Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Boat Steps and Boat Boxes

I have held off as long as I could about getting a set of steps for the boat.  I finally went looking for some on the web.  I wanted something that would complement the CarolMarie's teak trim and yet not drop the price of a dinghy on it.

I found lots of teak steps which were very pricey, but nothing that would satisfy what I needed.

Having no luck after nights of searching, I turned to my own design skills to see if I could hack a nice set together.

I found these 24 inch garden boxes from Signature Hardware called: HOLLEY 24" TEAK OUTDOOR STORAGE BOX.  I went about the design process to show how to cut them down into the proper shape.

Design of the steps using the outdoor storage boxes.

The idea was to get two of these boxes and cut the first down to make the lower step.  with a 10"platform a 10" rise seem to suit just fine.  The top of the first step was screwed to the four posts of the box because there was no need to open it.

The next step was a visual mock up to see if it fit.

Visual mockup of the cut pieces.

Happy with the design and sketch i ordered two boxes to be delivered to my uncle Keni's place in Chula Vista.  Uncle Keni is a great woodworker and had the whole think cut down and varnished in a two week period.  To make the teak look a little more realistic Keni caulked the gaps in the top of the box making it look like a ship's deck.

Seeing the final product I couldn't believe it might not get stolen so we stuck our boat name on it.

Steps in place

Named steps

Showing off the inside.

Once that was complete we decided to add a deck box in the same way.  Again I when back to Signature Hardware and found a good fit.  This time we used the 3 ft Terrel Natural Teak Storage Box, as the basis for the deck box.  This is the box as it came from Signature Hardware.

Original box from Signature Hardware

The next step was to make it water tight, not water proof.  I purchased 1/8" plywood with a birch veneer to line the inside of the box between the panels. Before the panels of the box were assembled, (they come from the vendor knocked down flat), each segment was treated with 2-part epoxy urethane.

Epoxy treated panel
Next each of the inner inserts were treated with the same 2-part epoxy after being cut to size.  These inserts were with screwed with brass screws or glued into place.  The effect was a 3-D teak and holly appearance from the box slats.

Insert epoxied and ready for assembly
The top of the box was treated in the same way as the stairs using a black deck caulk to seal it, then adding the epoxy on top of it.  Once this was done of course the boat's name and logo were added.

Top of the box ready for assembly
With the top of the box completed the entire thing was assembled and the final touch ups of the epoxy done.

Final touch ups complete after assembly.

The last step was to add the locker hasp.  A brass one was ordered off the internet and fit nicely with the gold offset lettering of the boats name.

Hasp added to lock her up.

When we put her on the deck, the dinghy fit snuggly inside, the old girl looked sharp.

Deck box mounted with dinghy inside.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Crashing the Baja Ha Ha Start with SIYC

October 30, 2017

This weekend Ray McCracken and Alicia Watkins came down from Portland for a visit and break from the rain.  Ray is the current Commodore of the Sauvie Island Yacht Club, and Alicia has long worked on the newsletter and been a great friend.

Ray and Alicia at the West Marine in Chula Vista
After bumming around the tall ships at the San Diego Maritime Museum we met up with other SIYC members George and Sue Stonecliff for dinner before their start in the 2017 Baja Ha Ha.  George and Sue own a beautiful yawl called the Julia Max.

The next morning our plans were to follow them out of the Chula Vista Marina, and sail with them in the Baja Ha Ha parade through the port of San Diego.

This morning Charing and I met Ray and Alicia at the boat, with plenty of food and drinks. With any start on the CarolMarie, there are plans until she tells me otherwise.  Of course this was one of those times when we almost didn't leave the dock because she had other plans.  With all the lights on, shore power off I tried to start her up.  Of course that blew the two existing Class T fuses ($30/ea).  After getting them replaced, the engine wouldn't start.  Finally through some trouble shooting I checked the battery terminals, they were all lose enough the charger wasn't charging them correctly.  After locking them down, and 15 minutes of shore power charging, she started.

