Where’d They Go?

So, it’s been about six weeks since we last posted.  They have been busy weeks, filled with projects that have many hurry up and wait steps.  And then we went sailing, but more about that in a later post.

The fridge getting foamed.  We used two part foam again and filled in all the voids after the lid flange got installed. All of the excess foam will have to be removed before the counter top can get installed.
More pour foam, this time in the lid to the fridge.
Cutting the openings in the counter for the fridge and the pantry.  We did this on the dock.
Dry fitting the counter top.  To get the counter in the boat, we had to make it in two pieces.
Both pieces of the counter top epoxied in place.  The plywood top to the fridge lid has been dry fit and glued temporarily in place with hot glue.  The lid to the pantry (center hole) was cut out of another piece of plywood.  We epoxied in corner triangles to support the lid.
Formica epoxied in place, waiting to be weighted down.  We were able to do this in one piece. We covered the Formica in plastic to keep it from getting epoxy on it.
The weighting down of the Formica. Just how many water-filled milk jugs does it take? Answer about 50.  The kid who has not moved out yet was able to contribute to the project.


Cutting out the sink hole using our trusty 1950s saber saw.

Test fitting the sink.  We decided to go with a big sink rather than a double.  The sink was glued in with 3M 4000.
Formica has been glued on and Bill is using a template to cut out the spaces for the pull rings.
Using a template to route out the pull rings. The blue tape is there to fine tune the cut out. We do not want to have to remake any of this.
Towel bar in the head.  Another of Nina’s projects (she gets all the easy ones). it looks like it was designed for the space.
The backyard varnishing station.  Nina varnished the oars and the tiller (on the left).
Chart table drawers all varnished and installed.
Cubby door under the stove varnished and installed.  This is a good place for stowing baking tins and food.
Engine door and galley drawers. Getting this filled in has greatly reduced the engine noise.
Nina spliced the new 8 plait Brait rope onto the anchor chain.  We reused our chain since it will fit in the new windlass.  The depth markings were getting faint so we re-marked the anchor rode with spray-painted every 25 feet.  We used a fat sharpie to mark off the rope part.  This probably won’t last very long, but it got the job done.
Auto-pilot compass installed. It had to be away from iron in the engine and the keel, radio antennas and wiring, and sort of in the middle of the boat. After awhile we won’t even notice it.
Meanwhile, Nina was making cushions.  We chose a smoky blue tweedy upholstery fabric, with a light gray underlining on the bottom side.  The seat cushions are made with 4 inch foam wrapped in polyester batting.  They are sitting on Hypervent to help prevent any moisture from building up.  The backs are in process and they are being made of two inch foam.

The sink got plumbed after only one extra trip to Pacific Rubber for another hose.  It’s always good to measure twice and cut once, but you do need to remember which side of the tape you need to cut on. Hey, it was only one inch too short.  The faucet was installed and our cold water system was ready to use.  With tea kettle assistance we also have hot water. The boat got cleaned up and project supplies went home.  Car loads of provisions were loaded and we took off.  Coming next: the great 19 day voyage that all of this made possible.

Hot and Cold

Temperatures this weekend got up to about 100 degrees F.  Luckily, cabin fans got installed and we discovered that all that insulation we installed does actually help buffer the heat.

Bill centered between the new fans.  We installed one more in the passageway to the v-berth to help with air circulation up forward. 

Another project, since it finally stopped raining, was to rebed the forward hatch.  The tarp came off, wedges were made out of wood from the cherry tree from our old house, and Nina got to work coaxing it up.  We originally bedded the hatch with Sikaflex and for some reason, did not get enough to get a solid seal.  Probably trying to be neat.  Don’t skimp on hatch caulk!

Cherry wedges to slowly loosen the hatch.  Because it was hot out and the caulk was still pretty soft, this only took a couple of hours get it all unstuck.

