Sleeping under the stars.

We did a trip out the the Bell this weekend and spent Sunday night under the stars.   Feeling a cool breeze on a cloudless night watching the sky scroll past.

One thing about the Vberth is you can prop the forward hatch all the way open and then you have a convertible bedroom.   Last night in the 70s with a light sea breeze and things were perfect.  Lori is a trooper being 7 months along and clambering up into the berth.  Thankfully the head on the boat is now functional so no more need for long trips ashore when nature calls at midnight, that would just be too much.

We never sleep better than when we are on the boat and last night was a gentle reminder of why we love the boat and miss nights on the hook.

Sorry, no photos of this.  Our iPhones take pretty poor night photos (probably a way to do it but needs research).

Controls and such

I worked on control cables and routing this weekend.

Cutting up a piece if angle iron (?) purchased at our local Ace Hardware I re-purposed some of the hold downs from the diesel controls that I had removed from the boat.

New bracket

New bracket, Abby approves.

This bracket will hold the throttle and choke cable so they will properly align with the Carb.

This bracket will hold the throttle and choke cable so they will properly align with the Carb.

I dry fit these and roughly attached the cable and lucky for me everything fit after about three or four configuration attempts. I have brought the entire assembly home and plan on painting it to match with left over motor paint.

Also accomplished was using the sawzall to remove the corroded bolts from the cabin sole that hold the throttle cable in position to shift the transmission. New bolts and a backer block now line everything up nicely.

Corroded bolts in the sole next to shaft log access.

Corroded bolts in the sole next to shaft log access.

Now all that is left to do with the controls is the installation of the levers in the cockpit. I fabricated a new backing board for them this weekend as the original plywood was rotten so next weekend I will tackle that task.


Last week I had ordered new iron pipe from McMaster Carr to make an exhaust riser.

My new water injection port from Moyer Marine.

My new water injection port from Moyer Marine.

New pipe going together.

New pipe going together.

New pipe installed waiting for heat wrap.

New pipe installed waiting for heat wrap.

After getting the pipe fitted to the motor I started to line it up with the water lift muffler.  After removing a small fragment of exhaust hose from the inlet port I discovered it had a 2″ port not the 1.5″ port I need to match my exhaust  manifold or the 1.5″  exit port on the same muffler.  I just assumed inputs and outputs would match.  Scratch one muffler, it will not work and a new one has been ordered.  If the water lift that came with the boat had worked I would now be done with exhaust work, oh well.

Other stuff

After the muffler I installed an overflow tank for the cooling system.   We are now done with the cooling system except for the 2 missing parts, a anti-siphon loop and a raw water strainer.  Both have been ordered and are int he mail.

I started on installation of the fuel system, putting a shutoff valve in the galley.

Even with old school clicker labeling.

Even with old school clicker labeling.

I will be mounting the filter/water separator below it in the engine compartment.

I also replaced the “DIESEL” labeled 1.5″ deck fill with a new one properly labeled “Gas” since now we will be burning petroleum.

Another task I accomplished this weekend is I wired up the engine control panel and blower into ships power. You can now energize the panel, turn on the blower, turn on the ignition and  hear the fresh water cooling pump start to work.

Blower hose to the bilge, it works, you can feel the exhaust coming out the vent topside.

Blower hose to the bilge, it works, you can feel the exhaust coming out the vent topside.

Also visible in the above photo is the wrapped exhaust, failed black water lift muffler, finished raw water lines. On top of the motor is a small secondary fuel filter to go between the fuel pump and carburetor.

Next week.

We were hoping to finish things off next week.  A short list of what is left to do.

  • install anti-siphon loop
  • install raw water strainer
  • install control lever assembly in the cockpit
  • install fuel line
  • install fuel filters
  • install fuel tank fill hose
  • install fuel tank vent line
  • install new thru hull for fuel line vent
  • final cleaning of Carburetor
  • install throttle and choke cable to carb
  • flush and fill fresh water jacket
  • start motor
  • move to new marina

The Devil is in the Details.

