request – fighting off the cold, not getting much in the way of conversation to past the time. You probably already know this, but men really can’t chat when they are up to their backsides in tight places doing complicated jobs. Sometimes, it was a one-handed job as he needed the other hand to support his body. He tries to make every “behind the engine” trip count so he doesn’t have to go there often. You see, in order to get behind the port main engine, he must remove the hose from the heat exchanger to the mixing elbow, remove the saltwater temperature sensor, remove the exhaust pipe from the turbo charger to the muffler, and remove the muffler.
He stripped the port fuel saddle tank, re-insulated the exhaust pipe, replaced the bilge pump discharge hose, removed the old Hydronic heating system circulation pump and system hoses, drilled and tapped 18 screw holes for the engine room bulkhead sheathing, and tightened the port main engine starter battery connections. I am very happy he knows how to put it all back together!
A few other jobs while in the yard – removed and cleaned all Electro Guard anode studs and hardware; removed Freeman hatch, on the swim platform, and removed the paint on the seating surfaces and repainted; scraped, sanded, and painted all thru hull interiors.
It was wet and cold that first week in the yard, and staying warm on the boat was not easy, due to limited power. I was relieved when those engine room jobs were done. About half way through the second week, I stopped going to the boat. Work finally started in earnest. It was very messy – probably caustic, and no place for me. Bruce continued going to the boat working on his projects and occasionally helping the guys with projects on our boat. He removed the old fender and cleaned up as much of the aluminum as he could with his tools. A welder came in and closed up all the old rotten bolt holes; and then the yard smoothed over the perimeter and finished the job, preparing the aluminum with several coats of paint and then installing the fender.
As you can imagine we wasted no time getting back aboard on Saturday morning. After we got her all warmed up we headed back to our marina slip. The captain had high hopes of getting the engines up to speed and warmed up, but it was not to be. It is Spring Chinook fishing season and there were more fishing boats than we could count on the Columbia River! So we meandered our way through the maze of boats and went back to our slip. And the really good news is, after 25 days on the hard and living in a hotel, we are back – At Home – in the water!