Tuesday, June 6, 2017


This is not a vacation....this is our LIFE!

I have some catching up to do on the blog due to the relaxed life I live now. I never thought I would say that and MEAN it!
  So just as a teaser.... we survived the Baja HAHA and have been sailing in the Sea Of Cortez. Nellie Jo was hauled out and had a long needed bottom job done, plus a few other items taken care of while she was out of the water. We have met some incredible people that will be life long friends.

Right now we are back in the states to take care of family stuff and finish getting rid of our storage locker. I miss the boat already...

Here are some of the pictures we took......enjoy

We made a new 120 panel

Freddie becomes our new crew!

Deena and Freddie the kayaker.

Sea Caves

Westsail 32 Idle Dreams with Nellie Jo in the background.



SV Striker is the second boat up from the bottom.

Safety First.....or after a few drinks on SV/Little Haste

Nellie Jo and Idle Dreams

Monday, September 12, 2016

Progress on the freezer and refrigerator

Deena and I decided that we should go ahead and re-insulate the original icebox to make a proper freezer and refrigerator out of it. We installed a Cool Blue cold plate unit in it a year or so ago and it has worked great. But with us heading down to Cabo San Lucas and the Sea of Cortez we knew we needed to replace the insulation with something that has more R valve than the insulation that was installed in 1975. We knew it would be a big project and would take some time but we were up for the challenge. I had hoped to be able to save the fiberglass insert but soon figured out that I would not be able to without having to tear out some of the cabinets. We did not want to do that so we decided we would make a new insert out of fiberglass ourselves.....that soon changed.

I had to remove the copper lines.
The cold plate was mounted on the settee side of the icebox. This caused condensation on the outside of the icebox.
This is the original icebox with the divider I put in when we installed the Cool Blue refrigeration unit.
Cutting with a Fein tool.
The start of removing the liner. It was harder to remove than I thought it would be.

Starting to make progress!

You can see the foam was not really in all the cracks.

Finally removed the liner and was able to see exactly how the insulation was on the bottom. Not much and just a mish mash of foam pieces.

Here Deena is cleaning out the icebox shell. There was mold on the foam and it was wet.

All painted and clean. We tagged the hull so it would be a surprise for the next owners. You can see I made templates of the sides to see exactly how big I could make the new liner and still get 2.5"- 3" of insulation in.

More patterns for the two drop in boxes. I would leave 1" space between them for insulation to go between the frig and freezer.

The insulation I used was 10 mm Spaceloft and it has a radiant barrier on it. It is rated about R4 for the 10mm (3/8") thickness. I needed to get the highest R value I could in the 2 1/2"- 3" of space available. With 3" I can get R32...so I was shooting for 3" of space with the new liner. Just a side note that the insulation is dusty and it gets everywhere. It does not itch but it does dry out your skin and feels "sticky" but it isn't. It is hydrophobic so it does not absorb water. After a day of working with it water would literally run off my hands under the faucet. It does not itch so that is a big plus! A big thank you to the guys who got the insulation for me....you know who you are!

The roll of spaceloft. (248 sq feet)
Here I am laying out patterns and cutting the insulation.

I ended up with 7 layers on the three sides. 9 layers on the hull and bottom.
We were planning on building a fiberglass liner to go in the box. But I could not build a support system for it and get the space I needed for the liner and keep the box the same dimension inside as it was. So Deena suggested we do it in stainless steel. It would look better and be easier to clean. So stainless steel it would be.

I drew up the two liners and PPC, the company I used to work for made the stainless steel liners for me. They did a great job and everything fit as planned. I must say it was difficult getting the liners in as it was a very tight fit. At one point I was standing in the frig liner getting it to fully insert to the bottom insulation. Thank you PPC for the liners and other items you made for the boat. I really appreciate it!

The liners before they were installed. The one on the left is the freezer section and goes near the hull.
A minor modification was needed and I sealed all the seams with aluminum tape just in case.

