Boat Break- Fun N Sun 2015

We are not going to be making it out to the boat this weekend but as the saying goes.  “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Lori and I were luck enough to attend Fun N Sun,   a fly in airshow in Lakeland Florida with friends and family.

One of our wristbands to the event...  Thank you Di and Bunk for everything.

One of our wristbands to the event… Thank you Di and Bunk for everything.

If you have never attended an airshow let me say they are fun.   They have static displays in addition to flight demonstrations.  This show is even better as it is at a private facility and a large percentage of the attendants fly in for the show.  All the static displays arrived under their own power.

Here are a few.



B-24 rear end.

B-24 rear end.



I think this is a TBF Avenger

I think this is a TBF Avenger







F4u Corsair

F4u Corsair

There were also a ton of non military planes on display, all of which we could walk around and look at and touch if desired.

Private Acrobatic plane

Private Acrobatic plane

A lot of the private planes were for sale.

As we walked around there were acrobatic demonstrations going on,  old warbirds, new biplanes, commuter planes, helocopters, all types.

C-47 Flyby

C-47 Flyby

Of course the the highlight of the day was the AirForce Thunderbirds flying their F-16s.



They were great.  Starting their show at 5pm and going for quite a while.

After the the Thunderbirds we got to witness the spectacle of all the folks that flew in rushing to get out of the airport before dark as they close the airport after dark for the fly in and some folks did not wish to spend the night.

This included some of the larger planes including the B-17.

B-17 moving down the flightline.

B-17 moving down the flightline.


Note that spectators are still close by.

As we were sitting sitting in a tent a lot of planes taxied by on their way out to the runway.


After things quieted down a bit we took all hopped in the back of Bunk and Di’s truck for the ride back to their place.   The ride back gives you a hint of the scale of the event.

Note the tents set up by a large number of planes so their pilots could stay the night.

After getting back their puppy was thrilled to see use.

Pig like dog

Hugo the dog

What a spectacular time.   A must do.

Moving Parts Weekend-Drama on the Foredeck- Part 2

After taking Saturday off we returned to work on the Bell Sunday.

We really want to get her into our old marina and to do so getting the motor running is first thing on the list.  So the plan is to get that taken care of first.

So logic would dictate that the first thing I worked on once we got to the boat Sunday morning was the mast wiring.  As it was all coiled in the Vberth and would keep us from going to sleep the next time we spend the night on the boat.

The wire bundle comes out of the compression post and is routed into the locker dresser on the starboard side.  Consisting of 2 LMR400 cables for radio and 3 romex type wires for mast lighting the bundle is just under 1″ in diameter.  I put it in split loom and used to anchor clamps, I am very happy with the results.

Exiting the compression post under the mast.

Exiting the compression post under the mast.

Entering the top of the dresser.

Entering the top of the dresser.

Of course we had to drill a few holes to route the cables back along the starboard side behind the settee.  We left it coiled there for now, as it is no longer underfoot and we do need to get the engine done.

Wires coiled behind starboard settee.

Wires coiled behind starboard settee.

Switching to motor work the first thing that needs to be done is aligning the motor with the propeller shaft.  If the alignment is off it can cause vibration and damage.  Lucky thing being the motor mounts are adjustable so I started at it.

Over a year ago I used a jig to set up the motor mounts/ engine bed so the Atomic 4 will align correctly when dropped in.  With the boat out of the water the motor jig both sat at 4degrees of horizontal.  It is said that the boat changes a bit when floating and this is indeed the case.  As of yesterday the prop shaft was at 7 degrees and the motor sat at 4 degrees still.  I need to raise the front of the motor about an inch to get the 3 degrees addition tilt.

Of course the motor weights in at over 400lbs as it currently sits. Quite a dead lift.  I need a crane or lift to raise the motor so I can shim the mounts.  Luck for me we are a sailboat, we have a boom, halyards that can lift a 1000lbs all positioned just above the motor waiting to be used.

