How come all the jobs on a boat have to start out so shitty?  I mean honestly, its like a thing.  Literally in this case.  I was determined to use some of this vacation time to get down to business on the front of the boat.  The first order of business is to get our new stem fitting installed so I can line up the new sprit.  In addition of course I need to make all the deck repairs up front before putting the new bolts in place.  So what do I do?  Go up to the front of the boat so I can get at the stem fitting chain plate.  Well you know what I discovered?

I can’t fit up there.  And on that particular day Dani wasn’t with me.  So without my lemming to shove into tight and impossible spaces I had to get up there myself.  And to do that I needed to stand in the forward most storage space under the v-berth.  The only problem with that is the space was occupied by the old holding tank.  (For you non-sailors:  The big jug that holds all the sewage).   And well… We all know how that ends.

Of course it took me hours to get this tank out of there.  And so my day drew to a close.  And the next day I go back, but this time I have Dani so all my labor to get that tank out of the way was really for nothing.  Well, at least its out of there now.  Anyway… Continuing on.

I sent my lemming in to investigate the bolts that hold the stem fitting on the front of the boat.

And then I sent her in with some vice grips to hold onto those nuts so I could remove the bolts.

Now of course it gets interesting.  Why are we using vice grips?  I’ll explain.  The bolts that held the old chainplate in place had 9/16″ heads on them.  At first I sent Dani in with a 9/16″ wrench which she said was too small.  So I hand her a 5/8″ wrench which she says is too small.  Then I hand her a 3/4″ wrench which she says doesn’t fit either.  Then she starts telling me it must be metric?  What the heck is going on there.  Could the corrosion on those nuts be such that they blocked the wrench?  I didn’t know but I didn’t care.  The vice grips were deployed.   And soon…

Victory.  The old fitting was removed from the stem of the boat.

Once I got another look at the nuts I saw something I’ve never seen before.  These nuts are very large and not even close to the same size as the bolt head.  They also appear to be sleeved.  Its almost like someone took a big oversized nut and put a sleeve into it so it would fit the 9/16″ bolts.  Very odd.   They were very badly corroded.  One of them literally split in half on removal though the inner sleeving material held together.

I went ahead and got busy with a scraper to remove all the old caulk off the stem of the boat in preparation for the install of the new chainplate that will replace it.

And we rounded out the day by filling some of the non-structural holes left in the deck from the removal of all that teak.

We cut it close since it is supposed to freeze tonight and the resin clearly states it will not cure in sub 40 degree F temperatures.  Tomorrow I am hoping to get the new stemfitting bolted onto the boat and also to grind down the remainder of the sampson posts that still protrude above the deck.

Oh, and as to the phoenix reference.  I’m going to cut that old stem fitting off and use it as a backing plate under the deck for the new sprit.