The liners in place and ready to trim out. You can see all the cloth Deena put up to try and keep the dust from the insulation off of everything.....nice try....we still are cleaning dust from some places!
I installed the cold plate on the bottom this time. There is over R32 below it and it gives us more room.

I ran 12 volts to the frig section shown here and 12 volts to the freezer also. We had a small battery fan in the frig before that helped keep the temps pretty even through out the refrigerator section. I figured I would run a small 12 volt computer muffin fan instead of replacing batteries every two months.
 On the lids I used 3" of urethane foam  glued to the plywood. I then covered the under side of the lid and foam with fiberglass cloth with epoxy. Then they received 2 coats of white paint.

I decided to use 3" of urethane foam for the lids. I cut lids out of plywood then sealed them with epoxy.
We thought were were going to go back to wood tops for the lids.  Deena saw some glass accent tiles in Home Depot and bought a couple to see how they would look. We thought they would look very nice and be more functional than wood as she could set hot pans on them if needed. We decided we would trim the tops of the lids out with wood and put the tile in the middle. I re-used some handles we had. We mounted them on the lids then laid out the tile.
The freezer door is on the left. You can see the handles in the location they would be mounted. 

You can see the tile laid out on the removable door behind the stove. We made this door larger than it was before for ease of getting the pots and pans out that are stored back there. We were getting excited about the tile as just this little bit laid out looked promising!

Deena laid out the tile ahead of time so once we laid the adhesive down we could just lay them in.
All the doors grouted but not yet cleaned.
The finished product turned out much better than we thought it would. We knew it would look nice but WOW it looks REALLY good. Not too bad for our first tile job! Check it out below.


In the picture above you can see one of the two baskets that sit on shelves in the frig.
All in all a great job if I say so myself!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Baja Ha Ha and Alado Roller Fullers

We received the official notice that we are in the Baja Ha Ha! We are so excited to be going. If you don't know what the Baja Ha Ha you can click on the name and follow the link to read about it. Basically it is a rally of sailboats that meet in San Diego and then sail down to Cabo San Lucas in about 12 days with two stops along the way. At last count there were 103 boats heading down. The Rally is October 30 thru November 12. We can't wait!

We are in contact with Steve and Sherri Brenner on SV Pablo down in Mexico. They have a Westsail 32 just like ours. We have been following them on Facebook since before they did the Ha Ha last year. We have been asking lots of questions as they are the "Pros" now!

Our good friend Rob will be going with us for the trip down to Cabo. He is a sailboat racer and can teach us a lot so we are pleased he said yes when we asked him to join us. I think this trip was on his bucket list so it is as special to him as it is to us. Thanks for joining us Rob!

Recently we installed our Aldo Roller furlers. The process was simple and easy. I think they will serve us well. I installed them on the two head sails. This will allow us to deploy the sails, reef or store them all from the cockpit. It will be safer that way.

We ordered a kit from Sailrite to change the sails from hank on to furler. Now we can roll the sail around the wire in order to store them or to deploy them. It makes it so much easier than having to get out on the bowsprit in heavy weather. (I know this first hand!)

We have  a lot of projects going on so stay tuned as we prepare for our Sail away date of October 30!

Oh and Deena says I need to change the background to something brighter. So watch out for a different color scheme!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Fabricating a wet exhaust system

This is an older write up that was never published.

Being the frugal (cheap) guy that I am and that I like to build things I decided I would say some money and build my own wet exhaust. (Just so you know if I feel I can't make something that is equal to or better as far as being safe...I'll spend the money and buy the part.) What is a wet exhaust you say? Well it is simple, like a car the boat has an engine that has exhaust. To get the exhaust out of the engine room you run some exhaust pipe to the back of the boat like you do a car. But the exhaust is really hot. So hot it could set the boat on fire. Yea not a good thing. So you "inject " water into the exhaust and it cools it down so you don't get a flaming sailboat...the best kind...not on fire! There is more to it than that but that is the basic idea.
Yanmar wants $350- $500 for the pieces for the wet exhaust elbow. The wet elbow is the expensive part of the wet exhaust system. I'll make that part. The rest of the system will be off the shelf from Home Depot using 2" galvanized pipe. So here goes.

