Jul. 5th, 2010

petermarcus: (Default)
I'm itchy.

My boat engine is pretty much done, just need an exhaust pipe and it's ready to install. Except the boat deck is rotten around the engine, so I have to fix that now (recap: got the boat basically almost free from a friend, a 19' family runabout that had been dunked once halfway up the engine, then parked under a tree for two years. When I got it, there was a 3' sapling growing out of the bilge).

So, I need to dismantle the deck and rebuild it. This is the second boat deck I've rebuilt and I kinda was over it the first time around with my other boat, but here we go again. Happily, this time, the stringers (the fore-and-aft supports under the deck) are nice and clean, and those are the tricky ones. A couple bulkheads (the side-to-side supports) are rotting, and I'll need to fix those, but I'll take crumbling bulkheads over stringers any day. Stringers are like load-bearing walls in a house -- you can't just take them out and replace them without making sure the tensions and forces are balanced at the transom. So, if they're fine, the bulkheads don't do as much on a 19' open boat except support the deck.

The seat boxes are rotted to pieces, so I'm taking them out, and I'm going to put a bench in on one (port) side, and just a captain's seat in front of the helm. I want a family boat, but I'm also going to be fishing a lot, so I want room to walk around.

Today, I did a little exploratory work (i.e. ripping into them with a reciprocating saw) to see how long it would take me to take out the deck and seat boxes, and it looks like it'll go quickly. That's probably a negative since the plywood is so rotten some of it just crumbles in my hand, but then again, the hull and the stringers are excellent wherever I look. But, here it is, July in Florida, so I'm sawing away in shorts and a T-shirt and now I have little invisible shards of fiberglass embedded in my arms and legs and it itches like fire ants.

Have I mentioned I've been working on this boat for two years now? I kinda had to take a year off due to professional reasons (last year was pretty rough), but I love pulling into the home stretch with this. The decking, assuming I have the time to work on it (last year I was looking for more work, this year I have too much) will go quickly, then I can remount the engine and see if I actually rebuilt it correctly, time it, then start the cosmetic work.

I'm hoping to have it in the water by Labor Day, which is kinda funny because most of the country pull their boats out of the water for the season after Labor Day weekend. But in Florida, boating season can go right up to New Years.


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