Log of SV Free Spirit and ships company

The chronicles of the schooner Free Spirit and her crew, embarking on an open ended journey upon the great rolling heap. Free Spirit is currently pursuing humanitarian and commercial goals in the Dominican Republic, on the island of Hispaniola. Working under the Ocean Reach USA and Paradigm Research banners, she is serving as logistics headquarters, workshop, and development laboratory for many ongoing projects. This is the log of her journey.....

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Fishin, fun and sunsets

Be scared... very, very scared... The boys are quickly becoming a lot like little pirates.
Blayde took this picture of his wild brother.

Drake took this great picture of Valin, in attack mode with a boat hook....

Now, the great fisherman is coming right at Drake, who quickly takes photographic proof of his craziness!

Blayde, knowing how much I love sunsets, took this picture to capture the moment for when I returned from a trip to Ft. Lauderdale.

Blayde - Taken by Mom

Valin - Self Portrait

Drake - Self Portrait

Woo-hoo, the boys finally caught some catfish with the help of our good friend Deana.

Tamer, doing the deed...

This is what was left, after gutting, skinning and de-boning that huge catfish. Fortunately they caught 3, and had one given to them from our friend Doc of SV Blue Toes. I happened to be in town (again) for this amazing dinner, maybe next time!

~ Yet another beautiful sunset on the River ~

The Bee Incident of 2007

If you have a fear of bee's.... This post may give you nightmares :-)

If you look at the last post, there is a picture of me sandblasting the mast step in the focsul. You will notice that the only safety gear that I am wearing is a helmet and gloves... Let me tell you a tale...

It was a dark and scary night... No, wait that is another story...

It was a hot, sunny, humid day in southern Florida. I was getting ready to sandblast, so we had set up the world famous sandblasting suit for me to wear. The leaf blower was sitting up on deck running, to push fresh air through the silver dryer vent hose and into the suit. This was also the first day that Tamer got to try out our new neighbors' plasma cutter. Unfortunately every time that I would get into position (awkward in the first place), and start sandblasting, the breaker would trip. Finally I got frustrated, and took off the helmet, and pulled down the top of the suit to my waist, so that I could cool off a bit. Blayde was up on deck keeping an eye on me through the hatch as my safety man. At one point he had proclaimed frustration that there were so many bees flying around up on the deck. We told him to do his best to ignore them, and kept on working. At this point I had decided to do some rust chipping with a hammer and chisel, while I waited to have reliable power back.

Here is where the fun begins....

I notice something crawling on my chest, and when I go to flick it off, I see that it is the front half of a bee. Of course, then I notice another part of a bee moving around closer to my waist. Freaked out, I jump up and go to where I can stand up in front of the mast and look down at the floor.... Where I see about 15-20 various parts of bees bodies... On the floor where I had pulled the tyvek suit down. Some of them are alive, some half dead, but most just in half. Panicking now, I take the whole suit off, turn it inside out and see hundreds of pieces of bees all over!! What is soon discovered is that the bees are being sucked in through the leaf blower and coming right down the hose and into my suit. After I removed the suit, and we got the blower set up over a metal grating, there were still bees, in various states of death, crawling out of the hose. This went on for a few hours, and at that point you could not have paid me to put the suit back on. In fact, It has been about a month now, and I still have not worn it.

I am very thankful that I was not stung, and I wish each and every one of you 'Sweet Dreams'

The Focsul Refit

The first step in getting sand up onto the deck of the boat was rigging a safe way to enable the kids to do it independently. Tamer and Uncle Raoul look on as Blayde, Valin & Drake figure out their stations and responsibilities. All told, they hauled about 500 pounds of sand aboard for interior blasting in the Focsul, Cargo Hold, and Main Salon.

Now, half of the sand is ready to haul down to a pallet to be screened for a second use.

This is the newly discovered "Void" under the recently enclosed anchor locker. We cut out the triangular inspection plate to access it. Just for reference, the ceiling of this space is the floor of the anchor locker. We realized very quickly that this was definitely a candidate for sandblasting. Sandblasting, although effective; is very messy!! The only other way to clear the area of rust, is to grind, and at the time we did not have an air powered Die Grinder. The space really was too small to get a grinder in there.

Valin getting the area ready for sandblasting. The red machine in the foreground is the sandblaster, which is powered by the air compressor. He has also placed boards across the bilges for more "lying on the job" comfort, and a light was rigged in the void.

I gotta hand it to him, the man can blast!! Here he is all suited up, with his fresh air intake coming from the leaf blower on deck, through the silver hose.

Here is the photographic proof.... Tamer Smyth was caught on camera today, lying down on the job!
He did a great job, and it was a horribly uncomfortable, dirty, hot area to work on when we did this. Thanks Baby!

The void; sandblasted and ready for light sanding, osphoing, and painting.

