Tuesday, March 29, 2011

And on the Tenth Day

Here you see the aft fuel tank and the water tank partially installed. The stringer has not been re glassed in, you can see where it was cut out.

Here are the two forward water tanks. It used to be just 1 large tank but it had to be fabricated into tow smaller tanks to fit down the companionway. This is Randy, this guy worked really hard right along with Stash to get this project completed. He is from the Pacific Northwest.
This is Salvador the fiberglass man with his helper/daughter who is learning the trade from her father. He started and finished this job.

On Monday 3.14.2011 we motored Wand'rin Star over to Gatewoods after talking to Chris early that morning. He told us we could bring the boat on over but they probably would not get started till late Tuesday or Wednesday. We certainly wanted to have her there and ready to go the moment they could start on her so we got in high gear and within an hour we departed our slip at CC Marina at 0915 hours and had a nice sail over. While the Admiral took off all of our personal stuff and loaded it in the truck, I took down the Bimini/dodger, loosened the rigging and made other preparations to clear things out of the way so they could have easy access to the task at hand. We were done around 1400 so then we went to look for a place to stay the next 4 days. Fortunately we found a room in Rockport on the bay front that would do just fine, I could drive just 15 minutes and check on the progress of the tank installation and the Admiral had just a short drive to Port A for her birding. Tuesday I drove over to Gatewoods around 1400 hrs and went back to the boat to discover they had not started yet but just then Stash boarded the boat and begin to survey his next job. Stash was the lead man for the tank installation and over the course of the next several days we would work closely together to make sure we were both on the same page since this was a custom job and all the details would be engineered as work progressed. Our preliminary meeting pointed out the need for me to stay in close contact and check with them daily to work out the finer details of the installation. While Stash was the person who also removed two of the tanks, it had been a while and I knew I needed to help refresh his memory where certain wires and hoses lead to or where they should be re-connected.
Wednesday would be a full day for sure, with the help of his assistant Randy, they actually had three of the tanks in the boat by the end of the day. We met again that afternoon to sort out the next steps and agree on a few more details. By Thursday they had all four tanks in and partially plumbed. The tanks were foamed in place and they had to stop to let the foam set up harden. We checked in early Friday since this was the day the fiberglass man was supposed to re-glass the stringer we cut, make a platform for the Water muffler and put some tabbing on one of the water tanks. Unfortunately they lost their really good fiberglass man (never found out what happened to him) and so the hunt was on for Salvador. Salvador was our only hope in all of the Coastal Bend area. Luckily he lives next to Darrell & Debbie the owners of Gatewoods. He is known to do good work but he sometimes has difficulty finishing up a job??? The Admiral & I had to find new lodging since our hotel was booked for the next week due to Spring Break. We found a room over in Portland, it would have to do since it was the closest area available that had rooms. We booked three more nights since it was not clear when the fiberglass work would be completed and the tank installation could resume. Hooray,! on Saturday Salvador was there working on the glass work, I went and shook his hand and talked about the project. It was clear he knew exactly what to do and got right after it. Salvador took 2 1/2 days to complete. He painted his work and so that meant another day of downtime on Monday while the paint dried. Time to find another hotel. We were not at all impressed with our accommodations in Portland so we were lucky to find just the right place in Aransas Pass for another 4 nights. Tuesday Stash and Randy were in full stride as they began to tackle the details of completing the plumbing and wiring. About midday I realized the water tanks were good to go and I could go ahead and fill them with water to check out system and look for any leaks. Much better to do it here before we got the boat back to Corpus. We found 3 small leaks due to loose hose clamps and a leaking valve. Randy quickly fixed those. I checked with them Tuesday afternoon and it was clear they would need some of Wednesday to wire the tank gauges to the panel and fabricate a new pedestal for the primary bilge pump switch and discharge hose. I stayed on the boat after they left for the day and I checked all the connections for any problems. Since a lot of the connections would be under flooring with absolutely no access panels, I wanted to make sure there would be nothing overlooked. Wednesday morning I found they had already fabricated a new bilge pump switch pedestal. This was a very important detail as in the original installation the bilge pump only reached 1/2 down into the bilge area since the whole area around the tanks was filled in with foam. In this installation areas were purposely left open all the way down to the bottom of the bilge to allow for air circulation and a complete clearing of any fluids by the bilge pump. I knew we were at the end of this part of the project and we would soon have our boat back together. The Admiral had birding commitments in Port A on Wednesday so We made plans with Darrel to take the boat back to Corpus on Thursday morning. As Stash and Randy was cleaning up and completing the project I added 20 gallons of diesel to the fuel tank, began to put the Bimini/dodger back on and tighten the rigging for the trip back to Corpus. I had my little shop vac and went down and thoroughly vacuumed all I could. Then I washed every interior surface down to get all the dust out before the Admiral went down below. I scrubbed the decks to get off all the project dust and dirt and she was ready for us to put our truck load of personal stuff back aboard. We slept a little later Thursday Morning than intended but we did manage to get to Gatwoods by 0815 and by 0900 we were saying our goodbyes to the crew at Gatewoods and tossing off the lines. We Stopped at Conn Brown Harbor in Aransas Pass to fill the fuel tank. We had called him earlier to check in to make sure we could buy fuel from him. This is a commercial area with mostly offshore work boats, shrimpers and some tows, very few pleasure boats here. When we arrived there was a shrimper refueling but he was done quickly and it took two attempts but we moored up on the fuel dock. Cecil told me to make sure I did not spill a drop as the General Land Office was giving him a hard time. As I filled the tank Cecil stood by and read off the gallons in increments of 5. I knew we could take on 50 or so gallons but I stopped him at 45 since I did not want to risk dealing with a irate local and he had the best prices in the area and I knew his diesel was clean since he pumped so much of it. (clean diesel is very important, especially if you have brand new tanks!) The tide was coming in so we should be fighting the current all the way down the shrimp boat channel to Port Aransas. We were lucky if we made 5 knots, but as we turned the corner to Corpus at Port A we were making 8 all at 20,000 rpm. Yep, I could have stepped it up a bit but you know time is money and we have more time than money these days. As we motored back I began to mentally plan the installation of the flooring and all the many other projects that I had planned on completing since we had such full access to this part of the boat. I have a sack off parts just waiting to be installed and several more on order. I was biting at the bite to get started right away but I knew the Admiral would need some transition time to get back into the routine of living aboard especially after 10 days of strange hotel living and moving about so much. Friday we mostly decompressed, relaxed and just sorted things out. It was the weekend and lots of our weekender friends were arriving for a fun weekend.

