Now let’s put it in place

… But first, let’s fix that bilge pump, lest we lose another night’s sleep!

Notice my (James’) new hair cut!  Doesn’t it look great with my hands in the bilge?

Lying awake in the middle of the night back at the community, I fantasized about how dreadful this job was going to be.  Covering my entire body with bilge muck, screaming and cussing, wishing that I could just…smoke a cigarette…take a shotgun and blow seven holes into the hull of that boat and just watch it sink…

With the Rule SuperSwitch, there’s a hole for a fastener at the forward end.  There’s also a notch under the float for a second fastener, in a place that is designed by a truly insane human being.  You cannot get to it with any tool.  You have to set the fastener up first…remember, this is in the oily, stinky, freezing bilge…put it at the perfect depth, slide the notch around the fastener, and then tighten the whole thing down with the forward fastener.

I’ve done this job before and it never takes less than 3 hours.  But this time, the old switch literally came apart in my hands.  It just disintegrated.  I set the screw at the perfect depth and slid the switch onto it the very first time.

I clipped all the wires down, hooked everything up, did all the shrink wrap, and the whole job took about an hour.

The most important thing about this picture: when using a very powerful hand tool, you should always look at your job.

But damn, I look good.

Did I mention I got a haircut?

There it is.  That’s all the bilge pump you’ll ever see.  In the upper left corner of the photo above?  That’s the bilge pump switch – with both auto and manual! – and oh, yeah.  It works perfectly.

And did you notice the 12.79 volts? That’s our solar panels working perfectly.

Next, let’s move all our shit.  Including the kitchen sink.

We had to move everything in order to get at the outboard corner of the bulkhead forward.  It was still raw fiberglass, and that had to change.  So I (Dena) got all up in there.

In case you’re wondering, I’m holding that piece of azek up with my knee while cutting a notch into a small chunk of azek.  The notch is the guide for the pencil (yes, that’s the other thing I’m holding) that marks the shape of the hull onto the big piece of azek.  So much harder to explain than it is to do.

With the shape of the hull marked, I got to use my favorite tool.  It’s been there for me through thick and thin (materials).  My Bosch jigsaw.  Again, not modeling the best in safety behaviors, what with using my legs as a table.  But there it is.  It worked.

This was the part of the (our) weekend where we pull all of the cabling back through the bulkhead in order to install that piece.  That meant disconnecting 110volt power, 12 volt power, propane, the radar, and the VHF coaxial antenna cable.

A very sad moment for me (James).  Being as though it was the most beautiful connection I’ve ever built in a coaxial cable.  It was the perfect length, no solder drips anywhere.  It looked like it came out of a factory, and I did it with my own two hands in a cramped environment.  Boo-fucking-hoo.  Clip.

As you see in the picture above, the piece that Dena cut and installed makes a smooth transition from the oak to azek.  Rather than run the electricity, propane, radar, etc all up in our shit like it was before, we’re routing it under the cabinetry through access ports that we drilled in a straight line all the way through each part of the cabinet from forward to aft.  Also, since we cut a 3″ hole, we won’t have to cut off any more perfectly hand made  connections.  Ever.  Again.

After working all day, we decided to celebrate.  This is us, celebrating.

We love being on the boat.

Today, we got up early, went to breakfast at our favorite place in Noank (Carson’s), and got to work.  We had originally planned to prime the first day and then paint the second day, because it was going to be so warm.  Instead, we spent the first day on the bilge switch and float switch, the bulkhead piece, the wiring, and the braces for the countertop.

Once we mocked it up, we really wanted to see exactly where all our new hatches were going to be.  We needed to know what kind of access we were going to have with all this new space.

Sure enough, putting the sink in place and loosely adding the plumbing created a gaping void between the hull and all that hardware.  We could put a shelf in, but we’re talking 10 or 12 cubic feet that we weren’t going to be able to access from the front.

Logic suggested that our other options were accessing it from the top or the sides.  We decided on both.

Two access hatches on the top (behind the sink) will allow us to load that shelf up with 50 pounds of rice, legumes, etc.  We’ll pull individual bags out from the side as we need to refill our stores.

The mockup also got us the exact sizes and positions of the big drawer, the door to the plumbing (and cleaning supplies storage), the seacock access hatch, and the other two fold-down hatches for the storage lockers under the stove and the new settee.

With all those pieces marked out, we added a salty touch – rounded corners a la This Old Boat magazine.

Then, well…we made the cuts.  Punching a slot with a drill bit just big enough for the jigsaw blade, then running that sucker around in circles over and over again.  In the end, we had 7 round-cornered rectangles in the bike cart’s bag and a total of 11 holes in the top and face of our cabinet.

This week’s work at the community: build the drawer, cut the shelf, make covers for all the hatches…and whatever else catches our fancy.

This is what we get when we’ve been gone for two days!



  1. Thinking about you guys out there today, adding the next exciting features to the DreamBoat. Cheering for you and hoping it’s all fitting together puuuurrrrfectly.

  2. Aloha my Friends,
    Looks like winter is not ready to quit.Be safe on 2 wheels…and 2 feet also.
    Hope everything is going well for you. Chin up , my Brother.

  3. As I’m sure you’ll see in this weeks post, the job is still “the only work worth doing!”
    Thank you Ton and Kate for your unyielding support!
    Aloha’s all around!!!

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