Baggy Wrinkles

Baggy Wrinkles
S/V Nautica, Hull #614, Built at Whitby Boatworks Ltd., Ontario, Canada 1977, one of the most recognizeable Carl Alberg designs. A masthead sloop displacing 9000 lbs, keel hull, Yanmar 15 hp diesel, LOA 30.27 Beam 8.75, Draft 4.29, roller furling headsail, tiller, berths for 4, interior teak bulkheads, teak cap rail and cockpit teak coamings, 12 volt lighting, aluminum mast support, Harken self tailing winches, in its day was designed for customers as a Cruiser-Racer, the Alberg 30 remains a Classic design of the large Alberg inventory.

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Diesel mechanic showed up to look over the Berg's power unit down in the bowels of the bilge area.  And of course, it was terrifically hot as usual.   This photo is deceptively harmless, and without closer inspection would seem to be just a fine illustration of the complexity of power-plants built into small spaces.  Yet upon closer inspection there are culprits lurking all about this thing begging to be re-routed, changed, put in better working order.
Looks harmless enough right? 
Before the mechanic arrived, I had cleaned up the general area and let him open the hatch door on the diesel and see the beautiful art work himself.  Surprise!  For 3 hours he methodically made his way around the unit, re-connecting wires, checking fluids, cleaning surfaces and putting in gaskets.  It was like a courtesy military inspection where you don't get "gigged" for items but receive guidance on fixing deficiencies.  And the great part about it was he was educating me on the unit at the same time, i.e., this probably came off when someone was leaning over the engine, this ought not to be here, it should be there, this is incorrect, do this not that way, and so forth all over the place.

There was much to do, and so upon his departure he gave me the homework of removing this awkwardly placed and impossible to reach in-line stainless steel sea preventer (?) box from down below so that he might come over and extract the prop shaft later.  
Scary bilge creatures waiting for my arrival below decks.  Wires, tubes, dangling wires, broken tubes, water in the bilge, fiberglass tearing at my forehead every time I sought to surge forward.  Wiping the blood off periodically I pushed forward to extract this box to no avail.
 I was enthusiastic about the project though a bit cautious about what I would have to do structurally to get to this "extraction" point!   He advised an access point to port via the lazarette.  That made sense, however after some "Hot Yoga" trying to get positioned in there head forward body sliding toward electrical panel, I thought there had to be a better way.  Dripping in sweat, I gave it some thought, but before I arrived at an answer, I decided it was time for "Cross Fit" and I descended the ladder to get something cold to drink.  That would certainly boost my mental prowess I figured.
It's called Cross-fit.  As soon as you mount the boat via the ladder you realize you need something downstairs.  As soon as you retrieve it and return to down below you realize it is not the right item and you must return, and return and return.  I'm getting my work-out!
 Back aboard, I sat in the cockpit looking down through the sole, a pedestal mount being the only access from above, and thinking how useless this pedestal thing was for me.  I would not put a wheel helm at that point on this boat because the cockpit is simply not large enough to accomodate such a structure.  Too, there'd have to be a system of pullies and relays...too much.


Look just aft of the tools and mooring lines on the blue plastic inlay and you see the emerging pedestal protruding from the cockpit sole.  Notice also the brilliant coamings and cap  rail now finished.  The lazarette hatches inlay are treated with teak oil only.  The remain nice on the bottom.  There's just not much room for a pedestal in my opinion.
So, a deck hatch might be the preferred solution for this area.  Something large enough to enable hands-on work on the through hulls, the shaft, the tubes, etc., that was what I was thinking.  Armed with that decision, I went back to Hot Yoga and entered the lazarette, yes, entered feet first, then legs into bilge area back of engine, leaning against one of those enormous fenders to keep me from tearing up the electrical panel. Once in, what to do now?

I say Hot Yoga, because our neighbor's daughter introduced us to that idea in casual conversation, speaking highly of the art form.  Hot means you sweat in the heat.  Yoga means body contorting to fit the environment.  And so once there I left one leg in and the other 90 degrees toward stern permitting me just enough room to begin wrestling with the stainless steel box still holding on to its exhaust hose and its stern hose.  Unrelenting.  It was better at Hot Yoga than me.  But I managed to pull the box through the hole I had cut in the lazarette-to-bilge area.  While pulling, I twisted it like an arm wrestling contest, and noticed the slightest movement of the hose, aha!, I thought I would win!  It took me about 30 minutes of arm wrestling to wrest the box from the cyclops exhaust pipe which was suctioned onto the end of it.  I was soaked as I lifted the box onto the cockpit sole and took a breather before trying to figure out how to extract myself without injury from my predicament.

I have no idea why this is here other than that as one fellow "AlBerger" told me, it might have been a seawater preventer for situations where following seas might flush into the exhaust against the engine.  A probable scneario.
I like everything substantial about the pedestal ring and the stainless steel box but I have to have the luxury of getting to below this part of the deck in the event of mechanical issues.  I procured a 10 x 20 flush deck hatch to cut and affix in this area.  Once this was out, everything began to be easier to approach.  My homework was just about done while I turned to issues of the seized sea-cocks visible in the picture below.

So, next will be to insert the deck hatch and move towards re-arranging the electrical, putting batteries in the "ice box" to port of the hatch stairs, and re-routing the wiring to meet the needs of the batteries and remove them from tangling with the engine.  In no way am I proficient at this stuff, I'm taking photos so I can put things back in correct order.  I just know that the batteries were below the water line and the bilge was sketchy, so I've got to make some changes now while I can, as once she's in her slip all this stuff will be much more difficult.

There are too many anomalies in this bilge so my idea is to replace and refit as necessary and to re-route electrical, making this area as difficult as it is, manageable even so.  I don't anticipate a lot of use of the diesel but I do want it to be regularly tended to so that in times of crisis it is available and ready.