Monthly Archives: July 2013

Air Conditioning Controller Saga

Since the purchase of the boat, in August 2010, there has been a recurring issue where upon return from sailing, the AC would not come on for anything from an hour to a day.  This would not occur if we simply took the boat out for a short motor around the bay.  In the middle of the summer in the Texas heat, this was not a desirable situation!

The last time it happened, we were in South Padre after just sailing down from Kemah, and all we wanted after 3 days offshore was some AC.  We had an AC contractor come down and look at the boat but they could see nothing wrong with the power going to the unit.  Just after they left, it came back on, as it always does… eventually.  This led us to believe that the issue had to be moisture-related and that after a period of time, it dried out, and the system started working.  As the power to the unit was OK, we looked at the keypad that was mounted inside the starboard cupboard above the settee.  The small enclosure it was fitted in also housed the plumbing for the deck fill for water, the pump out for the small holding tank under the settee and the breather pipes for both water tanks and the holding tank.

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To see if it was simply condensation build-up we bought a bag of kitty litter and Debbie donated a pair of stockings to the cause.  We doubled up the stockings and stuffed them with the kitty litter.  We then  hung the stocking in the enclosure and refitted the keypad.

After our next sail, which had a lot of “weather”, we had the same issue and inspected the kitty litter.  The stockings were saturated beyond what could have come about from condensation alone.  After removing the enclosure and inspecting further it became obvious that there was a leak where the deck fill for the water attached.  This was surprising as this was factory installed.  After removing the deck fill it was obvious that the hole that had been drilled to accept the fitting was too large and only 2 of the three screws that held it in were attached to anything.  Some of the wood core of the deck had also become damp.

The old sealant was removed along with any damp core.  A piece of plastic was used to seal the hole from below.  A toilet roll tube was wrapped in the right amount of tape to have the same diameter as the deck fill hose attachment and placed where the deck fill would be fitted.  Both were coated in Vaseline and taped in position.  A mixture of West Systems G-Flex 650 epoxy with colloidal silica  was used to fill the gap.  After it setup the backing plastic and toilet roll tube were removed and the fill was sanded flush with the deck.

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Just as a precaution we moved the keypad to the fwd bulkhead in the salon where there can be no problem with condensation.

Sol PurposeIt took 3 years to find and solve the AC issue, but at last we can return from a day or week on the water and have instant AC, the moment we plug back into shore power.  For this delicate Scotsman, that is a boon 😉

Rudder Stop Repair

whilst rooting around in the engine compartment looking for space to install a wind vane I noticed that the rudder stops had been bent some time in the past.  They are stainless steel but have no gussets to support the right angle.

I removed the stops and bought new stainless nuts and bolts as the original ones were showing signs of fatigue and corrosion.

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With judicious use of a 4lb hammer I was able to straighten the starboard rudder stop so that it was a closer match to the port stop

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It was then a simple task of refitting the stops with the new nuts and bolts to secure them.

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Vanity replacement

When the boat was first purchased the original buyer went with the vanity option which had a swing out seat under a counter with a mirror on the starboard hull.

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Stock picture from another boat

The previous owner made an attempt to convert this to a usable cupboard by removing the seat and putting a shelf and doors on.  There was still a lot of wasted space and it did not match the existing woodwork.Sol Purpose

This was better than nothing but did not suit our storage requirements if we were to liveaboard.  We decided to contract out the work as my wood working skills tend more towards the butchery side than the carpentry side 🙂

A local carpenter did a great job with the installation which left us with 2 large pull out drawers and 2 shelves for holding the three toolboxes we have.  The vanity table was moved up as high as it would go without interfering with the trim on its fwd side and 2 doors were put on that matched the existing hanging cupboard.  The vanity top still opens upwards for a small storage area.

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We stained the doors and drawers with Minwax gunmetal stain and then gave everything 3 coats of Defthane Polyurethane Satin as this is what the rest of the boat interior was commissioned with.

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We also fitted rub strakes to the shelf edges to protect the teak from the toolboxes.

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We have since found that in rough seas the drawers can slide out and push the doors open leading to a loud crash and clothing everywhere so I installed barrel bolts on the front edge of the drawers to ensure that they are kept in place during bad passages.