My First Fiberglass Project: Making a Fiberglass Board

I have been a flip-flopper. But it’s not my fault. For months I have been trying to gather the knowledge required to replace seacocks and add backing plates. Oddly enough the biggest difficulty has been too much information and too many different ways of doing things. As things stand now, the plan has come full circle. I will make backing plates from a fiberglass board. The general procedure for creating the board is described in detail here. Continue reading

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Seacocks Project: Rerouting Galley Plumbing

Rerouting hoses around the galley sink is a prerequisite for the larger project of replacing Failed Seacocks.

The seacock in worst condition is beneath the galley sink and serves as the sink discharge. It is also the most problematic in terms of access. In addition to being tucked away in a corner of the cabinet, there are five hoses that either touch or run within a couple inches of the fixture. None of the other seacocks has nearly this much corrosion and they also don’t have hoses touching them. My guess is that this is not galvanic corrosion but rather the result of constant contact with moisture condensing or sweating through the hoses. The effects are far worse on the steel valve handle. In addition to causing rust and making access difficult, the hoses leave no room for a backing plate to go with the new seacock. The backing plate will be a donut-like disc about 6″ in diameter and 3/4″ thick. It will be epoxyed to the hull so that the thru-hull passes through its center and the flange from the new seacock bolts onto it. The goal is to reroute hoses so that there is at least 3″ of clearance surrounding the seacock. Continue reading

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Windows 7 Video Driver for Older Laptop: Dell XPS M140

I have a five year old laptop (purchased April, 2006) that I wanted to upgrade from its original Windows XP to Windows 7. Windows 7 installed without difficulty, however it took some effort to find a driver for the integrated graphics chip. Continue reading

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Dahon Speed P8 Folding Bike

I picked up a Dahon Speed P8 folding bicycle on Craigslist. The bike takes about a minute to fold down or unfold. It has eight gears and despite the diminutive 20″ wheels feels like riding any other cruising or hybrid bike. When folded the bike fits inside a suitcase or in the back seat or trunk of a car. The boat’s lazarette can easily carry a couple of folding bikes.

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Failed Seacocks

About a month ago I switched marine insurance companies. The new insurer required that I respond to several items mentioned in the survey done the previous year. Several issues had already been resolved. A couple more were easily fixed, such as adding a few clamps that were missing from the fresh water system. But one item turned out to be a major project: seacock repair.

I had checked the seacocks at some point, but apparently not very carefully. Two of them appear to have failed open; perhaps the ball inside the ball valve dissolved. Without a way to close the seacocks a hose failure can sink the boat. Also there is no way to service the plumbing connected to the valves, such as the diesel engine’s seawater cooling system. The seacocks need to be repaired as soon as possible. Continue reading

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