The Story of Kim, Part II: Losing Glasses

Kim Home . . . Part I . . . Part III

8/17/00 (from note to Mom):

Running off to Balboa while it's still light, to see whether Kim has taken on any water since I pumped her last weekend.

8/21/00 (note to Saroja):

More work has been done on Kim. I pumped out her cabin last week, and the results held, so whatever leak she has must be a slow one. I should monitor more carefully how fast the water rises in her keel, but for now the answer is that we can keep the cabin dry and livable.

This weekend I scrubbed the decks down again, using soap this time on tough patches. With the cabin dry, I'm able to do a little more work inside, and I've figured out where the cockpit drains through the hull. I still haven't broken loose whatever's clogging that drain, but I'm a little further along in making the cockpit livable. Right now I'd rather not spend much time in the cockpit, and since it doesn't drain (I've pumped it dry once or twice), cleaning around it is awkward.

I took out the old battery, but I haven't replaced it yet. I'll need to put it back in and check running lights.

The engine still needs to be remounted. This is going to be a pain in the butt. I'll figure something out.

As far as I can tell, the hand pump for the bilge still doesn't work. I suspect it's clogged with algae. I probably need to take it off, clean it out and remount it. I'd rather have it work than keep using the little pump I'm using.

This week I replaced the main and jib halyards and raised both sails at anchor. The main needed airing out, since some bird had laid eggs in it. (Did I tell you that story?) I need to get new battens for the main, and there's a six-inch tear in it that needs mending. There are several other weak-looking spots in it, and in a perfect world I'd say we should get a new sail. The jib seems to be in fine working order, except for a couple of clips on the leading edge that are corroded closed, so I couldn't hook them to the stay. I applied WD40 liberally, and I hope it will do its job by the next time I get out there.

I put a lot of WD40 on a lot of moving parts this week--in most cases as prevention rather than cure.

The spinnaker halyard is shot. It must have broken at some point in the last four years. All the halyards are half rope, half cable; the cable part of the spinnaker halyard is intact, but the bottom part is at the top of the mast, with nothing attached to it to pull it down. The rest of it hangs loose on the deck.

Some of the cable sections on the halyards are starting to show wear, but nothing terrible. Next time the boat is dry-docked, we should replace everything. For now I just replaced the rope sections.

The mainsheet will probably want to be replaced too, but that can wait.

All the teak on the boat needs to be oiled, and all the painted wood surfaces are showing age and need to be completely sanded and repainted. A couple surfaces may be weathered beyond convenient repair. But they'll still hold.

And there's still a fair amount of the hardened bird crap on the deck that needs to be painstakingly scrubbed off, but it's not smelly or intrusive, so it can go little by little over time. When I left Kim last night, I tied fluttering pennants all over her, which I hope will help keep down the number of bird squatters. Two or three boats in the area have expressed great appreciation for the difference in smell.

On the whole, things are going well, and Kim is looking more and more sailable every weekend. I'd rather fix a few more things before we actually take her anywhere (the cockpit drain, for example), but the list is finite, and none of it is impoosible.

Kim's sail number is 132, by the way.

Once she's cleaned off real good and up and running again, I also want to rehabilitate the interior. It won't take much--some window curtains and new cushions in the aft part of the cabin, and I think she'll be a very happy boat, even sleepable. Once she's up and going, I could see trips to Dana Point or Long Beach to test her seaworthiness. After that, the world's the limit.

Oh, and I found out that Newport Beach does have overnight slips, but apparently it's a bright idea to phone in advance and make sure something's available.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Offshore Powerboat Racing Association (POPBRA) was at it again off Sunset Beach this weekend, doing the seaborne equivalent of what you have fun with in your cars. On my way down PCH to Newport, I stopped at a spot just north of Huntington Beach that overlooked the course, with all the huge boats roaring along. Good fun. After Kim's up and running again, rehabilitating one of those might be a possibility.

8/21/00 (from a note to a friend):

I was up at Kim Saturday and Sunday, and I have little holes all over my hands where the fraying steel cable took chunks out of my wet skin. But I left her cleaner than she was before, and I replaced two important lines before I left--the halyards. Halyard is from "haul" and "yard"--the yard arm was the piece of wood along the top of the sail on older boats, so the halyard was what you used to haul the sail to the yard. (Sailing English is a fun language.)

