“Recommissioning” 

What’s required to get Red Ranger ready? 

Cleaning. After over a year of sitting empty, Red Ranger is very dirty. So far, the galley is clean enough to cook in. The cockpit is now clean enough that we can start to look at the heads and berths.

Water. The port side tank (we thought) was mostly empty. It turns out it’s nearly full. And. Weirdly. The water is very, very clean. The last time we even looked in the tank was at least 18 months ago. Maybe longer. 

I blame a chlorine shock treatment years ago. We put in about a quart of chlorine. It smelled like a swimming pool for weeks. But. Everything is still shiny clean inside the tanks. We’re able to wash (and shower) and generally run water through the system as fast as we can.

Heads. We’re going slow on commissioning the nature’s head. We’re at the dock. We can walk ashore. Forward head will be cleaned in the normal course of events.

Oil Change. Step 1 is to start Mr. Lehman to warm up the oil so it can all be pumped out. This is a nervous thing. Have we done all the maintenance rituals correctly? 

After over a year of sitting idle, the engine started right away. Amazing. 

The oil change went “smoothly” (Heheh. Smooth. Oil. Heheh.) I recall many years ago having absolute fits because I didn’t have the right tool or I slopped oil all over the place. This year? It was a thing of beauty.

Okay. It’s an oil change. But. I did it without any slip-ups or confusion or shouting from the engine room. So. I think it was delightful.

Same for the outboard lower-unit oil change. This is (generally) a nightmare because you push oil up into the lower unit until it’s full. Then slap a screw in the upper hole and rely on surface tension and atmospheric pressure to hold 12 oz. of 90-weight inside the lower unit until you can manage to get the other screw in place. Ugh.

Did it this year with minimal spillage. Nothing a yogurt tub and oil pad couldn’t handle. 

Software. The updates are in an “all but one thing” state. The Simrad NAIS-400 has a software update available. But. There’s no easy way to do this from a Macintosh. There’s a windows app. But. I don’t think I want to go full Boot Camp for this. I certainly don’t want to pay a Windows licensing fee for one small job.

So. I’m still researching how to upgrade the SRT board inside the Simrad unit. A possibility is reverse engineering the .EXE file that comes with the download. I suspect there’s a NMEA command that’s required to upload the new software image (maybe some variation on the PSRT command? One hates to experiment and create a $500 brick.)

There’s an “admin” password required for these kinds of things. See http://yachtelectronics.blogspot.com/2011/02/srt-proprietary-ais-commands.html. We’ll be going slowly here.

Dock Lines. CA doesn’t like the old dock lines. They came with the boat, making them at least 10 years old. Some of them are looking ratty. They’re ¾″ double braid: heavy and kind of short. Some experts suggest ⅝″ line will work just fine for a 42′ boat. Some experts also suggest the minimum length for a dock line is the length of the boat. Add to that two spring lines that are 1.5 × length. So. I’m thinking of 4 40′ ⅝″ and 2 60′ ⅝″ double braid. Maybe we’ll keep the nicest two pieces of ¾″ and put the rest in a recycling container. 

Or. See the classic Hervey Garrett Smith The Arts of the Sailor: Knotting, Splicing and Ropework (Dover Maritime). There’s a way to make a rope mat. I’ve made a few, and they’re super handy. Made out of ¾” line… They’d be fat. But. They keep heavy things from banging around.

We’ll keep the two pieces of 50′ ⅝″ twist, since they’re handy and not very bulky.  I may tie a lineman’s loop into the middle of each one to make it slightly easier to drop them over the midship cleat.

We’re getting there. Much to do. Stay tuned.

ty  © Steven Lott 2020