3 Things I learned in the Boat Yard

Three of the many things I learned at the boatyard,,,,,mostly from my broker.

Tulum IV was for sale on the docks at the Shelter Island Boatyard in San Diego from October of 2016 – June of 2017, while we kept her there near our broker and worked to improve her overall.  I want to share three basic things I learned about that were quick fixes to slimy and smelly situations and helped improve the quality of the boat overall.  >>>Disclaimer<<<: Many of you old salts are going to laugh at this blog post and go,,,,,,duh,,,I’ve been doing that,,,,,but these small things helped a lot and can be done cheaply and easily with a little elbow grease,,,,,yet I’ve been on too many boats that don’t practice these things.

Here’s three easy cleaning fixes that will improve the look, smell and value of your boat no matter what,,,,read on (do the work in this order!!!):

  1. Motor Mounts:  If you own a boat,,,,you probably take these babies for granted, but they’re pretty important.  These are the rubber or metal “legs” that mount your motor (engine) into your boat,,,so that when you turn on the old iron ginny,,,,it goes.  They rust and wear out.  They do.  Once they get rust on them,,,,it’s time to make them pretty again.  Plan on pain.  Get yourself contorted into a nice pretzel unless you do yoga and get into the engine space, with all intentions of actually trying to get under the engine.  Find the motor mounts and go to work with your small wire brush, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.  If done right,,,,,you’ll be filthy, covered in rust flecks, cursing, sweaty and hot and generally sore.  (if you’re down on the motor mounts and not feeling this way,,,,,start over again or fire the mechanic and do it yourself).  Once you’ve wire brushed the hell out of all four motor mounts, try to go over them once with a dry towel to get all the dust off them.  Choose a colored Rustoleum paint that will spray upside down and get in there and spray.  Try to get most on the motor mounts and less down below the engine,,,,so you don’t have the blue streaks I have below my engine now.  Use the stuff generously and your motor mounts will be protected for the cost of the paint.  A bit of work,,,,but good protection.
  2. Power Sprayer:  I broke down and bought one to clean my hull and decks,,,but my broker told me several secrets of boat prep that opened my eyes to how they get things so clean for boat shows.  One of these things is the specialized industry that only does interior or exterior boat prep,,,,like a specialty cleaning company.  When pressed, he admitted that I could bring my power sprayer below decks,,,,,and if I could get to a space below the sole of the boat,,,,I could spray it.  By this, I mean bilge spaces, engine, engine spaces, shaft compartment, generator compartment ect.  So,,,I did.  What a glorious mess I had then,,,,but the power sprayer did it’s job.  Engine came clean of oils and other gunk, bilge lost some filth, compartments began to reveal their original color.  I was impressed and a the same time upset, cause I should have done that when I bought the damn boat.  When you’re spraying,,,,,don’t forget to throw a mini-oil soak pad into the bilge, cause you’ll knock that filth loose and you don’t want your bilge pump to put it over the side.  This should be your second step after you make sure your engine mounts are nice and coated in Rustoleum and dry.
  3. Sanitize and Whiten:  Lastly, you probably want to sanitize and whiten everything occasionally, especially if you ever join the Platypus Club,,,,,hopefully you never will.  When we had to have a crack mechanic come recently and help me with a minor plumbing issue,,,,,he went to get parts and came back with BEST cleaner I’ve seen.  It sanitized, cleaned and removed smell.  But it left a bleach like smell, which I don’t mind.  I’ve fallen in love with the “Zep Mold Stain and Mildew Stain Remover”.  The stuff works and I think I’ll use it on everything, as it’s GRP and fiberglass safe and makes things whiter,,,,great on a white boat.   You probably want this to be your third step and I highly recommend you use this stuff in your bilge,,,,helps with smell.

Ok, have a great Saturday morning,,,,another post tomorrow-

 

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Q and A: Why is Vaseline important on a Boat?

Hmmmm,,,,are you just a bit curious about what the heck this post will say next,,,,cause your dirty little minds are now spinning all around Vaseline and boats?

To clarity, I’m talking about Vaseline (as in petroleum jelly), not the Stone Temple Pilot (STP) version of Vasoline (the song).  And because I’m feeling pretty exposed this early in the post,,,,this post isn’t about kinky stuff either; it’s all about lubrication of parts and O-Rings.

No boat is complete without Vaseline in it’s tool kit!