Just a note for other Endeavour owners: The total project came in at $7K, about $2K more than we expected but while you have the boat that dissasembled you have to take advantage and correct/fix/upgrade as much as possible. We feel great about this project since we now know our boat throughly and are reaching the goal of getting her cruise ready by our November departure date. A yard in Kemah completed the same project for a Endeavour 43 owner from start to finish, and the bill was just over $16K so we figured we saved over 50% of the cost by doing as much of the work as possible ourselves.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Great God Almighty, Great Balls of Fire!

This is the fuel tank after I coated it with 5 coats of Interlux 2000E 2 part Epoxy.

Wond'rin Star awaiting her new tanks.

Stash, the lead man for our project at Gatewoods getting ready to install the tanks.

Our favorite Whoopers on Goose Island. They are short timers here and will soon begin migrating back North.
A White Eyed Vireo....

We woke up Monday morning about 0800 and the Admiral was fussing that we woke up to late & I needed to call Gatewoods and see when we could bring the boat in to have the tanks installed, after all they told us it would be the week of the 14th. So I called Chris and he said we could bring it now or tomorrow but they would not get started on it till late Tuesday or Wednesday. We had already taken our truck over there just in case so we jumped into high gear and by 0915 we were departing our slip to Rockport. the forecast was for light winds but a front was supposed to begin passing through around 1400. I ran at 2000 RPM and we were doing about 6.4 knots so I knew we should make good time. As we entered the Shipping Channel I checked the tide and we were running against a incoming tide and we slowed to about 6 knots, as we neared Port A we were making just 4.9-5 knots but I knew as soon as we entered the channel leading to Gatewoods we would be running with the tide and we should make back most of our time, I was right, we turned the corner and our speed immediately picked up to 7.8-8 knots. The trip did take about 30 minutes longer than last time and we arrived in 5 hours at 1416 hours. the winds changed a bit to the east just after we tide up and dark clouds were looming. We still had a bit to do to get our stuff off the boat, the rigging loosened, and the Bimini off in preparation for the tanks to be installed. Just as we got the last of it done it began to rain. I stopped over at Gatwoods this afternoon to check on the progress and to take a couple of more pics. Stash, the lead man on the project had just gone to the boat to start the project. I had a chance to discuss some last minute details and concerns. The Admiral & I were lucky to find a room for the next 4 nights in Rockport since Spring Break is alive and well here and hotel rooms are far and few between. We will split our time between here and Port A staying close to Gatewoods so I can check on the progress. If all Goes well we will take Wand'rin Star back to Corpus with her new tanks full of fuel and water to Corpus on Friday or Saturday. I am sure the rest of March and the first 2 weeks of April will be spent just getting the forward AC unit, the plumbing, wiring, and flooring back to normal. There is another great cruise to Ingelside this weekend but it is one more we will have to miss, hopefully we will make the next one for sure. This morning we went to Goose Island to check on the local Whooping Crane family there. We stopped on the way back to our hotel at a small park in Rockport and sighted a White Eyed Vireo, our first one.