Anyhow, today the halyard is still what you use to haul the sail up and down the mast--there are three on this boat, each half rope and half cable, and the rope part of one is broken, so I couldn't replace it. But I replaced the rope parts of the other two, and got the sails up for the first time in four years. Yay!

8/21/00 (from a note to a friend):

For now I'm spending my weekends rehabilitating a 24-foot sailboat that's been sitting idle on its mooring for four years. After the scraping came replacing of lines. There's also been some pumping, and there's more to go before she gets moving, but yesterday I had Kim's sails up for the first time in four years, and she looked great.

8/21/00 (note back from a friend):

Hah, I got you beat, I've been helping rehabing a 30-foot Alberger.Refinished the tow rails. Replaced broken alternator bracket. Rebuiltlazeratte cover. Even sailed a little yesterday. We made it from Laguardiaairport up to the Whitestone bridge. Not much wind. Did a three day sale amonth ago to bring the boat down from Rhode Island. It was a blast. Wemotored (power sailed) the first days, but sailed into the dock on the thirdday (wing to wing or whatever it's called). So nice. We should meetsomewhere, Panama maybe??

So who's this Kim chick anyway? And why is she letting you touch her sails?


8/21/00 (from a note to another sister):

Got the sails up on Kim yesterday for the first time in four years. Minor tear in the main, and there have been a few other incidents along the way (more eggs found), but on the whole, she's cleaning up nicely, and with a few battens I think she'll do quite well. The spinnaker halyard, it turns out, was completely broken, so the fitting on the wire part is way up at the top of the mast with no way to bring it down. I'll have to sail over to a bridge and have someone reach it with a pole for me.

8/26/00 (from a note to Mom, who sent pictures from a sailing expedition on a second Kim, 25 years ago):

Thanks for the notes, and thanks also for the Kim pix, which I'll have to take to work, so we can compare them with the Kim that sits in the back yard today.

8/27/00 (note from my sister):

Do you need some Ham?
Do you need a goat?
Would you like that here or there?

That way you can have green eggs and ham on your boat with a goat!!

Do you like them Sam I Am?

8/27/00 (return note):

>That way you can have green eggs and ham on your boat with a goat!!

Speaking of green, you can assure Chris that the green he saw "growing" on the new pump we were using was only corrosion (the pump was brass). So no harm was done, and no extra algae was taking over the ship--just salt water.

And now the inside of Kim is pumped dry, and she stays that way; today I fixed the drain from the cockpit so it would actually let water out (it had been clogged with sand and feathers and who knows what else), and there are not just pennants hanging all over the rigging to discourage seagulls but also there's a rake sticking up from the mast so no cormorants come around and sit there (they're fond of high perches). I've raised the sail and the jib, and the jib is in fine shape; the sail could use a little mending (maybe a six-inch tear) and some battens, which will not be hard to find. Still need to remount the engine I put in with Chris, and still need to put a fresh battery aboard and check the running lights, but Kim is tidying up very nicely, and she should be sailing before much longer.

Maybe that's how I should come to visit you in Washington.

Deeply Yours

8/28/00 (note to Saroja):

Kim's doing pretty well, even though I didn't get as much time as I'd hoped this weekend to work on her. I was going to go down Saturday, but after heading up to South Gate to check in on a few things in the morning, I came home and flopped for a late afternoon nap that turned into an all-nighter. Guess I needed the sleep.

Got down there Sunday, though, and sorted a few things out. Put a rake at the top of the mast to counteract cormorants. Friday I'd come down to put a solar cell aboard--mostly for recharging the battery; I don't think the cell's strong enough to drive much. I also brought a fresh battery down, but it turns out I had a size too large, so this week I have to go exchange it for a smaller one. Sunday I brought an electric pump, which will work fine once the battery's in. It's a little loud, but it's very fast.

Best of all, Sunday I finally got the drain in the cockpit working. It was a good thing I did, as it turns out--not just to clean up the cockpit, but because I found out as I detached a hose that the cockpit outlet had corroded right through. The metal was weak enough to break in my hand, which it did when I tried to pull the hose off the fitting. So I zipped over to West Marine on PCH, got in 10 minutes before closing, and bought a new brass fitting, plus some caulking and a few other things I'd been meaning to pick up anyhow.

