Isotherm water-cooled refrigerator upgrade to coolbox 

A rather inelegant title for a cool technology addition to Frank.

Isotherm have a range of freezer/fridge solutions that can turn a coolbox into a freezer or fridge. The SP (Self Pumping) range appeals to me because there is no need for a pump, thus reducing power consumption at sea.
The system works by replacing the existing, through-hull sink drain cock with a larger (2.5″) unit inside which is embedded a coolant coil. The under-water exterior surface of this unit uses sea water to cool the refrigerant via the coil, which is wrapped around the drain out-pipe. 

This picture is worth a thousand words:


The unit I will install is the SP 2051 with an “o”-shaped cooling panel:


The drainpipe cock is attached to the assembly.

The under-water face of the self pumping cock. An anode fits to the face.


The sacrificial anode was not in the box – I shall get one, make sure I have all the components and then have the assembly fitted when Frank is hauled for her annual scrub and antifoul at Ingleside.

I can install the compressor later, or maybe have the yard do it.

Forehatch new window fitted

I was umming and ahh-ing about whether to repair or replace the forehatch, and getting advice from the invaluable Sadler & Starlight Owner Forum this weekend. On Saturday, around 16:00, I started searching the internet for companies to make me a new window insert to replace the leaky one.

I called Bluff Plastics not expecting to get a response, and spoke to the owner, Charlie (“the old man” as he later termed himself). Yes, he was open, and yes, he did that sort of thing. I drove over with the old one.

He did not have any half inch in tinted, but he had clear. He quoted $85.60 or similar, and said it would probably be done “tomorrow” – Sunday. I was gobsmacked. He promised a call by 14:00.

Actually, he called at 11:00, and I went around to collect it. On the way back I stopped at a West Marine (newly opened, by the look of it) that I saw on the way to his place, bought some sealant, and then stopped at an AutoZone to buy window tint film.

Now to see if it leaks…



If it leaks, I will buy a new hatch.

And I have found someone to do the polycarbonate (aka Perspex or Lexan) for my planned replacement for the Chicken Coop!

Forehatch..

The perspex has a couple of holes, where the retaining screws have rusted, expanded and cracked the surface. Water was entering here and then seeking a way through, which it found via the handles.

So I have removed the perspex, to take a look-see and decide: repair or replace?

Instrument Panel

Having read an article on the vital importance of labeling wiring, I have added that to my “to do” list.

This is the panel:

Frank Instrument & Electrical Panel


The modular switch panel, closeup:

Switch Panel. I took out the fridge and diverted the power to the workstation for satnav, comms, fm/sw radio etc.


Snakes’ wedding: the wires. White ones tend to be legacy wiring and domestic lights, some live and some redundant but left in situ. Some labeling done, lots to do!

Up the mast (part 1).

(May 12th 2017)

This evening I dug out my Aloft Alone mast climbing kit and shimmied up the mast.

I need to work out where and to install the bluetooth SailTimer wind instrument, which replaces to previous wired one. I had the rigger install a new “manual” wind vane last year – it lasted a few weeks before a pteradactyl knocked it off. 

Also, the  line for hoisting courtesy flags has been broken for a few months, so whilst on the way up I was able to get that fixed.

I previously sent my drone up to take a look (I should post this to YouTube) but have to get up there to touch, see and feel.

Here is what I saw..

Yacht Club, boat yard, Corpus.

Sunset, Corpus Christi

Base of wind vane, demolished by belligerent bird: new home of SailTimer

Tri-color mast nav & anchor light, green mousing string and redundant wind instrument cable from old unit

Funfair, Corpus Promenade, obscured by Colin.

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.