DIY or Hire a Pro? A Tale of Two Boat Projects | Sailing Soulianis – Ep. 36

DIY or Hire a Pro? A Tale of Two Boat Projects | Sailing Soulianis – Ep. 36


– So, we have been in Mobile
for almost two months now. (laughing)
(lighthearted guitar music) – We can sail again. (drill whirs)
– Here. – We’re running all the lines on the mast before it gets stepped this afternoon. – Doing a lot of work, work. A lot of boat projects. We gotta test it now. – Sounds clear to me. – Right at about, 19 1/2, 20. I see here, this one’s gonna be difficult. (drill whirs) – [Lauren] I find it scary,
cutting a hole in your boat. – Yeah.
(drill whirs) – I think it looks good Kirk. – And right now we’re
kinda being held up by the fabrication of our arch and bimini. When we bought the boat, we
knew there were a lot of things that we still needed to
do to get her prepared for full time cruising. We took care of most of
them before setting off down the river, but there were
still two more big projects we needed to tackle in
Mobile before setting off for sunnier for remote locations. One was to install a new
battery bank and solar panels and the other was to fabricate
an arch with dinghy davits and a bimini to mount the solar on. Everything we’ve done up to this point, we had done ourselves,
which we really enjoyed, but these two projects
being large, complex and time consuming, made
us consider hiring them out to marine contractors. Ultimately we decided that
the electrical project was a building block for all
the other electrical projects we needed to do on the boat,
and we only needed to acquire some knowledge and a few
tools to complete it. While the arch fabrication
would require significantly more time to gain the
experience to perfect the art of welding, not
to mention we’d also need to get our hands on some
fairly heavy machinery. – [Lauren] So far, things weren’t going as the welder had promised. It had taken him almost two weeks after we had paid the deposit
to come back to the boat to take measurements. – We got a big electrical project to replace all the batteries and we’re putting solar on the bimini and dodger and I’m kinda being held up by having the bimini and
arch completed so we know what size solar panels we can fit on there so I know what size
battery charge controllers we need to buy so that I can wire it and plan it all out with
our electrical system. – [Lauren] Despite having
previously sent him drawings and example images of what we wanted, and discussing in detail
about how the arch should look and function, there still seemed to
be some confusion around what was being built. – [Lauren] Before leaving
he told us he expected to have the arch done in a few days. So it’s kinda frustrating to be held up, we finally have some nice weather. It’s still a little
bit cool as you can see I’m wearing a hoody and a hat but now I’m working on
doing some varnishing. This is our cockpit grate,
it was pretty nasty before all the varnish had come off of it. So I’ve done about five
coats of varnish on it and yeah we read about
making varnish non-skid and some people put sand
in it but then it’s like really gritty and feels like sandpaper. And I saw this somewhere where
someone puts a thick coat of varnish on the last coat and then sprinkles some sea salt into it. (upbeat music) – So where you at? – [Kirk] Ready to put salt in. – Sweet. – And then the varnish dries
and then you hose it down with fresh water and dissolves it and then you’re left with
a nice, non-skid surface that’s a little more coarse not so gritty. So we’re gonna give that
a go and see if it works. Seems kinda like a neat
way to go about it. (upbeat funky music) And of course we can always just sand down the top layer if we don’t like it. Hey. – [Lauren] Hi. – Ooh are you beerin’ me? – [Lauren] Good on ya love, givin’ the boat a good scrub down. – She needs it. – [Lauren] How’d it turn out? – [Kirk] Dunno, we’ll see. I think the spots where the
salt is a little clearer, it’s deeper in the– – [Both] Varnish. – [Kirk] And I think
that’s gonna work better. You can see like that one’s clear and it’s kinda stuck in there. That’s kinda grippy. – [Lauren] Yeah, cool. – But I think I didn’t
put in on thick enough on the last coat. Do you wanna go walk out to– – [Lauren] Can we just do it again? – Probably. But I don’t know if it’s
necessary right now, I need to focus on electrical. – [Lauren] Right. – Let’s go walk out to the end, is that okay?