Back to the boat, and after a little filing of the original hole (do you know that a round file is called a bastard?), everything went in smooth. Of course, you're supposed to caulk only when things are dry and clean to start with, but I didn't have soap, water and a blow dryer handy, so I made do. Nothing seems to leak, and I poured a lot of water through. The cockpit is finally clean, and this also means I now can wash it out regularly, slopping lots of buckets of water through.

The head works too, incidentally--checked the plumbing there, out of curiosity, and figured it all out. Everything seems to run fine. I'm not so sure about the galley, though I haven't really explored it yet. There's a sink with a tap, and there are a couple of deep wells with drains, which I suspect are for keeping fish fresh in water. I haven't made any of this work yet. The handle on the tap for the little sink feels like it's a pump--I gave it a few strokes tonight, and nothing happened, so I probably need to open some valve further down the line to let water in. If it is in fact pumping in sea water, that means there's no fresh water facility aboard. There's also no cooking or refrigeration aboard; this all puts specific restrictions on trips. Not that you can't go anywhere; you just have to plan for food according to the implements you've got. (Stowing a little barbecue would be pretty easy.)

The remaining plumbing I want to fix is the gusher pump (the hand pump) for the bilge. I can use the little electric down in the bilge, but I'd like the manual pump to work too, for various reasons. It all seems to be hooked up correctly. There may be gunk in the hose. After I get that fixed up, I'll feel better about (for example) going into the cabin and doing a thorough washdown.

Checked the anchor line, assuming I'd want to replace it, but found that it looks to be in fine shape. There's a length of natural fiber (hemp? what do they make rope out of?), and a length of synthetic. The natural stuff is tied to the chain, so it's first into the water. If I'm planning on using the anchor, I might change the order--I presume the synthetic would last longer in salt water. I was also amused to see that the end of the synthetic line is tied into the boat with a piece of 1/4" line. So until we get it tied off more firmly to something in the boat, I guess it's best to make sure the anchor line is really solidly cleated up above. You don't want midnight surprises from anchor lines.

And my uncle asked, wisely, about the spinnaker halyard: Does Kim have a spinnaker? Well, maybe not. I don't know of any spinnaker for her, though there are a few spinnakers up in the house at Balboa. I also don't think there's a spot on the mast to fasten a spinnaker pole. On the other hand, there's a distinct third halyard, and I can't think what else it would be for. For the time being, the extra halyard will be a good solution for keeping a rake aloft while we're putting the other two to their intended use.

I suspect the best way to retrieve the third halyard will be to get the boat up and running, then go over to a bridge and have someone up above grab the fitting at the top of the mast with a boat hook.

Got an exploded diagram of the tiller handle on the engine this week. I didn't get a chance to start taking it apart, but I think there's a way to do this so I can get the engine mounted correctly without having to take a chunk out of the boat to remove it. We'll see. I'd rather not dump a bunch of engine parts into the water, so if it's a complicated disassembly, I may opt to file down a corner on the boat instead.

And once the battery's in, I can check the running lights. Not necessary for day sailing, but it's good to know. And I'll be glad to get cabin lights, actually, since I often clean up after the sun's already set. I have a good flashlight there, but it's not the same. I left a shirt there last night, not noticing it on my way out.

So we're down to a shorter, simpler list of stuff to do before sailing:

Remount engine
Install battery
Mend 6" tear in sail
Get battens
Fix gusher pump for bilge
Replace mainsheet, check traveler
Obtain and affix registration sticker
(Also: more antibird devices)

After sailing:

Check running lights
Fix spinnaker halyard
Clean gunk off bottom of boat
One day: Drydock, paint and refit boat
Sort out galley plumbing
Figure out how to open stuck drawers in galley
Replace cushions and pads in cabin
Scrub down cabin with alcohol (or whatever)
Get charts for round-the-world cruise

That's the Kim report for the week. How's the new job?

8/29/00 (note to Amsterdam friend):

>Cool! I never knew you were a salty dog!? How big is the boat?
>Make some pics for the mrJumbo site! I am very curious.

24-foot Columbia (call it 8m), with a cockpit and a little cabin, no fresh water that I've found, but a head (ship word for toilet), and a forward and aft compartment and pretty much enough room to sleep a couple, though maybe not the lap of luxury. Mainsail and a jib, enough to get around, and a ton of bird crap on it when I first set foot on her, but a lot of that has been fixed by now--all that's left is the really hardened stuff, most of it 2D, so until I lose it it's traction not obstacle.

