Check it out. It doesn’t happen often, but there is a New Post on the Guillemot Blog!
Check it out. It doesn’t happen often, but there is a New Post on the Guillemot Blog!
The biggest project on the Gyr has been the coach roof repairs. Gordy has been working on replacing the roof and many of the beams and building the cap and the handrails since October. He has done a beautiful job. In the last week or so, the flat surface has been glassed and epoxied and faired (so that everything is the same height and smooth). Over the weekend, the first of two coats of primer was applied.
After the second coat of primer, the roof will be painted with a light grey All-grip paint, the cap rail and the hand rail will be painted cranberry (the same color as the trim currently on the boat).
We are moving quickly, which is good, because we have accelerated the timetable. We had planned to put the house on the market in May. However, our Realtor told us that the market was finally heating back up and that there was no inventory in Queen Anne, and that we would get the best price if we listed sooner rather than later. So our leisurely preparation for May became a sprint to get the house listed by the end of March! We have spent the last two weeks packing boxes, having the house painted, having landscaping done, have concrete repair work done on the garage and a fence post reattached, as well as having a mini-remodel in the upstairs bathroom.
It has been a circus with workmen coming and going constantly. I felt like I was in an episode of This Old House! On top of which one or the other of us (mostly me) has been out of town for a lot of the time. We are having an estate sale on the 16th of March, and plan to list the house on the 23rd. Whew. We are really flying. Who knows, perhaps I will even get motivated to write blog posts more often!
The work continues.
Scraping: Early in the year, we decided to hire two young guys to help us with scraping the old paint off the newly exposed beams, walls and ceilings. At first we were worried about the effect of the extra cost on our burn rate, and thought we would try it for a week or so. After the first week, we saw how much progress they had made, and thought about how our ageing bodies would feel if we spent 8 hours a day scraping overhead in tight spaces. Sanity prevailed and the boys are now full time members of the Gyrfalcon family. We are thinking about adopting them both.
Heat and fresh water: The new boiler and heating system has been on all month. The boat is finally drying out and smelling good. The bilges have all been pumped dry and are staying that way. The water tank (about 1100 gallons) is original and rusty. When we took off the lid, we discovered new iron-based life forms living in the tank.
We have arranged for a specialist to come in and line the tank with fiberglass, so that we will no longer have chunks of iron coming out of the faucets. The water pump, a Sears shallow well pump was frozen, and has been replaced as well. The original steel piping running from the tank to the pump was rusted almost shut and will be replaced with pex tubing.
Heads: The forward head is below the water line, and too far forward to connect with the black water tank in the aft of the boat (under the floor in our stateroom). The current arrangement is that the outflow from the forward head goes overboard. Neither legal, or in fitting with our approach – we could see telling guests that they could only pee in the forward head and not to use any toilet paper). We decided to put an additional black water tank in the bow of the boat (under the floor of the most forward stateroom). The tank has been installed, and now both the forward head and the day head empty onto the new black water tank. All of the toilets have been serviced, repaired, and converted to 24 v. We are ready to go (so to speak).
Coach roof: The work on the coach roof is almost completed. Gordy built a new hatch, and has almost completed the cap rails on the starboard side, including the new hatch. The ladder is being sandblasted and repainted, and teak treads will be made to replace the Bayliner steps that were on the ladder.
Electrical spaghetti: Peter spent several happy days tracing all the electrical circuits on the Gyr. We have breaker boxes for 110v DC (although there are no longer any 110v DC motors on the boat), 110 AC and 32 v DC. The majority of the original circuits on the boat were 100v AC. Through attrition and the fact that over the years 2 additional 100v AC subpanels were added, there are lots of empty (formerly used) breakers in the main 110v AC. The same holds true for the 32v DC breaker box (which will be changed over to 24v DC.
Illumination: We have been thinking about lights. Currently, most of the lights are 110v AC (including the navigation lights). There are only 2 circuits worth of 32v DC lamps – for emergency lighting only. We have decided it makes to most sense to switch over to 24v LEDs as much as possible – they last forever and have a very small power draw. We went to the Boat Show last week, and looked at lots of LED lamps, and think we have found some surface mount fixtures that will look good and not break the bank.
While we were at the show, we also looked at all the electronics, and decided to go with Furuno. They have a new touch screen unit that has the same software as the Nobeltec system we have been using on the Guillemot. Plus there is an IPad app for a remote display. We’ll buy it later in the spring
Inflatables: Over the Christmas holiday, we got a line on a used Zodiac in Idaho. It had been donated to a Children’s Home there, and they wanted to get it out of their barn. We got a great deal on it. It had already been surveyed. Before we picked it up, we asked for it to be taken to the local Honda dealer (the motor is a 4-stroke 135 hp Honda). It checked out fine. We drove over to Coeur d’Alene, ID to pick it up. We got home safely, and took it out on Lake Washington this afternoon. It is a go-fast boat. We were flying at 40 miles per hour, and were not near top speed. We have never had a boat that goes so fast.