Of course since we just put the mast back on the boat Friday the boom was still laying on the deck, and also the the forestay was a still a little loose for my taste if attempting to lift 500lbs or so with a boom and halyard setup.

First step, tighten forestay.   See how this works, I need to get the motor aligned and it leads me to tightening the standing rigging. Logically.

So up to the forestay I go.  After fiddling with the drum for the CDI flex furler (for our jib) I release it and slide it up allowing me access to the turnbuckle underneath and in theory letting me tighten the stay.

At this point I know the lover part of the turnbuckle is not the easiest to adjust. So I brought a big screwdriver for added leverage.    I inserted said long driver into the open turnbuckle and started to tighten and “POP“.   The furler is loose from the forward chainplate and the entire assembly is moving aft toward me very fast. As I lean into the furler above the drum and hold on for dear life my minds eye can see the mast tumbling down behind me.

As I held onto the furler for all I was worth I heard and saw a “PLOP” as the clevis pin that was holding the forestay to the chainplate hit the water about 5 feet off the port bow.  Oh my, here I am thinking I am holding up my mast by pure force of will with no pin to secure it back to the chainplate.  What to do?

Thinking for a moment I grabbed the slack of the starboard dockline and tied it to the furler, thus securing it to the cleat. Crisis averted.

Getting one of the jib halyards I set up a temporary forestay to the port cleat.  Using one of the mast winches I tightened it down and was able to reattach the forestay after adjusting it using a new spare pin I had in the spares bucket.

I guess the pin on the forestay was not set up that well on Friday when we stepped the mast.  Note to self, check all clevis pins.

With further research I do not thing the mast would have come down as I have the 2 forward lower shrouds reasonably tight.  Each can hold the mast up by itself, but at the moment I was sure it was tumbling.

As I finished up on the foredeck it started to rain.  I retreated to the shelter of the bimini top to wait it out.  Wanted to get things done with the downtime I decided to install the control panel for the motor.

Control panel, purchased blank for Moyer Marine.

Control panel, purchased blank for Moyer Marine.

With minimal cutting with the sawzall it was in and wire harness snaked down behind the galley.

I took advantage of a lull in the rain to go up on deck again and attempt to attach the goose neck to the boom.   This is were I discovered the new casting and pin I installed on the boom end due to the old one being cracked.   I need to attempt to put our old pin into the new end casting to utilize out old goose neck and attach the boom to the mast.   And it started to rain so I called it a day and retreated back to the bimini.

By this time it was getting late in the day.  We decided that with the rain the charcoal grill was out of consideration.  We busted out a cast iron skillet that came with the boat and cutting the steak into cubes and frying it up.  We had some nice steak fajitas.

Cooking in the cockpit.

Cooking in the cockpit.

Heavy Moving Parts, A Long Weekend – Part 1

Thursday night.

Thursday was pretty warm, the high 80s and muggy.  4pm rolled around and it was time to get off work, punch out as they say.   We have been busy, physically upgrading the network so it was a pleasure to hop in the Escape and turn on the AC. I have been riding my bicycle to work daily but yesterday was different, I had to go get a trailer to haul our Atomic 4.

After filling our 5 gallon water jug with ice off to Uhaul I went and brought a trailer home. At $16 a day a good deal.

Loading the motor, pushing 400lbs up a ramp is indeed work.

Loading the motor, pushing 400lbs up a ramp is indeed work.

I had to drain the oil out of the motor before loading it up, as an A4 does not have a forward oil seal, just a slinger.  If you tilt the motor forward 5 quart fill just pour out, much like a jug.   I also had to install the motor mounts as they were still on the failed motor from last May.

Once prepped and secured to its pallet and furniture dolly up into the trailer it went.

There she sits.

There she sits.

Once loaded it was 6:30pm, just enough time for me to get a shower and go to Lamas class with my bride.   It was week one of the seven week class, very informative to me but I will note the more I know the more I get stressed out by the PG thing and all that can go wrong.