For me the pleasure is in going out and fixing her up; I haven't sailed her yet. She's not ready, but even so, I'm not anxious. It's just a space I can reclaim and then call a little piece of my own. Taking her out, of course, will open a whole new set of doors. There are islands not far off the coast (30km maybe) that beckon. And there's room for guests. Plenty of new fun to have!

P.S. Have barely touched site since I got here. Not that I'm no longer interested, but there's been a lot of activity on many other fronts, so I've put it on the back burner for now. I am, however, collecting pix, and they'll get there eventually.

No pix of Kim yet, which may be just as well--I'll wait till she feels more presentable.

9/3/00 (note to Saroja):

I'm not taking photos of Kim, because I never did take original shots way back when she was still pretty bad. By the time it occurred to me to get before and after shots, I had already knocked all the bird crap off her, which was the most visible issue. (There's still all that green around the waterline, but that may not be "after" for a little while yet.) Most of what I'm fixing wouldn't be obvious or dramatic in photos--a replaced line here, an unclogged hose there.

But she continues to make progress. Today I was down there with my cousin Doug, who had the day off from football practice--he's in high school, and they're playing Thursday night. I made at least one major step forward today: I dumped my glasses in the water. So I drove home in sunglasses, around 9:30 p.m. I may go down at low tide tomorrow and see if I can find anything on the bottom, but odds are slim. The water's murky, and there's probably seaweed on the bottom, and without my glasses on, I can't see much unless I'm right up against it. Wire rims aren't going to stand out too well. We'll see. For the time being, I've got other glasses, but they're an older prescription. Gotta go get new specs.

Undaunted, we forged ahead and tweaked a few things aboard. I measured the batten pockets, and we taped the tear in the sail with sail tape. We looked at the engine and opted not to do much with it; we looked at the broken bilge pump and found that all the screws we want to loosen are frozen in good with corrosion. So we stitched it back together, and as long as the mail was already unrolled . . . we went sailing.

Well, don't get excited. It didn't go quite as well as one might hope. Yes, it was a shakedown cruise. We learned a few things. The good news is that the boat functions: The lines are in place; the rigging works; the rudder steers.

The unfortunate part was that we couldn't get going fast enough to really maneuver. The engine of course wasn't mounted right yet or even attached to a gas tank, so we had no extra forward force except paddles. Either the wind wasn't strong enough or there was too much seaweed on the bottom of the boat (or a mix of the two).

We made it across the bay and back, and we could do that fine, but we couldn't steer upwind far enough to make headway against the tide, which was going out. And we were right smack dab in the middle of the channel as fifty thousand large pleasure craft were heading out to sea for sunset cruises. Oh, and did I mention that the sun went down as we kept dodging back and forth? And did I mention that I had only my sunglasses to wear anymore?

We got a tow in, from a helpful powerboat. We could have let the sails down and paddled along, but we were fighting the tide, and it would have taken forever. As it was, I got the sails down by the time they had us back to the mooring. The detachment was somewhat complicated by their driving over the line on the upwind buoy, which had a floater on the end of it that got tangled in their drive housing (the guy cut the engine before he tangled his props). But we said our thank-yous and said goodbye. And then went to work putting the boat away. In the dark. With sunglasses.

Still some stuff that needs fixing, before taking her out again. First of all, must resolve the engine thing. Also battens, and I want to replace the mainsheet (which I forgot to bring back in with us). It holds fine, but it's an old enough line that I think we owe the boat a new one. If we get the engine running, I'm less worried about cleaning the gunk off the bottom of the boat, but it becomes clear that (in low wind at least) we do need to clean some. Doug reports that he and a friend actually cleaned the bottom a couple of years ago, with paint scrapers, which explains a few things.

Also, the rake I put up there last time seems stuck there now. It didn't come down with the halyard. That's O.K., but it's not completely stable. We should do something about that at the same time when we retrieve the spinnaker halyard. That can all come after the engine is up and running.

And we need to get some new glasses for the skipper.

There are also the issues of the battery (for running lights) and the registration sticker, which would both have been good to have if we'd ended up being towed in by the harbormaster. I think I know what the problem is with the bilge pump (Doug figured it out), so we can get a part and install it, if we can just undo the screws. If not that, there are other pumps around that we can install.

