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23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

Janice aboard Seaweed,
living the good life afloat...

Trawler cruising on $14 per day is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

Janice Marois, nautical journalist.
Accredited member of Boat Writers International.

Here, I share my views on living aboard a small boat with very limited resources. Hopefully my successes will help others achieve the life. And yes, I'll share the things I did wrong too -- though not everything 'cause a girl's got to have her secrets!


The first article [
Getting Started] went up on 29 August 2013. Between then and 31 December 2015 I had 2,137,044 hits. I am deeply honored that you have chosen to spend time reading my site. Thank you so much.

Date: 2 February 2016. Electric Drill Repair.

I am looking forward to the day when I can start a project and work right straight through to the end without a something else coming up. This time the drill shorted out. It was definitely time to fix this thing properly. Replacement is not in the budget.

Because it was already broken I could
not make it worse by trying to fix it.

First, I removed all the screws I could see. There were six.


I did what most new boaters do when starting out. I bought battery powered tools. The theory was they would work even if I wasn't tied to a dock. Of course I totally discounted the use of an inverter. Honestly, I don't know what I was thinking.

The problem is this: I did not use power tools frequently enough. It seemed the batt always required recharging whenever I wanted to use the tool.

That is why a while back I switched over to electric tools. They work better for me.


Because my needs are less than a professional I opted for the least expensive electric drill I could find. Mine was sold by Harbor Freight. It was $12 and came with a three month warranty.

For my infrequent use cheap works best, until it breaks. Then it's time to pull out my screwdriver and fix the blasted thing.

Before it broke I did one thing you might consider too.
I took the drill apart and applied GREASE to the gear.

Near the head of the drill is a gear. By liberally applying
 lubricating grease to the gear the motor will work easier.



Lubricating Grease


The container is so old the lid has a
crack. Aluminum foil keeps it sealed.



This container is from our 40'er. It's old. Not as old as me, but close enough! A little brush fits inside so applying the stuff is easy.


If I didn't have this stuff on hand I would add it to my Thrift Store list. It's not a retail item though you will find a use for it once in a while. Or ask a mechanic to give you some in a little glass jar. Mine is at least thirty years old and I've used a bit maybe four or five times since I bought Seaweed.

But I digress. Again! Thanks for being patient with me as I ramble...

The problem is my drill made a pop sound then quit. I saw a bit of smoke near where the cord enters the drill.

First Task: Unplug the drill.

In examining the drill I could see where a bit of the wire looked like it had shorted out. The cord was softer at that point so I suspected the damage was centered there. After unplugging the drill I opened her up.

The wires as they entered the drill had shorted out. I cut off the bad part and stripped off the black cord cover. What I discovered is this: Though the Harbor Freight drill has the same diameter cord as the more costly drills, the guts in there are not so large.

The wires are 18 gauge. That's about the size of a pencil lead. It also works. Any time I can save lots of money I'm all for that.

At first I pulled out my spiffy waterproof butt connectors then realized I did not need to use the expensive ones for this. The cheap spade connectors I have in the locker will be perfectly a-okay in this application.




When wiring, something to consider:


I was concerned that at some point I'd have to take this apart again. I wanted to ensure that I could not accidentally connect the wires improperly. This is what I did:


Positive and ground wires FROM THE DRILL
and the matching ones FROM THE CORD.


I took a male spade connector (TOP GREEN ARROW) and put it on the ground wire inside the drill. Then I took a female spade connector (BOTTOM GREEN ARROW) and attached it on the white wire inside the drill.


Next I did the reverse to the cord wires. I took the white wire inside the cord and attached a male spade connector to it. Now the white (positive) wires will join.

For the Ground wire in the cord (that skinny black one near the RED ARROW) I attached a female. Now the male spade will fit nicely in the slot.

Voila: I cannot mess it up
later on down the waterway...


Of course I wanted to make sure the metal in those spades could never touched each other. The solution was a bit of heat shrink tubing and a lighter. First I slid the heat shrink tubing on the wires, then connected the spades. Sliding the heat heat shrink over the spade connectors protects the wires. It also helps keep the spades together.