When I went to Navy boot they had a thing about attention to detail.  Going on about how pilots have died because technicians installed a split pin in the wrong orientation.  I remember having to do drills and push ups without end to drive this point home.

With the Lori Bell I am attempting to catch and rectify the details, before they become and issue.

To set the stage for those who have not read my blog post from a few years back you need to realize that this boat came to use with no inboard engine, no wire harness, no functional control, just and empty engine compartment.  All those devilish details fall squarely on my shoulders.


On my previous trip out I had pulled the raw water pump.  It had a slight weep of water from the weep hole.

Last week I rebuilt it sitting at the patio table with a kit from Moyer Marine.

New shaft seals installed.

New shaft seals installed.

Interestingly enough the old seals, unlike the new rubber jobs were pressed in brass rings with a rubber insert.  This it appears the old ones caused some scoring of the shaft and thus the leak.

Old shaft and new shaft, not the scoring on the old.

Old shaft and new shaft, note the scoring on the old.

I also endeavored to prep some of the exhaust pipes that came with our motor for installation.  I did this using and old fashion hammer the pipes to get them loose technique.   I was successful in getting one of them to loosen up and I did try both in the boat last weekend. However, I was unhappy with the fitment and the alignment of the water injection so I ordered new pipe from McMaster Carr this morning and Moyer Marines purpose built exhaust water injector.

At The Boat

So I spent last weekend at the boat.  Lori did not accompany me as it is not the most comfortable place to be as the cabin is torn asunder and she is in a family way.


The first task I undertook was to install the water pump.  I had noted that it was rubbing on the starboard rear engine bracket so I trimmed that before putting the pump back in.

After the pump was installed I worked on aligning the motor with the shaft. It was close but not quite perfect.  I had a few bolts loose but was having issues getting that last fraction of an inch.  I was getting aggravated as the motor is very heavy and it just would not go.  As I contemplated more drastic action involving cutting the starboard rail/bunk I took out all the bolt attaching the mounts to the bunk.   On a lark I jammed my trusty hammer between the bunk and accessory drive hump and gave using it as a lever lifted the rear of the 450lb motor about an inch.  When it dropped back down it was perfectly aligned.

Good enough I said and bolted everything down nice and snug.  Then rotating the shaft by hand I aligned the bolt hole and attached the motor to the propeller shaft.

Shaft and coupler together at last.

Shaft and coupler together at last.


Cooling hoses, black for raw water

Finished. The  rebuilt raw water  pump can be seen to the left of the transmission.

After taking the victory photo above I proceeded to rough in the cooling line.  Black lines are for raw (ocean) water, blue is for the antifeeze cooling loop.

Blue silicone hose. Nice and brightly colored

Blue silicone hose. Nice and brightly colored

With the cooling hose roughed in I decided to take a lunch.  I loaded the pups in the car an of to Burger King we went.

Abby likes drive thru dining.

Abby likes drive thru dining.

After lunch I went to work on installing the control cable.

Salvaged cables.

Salvaged cables.

Before coming out to the boat I had finally got around to testing their functionality in the driveway.  Lucky for me I received no lacerations and they worked properly, sliding with ease.

New old controls.

New old controls.

An interesting note is that the control head did not come with knobs.  I was fortunate in that the knobs that came with the boat (diesel control) fit perfectly.  The actual assembly although similar is different in every other dimension as the Atomic 4 controls are heavy due to clunky shifting.  To retrieve the big lever from the old controls I had soaked it with PB Blaster for the past few months, it would not budge.  In the end I took a hammer to the old controls and shattered the casting to facilitate removal.

To install the cables I had to dive into the port sail locker and feed them thru.  Then I worked them forward to the engine bay.  At the same time I fed the wire harness forward into the engine compartment as well since had it coiled up behind the galley cabinet since installing the panel.

Taking apart the salvaged controls for install.

Taking apart the salvaged controls for install.