But she was up and sailing, at least for a few minutes there, and everything fundamentally works. Now it's just a matter of fixing those few remaining things and getting a little more wind. Then I think she'd steer better, head upwind better, and keep momentum better.

After that, it's Catalina or bust. (Well, maybe Dana Point first.) Doug said there was supposed to be a fresh water tank aboard, and we found it. Still a few questions about what drains where (is there a tank for the head, or does it just go straight out into the bay?), but things are more and more in order.

Once I get the engine mounted and running (maybe tomorrow?), I'll let you know, and you can come down and figure out what else I've missed that I'm doing wrong.

See you soon.

9/4/00 (note to Saroja):

Well, I got down to Kim early today, so I could catch the low tide and dive for my glasses, but that water looked pretty cold, so I never did get that far. (In the end, I had to jump in for something else, but that comes later--and it was high tide by then, and the light wasn't so good.)

Long story short, got the engine remounted, correctly this time.

Got three of four battens for the main, since Boat U.S. was out of the 24" x 1 3/8" size. The three I got work great. Also bought and installed replacement for mainsheet.

Back to the boat with supplies and, again long story short, got the motor running. Seems to be in fine shape. Gas is probably a little wanting (same gas can from four years ago, mostly old gas, plus I added too much oil).

Plenty else to screw around with on boat, which I proceeded to do. Started fixing some drawers that I had to force open. Phone rang. Cousin Ed has come down to the island. Let's go for a sail.

Remember yesterday, we went sailing (Ed's brother Doug and I) and we kept blowing downwind? Well, this time we have a secret weapon to keep that from happening: our own engine. So away we go.

This is where I jump in the water to unfoul the prop from a line that shouldn't have been there in the first place. But no harm done, and we're back up and running. Rigging is going more smoothly every time.

Now that we have an engine so we don't need to panic about drifting downwind, we can examine the problem a little more. Main issue seems to be that we can't get enough forward momentum with the sail to head upwind. Your fastest leg is always going to be a reach. On reaches, the boat moves enough to steer. As soon as you come up to point, the boat loses momentum and starts drifting downwind, often blowing backwards, which screws up the already sluggish steering.

Solution is probably to degrunge the bottom of the boat. Knew it had to come sometime. Now is apparently the time.

I'm a little concerned that the sail is luffing way before I feel it should as we head upwind. Degrunging the boat won't fix that. This may take a little studying. I may readjust some lines to tighten the sail a little. But if the boat can't point higher, getting around is going to be a problem. Maybe I'm doing something wrong.

Anyhow, we got back much less eventfully tonight, since we had an engine. Tied up, brought down sails and (inadvertently, but it was going to happen) the cormorant rake. I'm going to try to get down there tomorrow night to rehoist the rake. It made a big difference in boat doo when I put it up last week.

The good news is that aside from speed and pointing, everything on the boat is coming together very nicely. Most of the parts work, and the ones that don't are fixable over time. She is sailable, if only downwind for now, and the motor is up and running. There's still work to do, but I'm starting to feel like tangible, usable progress has been made. Kim seems happier these days.

Hope you had a fine Labor Day too, and I'll let you know when she's ready to receive visitors. As someone with a little experience around boats her size, you'll probably be able to recommend several things I could be doing better. I'll look forward to bringing you aboard.

See You Soon.

9/6/00 (note from a sister):

Dear Doug,

Your mother copied a couple of messages you sent her for me. It sounds like you are really getting into this Kim thing.

First of all, I recommend a band to keep your glasses on your face. Daddy always wore them. I hope you find your glasses, hard to see them without them on.

Regarding the caulk and lack of clean, it just means the caulk will not adhere as well and will need to be replaced sooner. You might want to go back when warm weather is predicted for a few days, remove the caulk ,let it dry and replace it when the surface is dry. Then again, it may last forever.

The head works by pumping sea water in to flush. Those type were outlawed in the 70s and you are supposed to have a self contained unit that you take somewhere and pay to have it pumped out. Something about pollution. Of course, a lot of people use the self contained unit then pump it over the side anyway. Be sure you close the seacocks when you are done so the boat will still float.

