This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Saturday, 30 September 2023

Great weather to start October


I’ll be sure to plant green beans again next year.

In May of this year I planted three different types of tomatoes, two zucchini, two yellow peppers and one small green bean plant, all in pots sitting on a sloped retaining wall facing south. What surprised me is that the tiny green bean plant produced so many beans all summer long although it is plagued by grasshoppers, snails and I assume earwigs at night. 

The tomatoes were great and I had more than we could consume on a daily base so I froze plenty after making tomato sauce from them. The zucchini are still growing too, but not as fast as they did during July and August. Perhaps I give up on the peppers because they were late and are so plentiful, huge, plump and inexpensive in the stores that it seems almost a waste of my effort for me to grow them. Besides I never had much luck with red ones. 

Many of my flowers are done blooming for the season but there is still some colour in my flower beds and with the hot weather we are having at the moment, maybe we get to enjoy them a bit longer.

Benno had been happy that we had some cooler temps that made working in the boat so much easier. He did a lot of electrical work with hookups and rewiring. We took off the fabric ceiling material as many of the wires are now running there. They will be hidden under a false ceiling and Benno finished the strapping already. Maybe you noticed, but the two vertical supports between the front windows are a bit bigger now. Inside are six wire cables in the right one and 4 (so far) in the left running down to the breakers underneath the steering console. Just like I mentioned, cables will be hidden.

Our last trip to the Toronto area netted Benno some round 3 inch long 1-3/4 stainless steel round bar pieces from the Metal Supermarket. Last week he manufactured on his lathe five covers from this 316 grade stainless steel, which are installed over now obsolete thru hull holes on the starboard site of the hull. The idea was to close those holes without major wood/paint work and this way thru hulls can be reinstalled if the need arises.

I did some more painting with the brown/beige Epoxy paint on the shelves behind the helm man’s  seat. Benno is building a cabinet on top of it that required him to remove a small support using a chisel and flex grinder. Not an easy job!

Btw, in my last post I mentioned my technique of varnishing. It was taught to me by a Danish Shipwright when our sailboat “Najade” was being built and the wood used was white Oak. The way he showed me was that when using Oak (not all wood types need this) The first coat of varnish is being thinned down 50% with Mineral Spirit. It brings out the grain that can be scraped off with the metal scraper when the paint is dry. Then the next coat can be sanded lightly and if needed scraped again to take off any dust particles. After the final coat is dry the varnish is rubbed down with extra fine (0000 steel wool and 3-in-one oil) to give it a satin finish. To note, never insert your painting brush/foam/roller into the paint can as it will jell up over time. I use a coffee scoop and a plastic container from which I paint. The same goes for any other paint if you want it to last longer.

Aside from the ongoings in the boat, Benno decided he will relocate the VHF antenna from the deck to the little stub mast and therefore the present cable will be too short for that. However it is long enough to hook up the antenna if mounted to the roof of his shop to the VHF radio mounted inside his shop. He has a 12V power supply there anyway. Now if working in there he can listen to the VHF traffic on Lake Erie ;-)

I think I stop for now for this post or it will be overload. See you next time on this blog. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 12 September 2023

Time is slipping by


With a month long gap in-between blog posts there were lots of projects that got completed on the boat. The weather had been hot throughout August, which made work inside the boat in the afternoons feel like working in a sauna. However, it did rain occasionally and when it did, torrential! Boat building or refitting takes a lot longer than house projects but we knew that from the beginning, because we built a sailboat (Najade) and a power boat (Diesel Duck) before. Besides, it is supposed to be a hobby for Benno that has become an all consuming job but fun nonetheless. 

As for me, I help, support and come along to get “stuff” for the boat and then do the usual garden-house-shopping-cooking-etc. Our son and grandson came for a weekend visit to round out the month. It was nice to have them over, meanwhile the girls and mom were out shopping for back to school outfits.

We had been contemplating what to do with the dashboard (the area in the so called wheelhouse where navigation instruments are being mounted and the steering wheel is located) It is slightly curved and covering it with material for those contours looked complicated. In the end I painted it with an epoxy based paint that turned out to be difficult as well (what a headache that was) as the paint rollers either left lint or disintegrated with this specially mixed paint. I went through 5 different types of roller materials and ended up applying 7 coats using up the whole can of paint. It took a week to thoroughly dry.

Twice we made a trip to the Toronto area to purchase wood from Noah, a marine wood supplier and to pick up the electric toilet, hoses and other supplies we had ordered from Holland Marine in Mississauga, who is in our opinion the best marine supplier in Ontario. The toilet is an Italian brand product from Tecma with a powerful macerator pump and is distributed through Thetford Marine. This model will flush with fresh water from the onboard tanks. According to the salesmen at the Miami Boat Show, this toilet pump can shoot 60 ft. I noticed on the sticker at the pump that the pump is actually made in Canada. We had this type of a toilet on our Diesel Duck and really liked it.

