Sunday, March 20, 2011

That boat ain't right, a primer.

I'm currently doing a typical job installing electronics on a new boat. It's a 26' T-top center console boat, and it embodies all of the things I wish the owner had looked for before buying it. This boat is mid range priced, and is really no better, or worse than most of them. I'm not going to show you a picture of it, but I have gathered some examples from other boats to demonstrate some of the issues I perennially complain about in boats of this size and style.

I have never actually timed it, but I think that pulling wires from A to B is at least half of the cost of installing electronics, and in many cases, even more so. So it begs the question, why do boat builders make this task so difficult? The other issue involved is why builders seem to have such a difficult time anticipating what kind of equipment their buyers might install, and provide some accommodation for it. This really shouldn't be too hard to do, or are there cosmic forces at work here I just can't fathom? So today I'm talking to the buyers of these boats, and the intent is to help you avoid the worst of these problems in advance, or at least know what the warts will be when you buy your new toy.

So let's start with the T-top, and what to look for. Ninety degree pulls should be avoided if possible, and where you find one, you will typically find two. These turns are difficult to make with wiring. So stand back, and imagine you, yes you, will have to pull a 1/2" radar cable from the electronics box up top, and into the console. You can then also think about how you are going to install the missing pull wire in the first place. Long hemostats, shop vac, magnets, a skyhook?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Clamp Clips, a really good idea

It never takes long to have the inevitable occur to my clothes. Boats are rife with sharp objects, but outside of the damage caused to my skin by tie wraps, there is no doubt the hose clamp is the number one destroyer of clothes. Like the scars on my hands, I have just learned to accept the fact that damage to my working wardrobe, is an odd sort of badge of honor. It's kind of like seeing a boater in scuffed up boat shoes, you know he or she really boats. That person with the shiny new looking pair, perhaps not so much. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A customer service grumble

Two bloody hours on the phone, multiple bad transfers, endless repetition of the same information, representatives who are absolutely clueless about their product, and a huge effort by a normally quiescent installer to keep his temper. I do know that the machine you end up taking to doesn't care, but at times I all think that we all want to yell at it, just to make us feel better. But it's like kicking the tire of a broken down car, with the likely end result being a broken toe, and a still malfunctioning auto.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Setting limits

Greetings everyone, for the record this is the monthly board meeting of the Sunny Shores condominium, and marina association. If no one objects, we will waive the reading of last months minutes, and get down to business. I see the first item on the agenda is to discuss putting speed limit signs on the condo roads. Yes Bob? I know safety of the residents is paramount, but do you think they are really needed, I mean we only have two very short roads? No, I remember the incident with Mr. Jones and that electric bicycle he bought on E-bay, but he has promised not to pretend he is racing in the Tour De France any more, at least on the condo property. I agree Sam, but they're expensive, and we used most of the money in the budget for the three no-wake signs in our thirty slip marina. Yes Joe, I know we had that near accident, but it wouldn't have happened if Shirley would just stop driving down the middle of the road all of the time. She's lucky to be alive at all. Okay, we have a motion from Ruth to put it to a vote, all in favor say aye, the ayes have it. 

All right what should the speed limit be? That's funny Tom, but this is not the Autobahn. Yes Ethyl? I don't know, five miles per hour is pretty slow. No I understand, but those little teacup dogs are supposed to be on a leash. I'm more worried about stepping on them, than having them run over by a car, and we have eagles, and ospreys around here also you know. How about setting it at 15 mph? No Ethyl, I don't think it's reckless at all, it's the same speed as a school zone. Yes Ethyl, I know that the kids are faster than you are, but the residents are hardly playing bumper cars in here. Thanks Bob, I think I could live with 10mph, but it does seem slow. Come on now Tom, its not like you're going to expire before you get to your parking place. Splitting the difference isn't a bad Idea Ethyl, but that's 12.5 mph, and the standard speed limit sign only has room for two digits. Bob has a motion to set the speed limit at 13 mph, although it seems to be an odd number to me. Alright then, all in favor say aye. Sigh, the ayes have it. Yes Bob? Really now, a radar gun for the safety committee, are you serious? Yes Bob, I know the rules need to be vigilantly enforced, but come on now, a radar gun? All right then Bob, we will add it to next months agenda to talk about.

Okay now, the second item to be discussed is adding a new rule for using the pool that says you can't swim nude. Yes Bob? I agree, anyone who saw Mrs Henderson in the buff will have a very difficult time forgetting it. Okay, lets open it up for discussion.

Yes I know it's a bit off topic, but I couldn't resist. I was working at the little marina here, and was bemused about how you could end up at the odd 13 mph number, and the discussion that had to have occurred to get there. So I made one up. I suspect there is some truth to it, in spirit anyway. I always enjoyed Bob Newhart's one sided phone conversations. I'm certainly not as good as Bob, but it was fun to do. I will be more on topic next time, maybe, mostly.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fisherman Paradise revisited after a make over

When I first saw Fishermans Paradise, I was flabbergasted at the sheer scale, creativity, and raw audacity of this project. She was a beautiful vessel, magnificently outfitted, and every thing on the inside, and from the deck up sparkled, but her hull's original paint job was marred by both construction activities, and the time at sea.   

Trumpy Time In SRQ

John Trumpy Sr. came to the US in 1902 after training as a naval architect in Berlin Germany, and in 1908 he was hired as a naval architect by the Mathis Shipbuilding Company. This begins a collaboration that produced some of the most famous, and glamorous yachts of the period, and it all ended in the very early seventies with the advent of fiberglass construction, and labor problems. About 300 of these wood yachts, or in my view "art in wood" were produced, and the owners had names like Dupont, Firestone, and Chrysler. You didn't go to dealer to buy these vessels, you met with Mr. Trumpy, commissioned a design, and then had it built. Owning a "Trumpy" was the pinnacle of yacht ownership for many decades. Freedom showed up at the Sarasota Yacht Club for a few days, and I was able to take a few pictures of this elegant yacht.