After we got out of class at 9pm we proceeded home retrieved to puppies, trailer and a change of cloths.  Off to Titusville we went, arriving at around 10:30 and finally turning in for the night at 11.

Early wake up.

The alarm on my iPhone went off at 6:30am.   After hitting the snooze and getting an extra 6 minutes shuteye I had to get up.   I lit up the trusty butane stove and heated the water for 3 cups of coffee (all for me as Lori does not drink coffee).  After relaxing in the cockpit for a bit I got to work tearing apart the galley and removing the sinks and bar.

We had a 9am appointment to place the mast and drop in the motor.  After considerable work the engine bay was ready for the Abomb.

View from the cockpit looking down thru the companionway.

View from the cockpit looking down thru the companionway.

Note a set of Lori feet.  Also you can see the aft side of the bilge pump in this picture.

Boat Moving.

After I had removed the bar and started back on my coffee Dana showed up.  He was a lifesaver today and we are very thankful.

We walked over to the garage at 9 looking for the boatyard folks.  After a brief discussion they told us we would do the mast first and we should move the boat over to the concrete dock so the lift could get access.

Dana worked the dock and I the deck of the boat.  A first for him as we moved the Bell with no engine and just ropes and boat hooks around the marina.   Lucky for us there was no wind this morning.  With a little help from other boaters (in self interest of saving their paint) we got her over to the dock.

Dana’s first save of the day, without his help I would have been stuck.   Lori, being 6 months along is merely a spectator at this point as she should not be exerting herself.

Mast stepping.

The yard folks then proceeded to lift the mast and place her on deck.

Dana and Myself waiting at the boat for the mast.

Dana and Myself waiting at the boat for the mast. Goofy hats and sunburn were the thing today.

Once the mast arrived Dana went below and pulled the cable down thru the step as I fed it.   A true pain in the but is I may say so myself.  His second save of the day as an extra set of hands are crucial.

Lori did video this part of the operation but due to the angle and distance it did not turn out well.

Motor dropping.

After the mast was placed we turned the boat around, hooked the motor to the crane and lifted her in.  This went surprisingly well and the jig I made over was key.

Hooking the motor to the lift.

Hooking the motor to the lift.

Motor in the Bell.

Motor in the Bell.

After the motor was in place we moved the Bell back into her slip.  Again Dana saved the day.

The Lori Bell in her slip with her nice shiney mast.

The Lori Bell in her slip with her nice shiny mast.

If you blow up the photo you can see a lot of sag in the forestay.  I will have to tighten and tune all the rigging before be head out.

Up Next.

Getting the motor running.

This involves:

  • Wiring in the control panel
  • Installing the throttle, choke and shift cables
  • Installing fuel lines, filters and hoses
  • Installing heat exchanger, water pump and hoses
  • Installing exhaust system

Wiring up the mast and radios.

  • Anchor, deck, spreader and steaming lights
  • VHF radio install and cable
  • AIS transceiver install and cable

Tuning rigging and sails.

  • Tune forestay, backstay and shrouds to proper tension and mast alignment
  • Rig traveler
  • Install boom and main sheet
  • Install sails, main and furling jib
  • Order sail cover
  • Install jib sheets

Our immediate plans are to get the standing rigging set so the mast stays up, get the mast cabling out of the Vberth and run back to the Nav station and get the motor running so we can move out of Westland and back to the City Marina.  Yay to pavement and nice bathrooms.

Let there be light and such….

Had a very busy long weekend working on the boat and motor.  Things are going swimmingly.


Our new Achilles dink has been ordered from Defenders annual spring sale.  We are looking forward to using it on future trips.

We wanted something that can hold 4 adults and gear was reliable and light.  Working with our little Honda outboard we should be set up well with this purchase.

We also added a bit or gear to the SUV.  A cargo rack the fits in the receiver hitch.  It works great hauling our cooler and water cask.  It will also come in handy once we have the baby as we will not have to haul fuel inside the vehicle and will free up space for strollers and such.

