Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pedestal Project

As the long awaited and highly anticipated move aboard date approaches, I find myself excited and yet, a little panicked. Over the past week, I have had some recurring thoughts: Where will all my stuff go? I have no hanging locker. I have no refrigeration. My fuel tank is empty (and probably growing all sorts of biology). My charging systems are either jury rigged or completely disconnected. My vintage kerosene stove has a leak (I bought the rebuild parts from England eight months ago, but have I not fixed it yet). My wheel is so stiff that the rudder hardly moves, and like every boat I've known intimately, my plumbing could use "some work." I wouldn't even let myself think about wiring. My how quickly a perfectly sailable boat can become The Project Made of Many Projects.

But if you know me at all, you know that I am not easily daunted, and although I am still healing my injuries, I am ready for whatever the universe throws in my way. Nothing like a few hard knocks to wake me up and send me crashing straight through a stagnant phase. (I think Gurdjieff called these shocks.) I hold the same thought/feeling each night as I drift between the lucidity and dreamland. I envision good things working their way to me. Right now.

As it turns out some of these were much closer than I ever could have imagined! A friend I met awhile back had offered to help me with some boat projects. Shawn is a competent mechanic who understands the workings of marine systems, so I brought him aboard Dervish, to give her a looking over. He decided the steering pedestal would be a good project to start with because "you don't want that thing failing on you."

The first step was to open it up, so I could see how it worked. It really isn't such a complex thing. Here you can see the two cables, one for shifting and one for throttle. The big chain that couples with a brass sprocket (much like a bicycle) controls the movement of the rudder through cables and sheaves.

You can see that it was quite grimy. Shawn cleaned and lubed it up, but it remained stiff. We discussed the parts that could be the culprit and came to the conclusion that the bearings may be bad; I ordered a pedestal rebuild kit with needle bearings from Edson and waited.

When we returned two weeks later, the wheel was moving nicely due to the lubrication having worked its way in. I didn't need the kit after all! Shawn dismantled the rest of the pedestal parts and sent me home with some sanding and clean-up to do.

Unfortunately he also found what we thought was a broken bolt, but what turned out to be a broken off drill bit. Ultimately, the pedestal would get reassembled with only three of the four fasteners. Though he did install a stud to help hold the bottom half in place. I don't know how long it had been that way, but I am sure she'll hold up just fine.

Once the parts were sanded and cleaned up, Shawn put a few coats of Helmsman Spar Urethane and some fresh paint on, and we met at the boat for reassembly. Here he is drizzling a bit of motor oil onto the chain to lubricate it.

After dry fitting the pieces together, a bead of 4200 polyurethane was used to seal it.

Here is the final product. I just love how tidy and pretty the whole thing looks. Much better than it was, and most certainly better than I could have done. I am inspired to sew up a cover for it now.

I am honored to have so much generosity and expertise come my way. This week I plan to take her for a spin, fill her up with diesel and begin to prepare my little escape pod for full time living.

Next up? The charging systems. The stove. And art and adventures.


Seven C's said...

Hmmmm, broken drill bit?
I don't remember that one. I must have been the guilty party there, but that is quite unlike me to leave something like that alone.
Sounds like your help is a great guy to have around. He deserves a great dinner :)

3brainer said...

Tim, the drill bit seemed to have been in there a long while, but maybe it was yours. My help is fantastic and very much appreciated, and yes, I do feed him dinners now and again. Good ones.