Did we mention that the Zodiac is big in addition to fast? It is almost 20 feet long and 8 feet wide. Before we got it, we realized that it was really too big for the Gyr – it would take up almost the entire aft portion of the coach roof – so we wouldn’t be able to hold dances up there. So while we were at the Boat Show, we bought a 2nd smaller used inflatable (12 feet long and fits comfortably on the roof). We plan to keep the Go-fast Zodiac as our town boat, and perhaps we will tow it behind the Gyr on long trips.
Our future mooring: We have also found a home for the Gyrfalcon after she leaves Lake Union Boat Repair (a time that must surely come). We found a slip at Ewing Street Moorings, which all the residents describe as the last funky marina on the Ship Canal – we will fit right in. We are renting the slip already, and will keep the Zodiac there until the Gyr moves in the spring.
Renovations are finally taking a positive direction. In the past few weeks there seems to be more of the Gyr coming back together than being ripped apart!
Here’s what’s been happening:
1. Coach Roof: The rotten roof has been replaced. The bad areas were much more extensive than originally thought, and in the end about 80% of the roof had to be replaced with 2 offset layers of 3/4 inch plywood.
Both of the support carlins (long solid beams that run from the fore to the aft of the ship) were mostly bad. Gordy (our main shipwright at LUBR) fashioned two new carlins (made from laminated boards) to exactly replicate the old carlins, so that all of the roof beams would fit in perfectly.
Of course, the ends of many of the roof beams were also bad, so they had to be replaced with solid pieces swagged onto the end as well.
The final product is a thing of beauty. It should not need to be replaced during our lifetimes (Gordy says it’s a hundred year roof). Now that the wood work on the roof has been completed, the fiberglassing has begun. So far, they have put one layer of glass along the edges of the coach roof. There will also be a cap rail along the edge. This will be followed by more glass over the entire roof, several layers of epoxy, and finally paint. We are planning on putting wire railing on top of the cap rail (so that we don’t lose any of our teak deck chairs overboard).
2. Boiler and Plumbing: The new Dutch-made Kabola diesel boiler has been installed, along with a hot water tank. There is a complicated system of valves and manifolds that basically drive several different systems.
There is a Summer Loop, which supplies hot water to the showers and sinks. There is also a Winter Loop, which supplies hot water to all of the hydronic heaters, which is how the boat will be heated. A hydronic heater is similar to heating in an automobile – hot water runs through a small radiator, and there is a fan to blow the warm air through tubing into the various rooms.
Each heating unit has a fan speed switch, and many of them also have thermostats to provide more constant temperatures.
Gyrfalcon originally had cast iron radiators – these have all been replaced by the new hydronic heaters.
In addition to the heaters in the human spaces, there are also heaters in the rope locker (fore) and the lazarette/paint locker (aft) to keep them from freezing in bad weather. Mark put in a temporary chimney for the boiler, so that we can run it while the Gyr is still under her cover.
In addition to the heating, we have replaced all the piping to the sinks and showers with modern Pex tubing. We replaced the kitchen sink, the pedestal sink in the master stateroom head and the sink in the fore head, put new hardware in all the sinks and showers, and are having the cast iron sink in the day shower refinished.
We also put a heated towel rack in the master head (there will be a few luxurious touches on the Gyr).
As of last Friday, all of the new plumbing had been completed. This week they will pressurize the system, check for leaks, and then fire up the boiler. We should have heat by Christmas!
The electrical refitting has also begun. We have a new inverter/battery charger, which will run all of the 24 volt batteries on the boat.
We also have 2 of the new batteries – needed for the fan and electronics on the boiler. Many more batteries will follow – to start the engines, run the lights and instruments, etc etc. Also the huge banks of 32 volt batteries (none of which are any good) will have to be removed from the boat and scrapped.
We have gone appliance shopping, and found a refrigerator – no easy task, since the space in the kitchen is only 34 inches wide, and the hatch on the roof (by which most objects get on or off the boat is only 31 inched wide. Most refrigerators today are at least 37 inches wide. Fortunately, we found a small one that is only 30 inches wide and still has a freezer and a water dispenser in the door. We will likely complement this with a chest freezer that will live on top of the roof when we are chartering. We also got a hood that is large enough and powerful enough to draft the giant Viking oven that is on the boat (and hopefully will be sufficient for my messy cooking). We got a dishwasher, and a washer/dryer stack, which will fit down the stairs to the forward section of the boat in the laundry nook (It’s too small to be a Laundry Room).
