Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Galley Faucet

The original galley faucet was a Moen, sprayer All in One thing.  It’s the kind of faucet in tons of homes and probably in a lot of boats too.  The first week we were on Serenity it worked fine, then as the days progressed the flow turned to a trickle.  I’ve seen babies pee with more pressure than our faucet had.  We checked the water pressure and it was good.  Cleaned out the tiny screen on the faucet. No help.  We decided the works were jammed up in the faucet hose and there was no way to fix it.  Time for a brand new faucet.  Oh, and the other thing that drove me batty… the hot and cold sides were reversed.  I mean, it’s not that hard.  There are only 2 hoses.  Mark them before you install.  Sheesh.  Okay, back to the matter at hand.

We trekked to The Home Depot to see their offerings.  While I like Moen products for home use I didn’t want a similar faucet, fearing the same issue would occur down the line.  We checked pretty much every faucet and nothing matched what we needed; measurement and aesthetic wise.  What’s a girl to do?  Quick, to the Internet!  After searching to and fro I landed on the Scandvik “Nordic” faucet.  It seemed ideal; tall spout that would reach both sides of the sink, tall enough to put a pot under, single lever control, sleek looks, and good price thanks to  I eagerly awaited its arrival.

It shows up and I carefully remove it from the box.  It’s heavy which is a pleasant surprise.  With no fingerprints, no water spots and no soapy residue it’s very very shiny.  Another no?  No instructions.  Hmmm.  Well, okay, no big deal.  We’ve installed plenty of faucets before.  But wait, what’s this?  I look at the bottom of the faucet and Scandvik went some funky, C clamp, threaded post thing versus the threaded all the way around, cinch it up tight to the underside of the counter method.  What what??!!

New galley faucet

New galley faucet. Who doesn’t like that new faucet smell!

Galley Faucet Connector Thingy

Galley Faucet Connector post thingy.  Say what?

Initially we installed it with just the C clamp and post thingy.  No go.  The post thingy caused a pivot point so you couldn’t turn on the faucet without the whole thing tipping towards you.  We pondered options.  Giant washer?  No.  Wire threaded around the post then screwed to the underside of the counter.  Maybe….  Then of course Tim comes up with brilliant plan.  Use a block of wood, with a hole drilled through to accommodate the post, then 4 screws to the (thankfully wood and not Corian) underside of the counter.  The result: a super stable faucet.  We smooshed some of the handy dandy butyl tape under the faucet for waterproofing, and we’re just about there.  Now to the hose installation.  Dum da DUUUUMMMM!

Faucet underside - installed.

Faucet underside – installed.

As per the online specs I needed 1/2″ NPS-F fittings.  Huh?  After futilely buying and trying 2 different fittings, and dousing the underside of the galley sink twice due to the fittings, well, not fitting, we were stumped.  Frustration!!  Tim decided to try the same thing we did for the head sink.  A fitting that is barbed on one end for the water hoses and threaded on the other for the faucet hoses.  Not elegant or pretty but it works great.  With the water hoses finally hooked up – in the correct way no less – we flipped on the water pump.  No water spewing from the fittings.  YAY!  We turned on the faucet.  After the baby piss pressure from yore the faucet was practically Niagara Falls.  With a final double check tightening of the hose clamps we were done with the faucet installation.  Hooray running water!  May I present our new Galley Faucet in all its chromed out goodness.

The Faucet

The Faucet

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Oh fridge, how you vex us.

Refrigeration on a boat.  A blessing and a curse.  Blessing when it works (98% of the time), and CURSING when the 2% happens.  This is a perfect example of how the best laid plans for getting projects knocked out gets derailed when shit like this goes down.  This fridge, it’s been a source of previous befuddlement due to its perceived finickiness.  It doesn’t help that we possess pretty much zero knowledge about refrigeration in general, much less boat fridges.  Now, it’s not really the fridges fault.  The last few times it acted like a moody teenager was due to battery issues. Being a 12V system if you don’t have sufficient juice to power the thing than fuhgetaboutit.  The fridge may act nice for a while, but then it decides play time is over and it goes home with its ball.

This particular go round was a legitimate part failure.  Tim had come to Texas for bidness and family time so luckily the fridge was pretty empty when he departed.  We both return on the 25th; landing late and arriving at the boat around 1:30am.  NOT the ideal time for a fridge to crap-out.  Actually, not an ideal time for ANYTHING except a Family Guy marathon or sleeping.  My friend Jennifer, her Mom says nothing good happens after midnight and that’s the truth.

Back to our tale of friggy woe.  Tim opens the fridge and instead of being greeted with chilliness there is the dreaded warmth.  This is when the cursing commences.  Switches are checked and flipped, stuff is poked.  Nothing.  By now it’s 2am and we say F it, let’s go to sleep.  Next morning Tim is up and at ’em, doing the gross work of removing soggy foodstuffs and wiping down the interior.  I scrub the teak grates clean.  I learned from last time I cleaned the fridge to mark which grate goes where.  Yeah, they look the same but silly rabbit, they are not the same. Tim reads up, does some tests with the ohmmeter, pokes more stuff, reads some more.  I do some pay the bills work so after my initial flurry of help I’ve pretty much checked out on this project.

