Help needed please - with a succession of frustrating problems

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Help needed please - with a succession of frustrating problems

Post by TyroSailor » Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:11 pm

Gentlemen (and ladies too of course, but I don't recall seeing any around...),

Last spring (i.e. over a year ago) I bought a Centaur, and you may remember I had no end of problems with the engine, ultimately deciding to replace it. I'm still waiting for the mechanic (who's good but too busy) to fit it. The electrics are on the other side so I'm moving the batteries across, which also makes space for a calorifier which I ultimately want to install near the galley.
I've also had to replace the standing rigging (OK - I knew about that) and am taking the opportunity of the mast being down to replace the lights and wiring therein, which is causing its own problems.

All I wanted was a boat to go sailing in - not a DIY project, which seems to be what I've got. Whilst I'm happy and competent to do some jobs (for example, I disconnected and removed all the old engine's ancillaries prior to its removal), some are out of my comfort zone or require expensive tools that I don't have. Is there anybody out there, within easy reach of Southampton (which is where the boat is), who would be happy to donate their time and expertise to help me and hold my hand through the difficult bits? In return I can offer you lunches and other light refreshments during the day and unlimited sailing with me, if required, when the boat finally gets on the water. And, of course, reciprocal help as and when required.

Any offers? I can specify the jobs if anyone's interested.

I'd like to get out there before the end of this summer!

Please? Pretty please?
Last edited by TyroSailor on Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help needed please - with a succession of frustrating problems

Post by Jolly Roger » Sat Jun 18, 2016 9:56 pm

Steve

Ah, the joy of being the PBO - Poor Bloody Owner.

Sorry I cannot help directly, but being an owner does mean you have to become a Jack of all trades. It is a steep learning curve, but there is much advice available from the Westerly web site and wiki, plus from other forum members. You may find being a member of a local club will give a better response for direct assistance.

Are you coming to the 50th WOA meet in Portsmouth (by car is permitted), if so come and chat directly to other owners. You can even have a look at my boat and have a chat.
Roger
Concerto Fulmar FR38
Photos at http://s1294.photobucket.com/user/Conce ... 2/library/

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Re: Help needed please - with a succession of frustrating problems

Post by TyroSailor » Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:17 pm

Yes, jack-of-all-trades and master of quite a few is the thing. I've already gleaned considerable advice from here on various topics and I'm a fairly adaptable sort of bloke and happy to turn my hand to most things. But I know nothng about working with GRP and all the various resins and fillers that you read about, for example, and I'm on a pretty tight budget so I can't afford to call in experts at every turn, nor buy lots of expensive tools or waste materials.

What I need most is experience - that stuff which would have been most useful five minutes before one acquired it.

No - I'm not planning to go to any of the dos (does? doos?) at the moment - but maybe I should.....

Your work on Concerto looks splendid, by the way.

All I want to do is go sailing :(
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Re: Help needed please - with a succession of frustrating problems

Post by Nigel Birch » Sun Jun 19, 2016 5:26 pm

It would be useful to see the list of jobs to see whether we have the skills you're after.....
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Re: Help needed please - with a succession of frustrating problems

Post by TyroSailor » Sun Jun 19, 2016 7:04 pm

OK......
Last edited by TyroSailor on Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Help needed please - with a succession of frustrating problems

Post by TyroSailor » Sun Jun 19, 2016 7:15 pm

The jobs I really need help with are...
  • *Getting the ends off the mast so I can thread the new cables for the new lights - the stainless steel bolts are corroded into the aluminium mast, top plate and heel plug. Then I might need to drill and tap new holes, which is a closed book to me.
    *Assembling the new (well, secondhand) roller furler and getting the length right
    *Glassing in the supports for the batteries in their new position (I have virtually no experience of fibreglass). I can do the woodwork.
    *Adjusting some of the more compicated bits of the wiring (I get most of it but there are some bits I don't fully understand)
    *Deciding on the best solution to the tricolour/anchor light problem
All suggestions and/or offers of practical help gratefully received!
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Re: Help needed please - with a succession of frustrating problems

Post by TyroSailor » Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:35 pm

The full list....

