Keel bolts galore!

Today it’s been pretty much all about keel bolts. First I reassessed the situation after breakfast. Another way of putting it is that I sat and stared at the keel bolts, wondering what to do.

I talked to the people here at the boat yard and their comment was that the bolts needed an inspection, at the least. To undo one or two nuts to start with and if the bolt is to my satisfaction, assess that this is the state of all the bolts or not and be done with it. If they are in a state where it is hard to guess how it looks below the hull, we would need to remove one full keel bolt. And it might be one hell of a project. To remove, and possibly replace all 16 of them might be a task for days.

So, first step: clean up. I went to the local farmers co-op and got a steel brush cup for my grinder, some protective gear, and some rust remover and Denso tape for later. I also got some cutting discs for the grinder, just for good measure. And you never know when I will need one, so why not. A grinder without discs is pretty useless.

After some hours all 16 bolts were cleaned off as good as I could with the grinder, making a perfect mess in the entire boat. I could possibly have continued making them perfect by hand, but seriously… Why perfect when done is what was needed?

The one thing that I forgot to get from the co-op was penetrating oil, to use so that I could at least have a chance to get the nuts off without breaking my back. So I will get that tomorrow and let them sit for the day.

They did get a bit cleaner after the grinder as you can see in the top picture, but the rest of the boat is now filled with dust everywhere. So I will definitely have to have a through and through cleaning session as soon as we have put this ordeal behind us.

Tomorrow while waiting for the penetrating oil to do its magic, I will try to inflate the dinghy and see what it looks like. I don’t even know what size it is, but I’m certain it isn’t large. This is a crucial step to get Away into the wet again, since it will be my only mode of transportation in the future. The little Honda outboard that came with it has been lying on its side all winter, possibly the wrong side (the warning label is not entirely clear on how it is supposed to be stored), leaking oil so it will also have to have som maintenance. Topping up the oil is probably high on the list. Checking all fluids I guess. I hope it will start.

Oh, yeah! I finally picked up a parcel that has been waiting for me the whole week! First when I was to pick it up they didn’t have it, then their internet connection was down for two days so they couldn’t register the parcel, so they didn’t accept it. But today I got it! In it was three things that costed waaay to much, but they are essential so it is just a matter of paying. First I got my handheld VHF radio, which is really needed when talking to nearby vessels or marinas while at the helm, since my radio doesn’t have an extension to the helm position. It is also really useful if we are more people and have people out on expedition and needs to get into contact with the boat for some reason. It is waterproof and floats. And have a built in FM-radio. It’s awesome. The second thing was my AIS. It’s a transponder, telling everyone with an AIS receiver where I am, what speed I got and all that good stuff, so that we can decide if we will crash unless we alter course. Safety first! The last item I got is just a boring VHF/AIS antenna splitter, but it means I don’t have to have another antenna to get the AIS to work. Win! Because cables is heavy, and having more cables up the mast is going to affect the heeling and comfort of the boat. No bueno. Oh, yes, the AIS can talk NMEA 2000 and is connected via WiFi, so hopefully I will get all that goodness on my iPad and phone as well! And I will wire it all together with the auto pilot so that it once again can get GPS signals.

Not a bad day at all, really.

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