Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Steps, and second steering stations on smaller boats, nope, don't like them

All too often advances in technology or performance comes with a price, and a step hull is no exception. Step hulls are much different from the deep V hulls most are familiar with, and come with their own special jargon that contains words such as chine walking, snapping, rolling, hooking, step tripping, porpoising, turn blow outs, and many others, none of which have successful boating connotations. The point is that all boat hulls are compromises, and step hull vessels have more of them than most, particularly for the less than experienced boater.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Knocked up

This is a common sight in many marinas. The "Steel Forks" of the lift snatch your boat out of the water, and place it onto a storage rack, or the ilk. The forks always end up generally in the same place, sort of, and that is the outboard edges of the hull, give or take. Running these machines takes practice, hopefully not too much on your boat, and a lot of skill. There are always signs around dry storage marinas that say something to the tune of, "Make sure your antennas are lowered, and the trim tabs are all the way up." Loosely translated, this means it ain't our fault if you end up with broken, or bent stuff on your boat, or any of the other possible variants such as "Tell it to the judge", "We told you so", and my favorite, "What, you can't read? So given the fact that these huge metal hydraulically operated prongs are going to snatch your boat from its undersides, why would you mount your transducer where the forks can knock them up?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why didn't I think of that? Outboard lower unit salvation.

I have always wondered why, at some subliminal level, when you tip back a modern outboard motor, a little bit of the lower unit always remains in the water. Maybe the reason for this is to insure that one of the most vulnerable portions of the motor stays in contact with the salt water to insure galvanic corrosion will occur, and hence new parts will be needed. Or maybe there are unknown mechanical reasons why the motor can't be lifted that last six inches or so to clear the water. I mean we went to the moon didn't we? So I was most surprised when I encountered two boats next to each other, one with this nifty little box under the lower units, and one without the little box.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cooking with the "Splendid Galley"

The trick to good marine cooking is great ingredients, and lots of patience. Today's simple recipes feature a gorgeous roasted batteries au jus, with a tasty side dish of blackened air conditioning controller. You will find the spicy crunchiness of the blackened controller will harmonize beautifully with the savory acidic flavors of well cooked plump batteries. The mouth, and eye watering aroma while cooking is indescribably exquisite. I can hear your tummy growling in anticipation already. This recipe will feed a good sized crowd, so be sure to size the recipe proportions to fit your needs.


2 Plump 8D batteries (I like to squeeze the sides to make sure they're firm.)
1 Heavy duty battery charger.
1 Air conditioning system (the best ones are mounted high up on a bridge)
1 Undersized water hose to air conditioning system.
1 Galvanized iron pipe nipple
Salt and pepper to taste
Serve on a bed of lettuce for a little extra panache. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

String theory

In the beginning God created the heaven and earth. And the earth was without form, or void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. "Um Dad? can I ask you a question?" "Make it quick son, can't you see I'm busy?" "I know, but are you going to leave all of those quantum strings you're using just laying around for the inhabitants to find?" "Don't worry son, when they find them, and figure out how to use them, I will just get really far away. I don't need the tan." Now go back, and keep practicing on Pluto, it looks like a potato for gosh sakes. Let me be. I barely have a week to get the job done, and this photon stuff is very tricky, but if you're good, we can play Asteroids when I'm done." "Thanks dad."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The attorney's boat

Limited Liability Waiver
for travel on the M/V Sosueme

1. In consideration for receiving permission to travel on the M/V Sosueme, I hereby RELEASE, WAIVE, DISCHARGE, AND COVENANT NOT TO SUE the owner, his family, agents, marina staff, boat manufacturer, (hereinafter referred to as RELEASEES) from any and all liability, claims, demands, actions, and causes of action whatsoever arising out of or related to any loss, damage, or injury, including death or injury, or loss caused by drowning, electrocution, food poisoning, drunkenness, bad hair, heat stroke, shark bites, fire, jellyfish stings, sunburn, angry boaters, lighting strikes, sinking, carbon monoxide asphyxiation, collisions, Coast Guard citations, lost hats, sea sickness, allergic reactions, marital arguments, windburn, dehydration, pregnancy, blood loss, groundings, or any other life threatening, and or any other deleterious event that may be sustained by me, or to any property belonging to me, while participating in such activity, while in, on, upon or near the vessel, or even anywhere where the activities, related or not are being conducted, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH LOSS IS CAUSED BY THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE RELEASEES, or otherwise and regardless of whether such liability arises in tort, contract, strict liability, or otherwise, to the fullest extent allowed by law.

The pilot's boat

Walk around check list
Fuel fill secured..........CKD
Waste fill secured..........CKD
Water fill secured..........CKD
Anchor secured..........CKD
Bilge status..........CKD
Bilge pump test..........CKD
Visual check of engines..........CKD
Battery water levels..........CKD
Fuselage damage..........CKD
Communication antennas..........CKD 

External Power
Ground power available..........ON/CKD 
Voltage checked..........110VAC/220VAC
Pedestal buss breaker..........ON/CKD
Battery switch..........BOTH/CKD

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Aluminum animus

Bronze has been around, well at least since the start of the bronze age, about 3000 BCE. As a matter of fact, the first use of metals starts with gold around 6000 BCE, and by the time Jesus appears, there are only seven known metals in the world. Their appearance in history starts with gold, then copper, silver, lead, tin, iron, and mercury. Aluminum however was first made in a crude form in 1825, and really wasn't a viable commercial metal until the late 1800's. It's a marvelous material when used in the right place for the right reasons. But I would opine that dash panels are not a good long term use for this material, especially when exposed to the salt water environment. 

In the real world, or at least in my version of it, I know why it's used, and that's because you can make it pretty, much to the delight of the marketing departments. From this installers viewpoint, the stuff is a real pain in the ass to deal with.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ships log, the North Channel

July 29th
Pulled into the Bad River anchorage last evening, and this morning was eventful. Little Johnny said there was water on the floor of his cabin, and there was. The seawater hose for the toilet had cracked. I used a piece from the garden hose to fix it, and pumped the water out. The only causality was all of the canned goods were stored below, and all of the labels came off. A couple of those sailbote guys came rowing over, and complained about the Coleman generator on the swim platform running all night. What was I supposed to do? The kids wanted to watch movies, and Joan wanted the AC on. What a whiny lot. The place is nice, but you can't get a TV signal at all. Sent the kids ashore to dump the garbage some place, pumped the holding tank out, and we headed for Killarney.