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Nuts! (Well, bolts, anyway) - Or, Making a Splash.

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  • Skip Gundlach, Aboard S/Y Flying Pig, ov
    Hi, LogListers! First things first - we re trying diligently to get this boat in the water (thus the splash part). While that day will arrive, it seems to
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 21, 2006
      Hi, LogListers!

      First things first - we're trying diligently to get this boat in the water
      (thus the "splash" part). While that day will arrive, it seems to
      constantly be moving off into the distance, slightly, as we approach it.
      More on that below...

      The current thing driving me nuts - I've been reinstalling the transmission,
      yet again, in order to finish the drive line. It had come out, after having
      been installed after the replacement of a plate we'd broken by backing down
      over a mooring line (don't ask - but we didn't invent the maneuver; it was
      perfected early in the Morgan 461 history as proven by a 1979 review of the
      type), in order to take the transmission off for checking as we prepared to
      redo our drive line. I don't think I have spoken of this in any of the
      prior stuff, but we're replacing our drive shaft and associated hardware
      between the transmission and the propellor. In the course of doing that,
      we'd done a lot of checking out of various components, and one of them was
      the transmission.

      Once the transmission was out, I took advantage of that easy accessibility
      to repaint it, as well as to paint the new plate which replaced the one we'd
      broken. That went relatively smoothly, as did the repainting and reassembly
      of the pulleys and power take-offs on the other end of the engine, which had
      been removed for refinishing well over a year ago.

      Earlier this week, however, as I was assembling the transmission and
      transmission mounting plate, I was dismayed to find that one of the 6 bolts
      which secured the mounting plate to the transmission turned freely (well,
      freely with a wrench, that is) in the transmission.

      That doesn't mean that the bilge of our boat has turned into a strip joint -
      but it did mean that the threads in the case of the transmission, which used
      to hold that particular bolt, were stripped. Well, that's a bit of a
      nuisance, but not incurable. But I forgot to mention that this plate had to
      be put on the transmission about 30" down in the engine bilge, at about a 15
      degree angle from straight down, because there were other things in the way
      preventing lowering the plate and transmission as an assembly - and it
      weighs about 60 pounds.

      So, I fetched it out again - after first reaching down to remove the other 5
      bolts I'd carefully coated with Loctite so they wouldn't fall out under
      vibration - and commenced to trying to remedy the problem.

      Unfortunately, it was a metric bolt - and one would not want to drill out
      the plate - which meant that we had to try to make new threads INSIDE the
      old stripped ones, and the particular tool used to do that wasn't commonly
      available in the metric size we had. Fortunately, a technique and piece of
      gear exists to do that - but the diesel mechanics in the yard gave me the
      wrong set, and after carefully reaming the offending hole in the
      transmission, tapping new threads and installing them, the bolt would not go

      Not to worry - I found a (unfortunately) smaller bolt which matched up to
      the threads they'd provided me, and decided that it would have to do, as to
      redo the hole would be very much more difficult at this point. Back down
      the engine room hole with the transmission, on with the plate, and I get
      into position over the motor to hoist it yet again onto the housing into
      which it all fit.

      Up she comes (gorilla arms help, sometimes!) and it all fits nicely, if very
      snugly. However, as I commence tightening bolts prior to installing
      Loctite, in order to make sure the transmission plate was seated properly,
      one of the bolts spun. NOT AGAIN!

      Well, yes. Not only again, but again and again. Three of the six bolts'
      receiving threads in the plate on the motor (to which I was bolting the
      assembly) were also stripped! I wonder when I'd have discovered all that
      insecurity, had I not taken it all out to get the transmission checked

      So, out come all those bolts, and the transmission and plate assembly gets
      lowered (yet again) to the engine bilge pan. (The engine bilge pan is a
      separate bilge keeping oil out of the water which is normal at the bottom of
      the boat.) Tomorrow I'll take off that (engine) plate and have ALL of the
      bolts' receivers redone with proper new replacement threads, as the bolts
      are exactly the size of the holes in the transmission plate, and can't have
      the receiver threads reamed out to a larger size.