The galley sink faucet is most likely a pump. What you need to find is the fresh water tank that needs to be filled so it has something to pump for you. It may have some water in it and need to be pumped a long time to get the water to the top. Of course, if the tank has water in it, you then have the job of cleaning out the tank of scum after it has sat for all this time. Bring bottled water along.

Cooking and refrigeration are like camping. Bring a propane stove, it is safer than a barbecue and easier to control. You will either need to bring an ice chest along, or if you inspect the stowage areas under the seats in the cockpit or in the cabin, you may find one that is insulated and you just add ice and food. I try to camp with food that does not need a lot of cooking or refrigeration because it is easier. The same goes for sailing trips.

Your anchor line is a formula for losing the anchor. It is worth the cost to buy nylon line in the length you need without knots. Nylon is good because it will stretch when the tide or waves go up and down and it is synthetic so it will not rot. The anchor may not be that expensive to replace, but think of Kim wandering on the waves without an anchor and you will see the logic. Splice the line onto the anchor or have someone do it for you. Splice the other end onto some fitting on Kim. Hopefully there is one in the bottom of the locker where your store the anchor and the line. By the way, synthetic fiber is usually manila, if it is really hairy, it might be sisal which is cheap and not as strong.

This brings us to the spinnaker halyard. You may not have a spinnaker, but the halyard is the perfect way to hang your anchor light when you are at anchor anywhere but your usual mooring at night. The light should be an oil lamp which you attach to the halyard and the bow stay and hoist about 8 to 10 feet above the deck. You could use the jib halyard too, just detach it from the jib first.

Have fun. It always made me sad to see all the unused sailboats in the bay. I am glad one is being cleaned up and sailed.

9/8/00 (return note):

>I recommend a band to keep your glasses on your face.

I haven't had any problem keeping glasses on my face. The glasses I lost fell out of a pocket. Thanks anyhow for the Monday morning advice.

>Regarding the caulk and lack of clean, it just means the caulk will not
>adhere as well and will need to be replaced sooner. You might want to
>go back when warm weather is predicted for a few days, remove the caulk,
>let it dry and replace it when the surface is dry. Then again, it may
>last forever.

All good ideas. Actually, I had a look at the whole operation as I was doing it and decided that in this case the caulking was just for good measure--the way the thing is constructed, the water's going to want to go out the right place anyhow. Still, I'll probably go back and recaulk it after I get past a few higher-priority items.

>The head works by pumping sea water in to flush. Those type were
>outlawed in the 70s

On the registration papers it says Kim's a 1964 model. I haven't flushed anything down yet to make sure the head flushes straight out into the water, but I believe you are correct. I'm also checking plumbing on some of the other fixtures in the galley, to make sure I know where they go (or where the water comes from). You don't want to run a lot of water down a sink and then find out there's a valve at the other end of the hose that's corroded shut.

There are a couple of big sinks in the galley with drains on them but no apparent inlet for water. I've decided they must be ice chests. Maybe they're for fresh caught fish.

The boat smells a lot less than it used to. Maybe the next time you're down here, you will have changed your mind about whether you want to go sailing. If so, don't worry--I haven't thrown the scrub brushes overboard yet.

Big mission now that I've had it out actually under sail power is to knock a lot of the garbage off the bottom of the boat. It drags along so slow in the water that it has real trouble pointing up, and it's almost impossible to tack. At some point I'll want to dry dock the boat, because by now it needs a new coat of bottom paint. But I'll probably try scraping her where she sits first, to see if that makes any difference. If not, maybe it's just that the sail is too old and baggy to hold wind properly anymore. It luffs very early, which has me concerned.

Thanks for all the advice.

9/10/00 (from a note to a friend):

Spent yesterday poking through ship gear shops and rowing out to Kim, to fix, trim, tweak. I tried rigging a bosun's chair to go up the mast and replace a burned-out bow light, but I decided I'd rather have someone else holding the rope while I worked. I cut through some bolts that had corroded solid, to free up a pump that needs to be fixed or replaced. I watched the sun go down, and now that I have lights in the cabin, I spent a few minutes cleaning the little galley and making sure the drain worked. Then I stowed my tools neatly, shut off the power, locked the cabin and got in my little inflatable dinghy to row home.

Splashing home after dark is lovely. The moon reflects on the water's glassy ripples; you hear sounds of parties drifting across the water. A pelican splashes somewhere nearby; lights move in the distance.