In the quarterberth sits the compressor for both the fridge and freezer.  We never bothered to have the freezer plates installed so the freezer compressor’s just been sitting there.  They are the same brand so Tim does more reading.  Yep, the “electronic units” are swappable.  Sweet.  Well, shit, how do you get the thing off?  More reading.  Instructions are followed.  I flop into the quarterberth to offer my “expert” opinion.  After some gentle pushing, then some gentle crowbarring with a screwdriver I ask Tim, hey, what’s this screw here?  He says, I dunno, there’s no mention of a screw.  Me: There’s a screw here. Tim: No screw is mentioned.  Me: I bet this screw needs to be loosened.  Tim: There is no mention of a screw.  Me: Yes, I realize there’s no mention of a screw but there it is nonetheless.  Tim: Lemme see.  Tim flops into the quarterberth and finagles the screw loose.  YAY!!  The unit (Hee hee. Unit.) easily pops free.  The units are swapped out in about 5 minutes.  Like magic the fridge comes back to life. Happy dance!!  Working refrigeration.  Testify!

A trip to the Publix.  The fridge is restocked. We have returned to the land of the civilized.

The freezer compressor?  I guess that’ll just sit there until we finish the other 995.5 projects that need to be done.

On another completely unrelated note I de-crumbed the stove top today.  We have a 4 burner propane stove and by some sort of boating miracle all the igniter thingies work except for one.  The igniters are a super simple thing/design so it annoys me that one doesn’t work.  I ignite the other burners to understand what the heck happens.  Awright, looks pretty straightforward.  Not expecting very much I take a very high tech cleaning tool, and by high tech I mean a toothpick, and start scraping off stove detritus around the igniter and gas portlet.

Stove igniter

Stove igniter

La la la la la la, I try the burner.  Ker-pow!  It lights!!  Holy schmokes, we’re cookin’ with gas!  Literally, we are cookin’ with gas.  I give it a couple more starts and it works like a champ.  Who knew the little thing you stab Lil’ Smokies with could also fix a propane stove. Suck it MacGyver!

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Foot pumps

Foot pumps.  I heart them.  They require zero power – well, other than your leg – and they easily provide fresh and salt watery goodness.  Serenity has fresh and salt water foot pumps in the galley and a fresh water one in the head.  All 3 worked, however the “return” motion wasn’t happening.  I would occasionally use them because I have a prehensile big toe so I could pincer the lever and pull it back up.  I also find using the pumps enjoyable because using them harkens back to my youth to summers spent in Colorado when we had to fetch water from the community, hand operated pumps, a la Little House on the Prairie.  Fun/nostalgia factor aside the pumps are important because if we lose ALL power at least we can pump up some fresh water, plus this project would give me a nice sense of accomplishment.

I decided to take out the salt water pump in the galley first since that one receives zero use.  I grabbed my tools, must have headlamp, flashlight, knee pads, towels, then I paused a second.  I asked Tim, hey, is there some sort of pump or something I should shut off before I take this pump out?  He looks at me like I just fell off the turnip truck.  He says, yes, you might want to consider closing the salt water sea cock so, ya know, you don’t flood the boat.  Sage advice. Yes, now is the time to call me a dumbass and roll your eyes.  I’ll give you a moment for that.

Sea cock closed I commenced removing the pump.  2 clamps later, hardly any swearing, banging my elbows and head only a few times, the pump is liberated.  I thought, maybe I can repair it since it works fine; other than the foot lever doesn’t go back up by itself part of the program.  Never working on a pump like this before I’m pretty sure I took out ALL the screws.  After a quick looksee it became apparent the pump couldn’t be salvaged.  The lever is forged from one piece of metal and it had broken in 3 places.  Bummer.

Foot pump guts

Foot pump guts

Broken lever pieces

Broken lever pieces

These pumps, being original, the input is on the right side and the output is on the left.  (You can see the input and output in the guts picture above).  I scoured the All Knowing Internet trying to find that configuration.  Denied.  That config is (of course) no longer done.  Nowadays the in and out are on one side – right or left.  I found a good deal on for Whale Gusher Mk3 Galley Pump and ordered 1 right and 1 left; not knowing which would be the better option come installation time. Also taking into account the fresh water pump in the galley is located directly to the right of the salt water one.  Also not know knowing which configuration would be best in the head.

