Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure
We're born Zen-like and slowly erode to Zero

The Sailboat

Friday, April 11, 2014

Deceptive Barlow 28 Winches

I ran off to the marina intent on servicing my primary Barlow 28 winches. That was the plan.

Instead of placing a cardboard box over the winch to catch any of those jumping-jack springs from diving overboard, I devised a more substantial and fail-proof contraption.

barlow winch service
Our firewood transport bucket was sacrificed for the job. I cut the "symmetric" whole with a sharp chisel. Now, you may say, "that's a hell of a big hole." But look at the next picture.
servicing barlow winches
It was an optical illusion. After rounding out the jagged edges with a knife it was a perfect tight fit and wouldn't budge even when applying some force to it.
So far so good. Next, I cleaned the accumulated gunk in the winch handle hole with paper towels and...what's this? No retaining bolt, nothing but a smooth concave cavity. I cleaned and checked the other winch - same thing! My smaller Barlows have retaining bolts. That's how you get the drum off.

Sat down, took a couple of deep breaths and looked at the view.

Mooring in Peniche
The transient dock is full already. The sailboat Capella was here last year. I helped the owner of the Lagoon catamaran dock earlier this week (either this or another one). That's one big floating apartment. Ugly may be too strong of an adjective, but a beauty it ain't. But I can see it's advantages, price not being one of them.
Oh yes, back to my winch dilemma. Next, I cleaned and inspected  the two small wholes at the top which revealed nothing useful. My only option would be to unbolt the winches, base and all, from the boat and take them to a machine shop and let somebody smarter than me figure it out. 

Then it occurred to me: "how the hell did I service them last time, years ago?" Answer: "I haven't got a clue." That's why it's important to keep a blog-log.

Then the office called me to say I had a small translation in my mailbox for today. Yes, I'm still working. Broke out the laptop, finished the translation and then went home defeated and moaning about how much two winches of this size would cost. At this rate I'll never break free. Damn boat!

Just to show you what a fool I am, it took me 15 minutes to solve the winch mystery on Youtube. Those two small holes are used to spin the cap off and, presto, the drum is free to slide up. How anybody survived before the Internet is a mystery.

Here's the enlightening video. Although it's a Barient 28 winch, the drum removal process is the same. It even shows a nifty trick on how to remove the cap without the two-pronged tool to fit the holes.

There's no end to this boat slavery.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bottom Cleaning

In keeping with my new commitment to spend less and live more, I've been contemplating bottom cleaning vs. hauling out and painting.

It costs serious money - not to mention the hassle - to haul out a 39-foot boat. With that in mind, I did a bit of research for ways to extend haulout intervals to 2 or 3 years and still keep the hull reasonably clean. It's a bitch sailing to the Algarve and back with a dirty hull. Fuel consumption increases just as dramatically as the drop in speed.

Diving and scraping is good exercise, but not very practical without scuba diving gear.

Here's my research results:

1 - the Hulltimo Pro robot. Awesome but expensive.

2. The Hulltimo Smart robot for 2,290 euros. Didn't bother reading the warranty. It would have to run trouble-free for a long time before it paid for itself. Another downside is that everybody at the marina would want a free cleaning. Nah.

Hulltimo Smart
Courtesy of Hulltimo.

3 - Scrubbis, for 88 euros (limited special price). Now that sounds appealing to a cheapskate.

Courtesy of Force 4 Chandlery

4 - I could make my own scrubbies, but it would probably take a long time and fall apart as soon as it touched the hull. Something to think about lying in bed.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Maximizing Time, Minimizing Expenses

Minimalism and not giving a hoot about a "delusional materialistic life" has never felt so sweet. It's about time I put on the Kerouac hat I discarded some twenty years ago when I made the foolish mistake of switching to a "normal" life.

In keeping with my serious commitment to maximize my time (LIFE) and to minimize expenses (WORK), instead of paying over 800 euros for a new self-tailing winch, I decided to buy two small second-hand Barlow 20 winches on Ebay. 

On my trip from Sagres to Sines, Portugal, my Barlow 24 halyard winch seized. Later, when I dismantled the winch, I found a broken pawl, a failed bearing and, amazingly, a missing part whose name eludes me. Incredible, Barlows are so good they don't even need all the parts to function for 14 years.

Here's my winch setup. The barely visible winch near the bottom right corner is an Arco 43 2-speed.
Barlow 26 winches

And here are the Barlow 20 winches I just bought on Ebay from the US (300 euros including shipping and nasty import duties).
Barlow 20 winches

I'll install this matching pair on the coach roof, mount the bronze Barlow 20 on the mast for the topping lift and use the Arco 43 to replace the failed Barlow 24.

The Arco gives me more muscle for the halyards, I will have a pair of matching winches on the coach roof - instead of the current ridiculous mismatch - plus an extra winch for the topping lift. And I SAVE over 500 euros for my next trip to the Algarve. Minimizing is the way to go.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Retire Early, Stop Worrying and Die Poor

Warning: this is an X-rated post. You must be over 50 to really appreciate it.

I've been feeling a bit disjointed since our cat died. It's as though I'm floating around no longer held in place by gravity. In other words, suddenly I don't give a shit. 

Maybe it wasn't the cat after all. Maybe - just maybe - it was the flaking paint on the mast that triggered it. I got all disconcerted and hyped, grinding my teeth about the stupid mast until I blew my last middle-class fuse. Consequently, I decided to scrape the mast and leave it ugly (sort of). It felt good, really good to solve the mast problem simply by not caring about what others would say and are saying.

Not caring what the neighbors think is serious business - it might take you to beautiful places populated by beautiful "losers." Suddenly you look at the real you in the mirror and wink because now you have a secret.

looking in the mirror
Why did I lash a mirror to a boat hook? To check the propeller, a cool trick. And yes, the prop is covered in barnacles.
Anyway, that led me to thinking about retiring early, not worrying and dying poor. Think about it, why would anyone want to die rich? What's the purpose of that? 

I've heard the argument that when you're "old" you need more money for health emergencies, home nursing, a fancy room in a retirement home, bla, bla, bla." What's the sense of sacrificing the good years to have better dentures when your teeth fall out and a fancy wheelchair when your legs go rubbery, your knees freeze and your pecker doesn't chirp anymore? 

My mind is made up. It's not going to happen overnight, but it's coming and there's no way to stop it.