Patiently waiting for spring, and other stuff

Yesterday I went up to the West River Sailing Club for a racing seminar and got my beer mug.  Some of the etching isn’t quite clear, but it says “West River Sailing Club, Capn Rehab 2014 Capital Donor” on it.  It’s part of an effort to raise funds for repairs etc. and give me 1$ draft beers for the rest of the season.  It’s a win-win situation!

CapnRehab mug

CapnRehab mug

I also took a look around the West River.

frozen sailboat

frozen sailboat

I braved the cold to walk out to the end of the pier near Pirates Cove.

Pirates Cove

Pirates Cove

Brrr.  I miss Florida.

The boats are missing the warmth too.

boat  racks

cold boat racks

OK, it’s March 1st, spring already, let’s get a move on!

Catalina 22 Keel repair – keel winch cable eye bolt – good enough?

After all the mess with getting the crud off the keel, I awoke one morning last week worrying that I had not bought the correct keel for this boat.  Supposedly, these keels were cast in the sand on a beach in Mexico, and pictures I’ve seen show a “Mexico” stamp on the upper end of the keel.

Mine doesn’t have the stamp.  I finally got around to it tonight to measure my keel against the boat, and it looks like a fit.  On the keel, from the pin hole to the eye bolt is about 52 1/2 inches.  I crawled under the boat and it’s about the same measurement there too.  Whew!

Another concern is that my eye bolt may be too coroded to rely on.  I don’t think so, but just to be sure I asked StingySailor to send me a picture of his.  He’s redoing his keel and pretty soon we’ll see an amazing writeup of the way to do it.  Until then, you’re stuck with me bumbling along and hoping I get it right.

Anyway, here is his eye bolt.

stingy sailor keel eye bolt

stingy sailor keel eye bolt

Here is another view

stingy sailor keel eye bolt after epoxy

stingy sailor keel eye bolt after epoxy

Now, here are some pictures of mine:

CapnRehab's keel eyebolt

CapnRehab’s keel eyebolt

Keel winch cable attachment point

Keel winch cable attachment point

Keel winch cable attachment point

Keel winch cable attachment point

There is no doubt that mine is not as built up as his.  However, I think it’s pretty solid.  I can grab it and yank it around and there is no give.  Unless I hear a major uproar, I’m going to go with it.  What are your thoughts?

Also, I still have the nagging issue of how to put the keel pin into the keel.  I got a bushing from catalina direct, but it doesn’t fit.  I’m going to have to drill out space for it, then braze in the bushing and the missing cast iron that has been worn away.  Here is a picture I posted previously.  Wish me luck.

pivot pin bushing

pivot pin bushing

Catalina 22 – Keel repair continues – needle scaling done

We had a 50 degree sunny Sunday this weekend, and that meant it was time to haul out the keel and start banging away on it.

The first side of the keel came clean pretty easily, but side two was a real pain.  The needle scaler seems no longer able to cut through very effectively, maybe this side simply had not deteriorated as much as the other.

Needle Scaler no go

Needle Scaler no go

While holding the scaler as it barely made an impact I had time to think about it.  It looked like quite an edge between the old material and the keel, so I thought maybe a chisel and sledge hammer (small 4 lb) might work.

Hammer & Chisel

Hammer & Chisel

This did pretty well, but only in some areas, and was quite tiring.  So I went back to using the needle scaler and thinking again.  Then I had a brilliant (to me) idea.  I remembered that somewhere in my tools there was an air chisel.  I’d never thought to use it before because I was told the needle scaler was the way to go.  So I dug around and found it, plugged it in and it was like a hot knife through butter!  Woo hoo!

air chisel

air chisel – the wonder tool

All told it took me about 7 hours.  Now I have  a keel ready for sandblasting, and I’ve found someone that will do it for $130 and hour.  I hope it doesn’t take long!

I thought I might glass in the weldments this weekend, but with a daytime high temp on Sunday of 17F it may be time to stay inside and read a book by the fire.

Stay warm!

Keel repair continues – Fun with a needle scaler

I’m annoyed.  I started this post once already, but it’s not in my drafts, so here goes again.

I’m a bit delayed in progress because I spent some time in plumber purgatory trying to get a shower working again.  Wound up replacing the faucet, and trying to learn how to solder.  I could do all right practicing on my workbench, but once I got to working in the wall it’s a different story.  I finally gave up and used SharkBite connectors and cpvc pipes.  That is definitely NOT the $tingy Sailor way to go, but by that time I didn’t care.  It’s way easier to swab some goop on a plastic pipe and shove them together!  Wonder of wonders, it didn’t leak either.

So, back to the keel.  I started working on it a few weeks ago using this:

Air Needle Scaler

Air Needle Scaler

I got it at harbor freight, and it seems to work OK, but maybe there is a part missing.  The two parts in the picture above are put together, and a giant spring inside keeps it squished together so the needles don’t fall out and it doesn’t fall apart.  But when I use the spring, the needles bind (and one actually broke).  When I don’t use it, the two halves come apart.  It seems like maybe it’s missing a solid metal disk to go between the needles and the spring.  So I have to use it without the spring and hold it together with my hands while I try to shove it against the keel- it’s a pain but it works.

