This year spring took a long time in coming. Mid April a Canadian Coast Guard ice breaker turned back at Hope island as the ice was too thick, an ice ridge of 19′! The water temperature in Penetang bay was 11.5 °C. Thanks to Tom for being my launch helper.
I tend to forget how many little things I do on/to the boat. In my mind, most of them are opportunities, not maintenance as such, but if I really think about it, a lot are actual maintenance! A friend of mine remarked when I told him I was swapping gauges while underway – “Phil, you need a fidget spinner.” I did some of these projects before we left, others en route, and some up in GB at the end of the season.
glove box & trim
The glove box was an awesome update to the binnacle. Somewhere to safely store cell phones, sunglasses, keys, and sunscreen. Now we can put 4 drinks in the cup holders! I fit it into the binnacle where the VHF radio, and later an older chart plotter, was originally located. I constructed the box out of quarter-inch Corian type material (old mouse keyboard shelf). I made a teak bezel around the glove-box out of some teak scraps, slapped a few coats of gloss Epifanes and glued the bezel on. The trim is purposely slightly larger than the opening so it doesn’t get abraded. There is a small drain hole at the back bottom of the box as it sits on a backward slant, but it really didn’t collect any water over the summer and kept things secure and dry.
There is a funny/boring video of me gluing the trim. I left the camera running by accident and it is from the vantage point of the cup holder looking straight up.
fixed retractable boat hook
I used our retractable boat hook to take the boat’s weight last year pulling it closer to the mooring ball. The hook got stuck and didn’t want to retract or extend. I could just get it to turn if I put one end in a vice.
The fix was to cut the outer sleeve off with the inner fully extended. This revealed that the problem was simply that the plastic tape (provides friction to the inside of the inner walls of the sleeve) got rolled-up in the tube. This made locking and unlocking somewhat moot as the rolled tape was wedged between the locking mechanism and the outer tube. I removed the tape, put some new tape on and reassembled the pieces. I used a punch to re-crimp it. It was a 5-minute fix and the pole was only 4 inches shorter.
We promptly lost the boat hook in the first days of the trip and bought (yet) another in Peterborough.
dripping arch bolt
This bolt was responsible for a persistent leak down the back of the liner in our aft cabin, right behind our pillows.
The fix was simple, remove nut and washer and apply some sealant. Wait…. the washer doesn’t sit flush to the fiberglass! Take washer home, grind and then reinstall with butyl.
The freshwater gauge was always a bit spotty, but last season it continually red empty. I assume the sensor float has become waterlogged, and this proved true when I tested it. I wrapped some foam packing around the old float – now it works.
replace LPG valve
It took a while for me to clue into what the issue was with the original LPG safety solenoid valve which leads to the pork-loin incident.
These solenoid valves are opened by current through an electromagnet, as they age they overheat causing the magnet loses its “grip” and the needle slowly slides back, closing the valve partially. You may start out with full gas, but after 10-15 min you are back to a small trickle of gas ( leading to a very slow cooking roast on a cold spring cruise…). My workaround was to pour cold lake water on the valve to cool it and it worked quite well. I did this for a season and it was easy to do as the propane locker is located on the sugar-scoop transom, usually one splash for a kettle to boil.
I ordered a solenoid from Aliexpress a year ago as the price was right ($9 including shipping!!) but it rattled around my toolbox for a full year. I finally installed it this year along with a new sparker battery. The stove works perfectly now!
- Model: 2W-025-08
- Working Medium: Air, Water, Oil,Gas
- Operating Method: Direct action
- Type: Normal Closed
- Flow bore: 2mm
- Pipe Size: 1/4″
- Working Pressure: 0.15~0.8Mpa
- Max Pressure:1.0Mpa
- Working Temperature: -5~60 Celsius
- Voltage: DC 12V
- Material: Brass
Not too much to say about this one. I’ve given up on trying to refurbish old leaking compasses. I bought the compass (yes it is rebuildable….), enlarged the hole in the binnacle with a jigsaw and rasp and connected the wires. I still need to swing it and adjust the compensation, but it reads pretty accurately to the fluxgate so I’m not worried or in a rush. It does give the cockpit a nice finished look. I cheaped out and didn’t get a sun cover, but the compass doesn’t get any direct sunlight under the bimini and the boat is covered for the winter.
mahogany binnacle cap
If you look at the top of the binnacle you’ll see a hole in the fiberglass right about the word Autopilot on the left gauge (see top photo on page). The previous owner had wires coming out of there and had stuck on a couple pieces of teak with some 4200 which were growing moss when I bought the boat.
I spun a nice bung and fitted it with an o-ring to give it some grip.
LED strip lights
I love indirect LED lighting, spots are so harsh, I could fill the boat with these. I finally got around to properly installing the starboard side.