      Meanwhile, as some of you have seen in the "Sunsets and Animals" list, we're
      addressing the literally hundreds of blisters on the bottom of our boat.
      Nearly all of these, it turns out, are botched prior repairs, whether from a
      very obviously badly done "peel job" (where they take off the outside skin
      of the underside of the boat, dry out what's uncovered, and recover it with
      epoxy resin), or prior attempts to repair the blisters resulting from the
      apparently hurried job which was done originally. We, however, are doing it
      right - regardless of how long it takes - as we sure don't want to do it
      again, later...

      Without going into the gory details, however, it's a very nasty job, with
      bottom paint (which keeps sea life from taking up residence on the bottom)
      toxins flying, fiberglass shards in every pore and orifice not covered or
      filtered, and - at last count, 800 - holes to be filled with new fiberglass
      and epoxy resin. Of course, that has to be sanded out to smooth and any
      minor faults filled with epoxy filler - which also has to be sanded out to

      However, in the end, we have a smooth bottom. And, we're very pleased to
      say, the port side ("left" to most of us) has gotten its waterline coated
      twice, and the rest of the bottom has its first coat of bottom paint. We're
      using ablative paint, which is designed to slough off (ough?) as time goes
      on, leaving, eventually, a bare bottom. In the meantime, critters and
      vegetation trying to attach get copper in their system, as well as an
      anti-slime compound, keeping them off. The alternative is hard paint, which
      leaches its toxins, killing the critters, but the paint remains, causing a
      buildup. That buildup, in a smaller boat than ours, as related to us by a
      yard buddy, can amount to more than 250 pounds (on his boat) which
      eventually has to be removed, as he did, weighing it in the course of
      hazardous waste disposal. Hard paint users are faced with removal at some
      point, regardless. Ablative users are faced with trying to time the
      application of new paint to beat the time when there isn't any left.

      So, we're going with an initial two coats (with more at the waterline and on
      the rudder) in blue, and finish with the same in black. That way, when the
      black wears off, we'll see the blue and know that we'll soon have to redo
      the bottom. Well, maybe not SOON - the under coat should last as long as
      the top coat - but we'll have notice, and some means of gauging how long
      we'll have. In the meantime, the work on the starboard side ("right," for
      most of us) continues. There's still major work left to do before we can
      paint that side.

      So, while Chuck, Lydia and Sissie, along with the occasional other help from
      Jason, continue to work on making that side beautiful, I'm continuing to
      make it possible to put the boat back in the water. That day is
      approaching, even if it's only two steps forward, and one step back.

      In addition, I've continued to put away all the tools and other toys that
      guys play with, sort of simultaneously. I've managed to winnow down over 40
      years' accumulation of tools and supplies to several large plastic bins.
      Now I'm putting all that remains into effective systems.

      I've finished my mechanical set - it's what I've been using on the engine -
      and I'm thrilled with it. It's compact, very complete, easy to access, and
      easy to store or carry (despite its weighing 50 or so pounds). Still to
      come is a marine plumbing set, a carpentry set and a drill-and-grind set.

      However, I'm continually amazed at the amount of storage our home has.
      Stuff of all sorts keeps disappearing into their new storage homes - and I'm
      nearly finished - but there's still lots of space left. In the end, we'll
      have easily retrievable tools, hardware, spare parts, emergency gear, and
      much more, all well sorted, labeled, and readily at hand.

      So, splashdown is still an ephemeral event - we don't know when it will be.
      The work on the bottom has delayed us many weeks. We're hopeful of being in
      the water in the next few weeks. Once we have our hull shape restored by
      the support of the water, and our drive line realigned, we'll start our sea
      trials. The good news in all this is that the weather for sailing will have
      improved markedly in that time. Already, the breezes are starting to come.
      By that time, they'll be pretty consistent, and we'll actually get to sail
      during our trials!

      So, soon, we'll be issuing invitations to come on sea trials, and later, to
      come cruise with us as we head to warm waters east and south...



      Morgan 461 #2
      SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
      See our galleries at www.justpickone.org/skip/gallery!
      Follow us at theflyingpiglog@yahoogroups.com and

      "And then again, when you sit at the helm of your little ship on a clear
      night, and gaze at the countless stars overhead, and realize that you are
      quite alone on a great, wide sea, it is apt to occur to you that in the
      general scheme of things you are merely an insignificant speck on the
      surface of the ocean; and are not nearly so important or as self-sufficient
      as you thought you were. Which is an exceedingly wholesome thought, and one
      that may effect a permanent change in your deportment that will be greatly
      appreciated by your friends."- James S. Pitkin
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