'Angels were singing'

It is hard to visualize with just this picture, but the base for the mast step, had the worst rust scaling that we had found anywhere inside the boat. Unfortunately, because it was such an awkward area to work in, it took Tamer and I most of 2 days to sandblast it and prepare it for painting. I would have to say that it was my least favorite job so far....

The next stage of repair was to get any and all rust off of the interior of the hull. If there happened to be any thick scaly rust on the surface, it worked best to use an air scaler first. As I am doing here.... Then came the grinding, osphoing, ect, ect, ect.... Until.....

The painting crew came along.
Here I am happily mixing amerlock 400 to apply to all of the spot repairs in the focsul.

I thought the spot painting would take only a couple of hours, but it ended up taking about 6. Then I applied all the coal tar to the bilges..... And now we all know how much I love 'coal tar'......

This was the first opportunity we had to use our new airless paint sprayer. We were a little nervous, mostly because of the cost of amerlock if any were to be wasted ($70.00/gallon). It ended up working way better than we had imagined, with Tamer's painting expertize, of course. It applied a nice thick, even coat, and we ended up with maybe $10.00 of wasted paint.

The angels are singing again :-) Here is the Focsul, finished and beautiful beyond our wildest dreams!! It ended up taking 2 gallons and about 2 hours. Way, way less paint and time than it would have been if done by hand.

Water and Fuel Tanks - Cargo Hold

When we finally removed some of the interior and the unfinished floor out of the cargo hold, this is what lay before us. 2 approximately 80 gallon water tanks. Unfortunately, there was some really interesting holes all throughout them. We have, for the time being decided to go with new plastic tanks that will be stored in this same area.

Looking down into the cargo hold facing aft from the deck. When we removed the closet that is at the top of the picture, we discovered yet another water tank, that had rusted through as well.

Blayde overseeing the removal of the 3rd water tank, to be placed on the ground next to the boat.

There she goes... Over the side!

What lies beneath :-) Here are the exposed bilges...
The boys always trying to make work time as fun as possible.

Another thing that we discovered was that under the water tanks there were 2 fuel tanks and a sump tank. This is an up close picture of the aft most tank.

After a easier than expected removal of a ton of bolts this is what we found under the fuel tank covers. All told we only had to dispose of 6 gallons of this fuel/water mixture.

Tamer devised a system to remove the fuel without too much mess involving a hose, a shop vac, some empty 1 gallon water jugs, and a willing test subject :-) Here is Blayde diligently working to remove the filthy residue that remained.

Tamer testing out the pressure washer for the first time. It worked amazing well for the 'first' layer of dirt, grime & rust...

Tamer, grinding away the 'second' layer of dirt, grime & rust in the bilges...

Blayde, mastering the use of the finger sander for the 'third' layer of dirt, grime & rust :-)

Well, well, well... Now we have learned most of what there is to know about Coal Tar Epoxy!
After much knowledge gathering, we decided that all the bilges needed to be coated with coal tar epoxy. It is REALLY disgusting, smelly, gross stuff, that I have mastered the application of :-) When you open a new gallon can, it is the consistency of thick, organic peanut butter. After stirring with a drill and paint stirrer for about 5 minutes, it is like brownie mix. Coal tar is a 2 part epoxy, like amerlock, and you then have to add the hardener and let it sit for 20 minutes before application. The most difficult part of application is the fact that it is soooo thick and heavy on the brush.

But isn't it beautiful when finished?? This is after the first coat, I applied the second the next day.

After the coal tar had a few days to cure, I was able to get the first coat of amerlock inside the fuel tanks. We believe that they had a coat of coal tar on them when we opened the tanks, but after doing some spot repairs to a little rust, we needed to re-coat them.

Here is Tamer beginning the spraying of the Cargo hold bilge, which we cleaned and painted up to the existing floor level.

The forward most section done! I have not yet taken a picture of the area completely painted, so you will have to use a little imagination.
Tip: If you imagine angels singing again,and the entire area glowing white, you will be close :-)

Cargo hold cover removal and repair

So, here is the Cargo Hold of our boat.... It is aft of the Forecastle (focsul), and forward of the Main Salon and it is about 16' x 10'. It will eventually serve as our main head, a library/Guest Cabin, and Tamer's shop.
This picture shows what used to be the base for our wood and glass skylight that fits here. After it's removal, it became clear that they previous owners had intended to 'build' a skylight, but then found one salvaged that would fit the hole. The actual cargo hold cover, although removable, weighs about 600 pounds without the skylight attached. We needed to repair the skylight base, and also the mating surfaces between the deck and the cover.

We rallied up an able bodied crew for the removal of the cover, as we needed to lift it overboard to do the necessary repairs. Here is Olivier using a pry bar to separate the cover from the deck.

Matt was the tag line manager, and part of the muscle behind the whole operation.

Here is the cover breaking free from the deck with the help of my dear husbands brute strength.

We could never have done it without the awesome ground crew! Raoul was the on the ground using the tag lines to steer the cover to the proper spot. Blayde was standing by with a block to place under the first corner to touch down.