I rolled it outside on a weekend day when it wasn’t freezing, snowing, raining, or blowing hard (for some reason, those kinds of days are rare around here in the winter) and set to work.  I took this just after I started:

Keel Scaling - Before

Keel Scaling – Before

The needle scaler is pneumatic and uses air a bit faster than my compressor can provide it, so I have to pause after a few minutes and let the pressure build back up.  But it did a pretty good job of knocking off the old fiberglass.

There was a lot of dust from the fiberglass and the rust being knocked off, so to be on the safe side I put on a breathing mask.  That mask sure works great!

I finished one side, and then started on the other.  The second side was much tougher.  I barely made any progress on side 2 before I had to stop.  Here is work in progress:

scaling in progress

scaling in progress

I spent about 4 hours total and got 1 side almost completely clear, except for where the wooden support covered a part of the keel.  Once I finish side 2, I’ll hoist it up and reset it and then finish up.

Here is the (nearly) completed side:

Keel after scaling

Keel after scaling

I expect to be able to get out there next weekend.  Although I do have to fix a car hatch that won’t open, replace oxygen sensors on two cars, replace some shocks on my jeep, install a well sediment filter, do my taxes, and ……

and buy some fiberglass and epoxy supplies to fix the keel weldments!

Oh!  By the way, if you’re planning on buying anything from West Marine, this weekend is a good time to do it.  Depending on how much you spend you can get 10, 20 or 50 bucks off.  Check it out at 

Book Review – Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson

Book Review

Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson is another one of those books that shakes you up like a paint can at Home Depot.  This book also gets 5 stars out of 5 on the CapnRehab interest scale.

Bookcover - where good ideas come from

Bookcover – where good ideas come from

Today’s post should be about keel repair, but instead of that I’m going to share another book that is pretty amazing.  Steven Johnson is a very good writer.  He has the rare ability to pull things together than may not seem related and turn them into a compelling story.  In this case he tells us how ideas actually are related, where they come from, and how we can prime the pump a bit.

It also was another book that I could only read a chapter at a time.  Not so much because it was hard to read, but because I wanted to think about what I’d just read.  In broad terms he talks about how there is a myth of the “Eureka” moments where an idea leaps into consciousness.  What more often happens is that we have a “Slow burn” idea that can sit in the background of our mind for a long time, even decades, until it meets another idea and becomes fully formed.  The book is full of the stories of ideas and how they were developed.

One thing we can do to get more ideas is to expose ourselves to other disciplines and other types of people.  One interesting thing he mentioned was that Bill Gates will take a week of at a time to read a stack of books that he’s been saving all year.  It seems that it’s important not just to expose your self to new ideas, but to do it in a rush.  Somehow this cross connects the pathways in your brain in new ways that they didn’t have before.

I really enjoyed this book.  If you read it, let me know.

P.S.  He has many other books.  One I’ve read that I liked even more than this is “Ghost Map”.  I read it a while back at a time when I was only posting boat book reviews here.  It’s about how the mystery of the source of the Cholera epidemic in London was solved.  Believe me, you don’t have to be a doctor or like medicine stories to really enjoy the book.

P.P.S.  My mom read his other book “How we got to now” and said it is terrific too.  Apparently you can’t go wrong reading a book by Mr. Johnson.

Book Review – The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar

The Art of Choosing is one of those books that grabbed me by my assumptions and tossed me around like a Gumby doll in a jack terrier’s mouth.  This book definitely gets 5 stars out of 5 on the CapnRehab interest scale.

art of choosing by Sheena Lyengar

art of choosing by Sheena Lyengar

I found myself only able to read a chapter at a sitting, as I wanted to take a while and think about it before I moved on to the next topic.  (It took me almost 2 weeks to read this book  – unheard of!)  I’m lucky that Mrs. CapnRehab is willing to listen to me ramble on as I try to form my thoughts about whatever book I’m currently reading.  I think if I could get away with it, I’d spend most of my time reading, and the rest sailing.  (Speaking of which, there is a great blog “Sundowner sails again”  by a couple that has refitted a Sundowner sailboat for the last 5 years and JUST NOW (Jan 2015) are setting off for a life of cruising.  Go Dani and Tate!)  Ah, that’s the life… but duty calls….

The author has done many studies of her own (including a famous one that you’ve most likely heard of) and references and explains many more as she drew her conclusions on choice.  It turns out that not only the tangible results of our choices are important.  The process we go through to make them, and our feelings about them are just as important.  Not only that – our feelings about a choice we made will often change over time so that we tell ourselves that that was what we wanted all along.

Also, when faced with 2 terrible choices (you lose either way), it’s better to have an expert opinion about which one should be chosen so that when remembering the choice your memory and feelings will fall back on that opinion and absolve some of the guilt you will feel in the future no matter which is chosen.

There is no way I can do this book justice by giving an in depth review, so here is her own summary of important things to do when choosing.

  1. CUT your options down to manageable size.
  2. CULTIVATE confidence by using expert advice and personalized recommendations
  3. CATEGORIZE choices to reduce complexity  (it’s easier to choose from a smaller set)
  4. CONDITION yourself to start with smaller choices and work your way up to more complex choices

I think I can apply all of these to the Catalina 22 refit.

The list may help but you’ll be have more info available to you if you read the book – so read the book!