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Friday, April 21, 2017

Bittersweet

Here's a shot of The Floating Empire, making her voyage to her new home, witnesses in attendance.

The Floating Empire sails off on her new adventure.
I'm sentimental about stuff in my life, and this is no exception.  The Empire has been our home for going on four years.  We built every inch of her, sweat and blood literally in every screw driven, every board cut.  I'm so very happy not to have had to break our little ship, and delighted that she's in the hands of someone who will give her the care she needs.  We're off to new adventures with Tesla's Revenge, new creations, new places, but still. . . .

I shall miss her.

Many more photos over at Life, Art, Water of her departure.

And now, our new saga begins.

M

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Moving Day

Moving is always such a treat.

Yes, that was sarcasm in case you missed it.

Be it house to house or boat to boat, moving is a pain in the butt. You get to wonder such imponderables as “where did all this stuff COME from?” and “what is this and why did we save it?” among other favorites. Yep, it's a joy.

For those of you who have followed this blog you know that we're leaving our beloved barrel shantyboat Floating Empire, and moving aboard a new vessel, now dubbed Tesla's Revenge, an electrically driven solar boat with which we want to do some traveling. We'd been afraid that we would have to demolish our shantyboat, but, happily, a new owner has emerged to give Empire the TLC she needs and she'll be off on a series of new adventures.

But that leaves us downsizing yet again. I kid my wife that we're going to keep doing this until we can fit our possessions into a single briefcase. She says it'll just make it easier when we go to Mars.

The slow, sad work of disassembling parts of our home.

The new vessel is coming along. . . .clumsily . . . as we're having to continue rebuilding and refitting the boat while we're living on her. Tesla's Revenge is a former Cal 2-29. We've shifted over the Empire's battery bank (all eight o them), and will be pulling the mast (the mast supports have some issues), building a pilot house over the cockpit, and equipping her with a 5KW motor and 1000 watts of solar panels.
New homes for old stuff

Then the real fun begins, probably about midsummer.

As we reflect on Floating Empire and our last three years on the water, its amazing to think what a wonderful choice moving aboard proved to be: the adventures had, friends made, and all surrounded by the beauty and grace of the water. We wouldn't have had it any other way.

The Floating Empire, now off on a new adventure.
On to the next adventure.

Lots more photos over at Life, Art, Water, check em out.

MUCH more shortly.
Happy Spring

M

Thursday, April 13, 2017

This just in....

We have found a new and happy home for our beloved Floating Empire, (allowing us to complete work on Tesla's Revenge with a clear maritime conscience. )  Stay tuned.




whew
M

Saturday, April 8, 2017

SPLASH

We'll it's official.  Tesla's Revenge is in the water.  Now the real work starts.

Touching up the keel is a wee bit unnerving, being under 8000lbs of boat in the sling.
Here she sits, afloat and upright and everything.
Magellan, true to his name, was quick to come explore.  Not sure what he thinks of it all.
Many more pictures of the splash and christening over at Life, Art, Water.  Check em out!

MUCH more later. Stay tuned.

M

Building a Composting head, pt. 2

So the final, simple act in putting our new head together is to attach the seat.  We've used in the past the "Luggable Loo", a snap on "emergency" seat cover designed specifically to work with a 5 gallon bucket.  In order to make things easy, we cut off the top of one bucket to which to attach the seat, leaving enough length for it to nest in the full bucket of the receptacle beneath.
The toilet seat will snap onto the cut off bucket top, which will rest on the top of the toilet housing.
So you only need to drop in and line the full bucket, dropping in enough biomass to absorb the liquid (We continue to successfully use wood stove pellets.  They're compact and tidy), pop on the lid, and then put in the cut off bucket top and lid.

Looks rather nice, and the hatchcover is a neat way to conceal the biomass.
This is such a simple system, I'm amazed more people don't use them.  The blackwater ones reek, and they're a nightmare to repair.

More soon

M

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Black: It's the new Black

ever so stylish
So here's a shot of the new test hull in its smooth and ever so stylish coat of black antifouling paint.  Beneath two coats of that lie two coats of BLUE antifouling paint, and then four coats of epoxy barrier coat because the guys who did the sodablast on this hull screwed it up, rather badly.

Black over Blue
If you're wondering why black over blue, it lets us know when the bottom paint gets thin:  when we begin to see blue under the black paint, it's time to pull and re-do the thing.