Matt, Tamer and Olivier.... It is almost off!

Over the side

Here is Nathalie, coming to the rescue as a needed tag line person.

Woo-Hoo!!! Wow, the pictures make it all look so easy :-) We managed to get away with no parts broken on any of us, or the boat. Oh, yea, that is Deana off to the side offering a helping hand if needed, and as always a beautiful smile.
P.S. I served as photographer for this project due to a newly broken toe....

Blayde doing his first stint as an expert grinding person. We were really proud of his willingness to take on such a difficult task, at his age. It took him 1 1/2 days of work, but his job was to grind the mating surface of the cargo hold to the deck.

Here is a close up shot of him grinding the underside of the lip. Although not pictured,Tamer devised a way to put a grinding disc on upside down to make this job a little easier.

Wow! Look at all that shiny metal!

After osphoing and lightly sanding, I was handed the task of painting 3 coats of Amerlock onto the surface. It became evident very quickly that a mirror is a must for this type of painting. I really wanted there to be 3 GOOD coats, so that rust could be prevented for as long as possible.

Once the cover was situated on the ground, Tamer began the process of removing the whole upper piece and replacing it with a 2" x 2" piece of angle iron. This is also a good shot of all of the rust that had developed on the outside of that upper portion.

We have been joined by some new steel boat owning neighbors in the boat yard, who happen to have a plasma cutter. The envy of all steel boat owners in the yard :-) Tamer got to try it out on this project, and it saved us a fortune on cutting discs for the grinder. Thanks Marc & Patty of SV Fortuna!

Now, the angle iron is welded in place, the lid has been flipped over, and work has begun on preparing it for ospho and paint.

Here comes the dancing girls..... Oh wait, that is the painting crew.....
In the lower right hand corner of the picture, you can see the mating surface of the cover that meets the deck surface. This was a tricky painting experience to match the need for a mirror up on deck. Behind my legs closest to the ground, you can see the newly attached piece of angle iron that the skylight will fit onto.

Introducing Propcalc 4.0

Use Propcalc to easily match your hull with your engine, transmission, and propeller
Put the known data in the top fields, then hit the Update button to get the answers.
Results, of course, should be verified by a Naval Architect or qualified surveyor.
Data is provided for three bladed propellers of average type
For two or four bladed props, use the modifiers shown below.

Fill out the fields as follows:

Vessel LWL (ft) = Waterline length
Vessel Disp (lbs) = Vessel displacement
(max) HP = Rated Engine Max HP
Engine RPM max = Engine RPM at Max HP
Engine RPM cruise = Desired or estimated cruise rpm
(Cruise or Max) Kts = Speed to work the calculations for
Slip = Propeller efficience. 45% is average for a displacement cruiser.
Gear ratio = 1: Gear ratio of transmission
SL Ratio Adj. = This value will be added (or subtracted, if a negative value) to the calculated S/L ratio.

Key information:

If the "hp required" is greater than the "cruse HP", you have your cruise RPM set too low for your engine parameters.
If the "hp required" is significantly less than the "cruse HP", you have your cruise RPM set too high for your engine parameters.
If the "hp required" is greater than the "Max HP", then your target speed is too high for your engine/hull parameters.
The S/L ratio is calculated automaticaly based on your input. It can be adjusted if necessary, but normally it should be left alone.
If the calculated S/L ratio exceeds S/L MAX, then the results are likely to be non-predictive. Try a lower speed requirement.
SL Ratios of 1.1 - 1.4 are typical of displacement hulls. Semiplaning or planing hulls can go higher.

Typical propeller slip values:

Sailing auxiliary, barges, etc less than 9 Kts............45%
Heavy powerboats, workboats 9 - 15 Kts....................26%
Powerboats, Lightweight Cruisers 15 - 30 Kts..............24%
High speed planing boats 30 - 45 Kts......................20%
V bottom race boats 45 - 90 Kts...........................10%


it is possible to get irrational answers by irrational input , I.E specifying excessive speed for hull type and length
Any attempt to exceed hull speed (1.34 times the square root of the waterline length in feet) with a displacement hull are likely
to fail unless the hull is extremely fine (multihull) or otherwise exceptional. In such cases, an S/L adjustment would be in order.

2 and 4 bladed props:

For two bladed propellers, multiply the diameter by 1.05, and the pitch by 1.01
For four bladed propellers, multiply the diameter by .94, and the pitch by .98

Vessel LWL (ft) =
Vessel Disp (lbs) =
  (max) HP =
  Engine RPM max =
  Engine RPM cruise =
  (Cruise or Max) Kts =
  Slip =
  Gear ratio = 1:
  SL Ratio Adj. =
  Prop rpm max =
  Prop rpm cruise =
  Pitch =
  Diameter =
  Static Thrust =
  Cruise HP =
  Cruise HP% =
  SL Ratio =
  DL Ratio =
  SL Max =
  HP Required =