Friday, January 4, 2013

Home again finally, but not for good

Time has just flown since our last update, and a lot has happened.  Our last entry was just prior to the move back to North Carolina.  It turned out that the move was a piece of cake….remember, we were packing up a 1 bedroom apartment.  I am not saying that I enjoyed the process….moving is never fun, no matter the amount moved.  But compared to the last move two years ago from our 4 bedroom house to the 1 bedroom apartment, this was a piece of cake.  The challenge actually layed in front of us.  It was the aftermath of the move that put us to a grinding halt.  Yes, even though we moved everything that couldn’t fit in the 1 bedroom apartment to our house in North Carolina two years ago, that didn’t mean that we actually unpacked.  So, for a good two weeks, we sifted and sorted and lost and found several times over.

Home improvements:

We also spent some time taking care of a few neglected items around the house.  We trimmed the front ‘hedge’ back into the 4 bushes from which it originated, we repaired the running toilet, we found the cause of the grinding noise in the dishwasher, and finally painted the only room in the house that we hadn’t done in 19 years, the master bedroom.  Life was finally becoming peaceful and comfortable.

 Tracy tackling the front porch hedge.

Boat improvements:  Brightwork

So, to add some chaos, we decided to tackle a couple of projects on the boat as well.  This summer, we began working on the exterior teak.  Bud had looked into a couple of options, including Cetol.  The teak Cetol of today actually now has the same hue as varnished teak.  After a quick test and two thumbs up with the companion way hatch, we started with the cap rail.  This stimulated tackling the hull trim, then the cockpit ‘surround sound’ as we call it, and finally the propane chest, the two little dockline chests, and the ‘billibong’ hanging device (holding the belay pins).  We still have more to do, but this makes Layla more presentable, and she tells us in her own way that she likes it that way.

 Bud removing the old varnish surrounding the cap rail.

 Tracy scrubbing the teak after removing the varnish.

 Tracy polishing the bronze hardware for the deck chests.

 Layla with her new makeover.

In addition to the coloration, another nice feature of Cetol is the ease of repair.  We found this to be true after Sandy pushed Layla into the dock over and over again.  Her rubbed hull trim, now back down to bare teak, came back to life with a light sand and a wipe of Cetol.  It was magic… couldn’t even distinguish this from the original application.  It is still too early to see how well the Cetol holds up over time, but our first impression is very positive.  We will keep you posted…..  

Boat improvements:  The shower faucet

While waiting for the Cetol to dry between coats, we decided to tackle one more critical system…..the shower faucet.  In checking out the pressurized water system this fall, we realized that the shower faucet leaked.  We went back and forth on whether to just buy a new faucet, or repair the old.  After a careful look at the faucet and those available here in Morehead City, we decided that it was very unlikely that we could find a replacement that would fit in the space designated without a major refit.  And so we decided on the later, disassembled the faucet down to its parts, and headed off to the hardware store.  When we showed the parts to the plumbing specialist at Lowes and asked if they had anything close in size or shape to the current washers, he just laughed at us and shook his head.  We walked away defeated, but not beat.  There were still other hardware stores to try.  There was a family run hardware store in town, and we still had a glimmer of hope that the folks at William’s Hardware could help.  We handed over our faucet parts to one of their specialists, and I watched with amazement as he and Bud walked from one aisle to another, gathering a variety of rubber parts of all shapes and sizes.  None of them were a perfect match, but close enough that we left William’s Hardware quite confident that we would win this battle.  We rushed back to the boat, tightened down the faucet with its new washers in place and with the valves closed, braved turning on the water pressure.  With hesitation, I asked Bud if there were any leaks.  Initially, there were only very minor leaks.  Bud did a bit of tightening here and there, and now there were no leaks.  Now came the final test; turning on and off the water from the faucet handles.  One at a time, Bud opened the hot water valve, and then the cold water valve.  There was a slight leak from the cold water valve, but that was the only leak.  However when the cold water was turned off now we had a leak from the hot water valve, and within seconds from the hot water handle.  Eventually we had leaks from every possible joint in the faucet.  OK.  Now it was time to admit defeat.  We packed up our tools and called it a day.

That evening, we did a couple of searches online, and found a low profile tub-mounted faucet with an adjustable base.  We were in luck.  I ordered the faucet and we were back in action in a week.  All we needed to do now was install our brand new shiny faucet.  This sounds so simple, except for the challenge of going from a 3/8 water supply line to a ¾ faucet intake to a ½” faucet connection.  Bud and I learned the hard way the difference between straight, compression, and tapered threading.  Against common wisdom, brand new rubber seals and washers do not guarantee that the system will not leak.  And so, with about 8 trips to various hardware stores in the locality and every single tool in our tool box (see Bud and the tools in the Pullman), we managed to fit three different configurations to connect the water line to the faucet.  The final solution was a very elegant approach: completely chucking the supply line-faucet connector that came with the faucet and using a couple of couplers with a piece of flexible toilet tubing in between.  And now, we have no leaks, peace, finally…..

 The constraints for the new faucet.

 Bud buried in tools in the pullman berth.

The final product.....

With all this work behind us, we are very close to actually leaving.  If all goes well, we will shove off this afternoon.  We will keep you posted…..   


  1. Layla's looking great guys! Cetol is a good choice on our opinion, Its been on Moitessier for over 1.5 years and with maintenance coats it still looks like the first day we put it on. Shower came out great as well, we went through the same thing a wile back so I feel your pain. Keep at it.. Maybe we will see you out there!

  2. Bud, great to see that you have such a great sailboat. Layla is lovely. I bought a Cape Dory 36 a couple of years ago and have really been enjoying spending time with her. Hope to read more adventures here.


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