Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Battery Box

Fixing one problem on a boat usually leads to another problem. In this case I wanted more electricity to power our boat so I purchased three large deep cycle batteries at Walmart. It was soon clear that the new batteries would not fit in the same place the original battery did. After several weekends and many wasted piece of wood of I gave up on the idea of building an elaborate battery box. Instead, I opted to put them in the bilge (think 12" basement of our boat.)

The installation was very simple. I used 2 2x4s a few squirts of the West System Epoxy and some fiberglass cloth (the last 2 items combine to form fiberglass.) One of the 2x4s I cut down to make 4 U shaped brackets that I screwed together then tabbed to the hull. The other 2x4 I cut in half to make two railings that would slide into the U brackets. The railings can be taken out so that the batteries can be moved. This is the first major project I have completed on the boat and I am happy with how it turned out. In the future I may paint the wood, through bolt the railings and bolt on a plexi-glass cover to keep dust off. Thanks to my Dad for coming up with the design concept.


Monday, June 22, 2009

In the Water!!!

The boat finally made it from the stands into the water. It was lifted off of the stands by a trailer with hydraulic arms, then passed to a travel lift which uses two nylon straps to lower the boat into the water. You always feel a little nervous when a boat is suspended in the air.

My parents and Drake came down to help out at the launching. After the boat went in I hopped on and started the engine. My dad reminded me to check the bilge to make sure their weren't any leaks. This is something I know to do, but forgot to do in the excitement of launching.

There are few things on a boat that raise you blood pressure more than seeing water entering through the bottom of the boat and watching your boat sink with you on it. When there is a hole in the bottom of the boat it doesn't leak in. The weight of the boat pushing down on the water turns a small hole into a powerful geyser. When I removed the floor board over the bilge to check for leaks that is exactly what I saw.

There was a large leak in an engine fixture called the sea strainer. The engine sucks water in to the boat to cool down the engine. It passes through a filter and this is where water was spraying into the bilge. Luckily at the intake point there is a valve that can be closed in the event of a leak further upstream in the engine system like we had. The valve was closed and Drake helped seal up the leak by tightening a few bolts. I think I will start keeping the habit of closing the valve when I am not at the boat just in case that leak decides to reappear. Here are some pics of the boat moving into the water.