Winter Happenings on the David B – Tuning Up the Engine
Winter is always a busy time on the boat. It’s when we do maintenance, make upgrades, and take on projects. Unlike last year when we built the new pilothouse, this year is a little more mellow. Our biggest project this winter is to do an engine overhaul, which means we’re removing the heads, cylinder liners, and pistons. We’ll check the piston rings, change the gaskets, and fix a water leak in the cooling system. In addition to the big stuff, all the small parts will be cleaned and checked before we reassemble the engine, and Jeffrey will be adding new sensors, so we can monitor the engine more effectively.
We put together a quick time-lapse video showing us lifting the #3-cylinder head off the engine.
April 15, 2017 – Open Boat Thanks & Tin Hat Project Reveal
From Christine and Jeffrey,
Thank you to everyone who helped us with the Tin Hat Project and everyone who came to our open boat on Saturday. This was an incredibly fun project that turned out more beautiful than we imagined!
Tin Hat Update – Putting on the Hat
We reached a major milestone in the Tin Hat Project this week, we put on the hat.
Early Tuesday morning just in time for sunrise we got underway. It was cold, sunny and beautiful on Bellingham Bay as we moved the David B from our slip in Squalicum Harbor to the Landings at Colony Wharf where a crane was ready to lift the Tin Hat from the shore and place it on the David B. Check out our latest video update to see us driving the David B as a convertible, the Tin Hat being lifted and set in place, and then heading back to our slip.
Now that The Hat is on, we have a lot of work to do to get it outfitted and ready to go for spring! We hope you’ll keep following our progress and maybe even come along on a trip with us in Alaska, the Inside Passage or in the San Juan Islands this summer to experience for yourself the new and improved David B!
Tin Hat Project Update – Assembling the New Pilothouse
Well, it’s been scheduled, the day is almost here, and so long as there aren’t any unanticipated problems or bad weather, the Tin Hat will be lifted onto the David B next Tuesday, December 6th! We don’t have an exact time yet, but first thing in the morning, we’ll be driving the David B to Colony Wharf in Bellingham where the new pilothouse will waiting on a trailer and a crane will be ready to lift the house on to the boat.
If you’re interested in watching,we’d love for you to come on down. If you do, park on Roeder Ave in the block between F street and C street or on C street by Hana Teriyaki and walk in since there is a lot of construction going on around Colony Wharf. It’s pretty obvious where to go because there’s really only one big crane in the area. Feel free to email me if you need directions.
As the off-season moves along, I’m getting really excited for our upcoming cruises this summer. I can’t wait to see people on the boat relaxing in the saloon or watching whales outside under covered decks. It’s going to be amazing! Be sure to send Sarah an email or give her a call at 877-670-7863 if you are interested in any of our Alaska, Inside Passage, or San Juan Islands trips this summer or beyond. 2017 is going to be the best year ever!
Tin Hat Update – Welding, Windows and More
This week saw lots of progress on the Tin Hat Project. We stopped in at Fluid Fabrication to see how things were taking shape. They’d begun assembling the framework for the front of the pilothouse. It was the first time we got to see the curving lines of the new house for real. We’re not sure exactly how long it will take them to finish welding, but my feeling is soon. Maybe just a couple more weeks until we can bring the boat over and have the house put on.
While the welders have been busy, Jeffrey, Tim, and Greg have continued on all of their projects. Jeffrey’s work on the refrigeration system is shaping up nicely, and Tim’s been steadily preparing the boat so we can quickly and efficiently install all the systems in the new pilothouse. Greg’s been turning out windows and doors all week. Our good friends Pete and Jackie graciously loaned us the use of their garage to set up a varnish shop, and with the help of their daughter Naomi, I got started on the bright work. I also put together a little video for you to enjoy…
Tin Hat Update – Mast, Stairs, and Coolers
There’s been a lot of progress on the Tin Hat Project in the last couple of weeks. We ended our 2016 cruising season on October 9th, and starting on October 10th with the help of some friends and family, we began removing everything from the David B to prepare for the new pilothouse.
We also welcomed back employees Greg K. who worked for us on the original rebuild project 12-years ago, and Tim A. who’s worked with us off and on for ten years as both a kayak guide and a jack-of-all-trades.
One of our first big projects was to remove the mast. It took a day or so of preparation before we
took the boat to Seaview North Boatyard. The weather was perfect. We pulled into the bay where we are usually hauled out of the water, but instead of having the TraveLift pick us up, they brought out a large crane came. The crew then set up some rigging and in less than half an hour, the mast was lifted out of the boat and onto ground. Later we removed all the hardware and bucked up the mast. Back in 2006 when we placed on the boat we followed an ancient tradition of placing coins under a new mast. The lore is that if the boat ever goes under and the crew lost, the crew will have money to pay the ferryman to cross the River Styx. After the mast was removed, Jeffrey carefully picked up the coins and stowed them away until the new mast is installed. We’ll be sure to add a 2017 coin to commemorate the year of the new mast.
