Frank’s New O.N. (Official Number from the U.S. Coastguard).

I have received the paperwork from USCG, recording Frank as a proud member of the US Pleasure Sailboat fraternity! Before I am fully compliant (and compliance is a big, big thing with Uncle Sam) I have to do some stuff.

The docs that I have received enabled me to register Frank with the State of Texas, which clearly needs my taxes, so I paid the $125. Cash only, please. No debit or credit cards. The ladies in the Kerrville Parks Office are delightful, and very helpful. I now have two stickers to adorn the bows.

I have to mount the new Official Number inside the boat, just like the “carving” that British yachts are supposed to have, in a manner that will make it obvious that it has been removed should that be done.

3 inch letters, preceded by NO. Not too subtle. I have been mulling this over, and decided to do the new “carving” (as you know, so-termed because it would have been carved into the main beam) in plastic.

Here are some pics:

To make the numbers I bought some 3″ aluminum (aka aluminium 😉 ) door number signs, which would act as moulds for 2-part liquid moulding plastic. I also bought some modeling clay, and small wooden letters N and O. 


Here is the plastic. Fast setting and easy to use. Just mix and pour into the mould.


I made the NO by pressing the letters into a lump of clay, butting the NO up to the numbers plate once it was made, and pouring on more plastic. For some reason the color is slightly different. I was hoping to leave the plastic background unpainted as it is similar to the color of Frank’s saloon. I will see how it looks next time I get to the boat.


Some black paint on the raised numbers and letters, plus a colon, gives me the Official Number plate. I will border it when it is mounted, with some teak. Where to mount it? Hmmm.


Probably, I will paint the background, to tidy up the appearance.

Having ordered new vinyl for Frank’s adopted hailing port of Corpus Christi, TX, I just need to remove Douglas IoM from the transom and apply the new one. Whilst she is in the water..

Remaining tasks include adding some compliance stickers in the boat, re-varnishing the flag pole and running up a new Stars & Stripes!

Leaks are all the rage these days..

The rear quarter cabin has a long and proud history of leaks

The previous owners have fought long and losing battles against leaks, which run down the sidewall of the read quarter cabin and make for damp sleeping. This is one of my next tasks.

Frank’s four previous owners have failed to cure the leaks in 30 years: is it an “undocumented feature” of the Sadler 34?

Yanmar Engine Mountings

Dead exciting..

Despite being installed less than three years ago, the new engine mountings were rusting badly. They may have been installed unpainted, in the rush to get the re-fitted engine back into Frank before Endeavour (the business doing the refit) closed their doors. The original mountings had been in terrible shape, rotted through and broken in at least one case.

The new port side mountings were rusted worse than the starboard side, so I think that the situation was exacerbated when Frank was hauled out and stood on the hard at St Croix Marine. Tilted just a degree or two down at the stern and to port, sea water in the sump under the engine and in the shaft transmission space was topped-up by rainwater leaking into the sump. 

So the port mountings stood in water from June until November, when I returned to St Croix and bailed out the sump.

The mountings are substantial, so will not fail for a good few years yet, but I put some Rustoleum (like Hammerite in the UK) on them. Not a pretty job, but the photos here belie the lack of space and limited access that I had.

Front port


Front stbd


Rear port


Rear stbd


Whilst I was at it, I painted the rusty clamp that holds the shaft to the gearbox. If I find the correct term for it, I will edit this!

Forecabin/Heads door re-hung

Somewhere along the way from Gosport to Corpus Christi, the door of the heads, which swings to also act as the door for the v-berth in the bow, swung off its hinges.

It probably happened on the first leg Gosport to Camariñas, which was replete with weather. I was stuck at the helm as the door slammed its way to and fro, until it finally exhulted in its freedom. In the loo.

So when I finally had a spare moment I stowed it up front with the other stuff, where it has languished until today.

The hinge is one of those “riser” or “gravity” hinges, like on a saloon swing door, so it has three positions and a tendency to stay in the middle position. However, the bottom hinge is in a “wet” place, by the heads shower bilge. So it corrodes. Especially as Frank ships sea and rain water through the anchor locker, forehatch, ports and from other as-yet unknown sources.

The wet patch:

The door, newly-installed on its new bottom hinge

From the SSOA Forum, I had learned of a supplier of Centurion hinges, Door Handles Direct and today the heads door came top of the to-do list! I must admit that I bought the hinge set back in February 2016, and I only opened the parcel today. The hinge is not stainless steel, just brass-coated metal. So it will corrode again. I bought two pairs..

The old hinge bottom looks very similar to those that I bought, so sometime in Frank’s past, an owner has been through this. On removing the old hinge I could see that the door originally had a spigot inserted into the bottom edge, on which it would pivot. The spigot sat in a hole, which had been repaired a few times, and then the bottom setup was replaced with a new hinge – perhaps from the same supplier.

Here are some pics:

Unhinged by corrosion. The bottom hinge pivot.


Hole in one’s boat: where the bottom hinge sat. Originally the door pivoted on a spigot that sat in the hole

Bottom of door. The hole is where the spigot would have been inserted. Remains of replacement spigot assembly, including nylon riser, are in place. Just..

The top hinge: this works. The top spigot seems to be stainless steel.


I painted the hinges in Rustoleum, in the forlorn hope of holding the corrosion at bay.

Gear selector repaired, Impeller changed.

I am still mystified as to how it happened, but the Morse gear/throttle selector became reversed during the journey from St Croix to Port Aransas. So pushing forwards selected reverse. Possibly it was like that when I departed St Croix Christmas Eve 2015: I know it was reversed when I rewired & restarted the engine off Port Aransas.

