1966 Lonestar

September 12 - Moved the Lonestar home for the winter.

On September 26 it was time to move the engine and house batteries forward to improve the balance of the boat and because there was no neat place for them in the transom while there was an unused compartment immediately behind the anchor locker. A tray was fabricated that matched the hull profile and provided a flat surface for the batteries.  A cable was made up of two #1 stranded conductors (for the engine battery) and a #2 conductor for the house battery. Also included was a 2 conductor #18 to run a 12 volt fan to exhaust the battery compartment into the anchor locker whenever the engine is running. The cable was pulled through conduit prior to terminating the battery ends and the free end was spiral taped to facilitate feeding it through bulkheads from forward to aft. The conduit was run behind the seat back and under the shelf that supports the seat back to keep it out of the way and protected from damage. The helm is being replaced and the aft end of the cables will terminate in a battery switch in the new helm.

The next task was to do something about the helm, a confusing rat's nest of wires with Marette connectors, black tape, duct tape, in-line fuse holders in series with other fuses and unfused circuits - generally scary and unserviceable . The first task was to carefully dismantle the old helm, marking all the wires for identification and removing the instruments, then remove the helm itself.

October 2 & 3 - I finished tagging all the wires and pulled out the old helm. I started going through the ship's wiring and pulling out everything that was "left-over" from previous owners or no longer required. This boat was simply SCARY! I found more battery feeds (unfused) running from the transom to the helm - not one but THREE. Every time someone added a circuit, they ran another set of (unfused) power wires! I even found one set fed from the helm back to the transom that was cut off and unterminated and tucked into the stern, just waiting for the hot wire to make contact with the hull and burn a hole through it or set the boat on fire! I found more Marette connections and even a +12 wire 'insulated' with duct  tape! When I got done stripping unnecessary wiring, the cable bundle was 1/3 the size it had been LOL!

The new helm was made but I tried red paint, like the port side of the bulkhead but didn't like the finish - too rough - so I stripped and repainted flat black. If I don't like that, it will be black leatherette like the previous one.

With all the electrical parts in, it was time to start assembling the new helm ..... I like! Wiring the new helm required about three days.

With the hew helm in place, it was time to fit the rotary steering system and route the steering cable - that took a bit of re-work since the steering cable is NOT very flexible! After the steering, sorting out the ship's wiring (which meant rewiring the electrical parts of the transom) took a full day and liberated nearly a half a bushel of unneeded wires! The remaining wires from the transom were bundled and routed under the gunnel (rather than loose in the side tray) and two days were required to terminate the ship's wiring on the new helm and some redesign to accommodate the battery cables.

With the front of the ship in order, it was time to clean up the stern, to do something about the 200 pound dog house that covered the engine and the rear deck that had obviously been leaking for years. A new rear deck was made in 2x6 and 2x8 in the form of a turtle deck and sheeted with plywood before being installed on the boat.

The new turtle deck is higher than the original and sloped to the stern so water is shed over the stern rail and into the gunnel gutters on each side rather than leaking in around the edges. The increased height also means the dog house dosen't have to extend into the turtle deck. The panels closing in each side were also provided with a hatch (which the original didn't have) to provide some rough storage space. The fuel system was rearranged, moving the filters and lines from the bilge (where one of the unsupported lines was nearly completely cut through from vibrating against a rib!) to the starboard transom.
Yes, that is SNOW on the turtle deck. We had our first snowfall of the year on the night of October 29/30.

A new dog house was made and installed to replace the 200 pound dog house! The top opens (no tools) for engine and bilge check or by removing 2 screws, the entire dog house hinges forward for engine maintenance. The top was made flat as a table and cooking surface and will later be covered with a suitable material. Soundproofing/insulation is yet to be added to the inside of the dog house.

Although the original fold-out kitchenette was unique and innovative, it had a few drawbacks: it precluded the installation of a secure passenger seat and the only way to cook was sitting on the floor! Access to the fridge also required sitting on the floor. Since food preparation was being moved to the dog house and there was no place to conveniently stow clothing and other frequently accessed items (except under the berth), I decided to install a couple of drawers and leave a space under for shoes and other larger items. It turned out the wood under the fridge was also waterlogged, rotting, and moldy anyway.
The fridge will be tested and if it works properly, it will be installed at the forward end of the cabin extending into the (never used) anchor locker, which will also help transfer more weight to the bow and improve the ride and handling. If the fridge doesn't work, the same space will be used for a cooler (since I can not afford a new refrigerator!)

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