These pages will document my experience of owning, maintaining, and sailing this beautiful yacht. I hope that you enjoy your visit.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Getting wired

One of the things that had to be replaced was the battery charger. It was the type that did not trickle charge. So the charge did not downsize. This type of charger is tough on the batteries. And it may be one of the reasons that the batteries were dry when we got on board Sojourner.

So we now have installed a trickles charger and also replaced all the old batteries that were near the end of their useful life. It is worth the peace of mind to get out the old batteries that were about five years old and have ones that we know have not been "cooked".

Another project that we are doing is wiring in a cockpit speaker that can be tuned to VHF or stereo. Also I have wired in a red light for the cockpit floor that provides some illumination gettin on and off the boat.

The last project will be the shower sump project in which we are wiring up a bilge pump. More on that later.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The stuffing box!

The stuffing box adjustment seems to be frozen. We would like to adjust it because there is about one drip per second after it has been sitting. If the shaft is turned there is a steady stream of water.

We haven't been able to make adjustments with the bronze wrenches. Too much tension could break the wrenches so we have to figure something else out. Loads of PB Blaster will be tried. I would hate to have to pull her from the water just to adjust the stuffing box and repack it.

Perhaps someone out there has a suggestion about what to do. We want really clean bilges with no accumulation of salt water.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tracing wires and hoses

We have spent quite a bit of time tracing the hoses for the bilge pumps. There is a shower sump that drains into the bilge from the head sink and shower. The previous owners would drain this by lifting the shower drain pump back and forth from the sump to the bilge. This is not a satisfactory solution for us.

I realize that Carl Alberg left the draining of the sump to the owner's discretion. We do not want to drill another thru hull. What we are going to attempt is to place a tee in the manual bilge pump discharge and have a separate shower sump pump hooked up there. I will write about how that goes.

Both seacocks are now unfrozen and operational. We know where all the plumbing lines go. The seacocks under the galley sink had to have the nut backed off a little until the cock moved freely. We then tightened it down until there was no drip and the seacock moved freely.

The electrical wiring is in place but there are a few changes that we are making. First, all four house batteries have been replaced and a new start battery is installed. The charging system will be upgraded so that the batteries are not constantly being charged at 15 amps. We will also be adding a small red LED light in the cockpit so that there is some indirect cockpit lighting. We will also hookup an external speaker for the VHF so it can heard in the cockpit. Things are moving along.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Launch day

Sojourner was launched today.  Unfortunately,  things didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped.  After being on the hard for several weeks, her starter battery was dead and the house batteries appear to also not have any life. 

Luckily, I brought along a battery charger which was able to get the house battery going.  Although, the diesel started, there was now very little water coming out of the exhaust outlet.  After checking the water pump,  I could see that the impeller was damaged so I took it out and went to West Marine to get a new one.  I actually got a spare as well.  After installing that, there was still little if any discharge out of the exhaust. 

What to do?  I began disconnecting hoses that were on the suction side of the engine thinking that there might be an air lock.  Each one was disconnected and blown into.  Then each was primed with water.  Still only a few drops of water came out.  The final hose to be disconnected and checked was an unlikely one: going from the heat exchanger to the exhaust.  After disconnecting it and opening the sea cock, water came out.  I reconnected the hose and then started the engine which resulted in a stream of water coming out of the exhaust outlet.  There appears to have been an airlock on the discharge side of the engine.  I am not sure how that occurred but being on the hard for several weeks probably was the culprit. 

After letting the engine run for about a half hour,  I was able to cast off lines and head towards the marina where Sojourner would be docked.  It was a beautiful day to be on the water.  Everything went well for the trip, including getting the feel for the boat as we maneuvered under the draw bridge and out into Charleston Harbor. 

It is most definitely different having a full keeled boat.  She turns well and getting into the slip bow first was not a problem.  I can see that the most difficult for her will be going in reverse.  We were able to get her to her destination.  Every day is a learning experience.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Getting ready to launch

Finally, after several weeks in the boat yard at Ross Marine, Sojourner was ready to launch. I added quite a bit of new things to the original work order, so I was prepared for a heftier bill. The boat looked gorgeous, and it was worth every penny to me to get her to this point.

I am going to post some photos of the resulting work so you can see what I mean.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

At the boat yard

I decided after the survey to have Sojourner pulled out on the travel lift and put at Ross Marine which is a full service boat yard on Johns Island.

It was obvious from the survey that she needed to have her bottom painted. I also chose to have her boot strip repainted and the water line to be raised in the stern.
Another item that I wanted added was a sheer stripe added. It had to be the one for Cape Dory that I was lucky enough to locate on the Cape Dory Owner's Site. That is one awesome site by the way. Every project has been detailed so I will often refer to what has been done over there often.

As far as problems, there were some blisters on the starboard side of the rudder. Those had to be ground out and filled. And there was a small area on the bottom of the keel that needed to be repaired.

I wanted her somewhat oxidized hull compounded, waxed and buffed. And I also wanted to add a name decal on the stern and have her home port indicated as Charleston, SC since she is a documented boat.

Ross Marine was great to work with. They really bent over backwards to make sure I was happy with their work. I can't say enough good things about the people there.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What to do when you decide to buy

I didn't know what the procedures were for buying a boat. For example, I knew that I had to get a surveyor. I also picked the best surveyor that I could get. But I didn't realize that there was a down payment to give to the broker. That was no problem but it was a bit like buying a house. So I followed that model which I knew quite a bit about.

I wanted to do a sea trial for the boat, but all that consisted of was powering the boat to the boat yard where the survey occurred. The sails were raised at the dock. There was no sea trial by actually taking the boat out for a sail. That was a bit surprising to me. It seemed like buying a car without driving it. But everyone seemed to think that motoring was okay and raising the sails at the dock to inspect their quality was satisfactory.

The most important aspect of buying is to get a good surveyor. Capt. Neal Haynes of Bluewater Surveys is awesome. One of the things that I didn't do was to have a diesel mechanic give the engine the once over. But I did have an oil analysis done which indicated no problems with metal contaminants in the oil. The engine, a Perkins 4.108, appeared to be in good shape even with 1250 hours on it.

It is also good to read some books about surveying. One of the ones that I bought was Inspecting the Aging Sailboat by Don Casey. It let me know what to look for and gave me some ideas of what I might be facing. I also followed Capt. Haynes around when he did the survey. I learned a lot from that. It was money well worth spending and provided me with lots of knowledge about the boat.

Luckily, the survey revealed that Sojourner basically needed some cosmetic work done. The canvas on the dodger and the mainsail cover were reaching the end of their life. The deck needs a coat of non-skid. The swaged fittings need to be replaced with mechanical fittings. Not much else was problematic at survey. So it was a deal, and I proceeded to accept the yacht.

Closing went smoothly. And finally she is mine!