C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

mast modifications

The mast lying on saw horses aside C'est la Vie is a sad sight, but the situation does offer a opportunity to make some repairs and modifications that have long resided on our to do list.

First: Replace the mast head sheaves, run the halyards internal on the mast, and add additional halyards:


Originally the mast had two halyard sheaves that accommodated a main and foresail halyard.  These sheaves used the through bolt, visible in the center of the mast just above the white coaxial cable, as an axle. (see image above)  This allowed C'est la Vie's rig to run two external halyards.  Our addition of a roller furled head sail and a removable inner stay for the storm jib will require two fore halyards. To accomplish this we will add additional sheaves and reroute the halyards inside the mast.  The new system will provide two fore halyards and two aft halyards.

The original sheaves are the large wheels in the lower portion of the image. The four new Harken sheaves are above the originals (three of which are still wrapped in plastic.)  Paul from Omar Sails cut the exit slots and installed exit plates on the lower mast.  He also located and drilled holes on the forward and aft side of the mast for the bolts that act as axles for the new sheaves.   The two sheaves that occupy each axle are separated by a shim.  The shim, visible between the two halyards in the image below, runs fore to aft and is anchored in place by the axle bolts.  The shim prevents the sheaves from sliding side to side and prevents the halyards from slipping off the sheaves and becoming entangled.


Secondly:  Improve the attachment of the spreaders:


C'est la Vie's aluminum spreaders are not original to the vessel.  1960 vintage Morgans were equipped with wooded spreaders.  When we purchased C'est la Vie she came equipped with aluminum spreaders.  These are a nice improvement, but were poorly attached to the mast.  In rough seas the spreaders would swing fore and aft.  We discovered that two 1/4" bolts fit into 5/16" compression tubes were used to attach the spreaders.

We added a 3/8" bolt to the center of the assembly and enlarged the outer two bolts to 5/16".  These modifications eliminated the play in the spreaders.


We are closing in on re-stepping the mast.  Below is the long view of our progress...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Head refinishing project completed!

Since the port side chain plate brackets are behind much of the head plumbing, we stalled the head project to await the complete installation of the chain plates.  After using a water hose to test the deck seal of the chain plates - no leaks -, I installed the head pump and made up the hose connections above the new counter top,

Our pump for the lavac head is located in the cabinet above the counter.  On C'est la Vie the pump is plumbed so that it can be used to flush the toilet or pump out the holding tank when offshore.

Here is a look at the completed head...

Here is a link to a photo album documenting the process of refinishing the head and replacing the plumbing - Refinish Head - Summer 2011 

We do plan to order a new toilet seat seat/lid when we get back to Florida this winter.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Refinished windlass installed

Once we added the final grease..

 And Anne used the excuse of  torquing down the bolts on the base to show off her guns...

We reunited the windlass with the foredeck...

Now all that remains is to service the anchor rollers on the pulpit and rehang the anchors.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chain plate deck fittings rebuild is complete!

With the completion of the new chain plate deck fittings we are one project closer to re-stepping the mast.  The entire process is detailed in our photo album - Chain Plate Deck Fittings - Fall 2011



 We applied the third coat of Brightsides Paint to the surrounding area yesterday.  spot painting around the chain plates, mast step, and anchor windlass certainly highlights the sad state of our topsides paint.

Today we used 3M 4200 to re-bed the chain plates.  This process prevents water from seeping through the deck fittings.

While working in the area we installed & bedded a new flush deck waste pumpout fitting.  Over the past few weeks of working in the head I have noticed some water leaking in near the portside aft chain plate fitting.  Unsure of how the water was intruding, we played it safe and re-bedded the port and starboard stanchion bases as well.

Monday, October 17, 2011

working above and below the waterline

Today's efforts were a continuation of yesterday's projects.  I started the day by adding epoxy thickened with a fairing filler to the area around the rudder stock.  This filler is easy to sand and will allow me to return the hull to a smooth surface by sanding the cured epoxy.

While the epoxy cured, I turned my efforts to adding another coat of Brightsides Paint to the mast step and chain plate fittings.  Adding a coat of paint is actually a time consuming process the starts with sanding the area, then wiping down the area with solvent, then wiping the area with a tack cloth, then mixing the paint with thinner to achieve the correct viscosity relative to the temp, then applying the paint, and finally cleaning up the tools.  A few hours of work went into coat number 3.

By the time I finished the coat of paint on decks, the epoxy below the water line had cured.  A few minutes with the orbital sander and the hull returned to a smooth surface.

The next stage in repairing the hull is to add  seven coats of barrier coat.  The barrier coat serves to keep water from soaking into the fiberglass hull. The red bottom paint visible on the majority of the hull serves to inhibit marine growth.

I was able to complete 3 application of barrier coat this afternoon by rolling on the next coat once the epoxy on the hull became tacky.  To keep the epoxy and roller from hardening I placed them in a cooler with ice.  To accelerate hardening of the epoxy on the hull I used a hot air gun to elevate the temperature.  This method allowed me to apply the three coats in about one hour.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A bit of investigative digging

We noticed the two hairline cracks on either side of the rudder stock shortly after we hauled out in June.  And, we probably should have checked them out earlier in the summer.  A couple days ago we finally got around to grinding out the surrounding area to investigate.  The area is outlined in blue tape in the image below.

Our investigation yielded a couple small voids in the epoxy build up where the hull layup meets the bronze thru hull tube for the rudder stock.  The voids are the best case scenario since once exposed they are easily repaired. After giving the area a few days to dry out, I filled the voids with thicken epoxy.  Once the epoxy began to set I then added two layers of mat to to the area.

A couple days ago, Anne had created the horseshoe shaped pieces of  fiberglass cloth that extend well beyond the cracks and voids.  The fiberglass mat will provide additional strength to the area.

I focused on applying the fiberglass to the hull in the a.m. while waiting on yesterday's coat of Interlux Brightsides on the mast step to completely dry.  By midday I switched my efforts to the topsides and added the second coat of paint to the mast step and chain plate fittings.

We now have two coats down.  Hopefully we will have the painting completed before the next round of rain reaches the area on Tuesday evening.

Sanding and applying the paint on deck allowed enough time for the epoxy at the rudder to set.  By late this afternoon, I was able to sand down the repairs on the hull.

The next step in the hull repair is to fair out the surface.  Once the repaired area is smooth we will cover the area with barrier coat.  By the time we get a fresh coat of bottom paint on the hull our repair should be indistinguishable from the rest of the hull.