Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Making a difference

While heading into the bathhouse this afternoon, I noticed a large stack of papers pinned to the cork-board out side the bathrooms. After a quick glance, I noticed it was a petition for the city of Clay County, Florida. Well, I was taken aback that someone at the marina was trying to make a difference, proud even, and read further to see exactly what the difference was. It didn't take long to see what these individuals were looking to change, a worthy cause to say the least. Take a look at the second paragraph, A.

Got to love sailors...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Norcold Cold Plate Install

Figured I would keep the momentum going and install the Norcold cold plate that came in from Defender today. A cold plate converts and existing icebox into an actual refrigerator using a compressor and a metal plate that's installed in the ice box. That plate gets very cold and works just like a normal refrigerator eliminating the need for ice. (If you don't know, Defender is truly the cheapest place around to buy anything marine and is where I have gotten just about everything for Skylark. Their customer service is outstanding and delivery time is usually only a few days. Check them out.)

The first thing that needed to happen was the removal of the stove so I could get the new shelf in for the compressor. The old unit was more on the horizontal, where the Norcold compressor is taller on the vertical, so the shelf had to be dropped. Since everything was out anyway, I went with 3/4 inch marine ply instead of the 1/2 inch stock that was there. I was also able to move it back to the hull a bit so the swing of the gimbled stove picked up a few more inches. Even with the new placement, there is plenty of room for the compressor to breath and keep itself cool.

The holes were already drilled from the water tank project, so running the copper tubes and the thermostat under the sink and behind the shelves wasn't an issue at all. The system is pre-charged, so all you need to do is attach the quick connect fittings to the compressor and you are set. The thermostat has about 12 feet of cable that runs from the compressor to the ice box. I installed the thermostat controller at the top of the ice box, as the cold airs sinks to the bottom. This should allow for better temperature control.

In addition, the cold plates themselves needed to be installed along the side of the icebox. This wasn't too hard as the box is square and the plates are bent at a 90 degree angle. Along with plastic spacers between the plates and the box, screws are used to mount the plates snugly. It was a pretty straight forward install and went in as expected.
I still need to fill a couple of old holes and find some insulation to fill in the hole where the copper tubes leave the box. The better insulated, the fewer cycles of the compressor.

With everything mounted and installed, the last thing that needed to happen was connecting the power leads to the house battery bank. The compressor came with a 10amp in-line fuse, so for the meantime, that should be just fine. I might add something else in the future, but for now that should work. I have some more electrical to do to integrate the fridge into the panel to make everything perfect. But in the meantime, all is well, and beer is cold.

Amen, another major item off the list.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Progress Made

Water tank faucet to left, city water to right
I have been talking about fixing or replacing the water tank and lines for a long time now. In a previous post, I mentioned that the 25 gallon water tank under the V-birth was actually glassed in and had no access panel, if you can believe it. My buddy Ralph had to get creative but came up with a solution that makes it almost impossible to see where anyone touched a thing. Once the plan was in place and the fine cutting was done, we were able to pull the tank and take a look-see on the dock. After 43 years, the stainless steel tank looked perfect inside and out. About 30 minutes of cleaning, spraying and swishing with a few drops of bleach, the tank was ready to go back in along with all new water lines led to the galley (which was no easy tasks as the previous owner blocked all the old water line conduits adding extra insulation to the ice box) and the head sinks. To keep things as simple as possible, I decided not to install a pressure water system and just go with pump faucets. I wasn't sure how it would work, but after a few days of use, I think they really work well. I also look at it as somewhat of a built in "usage limiter" when out on the hook. Especially with folks on-board that are not used to a limited water supply. So I can now officially say the water system is completely overhauled and working on Skylark. About time.

The Norcold Icebox Conversion Kit
The other item we are in the process of installing is a new set of cold plates in the ice box. I had an old Adler Barbour system all plumbed and supposedly OK, but it never worked and like most things on the boat, had to go. Since it was at one time a good system, we took it out of the boat and brought it over to Ralph's workshop for a thorough inspection in hopes of a resurrection. After some poking and prodding, it looked like the compressor was shot so it was deemed dead. After some research, I decided to go with the Norcold Refrigerator Kit. It should work perfectly for my needs but I will certainly keep you updated once it's in and keeping the sun downers cold. More to come.

Delta 22
We are also in the process of adding a bow roller so I can include a Delta 22 anchor in my arsenal of ground tackle. That project is still in the planning stages, so I will add pictures as we get further along. Still have some wood to chop, but I finally feel like I am making a dent in the to-do list. Very happy indeed.

PS. The weather here in Florida has been in the 70s and 80s for the last few weeks. Today, it was 86...unreal. I truly have a new respect for the "Snow Bird" but that's another post.

Fair winds...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Across the Way

We made it!
Since bringing Skylark down to Jacksonville, I have been in the same slip on dock C, the floating dock, since I have been here. Although I am a fan of floating docks, here at Fleming Island Marina, dock C is rather exposed to the NE winds that come barreling down the river. The waves pick up and tend to make things wet rather quickly. I decided to move just across the fairway over to B dock where the ride is a little easier and certainly dryer. So with the help of a few friends I brought her over to the new slip this morning. Luckily (sort of :) Fred had his camera and snapped a few shots of the long journey over. Looks like my line handling is a little out of practice.
I think this is the spring line

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Winter in Jacksonville, FL

New addition to Skylark
Sorry I have been so quiet, but I haven't had too much new to report lately. I am still waiting for a few things to wrap up and get done so I can cross them off the list. I've been down on Skylark since Feb 1 and have been trying to get things in order and planned for the upcoming season. The kicker is though, the weather has been spectacular since I have been here. It feels like it IS the new season. A little cooler today, but it has been in the low 80s the first half of the week, just incredibly nice days to help wash away the winter blahs. It's been wonderful to be in shorts again, I have missed it being in the 40 degree North Carolina mountains. Although no matter how cold it gets, I will never give up my flip flops, I refuse.

I have also been able to see Zachary almost every day I have been here, so that's been great as well. Looking forward to another weekend of baseball practice and relaxing. Although, Zachary has landed himself his first paying job and will be assisting one of his buddies washing and waxing his Grandfather's boat here in the marina. Hoping the weather holds for this momentousness occasion. :) It will be fun to watch...from afar...with a beer. :)

So what am I working on? Current projects include fixing or replacing the Adler Barbour refrigeration unit that has been sitting inoperative since I bought the boat. We are going to see if it can be repaired since it's a good unit and worth fixing. If it is DOA, then one of those new swap and drop units will be installed. Everything has already been fitted, so replacing shouldn't be that hard.
The water tanks are still at the top of the to-do list but might require a bit more time since we found them to be basically glassed in. Won't be as easy as originally thought (what ever is), but nothing that can't be handled.
Also keeping my eye out for a tiller pilot and a used dingy. And of course the solar panels once I get them, so all in all, pretty busy.

More to come...fair winds.