Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Back to Friday Harbor, Ready for 3 weeks in Canada!

The sea! The sea! The peaks around. Olympics, Mt. Baker, glaciers and rock. Islands here, and over there, low and rounded. With a pivot of your head you take in three National Parks, and the sweep of ocean out to Japan.

There is no more singularly dramatic wild place for a boat to be placed in the lower 48 than just off Smith Island in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. For all you can see, it is essentially now as it was 2,000 years ago. Like Pre-Contact.

Time passed without notice. It felt timeless. here and now. Here. Now.

Ebb out Admiraly Inlet. 10 knots for hours. Flood into Cattle Pass, 10 knots again. 30 miles in less than 5 hours. Rippled seas and bright sun.

There is no greater thing. There is no greater being.


New cockpit scuppers on Aeolus

I'll do a post specifically on my cockpit scuppers for those interested. Gulf 32's come with drains glassed into the cockpit, which is an alright idea, except they reduce in size as they descend and the conical shape makes it difficult to get a hose to securely clamp around them.

On Aeolus this lead down through a 1 1/2" drain hose to the through hull, which exits the boat above the waterline. I used to have a Marelon ball valve on the through hull, but this reduced the size of the drain hole even further and would frequently jam up with any hair and plastic crap that might have made it down the hose.

My first step in improving my drain was to remove those Marelon valves and install a simple Marelon hose bar that maintains the maximum diameter of the hose. Because the through hull drains just above the waterline, this is an ABYC acceptable practice. Also, having been out in very large violent seas from the stern, I have never had any issue with water backing up through the cockpit drains into the cockpit.

Anyway, that done, I wanted to install more normal cockpit scuppers that would accept the hose better and have a built in screen. I found and used these Perko plastic scuppers:

On Aeolus I had to Dremel out the old glass drains, which was fairly easy. Then I had to shape the hole to the size and bevel angle of this Perko scupper. With the sandpaper barrel on the Dremel this was pretty easy. I then used Gflex to epoxy the scupper into the new hole, having roughed up the plastic with 60 grip sandpaper.

The hose fits on perfectly with a little dishwashing soap to lube it up, and they look good. I put some white paint over the epoxy exposed to protect from UV.

I now have a worry free cockpit drain system and won't have to unplug them anymore. These are not super high capacity, and will not drain the cockpit of being full in one minute, as you read for offshore boats, but it's better than we had and we are unlikely to be in cockpit filling seas anytime in the future.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Ready to splash!

It's been a busy and bruising haul out but I am now ready to splash back in on Monday. The busy part is rather obvious, as my time in the boat yard reminded me that every boater there was working furiously all day every day on their boats, and I was too. It's more expensive to be out than in the water, and not to mention less fun. You meet the most interesting people in a boat yard, especially in Port Townsend. I had nice conversations with the old curmudgeon who wanted you to know that he knew everything, and the oddly decorated philosophically wise lady who bought a boat without inspection only to find the engine dead, and a couple who had the odd habit of only having the wife speak to people until she had introduced the husband, where he would say the minimal amount and make sure you understood he didn't want to talk. And the yard guys and gals are a great mix. It's just a great cross section of Anglo Saxon humanity.
Bottom painted and boot stripe done. Ready for North! 

The bruising part was because of two particular projects I had to tackle this time. One was removing the engine to access the transmission. Doing this requires disconnecting all sorts of hoses, and wires, and bolts, and all of this means I am laying on my stomach, my side, my shoulders, and reaching down into the bilge area where the engine rests. Doing this for hours and hours means you get bruised and sore from literally hundreds of repetitions of laying in awkward positions and reaching and wrenching in hard spaces. Then do it all again when you put it back together.
It's disgraceful that Twin Disc uses cast iron on a marine transmission and doesn't paint it themselves, or at the very least, scream it to customers that you must paint it yourself before installing. 
It's a lot of work to get to this point, and don't screw up because money starts burning when you do!

I cleaned and painted the rusted cast iron parts on the Twin Disc, damn them. I hope to not have any more trouble with rust on the stupid thing. I took the opportunity to degrease my engine and clean various electrical connections.

My other reason for bruising was related to my replacing of the cockpit scuppers. The work in the cockpit is straightforward physically, but to attach the hoses you have to lay in the most remarkably awkward position imaginable. You are laying head down, upside down, and sideways, while reaching to your side. You keep your lower body hanging out, with a foot hooked on the wheel or braced somewhere, to leverage yourself. Repeat, repeat. When I got home last night I saw nice little bruises all along my thighs from doing this.

My other projects were not bruising and just laborious. I painted my boot stripe, which was looking shabby. I use Brightside down there and have been happy with the results.

