Splash zone

So, today’s the day where Renegade floats again. After spending a fraction of the money we thought we’d spend, we’re floating again, rocking not so gently on a dock as the swells roll into Santa Cruz’s not so protected harbor.

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Lookin back on the work we’ve done this past week is kinda crazy. We hauled out to paint the bottom and “check out the rudder”. Maybe a couple other things. The first things we saw as the lift pulled us out of the cold waters of the pacific, besides the 50 pounds of mussels, were bites taken out of the keel on its deepest sections. While a couple looked an awful lot like a shark had been interested – i mean, there was an awful lot of various marine life down there – the boat had certainly been up on some rocks. After a day or two a memory came slowly back to me, i thought back to buying the boat.

Just after I handed the previous owners brother a stack of cash, he came clean: “Just so yanno, my brother did want to tell ya that there was one time he ran aground. He says he was going pretty slow, around 2 knots maybe, and just ran aground. He says it felt like mud, and that there shouldn’t be a problem. I’m telling ya just so yanno”

Looking back, it’s pretty fucking clear that no sailors ever “confessed” to running softly up on a mud flat. It’s something that happens, sure, just like sometimes you drive over the white lines in a parking lot, but it’s just not worth mentioning.

So after getting a couple suggestions, including re-glassing the whole bottom foot of the keel, I spent a day grinding out the chucks gone missing and gooped in some epoxy. It was a lot. A couple spots were six inches long and about 3/4 of an inch thick, and the entire trailing edge, up about 10 inches, was just gone. With no intention of making it look all that pretty, I’d say I made a decent job of it, and without looking for trouble, it’s hard to notice something went so amiss down there in the past 50 years of this boats life.

The other surprise was “checking out the rudder”. Our plan was to just drop it, give it a once over, and probably just regrease it. So simple. Well the bearings, which are just plastic races solid 2 inch bronze rudder shaft rotates inside of, left far too much play to use. Googling to find replacements for a design that’s been outdated for 40 years proved difficult, and the shafts probably a little worn down itself, so even replacing the delrin bearings might still leave undesired wiggle room. But the internet provides. I came across a forum where someone just put the rudder in, plugged up the bottom, and filled the entire shaft with epoxy. It had some graphite in it, and they waxed the rudder stock, but that’s about it.

“fucking crazy! there’s noooo way I’m gonna glue my rudder in place trying some crazy thing like that!”

So the next day we tried it, and the epoxy never cured. We tried a second time and everything seems pretty fine so far, though it’s a little tight in there. We’re kinda just waiting to see if the frictions too much for a self steering set up to overcome, or if it gets a little easier as it breaks in.

But for now, we’re waiting for fronts to clear. First one, then another. Steve’s convinced we’ll never have favorable wind till October next year. I just start with looking at the forecasts for the next two days, and yeah, we’re not leaving in the next two days, at least.

Maybe that we’re not painting or running up a bill on the hard, I’ll find some shredder friends that’ll take me surfing in the ridiculous swells this storms kicking up. Or maybe I’ll just play air hockey with some buds. Or we’ll download cave story on our three computers.