Back the boat, Greg has been making the new Grand Staircase that leads to the cabins, and Tim’s been removing structures from the boat, like the skylight, navigation station, and pilothouse trim. He’s also been helping Jeffrey lay the ground work for the new systems.
The new custom fridge and freezer, which Eli S. began work on in the spring, moved out of the shop and onto the boat.
While we’ve been busy on the boat and in the shop, the actual Tin Hat has been in construction. Sean and Nigel from Fluid Fabrication, in Bellingham have been working hard welding the structure.
There’s been a lot going and we’ve been thankful for all the help we’ve had so far. The first few days were filled with lots of mundane things, like carting load after load of David B stuff up the dock and into the storage locker. Thank you to Carol and Steve W., Dan K., Craig T. Jack M. and Eli S. for helping to make that workload much lighter!
PS- Here’s a video of removing the David B’s mast:
The Tin Hat Project
It’s for Real – We’re Doing It!
We’ve talked to quite a number of you about expanding the pilot house on the David B and we’re really going to do it. We’ve got a real plan, a tentative timeline, and we’re ready to move forward.
A Brief History
The David B was built with the pilothouse on the foredeck about where the mast now is, and behind that there was a small bunk space and the galley. The owner prior to us moved it to it’s present location. For years we’ve talked about rebuilding the pilothouse so that it is back in it’s original location.
The Reasons for the Move
We’ve always felt that we could make the boat much more comfortable for us and our guests, and better suited for its present service because we’d have:
- More, cozy interior space with great viewing windows
- More, usable upper deck space for wildlife viewing from a higher level
- Better visibility from the bridge windows, especially for navigating in the ice
- Covered outer decks for outdoor viewing, out of the rain, and also wind protected
- More hanging space for guests’ personal gear like rain gear
- Indoor access to the staterooms all the way from the galley
All around it will make the boat a better experience for everyone onboard.
Aluminum — Our (not so little) Secret
We’re going to have the shell of it built of aluminum, lifted into place with a crane, and we’ll trim out the inside and outside using wood. Before you start picturing it a sad grey metal, we’re going to paint it white with black trim and varnished doors and no one will be the wiser. (It’s common on older wood boats to make use of metal structures. A boat right next to us in the marina just got an aluminum house this fall.) It will also be lighter, and stronger, plus the logistics of having it built ashore allows us to have it made while we’re in Alaska and put it on when we return, so we’ll have the full winter to finish.
One day I realized that it was kind of like putting an aluminum hat on the boat, and the project name was born: The Tin Hat Project
- December 2015 — Planning and Design work
- January 2016 — Investment proposal complete
- March 2016 — Regular outfitting for the boat starts
- June 2016 — Aluminum house constructed
- October 2016 — Lifting the shell aboard
- Winter 2016-2017– Completion of the interior and systems
- March 2017 — Regular outfitting for the rest of the boat
- May 2017 –Sailing with the new tin hat.
Our proposal for the project and the investment opportunity will be complete before Christmas, but the basic details are that we’d like to borrow from those of you who already understand why the David B is such a great experience. We have done a similar thing in the past, offering interest or interest with trip credits, and this will be structured in the same way with very favorable rates for you. We’ll keep you posted and the full proposal will be available soon.
If we haven’t already talked about it with you, send me an email to let us know if you’re interested.
It going to be a really exciting project,
Rust and Rot – Taking on the David B
When I think back about our time rebuilding the David B, I remember many stories. Some of those stories are in my book, More Faster Backwards: Rebuilding David B, but most of them are still in my head and preserved in pictures. One night while we were still working on the boat at Lopez Island still stands out. We were invited to attend a bonfire with some of the more colorful local live-a-boards and artists.
For next next few months I’m writing a series of short stories from the David B’s rebuild that didn’t make it into the book. You can find these stories at Pacifc Nor’West Boating. This month’s story is at http://digital.turn-page.com/i/118680/85
7 Tips for Sanding Your Brightwork
This winter has been a busy one for me and my sanders. With two skylights, sixteen teak windows, two light boxes, the rub rail, cap rail, and trunk cabin, I’ve come up with some tips to help make the chore of sanding a little more pleasant. Click over to my blog at Yachting Magazine for the article.
Jeffrey’s Got Us Organized
Having an eighty-plus year-old wooden boat is a lot of work, and it is sometimes hard to decide which projects are the most important to tackle. For instance, do we re-do the pilothouse, or install a new heating system? When should we start work on the engine? Do we buy a new keel cooler or grind the valves on the engine and generator? These are all on the To-do list and not long ago, as we wrestled with these questions, Jeffrey came up with an idea for how to best organize our list and make our decisions for how to tackle our project list.
To read how Jeffrey got us organized, hop on over to the David B’s blog on Yachting Magazine for the answer.
As we work on making the David B beautiful during the winter months, we look forward to having a great summer of cruising in the San Juan Islands and Inside Passage.