I tend to forget how many little things I do on/to the boat. In my mind, most of them are opportunities, not maintenance as such, but if I really think about it, a lot are actual maintenance! A friend of mine remarked when I told him I was swapping gauges while underway – “Phil, you need a fidget spinner.” I did some of these projects before we left, others en route, and some up in GB at the end of the season.
glove box & trim
The glove box was an awesome update to the binnacle. Somewhere to safely store cell phones, sunglasses, keys, and sunscreen. Now we can put 4 drinks in the cup holders! I fit it into the binnacle where the VHF radio, and later an older chart plotter, was originally located. I constructed the box out of quarter-inch Corian type material (old mouse keyboard shelf). I made a teak bezel around the glove-box out of some teak scraps, slapped a few coats of gloss Epifanes and glued the bezel on. The trim is purposely slightly larger than the opening so it doesn’t get abraded. There is a small drain hole at the back bottom of the box as it sits on a backward slant, but it really didn’t collect any water over the summer and kept things secure and dry.
There is a funny/boring video of me gluing the trim. I left the camera running by accident and it is from the vantage point of the cup holder looking straight up.
fixed retractable boat hook
I used our retractable boat hook to take the boat’s weight last year pulling it closer to the mooring ball. The hook got stuck and didn’t want to retract or extend. I could just get it to turn if I put one end in a vice.
The fix was to cut the outer sleeve off with the inner fully extended. This revealed that the problem was simply that the plastic tape (provides friction to the inside of the inner walls of the sleeve) got rolled-up in the tube. This made locking and unlocking somewhat moot as the rolled tape was wedged between the locking mechanism and the outer tube. I removed the tape, put some new tape on and reassembled the pieces. I used a punch to re-crimp it. It was a 5-minute fix and the pole was only 4 inches shorter.
We promptly lost the boat hook in the first days of the trip and bought (yet) another in Peterborough.
dripping arch bolt
This bolt was responsible for a persistent leak down the back of the liner in our aft cabin, right behind our pillows.
The fix was simple, remove nut and washer and apply some sealant. Wait…. the washer doesn’t sit flush to the fiberglass! Take washer home, grind and then reinstall with butyl.
The freshwater gauge was always a bit spotty, but last season it continually red empty. I assume the sensor float has become waterlogged, and this proved true when I tested it. I wrapped some foam packing around the old float – now it works.
replace LPG valve
It took a while for me to clue into what the issue was with the original LPG safety solenoid valve which leads to the pork-loin incident.
These solenoid valves are opened by current through an electromagnet, as they age they overheat causing the magnet loses its “grip” and the needle slowly slides back, closing the valve partially. You may start out with full gas, but after 10-15 min you are back to a small trickle of gas ( leading to a very slow cooking roast on a cold spring cruise…). My workaround was to pour cold lake water on the valve to cool it and it worked quite well. I did this for a season and it was easy to do as the propane locker is located on the sugar-scoop transom, usually one splash for a kettle to boil.
I ordered a solenoid from Aliexpress a year ago as the price was right ($9 including shipping!!) but it rattled around my toolbox for a full year. I finally installed it this year along with a new sparker battery. The stove works perfectly now!
- Model: 2W-025-08
- Working Medium: Air, Water, Oil,Gas
- Operating Method: Direct action
- Type: Normal Closed
- Flow bore: 2mm
- Pipe Size: 1/4″
- Working Pressure: 0.15~0.8Mpa
- Max Pressure:1.0Mpa
- Working Temperature: -5~60 Celsius
- Voltage: DC 12V
- Material: Brass
Not too much to say about this one. I’ve given up on trying to refurbish old leaking compasses. I bought the compass (yes it is rebuildable….), enlarged the hole in the binnacle with a jigsaw and rasp and connected the wires. I still need to swing it and adjust the compensation, but it reads pretty accurately to the fluxgate so I’m not worried or in a rush. It does give the cockpit a nice finished look. I cheaped out and didn’t get a sun cover, but the compass doesn’t get any direct sunlight under the bimini and the boat is covered for the winter.
mahogany binnacle cap
If you look at the top of the binnacle you’ll see a hole in the fiberglass right about the word Autopilot on the left gauge (see top photo on page). The previous owner had wires coming out of there and had stuck on a couple pieces of teak with some 4200 which were growing moss when I bought the boat.
I spun a nice bung and fitted it with an o-ring to give it some grip.
LED strip lights
I love indirect LED lighting, spots are so harsh, I could fill the boat with these. I finally got around to properly installing the starboard side.
These lights are cheap Ikea strip lights LEDBERG (same as I installed above the sink). I originally just plugged them into the cigarette lighter and let them lie in the bottom of that ledge several years ago. The lights got covered with books and brick-a-brack, so I installed them using clips and industrial velcro and wired them to the DC panel properly.
- LEDBERG $14.95 CAD
- LED life approx. 25,000 hours.
- Light color: warm white (2700 Kelvin).
- 3 pieces, 10¼” each
- Power: 2 W
- wire directly to 12 volt- no controller needed
I also re-routed the speaker wire. For some reason, the previous owner had the wire coming out of the old speaker, behind the seat cushions and up the bulkhead?! I ran the wire out the back of the switch cabinet and behind the curtain valance. I got rid of the old-lady-Florida curtains too, oh so much tidier…
The aft cabin on the Hunter 340 has a teak bulkhead hiding the fuel and waste tanks and the rudder shaft. There is a fair amount of space back there but it’s very inaccessible because of the awkward bulkhead that is screwed into place. I have seen some owners put a door in the middle for access to batteries or fuel filters, but I thought I could make use of the space behind the fuel tank.
I cut a door into the port side piece of the bulkhead and placed zero tolerance kitchen hinges on the back side. I use this space for covers, soft coolers and toolboxes.
I was curious if I could use my recent purchase of Vim bathroom cleaner ($1.99!) on my new/old/new again Hypalon dinghy and the self-destructing PVC dinghy. I looked up what were the active chemical ingredients on the MSDS.
The main ingredient in the cleaner is something hideous sounding, Ethoxylated C9-11-alcohols. These are very effective surfactants – interestingly it shows up in a dinghy specific cleaning product from Polymarine, one of the leading dinghy paint/cleaner brands.
As it turns out, Polymarine Duo-clean (duo=PVC & Hypalon) is comprised of :
- Ethoxylated C9-11-alcohols
- Sodium hydroxide – aka lye or caustic soda
- Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate – a salt used as a buffering agent (A buffering agent can be either a weak acid or weak base, which only slightly changes its pH in response to other acids and bases being combined with it)
Dinghy materials are very resistant to alkalines, but not petrochemicals/solvents. So I used it….! There are still some tannin stains on the floor in the fiberglass, but the dinghy looks much better. This is the dinghy we used on our Thousand Islands trip and is now permanently ours. Thanks Malcolm!