Over this past winter and into late spring we've had several projects underway. The thing about boat projects is that nothing ever happens fast. The actual work may take 2-3 days, but the amount of "down time" will often stretch into weeks! And if a haul-out is required and skilled marine technicians for the job...well, good luck even finding a yard that can fit you in. After talking to various boatyards in our region and being turned away time and again, I have finally found a small, independent yard that manages to squeeze me in from time to time. (I'm not eager to share, but if you're seriously in need of a boatyard with expertise in hydraulics, fiberglass and mechanical, drop me an email.)
So what's on the list of repairs and upgrades for the Kika? Last year we installed a Bayview articulating rudder to improve close quarters maneuvering. The new rudder works great, but a side effect is that these modified rudders create extra torque on the steering system, making for a steering wheel that feels "heavy". So this February, we swapped out the original factory cylinder and replaced it with a larger diameter ram to help lighten the otherwise "heavy" feel at the helm. It helped a little, but not much. Probably next winter we'll install a 12VDC power-assisted pump to convert the manual hydraulic steering into a kind of power steering system. At the same time we pulled the helm pump after finding hydraulic fluid seeping and sent it off to Seatech Marine in San Diego to be rebuilt.
Other projects include; a built-in bench to replace the "Ma" and "Pa" recliners that came with the boat. We did try several easy chairs from high end furniture stores, but none looked right in our boat. For us, the solution was to find someone to build a custom piece that matched the existing woodcraft. It took a while, but I finally a found a local cabinet shop who was willing to do the work. December and January were slow months for them so they agreed to take it on. This project longer than expected, but we’re delighted with the outcome.
The photos above are components of our new water maker. In the classified section of TrawlerForum I found a nearly new Cruise RO 40 gph system for sale near our home on Whidbey Island, so after meeting the seller and checking for damage, we pulled it from his boat and hauled the parts to my boat a few miles up the road. Everything is going in nicely and hopefully it will be commissioned in the coming week. The water maker will get plenty of use this summer while cruising the remote west coast of Vancouver Island, and certainly during our planned Alaska trip in 2020.
Finally, a last minute upgrade for MV Kika is this stainless steel davit for carrying our dinghy. Made to order for us by Tanner Manufacturing in Bellingham, it was priced at half that of similar units and they delivered it to the boatyard in just three weeks time. For the observant eye, you may have noticed that the davit is offset to port by six inches or so. We did this intentionally because by offsetting it we found that we could retain access to the transom boarding gate, even when the dinghy is hanging in place. These photos show the crew measuring and fitting the davit, followed by thru-bolting the lower brackets to the swim platform, then wiring in the Warn winch with 100 amp breaker. The winch came with a wireless remote and we added a fixed toggle switch that lifts and lowers the davit. When underway, the davit and dinghy get secured to pad-eyes mounted to the transom, each with a large backing plate. The winch cable is attached to the center pad-eye and two adjustable turnbuckles secure both davit and dinghy to the transom.
We're Richard and Gwen (aka, Captain n' Cook), active boaters since moving to Seattle from Los Angeles in the early 90s. In that time we've owned several interesting vessels, but this blog will record our adventures on MV Kika, a Selene 47 Ocean Trawler.