– Yeah. – [Kirk] So just keep that there. – [Lauren] The next day
we started diving into our electrical system. Trying to figure out what was what, what went where, what
was good and what wasn’t. – So we’re using our multimeter here. Now when I touch this,
which is the power supply, it should, should go to 13. 14, because our battery
charger is going right now. It was a giant recon mission
with a lot of trial and error, tracing wires, labeling
what we could in an attempt to gain a better understanding
of the wiring in the boat. Now that we know that
there’s no power in there, I want to take that off and just confirm, that we flip this back on
and nothing else gets power. A big part of the fun of
any do it yourself project is ordering all the new
tools to get the job done. – [Lauren] Oh is this the old one? – This is one of the old
ones, here’s the new one. So you can adjust the length of how much you want stripped off by turning this knob and adjusting the stopper. So I want it that long. – [Lauren] That’s it’s
official name I hope. – [Kirk] Yeah. – [Lauren] The stopper. – [Kirk] The stopper,
and you just squeeze. – [Lauren] Mm, snazzy. – Fast action. Single movement, instead of
having to take these guys and be like, all right let’s
see, 16, oh yeah that’s a 16. Twist, and now I’m gonna, go like this, and then it goes flying across
the room and then you slam your knuckles into something. – [Lauren] And then you cough. (coughs)
You hack up a lung, gosh. This is a major improvement. – [Kirk] So I think it
kinda worked, in the spots where I put it on really
thick it’s definitely non-skiddy but it didn’t
stick in a lot of spots and I was doing some
reading online last night and a lot of people said
it just gets dirt and stuff stuck in the grippy spots so
it’s like and it peels off your varnish faster, I dunno, jury’s out. (Lauren laughs) At least we know what we
need to do if we wanna actually give it a real go. – [Lauren] Lay it on a lot thicker. – [Kirk] Put one more
thick coat of varnish on and lay the salt on
really thick in the spots it doesn’t have any yet. – [Lauren] Are you labeling everything? – [Kirk] I’m trying to, I mean
the shit that I figure out. – [Lauren] Ooh there’s
peanut butter down there. – Oh those are screws. This pair is the fridge, this is a ground, it goes to the ground wire
but I don’t know where that goes to up at our panel. There’s one red wire back
here and there’s this black wire right here,
and I don’t know what this red one is here. This one right here, you
probably can’t really see ’cause that’s very dark. So the only thing that’s
directly wired to the batteries right now is that cockpit 12 volt thing. But we also know that when
we turn everything off, – [Lauren] There’s still stuff
drawing from the battery. – The stereo can still play right? – Right.
– Can it? – [Lauren] Okay both panels are off. – [Kirk] Now we need to turn
the battery selector to off. – It’s down.
– I need to go this way? – [Lauren] Yep. – [Kirk] So it just came on. – [Lauren] Mm-hmm – [Kirk] That’s what I don’t know. ♪ Girl do I know, but that feel nice ♪ ♪ How the hell you gonna stop me ♪ – [Lauren] What you got
in that notebook of yours? So this is the first iteration
of the new electrical system. – [Kirk] Yeah, that was
the first iteration. I’m on like 17 right now. (laughs) We could fit one more there. – [Lauren] Right. – [Kirk] But the thing is,
is this slopes in that way. So I was gonna cut off this lip, because there’s a big lip here, I was just gonna cut that flush – [Lauren] Okay. – [Kirk] and hope that I could squeeze another battery down in there, but I don’t know if I can now. – Sounds like we need to
go pick up our batteries. Our batteries were
delivered about a month ago and they’ve been sitting in the workshop at Turner Marine. (Kirk sighs) We just didn’t want to
bring ’em on the boat because we had no where to put ’em, because we couldn’t install ’em yet so, I think it’s time to go get
’em and see if they’ll fit. – [Kirk] We need at least one. – [Lauren] (laughs) And just
tell ’em, hey guys can you just hang on to the other two for us. Hi.
– Hi. – (laughs) I’m gonna
bring you over here then. Okay. – [Kirk] Alright so is
the wire we think it is? – [Lauren] Yeah that’s the wire. – [Kirk] All right now I’m
moving a different one, right? – [Lauren] Yep, now you got
the, it’s the smaller gauge. Slightly smaller. – [Kirk] Yeah you’re right. You’re positive you can tell
which one that is right? – Yeah.
