Tag Archives: Autumn Dream

New Headliner


New roll of Headliner fabric


One of the frames with the old, stained headliner


New panels, ready to be installed

Before we sold Autumn Dream to Dr. Andy, we had a list of upgrades and improvements that we were going to make.  If you own a boat or a house, you know that there are always things to do….

So, after we bought Autumn Dream back, we went through our list and started working.  Kevin has been busy with his list, but I wanted to share one of the items on mine.

The headliner in the stateroom was in very good condition, so nothing was needed there.  We removed the headliner in the main saloon previously, as it had some staining from an old leak.  We really liked how it looked without the headliner.  So the only headliner that needed replacing was in the Pilot House.

In the pilot house, the headliner is installed in panels, so it made it a lot easier to  remove and replace.

We brought the panels home, to measure and order replacement Headliner fabric, without foam.  Defender had the best prices, as usual!  In the pilot house we wanted it to breathe, and didn’t need the sound insulation, so no foam backing required.  I took the old staples out of the frames to remove the old fabric.  There were some obvious repairs – including the wrong (not stainless) staples, and masking tape holding some of the fabric onto the frame.  Lots of the staples broke, so Kevin and I both had “fun” pulling out little bits of metal.

Kevin repaired two of the frames that were cracked, and then we installed the new fabric with the RIGHT staples.  Last step will be to install and cut the hole for a nicro solar vent, and we will do that after some of the other projects are done.

This was an EASY project!



Winter is coming….

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends and readers in the USA, and a warm hello to everyone who does not celebrate the holiday.

And a special BULA! to our fellow Fiji Princess 7 day stayers… when are we doing something like that again?  We are definitely willing…

The juncos have returned, the summer geese and the cormorants are gone, the winter geese are here.  The leaves are off the trees (and thanks to the other day’s south west winds, they are not on our property either 🙂 ).  Our stupid rose bush insists on still blooming, so I can’t prune it yet, but everything else says that Autumn has a firm grip, and winter is on its way.  Fortunately, no snow yet for us here on the south coast, but we certainly aren’t having one of those wonderful 70 degree Thanksgiving day’s when you go for a walk in your shirtsleeves after eating too much.

The heat had to be turned on near the end of October.  There is this Yankee thing about waiting as long as you can before you turn on the heat.  Everyone starts to ask each other if they are still toughing it out, or if they turned it on yet.  We held out long enough, but there is a point where you just have to do it.

I’m sorry we have been away from the blog for such a long time.  I know that for some of you who don’t use Facebook, this is your way of keeping track of us.  There have been a few changes, and you can feel free to get in a chuckle at our expense if you like.

The move to Florida is no longer going to happen.  We have a saying (and so do many others): ” the universe will unfold as it should”.  The forces in the universe were apparently conspiring to prevent our move from Somerset to Yulee, and after 10 months, we just had to read the signs and make a decision.  The largest issue, of course, is the fact that we just could not sell the house.  No one was interested – no even to look.  There is a clear message there.  Then a few other things happened, and after 10 months of trying to make this work, it was time to move on with our lives.

In contrast, when we decided to purchase this house in Somerset, we put the Ashland house up for sale after we left for a vacation in Hawaii.  We had a signed P&S in less than 2 weeks, before we got back home – obviously, that change was meant to be.  Everything was just “too hard” and working against us for this move to Florida.

We are very happy with our decision to stay here, and to get back to living in the now instead of floating in limbo, waiting for the ‘later’.  And if you know of anyone who is interested in purchasing a very nice lot in Waterman’s Bluff at a great discount, send them the information please.  We now are trying to sell this land.

Once we made the decision to stay, we started shopping for a boat.  We had sold Autumn Dream to a really great guy, and so we started looking at sail boats.  Kevin kept looking at Pilot House sail boats, and we were trying to decide what was the best option for us.  We mentioned to the new owner of Autumn Dream (when we were helping put the cover on) that we were in the market for a boat, and he asked if we would be interested in buying her back, due to some changes in his life.

Wow.  After a few days of discussion, we decided to buy her back.  This is when you really can start to laugh if you choose.  Yes, the blog will stay as M/V Autumn Dream, because she is back in our lives, and we are staying here in Somerset.  All is right with the world, and the universe is unfolding as it should.