After getting the cables roughly placed I turned to installing the controls in the cockpit.

I had to remove the remains of the old controls and install the new.  This is when I came to realize the physical difference in the two sets.

The new controls did not want to come apart for installation.  I spent the remainder of the afternoon pounding, prying and twisting them but to no avail.  They were corroded together.   After calling it a day I took the new controls home and applies a health portion of PB Blaster to the seem in question.  Lucky for me I had already moved it a fraction of an inch in pounding on it so the PB could capillary in and the parts came apart Sunday morning. I also sprayed the cable hold downs that were seized up and they to were no longer seized in the morning.


Sunday morning after a trip to Ace Hardware I made my way out to the boat again.   Having tired of fiddling with the controls for the time being I decided to work on the cooling system again.

I plumbed in the fresh water pump and lines as well as most of the raw water lines.  With the heat exchanger and pump on the forward bulkhead of the engine compartment.

Heat exchanger and FWC pump below.  Note the pump has 3/4 outlets that I had to adapt to 1/2 hose.

Heat exchanger and FWC pump below. Note the pump has 3/4 outlets that I had to adapt to 1/2 hose.

In the end this setup will be using roughly 10 feet of 1/2″ blue hose for the fresh loop and 16 feet of 1/2″ black hose for the raw loop.  12″ of 3/4″ hose for the adaption of the pump.

Of note is that the raw water strainer I had on hand did not fit as it had a 5/8″ barb ( I think) and I really did not like its function (hard to open).  I have ordered a Jabsco strainer with the proper 1/2″ barbs that has good reviews, hope it works out.   Also ordered was an anti-siphon loop for the exhaust raw water.

After getting as much of the cooling system sorted as possible I started to look at the electrical.  After taking an inventory of electrical parts on hand I decided it was a good time for lunch and another trip to Ace Hardware.

After a Ruben from Arbys I did some shopping.

Ace Hardware here in Titusville is outstanding for boat stuff, they have a selection rivaling West Marine.

I then proceeded to start to sort out the electrical wiring on the Bell.  We have already done some work at this but I had not worked that much on the distribution to the engine bay etc.

She had 3 black #4 AWG wires I assumed were grounds (negative) run into the bay laying loose and 1 red #2 + wire.  I had been using one of the – and the + to power the bilge pump on the starter battery position of our battery selector switch.  This makes sense as the red #2 will be connected from starter battery to the starter (its pretty heavy).

I was surprised to find that one of the black – wires was actually a + tied back to the common post on our selector switch. I had wrapped the end in tape just to be safe over a year ago as not to have loose wires adrift, I just never checked it. I discovered it was a live wire as I was inspecting the crimp ends to determine which of the three to keep.  I inadvertently touched it to another – wire and got a nice pop as a reward.  Oh my.

I removed 2 of the extra – wires (one actually +) and re-terminating the ends with proper marine crimps and applying no-ox etc.  I also ran a new #2 to were the start battery will be placed near the fuel tank. Also removed from the boat were 2 lead automotive battery lugs that did not make the cut as I cleaned up the house bank cabling.

TEMCo Hammer Lug Crimper Tool 5 Year Warranty
by TEMCo

For crimping I used this tool.  A great investment and crimping with a hammer is always fun.

After sorting the power distribution I finished off the day wiring in the engine harness in.

Harness on aft bulkhead.  Note oil pressure sensors.

Harness on aft bulkhead. Note oil pressure sensors, ignition coil and raw water lines from the mechanical pump.

In putting in the harness I also installed the oil sensors remotely, instead of directly to the motor I installed a hose barb and ran the hose to aft bulkhead. This way I can keep the sensors away from engine vibration, cooler and keep the wiring as compact as possible.

I built the harness using fire retardant black loom, it works as it protects from chafe and keeps things tidy.

Here is a view of the entire mess at the end of the day.

Here is a view of the entire mess at the end of the day.

