Ripping Vela a New One and Installing a Buzzkill – By Erin

Friday afternoon sail

 Howdy Folks,

Kara and I just got back from a LONG weekend with Vela.  From a calendar perspective, it was just a normal weekend but we where both pretty tired at the end of it, so it felt much longer.

Since we where both down in Houston for work on Thursday, we where actually able to get out for a sail on Friday afternoon/evening.  We knew it was going to be a crazy busy weekend so we made it a point to get out and enjoy the amazing weather while we could.  I should probably share the fact that after a long week at work, neither of us really felt like getting everything ready to go out.  In fact, I think we where both pretty tempted to just be lazy and relax with a few drinks at the dock.  But we’ve been frustrated lately with the fact that all we seem to do is work when we’re down at the boat.  So we drug our lazy asses off the settee and got out for a couple great hours of sailing.

My chicky at the helm and all the new sails drawing.  Happy Friday!

Believe it or not, the weather in Houston in early spring is actually really nice.  So, once we got out there we where both really glad to of the dock and Vela seemed happy for the exercise.  It was the first time we got all the new sails out.  Add in a 10 knot breeze and it was great.  We got in quit a bit of tacking just see how the new sails felt and overall it was great night.

We got back to the dock just before sunset, grabbed some dinner and enjoyed enjoyed sunset in the cockpit before turning in  early to be ready for Saturday’s big project, adding a new secondary bilge pump.

For this project we’re working with Gary Deason, a local boat services guy that is super friendly and actually seems to enjoy working with folks who are prepping to go cruising and want to be involved in the refit process.   Sure it would be easier to just showing up and have it all done for us, but we want to know where every hose, wire, thru-hull and component is located.  Which means this is exactly the kind of help we need.  In addition, Gary comes from a Coast Guard background and brings a ton of experience to the table.  The fact that he’s very relaxed and likes to teach as he goes really helps.  It’s also nice that he takes in our suggestions/requests, incorporates what makes sense and explains when he feels like another option would be better.

Our workspace – planning the project.

So at 9 AM Saturday morning, we started laying out the project, examined several potential hose routes, measured for the final hose run and made a run to West Marine for the parts we knew we needed.  Of course, Kara also made a couple mid-project runs but that’s one of the reasons we chose the marina we’re in now, it’s convenient to everything…except home πŸ˜‰

  I should probably mention that the rule 4000 (4000 GPH) pump we installed required a 2″ smooth bore inner diameter hose, with a surprisingly high list price per foot.  However, working through Gary meant that we got the hose at about half the list price (thanks to his port supply discount).  So that saved us a good bit which helped cover part of his fees for helping us.

Mounting the new bracket/pump

When we got back aboard, Gary mounted the bracket for the new pump down in the bilge while I drilled the holes under the starboard settee for the auto/manual switch, buzzer/alarm/light and fuse holders.

Drilling new holes for switch, buzzer, and fuses

The concept here is that since this is purely a secondary/emergency pump for us, we want to know anytime it’s running.  So we wired in an obnoxious buzzer and red light that run anytime the pump is running (either manually or automatically via float switch).  We did wire it, so that if we ever had to run the pump for an extended period of time, we can physically disable the buzzer by removing a single connection (which we’re referring to as Buzzkill).  Hey, if we’re ever in a situation where we need to run this thing, it will be stressful enough without having to listen to that buzzer.  But it’s great to get your attention so that, you know there is a potential problem.

Kara laying down on the job (aka boat yoga)

While routing the hose we ran into a good deal of extra hose for the primary pump that was causing us some issues, so Kara and I spent a couple hours shortening and remounting that hose in the giant rear lazerette.   In the picture to the right she’s partially inside the compartment where our hot water heater usually sits.  It’s been removed and is laying beside her on the left.  She had to worm her way in here to help me access the hose we’re re-routing.  I’m in the lazerette on the opposite side, doing my best not to swear to much, like a….sailor.

Down in the lazerette.  Here I’m cutting a bulkhead to route the new hose .

While we where doing that, Gary installed ring terminals on the wires and connected up the pump and switches.  We then reviewed the wiring, tested everything and verified it all worked as expected.

Because who doesn’t love cutting giant holes in their boat?

In the end, this project took the 3 of us about 11 hours from start to finish and by the time we wrapped up about 8 PM Kara and I where way too tired to go checkout the Kemah crashfish and Zydeco festival we had planned to attend.  So, we did our best to scrub the fiberglass off our skin with a shower (never an easy task), ordered some Chinese food delivered to the boat, and relaxed in the cockpit.  Of course we where also cleaning up from the days events as we went.

On Sunday, we finished the cleanup.  Spent a little more time on the windlass and are now happy with how it’s handling the new anchor and chain.  We still have some work do to getting the anchor secured on deck in a way that we’ll be happy with for the long-term, but we’re very close there.

While in the lazerette we also had to add a new thru-hull on the transom to give us a direct exhaust for the new 2″ hose.  So yeah, we ripped Vela a new one.  Here you can see what it looked like when scored from the outside with a 2.5″ holesaw.  We finished the process off from inside the lazerette and installed our new thru-hull fitting.

Overall it was a great…OK successful weekend of boat projects.  It was nice having someone there to guide us through installing the new pump, hoses and wiring.  Kara and I worked well together throughout the day, which is always a big plus.  Particularly given the tight, itchy uncomfortable work.  That in combination with a little sailing makes this a win in my book.

t- 1year-sh….and counting

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