Renovations Update, Part 1 – September-October, 2012

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.

Gyr-Egg: View of the tent from the bow

Gyr-Egg: View of the tent from the coach roof

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.

Rotten beams under the coach roof – a result of water damage

Coach roof over fantail – all the old plywood has been removed

Coach roof with old plywood removed – new plywood visible on the left. Owner slowly sinking on the right

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.

Coach roof – starboard side – the planking over the roof has been removed. The plywood on the left is new

New Cap Rail being fabricated in the boat shop

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.

Kabola Boiler has arrived

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.

Old bilge pump manifold system removed from boat awaiting trip to scrap yard (bronze piping is worth some money)

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.

110 v DC motor from the fuel transfer pump

The renovations are continuing. Stay tuned for more updates.

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One Response to Renovations Update, Part 1 – September-October, 2012

  1. Peter & Nancy: WOW – what a big projectI I loved being aboard today and your plans sound great. Best of luck – and let me know if I can help you in any way. Even sitting down and having a drink and sharing in your horror at the anticipated vs. the actual cost is something I know all about. My very best to you – and congratulations on the upcoming restoration of a very special classic boat. Diane VanDerbeek, Owner, MV Olympus

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