Note the long blue hose in the above photo.  I plan to flush the motor a bit with fresh water before filling the jacket with antifreeze, this hose will allow the water to flow out of the manifold and into the bilge to be pumped overboard.  I will cut it to length when done and install it on that vacant hose barb at the top right of the exchanger. One good thing about an electric cooling pump is I can run it with the motor off so not have an overheating concern.

What zit???

i have decided that since I have so many odd bits about I wi try and part with a few.  

But before they go I am adding a new feature to the blog.  What zit?  Can you guess what the photo is of?  Guinness supplied for scale.  

Brackets, Bases and Boom Bonanza

Here I go attempting to compose a post on my Galaxy Tab using a blue tooth keyboard. Bear with me here as i have no auto correct or spell checker.


Yesterday we received our stroller car seat combo in the mail.  I took it on myself to install the seat base this morning before Lori departed to her Mother, Daughter banquet with her mom.


Here it is,  note the dog slobber pad on the seat. Poor Lucky has a nervous condition that causes him to drool uncontrollably every time he sets foot in a car.   The pad keeps the slobber in his towel and off the seat.

Backs Stay

After Lori departed for her event I wrangled up the pups and headed for the boat.  First task on arrival was replacing the incorrect clevis pins on the split back stay. The rig still needs tuning but i have eliminated the fear of imminent collapse that has haunted me.


Half baked split pin.

Ok, I gave up on the Galaxy Tab, the App was just horrible, I had to publish as it would not save a draft to the web..  Arrrg

Fixed, new clevis and split pin.

Fixed, new clevis and split pin.

After getting the back stay in better shape I proceeded to move on to fixing the boom, as I need it in place to lift the engine for shimming the alignment with the propeller shaft.

I still have the old pin from the fractured boom end, good thing I kept it since it is thinner than the new one that does not fit the old goose neck.

Old pin to the right, new to the left.

Old pin to the right, new to the left.

Boom end removed to replace pin.

Boom end removed to replace pin.

Of note is I used ample amounts of anti seize on both the screws and the casting.  It worked because I was able to remove the screws and casting with little effort. Win.

It is interesting that the entire boom is basically attached to the mast by one split pin.  Of course the physics allow this.

Goose neck attached to mast. finally.

Goose neck attached to mast. finally.

After attaching the boom I had to rig a topping lift to keep it off the bimini.  I had decided to use the secondary halyard as the topping lift as it can be adjusted at the base of the mast.   As luck would have it the black secondary is in fact too short to act as a topping lift.  For now I have the primary halyard as the topping lift as it is longer (runs back to the cockpit).  I may just put a short extension on the other halyard instead of buying a new longer line.  I have yet to decide.

Once the topping lift was installed the boom started to swing about and to secure it I needed to install the main sheet.   I dug the sheet out of the sail locker and proceeded to thread it through all the blocks.

Main Sheet rigged to the traveler,  6-1 purchase.

Main Sheet rigged to the traveler, 6-1 purchase.

Of course there was a lot of slack in the cockpit with the boom sheeted in, I still need to rig the traveler.

Sheet slack.

Sheet slack.

And of course closer examination reveals it is frayed.   Note to self: Replace.

Fraying of the sheet.

Fraying of the sheet.

Boom installed.



Of note is I removed a fair lead from the deck and replaced it with a block to the mast plate.  Here is a photo of it in action.  I have a better block for the job but need to locate it and the cabin is in a bit of disarray.

The gray spot is an epoxy repair to the holes for the old fail lead.

The gray spot is an epoxy repair to the holes for the old fair lead.

Now I can move on to engine work.


Here she is..  Our motor, Woodstock.

Here she is.. Our motor, Woodstock.

First I had to get the angle of attack of the motor and the propeller shaft to line up.  I did this by rigging a block to the boom and using the secondary halyard (extended with some scrap rope) to lift the front end.

Spare block, used to lift motor.

Spare block, used to lift motor.

I put enough extra line on the halyard that it would be able to reach the winch on the mast.  I really like these winches as the Clew did not have them and I find myself using them quite often.