3. Night Shift: While the professionals have been hard at work during the days, the elves come aboard and work in the evenings and weekends. One of the main tasks has been cleaning.
The boys generate a lot of sawdust. It covers the decks and collects in the spaces where the supports for the tent are attached to the decks. Since the plastic tarp ends there, many of the spaces get damp from the constant rain(welcome to Seattle in the winter). The wet sawdust is not good for the underlying paint and wood on the boat railings. So every weekend, one of has to sweep and vacuum the railings and the decks, and scoop the wet sawdust out of the spaces. It’s about 150 linear feet of railing that is affected. The first time Nancy did it, it took her over 8 hours to finish (I was conveniently out of town). Since then, it has become somewhat easier, since we don’t let it build up, but it still takes between 2 and 5 hours to get it clean. And then Monday comes, and by noon, there is a whole new crop of sawdust. Since the day shift is mostly done with the carpentry on the coach roof, there should be less sawdust in the future.
We also took our first foray into tiling. We cut a DuRock cement board to fit the counter in the forward head – and even managed to cut a correct sized hole for the sink – all without breaking the cement board! We are very proud of ourselves. We have ordered some Mexican cobalt ceramic tiles, and will install them as soon as they arrive.
At some point, most of the ceilings in the bedrooms and passageways were covered over with vinyl headliners. Since the decks leaked, there was significant mildew between the decks and the headliners. Also, we did not like the look of the vinyl. So we have taken down all the headliners in the boat to reveal the undersides of the original fir decking. In many areas there is a lot of peeling paint, but we think it will look really good when the underside of the decks have been refinished. It makes it look more like the working boat it is, and the massive beams are really cool. Plus it make the rooms look bigger.
All it will take is about a million hours of mildew abatement, lead paint removal, scraping, sanding and painting. We will start in the master stateroom and work our way forward. Well, we knew she was going to be a project boat. Nancy has the week between Christmas and New Year off, so we are planning to spend most of it on the boat. If you are in the area, come aboard – I’m sure we can find a scraper (or sandpaper or a paintbrush) with your name on it.
We have been telling all of our boating friends about the Gyrfalcon for the last several months. We decided to have a “Before” party – before the renovations were completed, so that folks could come and root around in the boat and give us their advice as to how to complete the project. We realize that there is a wealth of knowledge in the CYA (the Classic Yacht Association – the group of old wooden yachts that we belong to) and that we would get lots and lots of advice – at least 20% of which might be considered sane in some venues.
The party was last Sunday at 1:00 pm. Nancy and I spent most of Saturday and Sunday morning cleaning the Gyr and prepping for the party. (She was knee deep in sawdust on Friday afternoon – which was fine since we wanted the LUBR (Lake Union Boat Repair) crew to keep making progress while the night crew (Peter and Nancy) can take care of the non-skilled jobs like vacuuming and disinfecting.)
At Noon, we had the boat in shape, the food out on tables and the beer and wine on ice. We weren’t certain how many people were going to show up – we figured anywhere between 10 and 40. It had finally begun to rain in Seattle this weekend, so the tent over the Gyr got its first real test. The good news is that the Gyr Egg kept the rain off the roof and deck perfectly.
The first guests arrived promptly at 1:00. Nancy handled the main deck and I went down to the Mann Cave (the engine room). It was an hour or so before I managed to get back up the ladder.
We ended up with between 50 and 60 people at the party. The last guests didn’t leave until 6:30 in the evening.
Bob Ellsworth came up from Gig harbor. Bob owned the Gyr for 18 years (until 2003). He brought a photo album and shared lots of history of the boat along with lots of advice.
One of the last guests to arrive was Dave Schoeggl. Dave and his wife Tami Conrad own the Summer Wind, which is the sister ship of the Gyrfalcon. Dave had told us earlier that he had to go to a conference in BC and wouldn’t be able to make the party, but the conference ended early and he came as soon as he could. It was great comparing the differences and similarities of the two boats. (Summer Wind still has the original Cooper Bessemer direct-reversing engines).
One of the high points was watching Dorrin Robinson with polish and a rag, working on the brass rail around the steps down to the aft state room. He told Nancy that he “had to polish something”. He got about a foot of rail finished before he left (Someone later remarked, “Just like Dorrin – he never finished anything!”)