Future posts will include boat work (of course) and changes we are making around the house, now that we are staying put.

Hope this post finds you all happy, and well.

M/V Autumn Dream Update 6/12/16

Since this Blog is suppose to be about our pilothouse trawler M/V Autumn Dream I thought I should do a short post about her.  Well as you know Autumn Dream was for sale.  Well she is now under contract.  So that means that we have basically sold her before the house sold.  Good that this happened but kind of unexpected.  The buyer is a great guy who knows boats and was looking for a “boat with soul”.  His words not mine.  Autumn Dream has a ton of soul.

Well this past Friday Autumn Dream had the “out of water” buyer’s survey.  She passed this with flying colors.  The surveyor like her so much and was so impressed with her condition that he wants to write a bad survey so that the current buyer won’t buy her-  so he can buy her  (LOL).   Just a joke but he was exceptionally impressed.  When Beth and I bought her we had difficulty finding a surveyor who would survey the boat because of her age.  Once we found a surveyor and had the survey done, that surveyor was also blown away.  The survey on Friday showed that her decks were dry and the bottom was in exceptional condition.

The surveyor made a very interesting comment => that he was not happy with his office assistant for setting up a survey for a boat this old on a Friday.  Old boats are always a pain!   Well, when he was done he told me that this was a much better survey than he has seen in years.  Most much newer boats (less than 3 years old) do not survey as well as Autumn Dream!  We knew she was special and we hate to let her go but it is time to do so!  The new owner will be a good steward to Autumn Dream and that makes us very happy.

So one more step before the transaction is complete, and that is the sea trial.  This should be a non-issue as she runs like a top and with her new damper plate, water pump, hoses and all the rest of our hard work this past winter I don’t see much chance for issues.  However she is still a BOAT and anything can happen!  If all goes well the deal should close by end of month and we can concentrate on the house!

Disaster Averted – we hope

Today’s entry is about sewing…

On Sunday, after lunch Kevin went down to do some work on Autumn Dream, before it got windy, snowy and cold (yesterday we woke up to about 8F).  I got busy making pumpkin scones.  He surprised me by being back home  before they were even out of the oven… and was not happy.

Seems that one of the seams on Autumn Dream’s cover was open and getting worse by the minute.  Her cover is a heavy canvas material – and is at least 10 years old – it was purchased by the previous owners.  We already had to replace the isinglass (clear plastic) that allowed the sunlight to reach the solar panels with the cover on, and this summer I repaired another area where the seams had started to separate.

The problem is the thread – after all this exposure to weather and sun, it is disintegrating – and anywhere the cover rubs against the frame is at risk.  Here’s a link to last winter’s blog with a photo of the cover https://mvautumndream.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/some-photos/

So… the thread gave up the ghost on the starboard side, about 2 feet forward of the zipper, where the cover was rubbing against one of the upright portions of the frame.  We waited for the scones to finish baking, then grabbed the Speedy Stitcher and went back to attempt a repair.


Speedy Stitcher to the Rescue

With Kevin working the “bobbin” thread on the outside, and me “sewing” with the awl on the inside, we sewed the seam back together with 2 rows of stitching in about 15-20 minutes.  Of course then we saw where the cover is starting to pull apart at the zipper – but that is the canvas itself so we couldn’t fix it the same way – we just hope it holds for the winter.  Maybe it is time to give up and get a new cover.

When we got home, it was time for a Victory Coffee with fresh pumpkin scones!

My other sewing news, for those who are mildly interested, is my “new” sewing machine.  This belonged to my mother-in-law, who unfortunately is not able to use it any longer.  I need to do some research with Dr. Google and YouTube to learn how to do a full D&C – cleaning and servicing- and then I think this Kenmore Ultra-Stitch will work better with heavy canvas than my old New Home (which is probably 20 years younger than the Kenmore).  Note the owner’s manual – brings back some memories!

Lastly, something that has NOTHING to do with sewing…  Back when Kevin and I both were working in Marlborough Shipley/Rohm& Haas, there was a time when we realized we had become the “old grizzled engineers” and were surrounded by much younger engineers.  We really enjoyed the company of some of these people, and thought they had great potential.  We wished them luck and hoped they did ‘better’ than being stuck in EM.

