Wet Dock

When ships go in for refit/repairs they are usually hauled out of the water and put into dry dock. Currently Watari is undergoing an extensive refit, but since most of it can be done in the water (for now) she remains on her mooring in wet dock.

My friend Pete helped me rebuild the top end of the little Yanmar 2GM in an attempt to get her to fire. Grinding the valves etc did increase the compression a bit, but not enough. The rings need replacing. I’ve ordered them, and they sit on the starboard settee berth amongst a growing pile of Yanmar parts waiting for me to get around to hoisting up the engine so I can do the bottom end. I’ll post pics of the top end rebuild after the bottom is done so I can compile that into one (hopefully instructive) post.

Since Watari won’t be going anywhere for a while I’ve decided to tackle all the interior projects I’ve had in mind. During the first 6 months I worked on her in the boatyard (dry dock) I focused on just getting her sailable in a rough and ready way¬†so that I could determine whether she was worth any additional effort or not. Well, she proved herself to be such an excellent sea boat that more work is justified, but I also enjoyed sailing her so much that whenever I got time last year I took her out on the water instead of doing maintenance work. As a result, all her woodwork remains rough, with layers of old varnish peeling off, stainless steel unpolished, work I’ve done so far such as building new settee berths/storage rough and unfinished. Her interior is functional at best, downright dingy at worst. With the constant leak from the companionway, it’s been damp, musty, and littered with bits of peeling veneer. Now with the ongoing engine work, it’s also grimy with oil, rags, tools and engine parts. Since I’ll likely spend the rest of this year continuing to work on her rather than sail, and going out to work on her usually means an overnight stay, I’ve decided it would be nice to have a clean, comfortable base to work from so am focusing on her interior first.

The following is the list of interior projects I’m considering tackling:

  • Complete companionway rebuild (underway)
  • Relocate engine control panel to new cockpit bulkhead
  • Update wiring
  • Overhaul nav station and electronics
  • Replace interior lights with LEDs
  • Repair/rebuild cabin sole wood
  • Repaint cabin sole non-skid (currently white, thinking something like battleship gray will be better)
  • Install larger fuel tank (this may be a secondary tank, keeping the current as day tank)
  • Remove quarter berth frames and build watertight compartments under them (may be used as freshwater tanks, still debating)
  • Build watertight storage compartments in focsle
  • Install bow roller and anchor pipe fitting
  • Build watertight anchor locker bulkhead and access panel
  • Sand, fill, and paint settee berths, bulkheads, etc.
  • Strip and replace peeling veneer around engine box and sink
  • Replace forward cabin bulkhead veneer, install in-bulkhead fans
  • Strip/sand varnish from all interior wood and oil instead
  • Rebuild forward sliding hatch
  • Repair headliner in quarter berths
  • Make new quarter berth and settee cushions

Hopefully all this will go a long way towards making Watari more comfortable to stay aboard while I’m working on her. As my Dad pointed out, a dry boat is a kind of mental boost.

The photo above shows both how dusty the interior is from the ongoing companionway rebuild project, and my powertool setup. The dust is uncomfortable. At night I have to sweep off the settee berth which doubles as workbench during the day, roll out the cushion, cover and sleeping bag, and do my best to sleep with a skin full of itchy fiberglass. I look forward to finishing all sanding. The powertool is a Black and Decker cordless screwdriver which also serves as sander, grinder, drill, mixer, and a dozen other functions. Here I’m using it to mix a new batch of resin.

It is both my only powertool on the boat and the most useful tool I have. I’m very happy with it. I went through two other cheaper drills (one was stolen while charging in a public space) before investing in this more expensive unit, and it’s been worth the price. I’ve heard that Black and Decker has been suffering lately from a drop in quality, but this one is a well made unit. The drill is charged by the solar panel, which is connected to a solar charge controller and gel battery, which then powers a small converter that the drill charger plugs into. There’s no shore power at the mooring, but the solar panel provides all the power I need. My power needs are low. All other tools on Watari are hand tools, so all cutting, planing, shaping, etc. is done by hand. There’s an art to using hand saws and planers, one I’ve yet to master. Or become even remotely proficient at. I really wish I had a table saw, or at least a skill saw. Something that would cut straight. It would save me a great deal of sanding. And dust.

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