Ah yes – the signs of Spring. Warmer temperatures, copious rain, budding leaves, crocuses, trees leafing out, and people in boat yards getting ready for the boating season.

Scuffed and sanded – all that sanding dust is in my shop vac now.

I love the smell of anti-fouling paint in the Spring time!

Some of the keen-eyed among you might notice a change of color for the bottom paint this year. This is as a result of deep research and scientific investigation. Following my deep look into bottom paint color, I went to the store and got blue, because they didn’t have the same red color that I really wanted. Oh well. . .

I launch this Tuesday, then begin the other ritual of Spring – cleaning the boat so we can standing being on board. Four months of winter storage and closed-upped-ness affords the perfect environment for the growth of mold and mildew. That must be eradicated before any cruising can take place.

I also have a slate of projects for this year. Some new-to-me items that have come into my possession for installation include a hardshell case for our Lifesling MOB system, and an older GPS chartplotter. That, combined with the usual round of re-varnishing and cleaning should keep me busy while the virus keeps us all at home. Luckily, COVID-19 doesn’t affect sailing or cruising, since we don’t normally come in close contact with anyone else while doing so. Come to think of it, that is often one of the main attractions of cruising!

First, just a few photos of a big tide on the low end, and what it does to boats in my marina.  My boat dried out like this one one time, and it bent a stanchion as it leaned over against the finger pier – that’s the main reason why I haul out every winter.  The boat featured here is a Compac Yachts 23.  These are beautiful little boats, with quality componants, a fixed stub keel, and I suspect, pretty sailing characteristics.  I’ve always admired them, so it’s nice to have one in the marina to look at all the time.

If you’re interested to know more about Compac Yachts, here’s a link: https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/com-pac-23-mk-3

The tide is about -2 feet today, so all the shallow slips dry out.  We had a shallow slip when we first came to this marina, but after the first season, we asked to move the boat to one of the deeper slips.  We haven’t had a problem since then, but we also don’t leave the boat in the water for the winter either.

A little photo of the muddy foreshore

I delivered Cay of Sea across the creek last week for haulout.  Here’s the evidence.  Winterizing seemed unusually easy this year. . . hmmmm, I wonder what I forgot!  She’s out of the water now, and I still need to put on the winter cover.  I guess that will make it seem like I’ve done enough work.

The weather was too perfect today. I had to get out on the water. I asked my wife if she wanted to go, but she had business in town. I went alone. 55 deg. F.  Wind SE at 12-15. Partly cloudy skies. Perfect.

I started with reefed main and full jib, but that was too much. I dropped the main and sailed nicely at 4+ knots. Back and forth, keeping a sharp eye out for crab pot buoys – don’t want a repeat of last year, when I lost my prop shaft. Tiller pilot is steering, so I can move around and take photos.

Others thought the day was too beautiful to miss also.  Quite a few boats on the water, mostly sail. I love the light at this time of day – makes every image warm, full of contrast.

In three weeks, Cay of Sea gets hauled for the winter, and I’m looking for another prop – again! I don’t like the three-blade prop I installed last spring. It needs to have the pitch adjusted, which is no big deal, but more importantly the boat’s performance under sail takes a pretty big hit. I’m going back to a two-blade, and maybe a folding prop. If you are looking for a three blade, 13×13, right hand with 1″ shaft, drop me a line below. This one is for sale at a less-than-new price.

Last time we checked on our hero, he was patiently waiting for engine parts, whiling away the days with varnishing projects.

Well, the parts finally arrived and I reassembled the engine and reinstalled it. Then (of course) corrected my errors in hooking up the various wires, cables, hoses – then it ran! After my first test run, the prop shaft began to back out of the coupling as I backed into the slip, and I nearly lost it again – but it hung up in the shaft log, and Ruth and I managed to fit it back into the coupling. Yes, the set screw was installed, but I’d done it incorrectly. Turns out, you have to “spot” the shaft. That is, drill an indentation in the shaft into which the set screw “sets.” I did that (easier to write than to do – involved long, sweaty minutes bent over the top of the engine with a drill, boring a divot into the shaft), then reinstalled the set screw with thread lock. It’s been fine since I did that.

Next thing, the engine ran away. You read that correctly. . . diesel engines can scavenge fuel from places other than the fuel injectors, and run without regard to the throttle position or stop lever. But why and where? Much reading ensued, afterwhich I concluded that my engine’s symptoms matched those which indicate that the fuel lift pump was leaking, thereby dumping fuel into the crank case, thinning the oil, which was then burnt in the cylinders. The run-away only lasted seconds before all the excess combustibles were gone, and so no damage occurred. I ordered another pump and installed it. Problem solved, but a scary experience.

Family commitments intervened as well, and then we got to go sailing for the first time this year. In July. We over-nighted late last week, crossing the bay, up Harris Creek ’til we got to “Drew’s Cove.” It was stunning, deserted, perfect. Here are a couple of photos to prove it (Ruth gets the photo credits this time).

 

I’m waiting for parts to reassemble my engine.  Not major parts, just gaskets, O-rings, seals – that sort of stuff. But I really can’t put it back together and stick it back into the hole without these essential, though minor, parts.