Cargo hauler.  Makes icing up easier.

Cargo hauler. Makes icing up easier.

Boat Work

Fuel tank-

After several months of working on the mast or motor full time we have finally been able to turn our attention back to the boat.   Our first order of business was installing our new fuel tank that we received from Catalina Yachts.

Here is the new tank sitting on end waiting for install.

Here is the new tank sitting on end waiting for install.

First we had to remove the old tank.

Old tank

Old tank

Funny that on the old tank you can see lines where the boat had flooded in the past. It did not seem to have any holes but at over 30 years of age we figure it best to replace as we are going from diesel to gas and the thing has years of crud and corrosion.

As an added bonus I was able to retrieve the flash light I dropped down in the skeg when replacing a broken transom thru hull about a year ago.

Lost mag light that is now found.

Lost mag light that is now found.


After the fuel tank we moved onto electrical work.  I spent some time figuring out the Dual AB switches on the battery banks.  I came to the conclusion we only needed one AB switch. A for the yet to be installed starter battery and B for the house bank.  We can use the switch to isolate the start battery from the house when starting but we can gang them together for charging once underway or when locked up and using the solar panel.

It looks as though we will be putting the Start battery in a box next to the fuel tank, I will have to glass some wood to hull to secure the box in place.   By putting the start battery in the back we will have more room in the engine bay for our fresh water cooling and its heat exchanger and pump.

I also did some other wire work, I was able install the running lights wire them up.   We now have function Nav lights like a real boat should.

Starboard bow light,  you can see the red port light reflecting off the Betty, our neighbors boat.

Starboard bow light, you can see the red port light reflecting off the Betty, our neighbors boat.

As I was installing the stern lamp I also took the time to reattach the manufacturers number plate.

Stern light and hull number...  Sweeettttt...

Stern light and hull number… Sweeettttt…


As I had the galley drawers pulled to run wire I took the time to get out the heat gun and heat all the waste hose clamps and tighten them down again.  Let me tell you the heat gun is great,  after doing this I filled the waste system to overflowing with fresh water.  Not a sign of a single leak.  It is safe to say the waste system is 100% done and ready for service.


After rewiring the AB switch and some other DC lines we thought it best to open the bilge and check that the pump was still functional.  It worked like a champ to our surprise the bilge was dry.  The Bell has always had a wet bilge, even on the hard it would make water when it rained.  It appears the sealing of the new mast step had done the trick, she is now a dry boat.

Next week

We have scheduled Friday, April 10 as the day we step the mast and place the motor in the boat.   The A-bomb is running strong and is ready.

Motor Work- another bite of elephant, num num num…..

With all the baby doings in addition to birthdays and holidays we have not been able to make it out to the Bell lately.

However we have not been idle on working on things as I have spent a lot of time in the garage working on the motor.

I had finally got the motor back together and was going through the Moyer Marine manual of check post rebuild.  One of the first steps is to make sure the oil pump is working properly.  To do this you need to crank the motor with no plugs and achieve 20psi of oil pressure.  Of course to crank the motor you need to wire the starter and since I am having to build an entire motor control panel I endeavored to get that done in the process.

New control panel

New control panel

All the gauges are new.  It has fuel, water temp, oil psi and tachometer.  The tachometer is the only non-marine gauge in the panel, it is digital and was only about $15 or so.  I had to map everything out and drill the holes for each component.

For switches it has a run, start and bilge/engine blower switch. The small mark in the middle is the future position of the choke knob.

Next was to wire it.

rats nest of wire

rats nest of wire

I then made a wire harness with all the applicable leads and encased it in fire retardent loom so it looks nice.

Motor ready to fire up.

Motor ready to fire up.

You can see the harness to the right of the bucket as well as a sizable amount of slack bundled that I left to aid in installation on the Bell.

