Equinox Project | Thursday, December 4, 2008

I continued removing deck hardware and other installations today, beginning more or less where I left off and continuing aft.  I removed two vent fittings above the head area--one for the water tank and one for a holding tank (now defunct), and while I was in the area began to remove the remains of the wiring that had run through the head to other areas.  I removed several bulkhead-mounted reading lights and fans for safekeeping, and removed the associated wiring.

One thing led to another, and before long I found myself focusing on the removal of the electrical system and wiring, since once I started removing wires, their dangling remains became a nuisance, so there was no stopping once I began.  It all had to come out sometime; why not now?

The boat featured two electrical panels at the aft end of the saloon--one on each side.  Beginning on the starboard side, I unscrewed the panel and began to disassemble the wiring.  The existing wiring, apparently factory-original in most areas, was a mishmash of black electrician's tape, automotive style wire taps, and push-on lugs, though overall it was in reasonable condition considering its age--not that that suggests it was any good.


Several of the wires leading tot he panel from other parts of the boat (engine room, compass light, and wires running to the companion panel on the port side) ran through spaces behind the molded interior liner, and I thought I might like to use these pathways again later on.  So as I pulled the old wires, out, I ran in lengths of polypropylene messenger line to help the reinstallation process in the future.  I tied the ends off to the nearby handrails for the moment.



A battery selector switch was located beneath the companionway, and I removed it and disconnected the wires, pushing them through their tiny holes back into the engine room, where I'd deal with them later on.  For now, they were out of the way.


A few of the wires I wanted to remove led to the engine room, and this led me to begin some disassembly and removal in that space as well.  I wanted to remove the Bukh engine control panel (using the term generously) and wiring harness intact, reserving it for future use, and since the harness took a circuitous route through the lockers to eventually reach the panel in the saloon.  The existing harness ran along with the fuel lines through a small slit in the starboard longitudinal bulkhead outboard of the engine, and then beneath the fuel tank to a slot leading to the space behind the interior liner and eventually to the panel's location further forward.  Two additional separate wires followed the same path, but branched off to the ignition push button located near the engine controls in the cockpit; I removed this as well, and then successfully unstrung the wiring harness, allowing me to remove the panel.


I repeated these basic processes on the port side, where the electronics had been installed, and removed the main panel there, as well as all associated wiring and several other things that were mounted on the adjacent bulkhead.

With all the wiring in the cabin now removed, I continued removing deck hardware.  Since lunchtime was approaching, I decided to delay cutting the liner in way of the midship stanchion bases and cleats until after lunch, so instead I removed the aft stanchion bases (now easily accessible with the electrical panels out of the way) and all the hardware on the coachroof--winches, cleats, line stoppers, fairleads, and the mast wiring connections.  I left the mast step in place for the moment, as there was no access to it from beneath (covered with the interior liner) and while I suspected it might be installed with machine screws (or even self-tappers) instead of bolts, I didn't want to risk it's removal just yet.  Besides, I wasn't sure it was even necessary to remove it.

I also removed the aluminum stem casting, which I'd earlier determined was secured with machine screws only--no nuts, making removal possible; nuts would have been inaccessible.




In the afternoon, I worked to remove more or less all of the remaining deck hardware, beginning with the midship stanchion bases and cleats.  As in the V-berth earlier, I cut away the liner beneath the bolts and then removed the pieces without incident.


I removed the stern pulpit from its bases and set it aside for storage.  Then, I spent most of the rest of the day removing the four pulpit bases.  The lazarette locker was full of various hose runs, including two bilge pumps, ventilation ducts, and the engine exhaust, all of which cluttered the potential access to the nuts beneath the deck.  So to begin, I removed these hoses to the extent possible, thereby clearing the space and allowing better--though far from ideal--access.

The after two pulpit bases--those located along the line of the transom--were the most challenging pieces on the boat to remove, thanks to difficult access and ridiculously overlong bolts that had been used in their installation.  Only by reaching through the holes left behind by the removal of the plastic ventilation cowls could I access the nuts, and then with substantial difficulty.  I was able to hold a deep socket over the nuts, one at a time, while unscrewing the bolt with a cordless screw gun; however, the bit continually slid out of the screws' slots as I unwound them, and since the bolts were 2" too long this just extended the process.  It was a frustrating--yet eventually successful--venture.  Reinstallation ought to pose interesting challenges, but that's to worry about later.

I also found that there was a plywood core in way of the two large ventilation duct openings in the poop deck.  I did not determine whether this core material extended beyond where I could see it or not.


There were two more U-bolt installations, one outboard of each aft corner of the coamings, and I set to remove these next.  I could reach the nuts through the lazarette locker hatch opening, but when I applied my ratchet to the first nut I could tell something was wrong.  Since I couldn't see inside the locker, I took a picture to see what was going on; the nuts, clearly of poor quality, were badly rusted and binding on the threads.  But I could move them, if with difficulty.

Or so I thought.  The first stud broke shortly after I began to use the ratchet, taking care of one of the four nuts I had to remove.  I continued with the next, and with much unwinding (the studs were very long), I neared the end; the nut was right at the end of the stud.  Then, without my knowing it immediately, the nut apparently bound, and before I knew it I had bent the stud sideways with the leverage of the ratchet.

There was no other way to continue but to cut off the U-bolt above decks, which I did.  I then cut the twin U-bolt on the other side, after briefly trying the nuts; clearly I was going to have a problem there as well, so I just cut the hardware off.

I also removed the stern cleat and any other installations back on the poop deck.



I finished up the day's work by removing the sheet winches and cleats from the coamings, a relatively straightforward task.  In fact, I undid the nuts beneath the winches by hand; they were surprisingly loose.


Total Time on This Job Today:  8.25 hours

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