Sunday 10 October 2021

Neutral Indicator

Have you ever thought that you have left your engine in neutral, only to discover as your boat chugs along that it is still in gear? Me also. Some gear arrangements don't make it feel obvious when the stick is in neutral, with embarrasing consequences when docking. Here's a simple fix if your control box has a starting limit switch, usually used to power a relay and prevent starting the engine in gear. I simply wired in a 12v dashboard indicator light to that switch: Neutral = On. It is a very simple circuit taking power from the Ignition On pole under the engine panel. Now it is really easy to check that I'm in neutral!

Monday 13 July 2020

Rail-mount rod holder hack

When the main refit was done in 2013 I installed a series of Railblaza rail sockets around the cockpit rail so I could mount a bait cutting board and rod holders wherever I wanted them. Although they are supplied with gripper tape, I never got them fixed securely enough to stop rotating under load (the load being a large fish running off with the bait!) I was advised to put a piece of rubber inner tube under the mount which I did. However, a combination of time-weakened plastic, the additional layer of material and my brute strength(!) the lower part of the clamp sheared at the thinnest point.

This needed strengthening. I bought a metre of 20mmx3mm 316 stainless (mill finish) and made 10 plates to fit under the 10 clamps. I also bought some longer bolts to accommodate the plate and nut, which is now exposed. By chance, the supplier only had Allen key bolts and I think they look rather good. Memo to self, next time I do this I'll polish the strip before cutting it up - I'll have something to hold! Job done eventually, and so far, no twisting. So far no big fish either, but I live in hope (on both counts).

Monday 21 May 2018

A fish-finder for the cockpit.

My previous boat had an open wheelhouse so it was easy to see the fish-finder when drifting. Rebel Runner has a bulkhead, so the fish-finder screen is out of sight. Having looked at the cost of a secondhand slave screen, I opted for an entry-level Garmin Striker 4 - less than £130 all in. One of the options was a foam transducer mount for inside the hull. At over £20 for a bit of foam, I thought I could do as well for less. I cut the bottom out of an electrical junction box and Sikaflexed it to the inside of the hull.

I cut some upholstery foam to the size of the box, then cut out a transducer shape in the foam. I filled the space with antifreeze liquid and pressed the transducer into place. This allows for adjustment to keep it vertical on a sloping hull, and there is no damage if I need to remove it. The wire is fed through a standard electrical grommet. Now I can see the fish on the drift!

Monday 28 December 2015

A seat pedestal to rely on

I am very pleased with my KAB helm seat, it makes the boat feel very grown-up. I originally mounted it on the boat's original (Plastimo again) pedestal but I began to feel it wasn't man enough for the job. It was fully adjustable and had a limited shock absorbing suspension but it wasn't up to KAB standards of ruggedness. It has gone wobbly on me a couple of times which is a very uncomfortable feeling when you need to hang on during a bit of wave bashing. My Christmas present was a new and very sturdy pedestal from the same supplier as the seat. It was the perfect job for an afternoon in the marina. The old pedestal came out, and the new one screwed in place. As I suspected, the holes did not quite align and new ones had to be drilled but nothing showed so that was OK. I am now looking forward to a bit of rough stuff!

New Marine Toilet (bargain!)

I am still doing bits of work from time to time. The sea toilet that came with the boat was a Plastimo model and if you remember an earlier post, had not been very reliable (that's putting it politely). Plus the seat was plastic and wobbly. I researched to the cost of a new seat (£42) and a maintenance kit (£49) and found that I could replace it with a brand new Jabsco compact toilet for £104. No contest! The old loo came out and the new loo went in with little trouble. I had to cut a new hole in the bulkhead for the outlet pipe which came away from the toilet at a different angle, but that was all. Everything connected up and it is now fully functioning, with no leaks or surprising sprays!

Sunday 13 September 2015

Trim Tabs

I usually lift my boat out of the water in August to re-paint the anti-fouling, have the leg serviced and do any underwater jobs that can only be done on dry land. This year I decided to install trim tabs and after a lot of research, decided on Bennett trim tabs from PH Marine. There is a lot of advice on-line so I was confident I could do the job myself.  I had to wait until lift-out until I could measure the transom exactly, and it was just as well I did that before ordering because the top of the actuator where the standard hydraulics runs through is exactly at deck level. Fortunately you can have external hydraulics which is what I ordered. The installation was very straightforward, although the worst bit was, as usual, pulling the boat apart to run the cables through. Eventually all was done: trim tabs installed, connected up, system bled, controls calibrated and all the anti-fouling done. I am looking forward to a test run!

Sunday 26 July 2015

Cabin Lining

The weather was too bad even for Ben Ainsley today so I spent the afternoon finishing off the hull lining in the cabin. First, the hull sides were covered in closed cell foam, which had to be cut round the chines. This hull has quite deep ridges to cover.

Not so the carpet, which had to go on in one piece to avoid joins. One side is over two metres long, but fortunately the carpet is very floppy and stretchy so it is easier than in could be.

It now makes my bunk cushions look very tatty, that will have to be the next job. I am not happy with the join between coachroof sides and headlining, I looking at options for hiding that gap. Anyway, the cabin now looks far more sophisticated and is a lot better insulated too.