Most of these folks have now moved on to other companies or completely turned their lives around.  Nate has joined the Air force (or is it the Navy?) and graduated from EOD training.  Crystal is in Hawaii working on her Master in Marine Science.  Alex decided to take time off and travel!  Wow – here is a link to the blog that he and his girlfriend are using to document their adventure:  http://buckmastaflexx.tumblr.com/

As I write this, Kevin and his friend Dave are braving the cold to re-install the transmission – Hopefully it will go back IN almost as easily as it went OUT… Kevin will be providing an update on that project.


Work Continues

So since we have had relatively mild weather here in the North East part of the USA work has moved forward on Autumn Dream.

As previously noted the cutlass bearing was removed by brute force.  You can see how it looked in the photo after removal.  This should be a  nice tube 2 inches  in outside diameter and six inches long.  Not a slit tube with the crap beat out of it!


Here you see the shaft strut with the bearing removed.


Now with the new bearing and shaft back in place.


The more observant among you will have noticed that there are also two new set screws in the strut.  Most struts have set screws in them to keep the cutlass bearing from twisting with the shaft or spinning out of the strut entirely while underway.  On Autumn Dream this strut is actually tapered a little bit to hold the bearing in place.  The bearing in all cases is press fit into the strut but on Autumn Dream the press fit in the tapered strut is what held the bearing in place.  As Autumn Dream is not a new boat and when I removed the cutlass bearing from the strut I could see some signs of previous replacements being done I decide to drill two holes, tap them and  install set screws as a precaution.

When installing the new bearing I refrigerated the bearing to -2F before installing and lubricated both the bearing and the strut with Ivory soap.  I then pressed the bearing into the strut.  Since the bearing was cold and as a result of freezing slightly smaller in size than the actual strut opening it went in reasonably easy.  Now reasonably easy is to say that I fabricated a “press” (maybe a “pull” is a better descriptor) out of 3/4″ threaded rod and heavy 2″ washers and nuts.  I then put the rod through the strut and the bearing and started pulled the bearing into the strut by tightening the two nuts on the threaded rod.  If your interested you can see the whole process at this great website where I found all the information to get this job done!  http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/replacing_a_cutlass    Thank you Compass Marine for a great  website with exceptionally informative articles that show you how to do some of the necessary boat work yourself!  If I had to pay to get this done in my boats case your talking minimal cost amount of about $1000.00 USD mostly in labor!  The actual part is about $100.00.

So now that the cutlass bearing is complete I can move forward and return the transmission to the boat, Fill the transmission with ATF fluid, install the stuffing box, repack the stuffing box and attach the shaft to the transmission and the drive train work will be complete.

In addition to the drive train work I have managed to reinstall the fresh water cooling pump and a new Thermostat.  The FWCP is located in the middle of the photo below with a duel belt pulley on it.  The thermostat is under the white flange on top of the green bit with a wire coming out of it.  Next I need to get some new hoses and complete the re-installation of the boats cooling system.  So new cooling hoses, re-install heat exchange,  coolant tank, raw water pump, alternator and finally replace all the drive belts.


However the weather turned colder and whiter overnight.  I guess it had to come.  So until it gets above freezing again work will be a hold for a bit.

Next installment should be an update on the progress of work on the dinghy. Both Beth and I are doing work on that front!  Beth is making a beautiful dinghy cover from scratch and I’ve been doing a bit of fiberglass and epoxy work.

The Work Continues on Autumn Dream!

Its been a while since I have posted any progress on the maintenance of Autumn Dream.  That is because I have been busy actually doing the maintenance, and finding replacement parts where needed!   So just what has been going on you ask?  Well as you can see in the following few photos some the removed parts have been cleaned and painted.


On Autumn Dream like most inboard boats the drive system includes the damper plate which is connected to the transmission, which is connected to the reduction gear (one box), which is connected to the drive shaft, which goes through a stuffing box, and a Cutlass bearing concluding with the propeller which pushes Autumn dream through the water on her adventures.  While replacing the damper plate I had most of this drive system apart and it makes sense to replace and renew at this time.  So the search began to find a damper plate.  This extensive search with the help of Dr. Google, and many others eventually lead to Topsfield Mass and the office of  Atlantis Marine Gear and Supply (http://marinetransmissions.info/Home.html).  This was the only place on the east coast of the USA that had the required damper plate.  These guys were very helpful and had what I needed.   Replacement Damper plate in hand it was time to install it and replace the bell housing and get the engine back on her motor mounts.  Actually a reasonable easy job as compared to the removal of the old plate and difficulty finding the replacement plate.