We motored out of the marina about 45 minutes later then planned, the Julia Max was already under the Coronado Bridge, about 6 miles ahead.  With the motor, tides and wind in our favor, we unfurled the 130% jenny and we took off at 7.5 knots over water.  In no time we'd caught up with the Julia Max.

Deck of the CarolMarie looking at the bridge before setting sail.

Julia Max displaying her flags ready for the start.

It wasn't long before the entire Baja Ha Ha fleet had surrounded us. Over 150 boats had registered this year for the 11 day run to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  One look at the tight quarters shown on the AIS gives you a feel of the pack.  Only about 1/3 of the boats have AIS transponders though, so imagine the photo below with 3 times more boats around us.  We are the little white boat on the screen with the red and green bow.

AIS of the Baja Ha Ha Fleet.

We listened to Channel 69 as the Grand-Pooh -Ba directed all boats to get as close together as possible because media including CNN were on the committee boat taking pictures.  Suddenly we found ourselves locked into formation of a flotilla of slow moving boats approaching the starting line.

We found a sister ship amid the flotilla, another Hans Christian 38, called Amistad.

S/V Amistad at the start

It wouldn't be San Diego with out having the U.S. Navy delay a day's sailing.  With just 4 minutes to start the Grand-Pooh-Ba came on the radio saying the start was to be delayed and he'd call for a one minute warning to the start after a Navy warship had past the flotilla.
Stalled at the start waiting for the Navy to pass by.

The fleet began to break up a bit giving me the chance to turn and slow down as the Navy did their thing.  Julia Max surged ahead as we drifted to the back of the fleet.

Drifting backward looking at the tail end of the flotilla.
The one minute warning was given, the count down began.  As the minute closed, I never heard the starting gun go off, but I did hear more and more boat horns, and cheers.  The 2017 Baja Ha Ha started, and the CarolMarie, even though in the back of the pack passed by the committee boat.  Shortly afterward we turned around and headed back for the marina.

Charing and I sat in the cockpit and listened to the roll call of the boats crossing the line.  When the Grand-Pooh-Ba called out "Julia Max", we heard our friend Sue reply, "Julia Max - three souls aboard."  Charing and I looked at each other, with watery eyes and sighed.

Good luck Baja Ha-Ha 2017 Fleet - fair winds and safe travel to you all.

Movie of sounds and horns at the start

Best Wishes Baja HaHa 2017 Fleet!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

S/V CarolMarie in the CV! - The Chula Vista Marina

Two months in the Chula Vista Marina.....

Before coming down from Portland we did a little research (we actually means Charing did it and I took credit as the captain.) . The Chula Vista Marina seemed to be the best place to moor from a cost and services point of view.

First there is Mike Sullivan the harbor master who keeps a great eye on the marina, seems easy going, and professional.  There is a reason for it too, with 552 slips to look after.  The marina was opened in 1984.  Most of the staff has been there a long time.  

CV Marina

The marina and RV park is separated by Chula Vista Bayside Park.  The separation park is basically a walkway to the park which terminates at south bay.  On the south side of the park is a fishing pier, and on the north side a large walking park with picnic areas.  The parks walkway is alway full of people strolling, running, and walking their dogs.  From the cockpit of the CarolMarie we have a great view of the fishing pier.

Looking back at the pier at sunset

Both the marina and the RV park are fenced and gated with locked gates.  Security patrols from the marina staff patrol the docks at night.

The concrete docks designed in upwind/downwind configuration, with single berth configurations each with a dock box, water, and power.  Every four or five slips is a trash can fixed to the dock, so you don't have to haul the trash all the way to the dumpster. There are free boater education classes every weekend in the boater lounge.  The restrooms are very clean, and nice showers.  There is a pool and hot tub as well.  The laundry room has a row of washers and dryers which always seem to be unused when I pass by.

One of the best parts about the marina is the Boater Concierge Service.  Although this sounds expensive it's not and very much worth the price.  The service offer a once a month boat cleaning above the waterline, a once a month bottom cleaning, and a pump-out service.  Although the slip fees is on par with California prices, the service isn't.  I get the service for the price of what I paid to just have a diver clean the bottom.  The boat has never been cleaner on the outside.

