HAUL-OUT NEWSLETTER 3- Making the Video and Repairing Fiona

Long Island, January, 2004

During Fiona’s haul-out from October to approximately May of 2004 I will briefly list the work needed to get her shipshape for the next cruise.

Work on the boat was interrupted in December when I took a twelve-day break to visit my children in Tennessee and Florida. While in Florida I spent several days at my friend Lew’s place in order to put together the video of the 2002-2003 circumnavigation. I had already done a preliminary sort of likely scenes from the eight cassettes I recorded during the trip. Lew had loaded these onto his computer before my arrival and we spent more than four intense days editing the exact sequences, fixing the sound, adding music and voice-over, etc. We are still tweaking the final version but I think it is the most ‘watchable’ of my many videos, mostly due to Lew’s expertise as an editor. It lasts exactly one hour and I already have several dates to show it at yacht clubs and other organizations. In Fort Lauderdale I paid a visit to Blue Water Books and picked up a chart of the Baltic; my destination for next summer if I can ever get the boat put back together.

On that subject we did make some progress in the month. I got the 8 hp outboard back after an overhaul and put it away until we sail. I rebuilt or replaced several electrical and electronic items including two 70 amp circuit breakers, the on-board battery charger, the engine monitoring panel and I started to put together a new controller for the forward bilge pump. This unit uses two float switches and empties the bilge when the upper one is tripped and shuts the pump off when the lower switch senses the bilge is dry. The existing device still worked but was quite corroded. The propeller, shaft, cutlass bearing and the rudder shoe were all returned and one Saturday morning Walter and I put them back in the boat. The yard put a coating of Awlgrip on the new fuel tanks and just before Christmas a gang of us hauled them onto the boat using the aft derrick and dropped them into position, fortunately they fitted. Once in place I replaced all the fuel lines with new hose, connected a ground wire to the tanks and cleated the tanks so that they will not move in a violent seaway.

I installed the new ‘Tank Tender’ fuel level gauges, which replaced the original float-type gauge senders as these had proven unreliable due to constant motion wearing out the resistance elements. The ‘Tank Tender’ has no moving parts in the tank. The old fuel level read-out on the monitoring panel I replaced with an extra oil pressure gauge. One warm, sunny day I installed a new lower foil extrusion on the Profurl jib furler, added the swivel and drum and it is now in storage in one of the yard sheds until the big day when I can put the mast back. The sand blaster showed up while I was away, but now the weather has turned too cold to start painting the mast and boom. Walter and I stripped the staysail boom in the basement at home and we power sanded it. I have put on a coat of primer. Unfortunately the welder has still not appeared to tack the new winch mounting plates on the mast.

There is also a suspicious silence from the firm that is attempting to straighten the bow platform, I must investigate this early in the new year. And there is a similar silence from the fabricator making a new stanchion. Walter and I through-bolted the hull-deck joint at the forward port side, the next step is replace the rail cap. In the engine room I installed the rebuilt diesel injectors and I put a new chain on the autopilot drive sprocket. Finally I completed the new awning by adding the support poles and stitching on a forward bolt rope with thimbles. Two thousand and four already, only five months until Fiona must go in the water if I am to cross the Atlantic in summer and still dozens of items on the repair list; stay tuned..

Happy New Year, Eric


Lew editing the video with Mell, the parrot, helping out.

The new center fuel tank is man-handled onto the boat.

Weeks Yachtyard is getting full, Fiona is hemmed in by other boats.

Eric busy at work in his basement electronics shop rebuilding the engine monitor.

Refurbished propeller, new shaft and rebushed rudder shoe all back.

The new fuel tanks in place, plumbed and ready for the sole to go down.