Without knowing it, two small black rubber O-Rings have been the bane of my existence for the last couple years,,,,as they’ve been responsible for not working correctly within their blue plastic housing homes (also above).  See, the old ones are probably metric and purchased out of the US,,,,while the actual correct sizes are much thicker.  See, the two blue plastic housing’s contain filters for my freshwater maker, which salt water enter’s and gets cleaned while it’s going through that part of the system.  But we haven’t used the system in several years, so the O-Rings that were the wrong size have just been sitting in the housings,,,,,slowly letting water get out of the housing and causing a slow continual leak into the bilge,,,especially when the powerful freshwater pump was on and the various manifolds were all activated.  We also found that a small valve within the fresh water making system was in the wrong position, which has also contributed to allowing water to get through the old O-Rings and housing and into the bilge,,,,slowly, over time.  As soon as we shut the valves, all leaks went away and water stopped, problem solved.

What does this have to do with Vaseline and O-Rings?  Simple,,,,,,lubricate ANY new or older O-Rings with Vaseline to keep them soft and pliable and extend their shelf life.  The Vaseline and O-Rings generally won’t be exposed to the elements, so the substance does double duty to keep the O-Rings softened and form an extra amount of petroleum barrier coat, increasing the overall seal.

Again,,,,no boat should go without a small tub of Vaseline in it’s tool kit or medicine cabinet,,,,cause you never know when you might need some lubrication for an  O-Ring.

Keep following us to see my lovely couple days in the bilges, under the sinks and attempting to fix the Sealand pump on my boat head,,,so much fun!!! If you like us, follow us!

via Daily Prompt: Exposed

Camera for the Blog

Better Camera =’s Better Blog Photos,,,right?   After seeing some really great pictures on other blogs and looking at a few of my own, I decided to find a better camera.   So I’ve decided to use my wife’s camera, hoping for some better pics on the blog soon.

Followers on this blog are signing up slowly but surely as more and more of you find us and decide to stick with us.  Roberta Pimentel reminded us that blogging takes awhile; and it must be fate as I heard Jimmy Buffett say he once sang to an audience of seven people when he was starting out.  I write about sailing, cruising, PTSD and adventure travel, but as I look at different blogs on the same subjects; I’ve noticed a trend.  Many blogs I’ve looked at start with the “boat trip” and end once the trip is over,,,,like all their excitement is over?   I’m pretty pleased to be able to start this blog and get to know all of you before we start our sailing adventure (several years before we leave); but I’m authentic as we do have a boat,,,and I’ll write and do a YouTube channel while we’re out and about.  Once we get back, I’ll still love sailing and want to write about it, but from a different perspective.

Next up: We’ll continue my series on Selling Tulum, Captain License and I’ll start a new series about authentic old world Pirate Experiences (which won’t be what you think, as it’s all real!) 

The End

Pre-Ocean Checks/Pre-Ocean Inspections and Captain Chris Couch

The ungodly heat for most of the summer (where I live) drives me toward our boat,  but it can’t happen every weekend, so I write about related subjects here.

Whether you own a speedboat for the River, an ocean-going yacht, a sailboat or an airplane; you probably run through a checklist in your head for at least one thing prior to departure: fuel or beer;  but this isn’t nearly adequate and a more detailed list is probably used by most,,,,should be used  by ALL operating vessels or airplanes.

A checklist mentality has been driven into my brain since early in my career and I’ve never  been able to shake it off,  but sometimes my checklists work better in my brain when they’re printed and on a knee board or laminated spindle I can grab at a moments notice.  After my numerous “business trips”,  to some of the hottest places in the world, I noticed my memory and hearing were slowly deteriorating and I was more easily distracted, so I started writing down more important matters on my phone.   One of these matters was what was needed prior to putting the boat to sea, no matter how long we had planned on being out for.

One of the techniques I had drilled into my head from an early age and used all the time during my “business trips” were Pre-Combat Checks (PCC’s) and Pre-Combat Inspections (PCI’s).   These could easily be called Pre-Ocean Checks (POC’s) and Pre-Ocean Inspections (POI’s).   Here’s a bit more information I found about them and have edited a bit for reading ease:

a. Both are intended to accomplish the same thing, which is to have a leader ensure that certain mission critical pieces of equipment are ready. The only real difference is who is doing the inspecting.

b. Commanders (or the Vessel Master) do PCIs.  Platoon leaders, platoon sergeants, and squad leaders (crew or Admiral) do PCCs

c. They are the detailed final checks that all units conduct before and during training and combat operations. You must perform checks and inspections before each event/trip or exercise to check personnel, equipment, vehicles, and mission knowledge. By requiring your unit (crew) to adhere to standards, you ensure that every individual and every piece of equipment will be ready. Pre- combat checks and inspections are an individual and leader responsibility. It is impossible to overstate their importance. Checks and inspections are your greatest asset to combat those twin enemies of unit readiness—apathy and complacency. It is human nature for people to get used to their surroundings and begin to overlook minor problems. By doing regular inspections, you will be able to correct small problems before they become big problems. Some common checks prior to beginning a mission (or trip) include but are not limited to:
• Open water essential equipment
• Understanding of the trip and specific responsibilities
• Food and water
• Navigation
• Deficiencies noted during earlier inspections that have not been corrected yet. 

