WORKING ON SOLSKIN II

by John & Becky Long

John and Becky Long report that this is the first year in five years that they have hauled SOLSKIN II, and the first time she has been out of the water for an extended period. According to John, her hull looked pretty sad, in the past, having hired a diver to clean the hull before a voyage, which he feels is cost effective. (Ed. Note: We normally haul every 3 years, using a diver the second and third years - seems to work OK). John's narrative continues:

"...the prop was in poor shape. I had never removed it. Stamped into the hub was 13 x 7 LH....now keep in mind that she was rerigged in Germany a number of years ago, and I don't know what was actually done. Sent the prop out for reconditioning, but the electrolysis was too advanced, and the prop needed to be replaced. By the way, the prop had a 1" bore, and with a 7/8" shaft, had a nylon sleeve fitted. I measured the diameter and it appeared to be 12', this created some doubt in my mind about the diameter and pitch. I then sent the prop back for reverification for my own satisfaction, and it was confirmed. I then called Michigan Wheel about their recommendation, (Westerbeke 4-107, 1-1 transmission, weight, etc.) and the recommended a 11 x 7 LH 3 blade MP. Well, we originally started with a 13 x 7, were recommended a 11 x 7, and to make a long story short, settled for a 12 x 8, (7/8" bore). The jury is still out on this decision.

Now for the boat name graphics - the letters were in poor shape, so we contacted a sign painter, who quoted $185; Boat US graphics were about $80 (vinyl), and a local sign company came up with a cost of $36 (vinyl) which looks great. It pays to shop! These letters were computer generated, you select the font, size etc.

We were introduced to a product by other boaters, called On & Off. I am not one for using chemicals, but this stuff takes off the brown hull stain, cleans bronze, stainless, etc. It cost about $10 a quart - wear good gloves when using it. Took about 4 oz. to clean the waterline.

After much sanding, compounding and waxing, the old gal looked pretty good from the rail down. For the launch, having told the marina to not launch without my presence, they went ahead and launched anyway without me being there. Having previously done some work on the refrigeration in the starboard cockpit locker, I must have inadvertently sheared the through hull pipe to the gate valve. The travel lift operator heard water running (boat was sinking) and fortunately shut off the valve. This 2" pipe tee appeared to have the pipe threads welded or silver soldered to the tee - I had never seen this before. My neighbor, a machinist agreed that it could be re-welded/silversoldered. We are about half way through this project, and SOLSKIN is still afloat.

Another problem that we recently discovered was that we were running out of fresh water far too frequently when using the main water tank. The fresh water pump would run freely, sucking air, as if the tank were empty. When filling the tank it only took a few minutes to top it off.

It didn't take too long to figure this out. After removing the pickup tube from the main tank, we fount that it was perforated in several places. The first place was about 4" down from the top. The next fault was about 12" down from the top. The next was almost at the bottom. Additionally, the bottom of the tube was clogged at the bottom. Wonder how long this tube was clogged? Looking at the corrosion and other evidence, I doubt that we have used less than one half of the capacity of this tank for years. The damage seemed to be caused by electrolysis.

This tube was 3/8" copper about 24" long and cost $1.19. When installing the new tube, be sure it doesn't reach the bottom of the tank. Debris could again clog the tube.

Another small problem which I had never seen before is that during a rather heavy rain, a small amount of water was leaking straight through the coach roof, a few drops only. Looking outside, there was a defect at a corresponding location. What is the best fix - drill and plug?

Had a fantastic sail (singlehanded) from the Middle River to the Magothy River."