Sea Star 7

1998 Bayliner LeClercq

How much can be done in a day

Melissa woke up full of energy this morning.  Before Dave and Margaret are awake, she decides to focus on figuring out if we have the right chain type nailed down so we can replace the 130’ of chain + 150’ of rope with 200’ chain and 100’ rope for the anchor.  She also gets it in her head to do something about the zinc situation.  Zincs protect metal on the boat (propeller in particular) from deterioration caused by dissimilar metals.  The zinc is a sacrificial metal that you attach to the boat so that this process corrodes the zinc rather than the parts you really don't want to have to replace.  She emails three diving companies and as luck would have it, one had a cancelation and could come at 3pm.  But that means scrambling to get the zincs we need.

We need three types of zincs – the ones for the shaft, the ones for the bow thrusters, and the ones for the trim tabs.  We have no idea the make and model of the trim tabs, nor the bow thrusters.  Its not in the boat manuals nor in the survey from when we bought the boat.  Melissa walks to the marine store to get every possible type of zinc the diver might need for the zincs bow thrusters and trim tabs.

And to see about ordering the chain.  The marine store gives her a sample of the chain we believe is the right size, and we get the order into the system so that all she has to do when she confirms the chain is the right size is call back with the credit card.  But when they put the order in, the price of the chain is higher than what was on the website.  Melissa has visions of the last time she bought 200 feet of chain and 100 feet of rode and had to beat up on kindergarteners to get the price she was promised ( .  Fortunately, the store immediately said they would honor the website price – which is what makes doing this here so attractive – its about 20% cheaper than back in Seattle.  The store tells her that its no sweat delivering the chain to us on the dock, and that they will dispose of the old chain.

The marine store in walking distance doesn’t have any 3” shaft zincs though.  So she’s got to go from the marine store near the marina to the one downtown.  She gets in a taxi and heads there.  She would have needed the taxi anyway as the zincs weigh about 50 lbs and walking back with them was going to be tough.

This means we have to get the anchor and existing chain off the boat.  This isn’t trivial because we are on a side tie.  So the anchor has to be pulled up on the dock by hand.  Margaret and Melissa tie a rope to the anchor and Melissa tosses the loose end to the dock.  Margaret lowers the anchor while Melissa wrenches on the rope to pull the anchor towards the dock.  The anchor weighs about 75lbs so this isn’t easy.  She pulls it a few inches at a time.  Margaret comes ashore and helps cinch the rope up each time Melissa pulls it up closer to the dock.  Melissa gets it right up to the dock, when Dave comes to bail her out and finishes lifting the anchor onto the dock.

The next step is to empty the chain locker.  So Margaret keeps letting the chain out, and Melissa lays it out on the dock, carefully avoiding wrenching the water hose outlet sticking up on the side of the dock.

The very end of the rope is tied to the inside of the chain locker.  The knot is too tight to undo, and there is another rope all twisted up in a ball with the main anchor rode.  (Who put another rope in the anchor locker?  Really shouldn’t do that.  Oh.  Look, it’s the missing anchor snubber we’ve been trying to find for weeks.  Thought it must have gone overboard somewhere along the way.)  Melissa decides to just cut the rope since we are going to recycle it all anyway.

At this point she gets a good look at the anchor roller and realizes it’s a mess.  She double checks with Dave on whether we should replace it.  Dave takes one look and is like “why are you even asking me?” Melissa calls the shop and asks them to add an anchor roller to our order.  Then proceeds to take it apart to get the old roller off.  She discovers that the bolt that holds the roller in place is bent and should also be replaced.

This job is painful on the knees.

Margaret and Melissa then proceed to clean the anchor locker.  Don’t want to put the nice new chain into a locker that is full of mud.  And as we quickly discover, is not draining properly.  No wonder we have links in the chain that have gone bad.  They’ve been sitting in muddy water.  Alas now that we’ve tried to hose out the locker – its got a couple of gallons of muddy muck in the bottom.  Melissa climbs into the locker and starts scooping out mud and handing cups of it up to Margaret to dump overboard.  Its claustrophobic in there and she has to consciously relax her jitters.  Eventually she mucks out all the way to the bottom of the locker and finds one of the drains – completely clogged with mud.  She takes the hose and puts the nozzle in and we blast it out.  We can now hose out the locker.  At which point the second clogged drain becomes visible.  Back into the locker to blast that one out too.

There was all sorts of debris we dug out of the locker.

Now she is a complete muddy mess.

While in the locker Melissa realizes the anchor wench needs paint.  A problem for another day.

Meanwhile the guys have been hard at work installing the new generator control board that blew up a couple of weeks ago.  The problem we had was that the electronic circuitry controls a solenoid that in turn controls the throttle to keep generator at the same speed.  This is an electronic governor.  If the governor fails, it generates too much voltage at too high a frequency.  That’s what fried the water maker, stove, and washing machine.