Cutting and designing fiddles and corner straps with rounded corners that frame the new fibreglass panels we bought in the states took some time and then I varnished them before they were installed. Benno also plugged them (covered the screws) then sanded those plugs after cutting them off and I had to re-varnish those areas on the strips and rub them with extra fine steel wool saturated in 3-in one oil to give them a smooth and satin finish.

Lots of electrical connections are being done. It also involves to re-run all new cables and use marine wire. The previously installed wire were non marine grade and ran above on the walls in the forward cabin, wheelhouse and salon. We pulled and gutted them all. Benno wants to have them invisible by running them underneath in some cases and in new channels and in-between a false ceiling but of course accessible if needed. 

Since our days revolved around boatbuilding there were not too many other interesting activities to report. Our pickup truck got a little paint job done on the front fender area where someone didn’t judge their turn correctly and left us with scratches but didn’t think it necessary to report it to us :-( also at the same time the hood got a new coat of paint because it had an area with bubbles. All good now.

Hopefully you find the boat activities interesting even though you are not a boater!

Thanks for dropping by again.

Monday, 7 August 2023

A worthwhile trip

 Last week Benno, the dogs, and I took another trip across the border to the US. We have a mailing address in Detroit at a warehouse called “MyDetroitAddress” it comes in handy for purchases when the seller is shipping free of charge within the USA. If the goods were sent to Canada like with UPS, shipping, a customs broker charge and taxes would make those goods a lot more expensive for us than crossing the border and bringing them over ourselves, even if we had to pay taxes at the border. However, we are allowed $200/per person of tax free goods per trip, so most of our day trips do not involve us paying taxes.

On this last trip across to Detroit we combined that with a visit to the "Bontrager's Surplus" warehouse in White Pigeon, Michigan. Refitting a boat has similarities to a RV. Both use tanks for water/waste, have stoves/ovens/fridges made for travel and are outfitted for 12Volt systems etc. So there are items in a RV that can be used in a boat as well. 

Wow were we surprised. This surplus warehouse was filled with RV items from top to bottom. They are surplus, so not used but probably leftover materials from the manufacturing of previous RV models and the ticket prices of the goods were kind of 75% less than if you were going to order them from a RV dealer. 

Benno had been looking for some panelling material and there were several choices we could pick from. Our choice were three 4x8' AZDEL panels with decorative Polypropylene fused onto Fiberglass. These are inside wall panelings with no paper covering, but plastic, which most /RV models now have. We figured they are also perfect for a boat. Also we found a holding tank just the size we wanted and to top it off, they had the Furrion three burner gas cooktop with the foldable glass top at such a bargain price that it had to come home with us. In our Grand Design Imagine RV we have the Furrion propane oven and I have been happy with the three-burner top. However, the oven is too small for my liking and in the boat I will have an electric combo that is an Air-Fryer/Convection Microwave unit. 

So, if any of you RVers need anything for your rig, go there and see what they have. Even better bring your RV along for the exchange/addition of the things you need and for the Canadians if you stay a week you got $800/per person of tax free goods to bring home with you. Btw, they also ship. Following are some photos I took so you can judge for yourselves. 

Although it was an all day excursion for us, we spent quite a bit of time inside that warehouse and I am sure it was not the last time we went there. Thanks for dropping in again and following the refit of the Albatross trawler.

Saturday, 29 July 2023

Below and behind the walls of Albatross plus home happenings

The month of July is coming to an end and what a hot month and summer it has been so far. We are alive and well, in case you are wondering since I last posted at the beginning of June. Other than a couple of trips across the border to our Detroit mailing address to pick up parcels containing boat parts, we stayed close to home.

Keeping up with the cutting of grass, flower and vegetable plant maintenance, housekeeping, grocery shopping and you know everyday things, take up a big chunk of every week. 

Our longtime cruising friend Richard and his girlfriend came for a visit where we talked boats and reminisced on the days we cruised together on our respective sailboats. Now his son Ricky, who was a young lad back then while accompanying Richard, is presently on his own sailboat in Papeete - French Polynesia, on a world circumnavigation with his wife. Speaking of boats, Benno has been steadily working on ours. The boat is still wrapped in shrink-wrap which does not help with the hot temperatures we are experiencing. There were days when he had to quit working mid day coming out drenched in sweat even though a fan had been running full blast.

Happenings in our neighbourhood were a fire in the middle of the night at an unoccupied vacation house facing the lake, about a 200 yards from us. It was a total loss and involved 5 fire trucks. 