This is from the Yanmar catalog.  Assembly #4 is what I will be making. The the other items will be bought from Home Depot. FYI item #7 will be a regular elbow then a "T" below that to "inject" the water....you'll see.

This is the exhaust port on the engine. It is the back of the heat exchanger.

I need to make a template of the exhaust port so I take heavy paper, tape it on and lightly tap with a hammer, end of a chisel, etc to "cut" the paper on the edges of the exhaust port.

Here is the finished template.
I purchased a 1/4" plate 3" wide and 36" long as scrap from a metal supply house. I choose 3" wide so I only had to make a single cut as the total side for this part is 3"x3". I am make two so that is why I have two in the picture. I laid the template I made over these two pieces and marked the opening I need to cut/drill. You can see I already rounded the corners of the plate.
Here I am drilling the holes for the bolts. 
Now the test fit for the bolt holes.

 I don't have a picture of it but to cut the large middle hole I drilled a series of smaller holes near the edge of it and then cut it with a jig saw.
Here is a 2" x4" galvanized nipple that I cut in two. I know some of you will say not to use galvanized piping on the exhaust due to the galvanizing out gassing when heated and making me sick. Well the galvanizing has to be really  hot like welding hot to give off gases that make you sick. I have actually seen this happen to some welders I worked with. I'm in the sheet metal trade so we deal with welding galvanized stuff all the time. Some don't take the proper precautions...the first time...LOL. They do after that!  FYI, drink milk and it will make make the illness go away.
Here is a test fit of the nipple mocked up on the plate to check for clearance.
 And wa-la the nipple is welded on the plate. I did grind the galvanizing off the nipple. It makes for a better weld and I keep from getting sick!

Here is the back side. I didn't get as pretty as a weld on this side but it will work. The 2" nipple is actually bigger than the exhaust opening but I went ahead and smoothed the weld over for better air flow.  I had actually spaced the nipple about 1/2 way into the plate and welded it there. This gave me a good place to weld on this backside without building up too much to grind off.

 Since I was fabricating stuff I went ahead and bought a sheet of exhaust gasket material. I made several gaskets as the cost for one was about $14. Now I can make many for only $8! 
Here is a picture of the material I used.
As I said before I am making two sets of wet elbows so I can carry a spare when we are out sailing the world. These things do rust out so I'll be prepared when it falls apart from rust!

So I wrote about the west exhaust awhile ago. The wet exhaust has worked great. I  wrapped the whole thing with header wrap I bought from NAPA. The header wrap will help me keep my skin. It insulated the hot metal exhaust from my arms because sure as water is wet I would burn myself if I didn't insulate it. I have found now that I have had it installed for awhile that the header wrap is really itchy. I found I have to lay across the engine from time to time working on the engine of the forward part of the engine room. So I think I will sew a cloth cover out of scrap sunbrella that I have to go over the header wrap. That should stop all the itchiness and should not catch fire as the insulation gets warm but not hot.

When I get back in the engine room I will take a few pictures to show the final installation.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

So what is going on now....

So what is going on now with the boat. Well in short A LOT OF THINGS! As you can tell from the last post Nellie Jo can sail now. We have lots of projects going on at one time. I do try to keep the number of projects going at one time down but they always just seem to multiply. Below is a list that I will explain each one how I did it

We installed a Cool Blue refrigeration system from CruiseRO. It works wonderfully and the owners are a joy to talk to and will help you with any question you have. The tech support is great as Rich seems to always be available no matter what odd hours I called him.

Drain tubes

Miss Mae passed away

Move aboard


LED lights

Research RO system



Hand rails

Slit the cockpit sole

Impeller exploded and the hunt for all the parts in the cooling system

relocated cockpit thru holes

Toilet rebuild with new holding tank

A bunch of others.