I then tried to get the required 20psi of oil pressure required to have a safe start of the motor. This is done by cranking it with the starter at about 200rpm with no plugs and checking with a manual guage.  I could not get any pressure,  after asking around I surmised I had left out an oil gallery plug inside the engine.

our missing plug

our missing plug

I had to take the motor back apart, removing the flywheel, transmission and oil pan to check all 3 gallery plugs and find which one was the culprit.

After ordering another set of gaskets and putting the motor back together yesterday I was successful in getting the 20psi required.   After which I set the timing and installed the spark plugs and wires.

This morning Lori and I went out and filled the bucket of cooling water and our temp shop fuel jug seen hanging from the hand truck above.

We got her to start and after a bit of fiddling she would idle nicely at 850rpm.

In the video I show the 850rpm (looks fine in person), water temp at 155 and oil pressure at 20psi.   The oil pressure was low still.  I had to replace the old style regulator I had installed with a new style one that originally came with this block, seems the seat for the regulator was worn to match and was not making a good seal, We now have the oil pressure right were it belongs. Note that in the video water is moving through the motor pretty well.

Next up is re-torquing the head bolts and fixing a oil weep on the starboard side of the transmission and a water leak at the pump face.  The transmission will need to be pulled again but it is not the end of the world.

After these last few items are sorted out we can drain the oil and drop the motor on the boat.   Getting closer.

Lunchtime Update.. No we have not given up.

Baby News

As our little girl grows day by day we are pretty busy.  Where does all the time go?


Calm down.....

Calm down…..

The latest scan shows our little girl is developing perfectly.  All her fingers and toes and good movement and heartbeat.

Baby in the belly...

Baby in the belly…

Motor News

Well, I have yet to find the time and get the engine running. 

A few excuses:

  1. 2 days with temps below 40
  2. a few days of rain
  3. Doctors visits for the baby
  4. Having to waste an afternoon setting up a court date for a bs traffic ticket.
  5. Rehabbed my Trek mountain bike after 9 years of sitting in the garage.   I have been using it to commute to work, feal the burn baby…

All that said I have been working hard to get the control panel and wire harness done.   I wil supply some pictures of the panel later when I get to turning up the motor.   

I do have motor oil in the motor, I now need to finish wiring the control panel so I can get the required 20lbs of of oil pressure and then start her up.

Motor in the Raw

Motor in the Raw

After she is idling well we will need to schedule a day with the boatyard to drop her into the boat and also step the mast.

Fuel tank-

We have opted to replace the original fuel tank (30+ years old) and found the best price for a replacement is from Catalina Yachts.  They manufature over in St.Pete so I gave them a call and they said the could  fabricate a new tank for $380+ shipping.  This is good since they have our boats specs and we know it will fit.    

Funny thing is a week after they said it was going to ship we had not recieved the tank or been billed.  I emailed the parts fellow and asked if there was an issue, he responded he would call the subcontractor that did their tanks and let me know when it would ship. 

   Sure enough they had some kind of delay and it shipped that day. We now have a nice new fuel tank sitting in our livingroom and Catalina Yachts have yet to bill us for it.  I have let them know we have the tank. Who knows, maybe it is a freebee?

Mast Work

Yes the mast is now finished.

We have done a lot of work refitting the mast and she is ready to be put back on the boat.

In addition to stripping off the flaking white paint and treating it with Alodine to inhibit corrosion here is a list of some of the things we have done starting at the masthead and working down.

  • Installed bird spikes.

    Masthead work

    Masthead work

  • New windvane
  • New LED anchor light
  • New ball bearing sheaves
  • New cotter pins
  • New Forestay
  • New Backstay
  • New upper shrouds
  • New Halyards (3)
  • New topping lift (aft and it will serve as a backup halyard)
  • New masthead VHF antenna
  • New steaming and foredeck light fixture
  • New spreader brackets (CDirect) 
  • New Aluminum spreaders (Catalina Yachts)
  • New Radar reflector on Starboard shroud
  • New deck floodlight on Starboard spreader
  • New signal halyard on Starboard spreader
  • New dedicated AIS VHF antenna on Port spreader
  • New lower shrouds
  • All new interior wiring and coaxial cable with all lights tested
  • All new turnbuckles

When we put the mast up it will be placed on our freshly powder coated mast step with the new stainless plate underneath.  We also have the updgraded lower shroud chainplate kit from Catalina Direct installed.