We decided to go with the right side pump for the galley because by pointing the pump input directly downward it was perfectly positioned over the input hose; thus just manhandle the input hose onto the pump input, clamp, done.  The output hose was over yonder but by using a piece of hose, a barbed connector thingy and an elbow connector the output hose got hooked up a-okay.  Check the hoses are connected, clamps are tight, hoses are routed nicely so no pinching or bunching, cross my fingers and open the salt water sea cock.  Yay!!  No leaks and the pump works like a charm.  But wait, the pump-venture isn’t over.

The original pumps were taller than the new ones so the new ones didn’t sit on the floor.  We can’t just leave them loosey-goosey so I grab a piece of spare teak wood, cut  to size and stick under the pump.  Four screws for the base and boom, the new pump installation is complete.  Some test pumps.  Oooooo.  Ahhhhh.  It works like a champion.

Tim installed the fresh water pump in the galley – using a right input pump, in case you’re a curious sort, and of course it works perfectly.  So far my experience with Whale pumps as been excellent.  They are very good, well built, sturdy pieces of equipment.  Now I can foot pump to my hearts content.  Hooray!

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Dorade Boxes and Cowl Vents

On Serenity, as with most sailboats, we have cowl vents to help get airflow into the cabin.  The vents swivel 360 so you can position them to grab the breeze.  Our cowl vents are stainless and sit on top of a dorade box.  The box is there to help minimize water getting into the cabin via the vent, and in case any water does come in, the boxes have an opening on the side so water may escape.  Our dorades are made of teak and of course they needed some TLC.  One needed some gakked up teak replaced and all needed the old varnish stripped off.

Dorade's and cowls on boat

Dorades and cowls on boat

I was looking forward to this project because unlike projects that require crawling around on the floor and sticking my arm in tiny places, this one involved wood, outdoors, the use of the heat gun, red paint, and pretty-fying Serenity.  Anything that involves pretty-fying I’m down for.

To replace the gakked up teak we got some new from Teak Hut in Sarasota (LOVE that place). Tim cut the new piece, then some planing, sanding, more planing, final sanding.  Et voila.  The piece fit perfectly.  Glue.  Clamp.  Done.  Mega kudo points for Tim for matching the grain direction.  My anal retentive self thanks you!

Now for stripping.  *cue bow chica wow wow music*  Fortunately we did this project on a day that was overcast and a little bit breezy so the warmth from the heat gun was delicious versus hellish.  What seemed to work the best: heat gun on high, about 4 inches away from the wood, some back and forth motion to get the wood and varnish hot, but not set it on fire, then use the scraper.  When done correctly the scraping action was easy and the varnish just flaked right off.  Heat.  Scrape.  Repeat.  Give it the once over with 120 grit sandpaper and those bad boys are ready for varnishing. Talk about satisfaction to watch the old varnish vanish and the nice teak emerge.  FYI – I love teak.  On top of being beautiful I’m pretty sure it has magical powers.

dorade boxes

Naked and still partially dressed dorade boxes.

Okay, so I have to admit, we’re stalling about doing the varnishing.  There seems to be a jillion different ways to varnish and a million different opinions and I don’t want to do it “wrong”.  Dumb, I know, because the dorade boxes are the perfect project to get our feet damp when it comes to varnishing.  I promise to post some pics and the process when we varnish the dorade boxes.

The cowl vents: these poor things were so pathetic looking.  We both spent an afternoon chipping and scraping and sanding and acetoneing to rid the vents of all traces of paint and gunk.  I taped off the openings and this is where my anal retentiveness served me well.  Taping something round using straight edged tape?  That’s a lot harder than it looks, yo.

Cowl vents-before and after scraping

Cowl vents-before and after scraping.
Ready for painting.

Lucky for me I had a “spray booth” in the form of an empty dock box.  I lined it with newspaper and got to spraying. Tip: make sure to cover the entire exterior of the vent with tape or newspaper because paint will magically leap onto the unprotected metal.  Arg!  I technically did just 2 coats of paint but I’m hoping with overlap and back and forth spraying it’s closer to 4 coats.

Ta-da!  Are they bright red?  Yessiree bob, but I like it.  Our color scheme will be navy canvas with cream colored decks and top sides and I think the red gives it a jaunty pop of color.

Cowl vent - shiny and new

Cowl vent – shiny and new

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A whole mess o’ projects

Hello everyone!

It’s been a while since our last blog but we’ve been busy little campers!  Below is a list of projects we tackled while I was in Florida over Thanksgiving.  I may not do an individual posting for each project but I wanted to list out what we accomplished. I’m very happy we managed to knock these out over the Thanksgiving break.  In no particular order:

* Removed dorade boxes, stripped off old varnish, repaired the teak.  Varnishing still to be done.

* Cleaned and repainted cowl vents

* Removed old mattress and replaced with 3” foam and 3” memory foam topper

* Removed old head and replaced with new

* Replaced 2 foot pumps (fresh water in head, salt water in galley)

* Replaced galley faucet

Stay tuned for individual postings, and as always, we greatly appreciate your interest and support.

Christine & Tim

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