The theme for this year’s work was preparation and preservation, preparation for the major work coming in 2023 and preservation of the hull and deck. At the top of the preparation list was cleaning out the boat and organizing the storage container. Much of Ontario’s equipment and more had been stored in the boat. This had to be removed, sorted and stored, a process that took several weekends.
Early work goals were modest, we began by tackling the brightwork in dire need of new varnish. Several crew members took pieces home to clean, strip, and varnish the wood. It may have seemed early in the process to begin with what is typically a task began near completion, yet it was a necessary task and one we could accomplish while waiting for updated construction plans from our Naval Architect.
The existing deadlights, the small round windows on the cabin sides, had not weathered well. The lenses had cracked and had to be removed and replaced. A private donor stepped up and volunteered to donate new stainless-steel opening portlights. The future young sailors occupying the Cadet Mess will benefit from the increased ventilation on warm summer evenings.
It may seem a bit like putting lipstick on a pig, the hull and decks of the Ontario were given a quick and dirty coat of paint. Applied to protect the deck and hull from further rusting, the team acknowledges it does improve the working conditions, a little.
In early December a crew from Local Welders descended on Ontario to attach studs to the hull. The studs, actually 3/8” bolts will secure magnesium anodes to help prevent future galvanic corrosion. Corrosion is a significant problem with steel boats, these anodes will help to prevent it and the extensive damage the corrosion can cause.
The highlight for the year came as a surprise, a generous donation. While touring the Ontario, Marc Brown of NDE Technologies heard our concerns about the engine and reverse gear (transmission) and a desire to replace the 1968 Viet Nam War era Detroit Diesel. Marc and ND Technologies stepped up and donated a new 115hp Nanni diesel, a modern, lighter, and more fuel-efficient diesel. The diesel was delivered in mid-January, but that’s a story for the 2023 update.
By the end of December planning began for a busy 2023 construction schedule. The engine room will be reworked to accommodate the new engine and generator. Fresh, gray, and black water tanks need installing and bilges need painting. By fall this work should be completed and cabin floors installed. Follow along with our progress on social media.