Completed mast..

Completed mast..

Quite a list.

 In Closing

Hopefully we will have more to report in the next few weeks. 

I depart with a photo of a derelict near Cocoa Village. 

Fixer upper free to good home.

Fixer upper free to good home.

God Bless.

Prospects of adding New Crew…

Happy New Year everyone.

A bit more personal than normal as sometimes it is good to get things on the record.

We bought the Clew a few years ago knowing it was probably too small for more than just the two of us.  This prompted us to purchase the Bell over a year ago and since then we have been slaving away getting her back into shape.

The reason we needed a bigger boat is not only for the considerable comfort factor for the two of us but also for sleeping accommodations when we add to the family.

Since Lori obtained her Bachelors Degree we have been in the hunt for children.  At first we were pretty relaxed about it but after a few years we started to worry.  Just as we were looking into things physically Lori was diagnosed with cancer and at that point survival was the concern and children took a back seat.

Lori licked the cancer and during her chemo we took adoption classes.   10 weeks of courses that are pretty depressing but enlightening as far as what they reveal about the human condition.

Last summer we even had a potential match with a little girl.  She was sweet but for reasons we will not discuss the match did not work.   Truly heartbreaking.

We are still looking to adopt, even attending a matching event last November.  There are a lot of kids out there that need a home.


On a Friday in the first week of November I had a dream.   No big deal but for this one being a bit different.

I had the day off as I had worked the last Sunday. (I work a lot of weekends) Lori had a scheduled blood test we were feeling pretty pessimistic.   It is an routine we have grown accustomed too over the past years.

We got up, dressed and headed over to Quest and Lori donated some more blood to the cause.  We then went to breakfast.    I did not share my dream with her and have to admit we were both a bit snippy with each other.

Lori called Quest at noon and found out they had screwed things up and we would not be getting results until almost the end of the day.  No surprise as we had dealt with Quest with Lori’s cancer and such and they screw things up quite often.  As we were heading home we picked up one of those quick at home tests.

Once at home Lori took the test, the conversation as we did it went along the lines of “well, this is not morning urine so will probably not work anyway.” “I can’t believe Quest.” “We should have bought two as these things are junk.”  all to prepare for the negative results we just knew were coming.

“Hold on, that shows positive.”  ” Crap, we really should have bought two……”

We did not get the results from Quest to confirm it until a few days later.

Now we are into our second tri and things are going swimmingly.

Expecting a girl

Expecting a girl

All of the latest tests come back great.    Our little girl shows to be genetically normal and developing as well as can be expected.

Her foot print

Her foot print

She is expected to arrive in early July.

That Dream

About that dream.  Most of the time I dream very little, but this one was vivid, almost as if we were there.

I was making my way aft from the head/Vberth area holding onto the handrail in the cabin as there was quite a bit of motion, Lori was in the galley making sandwiches,  the companionway was open and a 10 to 12 year old red headed girl was telling Lori what she wanted on her sandwich as she ran the boat from the cockpit.

Make of it what you will.   The wishful thinking of a frustrated man?  A promise? Just a dream?

Well, that is is for me today.    I think I will go out to the garage and work on rebuilding the transmission on our Atomic4 now.

Work, Motor, teasing……

With the holidays and big doings with the family our blog had been on the back burner.   However we have been working on the boat and are making progress.

Here is a photo of our new spreaders.

New spreaders on a the mast

New spreaders on a the mast

Motor Work

Bare block...

Bare block…

had a cool spell lately and that has slowed down the motor rebuild. I have been working on it none the less.

I have previously rebuilt motorcycle engines but this is definitely a step more complex.  Even if the Atomic 4 is a simple four cylinder.

Studs installed waiting for crank bearings and crank.