Bell housing (Green in top of photo) Transmission and Reduction gear (Orange stuff with arrow in middle of photo) Shaft coupling (red and black bits)

The above photo also shows the engine starter (orange part in upper right hand of photo).  All this stuff needed to be removed to get to the damper plate.


Shaft and starter removed ready to remove 150 pound transmission and reduction gear out of the typically small space


Transmission and reduction gear out!

If you click on the above photos you can see the caption.


Transmission reduction gear in my shop with new rear seal installed and new paint!


New Damper plate installed and bell housing painted and re-installed, ready for transmission.

Also with all the work going on with the drive system, I also decided to replace the Cutlass bearing. If you look at the actually Cutlass bearing photo (second photo below) you can see that it is cut and has had the living shit pounded out of it.  This was two hours of hell to get it out of the strut.  This is one of the only press fit Cutlass bearings in the world.  Lets just say this job stunk!   Most Cutlass bearing are held in place with a few set screws and press out relatively easy.  Not this one!   However with all the new stuff we should see some reduce engine vibration and also have the assurance that the drive system is in good shape for another estimated 2000 to 3000 hours of running time!


If you look close at the above photo the thing sticking down from the bottom of the boat that is bronze where the paint is scraped away is the propeller shaft strut.  If you look at previous post you can see the propeller shaft going through this strut.  Inside the struts hole is the Cutlass bearing.


Removed Cutlass bearing

Now I need to get the replacement Cutlass bearing and install it.  Once that is done I can re-install the propeller shaft, replace the newly reconditioned stuffing box and then put the transmission and starter back in place.  Eventually I’ll connect the shaft to the coupling and put the prop back on the shaft!   Fun Fun Fun!

Next Blog….Work update on TT/Autumn Dream, and installing the new water pump and thermostat!


on-going adventures in the engine room!

As promised here is the next installment on the ongoing quest to keep MV Autumn Dream running reliably and as new.  The photo below shows the front end of our Palmer Diesel Engine and offending water pump still in place.  Actually this could be the original FWECP from the factory, if it is, it lived a long and useful life.  Off the top of my head this 1973 vintage diesel has about 3600 hours on her, if this is the original FWECP she done good.  Now her life is over as the bearing/seal  in the pump is gone and she is leaking water and wobbly.  So off with the old one.  The next photo shows the hole where the pump once resided.

Raw Water Pump removed

Old FWECP is the black pulley and the pump housing in green behind the pulley 


Front of Engine with FWECP removed.

Below you can actually get an idea of what the water pump looks like removed.  Two FWECP’s on the bench, old one (green) and the new one (rusty from storage).  The rusty one came with Autumn Dream as one of several spare parts and this was a good spare to have as I don’t know if the old one can be repaired or not or if I could find a replacement?  Also on the bench you can see several other parts I removed from the front of the engine to be able to get access to the FWECP.  Going from left to right is the alternator, old FWECP, the coolant  reservoir (black and yellow part), the “new” replacement FWECP and in the upper right hand corner looking sort of black is the RWP (raw water pump) which had a surprise in store for me also.


Half the engine in my shop.

So once everything was disassembled it is time for next steps.   First clean the rust off the new FWECP and prime with white metal primer paint!   Oh and since I have to paint this I decided that I would paint a whole bunch of other parts!   Once the primer was dry for 48 hours it received a coat of high temp gloss white engine paint.  As I decided to expand my painting I have also de-greased the front of the engine and that is now painted white.  I’ll get some photos of that a bit latter, when I reinstall the FWECP once the weather warms up (more on weather later).


Primed “new” FWECP

You may remember that before all the water pump stuff started I had to replace the damper gear in the transmission.  First step was to remove the starter as that was in the way and all the assorted wiring.  This starter must weigh about 60 pounds and it was hell to remove from the boat!  Fortunately my friend Dave was willing to help get it off the boat and home to the shop where it too will get a paint job.  More photos to come of that job!