By the end of the afternoon, the food had all vanished, there was a serious dent in the alcohol, and we had heard an endless stream of advice and gossip, which we are still trying to process.
Here are a few pictures from the the party:
We had a great time, and want to thank everyone who came to see the Gyrfalcon. We appreciate your advice, and will certainly incorporate everything you said into the boat. Well, perhaps not everything, but most of it, anyway. Make plans to join us for the “After” Party – date to be determined.
As part of the Gyrfalcon purchase, we also got a 20 foot double-ended-canoe tender. It is wooden with a 10 hp yanmar diesel, a bimini, a full canvas top and a GPS unit. We think it is too large to put on the top of the Gyrfalcon, and it needs some work, and the last thing we need is another wooden boat project! So if you, or anyone you know, is interested in the tender, let us know. It is currently on a trailer at LUBR (same place as the Gyr). A number of people have looked at it, and the general impression is that it is “adorable”. I’m not a big fan of words like that applied to boats, but this one is awfully cute.
The paperwork was finalized a few weeks ago—The Gyrfalcon is officially ours. Repair work started in earnest prior to purchase, and is proceeding rapidly. The major new developments:
The Gyrfalcon has become the Gyr-Egg. The Boys at Lake Union Boat repair built a pole barn over the deck from 2x4s. She is now totally encased in plastic. Even if she were to flip completely over, she would still float, as long as the bilge pumps kept running. Since there is a lot of rot on the coach roof and the decks, the tent was put up to protect against the constant rains of Seattle winter.
Of course, since she’s been covered, it’s been nothing but sunshine in Seattle – we have just finished a 3 month stretch with only one small drizzle. It has finally begun to rain this weekend, and folks around here are overjoyed. We are happy to hear the patter of rain on the outside of the Gyr-Egg
One of the major projects underway involves repairing the rot on the coach roof – the large roof over the galley and the main salon. The original was fir planking, which had been covered with plywood which had leaked over the last few years – resulting in rotten wood. We (this is of course the royal we, since the Guys at Lake Union are doing the heavy lifting and we are writing the checks) have cut back the plywood until it is solid, and are replacing it with layers of new ply. This will be followed by epoxy sealer and paint.
In addition the roof covering the outer decks was largely rotten as well. The roof has been removed and will be replaced with new plywood. The cap rails on both sides was bad as well, so they have fashioned new cap rails from laminated wood, bent them to match the shape of the originals and will replace them as well.
When we bought the boat, there was an old diesel boiler that supplied hot-water radiators throughout the boat. The hot water was supplied by a series (4) of electric water heaters. The old boiler was shot, so we replaced it with a new, smaller, more efficient Kabola boiler from Sweden.
The new system will replace the old radiators with hydronic heat – units with fans and heating coils similar to that in automobiles. In addition, there will be only large hot water tank which will supply the heat and the hot water needed for cooking and showers. There will be a summer loop, which will supply only the domestic hot water needs, and a Winter Loop which will include the radiators. The water for the showers and cooking will be on a closed loop, so that there should be instant hot water when one turns on the tap (similar to what happens when you turn on the shower on the 14th floor of a hotel)
Meanwhile the second shift aka the night crew (that’s Nancy and Peter) have been removing acoustic tile, sanding beams, removing staples, cleaning mildew, and practicing our bronze polishing. We understand that the next order of business for us is sanding more beams, removing paint, and ripping down the headliners in the fore cabins in preparation for working on the decks for leaks.
There was a little unwelcome excitement last week—one of the through-hulls started to leak. Part of the renovation was to remove the old bilge pump system which consisted of several pumps and a massive manifold system of pipes and valves in the engine room. It turned out that the pumps were clogged and the valves frozen, so that it wasn’t working all that well.
In the process of removing the old piping, we learned that one of the below-water through-hulls for the starboard engine was shot – electrolysis of the metal caused deterioration of the surrounding wood. We suddenly had significant amounts of water coming into the bilge – where the bilge pumps had just been removed! There were some moments of excitement. A diver was called, and an external seal was built around the through-hull location. We weren’t there for the leak, we only heard about it when Ben Harry told us, “Oh By the Way, we tried to sink your boat toady.” We will need to replace all the through-hulls in the spring when she is hauled out at Port Townsend. This is an unexpected expense (certainly not the last), but everyone agrees that it was better to find this out now, rather than somewhere off the coast of British Columbia.
We also took out the old fuel transfer pump motor. It was the only unit on the boat that required 110v DC. It was replaced with a 100v Ac motor; one more victory in our plan to simplify the electrical system.
The renovations are continuing. Stay tuned for more updates.