Meanwhile. . . I need to varnish stuff. So that’s what I’m doing. Not a lot of effort involved, just patience. The first item needs a bit of introduction. I built an anchor platform about 8 years ago, and used red oak, which has proven to be very strong. I’ve had trouble keeping a good, protective finish on it, though. The first finish I used was epoxy underneath 4-5 coats of varnish. Seems like this should have been good, but it failed much sooner than I thought it should have. I refinished it after several years and used only varnish, but didn’t religiously recoat twice a year, and didn’t consistently fix the nicks and flaws that inevitably gathered on its surface, due to the nature of its use. Finally this past winter, as the finish completely failed where the roller axle is mounted, that glued-up block of oak split, doubtless due to water intrusion and the freeze-thaw cycles.

              This is the original design

And here’s a photo of the winter’s damage:

If you look carefully just above the top of the roller, you can see a large crack in the wood, which runs right to the place where the axle is mounted.

So here’s my solution. I have acquired a cost-free stainless anchor roller (thanks again to the free-cycle bins at the near by marina), and it looks like it will work perfectly mounted on the anchor platform. I cut off the damaged old roller and mounting, and relieved all the edges.

I’ve drilled the mounting holes for the new roller plate, and today I finished the final coat of vanish. 5 in all.

And this is (roughly) how the new roller will mount onto the old platform.

All my varnish items here on one table getting “the business.”

I think what has struck me most about this whole varnish routine this spring is how much bugs seem to love vanish. I think wet, sticky varnish is a bug magnet.

 

 

My “new” engine has been installed for 12 years now. Doesn’t seem possible! I’ve accumulated about 1000 hours of run time, and it’s time to do some regular things to it. The urgency of this has conveniently been occasioned by a persistent oil leak. I just haven’t been able to find it. I cleaned the oil in the bilge from its leaking after haul out last fall. Thought I had found the leak to be a simple dip stick ajar in the hole. But a test run of the new propeller has proved that the leak is still there. After looking up and down, far and near, and all over the engine, I have come up with nothing. . . until today (I think).  Actually, I didn’t come up with it, my neighbor the professional boat service tech noticed it. But I’m getting ahead of myself. . .

Being unable to find the leak, I determined that it must be the rear main seal, and to service that, the engine had to come off the beds and on to the cabin sole. I disconnected the engine on Monday. Today I moved it on to the cabin sole, separated the engine and transmission, removed the clutch plate and flywheel – – and found no oil leak. There was a little oily (almost dry) dust from the clutch at the bottom of the bell housing. No oil. I found a little more oil around a couple of banjo fittings that attach an oil transport tube that runs port to starboard. Didn’t seem like enough oil, though. Finally, my neighbor Mike came home from work and came over to check my progress. He was looking around the engine, and pointed out (among other items of service that needed doing) that my oil breather line had come loose from the intake. That’s a line that vents positive crankcase pressure from the valve cover. Ah. . . I’m betting that’s the source. Those things can spew oil everywhere, and that would certainly account for the amount of oil (and the location) that I’ve found in the bilge. It hasn’t been lots of oil, but enough to leave me with a black, grimy bilge. I am so relieved!

So while the engine is on the sole, I’ll do a few more things that are harder to do with it installed: I’ll completely service the cooling system, and boil out the heat exchanger. I’ve got a new exhaust elbow to install – it’s time. These things have a limited life span, and it’s best to be ahead of a breakdown in this case. I’ll also adjust the valves and get a new seal for the valve cover (of course). And. . . I’m going to put a couple hose clamps on that breather line!

Sorry about lack of photos this time. I’ll catch up on images tomorrow.

We traveled to South Korea for the last half of April and spent two weeks with my daughter, son-in-law, and their kids. So while the yard was unable to launch us in early April (we were blocked in by other boats) we decided to wait until we got home. We arrived home on Thursday 2 May, and Cay of Sea was launched the next morning.

                     Hangin’ in the the slings

 

My artist-wife’s interpretation of the launch. That’s me in the blue shirt (what, didn’t recognize me?).

 

                           Down in the water

I scrambled on board to check for leaks as she hung in the slings. All’s well (after a super quick adjustment of the stuffing box), and off we go to test the new prop.

First impressions of the new prop: lots of speed for a little rpm, and a lot more torque than the two-blade prop provided (although it wasn’t bad). But . . . I’ll have to have the pitch adjusted (decreased). I can achieve hull speed at 3200 rpm, but the engine is rated to rev at 3600. That means the engine works a bit too hard, although I’m not getting any black smoke at any rpm, which is good news. So there’s another date with the travel lift in the near future.

Two days ago, I spent a couple of hours cleaning the interior – almost done with the visible stuff.  I’ve still got the quarter berth to empty and clean. Then I want to go through all the lockers and clean and reorganize.

Because I needed an emergency haul-out last fall, I didn’t get a chance to do the normal fall maintenance, so I still need to change the oil. I’m going to change out the transmission oil this time too, and adjust the intake/exhaust valves, plus drain and refill the “fresh water” cooling circuit. Then I start on renewing some of the varnish, especially anchor platform, as the finish has completely failed on it. Last year I acquired a 50-foot length of anchor chain, which is more than twice has much as is currently on the rode, so I’ll install that as well.

Finally, I’ve included a page from Ruth’s travel journal. In particular, the last day of the trip when we were on the plane for 12 hours.  I think you will enjoy it.

We couldn’t sit next to each other, and we were in the middle seats of the middle row. I sat directly behind her. All told, it was a 28-hour travel day.

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