Tate and Dani are out there. Yup they are living the dream. Follow them at Sundowner Sails Again.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sailing Nellie Jo

Here is a short video I took of one of our first sails with Nellie Jo. It was a couple years ago This was outside of the port of Los Angeles near Angeles Gate. The sails are original to the boat. I took them to the sail maker and he said they had 5 to 7 years of life left in them. They were barely used and had been kept covered all their life. I hope you enjoy the video.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Wow times flies by March 13 2013 was my last entry. For those that asked, no I didn't quit. I just stopped posting. There was a life changing event in my life that changed my life. My only brother Charles, or Bubba as I always called him passed away. I had dreams of us sailing on Nellie Jo as we always wanted to "Sail away". I can remember looking at sail boats with him decades ago and talking about the places we would go, things we would see and things we would do. His wife Brenda was on board with that dream and I believe she still holds that dream. She is a free spirit that loves life and still follows her heart. I love her as a sister and I hope to get her on board as a crew member when we do the Baja-haha in 2016. Bubba may not be physically with us any more but is with me in heart and spirit.  He will be on every trip I take no matter how short or long. To honor my brother my wife and I decided to name our monitor wind-vane Charles and or Bubba.

I will continue to update the blog on a regular bases and bring everyone up to speed on the progress of the boat and the preparations we are making for our escape from the rat race.

I apologize for stopping the blog so abruptly and hope you understand.

 Stay tuned for up dates!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tanks....a sneak peek

My tanks got started. Here is a sneak peek. They are made of 14 gauge mild steel. The guys are doing a great job!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

So what is happening overall?

What is going on with the boat?  My reasoning for the way I do things is this. I figure that I do not want to take a chance of sailing the boat in the condition it was in when I bought it. Plus the engine was kaput so that stopped me from sailing anyway. (I know it's a SAIL boat why do you need an engine? Lets see ...moving the boat in and out of my slip with a ten foot spear on the front is going to be tricky enough with an engine must less at the mercy of the wind and tide! Plus my neighbors would hate me if I ran my spear through their boat.) Anyway...I wanted to make sure the mast stayed vertical. So that is almost done, then to re power, then to the deck and do the pretty stuff and finally do the cabin. Last but not least do the bottom before we head out. So there you have my game plan. Now keep in mind that this list will change and get longer and shorter at my desire...or the boats desire really. She is after all calling the shots. It is her that "tells" me what she needs! The list looks short but that is just a fantasy. It is really long!

Fuel system - The latest is the fuel tank was removed and I have two new ones being fabbed. I will have to make two fuel pickups as I could not find some steel ones that I liked. I found a used Racor dual filter system at a consignment store. It is a bit large but I think I will go and get it as it is priced right and I can rebuild it. (If it is still there.) I have figured out the valves I want to install to control the fuel flow. I will also use the filters to polish the fuel. I figured that it won't take much more time or money so I might as well go ahead and do it. Some people think it is a good idea some don't. I'm torn so I will do it just to be on the safe side.

Engine - I have most of the hoses I need. I am missing one so I need to get it ordered. I plan on firing up the engine at home just to make sure it does fire up....after all I bought it used. I need to make a stand for the engine for when I start it and for transporting it.  I need to buy all new gauges and sending units. I'll go with VDO gauges as they seem to hold up well and are price friendly. I do need to rewire the engine or at least inspect every wire just to make sure.

Standing rigging - Well I have most of the "support" items all in great shape, the bowsprit, bobstay, whisker stays, boomkin and it's stays. So I know the mast won't fall down. Next will be to remove either just a few or all of the chain plates ti inspect them. Chances are I will replace them all before we head out but it they are in descent shape I will keep them for a few years more.  I will sail with them locally but only after I have inspected them closely.

Deck - Let to do...everything! Oh I did by replacement teak handrails and wood for the companionway. H & L Marine was going out of business so I bought a few things before they closed their doors. I was the last customer..sad sad day.

Cabin - below deck - Same as above. Everything is still left to do. But really it is in pretty good shape down there.

Sorry no pictures...all talk....or err all words.