• Tom (the mechanic/engineer) to test the position of the engine with a mock-up thereof, then cut the bearers to fit the new one
• Remove the old exhaust system
[*]Fit electric bilge pump and float switch under where engine will go; wire up and test
• Tom to fit the new engine, secure it in place, connect all the pipes, electrics, controls, sensors etc. (a week’s work, he reckons!) I can do some of this.
• Fit new propeller and prop shaft with new Cutless bearing; connect it up, checking alignment very, very carefully
• Test engine, as far as possible while ashore
[*]Move batteries from starboard to port to be nearer engine electrics, switch panel and instruments. Build up locker floor to support and hold them in place (in their boxes) (engine battery moved and main wiring adjusted. Sort of.)
• Find and buy appropriate new tricolour, anchor and ‘masthead’ lights and appropriate cable; remove old ones; fit, connect and test new ones, including threading the cable along 10m of mast. This requires getting the caps off probably both ends of the mast, which are held on by stainless steel bolts, corroded into the aluminium mast and/or plugs. These now bought, although I might have changed my mind... Test.
• Replace side and stern lights & test
• Attach new rigging wires to mast and adjust length as necessary
• Assemble (and cut to length where necessary) new roller-furling mechanism and attach to forestay
• Possibly get jib altered to fit new roller-furler
• Buy and attach extra block to masthead to take spare/spinnaker halyard
• Reeve new spare/spinnaker halyard and topping lift
• Reattach lazy-jack lines
• Hoist mast back onto boat
• Raise mast and coarsely adjust rigging temporarily. Re-check engine alignment.
• Connect new lights and test them again
• Sand the paintwork on the bottom and rudder and prepare for anti-fouling
• Lightly rub down paintwork on topsides and touch up/recoat where necessary
• Paint bottom, keels and rudder with antifouling
• Paint new propeller, if considered necessary
• Thoroughly scrub deck & superstructure; repair gel coat where necessary
• Repaint non-slip areas on deck
• Buy & fit jackstays
• Refit heads valves
• Fit new sacrificial anode(s)
• Launch
• Check for leaks and hope we don’t have to come out again; motor round to berth.
• Re-check engine alignment
• Test engine and propeller; run to charge batteries
• Find and cure leaks in deck, lockers etc.
• Refit dodgers, mainsail trough, mainsail & jib with all lines
• Secure everything for sea
• Dragoon someone into crewing and carry out initial sea trials
• Repeat until satisfied
• Motor gently round to Gosport to get rigger to do fine adjustments to rigging
• Re-check engine alignment
• Clean all round[/size]

Then I can go sailing.
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Re: Help needed please - with a succession of frustrating problems

Post by Nigel Birch » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:17 am

Blimey Tyro you're up against it! I'm too far away to offer a hand but here's some thoughts:

I've had some success in the past with an impact driver (which turns a whack from a hammer into a lot of torque), penetrating lubes & heat.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_driver

Only any use though if the bolt heads are in good nick and not so good for slotted heads. Drilling it out will be a pain but if you have to go down that route grind the head off, centre punch, and start with a pilot hole. Slow speeds, cutting compound and good quality drill bits need to be used.

If you have access to a welder welding a nut over the top of the bolt can be a good solution.
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Re: Help needed please - with a succession of frustrating problems

Post by Nigel Birch » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:47 am

Fibreglass isn't too difficult to work with especially if the finished article is not on show. I've got a book "This old Boat" - Don Casey can scan and send the relevant section if that would help...
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Re: Help needed please - with a succession of frustrating problems

Post by TyroSailor » Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:12 pm

Thanks, Nigel.

Fibreglass help - yes please! I've got Don Casey's Inspecting the Aging Sailboat which is excellent, and which I wish I'd read before I bought Tyro!

I now have an impact driver and have used 3-in-1 penetrating and releasing oil (I can't find PlusGas anywhere) and have also tried Coke, which someone recommended. So far I've succeeded in removing one bolt (they all have straight slots :( ), shearing the head off another and the tip off a third. Eight more to go! I think I might find a solution which renders this job unnecessary - not sure what though. Might depend on which lamp I buy....

Currently up to my elbows in bits of wire, moving batteries across the boat. And that's rendered more complicated than it ought to be by the previous owner, who I think was an electrical engineer, fitting all sorts of complicated bits of stuff which I don't fully understand. I shall be interested to see if it all works when I've finished it!
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Re: Help needed please - with a succession of frustrating problems

Post by Nigel Birch » Thu Jun 23, 2016 1:03 am

I suppose it's absolutely necessary to replace the cable? And you can't use the existing cable to pull through a new cable?
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Re: Help needed please - with a succession of frustrating problems

