Launch Day

Having finished the engine installation, and *temporary* rudder bracket installation, I’ll get the boat in the water and finish up the details with her sitting in the slip.

I had forgotten that the rudder bracket mounting holes for the bearings were a little “squeezy” – that is, the fit wasn’t perfect in the old bracket, and I had the machinist simply duplicate the old bracket with new material – so bolting on the bearings required smaller fasteners threaded “just right.”  This a took a fair amount of time. . .  And I had not factored in the weight of the bracket – 24 inches of 3/8-inch channel steel weighs 7000 pounds – well, maybe 25 pounds, but supporting it at the end of my reach and trying to thread mounting bolts and nuts at the same time made it feel like 7000.  It will be fine to motor across the creek, but I need to finish mounting it to the cockpit sole.  And I need to finish the cockpit sole repair – it needs to be cosmetically finished and bolt-holes drilled and sealed.

I also need to torque down the coupling fasteners because when I connected them two days ago, I managed to get into the engine compartment without a rag to wipe the waterproof grease from my hands and tools.  Consequently, I couldn’t get a very good grip on the wrenches when tightening the fasteners.  By the time I (painfully) climbed out of the “black hole” my back hurt so bad that I could barely stand up straight.  I was not inclined to go back down there just to torque the bolts.  It may be possible to do that from the front of the engine with the improved access.  I’ll have to check today.

I also need to back out each engine mount lag bolt an inch and squirt sealant into the top of each bolt hole.  Have to keep the water out this time. . .  and seal the corner of engine bed I shaved with epoxy.

Finally, I have to tighten up the packing nut and install the garboard drain plug – then launch ho!


  1. Anonymous said:

    OK, so what are you going to accomplish in the afternoon!? Have you considered boat repair as a second career? All I know is that I get exhausted just reading all you do. My first day at the boot will be just opening the hatches and ports to air out the boat and putting the cushions back so we can sleep. Yes, that about covers it; then open a beer and admire my accomplishments for day 1. :-)

    • The way I feel right now, the only thing I’d like to do for a living is take a nap. This being a shipwright is ‘way too strenuous. My body hurts and my back is killing me. (This) Man was not meant to stay bent over for that long.

      Anyway, Cay of Sea is back in her slip. With the wind blowing across the end of the pier it took me three attempts to back in. Guess I’m out of practice.

      The boat is less of a mess, but she’s still full of dust, and I have a dozen small projects to finish – new engine compartment cover (enlarged engine access!), adjust stuffing box, clean clean clean, finish cockpit sole and seal edges with 3M-4200, permanently attach rudder bracket, install drop board pockets, hang dinghy sailing gear – the list continues on the more I work on it. Anyway, the big stuff is done, and I accomplished all the big projects I set out to do this spring! I’m happy about that – some of them (like the rudder bracket) have been bothering me since I’ve owned the boat.

      • Mike said:

        Yes you got a lot done good for you… And I feel your pain, by the sound of it we could be brothers, I suffer from arthritis and being in a space not meant for a 250 pound arthritic bull, well… hide the china.

        I snuck over to the boat this afternoon and cut my engine access opening larger, Wow BIG difference. Stopped at the lumber yard on the way home for a half sheet of birch ply and some 1×4 mohagany for a new access panel. Life is good..

      • Birch ply is what I intend using. You can stain to match the teak interior. I was able to get a very close match using two different stains – one on top of the other. I think I used a dark walnut, with a red oak on top of it.

  2. Mike said:

    Yes birch is like a blank canvas, I usually get good results with it. gonna coat the engine side with epoxy and do the end grain with thickened epoxy, makes all the difference in durability, these hatch panels do tend to get banged around. Will give you’re recipe a try on the face grain, working on it tomorrow .. Thanks

    • I went to Home Depot yesterday and came home with a 4×4 panel of 1/4 inch “underlayment” to use for the engine compartment panel. Couldn’t seem to get the birch ply in the dimensions that would fit in my car. . . However, the “underlayment” has nice grain and color and will finish nicely with satin effect varnish or poly, though the top veneer seems pretty thin.

      Also picked up 2 2×2 panels of pink foam board, 2 rolls of aluminum tape, and 2 8′ lengths of clear pine 1×2. I’ll build a simple frame 1 inch inside the panel edges to fit the engine compartment opening, with the pink foam glued and tape-covered for sound deadening. A gasket of foam-sticky-backed weather strip will provide a vibration and sound seal.

      Oh – I also picked up a plywood blade for the skill-saw – essential for cutting this material. Any blade coarser than this will tear up the cut edge, even cutting with the good side down.

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