Getting There

June 6, 2012

We’ve been a bit busy of late, but here’s an update on what’s shakin’ with Mata Hari.

Rich has been trying to figure out how to get the fuel tank out so we can give it a thorough cleaning. First he had to take out the quadrant, which was a bit troublesome since one of the bolts was stripped.

The quadrant. This is what you use to steer the boat.

Rich crawling into the cockpit locker to take out the quadrant. It’s a pretty small space!

 When our friend Rene stopped by the two of them managed to work the bolt loose and took the quadrant out, but only after they took the wheel off, which made Rich pretty happy. He’s been talking about putting in a tiller since we first went to look at the boat.

Look how gleeful Rich is to have the wheel off.

The next day they cut a bigger hole in one of the lockers to get the water heater through (which had to come out before they could get to the fuel tank) and eventually (after a couple of hours) managed to get the fuel tank out. This was no small feat and we were all pretty overjoyed that they managed to pull it off!

Rene with the fuel tank. Hard to believe they managed to get this sucker out, huh?

Of course, while they were at it, they decided to go all the way and take out the pedestal and binnacle, so it looks like we’re going to be getting a tiller pretty soon!

Rene removing the pedestal. Bye-bye, wheel!

Apparently there’s a big debate about the wheel vs. tiller thing in the sailing world, but Rich and Rene are both firmly in favor of the tiller. Being a novice, I am a tad nervous about this change that everyone else seems to be so firmly against. The good news is we’ll get to do our own research on this hotly debated topic so we’ll keep you all posted. Should be a good adventure!

Now you see it, now you don’t! No more wheel…

I spent most of last weekend scraping carpet off the walls in the two aft cabins and the v-berth. Why on earth they wanted to put carpet on the walls is beyond me (maybe insulation?), but I’m glad it’s gone now. Not exactly the most glamorous job, but it was pretty satisfying to see all the icky foam stuff cleaned off when it was done. There’s still a little more to be done in the v-berth but hopefully we’ll be done with that soon too. The next step is to paint over the walls

Rich also made the executive decision to take down the bulkheads in the two aft cabins. Space was a little tight before, but now that those walls are down you’ll be able to really stretch out your legs in there. I was on the fence about this idea since the inside of the cockpit lockers is now part of the cabins, which doesn’t look great at the moment. But as Rich argued, it’s going to give us a lot more space for all our stuff. We’re going to clean everything up and paint so it’ll look a lot better soon. And all that room is definitely nice—especially for those of us over 5’10”!

Last week Rich cut holes in our water tanks so we could drain and clean them before putting them back into service. I guess back in 1984 when they were building our boat, no one really thought anyone would need to clean these things out. Rich did an amazing job cutting the holes and the new inspection ports are going to look really nice once they’re installed. There was a thin layer of yellowish slime all over the inside that would probably add something to the flavor that would not be pleasant so I’m pretty glad we’re doing this. They’re almost clean now, but we’re going to give them one final scrub before we hook up the new hoses. And of course, we have to get the carpet off. Yes, that’s right, there’s carpet glued to the bottom of these babies. We have no idea why. Whatever the reason, the stuff has to come off so I’ll probably be scraping it off next weekend before they go back in. Good times!Before we could get the fuel tank out, we had to pump all the old diesel out, which was a fun project that took the better part of a day. We spent the better half of another day pumping out the two water tanks. Rene kindly loaned us motorized pumps to accomplish these jobs. I shudder to think how long it would have taken to hand pump 100 gallons of water out of those tanks. Thank you, Rene!Rich also put up new lifelines with this really cool stuff called Dyneema. Rich could tell you more about it, but it’s basically rope that’s made of Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMwPE) (how do you like that acronym?) and it’s supposed to be up to 15 times stronger than steel. It also has the advantage of being a nice steely shade of gray, which I think is a big improvement over the vinyl covered stainless steel cable that we still have on the bottom lifelines. We’ll be redoing those too, eventually.One other small but really awesome improvement we made was putting up a tarp. This is providing us with some much needed shade when it gets hot, and it’s also a nice stopgap for keeping the interior of the boat dry when it rains (we have a few leaky hatches that need replacing).Aside from all the work, we also took some time out to enjoy our new surroundings and our new neighbors. Fred the swan stopped by for a bit and we gave him a few snacks. He wags his tail when you give him a treat and even lets out these sort of barks of pleasure afterward. Too funny.Next weekend will be all about painting and hopefully getting all the water hoses and the fuel tank installed. Then we might even have water on the boat. Visions of dishes not washed in a bucket are dancing in my head right now. And we might even be able to start the engine so we can get out of our slip and go someplace. Yay, we’re getting there!

Cleaning out one of the water tanks.

Draining the water tanks…

Our new lifelines.

Our fabulous new tarp!

Fred the swan!

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6 Comments

  • Reply jimjames June 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I am happy that all is going well but keep the steering wheel.

    • Reply Monica James June 7, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      Thanks, Dad! You’ll have to take up your concerns about the wheel with Rich when you see him!

  • Reply SeattleSue June 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Love reading about all the progress and learning lots of new nautical terms. I am trying to wrap my mind around the bulkhead thing… guess we’ll see for ourselves in August. I know one thing for sure – it will be beautiful and functional. Sounds like the really hard work is going to be behind you soon and the sailing can commence.

    • Reply Monica James June 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      Thanks, Mom! I’ll post some pictures next time of the bulkhead. And yes, let the sailing commence…soon!

  • Reply barbara.smiley June 10, 2012 at 3:56 am

    Monica! This is incredible. xoBabs

    • Reply Monica James June 10, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Thanks, Barbara! Come sailing with us (once we put everything back together…)

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