Bottom paints contain materials toxic to marine organisms, usually copper compounds.  When barnacles or worms try to attach or burrow, they encounter the copper and drop off.  Some of the newer paints contain other anti-slime and algae chemistry as well.  The paints come in two flavors:  hard and ablative.  The hard bottom paints are modified epoxy paints, and are typically used where the boat sits in the water without moving for long periods of time.  They're quite durable, but if pulled out of the water, the surface will oxidize rapidly (usually within 72 hours) and become ineffective.  Ablative paints are "self polishing", slowly sloughing off the surface of the paint to reveal more of the copper beneath, thus making them self-renewing..  They are used in situations where the boat may be pulled out of the water or trailered frequently.  As "Tesla's Revenge" will not be taken out of the water for long periods of time, we chose a hard paint.

The theory is:  it's water cleanup.  The fact is, it's damn hard to get off anything, including skin.
We're excited; racing time and the weather to our splash date in two weeks.  Stay tuned.

Second half of our composting toilet build shortly, btw.

More stuff over at Life, Art, Water.

M

Friday, March 17, 2017

A brief apologia

Sorry for the pause in posts.  Our weather here turned briefly beastly, which made it difficult to do boat work.  Stuff improves today and we'll be back with photos and new info in a day or so.

Thanks for standing by.

M

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Building a Composting Head, Pt 1

Since our new test hull had already had the head and the blackwater system (vile things, don't use em) removed, we felt it was incumbent on us to build in a new composting head drawing on our experiences of the last four years.

First, of course, we had to build a platform on which it could sit.  The Cal hull we're using is. . .well. . .curvy, including the floors.  So we inserted a pice of 3/4 birch ply to serve as a base and stained and polyurethaned it.
New platform for the composting toilet.
We then put in two sides to make the box that will hold the head.

Sigh...nothing ever looks square on a boat

Here's where the bucket will sit.
Then we added the lid, including an opening for the bucket top and snap on toilet seat and a deck access hatch beneath which will be our bin of sawdust or stove pellets.

We put stops underneath to keep the lid from sliding.
The little access hatches (intended mostly for kayaks) work perfectly here.  If you need one, duckworksmagazine.com has some great prices in their store, and is a wonderful source for boatbuilding ideas and materials.  Recommend them highly.
So then Gail got to stain the thing.
So here's the basic box, awaiting additional stain and varnish and stuff.
More shortly.  We'll finish this thing tomorrow and I'll gie you a full report.

M

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Interior Comes Together

We've been using this current cold snap (epoxy doesn't like the cold much) to put the interior of the boat back together.  The inside of the old CAL 2-29 hull was all teak, but it had pretty much been disassembled by the previous owner who, mercifully, kept most of the parts.  So for most of the last two days we've been re-installing the pieces we had and fabricating those we didn't.

We made a nice, new countertop from some cabinet grade ply and got the sink re-installed.
There had also been a well-type ice box built into the counter that had been ripped away.  We used that space to put in some shelving for pots and pans.
When you cook with cast iron, it needs a solid place to hide.

Then there was the matter of the head.  The old blackwater system had been removed, but I had to build a platform for the new composting head.
The new composting head will sit here.  The space behind the partition at top once held the blackwater tank.  It'll now be storage
All in all a pretty productive day.  Now we'll oil the teak and make it pretty.  If you'd like to help us with the poject, stop by our indiegogo page here and show us some love.  15 days left.

More shortly

M

Friday, March 3, 2017

Some Reassembly Required

So we've spent the last two or so days in a howling wind aboard the new hull, putting things ready to get her into the water.  All the teak trim pieces are on the boat, but unfortunately, they're all detached.  It's like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

Um....what goes where?
Then there's the matter of the packing box and the old propeller shaft, which is conveniently located UNDER the cockpit in a lovely space that entails a Downward Dog facing posture to access.  The coupler on the head of the propshaft was so rusted I had to cut it off with an angle grinder.  . . . in that space. . . .about 4" from my face.

Yeah, that was fun.
That let me pull out the propshaft.  So then we had to address the packing box itself, which was mercifully easier to deal with.  It's ugly, but the wearing bits are in good shape, so we lucked out there.

Ugly, but functional.
So, today, we'll get the rest of the teak back in place so I can address the wiring and maybe get the packing box back in place and sealed in.  Waiting for clearer skies and warmer weather late next week to finish the hull paintwork.  Then we can splash the thing.

Oh, hey, only 20 days left on our Indiegogo campaign, and we're WAAAAAYYY short of what we had hoped to raise.  If you'd like to lend us a hand and be part of this project, head on over here.  Every little bit madly appreciated.  Thanks.

We progress.

More shortly

M