Once the hatch was loose, it took another hour or so to clean off all the residual caulk on the hatch and the hatch base.  We rebedded the hatch with white butyl rubber and screwed it down.  Over the next couple of hours and the next evening, we gradually tightened the screws and cleaned up the goosh out.  It’s a slower process than working with Sikaflex, but the clean up is much easier.  And we think there’s finally enough material in there now that the hatch will no longer leak when it rains or gets wet.

Meanwhile, Bill worked away on the fridge.  He tested the fridge to see if it would get cold.  He put a piece of left over foam on top and cranked down the temperature.  It works!  The flange finally had enough two-part white paint on it and was ready to install.

The fridge flange has been glued in place with 5200 with boards across the top to help clamp it in place.  The cavities around the flange will be filled with pour foam before the countertop is installed.

Bill also worked on running yet more wire and water hose.  All the water hose is in place and just waiting for the galley countertop and sink to be installed.

Bulkhead with water filter on the bottom, refrigerator compressor on the shelf.  On the top is the blower for the engine.  The gray box on the right is the autopilot brains.
Galley sink foot pump.  No pressure water, no hot water, but that’s ok.  One of Bill’s evening projects was to rebuild the pump.

Work and Play

Wow, it is June and we are finally posting an update. It has been a busy two months since our last post. Our goal was to take Gypsy out for the Memorial Day weekend cruise and we did. We had a working head, toilet and water, and a working stove. We spent three days aboard and it was great.

We wanted to get the galley counter top in which means getting the refrigerator installed.  Last post we had built the flange. We used the flange to make the lid. The lid parts were glued up  clamped to the flange with plastic between so they would not stick.


Then we glued the flange to the top of the refrigerator box.flange_glued

Then we fit the top and flange to the box.fitting_the_flange

The top of the flange needs to be exactly the same as the underside of the counter top. We also had to figure out how to route the Freon tubes from the evaporator, which is installed in the refrigerator box, back to the compressor.conduit

The tubes need to run through the pantry on the way to the compressor and so we wanted them up as high as possible and in a protective tube so they would not be damaged by the canned goods in the pantry. Carefully angled PVC pipe does the job. It will all get encased in foam when it is installed.

We realized that we would not get this done in time so while we have kept working on the lid and flange, it was not the priority. They got primed last weekend.


We also did more painting. It has to get done and Gypsy looks so much better in white than lime yellow. Nina worked on varnishing and got the galley drawers done.varnishingdrawers_in

Looks good! They also were helpful for storage on our cruise.

The head needed to get to a working point. Bill had to finish the ducting on our composting toilet. We had decided to build the ducts in for a more finished look. head_duct

Getting the connecting parts built and painted.duct

Almost done. One of the great points of our AirHead is that there is no plumbing involved so once the duct was in the toilet install took 30 minutes. The ducting works.counter

We did need water and it was going to be much easier to install and plumb the head sink than the galley. The counter top got covered in WilsonArt laminate, it is a ocher pattern called something like Tigris parchment. custom_fiddle

We also made a shelf to fit in the vanity. Note the custom fiddle to protect the heater duct.


Now for cooking. We needed to install the stove and we also had to install the propane system. This was one of these we will figure out the details latter things. Well it was latter and Bill spend too many hours on it, but we now can cook.stove


We had the counter top plywood ready so it was slid into place for the weekend.

Nina also has been busy making the new cushions, Needless to say we have been busy evenings which helps to explain the lag in blogging.

The good part of using Gypsy is it really helps us to see how systems are working. It also gave Bill several new projects as we discovered some engine problems. Last weekend Gypsy had the engine aligned and the valves adjusted. Water and fuel leaks also have been dealt with. Fingers crossed and we are more ready for our next outing.


Spring Forward

Yes, we did that and it has been a couple of weeks and I am still grumpy about losing an hour of sleep. I mean who would volunteer for jet lag and not get a vacation out of it? Despite my sleep deprivation things are moving again on Gypsy. The big news is it has finally warmed up a bit. We can use epoxy again. All the waiting projects are possible again. Of course before you can do you must plan and this is one way I do that.


