Wednesday, October 27, 2021

New guardrail stanchion bases

The boat had new stanchions when I bought her but they have never worked correctly leaving me with slack guardrail lines. 

Once I had tightened it up the main bolt and put on a lock nut (omitted by the yard) the base was stable but however much you tighten up the connection between the stanchion and the base it went slack in no time.

One of the 8 stanchion bases.
Fortunately I found that the stanchion was a standard 25mm so I was able to put this fitting over the top of the original.
Four of the stanchions were fixed on the first visit before near
gale force winds and some rain made it too much like hard work.
Naturally it was not that simple, the one I used for testing I purchased a couple of years ago for the cooker crash guard (see pic in the previous post) and it was a nice snug press fit. This batch were very slightly smaller and needed a serious lump hammer to get the stanchion in, but I ended up with a nice rigid stanchion and tight guardrails.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Replacing the Cockpit Locker Floor, Part 3 + Installing the new Fuel Tank.

Day 1 of the installation and the floor is in but not secured, the new water tank and plumbing was done and the water pump & filter moved.

Day 3 and the job is almost done, just the other part of the slide bolt
needs to be found and fixed (its reused).
I thought for a moment I had specified the tank to be a little to long or to high but with a great deal of fiddling and even more swearing it went in. The floor is screwed down all round and the softwood sections forward and inboard are fixed sideways so the whole lot should stay in place in the event of an inversion.

The lashing points are for fuel in cans, probably a max of 40 Litres in 10 Litre cans as my 20 Litre jerry cans are too tall, leaving no room for buckets to go in on top. That is somewhat less than previously but the tank effectively holds 10 - 15 Litres more than the old one which partially compensates and in total will still give 70 hours endurance, in reasonable weather that would be at 5.5 - 6 knots and 385 - 420 NM range (or quite a bit more with a clean hull and / or in dead calm waters).
I fitted a new fuel filter with a clear lower section and drain in case of water contamination. The original filter is in the engine compartment and would be almost impossible to get at when at sea unless it was dead calm, not good if you got the fuel bug. The fuel bulb made bleeding the system dead easy. The engine started immediately although I want to run it for another 30 minutes before leaving the mooring, just in case.

The big electrical cable is from the fuel sender to a NMEA converter so fuel level can be displayed on the plotter and one of the wind instruments.

The rope hanging down (see also the 2nd pic) is my method of securing the locker from thieves and backing up the latch in heavy weather, the end of the tackle goes to a cleat inside of the boat, a similar system runs to the Lazarette hatch covers.
On my last sail I finally found one of the leaks into the compartment which appeared to be from the bilge pump, but when I got it out I found that when the new mainsheet track was fitted (before I got the boat) someone had drilled through the bilge pump outlet pipe so on the odd occasion I used it bilge water sprayed out, but unless the hatch was open which would be rare because you would normally sit on the hatch when pumping, you wouldn't know. Fortunately there was enough slack so I cut off 6" and refitted.

Update 6th November.

Unfortunately it didn't work. Last week I decided to do a long running test (rather than the 10 minutes or so after installation) and the engine stopped after 10 - 25 minutes on several tests. It appeared that the bulb primer was the problem.

Ron (a fellow Achilles owner and serial restorer) consulted with Roger (Dehler 41, "Blue Magic") who immediately recognised the problem which happens on some trucks, the solution should be to have the bulb vertical with the flow downwards so that gravity would help open the non return valve. The bulbs pump fuel best the other way up but does pump in all positions.

Unfortunately that didn't work, the Yanmar 2GM20's low pressure pump is just not powerful enough to open the valve on that brand of bulb (Osculati), this creates a vacuum in the fuel system and the engine stops. The first fuel filter is now connected directly to the tank and on the first test of the engine ran for an hour before I got fed up with diesel fumes blowing into the boat.

So a device to save a few minutes once a year when the engine is serviced or if it runs out of fuel, cost me a day and a half and a 160 mile round trip to the boat 😞.

Update Early December:

Even the above did not work properly, after a week of non-use the engine failed after 10 minutes but then ran for an hour after bleeding. This was getting serious and needed to be fixed quickly as I had to motor a couple of miles upriver to be lifted out on the 17th. I remove the old fuel filter, tap (there just might have been an air leak from the tap although it was not a joint that I undid and there was no fuel leak) and all extraneous pipe. It can't now get any simpler for a tank with a top take-off. It worked, I test ran for an hour a week later before moving to the RAFYC pontoon and again a couple of days later before going upriver and no problems. But I think I'll run another 15 -20 minute test as soon as the boat goes back in the water, which in any case is recommended procedure after a winter lay up.

Update March:

The new pipe work etc. retained fuel for 3 months of non use and after a 20 minute test I motored down river with no problems.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Replacing the Cockpit Locker Floor, Part 2.

The new fuel tank arrived earlier than expected but typically the timber was rather later, but it is now built and ready to go.

New cockpit locker floor built to support the new fuel tank and cover the new water tank. The plastic rulers under the tank are there to ensure that the tank will not sit on any water that pools under the tank and allows any water that might get in to drain away into the bilge (the drain holes are not visible).

Three bolts press against timber spacers
to help locate the tank firmly in place at
the base.
The floor has to support a heavy stainless steel tank with 70 Litres (almost 70 Kg) of fuel in it and another c30 litres in cans. And do that in a heavy sea. It also has to hold the tank, cans and at least part of the weight of a full water bladder tank (which is up to c 40Kg) if the boat turns up side down. That would not have the same shock loading as a very rough sea but fixing the floor down is a challenge especially as it is very hard to reach the edges through the narrow hatch quite away above. More on that to follow.

The platform is made from a seriously expensive hardwood ply with Lloyds certification for structural use in high risk environments. It is much stiffer than "normal" marine ply, will take higher compression loads and has a 25 year guarantee.

It is made in 2 main sections rather than the three of the previous one and my initial design, with the hatch section removed I should be able to get the larger section in (fingers crossed). 

It is 9mm thick with the beams under 11mm. Other timber is reclaimed mahogany and teak with spacers made from Sapele left over from when I replaced the headlining. Fastenings, retaining pieces, etc. are in marine stainless.

The whole is covered in epoxy rather than varnished for better durability and the beams are screwed and glued together with glass tape bonded over for additional strength. Very much over engineered, I hope.

The hatch is to give access to the new bladder water tank under.

Each strap is strong enough to hold the tank in place - assuming the timber holds which with reinforcement under it should. The forward strap will be secured to the  bulkhead. 

The hole in the platform back right is for the water filler, that front right is for the fuel pipes to and from the engine and the one front left is a breather to hopefully keep the lower section reasonably dry and to help the water  tank expand as its filled.

Installation of this and the new water tank is going to be a long job and if the weather is good will hopefully start later in the week. 

Click here for the next stage.