1966 Lonestar
The refrigerator tested fine and proved to be fairly efficient so a new door gasket was ordered and the  fridge will be installed in the forward cabin along with a 100 Watt solar panel and controller feeding the house battery. The combination should keep food cold continuously provided most days are clear and temperatures moderate.

Getting a new gasket for the Norcold DE-251D proved to be a challenge - parts have not been available for some time - but I found a custom gasket-maker and had one made (for under $40). If anybody needs one, email me and I will send you the information on who to contact and what to order. I had to shim the door because the new gasket is a tiny bit thicker (or more stiff) than the original and come up with a new latch strong enough to ensure a seal.

Since I never had a use for the anchor locker and since the fridge should theoretically fit into the anchor locker with 1/4" to spare I fashioned a shelf to hold the fridge, a job that required a LOT of trial and error since there is not a single flat surface or square corner in the anchor locker! But eventually I got the fridge to fit and trimmed the rest of the opening with 1x6 pine to cover the void on each side. Darned if it didn't end up looking like that's where the fridge was supposed to be. No more sitting on the deck to access the fridge and 6 cubic feet more cabin room! :)
Another annoyance I found was the original(?) Morse single-stick engine/transmission control which required 180 degree rotation of the throttle to go from idle in forward to idle in reverse. I found that VERY awkward when docking and very difficult to change gears without inadvertently adding throttle - I am used to boats with separate throttle and shift levers. After trying to find a two-lever side-mount control without any luck I figured out a way to modify the original Morse, remove the "automatic shift" and add a shift lever. [I kept the parts I removed in case it doesn't work out on the water ;) ]

The other item that always seemed to be in the way on the deck (in addition to the cooler) and had to be carted from home to the truck, then to the boat, was the 5 gallon water jug and 5 gallons of water is HEAVY! It occurred to be that there was a certain irony in being aboard a boat and having to bring water with me - why not draw my water from the lake and make it drinkable? I had developed a water purification system nearly 10 years earlier for treating contaminated well water, a system that operated on 12 volts D.C., so why not adapt it for on-board use? Using the purification system would necessitate having a pressure system (seacock, pump, and storage tank) but could provide three types of water: raw lake water, filtered water, and purified (potable) water. My initial intent was to locate the water system behind the head but after fabricating a mounting board I found that the size and shape of the space would not accommodate the required components (thus wasting a weekend's work) so the water system was moved to the transom, under the turtle deck (necessitating another re-design of the system).  With the onset of VERY cold weather work on the boat slowed down but I got the purification chamber repackaged (crudely!) and ready to install.
With the weather turning cold and windy I decided to start work on the hardtop. Despite considering many different ways to do the hardtop I decided to stay with the same profile as the wheelhouse roof rather than try to match the complex angles of the windshield. The extension roof will continue the same line but with a 2" rise.

Despite -25C temperatures January 2 was the first day we had in recent memory with no wind so I decided to put the hardtop in place. Since I still had not figured out how I am going to make the 4 supporting columns I decided on a temporary support to get the roof in position and work out the remaining details. The roof (75" x 78") is about 75 pounds but I managed to get it in place using the Bimini frame and then slip the temporary support in place before moving the Bimini frame. (Sometimes a second pair of hands would be REALLY helpful!). In place, re-tarped, and only partly frozen ;)


The extension roof will be faired to the wheelhouse roof using Styrofoam when both roofs are fiberglassed in the spring.

With the weather turning nasty for weeks, temperatures into the -30 range and while waiting to get the stanchions welded for the hardtop I turned to one of the last jobs I could do indoors - the seats.
The original seats were vinyl and not in too bad a condition but not nice. With the amount of money I have been pouring into the boat, I decided just to make slip covers for the seats for the time being.

Since the kitchenette has been eliminated, it meant that a permanent passenger's seat could be added. Rather than reuse the pedestal bases (which take up a lot of space), I decided to include some more storage space under the seats and put the seats on swivels.

Continuing the cold weather work, I rebuilt the carburetor

With a momentary respite from the deep cold (February 4), my friend finished welding the stanchions for the hardtop and I had a chance to get them installed. (The unfinished wood is the forward section of the hardtop and the white is the new section.) I debated installing only the aft pair of stanchions but wasn't sure about the strength of the existing roof support so I installed all four.

The following day, with continued mild weather, I installed the labels for the panel (helm), installed the overhauled carburettor, converted from points to electronic ignition, changed the spark plugs, and installed the new seat bases and the re-covered seats. Not bad for a weekend's work in early February!

Finally, after a long stretch of COLD windy weather, -12C and light winds gave me a chance to install a few items on the wheelhouse roof, the 100 Watt solar panel, the AM/FM antenna, and the relocated VHF antenna. That will allow the wiring inside to be completed and leaves the roof ready for fairing and fiberglass.

With rain in the forecast for the next day (March 11) it became imperative to complete the fairing between the wheelhouse roof and the extended hardtop to prevent water from running into the boat (which some melt water was already doing!). Though I had been thinking of fairing with Styrofoam and fiberglassing both the wheelhouse roof and the hardtop as one piece, I was concerned that the weight of the hardtop plus the 100 Watt solar panel plus the additional weight of fiberglass would increase the rolling moment even farther.   After a few false starts on how to do the fairing  I decided to add a support rib under the back of the wheelhouse roof tying the two roof structures together and use a simple plywood fairing at 45 degrees to blend the lower roof line to the upper. Forecast highs of only -2C precluded doing any finishing for now but at least it is sealed.

Continuing with the fair weather work, I installed fuses for the house battery solar controller (which I had completely forgotten to do!) and a pair of digital volt meters to monitor the house and engine batteries (and to remind me when the battery switch is ON).



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