– Right so let me just double check here
that, that’s that one. – [Lauren] In the battery box. – Under you. – Under my butt.
– Yeah. I think I’m figuring out what we need, our boat is way worse off
electrically than what I thought. We don’t have any fusing on the battery except for whatever this one is. Our major power sources are not fused, which is a big no no. We have some ground loops it seems like, because we have no ground bus bar except for this engine
mounted one but there’s only a few things that are mounted to that. So you can tie every ground
in your boat together into one thing and it can
all go back to the battery. It’s only the power side
plus the positive side, that needs to go through the breaker. Everything else can go to,
it’s like a tree branch coming back, all the
leaves to the branches, to the big branches to the
main truck back to the battery. And ours are just like
scattered everywhere. Like, it’s an incestrial tree. – [Lauren] No one wants
and incestrial tree. – No. (smooth gentle music) – All right, you ready to try this out? We’re about to turn on the lights. – [Lauren] Wait, why is that light on? – This light is on cause we still have 120 and we went to Home Depot
the other day and bought a work light so that when
we do electrical we always know it’s going to take
longer than it should and we’re gonna be
working into night time, we would have something to work on while we’re at this shore power. So I just spent the afternoon
re-wiring the lighting circuit because there’s 18 wires
jammed into the breaker and there was one hot wire that was just hanging out that
was just electrical taped up. So I wanted to clean
it up, so I put in this little terminal block
here which I know, I know, I need to have it covered. This is kinda temporary
for right now but it takes all these five wires puts it into one, which then runs down
to the circuit breaker. Just trying to kinda clean
things up a little bit. So, I’m about to flip
on the DC power again, there goes our bilge pump. Okay, let’s hope nothing blows up here. (switch clicks) That’s a good first sign. (switch clicks) – [Lauren] Yay! – Hoorah. All right. (laughing) That’s like 8% of what needs to happen. – [Lauren] Eight? – Yeah. – [Lauren] Wow that’s more than I thought. – Okay yeah, eight is probably a bit much. (upbeat music) – One of our boat neighbors
is being towed out of her slip today and across
Mobile Bay to Fairhope and they’re just getting started. (upbeat music) – [Kirk] Pretty good. (neighbor speaks faintly) – Bye.
– Bye! (neighbor speaks faintly) All right. (upbeat music) Still makes me nervous though. – [Lauren] She just bought her
boat a few months ago right? – [Kirk] I don’t know,
I don’t know her story. – And she doesn’t know how to
sail so she’s gettin’ towed to her new marina, her
insurance covers it. That’s pretty sweet. Lunch, veggie sandwiches
and a bunch of fruit. (upbeat music) – Big day here on Soulianis, we’re getting all our batteries and all our electrical stuff. Hey, those are just the batteries. – [Lauren] Yeah, I couldn’t
get the other stuff. – [Kirk] Oh. – The box is huge. – [Kirk] Was that a workout? – Oh my gosh these are so heavy. – [Kirk] They’re 75 pounds each. – Oh okay. – [Kirk] So you’re carrying 225 pounds. – It took me all of my body and like all of my kinetic energy to get this thing on its wheels. – [Kirk] Do you want me
to pull the last bit here? – If you want.