Back to the beach, and the tide had come up some. Normally I wear swimming trunks ("board shorts," technically) to work on the boat, in case I need to go into the water to fix anything under the boat. This time I'd just worn my normal street shorts, and to hoist the dinghy up onto the catamaran where it sits, I had to shuffle out into the water far enough to wet their bottom edges. Not wet enough or far enough up the trousers to do any serious damage (like soak my wallet or the cash in my pocket), but I dripped back up to the house to consider whether to go out in wet shorts or drive all the way home to change. At the end of the day, there's nothing as lovely as sitting and mulling over the progress you've made on the boat.

9/14/00 (note to Saroja):

I got kinda distracted this weekend and didn't mail a Kim report, but I did get down there and put in some hours.

Found a set of battens that had already been on board the boat. Now I have two sets.

Managed to free three of four rusted-out bolts holding the hand pump for the bilge in place. Sprayed down the fourth bolt real good with WD 40, and I'll go back soon and see if I can't make it come out. (I had to cut two of the other bolts. The angle's not good on this one, or I would have cut it too.)

Chatted with a fellow about drydocking the boat; it should cost about $800 to do a bottom job. I can scrape a lot of the gunk off while she sits in the water, but she needs new paint to protect her. Also might be wise to check for hairline leaks, etc.

Put (finally) the new battery in the boat--after getting one that was the right size. It's VERY nice to have lights aboard, particularly when I work till late dusk. I can clean, mend, sort, fix, check, tally till the light is nearly gone, and then I can go into the cabin and put everything away without having to hold a flashlight to do it. (I also can put in a little extra work in the cabin). Port, starboard and stern running lights work; the bow light just above the spreaders on the mast is out. All the electric on the boat seems competently wired (except the unlabeled leads to the engine); the wiring seems to be in good shape. There's a doohickey that lets you alternate between two batteries for a power source, and there's still one unused circuit on the main switch panel, which I may dedicate to a small electric bilge pump.

Tried rigging a bosun's chair from a halyard to go up and fix the bow light (plus one or two other things), but decided I'd rather have someone else hold the rope while I work.

Misconnected the engine when I first put the battery in (leads weren't marked clearly--now they are), so I fried something inside. Engine still fires up fine, but the electric starter doesn't go, and it doesn't generate to recharge the battery. Someone optimistic who knows Mercury outboards said there should have been a fuse on it--we'll see. Other people talk ominously about rectifiers and stators, which take a little more to fix. One way or another, I'll fix it up. I may pop the engine out again to do the repair, since it could probably use some bottom paint too.

Did I mention I finally remounted the engine? I can never remember. In the end I did it by sawing a chunk out of the boat to work the engine back around into the position it's supposed to be in--it was easier and quicker than taking the engine apart in its old awkward position. Now I can move the engine around, install and remove it as originally intended. It works great, and when you can't get enough momentum to sail forward and tack and such because there's too much gunk on the bottom of the boat, the engine helps you stop floating out to sea. This is less humbling than asking other boats to tow you in, which is what we did the first time we tried sailing.

The engine has a little telltale, common enough, that pisses water out the back of the block to show the cooling system's working. Unfortunately, the way it's mounted, it's pissing water into the engine compartment, not the bay. I will need to install some kind of very complicated mechanism cut from a bleach bottle to get the water to slide back into the bay, instead of into the boat.

And I got a fancy new gizmo to keep birds away, which seems to be working great. It has wires sticking up with weights at the end, so they dangle and bob all over the deck. That, plus, the plastic pennants fluttering, plus the cormorant rake at the top of the mast, are doing great so far at keeping new deck dung to a minimum. (Might also be that there's a person on the boat often enough for the birds to take it off their routine itinerary.)

Oh, and my aunt found the registration stickers for the boat, so once we put them on and fix the bow light, we should be up to Coast Guard code.

I now have opened all drawers, doors, panels, etc. in the cabin, so I have a better sense of what's plumbed where, and what gear is already aboard (turns out we have plenty of motor oil). I rasped some edges down on a few of these, so they'd open more easily in the future. As the boat dries from several years of sitting wet, some things may get a little less swollen. (And remind me everything probably needs new oil, varnish, etc. I also took down some kitchen cleaner and a scrub pad to spiff up the cabin a bit.)