Palmer Diesel Starter Motor

The RWP also had a surprise in store for me.  The pulley had a chunk out of it and I was concerned that it could actually throw the belt off of the pulley as a result of this gap.  I did not get a photo of the gap but I did find a place that could repair the missing chunk and the work is done and gap is closed!   Once again it was my friendly Marine Consignment store  that suggested that I may be able to get it repaired!   So $40.00 later all is well!  To replace this pulley would have taken several days of research to see if anyone had one and if yes I would guess at least $100.00 for the part.  If I could not get the pulley and had to replace the whole RWP that could cost me $400.00!  So $40.00 vs $400   that is a deal!

Weather  hmm  ———-   I mentioned earlier in the blog  that once the weather warms up I’ll re-install the FWECP.  If you look at the photos below you can see little white specs on the deck.   Yes this is snow!   First now of the year was last Sunday the 18th of October 2015!  Not much but you can see the sky and if you enlarge the deck photo below (by clicking on it) you can see we did indeed get some snow!  Not enough to shovel, but it does signal the winter is coming, so unless a get a few warm days the FWECP will not go back into Autumn Dream till spring 2016!




Snow Sky

Let the games begin! ( a longish post)

OK we decided to not sell Autumn Dream.   We had a potential buyer look at the boat then he followed up with me on the phone with a few questions.  After talking to someone who might be a serious potential buyer I decided to spend a few hours in the engine room to make sure all was well in the event that he actually decided to move forward and make an offer.  Typically after an offer is made (and accepted) the smart buyer will hire a professional marine surveyor to evaluate the boat.  When I was on board with the potential buyer I noticed a small coolant leak coming from  a hose that come off of the bottom of the coolant reservoir.  So in a effort to make it right I went digging to find the cause of the leak.  Hopefully it may have been just a bad hose or loose clamp.   As I was looking closer I started taking things apart.  In order to get to the right hose I had to remove the engine drive belts that power the alternator, raw water cooling pump (rwcp) and the fresh water engine cooling pump (fwecp) .  This is a PIA but not too bad.  However when I removed the drive belt attached to the fwecp I found that the fwecp belt pulley was a bit wobbly.  This was not a good sign.  It should rotate easily but not wobble.   Hmm  then I noticed that there was some black liquid leaking out of the bearing on the fwecp.  Not good at all…..   wobbly , leaking black water  = dead fwecp…   OK not the end of the world as I have a spare.  However now this job was getting a bit more involved.   OK time to go home and talk to the CFO.  After taking to the CFO and discussing the needed repair we decided that we should not sell her and also do a deeper investigation and look for other potential issues, after all it is a boat!   Also with a potentially serious buyer looking at her it triggered some serious emotions that maybe we were not yet comfortable selling her.  So I contacted the broker and we removed the listing.  Now the fun and games can begin.  Since  had to remove and replace the fwecp I also started the while you at it game.  So I have been thinking about replacing all the engine coolant hoses for a few years.   Since I have to do the fwecp replacement now is the right time to do the coolant hoses  Also don’t forget the damper gear on the transmission needs replacing (previous post).

Here are the initial steps to to make her like new!   Remove all the drive belts off the engine.   Drain about 3 gallons of antifreeze coolant from the “fresh” water side of the engine cooling system.  Messy and time consuming job to put it politely.  Removed all hoses that move the fresh water antifreeze coolant and the raw water coolant hoses.  (For my non-boat friends a boat like this does not have a fan and a radiator like a car has.  It has a “fresh” water side and a raw water side to the cooling system.  The raw water pump pulls in cool sea water from outside the boat and this raw water is circulated through a heat ex-changer.   The “fresh” water runs through the same heat ex-changer and the engine heat is transferred from the fresh water to the raw sea water cooling the engine down).  Hoses removed I get to move on to the fun stuff.  First the  raw water cooling pump and bracket is removed from the front of the engine.  Next the coolant reservoir tank was removed and finally I can access the fwecp and remove it!  So far so good.  See photos below.

Raw water pump (brass colored unit)

Raw water pump, gray heat ex-changer and hoses

raw water pump removed. black pulley at top of engine is fwecp

Next blog – on-going adventures in the engine room!

