It’s been a busy two weeks

I haven’t really had time to write a new post over the last two weeks. Here’s a brief summary:

Wednesday, March 11th: We did a “Sea Trial” on the Ericson 36C. She’s a bit of a heavy boat, but she was a nice, smooth sail. Everything seemed to work well. The engine hour meter only read 139 – that’s VERY low! (Diesels usually last until about 5,000 – 7,000 hours)

IMG_1157Thursday, March 12: We did the survey. The owner and his broker motored the boat over to the haul-out facility, and our surveyor started working right away. He went over all of the systems and found a few items – but nothing I wasn’t already expecting. The rudder is waterlogged, safety equipment was all expired or warn out, some of the seacocks were frozen, some cooling issues with the engine. The surveyor said he thought the boat was a really good find, and appraised her for a bit more than I offered.

Saturday, March 14: We received the survey report.

Sunday, March 15 to Wednesday, March 18th: Waited for the title search / abstract from the USCG – a simple piece of paper that has the full owner history (since I was purchasing from the original owner, there was only one name on said piece of paper).

Wednesday, March 18th: Received simple piece of paper. All was good, and we wired the money to complete the transaction.

Thursday, March 19th: We took ownership of “Lift” – our new boat! (yes, we changed the name to “Lift” from “Alta” – we will soon be having a name changing ceremony. In the mean time, I would appreciate it if nobody mentioned the new name to Poseidon or to Neptune – they may get a little tweaked that we changed the name without asking first!).

We immediately moved aboard. Already had everything packed up, and with one extra trip back to the little “apartment” for a few more boxes, we were officially “liveaboards!”

The new Y-valve – installed

Friday, March 20th: I broke the “Y-Valve” on the head. This is the valve that directs the toilet to flush into the holding tank, or overboard. Since the previous owner “never” used the head, he had it switched to overboard. And it was stuck there – in my attempts to force it loose, it broke right off.

Saturday, March 21st: Fixed the Y-Valve. Also, after the first two nights on 39-year old foam “mattresses” – Marcia picked up a memory foam topper, and cut and shaped it herself. Yeah! We can now sleep through the night!

Sunday, March 22nd: We noticed an unpleasant odor in the salon. And saw a puddle on the floor. A smelly puddle. When looking into it, found that the manual pump-out for the holding tank (the boat’s “septic” tank) was leaking – and just for fun, I broke it even more.

During a quick jaunt to the pump-out station (to empty the leaking tank), we realized that the hour gauge on the engine doesn’t work, and has been stuck on 139 hours for a while – probably since it was put in (the engine was installed in 1994). The engine probably has at least a couple thousand hours on it. 139 was just too good to be true.

Original 1976 Water faucet

Monday, March 23rd: While attempting to fix a leaky faucet – I succeeded in making it much worse. The knob basically had no effect (the washers were in really bad shape). Until this is fixed, we need to turn the water pump on and off to use the water.

Macerator - Installed
Macerator – Installed

Wednesday, March 25th: Fixed the manual pump-out by replacing it with a new macerator (an electric “garbage disposal” and pump for holding tanks). All in all, this job was made much more pleasant than it could have been due to the fact that the previous owner never used his head for #2. (We aren’t saying that he used it for #1 while in the slip with the Y-valve set to overboard – because that would have been illegal). Also, replaced the Type I “Horseshoe” life preserver.

Also, picked up and installed new washers for the sink. No more leak!

Thursday, March 26th: Replaced the impeller on the engine. This is the part that pumps the sea water through the engine to keep things cool – and the source of our heating problems. Unfortunately, the engine hasn’t seen this kind of water pressure running through it in quite a while. A hose popped off and sprayed Marcia quite thoroughly. I re-attached that hose, started the engine up again, only to find that the raw (salt) water is getting into the fresh water side. This is NOT a good thing!

Friday, March 27th: After taking the offending components apart a few times and putting them back together, I decided to call a mechanic.

Saturday, March 28th: Mechanic showed up, found a clog in the part where the raw water enters the exhaust. After he cleared that out, cleaned everything up and put it all back together, we were back in business!

Sunday, March 29th: Hired Captain Ken to practice docking (the two times I docked were very difficult!), and to do a bit of sailing to prove to our insurance company that I can, indeed, sail. Turns out, even Captain Ken had some difficulty docking smoothly; tight maneuvers just take some practice with this boat.

When we finished docking practice, we took her out for our first sail since we bought her – and it was a blast! Marcia spent almost the entire time at the helm, while I ran around raising sails and talking with Captain Ken about how the staysail works (I’ve never used one before). We really had a blast.

In the evening, we spent a little time scrubbing the unfinished teak with salt water. Works like a charm!

Intermixed throughout all we have been emptying every locker, lazarette, and shelf, getting rid of multiple loads of trash and give-away items, and repacking what we want to keep of what was left, and everything we own. This process will continue for a while longer.

As of this writing, on Sunday evening, everything critical has been working for three days, and we (both) have loved every minute of it. (Well, “love” may not actually describe how we feel about walking up to the marina to use the bathroom first thing in the morning when the head is inoperable – good thing Marcia’s such a good sport!)

There are still a LOT of things to do, and our list is growing daily. Getting our 39-year-old boat updated, safe, and reliable is not a simple task. But we expected and budgeted for just about everything on the list, and are both looking forward to all the work – almost as much as all the sailing!

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Doug is currently a Lead Developer for IDEA Health & Fitness. His life is currently in transition from his spacious house in Temecula, CA to a 39' sailboat.

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