April 25 - April 30, 2018

The weather continues to improve and become a little more predictable. At this point, we ought to be able to schedule delivery of our generators.

The marina where Fir sits is in bankruptcy, and no money is going into maintenance. Our route from land to the boat has deteriorated considerably.  The larger equipment and parts will have to be set in place by crane from the water.  This winter had been too icy and windy to accomplish this.  It looks like we ought to get the equipment in over the next few weeks.  

Water Tanks

At this point all 6 water storage tanks are empty (we have about 1,000 gallons in the day tank). This and the lack of fuel onboard has Fir a couple of feet above her natural water line.  Obviously, this is required to re-coat the water tanks. But, there are two other important benefits: 1) we can use this time to paint the hull closer to the waterline, such that the entire freeboard will be painted once her tanks are filled, 2) we have growing concerns that the channel between her current mooring and the main shipping channel may be too narrow to accommodate her at full draft (more on this later).

 One of the water tanks after draining.

One of the water tanks after draining.

We started cleaning the water tanks with CLR and a 4,200 psi pressure washer fitted with a turbo nozzle. The results were fairly disappointing.  We then turned to the Duraprep 88 from PPG. The Duraprep was much more effective in removing rust stains.  We then spot painted bare areas in the tank with black Amerlock 2/400 (mostly joints and a number of rivet heads) and let it cure for several days.  Chris wore a full active air respirator and hazmat suit to spray the entire tank white with Amerlock 2/400.   

  Chis Willson  emerges in active respiration gear after spraying the tanks. Joe on deck in case Chris passes out in the tank.

Chis Willson emerges in active respiration gear after spraying the tanks. Joe on deck in case Chris passes out in the tank.

  Chris  inspects the bow tank after the initial cleaning with Duraprep 88.

Chris inspects the bow tank after the initial cleaning with Duraprep 88.

 The water tank after the second coating.  One more coat to complete.

The water tank after the second coating.  One more coat to complete.

Painting

The PPG paints are not too picky about weather conditions. They cure as low as 30 degrees. They are rain safe in a few hours -- especially with high winds. Consequently, we have been using this transitional period from winter into spring to paint the freeboard.  

We were able to get a first coat of Amerlock 2/400 on the starboard freeboard.

 
 The starboard side after primer.

The starboard side after primer.

 

We painted the port anchor, the anchor box, and about 20 feet of chain with black Amerlock 2/400.  We applied the second, of three, PSX700 topcoats to much of the port freeboard. The stripes proved to be difficult. We tried ordinary blue painter's tape, frog tape, and finally automotive detailing tape, but, the surface is too rough for the tape to adhere securely.   In addition, the PSX700 is fairly thin so creating sharp lines has been impossible.    

  

 The port profile as of May 1, 2018. We still need to work on the stripes.

The port profile as of May 1, 2018. We still need to work on the stripes.

  Chris Willson  applies tape to define the stripes to be painted on the port bow.

Chris Willson applies tape to define the stripes to be painted on the port bow.

 

Not so New Entrance

Accessing FIr has been by way of a ladder,  lashed to the port buoy deck, via a floating dock.

Fir is currently located in a bankrupt marina.  Management appears to spend nothing to maintain the facilities. Over the past few months, the dock has fallen into disrepair which only exacerbates the challenge. The current situation is hampering our work, and getting heavier supplies on the boat has been tough.

 
 Fir's current access to shore. There has been no effort to maintain the marina during its receivership. Sad.

Fir's current access to shore. There has been no effort to maintain the marina during its receivership. Sad.

 

The last version of Fir provided only for gangway access to the 02 deck which is about 15 feet above the waterline. However, shop drawings and historic photographs reveal that Fir once had a 01 deck door on the port side.  We easily found the exact location because the old 1/2 inch steel door frame, and gussets were still in place. The only work required was to cut out the fill panel.

 
 The "new" door. Note prison hinges at the bottom. Once Joe finishes cutting the outline of the door, it will lower as a gangway. Still working on the support mechanism.

The "new" door. Note prison hinges at the bottom. Once Joe finishes cutting the outline of the door, it will lower as a gangway. Still working on the support mechanism.

 

We bought "prison" hinges (about $60 each). These are tamper proof sealed hinges with ball bearings capable of handling 800 lbs per hinge.  Joe welded the hinges in place then commenced cutting the door out according to the original frame.

 
 "Prison" hinges. These are made by Stanley. They are rated at 800lbs each.

"Prison" hinges. These are made by Stanley. They are rated at 800lbs each.

 

The new door/gangway will gives us a sturdy entrance to load materials on board for the trip to the shipyard.

Once the door is functioning, we will have to reorganize the docks/floats around the boat such that we have a way to move supplies onto the boat. This will probably need to be by barge given the docks' deplorable condition at Herman and Helen's Marina. 

Scuppers

We successfully tested the scuppers that were leaking rain water into the bilge. This is a big deal because portions of our bilge contain some amount of oil, and we cannot simply pump the bilges into the river.  We are having to go through a fairly complicated process of separating oil from water. Fixing the scuppers essentially stops the problem from growing. 

Water System

As we start to get the water tanks online, we are turning to the new water system.  Essentially we are working out how our new system will integrate into the existing system.  More information on the integration to come. 

On this trip, we converted an existing seacock off the aft sea chest to a supply for our potable water system. Joe backed off the existing gate valve, and installed a bronze ball valve with stainless internals, This is current code. Next we will install a hose to break the metal conductivity. and protect against metal fatigue due to vibrations.  

Melton McGuire

The Lighthouse Project LLC