[From just past Grand Cayman, until just off Port A, I had no engine. There was a hidden break in the positive terminal lead from battery to starter motor, which I eventually, and accidentally, bypassed. The electrician in Camarinãs had mis-wired the setup, and I quite by chance bypassed the problem, only to top up with contaminated fuel].

Last week, I removed the Morse Controler and reversed the gear selector wire. There is insufficient room to reverse the gear selector cable at the gearbox. There is no room between the fuel tank and cockpit wall, and the tank is full, so rather than faff around I pulled the controller through the cockpit wall, mounting it flush with the wall. Before, it was mounted to the rear of the wall.

Accordingly, the controller is now about half an inch proud of  the cockpit wall, but will be easier to access when I need to service the cables in future. I put a wooden shim between the Morse plastic cover plate and the cockpit wall. I will replace it with something prettier in due course. Meanwhile, I now go forwards when I select forwards.

Morse Controller shim in place, waiting for sealant to set


Next I changed the impeller. Yanmar have fiendishly designed the 3JH2E such that this is a hard job, as the starter motor and raw water pump are in close proximity. Three hours later, the new impeller is in place. The old one was in good condition until I used long-nosed pliers to extract it. Here is an old raw water pump, with impeller in situ, and the extracted impeller:

Yanmar 3JH2E raw water pump and old impeller, damaged during extraction.


The US Coastguard has finally issued my docs. I now need to change the marked port of registry on the stern from Douglas IoM to Corpus Christi, TX, and make an Official Number plate to be mounted somewhere in the boat.

Shredded Spray Hood 

I have finally started editing the videos from my solo sail across the Atlantic. From the crossing of Biscay, here are a couple of screen shots of my spray hood as it deteriorated following direct hits during the nights of 6-8 November 2014.

The spray hood after the first Biscay storm , 07:10 GMT Nov 7th 2014

Almost gone after the second storm in Biscay, 07:20 GMT Nov 9th 2014

Aerial Pics

I finally plucked up the courage to fly my Solo Drone to take some pics of Frank.

The goal was to take a look at the top of the mast, so I could decide where to put the Bluetooth wind instrument from SailTimer. And to get some external pics of Frank.

Here is the video:Birdseye View of Frank. It works best if you download rather than stream from the link – the file is about 70mb.

Top of mast showing light, antenna and missing wind vane

Christmas Lights

Today, Corpus Christi Marina had its Boat Parade, in which Frank took part by not participating, thus keeping the average quality high. Boats motor past the assembled throng beautifully illuminated with Christmas lights aloft.

I did not watch because I have been fixing Frank’s mandatory and domestic lighting.

When the mast was stepped for the keel refit, the rigger cut the wires for lights, wind instrument and the vhf co-ax. I ran a new (thicker, better) co-ax down the mast, topped with a better antenna from Vesper Marine, a Kiwi company. The antenna is attuned to the Vosper Watchmate AIS transponder as well as supporting the VHF and AM/FM/SWB radio.

To get from the boatyard to Corpus Christi marine I rigged up a temporary connection for the VHF and navigation lights. So finally, I have fixed things properly.

The mast light that was fitted when I bought Frank was an LCD tri-light, and it soon failed. So I replaced it with a combo tri nav light and anchor light. The light is changed between modes (navigation and anchor) by reversing the polarity. Not having the right switches at the lighting panel, I jury rigged a toggle switch where the cable from the mast joined the cables to the power. In the heads. Not very elegant but it worked.

I have moved the toggle switch to the control panel, making things much tidier and easier. 

The running light and spreader light are rather odd, in that the yellow/green wire is live, as is the brown one. One for each light. I am not sure why the spreader light is so named, as it illuminated the foredeck from below the spreaders. Anyway, after some trial and error, which seemed to indicate a short somewhere either in the mast or between power switch and junction box, I wired them too. No short.

Next was the interior. One twist light (rotate the cover to turn off and on) has disintegrated inside – I might scavenge from an unused light in the locker. Another turned itself on and off at random, and I have fixed that. Both port and starboardlight circuits are now working, but I need to replace a couple of bulbs (lcd).

The Bow navigation light was another jerry rigged patch. The original had given up the ghost, and the wiring in the chain locker was rotten. So, back in Gosport in 2014 I installed a new light. The original wire is hard mounted into the fiberglass and is routed between the inner and outer hulls, so totally inaccessible, as well as rotten. So I ran a new wire to a switch that I installed in the front V berth. Not very practical but it did the job. 

Happily, I found some good, unused wires that run from the control panel to the heads – live, negative and earth. I used the earth for the mast light and the +ve and -ve ones to run power from the nav light switch at the control panel to the bow light.

I have lost power to the light of one compass, but that can be remedied later.

So I no longer need to head to the heads to set the navigation lights!

As a special treat, I polished the kettle “as new”, so it is a joy to use on the newly polished stove.

Next I have to decide what to do with the log, which is rigged above the chart desk, because I did not want to cut the co-ax cable in order to thread it through the boat up to the binacle.

Then I will tidy up the electrics at the chart desk. Lost more to do, but making progress…

Webasto Diesel Heater 

Frank has a Webasto Air Top 2000 diesel heater – it takes a minescule feed of diesel from the engine’s fuel tank and burns it, generating warm air which is ducted into the boat. 

The unit was cleaned and serviced before I left the UK, but it had a problem which caused the heater to shut down after 10 minutes, which was actually enough to warm up the boat during the winter. However, I was a tad concerned about using it, and eventually ignored it. Further south and west, I had no need of it.

This Thanksgiving weekend I fixed the wiring (corroded connections) and also fixed a small leak in the fuel supply feeder pipe.

Here is the new pipe, plus a couple of shots of the fuel tank which is in the port lazarette:


The heater seems to work, but I will need colder weather to give it an extended test.