Ok, went out to the boat today to see if we A) couldn't try and fix the 'kill switch', and B) try to sail if the weather and permitted time allowed. We stopped at West Marine first to see if we couldn't find a replacement 'kit' that might make our lives easier (a pipe dream as it turned out), but while we were there we did get a lead from a man who was there from 'Lats and Atts' on a supplier for a good boat ladder, so it wasn't a complete waste of time.
Got to the boat and I disassembled the kill switch assembly and took it up to the store to see what we could find to fix it. As we had left it before, we were unable to pull the knob out because it seemed to be glued shut, but oddly enough when I went to demonstrate this fact in the store, it worked just fine, so at this point we started looking around to see if we couldn't just use the existing assembly but find some sort of attachment device to make it work as is. After digging around in the 'spare parts' garage we came across a nut that would fit the grooves on the housing, and picked up a couple of stainless steel washers to help seat it in place. At 55 cents it was proving to be the cheapest boat repair yet, but I was celebrating too soon, as we discovered when we got back to the boat to put it all together.
It turns out the 'hole' for the kill switch goes through a thickness of cored fiberglass just thick enough for the threads to not be sticking through enough to capture the nut that we want to use to hold it in place (I think in the past, before it broke, it was just glued in place). We weighed our options -- either drilling another hole somewhere else to mount the switch where the fiberglass isn't so thick, or trying to use a dremel tool to dig out the backside of the existing hole so that it could accomodate the washers and nut we bought. I didn't like the idea of drilling new holes in the boat, so after Terri found that she could get around to the backside of the hole through the sail locker, we decided to come back later and dig out the hole a bit to see if we couldn't fix it that way.
A couple boats out on the water, but by the time we finished monkeying around with the repairs it was getting too late, so we opted out of sailing today after all, and contented ourselves with the fact that we had gone out to visit the boat after the recent storms, and she seems none the worse for wear. Been a long time between sails so far this year, thanks to busy schedules and a couple of big work projects, hopefully next month will be better.
UPDATE: JUNE 29: Went back to work on the switch again, spent a lot of time in the sail locker with the dremel tool and goggles and facemask trying to open up the back side of the switch hole, and when we finally got it big enough to fit the nut in, it turned out that it didn't fit the switch quite as snugly as we thought, and so we ended up setting it in there with some bondo and we plan on going back with some strong epoxy to pack in from the backside to help hold it in place (man I hate half assed improvised fixes, but what else are we gonna do? we can't seem to find a replacement for this part) -- anyways, while Terri was down in the sail locker, she noticed that the hose that should attach from the engine cooling system to the overflow tank was broken off. We aren't sure if it has always been that way, or if perhaps we kicked it while working down there this afternoon, but it might explain why the engine was overheating last summer and why we keep seeing a little bit of coolant in the bilge. So we fixed that problem at least. Maybe going back later in the week to finish up our switch repair, and if things work out all right, maybe go sailing later in the week (another beautiful looking day on the lake this afternoon)