Studs installed waiting for crank  and the top bearings.

I made a point to use assembly lube on all the parts as it will be a few seconds before the oil pump lubes everything up. Note in this picture the cam shaft is in place.  It actually goes in after the crank and pistons.

The crank shaft is in and waiting for pistons.

The crank shaft is in and waiting for pistons.

I had a hammer handy, thankfully it was not needed.

IMG_5432The pistons are numbered and the 1 thru 4 with an arrow that needs to point towards the rear of the motor (not the front as it says on the piston). Of course I got this wrong and had to turn all the pistons 180 degrees after install.

After installing all new rings on the pistons I used a ring compressor tool to slide the piston down the bore.

New piston rings.  The top 2 are compression rings and the bottom is an oil sweeper.

New piston rings. The top 2 are compression rings and the bottom is an oil sweeper.

Piston ring compressor

Piston ring compressor

I borrowed the tool for free  from AutoZone for a $10 deposit.  It worked fine until the last piston.  I had checked the gap on the ring by placing them in the bore before install but by the fourth piston and everything working well I did not.  Of course that meant ring 2 was not gapped correctly.   This is thankfully were my previous experience helped. A bit of grinding and the piston was in.



After the pistons were installed I put the 8 tappets in and then the Cam shaft making sure to line up the timing marks. Next up was the valves.

Valve after lapping into the block using grinding compound.

Valve after lapping into the block using grinding compound.

First each valve (in numbered bags) was cleaned and then lapped to match its seat.  Since the block had been cleaned this was required but not a big hassle.  The valves cleaned up nice and matched the well.   The only problem I had was the number 2 intake valve was bent.  I had to take an intake valve off of my donor motor to replace it.

After all the valve were lapped it was time to reinstall the springs.

Valve spring, 2 wedges and keeper.

Valve spring, 2 wedges and keeper.

The valve springs had to be placed with the keeper on the bottom. After that the valve with the stem lubed is dropped in. Then the spring is compressed using a tool bought on Amazon.

With the spring and keeper compressed the wedges in place.

With the spring and keeper compressed the wedges in place.

Although a bit fiddly the valve springs went in pretty easily.

Yay, valves.  The cloth is in place to keep the wedges from falling down into the oil pan through the holes in the bottom of the spring gallery.

Yay, valves. The cloth is in place to keep the wedges from falling down into the oil pan through the holes in the bottom of the spring gallery.

Next up, studs, head, gearbox, flywheel, etc.

Coming attractions

Big really big announcement.  Mast step, running rigging, standing rigging, wiring the mast.  Oh so much…

FCC, seeping, sails and dinner

Friday we received a letter from the FCC. In it our call sign and MMSI code for our AIS and VHF radio.

What a pleasant surprise, and now we are official, Lori Bell is in the worldwide data base.


Ok,  I started this post on my iPhone.  It takes much more effort to peck in a post on that thing.  I tend to be less verbose and not flush out my thoughts as much when typing on it.

First off let me say I really enjoy WordPress as a service.   I use their reader to follow a number of other sailing blogs and enjoy them immensely.

Here are two examples.


These are just so well done,  as our blog tends to dwell on the grind of boat repair these blogs give us inspiration of what is ahead when we finish.

AIS and the FCC

Automatic Identification System-  basically our boat will ping so other boat so equipped can see us on their plotters/radar.

Here is an what it looks like on a plotter, Port Canaveral.

If you are lucky you can catch a cruise ship coming and going.

Anyhow,  a little over a week ago we applied at the FCC for a MMSI and call sign for Lori Bell.  By Saturday when we got back from the boat there was a letter in the mailbox with our assignments.  Wow, what super turn around, good job FCC.

FCC letter, blocks for back haul, boom end for goose neck, piston rings.

FCC letter, blocks for back haul, boom end for goose neck, piston rings.

What a photo

This photo encompasses the major themes of the work on the Bell.  Finishing the electronic, FCC letter.  Rigging the mast and boom, out haul blocks and goose neck. Engine Rebuild, piston rings.