But here is the picture I keep in my head. Just replace the hat with a bottle of rum :)

(If this is your picture let me know and I will give you credit or remove it if you wish.)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fuel Tank Removal

Last weekend while I was fiberglassing in the fiberglass hawser tubes I took some time out to remove the fuel tank. I figured that I better at least pull the tank and see what shape it is in. The last thing I need is to have it start leaking after I put the engine in.
I pulled 26 gallons of fuel out of the 35 gallon tank and gave it away to anyone who would take it. Needless to say it was gone in short order. Now getting the tank out of a Westsail is a bit of work. Mind you the engine is removed so that did help greatly. I did have to cut the corner of the shelf it sits on.
You can see the shelf I cut and the cockpit drain and hose I removed. I had reattached the hose as you can see.

 I also had to remove the cockpit drains and hose in order to make it so the behemoth would come out. This would be the same cockpit drain I re-bed not to long ago.  It took about an hour to get the tank out. All in all it wasn't too bad to remove I guess. Being that the Westsail 32 has a engine room really helped. At least I didn't have to remove any furniture like some boats do!

And here is the tank looking down on me laughing. I'm sitting in the engine room it is on deck.

Once I took the tank home I was able to give it a better look.

 I found that I could not read the tank plate.
So I took a marks a lot and marked over the writing then immediately wiped it off with a rag. This left enough ink in the "groove" of the writing to be able to read it if you held it up to the light just right.

It says the tank holds 35 gallons, was made in 1974, and is made of 18 GA. galvanized steel, made for diesel and tested to 5PSI.

The outside only had two surface rust areas on forward end. These were not bad at all.

I shone a light in the tank and used a mirror to look inside. There was very little crud and I saw no rust. Over all the tank is in great shape. But I will have the shop make two new ones. One for the port side and one for the starboard side. The tank above came out of the port side. It was an option to have two tanks but this boat only had one. I think it will serve us well to have two tanks with 35 gallons each. With two tanks it should give us a motoring range of about 538 mile figuring that we will burn about .65 gallons an hour traveling 5 knots an hour. Actual mileage may vary...
 The new tanks might be shaped slightly different so that they will be easier to get in and out. But I do not plan on taking them out ever again once they are in!
I am having them made of 14 GA. black iron (mild steel). This is a normal metal to use and will last a lifetime if I take care of them. A lot of people are making them out of aluminum these days but I the price I am getting the steel tanks for is so great I can't say no. (Thank you...you know who you are!) I had the option of stainless steel but doing research found that the welds start to leak after a few years compared to steel. Plus the coast guard does not like to see tanks made of stainless steel holding more than 20 gallons.
 Being the tank that came out is 39 years old I think the new ones will last just as long. They will get several coats of paint and possibly a tank sealer put inside just in case.
Once the new tanks are fabbed I'll post about them and the install.
 I'm still working on the engine at home. I will be installing all new hoses, gauges and sending units. I am  designing a fuel system that will allow me to "polish" the fuel. I hear there is some nasty fuel in some of the places we want to go. So now is the time to plan for it!

FYI if you want to see another Westsail 32 that is being refitted down in New Orleans take a look at Tate and Danni's Sundowner. It has some great history and they are preparing it to make some more! I get a lot of great input and ideas from them!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Making the fiberglass hawser tube for the bulwark.

The new solid bronze hawsers that I want to install have a smaller O.D. flange than the spun bronze ones on the boat now. This creates a problem as the opening in the boat is too large for the new hawsers. The new ones will cover the opening, but the screws have nothing to grab onto. I have to fiberglass the existing holes smaller so the new hawsers will fit
 My friend Marty at the marina came up with the great idea of fiberglassing a tube from one side of the bulwark to the other for the hawser to mount in. I like the idea as it will make the area completely waterproof and not depend on sealant to keep the water out. You can read about it here.  (FYI for my boat nomenclature challenged friends the bulwark is the "wall" at the very edge of the deck. Most small boats don't have these. It keeps you in and the water out..some of the time. For a better description look here at #4.)
Original spun bronze
New solid bronze 

The old spun bronze hawser versus the new cast one. No wonder the spun ones would crack! All of mine are cracked.