TT Autumn Dream

TT Autumn Dream

TT Autumn Dream

OK what does TT Autumn Dream mean?  TT is a nautical term relating to the dinghy (tender) for a boat.  So in this case it means Tender To MV Autumn Dream.  This is our SUV that supports getting us and stuff out to the big boat Autumn Dream.   Looking at the photo above you can see that she is in need of some love.  TT Autumn Dream is a 8 foot Dyer Dinghy.  She is a real work horse that we use to schlep water/ fuel/ food/us to and from the big boat.

So now that it is off season I have moved her into basement to do a complete rebuild.  In the photo above I have started to remove the center thwart (seat to my landlubber friends).  In the following photos you can see more and more stuff removed.  Once all stuff removed that can be unscrewed, unbolted she is then ready for next step.  The next step is to strip the paint off the non-removable aft seat, and to sand off any residual silicon sealant that in on the fiberglass hull.  I’ll let some photos show you want I have accomplished

All stuff removed

All stuff removed

Name removed

Name removed

Different view

Different view

Now next step in reconstruction is that I have decided to re-enforce the transom (back end of the boat) to be able to handle a  2 horsepower Honda outboard.  The following photos show the re-enforcing board that will eventually be epoxied into place.  Is this needed?  I don’t think so but better to be safe than sorry.  In order to fit this board took about 2 thousand measurement and 3 thousand cuts.  Remember nothing is straight on a boat.  You can see the angle from wide to narrow in the photo labeled “Different view“.  Plus you need the cut outs for the gunnels and of course the boat get narrower so you need the board to be beveled  from back to front for a proper fit.  The inserted board needs to fit perfectly so that any stresses exerted by the outboard is spread across the whole transom.

Before transom re-enforcement

Before transom re-enforcement

After transom re-enforcement, but not yet epoxied in place.

After transom re-enforcement, but not yet epoxied in place.

So next step will be to template a spot about one foot back from the bow and then cut a bulkhead board to install in the bow area to re-enforce what use to be supported by a bow thwart that I removed several years ago.  This will stiffen the boat and actually  make storing supplies for transport easier.   Once I have both board cut I will do the epoxy work and install them both at the same time as epoxy is a pain to work with and expensive!

Also this week we had a showing of Autumn Dream to a potential buyer.  Time will tell  to see if he is interested or not.  However as I told him it will not break my heart if she does not sell.   As mentioned in the previous blog entry I have a bit of work to do on the old girl this winter, and the other day I found a new project  :-).  Fortunately it is minor project but will be a pain as it is a boat!

Stay tuned!


It’s the summer, so things are busy.  We are trying to enjoy the incredible New England weather as much as possible.

Autumn Dream is for sale.  We have been discussing this on and off for a few years now, and decided to list her with a brokerage and see if there is any interest.   Autumn Dream listing

WHY ??? you are probably asking.  Well, there are lots of reasons – it is a constant struggle as a boat owner, balancing the love of a boat, and the love of using it, with the reality of the commitment in time and money.  There are times when we don’t want to go boating, and do other things, but we feel like we MUST use Autumn Dream because the season is so short.  We know the market is very slow, and it is unlikely that she will sell, and we will happily continue to use her and care for her.  We might even change our minds…

The stuffing box leak has resolved itself, with the ‘normal’ amount of dripping that is expected.  We will change the packing this fall after she is hauled – this is a normal maintenance item that is probably overdue.

The fuel gauge issue has been identified.  It is the sender – and it is normal that they fail after many years of service.  Kevin is researching various options for replacement, including the option to put a tank tender system in for the fuel tank, both water tanks, and the holding tank instead of just replacing the sender.  Another job after haul-out.

On our last cruise Kevin identified some new vibrations and a sound he didn’t like in the transmission.  After research and discussions with Tommy at the boat yard, it seems like the damper plate on the velvet drive needs to be replaced.  All the symptoms point to this as the issue.  We will do some more troubleshooting next time we are on board and decide next steps.

The one rose mallow that I divided this spring is now 3 enormous and one  small plant, all with what seems like hundreds of flowers.  The tomatoes are finally almost ready to pick.  The orange-yellow ones are “Mr. Stripy” and should get some red stripes when ripe.  The others are Cherokee Purple.  The four peppers are still not yet ready to harvest, though one shows a few signs of red appearing.





Balloon Flower

Balloon Flower