Monday, December 17, 2012



The last several weeks have been spent on many smaller tasks, with some left partially finished until old parts were rebuilt or new parts ordered.

One of the important things was to get the engine completely connected to shaft, fuel, water, and exhaust, and give it a test run to check for operation and leaks. This went well, even though I discovered that Vetus water strainers love a slight vacuum, but won't tolerate any pressure without leaking water all over the locker. This turned out to be a good test of water being able to find it's way to the bilge without flooding any lockers!
Bennath has a total of seven winches: four in the cockpit, two on the mast, and one on the coach roof. Every winch needed disassembly and cleaning, before reassembly with fresh grease, and new pawl springs. The sheet winches needed the drums re-plated, but the rest were still in acceptable condition.

Typical winch condition.

Older style Lemar 40 in pieces, newer Lewmar 40 with aluminum drum on right.

Most of the old bronze deck hardware that had peeling chrome was also replated, along with the winch drums. The stainless items were polished on a buffing wheel.

Boat Bling.

My surveyor, Brian Beckett, paid a visit and checked the integrity of the hull and decks. He also recommended I remove the stem fitting and inspect it for corrosion.

Prying off stem fitting.

It was a relief to find it in perfect condition!

After consulting with Brent Jacobi of Blackline Marine I decided to get them to straighten and reinforce the damaged mast. They picked it up, repaired it, and returned it in good order, as straight as a gun barrel and hopefully as strong as original. They also welded up the crack I'd made when prying out the dent in the sail track.

Foreground: The mast in the straightening jig.
Background: Brent Jacobi of Blackline Marine (L), friend and helper Vern Lhotzky (R).

Not much to see, but there're two 24" long reinforcing plates inside,
held in by machine screws, and it's straight !
The cockpit locker lid scupper drains received an upgrade, as the similar ones on my Vega used to plug up with crud until the pipe size was enlarged.
1/2" copper stubs with knurled ends ready to epoxy in.
Larger drain opening.
Relocated and enlarged starboard lid scupper drain.
When I got the boat the cockpit locker bulkheads were mostly destroyed so there were no patterns to use for rebuilding. I'd installed an access hatch for the engine in the starboard cockpit locker, but nothing on the port side. This bothered me every time I looked at it, so something was finally done. Now I can crawl into the underside of the cockpit from either side. I still prefer the Vega's removable cockpit floor, and that could be a "maybe" future project on the Ballad, but for now I'll live with the original configuration.

V-Berth small access door to engine lid latch.

V-Berth engine access panel opened.
While the V-berth was apart the battery boxes were built. There wasn't enough room for a Group 24 and a Group 27, but two Group 24's were a good fit.
Battery access lid in V-berth floor.

Lid open, showing the two battery boxes.
Battery box floor, firmly attached to boat, with provision
for a 360° strap around the floor and plastic box for each battery.
As I plan to use all rope halyards, the wire/rope sheaves in the masthead were machined to accept rope only. At the same time the halyard exit sheaves in the mast got the same treatment, plus the "peened" sheave axles in these blocks were punched out and replaced with threaded removable axles.
Left: original sheave,  Right: re-grooved sheave.

Mast exit sheaves and new axles.

Finished sheaves.
What's next? I'm ready to order the upholstery foam, and starting to think seriously about the wiring. But that story has yet to unfold :-)


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