I tied a large loop around the fly wheel housing using a bowline knot and put a lot of tension on the halyard.  I did not really lift the motor per say but the gave me enough assistance that I could lift and move the motor about pretty easily.

I thought I had taken more photos but guess not…

I shimmed the front motor mounts using shim that were left when the last motor was removed by the previous owner, glad I kept them.  now have the shaft and motor sitting at the same angle.

I then removed the alternator and water pump from the motor.   I have 3 alternators and plan on taking them to a local shop for testing, I will install the one they say works best.

The water pump has a weep from the weep hole so I plan on rebuilding it here at home using a kit from Moyer Marine and reinstalling in time to start the motor.

Also performed in engine bay is I moved the coil to the aft bulkhead, away from the heat and vibration of the motor.  Not a big deal but since I have the space why not.

I also installed the heat exchanger and electric fresh water pump on the forward bulkhead.  It fit nicely.  With easy access to the fill cap.

I still have a lot to do, but at least I can say the work has started.  I look forward to having the Bell move under her own power again.

Off again

Packed up with the bimini stowed, until next visit.

Packed up with the bimini stowed, until next visit.

Control Cable Excitement- Filets and Delays

First a List

I have had a bit of time to think about the order of operations to get the motor in order and the Bell underway.  Here it is what I will be doing next.

  1. Fix back stay clevis pins (they are rigged poorly without the proper cotter pins)
  2. Align the motor with the shaft- I have a rough plan on lifting the front of the motor using a 4×4, floor jack, rope and ladder.
  3. Install and connect control cables
  4. Install exhaust system
  5. Install cooling system
  6. Finish final wiring of motor an batteries
  7. Install fuel system

Not bad, but a decent list.

Control Cables, Filet, First Delay

Yesterday I got home from work and decided to be industrious and clean up a bit. I wanted to sneak in a little boat work and as cleaning included pulling out my salvaged control cables I had purchased from Catalina Outfitters. (Found thru the Catalina 30 facebook forum)  I thought I could lube them and get a feel to the condition of the setup.  These cables combined with the control knob assembly that came with the Bell have me thinking we are in good shape.

I pulled them out and started opening the packaging first cutting away the box.   I was happy to see the morse clamp for attaching the cable end under the cabin sole was included with the end fitting to attach the cable to the shifter.   I got pretty excited and started removing the tie wraps that kept thing coiled up with my rigging knife.

Maxam Sailors Multi-Tool
by BF Systems

Awesome knife,  has a handy marlin spike, shackle key and sharp blade.

Control cables being unpacked.

Control cables being unpacked.

In the course of my excitement I got careless and slipped.  I knew something was wrong when I felt my trusty knife blade strike bone.

Filet O Hand

Filet O Hand

A nice deep gash in my right hand.  I immediately applied direct pressure and raised the wound above my heart.

Lori drove me to the local Centra Care and and about 1.5 hours later I was all stitched up

5 stitches later

5 stitches later

Lori and I discussed it and this episode is a good indicator that we need to take a first aid class that includes basic stitching and such.  We do have an emergency kit on the boat with strips but we think stitches and proper dressing needs to be added to the portfolio.

Now I can not use my right hand for the next 5 days,  not the end of the world since I am left handed but still and inconvenience.

More Delays

Not only is the work on the control cables and cleaning out the garage on hold but more is going on.

When we got home we found out from our Realtor that the rental house we are selling passed all inspections, we will have to close on it a week from Friday.  This is welcome in the long term as it frees me from maintenance concerns on that property but bad in that I need to get a lot of our stuff out of the garage.  It looks like this weekend I will be cleaning out that garage and stuffing the junk in our already junk filled garage.

Having limited hand use and Lori not being able to help due to the fact we have no desire to stress the baby make me not look forward to this weekend.

Will we get the boat going and into the other Marina before our little girl arrives?   It looks like very tight at the moment.

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.