Pump out guy - aka the Pump Out King comes to your boat for $10.00 if you don't have the concierge service.  His dog Shaddy usually lies on bow of his service boat as he does his business.

Pump Out King

What's unique here is the payment method for the Pump Out King.  The preferred protocol is to run out to life lines, clip on the fee (and a tip for Shaddy), then text the POK your marina, your slip number, and your boat name.  Sometime in the few hours to the next day, you'll find your tank is clean, and the fee is collected.

Fee for the Pump Out King
The marina has a restaurant/bar onsite called the "Galley".  The Galley opens at 8am for breakfast, serves, lunch and dinner, then offers drinks and usually a live band at night.

Soup and Salad at the Galley
A couple of weeks after sailing down from Portland I caught a bad case of pneumonia.  Rather then staying at the apartment by myself I recovered at the marina.  The week and a half it took to recover went by fast, in part due to the great service from the Galley.  The bartender was awesome when I couldn't even speak, and brought out bowls of soup.

Every weekend I journey down to the CV to spend the weekend on her.  With the help of Charing's Uncle Keni we've done a few major projects.

Nearly every weekend boaters gather on the docks; camping chairs out to watch the sunset.  Afterwards we sit around, have a few drinks and debate the finer points of cruising.

On August 5th (8-5) was the "Five O'Clock Somewhere" Party - lasting from 5-8.  (get the numbers theme?) . Mike through a great party, with a band, free beer, and BBQ sandwiches.

Party at the marina
The CV Marina is a wonderful place.  If you come to Southern California there is no better place to stay.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Oh That Smell - Replacing the holding tank

After our trip down the coast we had entered into warmer weather, and with warmer weather the cabin began to take on an unpleasant smell.  I had traced the smell back to holding tank which due to poor design was directly beneath the pullman berth where I slept.  After taking all the bedding apart noticed the tank was leaking from around the flanges, hoses, and small cracks on the bottom of the tank.

The first step was to label all the hose and then figure out how all this works.

Hoses all labeled
Once I labeled all the components of the sanitation system, I created a diagram of the system to ensure I would get the right parts, and know how it all works later.

Diagram of the sanitation system.

To show the damage to the holding tank you can see the evidence in the photo below.

Leakage down the hoses
I removed the tank and then spent a good amount of time with bleach, soap, and rags cleaning this area of the bilge.  On the HC 38MKII this area of the boat is isolated from the bilge to create a water tight compartment.  This compartment holds the holding tank, the forward diesel tank, the inlet strainer for the head, through holes for the heads inlet and outlet.  

Old and tank side by side

My good friend who is my wive's uncle, Keni came by to help. With the old tank out we did test fits with the new tank.  Everything seemed to reach without having to add new hoses.  We pulled the tank out and went back to the cockpit to assembly everything. 

Keni brought along his electric drill and bit, so we could mark the location of the hole for the tank's gage.  A 1.25" diameter hole was drilled out in the top of the tank, then the flanges and plugs were added.  The new flanges had sharper rising spurs then the old tank did.  

Once the tank was back in it's spot, the new spurs made putting the hoses on a bit of a challenge.  Keni rose to the occasion, being much smaller then I jump onto the tank and pulled the hoses in.


Hoses on and double clamped onto the flanges, the next step was to install the tank level gage.  The gage has four self-tapping screws which secure it to the top of the tank.   Before mounting it we coated the bottom of it with a thin layer of 3M 5200 chalk it and the screw holes to prevent leakage as well as seal in the odors.

Tank Level Gage in Place
Once the gage was installed we connected the air hose, and installed the restrains.  I added lemon deodorizer to toilet and flushed it eight to ten times to fill the tank 1/2 way. Watching the hoses for the next two hours for leaks was the worst part - there were none.  Now sealed up, we're happy to say the cabin smells a lot better.