Pulling Parts


I just bought the drinking water hose so the tap water won’t taste like vinyl and installed a water filtration system I found at Pureosmosis.org so the water taste and is better, and I even take it with me when I go out since I got one of those Custom Water bottles online, I also put a Y splitter, so a second hose can be used to clean the boat, wash paint brushes and so Amelia can attack me with water without have to be so mean as to push me into the estuary.

I’m trying to figure out if it would be cheaper to replace the injector pump or have a mechanic recondition it. I’m doing research on that as I write this. I have one of these:

I am talking to the guy here who runs this Ebay store. I’m hoping he has something that will work for me because the local diesel shop (that everyone I’ve asked recommends) says it will be upwards of $800. Maybe much more.

I am also hoping this part is all we need to get the engine going.

A Peek Inside


Someone on TCF gave me a good idea, so I spent a few minutes drawing up a floor plan of the inside of the boat.

First I found this picture online of a cross-section of a Higgins LCVP.

Then I put a diagram of the cabin on it. I tried my best to make it to scale, but it just didn’t work out that way, but it gives the basic idea of what home looks like for us.

1.Aft head and sink
4.Two guest bunks
5.Engine access panel
6.Port entry
7.Starboard entry
8.Control panel and wheel
9.Mini bar
10.Sink, fridge and stove
11.Dining area
13.Captain’s head
14.Captain’s bunk

Living Aboard


Last night was the first time we actually slept on the boat and it was pretty nice. We really need to get that head installed really soon. It was slightly cold outside of the blankets with the lack of glass in the port holes, but it was warm where I spent my night. We will want to come up with a good option for a mattress in the forward cabin, but while we were there we decided that the aft cabin would be a giant walk-in closet. I even figured out a way to do it without having to remove the bunks back there.

Saturday was windy as hell and we got a late start, so we didn’t get much painting in, but Sunday was very productive.

So productive, in fact, that we’re sunburned from all the hours painting.

This is not a particularly interesting picture, but I really just wanted to show off my awesome Bondo-work in the dry-rot areas. Just look at those sharp corners, and how little sanding I’ll have to do to make it even with the wood. I won’t even need to use my best belt sanders, I’ll save those for later. There was a huge soft spot on the vertical piece, and the horizontal piece is shown in a photo below shortly after applying penetrating epoxy on it.

The outside is really coming along as far as cosmetics go.

By the end of the day, we had the front wall of the forward cabin done, one of the side walls, the front walkway deck and some of the side walkway with at least two coats of paint on it, as well as a final coat on the forward deck.

There is still much to be painted.

Whole Lot of Surface


Another day of work done on the boat. Today consisted of a lot of scraping, but when I got tired of that, I put a new coat down on the forward deck, had a couple beers to let it dry a little and put down another coat on it.

I wanted to let the coats dry more before putting more on, so I started on another part of the boat. I decided to do a vertical surface, because no one sees the deck surface from water level,  and the walkway around the boat should be painted very last.

This is the back wall of the wheel house, and the picture shows not only how splotchy one coat of paint can look, but how ugly the boat’s old paint job had become.

At at the end of the day I was exhausted, covered in paint and slightly drunk

I wonder if lead leeches into the skin through paint. Oh, well.

The sun went down and it was time to clean the brushes, put away the tools and call it a day.

First Day of Work


This was my first experience practicing the commute from Berkeley to Rewood City, so I could get an idea of what we were in for and I must say it kind of sucked, but I know people who sit in traffic for an hour and a half, so I guess that long on a couple trains is preferable. Redwood City is not a bike friendly town, I quickly learned.

There are a lot of problem areas to tackle which you can see in the pictures below.

Dry Rot
The top of the hull has a little dry rot on the outside, so the first step on problem areas like this was to scrape away the soft wood, fill the exposed area with a penetrating epoxy (seen above), and when that sets for a while, I will stick some Bondo into the hole, sand it into the shape of the routed piece and paint over it like there was never a problem.

