Winter in Stockton

 

Northern California weather can be especially unpleasant from February into March. Stockton is no exception.  After multiple days of snow, rain, and hail, the National Weather Service extended a winter storm warning for much of the Central Valley. 

This time of year Stockton, California has a lot of precipitation. We were greeted with a hail storm, covering the deck in an inch of ice.  When the hail finally stopped, it rained, and rained almost every day. Winds averaged 30 mph with gusts approaching 80 mph.  Brief moments of clear skies in the afternoon gave us temperatures in the 50s and 60s.  This allowed for a few pleasant hours to regain the feeling in our hands, and the manual dexterity necessary for equipment use. Unfortunately, overall conditions interfered with our outside plans. When overnight temperatures dropped we would wake up to a dock coated in a sheet of ice.  This limited our inside work as well. It was nearly impossible, and often dangerous to move supplies across a slippery dock in high winds. 

 
 Peak wind gusts 77 MPH.   

Peak wind gusts 77 MPH.   

 
 
 Much of the 02 Deck delaminated. Before our restoration someone made the decision to cover the scuppers and drill weep holes in the curb for drainage.   

Much of the 02 Deck delaminated. Before our restoration someone made the decision to cover the scuppers and drill weep holes in the curb for drainage.   

Scuppers

Last winter, we started working on the 02 deck scuppers.  Most had been welded closed.  Many were blocked, and some drain pipes were disconnected so that rain water emptied into the bilge.  

Last year we removed the caps on all the scuppers, ran a water jet attachment to our pressure washer, and cleared the scupper drains.  We reattached the drain pipes so that deck water could run overboard. What immediately followed was a long dry season with months of no significant rain. Testing our work was not possible at the time, so we declared victory and moved on.

The recent rainy season made it clear that we has missed a few the leaks during repair.  In several cases we found pvc plastic pipe was jammed down the scupper as a temporary fix.  Our solution was to cut the metal drain pipe at each end, burn out the plastic insert, and weld the pipe back in place. 

 

Deck Curbs

During the years that the scuppers were out of service, rain water accumulated at several points along the curb of the 02 deck. The curb is where the hull plate meets the deck plating.  The deck plate has an L shaped end allowing the two plates to be joined by rivets. The curb rises about 2 inches above the deck surface, and our original idea was to have the curb direct the rain water at the scuppers sending the water overboard.  Unfortunately, prior to our restoration weep holes 9/16 of an inch had been drilled into the deck for the purpose of draining water.  These were inadequate and no match for the 1.25" drain pipe.

Fortunately, there is little corrosion. In most cases rust was found where two plates meet, and were unprotected. This was easily corrected by grinding down to clean metal, and welding on additional material.  We found a few spots behind the gantries where the deck plate had corroded to a greater extent.  Joe remedied this by cutting out the rolled curb top, welding in a new deck plate, then welding the rolled top back in place.  

In this case rust was purely an aesthetic issue and had nothing to do with structural integrity. Water running through weep holes in the curb created rust stains down the side of the boat. We expect that sealing these holes and applying a solid coat of paint will put an end to the staining.   

 Joe uses his welder to fill holes in the passage way curb.

Joe uses his welder to fill holes in the passage way curb.

 

Paint

Luckily our Amerlock2/400 primer will cure as low as 32 degrees. We were able to sneak several primer coats on between storms.  We have two coats of primer on the bulk of the starboard hull. We intend to put 4 coats below the bumper as well as the bow and stern areas facing the brunt of the seas.

We are making a special effort to fill the numerous rails and indentations along the freeboard. Fir is a riveted ship. The hull is made up of multiple plates. The plates lap one another and rivets join the two plates. The result is that there are numerous rolls and ledges along the freeboard where water and collect and seep between the two plates. On our second primer coat, we made a special effort to use the paint to fill these indentations, ledges, nooks and crannies. The idea is to end the primer coat with a complete sealing on sensitive areas. 

 Joe grinds a few rust spots on the rudders and bottom of the fantail. We moved all of Fir's water ballast forward to allow access. 

Joe grinds a few rust spots on the rudders and bottom of the fantail. We moved all of Fir's water ballast forward to allow access. 

A-Frame Wiring

There is a primer as-well-as a topcoat on much of the A-frame.  At this point we are making our final cable runs and masking the various sensors.  Subject to the weather, the plan is to spray the A-Frame as soon as all wires are in place. 

 Joe running final wire connections to various equipment on the A Frame (front mast).

Joe running final wire connections to various equipment on the A Frame (front mast).

Melton McGuire

The Lighthouse Project LLC