First I have to make a tube. I used polyester resin as it is cheaper than epoxy and didn't need to be structural. I needed the tube to be 3 5/8" O.D. (outside diameter) and the I.D. (Inside diameter) to be just large enough for the bulwark hawser to slide into.
I made a wooden caliper that was the O.D. of what the tube needed to be.

I needed a form that was the correct size for the hawser to slide into.
I found that the paper core of a wide format printer was the correct size. It was just a tad bigger than the hawser...perfect.  So I cut it to 18" long, wrapped it with saran wrap and packing tape and screwed it to a piece of wood to hold it in the vice. (The resin will not stick to saran wrap or packing tape.)

You can see I covered my bench with saran wrap to catch the drips.
I used some cloth my neighbor gave me to build up the thickness as I needed about a 1/4" all around.
I kept using the wooden caliper to check my progress as I added layers. Finally I had the thickness I needed.

I waited for the resin to harden then I removed the "form" tube from the fiberglass tube. I wish I could say it just slipped right out but I really had to just tear it out. It wasn't stuck to the fiberglass, it was just really tight!

(Looking back at the way I made the tube I would have made someway to be able to rotate the tube so I could see all of it easily. Or just put the jig in the vice with the tube hanging over the floor sticking out so I cut see it all the way around and have better access to the back. With it being over the bench I did not have great access to the back of the tube.)

I cut off the ragged ends of the tube and squared them up with 36 grit sand paper and 80 grit.

Time for a test fit.
Looks good. So I cut a 3 1/4" long piece and squared up the other end. The bulwark is 3" wide, at least the ONE that I measured. (There are four.) I left the tube a little long so I can "fit" it at the boat.

Next I took to cutting down the hawser itself. The over all length of the two halves together are over 3" long so they have to be cut down.

I figured out how much I needed to cut off and marked it on the longer half of the hawser.
Then took tape to mark the cut area. This would be a better guide that just the black line.

And I started to cut away with the hacksaw. I thought about using the abrasive chop saw I have but I don't think I would be able to get an accurate cut with out making a jig. So the hacksaw it was.
I was able to get a fairly square cut. I did lay a sheet of 80 grit flat on my bench and sanded off the high spots of my cut.

Now I put the hawser inside the tube to see what it would look like.

Not too bad if I say so myself. Lets wait and see how all this really works this weekend when I go to install it!

So the weekend came and went. I was able to get one of the tubes installed. I had to grind down the tube exterior to get it to fir in the existing opening. I used a 4" grinder. This made short work of it. The fit was really tight and I had to hammer the tube into the opening. It took several attempts to get the tube to fit. I wanted it to be a tight fit so I took my time.  I had cut the tube a 1/4" long so that I could grind it flush to the bulwark. I hammered the tube in from the deck side flush with the outside so any grinding would be done from the deck.

Here is the tube after I ground it down and had a force fit. Mind you I did check to make sure the bronze hawser did fit because if I got the fit to tight the fiberglass tube could distort and the bronze hawser may not fit.
The final deck side fit with the fiberglass tube ground down and a slight bevel ground into the bulwark to give some "bedding" room for the epoxy. 

The outer side with the tube in place. This side already had a bevel on the bulwark so I just had to had epoxy.
Below are the openings with epoxy installed. I did sand and clean everything before I put the epoxy on. I used a syringe to fill the existing screw holes.

These last few shots are the final test fitting of the bronze hawsers into the installed tube. I did have to sand a bit of the epoxy off. I did put it on a bit thick so I could make sure I covered everything and made the final fit as snug as possible.

I did put some sealant around the outer flange and the new screw holes. Plus I put a bead where the two halves of the hawsers meet in the tube itself. 

One down three to go. I did get the other three tubes installed and epoxied in. I just have to cut down the three remaining bronze hawsers and install them.