Sunday, June 7, 2009

Downs and Ups

Sorry, too much pressure to work and not enough free brain cells to take pictures this week. I started to take pictures but then stopped early.

First, the downs:

Installed new electronic ignition. Engine still does not start. At the advice of a friend I disconnected the tachometer from the coil (he had a bad tach cause his coil to stop working - tach gets signal from coil). No change. Disconnected alternator. No change. Checked voltage at the coil while cranking the engine. Found around 10.5 volts. I need to see if this is enough to trigger the electronic ignition. I think it is. The battery is brand new and fully charged last week but maybe I need to put it on a trickle charger for a few days to get that last bit out of it. I think it is unlikely that the battery is the problem. Of course I already checked the likely source and that didn't help so what else is left? I am going to order a new coil, plug wires and plugs this week. Maybe the coil is weak. Maybe I have a bad distributor wire. Cheap fix and having spares on the boat is probably a good idea anyway.

To stay productive I moved on to the rigging (or 'Ups' if you will)

What a mess. The old rigging is atrocious. That's the stuff I can find. The other stuff is lost somewhere on the basement shelving. The whole rigging system had been so cobbled together that it is impossible to tell what actually belongs where. Some pictures during disassembly would have been nice. I can't wait to completely overhaul the running rigging.

First step was to removed the heavy RG-8u coaxial cable that clangs inside the mast like the Liberty Bell. I attached a light rope to the cable as I pulled it out so I would have something to pull the new wire bundle back in next year when I get to it.

Then I rigged up the jumpers. My nice new jumpers that go along with the rest of my nice new wire rigging. I do have one picture.

Another Triton owner suggested these fittings to me at the lower ends of the jumpers. I think they area much nicer way to adjust the tension that those old rotten corroded aluminum threaded rods and nuts at the jumper struts themselves.

The I went on to connect the rest of the standing rigging. I kept a paper and pen in hand and wrote down all the little pins and fittings I needed to make the system acceptable. The old stuff really is atrocious.

When I got to the forestay I had some worry. The measurements just didn't add up in my head and didn't match what I had written down a few years ago. I wasn't sure if I needed to cut back the cable or whether the rigging shop had done that for me. I had to leave that until I had done some more research.

While I was creating a list of pins and rigging stuff I needed I did an inventory of the engine controls and what I needed there. I had no idea there were so many pins on a boat. I need to order bunches. The good news is that the engine controls are finally getting close to what I consider acceptable. At least for this season. I need a new throttle lever but that is another story. Next time I wouldn't try to save an ounce of old hardware. After 40 years the boat deserves fresh stuff.

I was going to set up the roller furler Sunday but I got a call from someone I had promised to help and that meant several hours working on another boat. My debt is paid. I wish I had the time back.

I was still really uneasy about the forestay length. A particular issue for me in this boatyard is that I am not next to the water. To launch the boat, I have to truck the boat to the water where there is a crane waiting to raise the mast. If the rigging is wrong, then I have to truck the boat back to the boatyard until the rigging can be fixed. Its a big hassle. Its a big expense. I was afraid that is what was waiting for me.

The owner of the boat next to me gave me the solution. (thanks Buzz) The two of us drew out a right triangle in the middle of the access road. Remember that 'A' squared = 'B' squared = 'C' sqared. That also means that if one leg on the right angle is 3 units long and the other leg on the right angle is 4 units long then the third leg (hypotenuse) is 5 units long. We used this to draw out a perfect right triangle (90 degree angle) in the road and then we extended the ends to match the dimensions of the boat. I forget now but I think the length from the mast step to the bow stem fitting was 10 feet (another less interesting exercise- mast step higher than bow fitting and forestay on the front of mast not in the middle) and the height of the forestay on the mast was around 29 feet. With those two end points on the right angle in place (using some paint I had in the truck we painted the marks on the road) we could measure the hypotenuse which is the actual stay length and is the the real hypotenuse of the triangle created by the deck, mast and stay. Turns out, our experiment was within an inch of what the rigger had made up for me. No trimming necessary. I will sleep much much better now.

That killed more time but I think it was worth it. I finished up the day doing small projects and installing the chainplates - well, most of them. I couldn't find one of the bolts I needed and didn't have them in my stockpile. I had many other lengths and sizes available just not the one I needed. I didn't seal any of the chainplates because I hate the old narrow chain plate covers and I am going to order some larger square shaped covers along with the rigging pins I am ordering.

I took some measurements to make the blocks for the stern cleats and bow skene chocks to mount to. I wanted to get started on those but just ran out of time. I realized the mounting area for the skene chocks is really tight underneath and I am not sure how I am going to mount them. Backing blocks are out of the question because I already have a large crude pad that backs most of the other fittings up there. It was an early exercise in boat work and I really need to go back and redo it with something more elegant. Maybe next year. In the meantime, the skene chocks are right on the edge of the deck and the hull slopes inwards slightly in a hollow shape which is a peculiar feature in this Alberg designed boat. I think after the Triton, Carl Alberg stopped with the hollow. Whatever he intended it for it didn't work apparently.

So I am wondering about the skene chocks. I could just screw them in but they might pull out if the bow gets to bucking around. I could glue them in with epoxy or 5200 and hope I never need to take them out. I am not sure yet. Details...

Sorry for the lack of pictures. It won't happen again.

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