These lights are cheap Ikea strip lights LEDBERG (same as I installed above the sink). I originally just plugged them into the cigarette lighter and let them lie in the bottom of that ledge several years ago. The lights got covered with books and brick-a-brack, so I installed them using clips and industrial velcro and wired them to the DC panel properly.
- LEDBERG $14.95 CAD
- LED life approx. 25,000 hours.
- Light color: warm white (2700 Kelvin).
- 3 pieces, 10¼” each
- Power: 2 W
- wire directly to 12 volt- no controller needed
I also re-routed the speaker wire. For some reason, the previous owner had the wire coming out of the old speaker, behind the seat cushions and up the bulkhead?! I ran the wire out the back of the switch cabinet and behind the curtain valance. I got rid of the old-lady-Florida curtains too, oh so much tidier…
Last summer we escaped a flooded Toronto and headed north, we had planned on leaving Toronto for Georgian Bay last year, with the heavy rains and flooding shutting down our favourite cruising grounds, beaches and amusement park (aka the Toronto Islands) the decision to leave was even easier. What was supposed to be a lazy meander through cottage country, with afternoons spent swimming with loons, ice cream in quaint towns, turned out somewhat different thanks to the unseasonably cold and wet July weather. As for the quaint towns, well there was Bobcaygeon, which could be accused of trying a bit too hard.
The trip fell into 4 stages and took us most of July. We only lingered a few places, three days in Peterborough, one in Sutton, but when we moved we moved pretty quickly because of the weather. A total of 18 days in a boat that does about 5.5knots underpower.
- Toronto to Trenton July 7 – 9
- Trenton to Peterborough July 10 – 12
- Peterborough to Lake Simcoe July 16 – 20
- Simcoe to Georgian Bay July 22 – July 24
After sleeping on Georgian Bay this weekend, it occurred to me that a cabin heater might be prudent, especially with small children that like to throw off their covers and then cry “I’m cold” at 4 am.
Our Hunter 340 came with a heat exchanger and blower to make use of engine heat, but that’s only useful when the Yanmar is running (incidentally, it also heats the hot water too). I have a little car 120v forced air heater I picked up on clearance at Canadian Tire. Plugged in it provides fast heat and warms the cabin quickly. It’s rated at 900w and I suppose I could plug it into the inverter but that seems like an awfully destructive thing to do to a battery bank and inverter. Continue reading Cabin Heater
Launching a boat is a process couched in optimism. The annual ritual of unwrapping, polishing, swapping fluids and slapping on bottom paint leads to a triumphal splash that marks the beginning of another sailing season.
This year I was somewhat organized but left starting the motor until the last minute. I wasn’t too concerned as my Yanmar 3GM30 has always fired up easily. This year, it was already in the water when it finally started…. but I’m getting ahead of the story.
Tortuga was already sitting by the crane when I arrived an hour ahead of my scheduled launch time. Uli was unusually efficient that morning and the crew were itching to launch. So much for a leisurely pre-splash inspection. I grabbed a pail of lake water and scrambled onboard to start the motor while the slings were being fitted. It seemed that the battery was weak as the cranking rpm was low and the motor wasn’t catching. Strange… Complicating the starting process was the crane’s diesel motor was idling six feet from my head. I think roaring is a more apt description as I couldn’t hear the engine cranking and was relying on the tachometer to see if the engine was actually turning over. This really threw me as the batteries should be, and were, fully charged by the solar panels. This was confirmed by the voltage showing. I’ve never started the engine deaf, relying solely on the tach, so I wasn’t sure how fast it usually spins on startup. Continue reading Crispy, Hard and Smoking. pt.2
My Hunter 340 came (to me) with a Rule bilge pump, it is the kind that automatically fires every 7 minutes. If there is no resistance on the pump, indicating no water to pump out, it shuts down. So far this season (May – September) the pump has fired 70,000 times according to the counter at the Nav station.
While I appreciate the security of a pump that is always checking, I can’t imagine it is doing anything but slowly, unnecessarily wearing the pump out. It also makes a racket that I’ve gotten used to. Given I’ve got solar panels I don’t worry about the battery drain either, but that could be an issue for some owners. Continue reading Bilge float switches
I’m a big believer in details, perhaps it’s my training as a goldsmith or a pixel perfect developer, but if there’s a speck or a design flaw it will bug me. Having a white boat is a lesson in finding serenity, I swear there is someone out there laughing at all the scrubbing boat owners do.
Having a brand new high-pressure water pump with a faulty shut-off sensor (the backstory) gave me the perfect opportunity to fashion a wash-down pump. A bit of hose, a few clips and away we go!
With 40 psi and 17 liters/min the cleaning possibilities are endless!