Had a conversation with someone at Boats U.S. who seemed to know what she was doing with boats, and I think the solution for my problem with luffing may be to loosen the line that runs along the leech of the sail, from the top of the mast to the aft end of the boom. That makes sense to me anyhow, and I'll try it. She also explained that all nautical winches go the same way, which is why the jib winch on the starboard side and the one on the port side have to be threaded differently. I had assumed you'd thread them symmetrically, which would mean they'd have to ratchet in opposite directions. I guess I thought wrong.

And I learned that one of the big tubs in the galley has no inlet and no outlet. It's just a big sink. That puts you in a very interesting position if you use it for anything liquid, of course, because there's no way to drain it. I guess you're meant to sponge it dry.

This isn't meant to be a coherent rundown, just some scattered thoughts on what's going on with the boat. As you may have surmised, I send these messages partly to give myself a chance to collect my thoughts and evaluate where we are in the big picture. But it's not just that: Kim's getting to the point where she also could sensibly take on a few visitors, if you're ever looking for an excursion. I'd feel better if I get the bottom casually scraped before you come down, so I'll know she can sail and you won't be wasting your time. But that should be a short morning's work (hah!), so anytime you'd like to come by (maybe bring the boys?), you're welcome.

Other than that, things bubble right along, but there's not time enough in the world to write about the rest of life. (You'll just have to come see for yourself.)

9/17/00 (from a note to a sister)

>>I haven't flushed
>> anything down yet to make sure the head flushes straight out into the
>> water, but I believe you are correct.
>Use a tissue and check below the water for it on the side of Kim with
>the head on it.

No kidding. You should be an inventor or something.

>> There are a couple of big sinks in the galley with drains on them but no
>> apparent inlet for water. I've decided they must be ice chests. Maybe
>> they're for fresh caught fish.
>Or your food. Do they look like they had covers in the past?

They have covers now. Curiously, one of the sinks has neither inlet nor outlet.

>You might get a feel for the shape of the
>hull. We are assuming that Kim has a keel and not a centerboard?

Those of us who have swum under Kim aren't assuming. Can't remember where you were at the time. Maybe topside, peering into the water off the port bow for a floating tissue?

>It is amazing how much baggy sail you can tolerate when you price new

I should think if this sail's no good, I'd buy one used--no point wasting money to have one custom stitched. But I don't think we're at that point yet, so I haven't worried it much yet.

>If you did, how tightly did you set the luff of the
>jib? It pulls you around when you tack and helps you point up. How much
>wind did you have?

More to the point, right now I'm looking at the topping stay, or whatever it's called. I think I'm rigging it too tight. It should be slack. Haven't tried running with it that way yet.

There were some odd decisions made in the boat's rig, some of which leave me second-guessing. It's not unusual to second-guess wrong the first time, leaving third or fourth guesses to get it right. Trial and error seems to be doing fine so far--I'm in no hurry. The goal is to sail it, not to sail it today.

9/22/00 (from an essay written by nephew Chris)

I'll Never Forget

I have had a lot of good times in my life to remember. Like birthdays, parties, dances and time spent with family and friends. I have always remembered the times my family and I have spent at Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California. Some of the things I like to do there are sailing, playing in the sand, eating Balboa bars, riding on the ferries, seeing the Tiki, the Fun Zone, the walks around the islands, and the pier with the restaurant Rubies on it.

I will start with what we usually do in the morning and end with what we do at night. We wake up in the morning eat breakfast and go down to the beach at the end of the street. We bring buckets, shovels and boogie boards. At the beach we play in the sand and swim. My mom will try to get my aunts and uncles to swim around the island with her, but I always row around with her. Last time we went down for the summer we sailed the Hobie Cat. We looked at a boat called the Kim. It is an old boat that has been in the family for a long time. We thought that it looked pretty nasty. The top was covered in duck yuk and on the inside it was filled with about an inch of water and algae growing in the bottom. My uncle has been cleaning it and updating us on how clean it's getting.


Kim Home . . . Part I . . . Part III

Highway 127 . . . Desert . . . Town . . . Football
Balboa Island . . . Ferries and Pavilion . . . Beaches . . . Kim
New Year's . . . Bluesmobile . . . Whaling . . . The Prayer Wheel
Tall Ships . . . Santa Barbara Island Hop . . . Minding the Train

Cali Index

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