By going back and forth with a lighter the heat
shrink squeezed in and everything is Good Enough.

Making it all fit back in the drill case was a bit of a challenge. It took me a couple of tries before the cover closed properly. Once it snapped together it was a simple matter to replace the six screws. Voila. If only all repairs were so easy.

For a bit of time I once again have a drill that will work and hopefully for a long time. And now I can get back to more boat projects.

You know every job has a divergent. The drill was just one of mine. More later... and thanks for reading.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the Electric Drill Repair page.

Categories: Gear, Money,


Announcement: I did start a few months ago emailing notices to readers when new articles go up. If you'd like to be included via BCC* simply drop me a line to janice@janice142.com and I'll add you. It's free.

*BCC - Blind Carbon Copy. Basically no one but me will have your email address and the list of subscribers is not available.

Now this is not fancy. Basically I copy off the top three items in my Archive file. That way you can catch up if life gets in the way of your reading fun.

Secret: If you want to know what's what, start in the Archive. It offers you the title, first paragraph and topics (Categories) covered in each article published on my website.

My Cruising Kitty earns money each time you buy on Amazon through my links. It costs you nothing and helps supplement my cruising funds. I appreciate it so much when you click through my site's Amazon links. It really does help keep me afloat.

Thank you.


Pet of the Week: Julie
aboard M/V Hero

Submit your pet's photo.
Please email pictures of your crew!

More canine, feline and feathered crew members can be found on the The First Mate Gallery page.


The Archive holds a chronological list of every item published on my website. It includes a brief synopsis (not just the title) along with the topics covered in each article.

Click on the title and voila: you're there. Enjoy!

Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire

Of course every boat needs a Deck Swabbie. Mine, born in 2008, is a papillon mix who weighs in at 4 pounds 3 ounces.

My girl is currently in the dog house. She went visiting and promptly christened the rug. Then Skipper went forward and did worse in the stateroom. I am embarrassed. Skipper seems contrite. I suspect however that is an act designed to gain forgiveness. Yes, she does know better. Sigh.

Coming soon ...

Good idea, copied onboard Seaweed.


Topics of Interest:
You can achieve a simple satisfying life

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican.
(Poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1879-1972.)


For years I've been collecting short pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms. If you're like me and enjoy the weird, go ahead and CLICK!

These are previously posted at the bottom of each article -- for new, you'll have to come visit again.

Seaweed is in St. Pete right now.

The above chart (#411) can be a wish book of sorts as you look over your domain and wonder where to go next. And yes, I do have the originals (sans red arrow) as jpeg's for download should you desire your own for closer perusal. Enjoy!

The Writer's Block

It's my belief that other folks who boat are some of the most interesting in the world, and inside every boater is a story. Well, let yours out! I'd love to post short stories, vignettes, or even longer articles that focus on some aspect of our life on or near the water. Suggested topics include:

1. I Remember When...
2. My First Boat
3. Who inspired you to be a boater?
4. Fishing Trips or Tricks
5. Or another subject of your choosing

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard, and personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower, but kids, well, kids were kids. Here are my two aboard the tow boat my dad ran for a time:

Your pictures would be wonderful too. I posted one of Boot Key Harbor taken in 2001 that has gotten quite a few downloads and really, that's not so terribly long ago... Do you have any photos to share? Email me.

Do you want to help out?

Often an article for the website will be completely written yet lack photographs. I like pictures and am looking for some for up-coming pieces:

  • Parrot or a macaw

  • Electric food dehydrator

  • Derelict sloop or ketch

Size: a minimum of 1000 pixels across please. If that doesn't make sense think bigger versus resized for emailing -- I'd prefer the full-size version. Also, the name you'd like me to use when I add the copyright stuff to your picture. And thanks!

My email address is janice@janice142.com

23' Schucker mini-trawler, circa 1983.

Thanks for visiting. If you happen to see my boat along the waterways, give a call on Channel 16. I'm always listening.

click picture to enlarge

My home is not fancy by any means, however you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to come back to her after an expedition on shore.

If I can live this life, why not you too?

Skipper, First Mate

Aphorism Alert: Begin doing what you want to now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. Marie Beyon Ray.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.


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