Post by Vegable » Thu Jun 23, 2016 9:51 am

I hope I'm not teaching you to suck eggs in saying the following, if I am, I apologise.
Two huge bits of advice I can give is 1) Don't buy cheap tools of any sort, drills, screwdrivers spanners etc etc. They'll only let you down. Go to a tradesman's industrial supplies store for all your tools and see them for yourself. And steer away from Draper tools, they've always failed me.
2). You cannot learn skills in the tight confines of your boat. Practise in the comfort of your kitchen or shed or garage. When you know what to do, then go to the boat.
Re fibreglass. Visit the "West System" web site. They have instructions and a u tube video on how to fibreglass. Get some offcuts of plywood from a building site and play at home. For your first foray into fibreglassing buy a small West kit that has the measuring pumps to squirt out the resin and the hardener. It keeps for ages ( at least a year in a cool garage in my case). Get some acetone (your wife's nail varnish remover in the first instance) to clean yourself and the kitchen up afterwards, and borrow some diesel (petrol) pump gloves from your local filling station and play away. It does smell strongly so better to wait till wife has gone visiting her mothers!
Pulling wires through. Learn to solder and get yourself a 12v soldering iron that you can clip onto the batteries. Absolutely invaluable. Solder the new wires onto the old wires and happily pull them all through. There are plenty of how to solder clips on u tube. Simply make sure it's all shiny - use sandpaper , use plenty of flux (a tin of Fluxite), and make sure the iron is hot enough. DO NOT use any form of lead-less solder. Standard run of the mill 60/40 solder.
Finally, tackle each job to its end, don't get attacked by the Tigger syndrome of starting one thing, getting bored, and going on to something else. And finally, finally take copious notes when you finish so that you can pick up a week or so later exactly where you left off.
Whilst you've got a long list, to me they don't seem all that bad or difficult and with a bit of initial practise you should have no trouble in happily carrying them out. At the end of it all you will have the great advantage over a lot of boat owners in that you know your boat inside out and if anything goes wrong, you know immediately where it is and what it is. For me, that gives me a lot of stressless and relaxed sailing.
Very best wishes and good luck. Don't forget you can always come back to this site for more help, suggestions and advice.
Mike
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Re: Help needed please - with a succession of frustrating problems

Post by TyroSailor » Fri Jun 24, 2016 3:15 pm

Thank you, Mike. That all seems like good advice, except the bit about the wife, whom I got rid of many years ago. (That's how I learned to lay a patio). But seriously, I shall take note of what you say - except that I have some Draper tools which have performed well. However, since I have no garage and my shed is full of bike and piles of firewood (something nasty in the woodshed) it will indeed have to be the kitchen, which is about the size of yer average galley.

Actually pulling wires through shouldn't be too much of a problem - it's all the ancillary and preparatory work that could be. And there's room to loop and twist... which come to think of it may be less reliable than soldiering. Or even soldering.

Progress report: I've successfully moved the batteries and all their associated wiring across the boat, with only one unexpected flash. What's more, it all works, even the battery meter which has some very esoteric connections via two relays that I don't pretend to understand. I labelled all the leads before I took them off and just put them back together the same way.

I've just come back from Gunwharf where the WOA rally is under way and where Roger (of Concerto fame) has been extremely helpful - so a public 'thank you' to you too, Roger :)

Now back to the boat to put some of his advice into practice.

I am a bit of a Tigger, I must confess. Or, as I wrote on someone's report many years ago, 'He has the attention span of a neurotic butterfly'. :|
Last edited by TyroSailor on Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help needed please - with a succession of frustrating problems

Post by peteware » Sun Jun 26, 2016 1:49 pm

God wish you were in our neck of the woods
We at second chance sailing would be there in a shot
We had an email from a site member 2 weeks ago
He has a centaur in Beaumaris it is being put in the water Monday 27th June
And he needs it sailing over to Conwy to its new home
He is new to sailing aren’t we all so SCS are going to help him
Maybe sink him who knows lol
I’ll put the video of the trip on YouTube on Wednesday if we survive
If you in the north wales area and need help just give us a shout

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Re: Help needed please - with a succession of frustrating problems

Post by TyroSailor » Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:39 pm

Thanks, Pete.
Although I live within striking distance of north Wales I shan't be sailing round there (I loathe the Irish Sea!) and my boat's at Southampton.

Thanks to Roger's advice I have circumvented the problem of removing the recalcitrant bolts by enlarging the holes in the mast enough to get the three cables, held in a triangle by sail ties, through. I've also decided on the NASA tricolour light since someone else told me how to make the cable joint watertight, and to have no anchor light at the masthead but hoist a plug-in one in the rigging when necessary. (Roger's idea, not universally approved of, but I like it!).

Also replaced the grotty old stern light with one I bought for a fiver at a boat jumble. It'll need a LED bulb in there if I'm to use it much when I'm sailing, but with the tricolour I hope it'll only be used when I'm motoring (or maybe sailing in narrow waters where I might have the engine running anyway). Broke a bit trying to drill the stainless steel mounting plate, so I've just bought some new (and better) ones. Sidelights still need doing (I have the LED versions) and I'm about to go and buy a steaming light (which doesn't need to be LED) to complete the set.

The VHF coaxial cable was cracked such that the sheath conductor is visible in places, so that needed replacing, and the aerial's seen better days too. Whilst I'm spending money I decided to replace that too, and Force 4 had an aerial complete with 20m of cable for about £55, which I reckoned quite reasonable. What's more, I can make it fit the old holes!

No sign of the marine engineer who's supposed to be fitting my engine. He drove off (he lives in the boat next to mine) on Friday morning and I haven't seen him since. :x
Experience: That which would have been most useful five minutes before you acquired it.

Steve
Tyro (Centaur 1361)
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