REFIT UPDATE #5: A Lesson in Complaint

“Great literature is nothing more than an extended complaint,” said my good friend Dr. David R. Kelton. “Dante’s InfernoHamletFor Whom the Bell Tolls, and all of quality in between, can be seen as but artfully woven epics upon the theme of ‘Oh, woe is me.'”

This lesson came in response to my missive titled, “Dammit, I am so tired of boat work!” in which I made the case that moral and physical ruin would soon issue from Moli’s seven-day-a-week refit schedule.

“So, if the purpose of your email,” continued Kelton, “was to tell a good story, then I congratulate you (somehow I did not feel congratulated), but if you were serious in your carping, you should just stop. You are a man pursuing a project of his own design and lucky to have such an opportunity. So, cease this diddling at the keyboard and get on with it.”

And thus ended the last time I complain to my good friend, David R. Kelton.

The first months of work on Mo prior to our attendance at The Pacific Boat Show were dedicated to two big projects, refurbishing the deck and rerigging. Since then I’ve been able to attack some of the smaller, though no less important, tasks.


Fuel Tank Cleaning

When I bought Mo in Homer, I discovered a largish glop of rust-colored sediment in one of her two fuel filters and assumed the tank it was attached to was chock-a-block full of same. This would make sense. Mo has spent most of her life in high latitudes and likely has many times taken her diesel from 55-gallon drums of questionable provenance.

Thus, getting at the tanks for a thorough cleaning has been high on my list of priorities.

Unsurprisingly, however, Mo did not make this job easy. Though I could access the starboard tank without much trouble, the port was entirely covered by the pilot house furnishings. The best I could do was to cut a hole under a drawer and install a six-inch diameter access hatch.

One does not cut a hole in a fuel tank like buttering toast. The consequences of getting it wrong, i.e. creating an opportunity for leakage that doesn’t manifest until many miles off shore, are serious, and so I waffled for a week on how to proceed. Finally, Gerd Marggraff lent me his large drill and said, “have at.” What I found inside was exactly what Tony Gooch said I would find, a mostly clean tank with but a quarter cup of rust-colored goop in the lower corner.

The only access to the port tank was via a hole cut into the bottom of a drawer slide.

Happily, inside this tank, which hadn’t been cleaned since its construction, was but a quarter cup of sludge.

Still, the tanks needed a professional cleaning.

This service had to be hired out as I couldn’t get any of the local fuel companies to rent their fuel polishing equipment.

Here fuel polisher, Duke, prepares for a deep dive into the starboard tank. Yes, that glove was intended for veterinarians who practice their art on cows.


Harken Furler Rebuild

Kevin at KKMI Richmond was the first to notice that the furling drum assembly was quite sloppy. “You’ve popped some bearings, I’d guess,” he said. This I should have expected given the mast rigging foibles in Homer, during which one of the furling drums caught on the rail as the mast was being pulled.

But as it turned out, all bearings were accounted for; however, given the boat’s use over the years, they were noticeably smaller than their replacements.


Electronics Install

The biggest upgrade to Mo’s electronics has been the addition of broadband radar. The dear, old Furuno, which functioned perfectly well but required a whopping 4 amps an hour, has been superseded by a Simrad 4G unit, whose demands are more like 1 amp. One can hardly buy stand-alone radar any longer, so now Mo also has a new Simrad chart plotter and wind instrument.

Here is Greenie just before the wire was cut. What a beauty! But she’s such an antique at this point that the local marine consignment shop refused to take her into inventory.

Broadband radar is installed on the arch.

The pleasantest consequence of this work was the discovery and removal of scads of disused wire. Dustin of Fox Marine and I estimate some 50 pounds of it was delivered to the recycling bin.

And so, the story continues…


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