The cutouts represent equipment that needs to get mounted on the port side bulkhead between the cockpit locker and the galley. The shapes represent the auto pilot computer, the refrigeration compressor and the drinking water filter. They not only need space, they also have to be accessible and serviceable and not interfere with other equipment.

Talking about interference, we had to relocate the circuit breaker that the alternator power feeds through. When we were fitting the galley sink we realized that the sink drain hose would not clear the circuit breaker and they would rub on each other. So we moved the circuit breaker up a bit.

The circuit breaker used to sit on the block now circled by the red cable. We were lucky to catch this while the counter top is still off.

The big project is the refrigerator box. We are building a refrigerator from scratch to fit the space we have and to be energy efficient. This needs to be done before the galley counter top can get installed.


You have seen earlier pictures of the foam getting installed. This is the Formica covered plywood panels being test fit. That is how big our fridge will be – about 3 cubic feet.


The panels are glued in with 3M 5200. It is adhesive caulk, once it sets it will never come apart. After putting the beads down we used a notched trowel to get a uniform coating.


The panels are all in. The foam is acting as clamps, cut a bit oversized and forced into place it will hold the panels tight until the 5200 cures. The blue tape is to help to contain the extra caulk. Nina got the job of trying to smooth the caulk beads along the edges.  She was mostly successful, but in hind sight, it would have been easier without all the foam chocks in place.

All of the above happened while it was still cold out. Once it warmed up we coated a sheet of 6mm plywood with fiberglass cloth and epoxy. Once it set Bill, sanded it and cut out the parts to make the lid flange and lid.Refer_box_lid_flange_test

Here I am fitting the parts to make the flange that the lid will set into. The plans are from a twenty year old book. New books don’t have this information. They just figure you will buy a boat with a refrigerator already in place.


Here is the flange glued together. The flying buttresses keep the sides lined up at the right angle. They also support the top and bottom parts that will be added. Once this cures it will become the mold for the lid. This is actually looking like it will work.


This is the shelf that will hold the refrigeration compressor. It was represented by one of the manila folder cutouts in the first photo. (it is also upside down, oops)


Our galley sink is over the engine so we sprayed it with undercoating to try to help stop engine noise from passing through it. This was another project that has finally gotten out of limbo.  One can down.  We still need another.

The other big news is Bill passed his HAM license test. He now has a General license. So we just need to get a SSB radio and Bill, at least, is all set for communications while cruising.

This was very much a Bill projects week.  Nina spent her time and energy moving a small shed sized pile of mulch into the yard.  Not the boat.


The weather in Portland has been cold, wet and impossible to glue, epoxy or paint anything until this past weekend.  Sunday was finally lovely, but we had other plans for the afternoon, so not much boat work was done.  We did get to enjoy music that Shakespeare may have heard.

So, what can be done when the weather does not cooperate?  Someone was asking us how we keep track of the planning process.  Bill uses yellow pads.

Bill’s yellow pad system.  Somehow he keeps track of everything on multiple pads.  This is not the full complement of pads, but it does give an idea of how it works. Each pad covers a part of the project: ideas, parts or to do list.
Paper pattern for the galley counter top.
The galley countertop in plywood.  Bill has since marked it all up to locate supporting structure and openings.  It’s in two pieces because that is the only way it will fit down our companionway.
Test fitting the sink to figure out where faucets, plumbing and fiddles will go. 

One of the drawbacks of having the sink over the engine is that there is not very much room at all for plumbing once all the engine gear is in place.  We need to fit drains and water hoses and make sure that everything stays clear of the alternator and that all was going to be a challenge.  It was such a tight fit under the sink that Bill decided to move the spacer block we had installed for the circuit breaker to the alternator so we’d have room to actually run hoses without rubbing on wiring or the alternator itself. Another consequence of the lack of space below is that we will probably not add a salt water spigot for the sink.  We will be adding a watermaker at some point, so we should have plenty of water and won’t need the salt water rinse faucet.   We don’t plan on having pressurized water in the galley (we used to, but it was only cold).  Water will be filtered, but it will still be a cold water system.  Bill has run the hoses from the water tanks and we are waiting to install the foot pump for the sink.