The fridge door/lid always made a screech when opened and the gas strut was very stiff. I found a bunch of gas struts on the sale table at Princess Auto for $4 each and they seem to be close to the right size. I only noticed when I removed the old one that there is a manufacture’s sticker and model number.
I only noticed the brackets were not in the same plane when I put on the new strut. I relocated the brackets to get the door to shut, but also the bottom bracket needed to come over by 3/4″ to line up.
The bottom bush was drilled out to fit on the existing stainless post and luckily the top fitting works!
UPDATE: Fall 2017
The cheapo strut didn’t last the season so I splurged on a new strut (It was only $13 !) I choose one from Amazon based on the weight of the lid. Here are the specs:
- Load : 170N ( 17Kg)
- Hole Diameter : 4mm / 0.16″
- Rod Size : 172 x 6mm / 6.8″ x 0.24″
- Hole Distance : 408mm / 16″
- Total Size : 430 x 15mm / 17″ x 0.6″ (L*D)
After a full summer of cruising here are my thoughts.
- The piston rod is a bit on the thin side but it doesn’t bend, in the future I might get one thicker but I don’t think it really matters.
- the ends have plastic caps like automotive ends, they do snap onto the stainless mounts and only fell off once or twice if I really impacted the strut. It did come ball-end mounting hardware, but I thought I would try it and it seems to work. I could drill out the plastic caps and fit the circlips if falling off was an issue.
- the struts lift is stronger than either of the two, it takes some effort to close and I had to put on two latches to keep it closed (which is how it came from the factory in the first place.
UPDATE: Spring 2018
The strut worked(s) flawlessly !
The requirements of a shelf, to be a shelf, are fairly simple. It needs to be big enough to hold the intended items and sturdy enough to stay up, but the shelf in the photo really isn’t a shelf.
For me, like the boat itself, the shelf is the physical manifestation of my dreams, personality and aspirations. A bathroom towel shelf on a cold winter’s night is less about orderly towel storage, but about making the boat into a floating home, one that we will live on and hopefully take to warmer climes, have adventures, and watch our children discover some of the wonders of the world. This shelf is about providing the best summer home for my young children to make memories in and keeping my wife happy with a nice bathroom (my idea not hers). It’s about having clean dry clean towels to wrap ourselves in after a cold swim. It is about dreaming of sailing down to the Bahamas. It is about making the boat better then new, putting my stamp on it, doing it better than the designers. It is also a great justification for having a shop full of tools and ferreting around boat yard dumpsters.
A shelf that loaded better be strong.
Last summer I was merrily heading into Toronto’s inner harbour through the Eastern Gap*. I was busy lounging behind the wheel and talking with friends when one casually said “we are headed straight for a big green thing”. That big green thing being the big steel buoy making the inner entrance to the Eastern Gap. I turned the boat to port and the wake pushed the buoy away from the a boat, only to have the buoy swing back back with a vengeance and smack the hull just below the rub rail on starboard. Ouch.
The impact shattered the gel-coat and the underlying layers of fibreglass. It didn’t look too bad and I left it for the season as it is well above the waterline close to the forward sling marks.
What king of sailor sails straight into a big green buoy that he knows is there… ugh.
Peeling back the layers of crushed gel-coat and fiberglass mat, I discovered the damage was much more extensive than it appeared. There was considerable de-lamination between the many layers however the lowest layers were just bruised, not cracked. The damage also extended in a much larger radius then the gel-coat damage itself, presumably from the fibreglass flexing in.
I couldn’t access the damage from the interior unless I did a massive cabin disassembly, so rather than cut a hole , I decided to grind down and re-glass from the outside, leaving the bottom most layer intact.
After applying a few layers of mat and resin I levelled the patch with a sander and enlarged the grind. You can see the wound get bigger in the photos. Complicating the repair job was an unusually cold spring. I used a heat gun to warm the hull first and then gently warm the repair at several intervals to ensure the resin kicked.
1. SHURFlo 2088-422
- 3.5 GPM open flow, 45 PSI Demand Switch
- Self priming up to 12 feet
- Can run dry without damage
- One way check valve prevents reverse flow
The first pump died after 15 seasons. It sounded like a jack-hammer but was a reliable crew member on our boat, sort of like Relic on The Beachcombers. Part of my bedtime ritual was turning the breaker off so as not to be awoken but sporadic bursts of pump.
This pump was made in the USA in 1999 and judging by the date, I’d say it was the original freshwater pump. It started weeping at the end of last (2014) season and I ignored it. At the end of this season, shortly after finishing out trip to the 1000 Islands, it quit (almost exactly like the fridge did last year). Upon inspection the inner sealed-bearing failed and flooded the electric motor. Rust-brown water trickled out of the motor case, it was done.