– Yeah. – I’ll go back and get the other box. (soft music) – [Kirk] We’re hoping to make
it to the Bahamas this year is the goal but, we’re kinda
falling behind right now. – [Neighbor] It always takes
longer than you expect. – Yep. They’re not so bad one at a time. So what’s that in that giant
box, we don’t know yet though. – I have literally no idea
’cause I didn’t make this order. This is all you love. – [Kirk] I think that’s
literally just the battery boxes. – So these are just boxes
of boxes of boxes in it. – There’s literally another
box inside of that box. It’s just this time it’s a plastic box. All of our electrical stuff got shipped to my parent’s house accidentally, so then they had to ship it down here which delayed us a few days. I’m pretty excited, this
means we’re gonna be getting out of here soon. (hums) More boxes! This is gonna help us finish
our electrical installation. It’s also–
– A murder weapon? – Gonna get people to talk. – [Lauren] As an anti-pirate device. Wow, those are scary. – Holy #$%& look at these things, oh my goodness, those
are heavy duty lugs. I have 18 feet of red
and 18 feet of black. Tinned zero gauge battery cable. (upbeat music) – [Lauren] Whatcha got? – [Kirk] So this is the
wiring diagram for our engine, and I’m trying to figure
out how to re-wire this battery system. So up here is our panel, in the cockpit, the tachometer, there’s an amp meter. This is the alternator, and then this is this little solenoid that’s right next to the alternator and this is the starter. If you remember from what we
read in Nigel Calder’s book as soon as you start to charge a battery, it starts accepting
less and less amperage. – [Lauren] Right. – Now that we have a
three, well four batteries instead of two we have a
much larger possibility for it to fill so it will
be running at a higher output for a longer period
of time and more often. If the output goes and runs
through this long skinny wire that isn’t rated large enough to carry it, it can heat up and start a fire. And so people say remove that it’s old, it’s antiquated you don’t need it especially if we have
a new battery monitor, which is what we’ve got. – Are we sure that this one exists?
This one, this dotted line? – I dunno, it seems like
they have optional alarm, optional splitter, seems like they would have put optional here. So if I power the starter
with this battery, and I put the output about right here. I think if use the separate. – Radar is coming down today. We wanted the tide to be
lower so that the boat was sitting lower so that we
had better access to the radar from the dock, but the tide
is only rising right now and we’ve got the guy coming
over who is constructing our arch and we need to get
it off so that he can measure where the arch is gonna go. – I’m just eye candy here. – You are so eye candy. We’re thinking we’re going
to mount it on the mast. – [Kirk] Hey Lauren, can you come here? I need to back this the
rest of the way out. – Drop it. – Oh yeah.
– Woo! – That was way easier than I thought. Thank you so much man,
I really appreciate it. – [Guy] They did use to be heavier. – Yeah, yeah. Hyah, it’s very light. We thought it was gonna be
like 100 pounds, no I thought it was going to be 25
but it’s probably 10. – [Lauren] We got the
radar and pole off the boat but the welder never did show up that day. Unfortunately this was
becoming a reoccurring theme. (upbeat music) Kirk, what are you making? – [Kirk] Some gravy. – [Lauren] What are the key
ingredients in your gravy? – [Kirk] I can’t give away my recipe. – [Lauren] Yeah well you can
say the ingredients just like– – Sausage! Biscuits and gravy. (laughing) – Oh hi biscuits. (gentle music) You know the way to my heart. Biscuits. – Eat time.
– Okay. – Now that we had our
new batteries on board and we’d gained a basic understanding of our boat’s electrical
layout, it was time to pull out the old lead acid batteries
and test fit the new ones. So we just spent 10
minutes looking for gloves, they’ve been sitting right
here on the shit shelf for two or three weeks, in
my way every single day. I set them somewhere like two days ago, knowing I would need them today, and I’ve spent the last 10
minutes looking for these gloves. People say boating is just doing
boat work in exotic places, boat work is spending 90% of
your time looking for the thing that’s been in your way
for the last five days. We just pulled out our battery
and we’ve got some fluid, some liquids down below our
battery, and the question is, is that water, or is that battery acid. So here’s a test, baking soda. Battery acid. (laughs) You do that until it stops bubbling. (soft electronic music) – [Lauren] How heavy is that? – I think they’re 80 pounds. Heavy, heavy enough. – [Lauren] Moment of truth. – [Kirk] Yeah, I’m a little
nervous now looking at that. I’m quite nervous actually. – [Lauren] Will it fit? – [Kirk] They’re the same group size, they’re supposed to fit. Oh my God.
– You mother– – Focker? – Hm, Focker, mm. (Kirk sighs) – Focker, Focker, Focker, Focker. – Focker!
– Focker? – Focker. – Are you a Mr. Focker. (Lauren groans) Fuck. (bright upbeat music) – Kirk!
– Yeah? – [Lauren] Our butt is naked. – Yeah it is. It’s the seventh week here
and it’s not even close to being finished. – It would have been fine
if the product was good, but it’s not.