Before the Mast

Mast work continues apace.  The Alodine finish seems to be holding up nicely and is unchanged after two weeks.

New spreader brackets on the mast.

New spreader and brackets on the mast.

Here is a photo of the old spreaders, their poor condition one of our prime motivations on restoring the mast.

In order, Port Spreader, rotten, 37 inches, Catalina Yachts new aluminum spreader 36", Starboard spreader, rotten 34"

In order, Port Spreader rotten 37 “, Catalina Yachts new aluminum spreader 36″, Starboard spreader rotten 34″

Why are the two old spreaders of differing lengths you ask?  Well good question, surely this was some new type of asymmetrical rig?  My guess, no.

My task for the rest of this week is to figure out how to attach our AIS antenna, signal flag halyard and deck light to the spreaders with a minimal amount of drilling.   I have some ideas of what may work, we shall see.


Critter photo

Manatees fighting over fresh water.

Manatees fighting over fresh water.

Our neighbor was washing his boat and a good six manatees were jockeying for position under the scuppers to get a drink.

Hoping for a number, ropes and such…

Numbers – Radio and AIS information that need to be done.

Today I was looking at AIS class B transceivers to go with our VHF DCS radio.

In reading about features and such on our VHF and and AIS we will need to program both with an MMSI number.  What is an MMSI number?  Well it is a nine-digit number “Maritime Mobile Service Identity ” that when you use a digital radio or such identifies your boat in a Data base.

If you are not leaving the United States an MMSI number can be had for free at Towboat US.

They put it in a stateside database that the Coast Guard uses.   However this database does not work overseas in places like, well the Bahamas for example.  For that you need to sign up with the FCC and actually get a number licensed to your boat.    Uggggg.

First you will need a FRN number and login, you get this by entering yourself in the FCC database.

After you get your FRN you apply with an form  605 available here.

It states you may also have to do a 159,160 or 1070y,  I did not have to myself, even though I spent a few hours fighting with these forms (going in numeric order) until giving up and doing the 605.  It allowed me to pay the fee online and they sent me a receipt.

When filling out the 605 you enter emergency contacts and some basic ships data that will go into the Coast Guard database.   Cost from FCC $215. Good for 10 years.|135|2028691|2028908&id=1849984


Last week we removed our boom end castings and the mast step to be media blasted and powder coated.   Heard back from the fellow doing the work and it seems our goose neck end casting is shot.

Cracked casting

Cracked casting

Before picture with the casting installed in mast.

Before picture with the casting installed in mast.

This is the type of thing that can only be found by disassembling.  Lori and I got lucky we in deciding to get the ends made pretty again as we could have skipped the step and someday we could be running downwind and Gybe just to have the casting fracture under load.  Not good.

We have a call in to Catalina Yachts for a new casting.  If they can not supply one I have found one from Catalina Direct we can use but it requires a bit of cutting to make fit.  Hopefully Catalina comes through for us.

Also blasted was the mast step.

Shiney blasted mast step.

Shiny blasted mast step.


We decided not to attach our shackles to our halyards with spliced eyes.  Opting instead for the flexibility of knots. So I finished whipping the ends of the running rigging we have on hand.  We do have two more halyards coming as we have the sheaves for 4 at the masthead and a mid mast sheave for a storm sail.

Whipping the ends

Whipping the ends

Working away

Working away

Tools of the trade.

Tools of the trade.

Finished but to trim the loose ends.

Finished but to trim the loose ends.

We also purchased some end dip in case we did not like the results of the old school whipping.   I prefer whipping but since we had the dip we opted to coat the whipped ends just for good measure.

Stuff in a bottle.

Stuff in a bottle.

Running rigging whipped, dipped and ready.

Running rigging whipped, dipped and ready.


Hawk in our yard.

Hawk in our yard.

I think this guy is waiting for Abby to come out and play.  He let me within 10 feet or so.