In my mind, the Pre-Ocean Checks and Pre-Ocean Inspections should be done in separate iterations based on the following:  Pre-Ocean Checks should be done by whichever crew is designated with that responsibility; in a detailed manner in order to cover all the bases needed.  Pre-Ocean Inspections should be done prior to leaving the docks to ensure things are done that will keep the boat afloat and all safety systems are working and enabled.  I do my Pre-Ocean Checks the night before we leave and probably early on the mornings we leave, my wife does her’s the same way, then I do my Pre-Ocean Inspections with my engine warming up but still in a competent and methodical manner.

While reading something I grabbed while getting parts in San Diego, I was impressed with a story about Captain Chris Couch (a poet, writer and Delivery Captain).  I was really impressed with the detailed write-up about the fact that more and more boaters are going into potentially dangerous situations with less and less actual navigation experience and without any sort of “checklist mentality”, they were just coming to their boats, starting them up and taking off.  Captain Couch decided to write his own version of a Pre-Ocean Checklist, calling it the “The Checklist” and starting his own publishing company for this, his poetry and his Navigation Primers called “Compass Headings Publishing”.   I just bought my own copy, and could not be more impressed.  I had dropped a note into the purchase order online letting them know I was impressed with the magazine article and received a personal email back from Captain Couch.  This is a personal touch that let’s me know he cares and has a great product.  I’m impressed.

For those who care, I have no financial partnership or agreements with Captain Chris Couch or Compass Headings Publishing and simply write as a way to possibly let others know about useful products that might help them.  I know this checklist will help us.

How to make the Dinghy Plane

Yep, this is an issue,,,and it can’t be solved with Viagra.  My dinghy won’t plane.  I’ve been frustrated by it, although Michelle has no idea why it bugs me so much.  She doesn’t understand that it will cut down on the water coming over the bow, it will make the ride smoother and I’ll hear less complaints about cold salt water from the various other occupants.  Every time we go to Catalina or have the dink out, I work on it.  I’ve serviced my engine, ensured it was large enough for the dinghy, looked at the dinghy specs (it’s a 11 ft Caribe RIB) and still can’t make the damn thing plane.  So in my frustration, I took to the mother of all info sources,,,,the internet.  While there, I researched and studied others with the same problem and found that the proverb about Occam’s Razor is right again,,,,the simplest solutions are usually the best solutions.   Turns out, I simply need to put more air in the tubes and that will probably do the trick, but I also may have a slow leak,,,so I researched that too.

I was surprised that the three things I wanted could not all be found either on Amazon or the West Marine Website, but I was able to find all of them on the Defender Marine Website, and received great customer service.  You also don’t pay sales tax if you live outside of Connecticut,,,yeah.  So, I went ahead and ordered a double action hand pump that will pump enough air to fully inflate the tubes, some Inland Marine USA Sealant (which can be put into the tubes to block slow air leaks) and a set of Davis Instruments Doel-Fin Hydrofoil fins for the outboard.  These ARE available on Amazon and came highly recommended  by some of the folks who had the same problems with their dinghy’s, so I figured I would give it a try.

If you read this and some of the info in it helps you, then I’m doing ok.  This is my art, this is part of my passion with boating.  I’ve been on and off a boat since I was 5.  Never thought I would be back and interested but it just happened.

Shiny Michelle

Yep, I love to research stuff before I buy it if I have time,,,,and there’s plenty of information on anchors out there for research, and lots of great videos on utube.   Last February I made the mistake of buying a large Rochna without researching if it would fit in our anchor rollers,,,and had to return it to my chagrin.  Since then, I’ve done quite a bit more research and decided to buy a Manson Supreme, an anchor made by hand in New Zealand with the highest quality steel and great pedigree.  After looking at videos for several months, I bought a 65 pound Manson Supreme as a Christmas present for my wife.  It was meant to be a surprise, but it’s hard to hide a large shiny anchor in your room,,,,so she found it.  But, it did make an appearance Christmas morning with a large bow,,,and was on the boat on the 26th.   Once on the boat,,,,it was named Shiny Michelle after my wife,,,since it was indeed her present.

When I mentioned that Shiny Michelle was made of high quality, high tensile steel,,,I meant it.  In order to lock the anchor into my bow roller, me and my dad attempted to drill a hole in the shank.  During the 34 minute process with an industrial drill, I broke two drill bits and had to put in quite a bit more work than I ever thought it would take,,,,it was one tough shank on that anchor.   Shiny Michelle the anchor is attached to 300 feet of galvanized chain as our main anchor and we have several backups,,,,including a genuine Bruce made in the UK.

Next up,,,,7-8 foot broadside swells.