Our dinghy is a hand-me-down inflatable. It’s a bit too big, crowding the dinghy dock and it’s showing it’s age, but the price was right and it has served us well for the last 5 years.
The dinghy came with a bright blue seat, the kind Canadian Tire sells for fishing boats. Because the drain plug doesn’t drain, the seat is often an island in a floating sea of rainwater, a refuge from water, sand and slime.
The blue seat is awkward height for an adult to sit on. It’s only a few inches off the floor, but it is the perfect for height and size for the girls. They sit side by side because, well it’s the only seat on the boat.
The blue seat kept them low, stationary and safe. It was unbeknownst to me their spot. I only discovered the last aspect when I casually mentioned to the girls that we will have a new dinghy next season and was met with cries of “you can’t get rid of the blue seat, our seat”!
This summer I fried the old Xantrex xpower 1000 inverter. I can’t remember if it was the blender the did it…. This is a 2007 square wave inverter and I think the “digital” speed controller on the blender did a number on the inverter as well as frying the blender. I should upgrade to a pure sign wave to keep my electronics safe. but it will be nice to have a backup inverter to the older Xantrex onboard.
Before we left or the 1000 islands I grabbed some Ikea strip lighting. It is cheap and easy to install. I played around with a few locations and decided one a strip above the sink. Given that this is the most used location in the boat it makes sense, also it us useful as a reading light when sitting at the table.
I tied into the supply for the round light fixture. a few snips, crimps and a quick solder on the ikea fixture and we were finished. I included a shot of breakfast as a way of explanation, the kids were off playing in Gananoque while I did this.
I experimented with lots of locations for these strips. They work tucked under the cabinetry as incidental lighting. Especially low down. I could go crazy creating nice mood lighting on the boat. The next one to be installed will be in the bathroom under the cabinet above the sink. It creates nice lighting and brightens a dead area.
We thought we would have another lamb roast on this glorious Thanksgiving weekend at Aquatic Park Sailing club. We dug a pit and lit a fire. Cooking was supervised buy The Man-who-knows-meat, Dalibor .
Dado and the liver
Sketch or cook?
The girls “helped” and kept Levi the spit boy company. Sophie likes to grab the camera and take photos, here’s her perspective on the event.
We had just left Kingston Marina and were motoring east past the scenic Kingston waterfront to begin the trip back to Toronto. I headed down into the boat for some reason (stereo? chart? sunglasses?) when I heard a very faint high-pitched whine for a couple of seconds. I dismissed the noise but immediately began to smell something burning.
As every sailor soon learns, ignore unusual sounds, smells, or vibrations on a boat at your peril. If the noise didn’t trigger a response in me, the smell certainly got me busy.
I lifted the step and peeked into the engine compartment and didn’t see anything amiss – no flames, no billowing smoke. I took a second look and realized that the alternator wasn’t turning but the belt wasn’t broken. Alt seizure? I immediately shut the engine down to take stock of what was happening. It turns out the belt was toast, literally. It was crisp, hard and smoking. It was so worn out that it wouldn’t turn or flex.
I think the noise was the alt spinning down.
I did a quick replacement as we slowly drifted towards the rocky shore, past a few sailing dinghy’s and stand up paddlers. I put on a Genuine Yanmar 25132-003700 (old part no# 128670-77350). We were back up running in 5 min, I think Rufus was impressed.
Every fall I re-research which liquid to pour into my boats many freshwater systems. I find I keep coming back to the blog by Practical Sailor author Drew Faye, Sail Delmarva.
I particularly like the fact he has researched his opinions and they are based on fact. So here are his winterizing suggestions:
Pump out the potable water tank. Vacuum out the remains with a shop vac.
Add a shut-off valve and tee just down stream of the tank and upstream of the pressure pump. Add a second valve on the tee’s side branch and a length of 1/2-inch ID hose. Suck a 30% propylene glycol antifreeze mixture into all of the lines using the pressure pump, opening the taps one at a time (hot and cold) and letting them run; the clear water goes down the drain until it’s as pink as the feed (you can recycle some of this by boosting it with with concentrate). When finished, remove the suction hose from the antifreeze container and blow out the lines with the pump by letting it run dry for just 20 seconds per tap (the glycol lubricates the pump, so it will not be damaged in a minute). If you have a tank water heater you should drain it and bypass. I have an instant heater and the above works well.
Our dinghy motor, a 1987 E4RCUD Evinrude has an interesting history. It was made in Belgium, spent several decades in a locker in Grand Cayman and was shipped to Toronto via DHL in a cardboard box. I would guess that before I got my hands on it that it had probably only had an hour or two of runtime. I think the previous owners would head out straight off the beach to dive. Rumour has it that the previous owner never had any luck running the engnie and spent lots of time trying to get it started – to the delight of the other residents.
When I recommissioned the motor all it needed was a throttle/cam follower as the U-shaped plastic snapped due to age.
I’ve cracked it open this fall to change the impeller and generally show the old girl some love. It’s always been grumpy at idle and the choke doesn’t stay put, meaning start-up requires a delft touch and several hands.
Lets get this out of the way first. I have taken the Canadian Power Sail Squadron’s Seamanship course which has a heavy emphasis on traditional chart plotting, so I know how to work with paper charts, but as a digital native I prefer the convenience and accuracy of electronic navigation. We can all agree that paper still works when the batteries run out.
On our trip up the Rideau Canal to Ottawa last summer, I used a chart book and my Android Samsung SII cellphone with Navionics for way finding. There really wasn’t any plotting involved because you just need to follow the trail of red and green bouys, but occasionally you get into open water and need to know which end of the lake to head to. Despite the small screen size, that setup worked except the GPS function and the screen brightness on full, drained the cell phone battery. To keep it alive, I plugged the phone into an AC charger via an extension cord to the AC/DC inverter. It was a messy but functional set up. I resolved that I could do better for the next trip. Continue reading Charts schmarts.→
In my never ending quest to keep boating affordable, I am keeping my old dinghy limping along. It is dirty and wearing out (topsides of the tubes are down to the threads), but holds air so I can’t complain. I figure I better show it some love but don’t want to make things worse by using corrosive chemicals or abrasives. Looks like the ArmourAll I put on it three years ago might have expatiated it’s demise! Continue reading Dingy dinghy – how to clean PVC (vinyl)→