Isn't that nice?
Besides bottom paint, I once again used lanocote prop treatment but this time applied it like the directions say of about a credit card thickness. I've had pretty good luck. But I must say, every other boat in the yard was using zinc spray from the hardware store. Cold galvanizing 93% zinc spray. I'd like to know how well that lasts, in particular, whether it lasts more than one year. If you know, tell me in the comments.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Haul out starting off well

My trip from Friday Harbor to Port Townsend was as easy as it gets in summer. Every day before and since has been blowing 20-30, but on that Friday last I had no wind and flat seas. It's a six hour trip at five to six knots. And beautiful beyond belief. There were several moments when I was in the middle of the Straits when I just melted with appreciation for where I was. One way the Olympics, the other Mt. Baker, over there Whidbey, and yonder is Vancouver Island, and just to the back is Lopez, San Juan and the rest. When you are in the middle of the Straits, the view from there encompasses three national parks and stunning varieties of grandeur.
Smith Island with Olympics in the background. I weep at the stunning beauty of this spot in the Straits. 

I've managed to clean off my prop using the paper towel soaked in vinegar method to soften things up, and applied the first coat of bottom paint. I'm really pleased with both the paint and my last job of doing it as I had very few spots that needed scraping and no hard growth anywhere.
They always look so sad on the hard

On this haul I am also replacing my cockpit scuppers with proper units with the built in screen so I don't have to worry about crap plugging up my lines anymore. And I am pulling out the diesel tomorrow for cleaning and to do the work cleaning and painting the transmission as I've mentioned before. If time permits, I am also going to paint my boot stripe.

It's great to be among the eclectic characters in Port Townsend. It is such a mix of humanity, though they mostly all look slovenly.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Haul out coming up

Well it's been about two years and it's time to haul her out again. We are heading  up to Desolation Sound again this summer, hallelujah, and I want that clean hull and prop to squeak every tenth of a knot out of her. I'll be hauling in Port Townsend again because they remain about the only yard that allows you to paint your own boat, and having paid someone else to do it once or twice, there is just no comparison to the care I put into it. Not to mention it galling me to pay someone else to do such a simple thing.

My only other big project this year will be pulling the engine out again. I want to clean off the engine itself and need to remove the Twin Disc transmission and clean and paint the damn thing. See my other posts on the corrosion problems and poor construction quality of the Twin Disc with regard to metals used.

If you know this blog and want to say hello, come on by Port Townsend boat yard and look me up next week. I'll be the guy dressed like a hobo looking really happy to be working on his boat.

Reef Harbor has the best sunsets in the Salish Sea, as the fetch to the north provides the illusion of an open ocean setting.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Tumbo Memorial Day, again!

With the winter we have had, it was all the more delightful that we had such warm lovely weather for the holiday weekend. We went up Friday night and departed Friday Harbor Saturday late morning to journey to Tumbo Island, our home away from home. This marked at least the fourth or fifth year that we had enjoyed Memorial Day at Tumbo, and this year was nothing but a reminder of why we do it.
Owen is big enough now to drive the boat!

The trip there takes a bit more than three hours in neutral conditions. We were not able to sail, as it was so dead calm, and we had a bit of help from a building flood current as we approached Saturna. The passage around East Point on Saturna is always a threshold to happiness. That passageway up the west side of Tumbo is just narrow enough to feel cozy and curvy enough to feel intimate.

Elliott before leaving enjoying the pleasures of the hammock
The tides were unusually low on this weekend, and lower than we had ever seen there. So low, in fact, that on Sunday we did something we had never done, which was to cross the isthmus between Tumbo and Cabbage. It dries at negative tides, and we had no trouble traversing the half mile distance without any fear of getting washed away.

We did what we always do: play, lounge, read, eat, run, swing, watch wildlife, play cards, and generally putter. Heaven.

On the way home we got to sail down past Waldron and most of the way to Friday Harbor. A nice steady 15-20 made for perfect sailing conditions, and it felt deeply good to heel over and fly by the wind. 


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Winter Week in Wonderland

We went up to Friday Harbor the Friday night before last, and came home on Thursday night the following week. In between, just rocks, water and plants. Oh, and sky. And books. And walks. And card games. And great food. And conversations large and small. Just an escapade into the wonderland of nature and each other. Our truest homes.

Here are a few pictures from the various stops and routes, which included the American and Canadian islands of Stuart, Saturna, Tumbo, Russell, Jones:

A close pass in Boundary Pass

Tumbo wanderings
The rope swing on Tumbo...from the majestic Garry Oak
Climbing the cliffs on Russell Island

Such a small thing, to take us so deep and far

Tumbo shoreline on the edge of Everywhere

Is there a prettier sight?