This almost made me decide not to get the boat. This hatch leaks, and it caused damage to the trim piece (which is removed in the picture) and the wood below the deck as well as the padded ceiling. It was lucky, but the ceiling wiped clean easily. The wood was a different story.

The entire topside of the boat needs to be painted, which is about 350 square feet of deck space and 200 square feet of vertical surface. Here is one of the portholes after we did a little stripping with a wire brush. As you can see, it has no hardware or glass. The previous owner tells me that 10 portholes were stolen a few days after he bought the boat, possibly by a jealous person who was pissed that he’d bought the boat. I don’t know who stole them, but it’s probably going to be one of the more expensive improvements to replace them.

Here you can see we’ve masked off some of the trim and started the detail work on the deck around the railings. By the end of the day, we almost had all the deck painted with one coat. You might also notice that the front hatch is removed and the rotten edge of the inside was treated with epoxy and a new piece of trim was cut and installed. I’m impressed with how fast this is going, (knock on hull.)

There is a lot of wood trim accents around the cabin, deck, bow and stern. I wish I had a good before picture of how gray they were, because this task was impressive to watch. In a matter of 5 seconds a stroke of a paintbrush full of bleach would start on the surface of the wood, darken the wood as it soaked in, then lighten again as the bleach went to work. Seriously 5 seconds, from gray to what you see. There is no sanding done in this picture- this is how nice the wood became after just one treatment of bleach. It’s just too bad there is a couple hundred feet of this trim. That’s a lot of brush strokes.

At the end of the day, a lot of work was done. The boat was almost completely scraped, the forward deck had almost a full coat of paint, the gray trim had been bleached back to a natural color, the rotten hatch was about half done and the dry rot we found was gutted and epoxied. The reason we quit is because the sun got low in the sky, the clouds rolled in, the wind picked up and it got cold. I can work in the cold, but the paint got a little too stiff when it got spread onto the surface.

Welcome to the Neighborhood


For the time being, the Delzina is berthed at the Docktown Marina in Redwood City, CA. When more work is done on her, we will most likely move across the Bay closer to Oakland and Berkeley where we work. Amelia applied for a legal admin job for Marin County, so if she lands that gig, we will find a marina in Marin. There is a Napastyle near there, so I’ll have local work as well. For the next month or two, Delzina stays where she is while we finish and even though our jobs are a 10 minute bike ride, a 20 minute train ride and a hour BART ride away, we will probably live in Redwood City for a short time. Here’s our neighbors. You can see the distinctive red “figurehead” of our boat to the right of the dock.

The Neighborhood

It Begins


All posts found on Delzina.com will be mirrored here for your reading pleasure.

After 2 weeks of negotiating, we have purchased a boat. It’s a 36′ Higgins LCVP that was converted to a cabin cruiser some time in the last 65 years. The topside needs a little paint, and the engine needs a little work. Also, it needs ten portholes replaced and a new steering wheel. Next will be the replacement of the doors on the wheel house and the hatches, two over the forward cabins, one over the aft cabin and one large hatch over the wheel house. Most of the interior is very, very nice hard wood in great shape, so in order to make it livable, it will only need some curtains and some more 110v outlets. Our progress will be chronicled on this site, so perhaps the readers will learn from our trials and errors as the boat goes from a craft that’s only beautiful for those who don’t lack imagination to a real head-turning house boat. Will we live on it for years? Will we sell it for more than we put into it? Will it wind up as a home for bottom feeding fish beneath the beautiful San Francisco Bay? You’ll be one of the first to know, that’s for sure.

In the upcoming months, you can learn, along with us about diesel engines, marine law, carpentry, painting, bilge pumps, plumbing, heads, finding a good marina, 12 volt and 110 volt electrical, and living in tight quarters.

After the big problems are fixed and we’re living on board, we will start with the real improvements, such as GPS, a good on-board computer system, fancy railing on the top decks, Bimini canopies and most importantly, vinyl lettering.

If you knew how much cheaper this will end up being over local rent, you’d envy us.

We’ll be living the dream.

And now, the very first “Before” picture.
Here She Is