It's clear that they sent a newer version of an older part number.  We wonder if they realized they had a design issue with the previous controller.  Luckily the new controller is bolt compatible.  The controller is buried inside a maze of wires.  It’s a struggle to access.  There are two inches of room to work on 12 different bolts and screws.  Jim had to take components apart to get access to even attempt the deinstall/re-install.  There were then 6 wires to disconnect.

Dave put new crimp connectors on the new controller box.

Jim then went to install the new controller and just getting the bolts back on was a challenge.  For the toughest one, Dave put heat shrink tubing on the bolt on the nut end so Jim could fish the nut into place.  Using a paperclip, Jim angled the tubing to get the bolt into place.  The boys love making special purpose tools for these odd jobs.  Jim then fished the wires through the maze so they could be screwed down to the terminal strip.  Using a sideways screwdriver.  So each of the 6 screws took about 10 minutes.


Later when Melissa was quizzing the guys to get the details down they mentioned that they really wanted a pair of forceps.  To which Melissa said, they were in the medical kit!

And then… They turned it on and it only idled.  No instructions.  Wasn’t set at the factory for the proper speed.  Now the guys are pouring through the forums looking for a hint as to how to calibrate the generator.  The secret was – hold the button in a long time while the generator started speeding up.  When Dave yelled “its at 61 Hz” then they were able to do fine tuning to get it to 60 Hz.  Even with the walkie talkies they couldn’t hear each other over the roar of the generator though so it was a bit of a challenge.

The new regulator seems to be meaningfully better than the original.  The frequency holds steady even when loads are switched on and off.

They topped off the coolant fluid in the generator, and wanted to do an oil change before putting it all back together but don’t have the right oil filter.  Melissa hops in the second taxi of the day and heads to the auto parts store for the oil filter after calling around to find the right one.  Margaret asks for vinyl cleaner while she is at it.  She also went to a fastener store to get a replacement anchor roller stainless steel bolt as the one she removed is bent.  The guy at the store insists on selling Melissa a new nylock (she brought the old one to make sure the threads fit on the new bolt).

By the time Melissa is back, its time for the diver to arrive and replace the zincs.  She shows the divers her grand array of zinc choices.

The diver goes down to have a look.  We’ve got the right ones for the shaft and the trim tabs.  Though we should have two or three of the shaft zincs on each shaft and Melissa only bought two (one for each of the two shafts).  But the old ones are still partially functional, so the diver assures us we are good for this season.  But at the start of the next season, he advises we should replace the zincs again.  Though since we winter in the lake, they won’t corrode as much as if she were sitting in salt water.

But we don’t have the right one for the bow thrusters.  And that’s bad because there should be two on the bow thrusters but one is missing, and the other is completely destroyed.  Its so thin it crumbled in the diver’s hand when he went to remove it.

Melissa goes back to the chandlery after calling the manufacturer to determine the right part.  There wasn’t enough left of the one remaining to be able to tell what it might have been.  Turns out they were using a prop style zinc, which is why Melissa didn’t have it amongst her variety pack.  She takes all the unused zincs back at the same time.  While there she inquires as to when the anchor chain will be delivered.  No one seems to have any idea.  They promise to have Jerrod call in the morning when they open and he is back in the store.  The store owner was surprised to learn that Jerrod had promised to remove the old chain too.  Hmmm.  Hope we didn’t get him in trouble.

The diver’s assistant was a huge guy.  Professional wrestler and boxer.  He has epilepsy caused by an aneurism caused by a fight.  That got him punted from the league.  He continued to wrestle under an assumed name.  He lost a one big toe because it got caught on something and he couldn’t feel it.

The diver was using a cool floating compressor instead of tanks.  They get about a tank and a half worth of air on a single battery.  Three batteries for the day and that is all they need.  It was malfunctioning and over pressuring and blowing the bypass valve.  The diver crew thought they needed to replace the battery.  But Jim and Dave were like, nope.  The problem is that your pressure valve isn’t working right.  Pressure release valve went off because the compressor was running and running building up too much pressure.  So it’s the pressure value that is malfunctioning.

For a good chunk of the afternoon, Margaret has been cleaning all the interior vinyl.  Scrubbing away.

After the diver team departs, we all about collapsed into our chairs.  Very long day.  We never did eat breakfast as everyone was still full from dinner.  We grabbed protein bars for lunch, so we are hungry for dinner.  But no one wants to cook or go out.  So we order sushi for dinner.  We were hoping for delivery, alas the credit card fails – probably because of a zip code mismatch to the delivery address.  Margaret and Melissa tried a number of cards to no avail.  Eventually Jim just walks up to get take out.

Dave gets brave and decides to run the air conditioning off the generator.  He also decides to run the water maker – not cuz we need it but because he needs to flush it.  Generator worked great!  Meanwhile Dave wanders around the boat looking for his missing glass of wine.  Turns out Margaret stole it!


For the record… for next time…

Bow thrust zinc is a CMR-2 – need 4 of them

Prop Shaft zinc – 3”  there should be 2 on each shaft – so 4 total

Bow thrust zinc – Type “B” cone shape.  Intended for props. – Need 2

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