Tuesday, February 21, 2017

37 DAY COUNTDOWN ? - POST # 7 - 21 FEBRUARY 2017

OK, this is it, the last 37 days of renovation in preparation to traveling and moving in to A-10 on 1 April.

We have changed So fea from a sleeps six to a sleeps two, a cruiser to a dock sitter, a convertible dock tie-up to a Starboard side only, a 30 Amp to a 60 Amp (with 100 amp coming), added dock water, and redesigned/refitted/upgraded/refreshed almost everything - system by system that Tollycraft laid out in 1979 to 2017 applicability. Some of that was simply new technology upgrading, but "most" of it has been better marine practice, safer-simpler, and for a "two" person functioning operation of the boat, and ... use as a Liveaboard "first" design, rather than as the originally intended week-ender party cruiser for six people..

The only true "compromise" we left in place was the stupidity and waste-of-space of having "two" heads, but, we left that "as is" for the ease of having both a MSD 1 and a MSD 3 need while in port, we removed the aft MSD 1 and installed a port-a-potty (MSD 3) for visitors and "Clean Harbor" in-port use, but left the forward head as a Coast Guard approved MSD 1 for other port use, and/or at-sea overboarding. (the obsoleted/illegal, holding tanks are now removed).

The convenience of the forward (tiny) head in the old V bunk area (now a queen sized bed) at night is simply too great to make a washer/dryer, cat box, broom closet out of . . . so all of that has been moved aft to the old main berthing area (now a utility space), along with the tool storage, and office. The main shower and MSD 3 large head simply were too convenient to the 'daytime" part of the boat, and was easier to wrestle the MSD out for dumping.

A very big rethinking needs to be done about this design "era"  of boat building, especially with twin four barreled 454 Chevy engines ! a 15 ton boat going 25 + knots/hr has an extremely short-expensive-worthless here in the mid pacific coast area range of  travel.  A single diesel and 12-15 knots would have been great ! Only if you are on the Great Lakes, Puget sound, a river somewhere, or So. Cal. and like to water ski could these 660 HP monsters  ever be fun.

For us, as a liveaboard, it really does not matter what is down below, and as a hobbyist "week-ender" user who would care ? but, for 2017, and practicality, sensible sailing/cruising, safety, and ease/costs of repair, single diesel would have been preferred on So fea. (I would swap these out if affordable-which it is not).

As a surveyor-brained potential buyer, the first time I went into the engine room I asked the owner "where is the waterline ?" . . .  he did not know. Which is why no anti-siphon devices were aboard !
The toilet "out" connections and the ER piping is all "below" the water line, the many insane hull penetrations for salt water pumps this guy had installed (bottom bilge), and the four "at" waterline 1/2 split overboard through hulls .... all of which are potential "sinkers" ! plus the fact that all 16 sea access valves aboard were "open" (crusted up with barnacles from not stroking- and uncloseable !), made this a scary boat to walk away from, or sleep aboard with any kind of peace of mind.

This drydock period, any gate valves aboard, and many hull penetrations are going away, along with a garbage can full of salt water pumps ! (I am keeping the anchor wash and fantail wash pumps only).

Which is now where we are  (about three weeks away from a haul-out), followed by a sea trial and then the sea trial trip to Florence, the next three weeks are all we have to finish up loose ends, and put things back together. and, the list is pretty huge !

Another really huge-to-me error on the Tollycraft design is the concentrated effort for a cabin mounted skiff/dory/punk and a crane to onload/offload it with !  really ?  If you are cruising and anchoring out a skiff is great to get to shore with (not so much returning after dark drunk with), but, as a life boat, this is the stupidist most dangerous item aboard . . .  if anyone has ever tried to ride out a surging 12 plus foot sea, or unboard from a 25 degree list up on the rocks, in a gale, with a bilge full of water (batteries submerged) into a "life boat" by using an electric crane to raise and drop (starboard side only) while trying to hail for help and get the passengers and pets off ... remember the titanic -- if you have any kind of deck angle, or dead batteries, meet King Neptune.

I am installing a self launch/float-off canister life raft onto the swim platform, and replacing the skiff with a huge badly needed deck box. If I cannot tie up in port, go elsewhere, this is a motor vessel not a sailboat, I am over 70 not over 20, I would not want to try and survive in a 12 foot lifeboat at sea.

Target date 13 March haul-out....survey, clean and paint, sea chest block-off, re-zinc, fuel up, trial.
The rear hatch /entry is being held for summer work at Fkorence, along with all exterior refreshing and A/C - Pellet stove install.

EXPLAINER:  Many-many readers mistake my comments for anger, disatisfaction, disappointment, or feel that I somehow am sorry for purchasing this vessel . . .  nothing could be further from the truth, and you are wrong !

I simply am so familiar with boats and boat repairs that I “knew” what I was purchasing, and also knew that (most likely) that I would be surprised with the condition once in . . . so, do not misconstrue my comments . . .  So...fea cost $94,376.00 new, and her sister-ships are today still all on the market for $ 50-125,000.00, we paid far less for a specific reason, and "expected" hidden faults).

)One has to be very careful analyzing people involved with harbors or boats, and with the definition of "live-aboard" . . . there are lots of different types of live-aboard people, with many different agendas and lifestyles  ...  live-aboards come in many varieties and sub-cultures . . "know" what and who you speak of and perceive.

Friday, February 10, 2017


While in Florence today picking up our teak paneling for So fea, we stopped by the harbor office and finally met Kelly the Harbor Manager, and received our 2017 dock berth assignment (A-10, which made for a pretty terrific day !

Fabricated a bracket and hung the new WiFi antenna today, then programmed the repeater as "whazammo wifi", tested it out and it is SUPER ! Began the ceiling hanger install for the TV--pretty complicated ! then restarted on finishing the forward head lectra-san toilet install, before tackling the aft utility/tool room with today's lumber pickup (a good weeks work), then....finally the vinyl decking can go in.

Tenetive dry docking/bottom paint/inspection is set for first week in March and, done ! (sorta'- never use the word "done), but now, with an "assigned dock space", we are now really chompin' to get out of Winchester . . . and to finally have a permanent home for us all.

Our new Florence dock A-10 is at the "commercial" end of the harbor, on the long riverside quay (which runs down river past the restaraunts), on the riverside it is intended for large vessels (over 75 foot, cruise ships, transients, etc.) . . . we are "not" on the riverside, but, one of the three spaces on the harborside of that end-dock,  A-8 is OTTER the motor sailer, A-9 is empty, we are in A-10 at the very end (actually "in" the turning basin. so, we are pretty excited.

Moving some lead ballast over to port side, and have finally gotten the stern down to within an inch of where I want it, final fuel loading will dial that in perfectly, while at the ATM today I noticed the daffodils are up 4 inches, the kitties started immense shedding three days ago . . .  34 degrees last night was the coldest in a week of 40-45 degree nights, . . . / spring ??

Saturday, February 4, 2017


Tore out the aft berthing, ordered a 6 foot Jefa WiFi antenna and router, laid out the washer/dryer pieces for hookup, spent 1/2 a day finding the Air conditioner to buy, and dialing in the extra batteries and the 5,000 watt AC/DC inverter for the solar panels and 12 volt conversion project this summer (microwave, air conditioner, reefer, pellet stove, and all the AC outlets going 12 volt).

Super windy... rockin' and rollin' last two days and nights non stop, feels like a whale rubbing his back on our keel, it has been 50 degrees 24 hours a day for the past three days ... never ever seen anything like this !

Heading into town on Monday for plywood and the pieces/parts ordering for the new utility room, and starting to build the actual "utility room" on....