The top drawer directly under the sink.  With the old sink, the box on the left was full height and the long space behind it was flat.  The new sink has a different shape so the drawer needed to be reshaped.  It’s amazing what one can do with a back saw, a small Japanese saw and a block plane.  The back was cut down and the old box and the drawer side were cut down.  The wood that was removed can be used to add another bin behind the small one on the left.

The engine cover had one drawback – in order to check the oil, the entire panel needed to be unscrewed.  We found out that Beckson makes an 8″ plate and it’s big enough to get a hand and a dip stick out.  On the left, the hole,  on the right, the plate installed.  The back of the screw off lid is now backed with lead foam so it should help cut down on engine noise.

Last but not least, Bill’s Star Wars head air vent plumbing project. 

Rain, Rain We Go Away

bilge_pump_ready_1_of_1Since our last snow storm we got a bit done on Gypsy. We got the electric bilge pump wired. We finally have a working electric bilge pump. Yea! We had to build a bracket for the pump and also for the float switch. The float switch was designed to screw into the bottom of the boat, which is not a good idea if you want to keep the water out. In the picture you can see the pickup for the manual pump and the float switch and the electric pump.

We also got the fill and vent hoses on the new water tank. the vent hose stays inside the boat so it cannot get salt water in it. The screen on the end is to keep bugs out, which is important in the tropics.

We also got some more LED lights and we put two in the vee berth. We can now see in the vee berth. While we were doing all of this another blizzard was predicted for Portland. We decided that it was time to head south, so we got an a plane and flew to Seattle and on to St. Thomas. Bill’s sister has a place there and it is a great way to get some warm beach time in. We sent enough warm thoughts back to Portland that the blizzard was averted. Portland only had to cope with lots of rain.

So you don’t feel so bad, St. Thomas also has rain. It is blowing about 20 knots and the rain is horizontal. It is also 80 degrees and the rain lasts for about 10 minutes.
Our goal was to relax so we took morning walks. This is on the hill behind where we stayed. We were two bays from Red Hook and this view is looking west. Bill snorkeled on the beach down middle right.
Another walk view. This is Cowpet Bay and we stayed in the condos on the left. The St. Thomas Yacht Club is in the middle. There was OK snorkeling in the bay.
Cinnamon Beach, St. John’s. A beautiful beach. Good snorkeling. Saw a ray and a turtle.
Magen’s Beach, St. Thomas. Another beautiful beach. There was decent snorkeling by the rocks at the far end of the beach.
Rocky beach behind our condo. Bill saw squid here.
That’s us on the ferry to Water Island, which has a fun beach.
All good things have to end, so we returned to Portland and non stop rain. The ladder still needs refinishing, but the old plywood back is off.
The refrigerator liner is started. The plywood has been fitted and now it will get coated in epoxy and finished with white Formica.
Yes, galley planning has begun in earnest.  This includes details such: as how big should access lids be for the pantry and refrigerator?  How will we design the storage cubbies and figure out what goes where?  And when will it get warm enough to epoxy and varnish?

Way too cool for comfort

Portland continues to be way too cool. Well, not really cool, cold actually. Cold, snowy and slippery. We got a foot of snow last Tuesday and it has stayed cold so the snow is still here. Sunday we went down to check on Gypsy. It was a cold sunny day.

That is ice on the Columbia river. Sunday it was starting to form along the docks. That piece is about 1/4″ to 3/8″ thick and 3-4 feet long.
This shows the snow covered docks and you can see the ice forming.

We went back to Gypsy this morning and the ice was almost all the way across the fairway and it was thick and solid by the dock. That is what a week in the twenties will do.

Gypsy on Sunday.
Bill is clearing the snow off Gypsy’s deck. Always have one hand for yourself, especially when wearing slippery sea boots.

We did manage to get a bit more of the windlass and bilge pump wiring done this morning. We had the heater going and we wore our coats. We came home at noon when the freezing rain started. Sometimes we do have enough sense to come in out of the rain.