Then a strong summer storm the other day brought down half a tree onto the front yard and driveway to our neighbours across the street. We did have a tornado warning as the storm tore fiercely through the area, but it was just a twisted wind that caused that damage like we had a couple of years ago when our fence fell down. And on a return grocery run this happened to me: A flat tire, piece of a sewing machine was stuck in the tire, how did that stainless steel presser foot with the name Singer punched in it got onto the road? By golly what is the world coming to! Thanks to our nice friends and neighbours who lent Benno their car to come to my rescue, this mishap got tackled in midday when it was like a 100 degree F. Now the truck got two new tires at the front. The damaged tire could not be fixed.

In better news our adjacent neighbour to the west held a huge surprise/karaoke birthday party for her husband. That turned into a lovely event (no, I didn’t sing) but had a great time. Benno and I also celebrated another wedding anniversary with German wine and scrumptious food cooked at home :-) and in lieu of cut flowers for this occasion that Benno always presents me with, I opted to pick a nice perennial flower from the garden centre I will enjoy every time it blooms. 

There were so many technically accomplished jobs on the boat that were not documented but will be visible and explained further on. It is more like what goes on behind the walls, so to speak. Occasionally my assistance was needed for jobs that need a third hand or I be better suited for ;-) So, for the guys or anyone interested in the more detailed technical things of boatbuilding, Benno will explain a bit.

Here is Benno: On the boat front battle progress is happening. I like to inform you that the diesel tank fuel gauge is working fine now, the new fuel sender must have been assembled on a Monday morning in China and the fuel level signal was shorted out. After I took the unit apart and reassembled it properly this problem was solved (Picture below of fuel gauge). 

We have installed onto this boat a so called aluminum “Day Tank” (15 gal) above the diesel engine right under the helmsman seat to compliment the two 90 gal diesel saddle tanks left and right next to the diesel motor. A 12 volt vane pump draws the diesel fuel from both saddle tanks and pumps it thru a large Racor filter with water separator into that above mentioned day tank. This warrants always clean diesel fuel will reach the engine and a future diesel generator thus avoiding a headache of dirty fuel and engine stoppage while motoring with the boat toward a nice place. (Bahamas?)

To stay with the tank business, we have two 70 gal stainless steel water tanks left and right off the salon in which, after our inspection, we noticed some mud inside them from Lake Huron. We suspect that the previous owner may have taken on some clean lake water into the tanks, which over the years left a deposit of settlement inside the tanks. I opened up the inspection ports and with Marlene’s help the inside of the tanks are sparkling again after hours of heavy cleaning. (Picture below) 

I fitted new stainless steel 1/2 inch NPT ball valves on the bottom of the tanks (Picture below) to draw the water for the water pressure pump (Picture below). I have to mention that we replaced all hot and cold water hoses with 1st class Marine grade re-enforced 1/2 inch hose that does not get soft and balloon’s up with hot water under 45 psi pressure from the pump. I installed as well an additional pig tail hose and three ball valves for winterizing the water system with antifreeze when the need arises.

We had shipped in from Defender Marine, Waterford CT, the famous Marine Chandler in the States to our Detroit address a 5 gal water heater that is using the hot engine coolant or a 120 volt heater element to heat the water. I installed the unit including running heater hose for the engine coolant, plumbed it to the motor and hooked the heater to the cold and hot fresh water circuit of the boat. (Picture below) 

Done that gave me the opportunity to drive to the Kubota Dealership in Essex, Ont. some 20 miles from our place to get the Kubota specified Mono Ethylene Glycol Based Extended Life Anti Freeze Coolant and the Kubota SAE 15 W 40 Engine Oil, which I filled into the 38 HP Beta Kubota Marine Diesel (Picture below)

Having all this accomplished gave me finally time to instal the Webasto forced air heater in the salon which is later covered up with paneling. But it will have a removal panel for service access. (Picture below). 

To mince up the instal we show you a picture of a previous installation of a Webasto instal in our “Diesel Duck” years ago. Our DD had two Webastos fitted. One in the aft cabin and one forward in the utility room to heat the main cabin. We liked these heaters, they never gave us a problem and they ran well and quietly, and warmed up our boat comfortably at the southern tip of South America, Patagonia and Cape Horn while having snowflakes on the deck.

The Head compartment (nautical term for bathroom) has a shower provision as well and the shower pan drains into a sump tank with builtin pump to pump the water overboard. I took this tank unit apart, cleaned it out, installed a new float switch and relocated it. The previous location of the sump tank would only let you service it under difficulties, so I found a more suitable location for the unit for better access. (Picture of old location and new location) 

So, I think this update will be enough for today as it will turn into a technical overload. There is more stuff I am working on and those items will make it into a future post.

Thanking everyone for staying with this blog and wishing all a wonderful summer. Next posting will take not so long, promise.