Tag Archives: Hunter 340

Anchor & Rode

CQR_anchorI have the opportunity to acquire an all chain rode with a hinged-plough CQR-type anchor.  I was going to jump at the chance, but my initial hesitation was handling all that chain, I don’t have a windlass, installing one would require switches, wiring and batteries, money. hmmm, maybe it’s worth it?  After some quick research I can summarize the following pros and cons:

  • rope provides cushioning (stretching) when the rode is pulled straight, chain is hard on fittings and can unset an anchor when pulled taut.
  • catenary effect: the weight of chain provides a calming/dampening effect in calm waters, or so many claim.  Research suggests that the weight of rode is negligible.(see Peter Smith link below)
  • abrasion resistance: chain is the clear winner for abrasion resistance, this seems to be the deciding factor for most, allowing sailors to sleep at night.
  • weight:  chain is heavy and requires a windlass, weighs down bow, better to go with lighter chain and bigger anchor.
  • expense: chain in expensive and rusts in salt water – but lasts longer than rope

Rope is actually better as a medium given it’s ability to stretch and absorb shock when the rode is straightened out but high winds or wave action, however the reality of abrasion is what makes most sailors reach for chain.

Rode length, not material, is what is important, the pulling force on the anchor needs to be as horizontal as possible, it is vertical pulling that unsets anchors. Chain is used as it pretty much guarantees abrasion resistance. When mooring in waters with unknown/varied seabeds, chain is best for a primary anchor rode.

For my normal stomping grounds, Lake Ontario, rope is fine. I suppose if I venture down the ICW to the Bahamas it might be advantageous to have a chain rode. hmmm, I’m back where I started.

Here are some good links on anchors, rode and scope:

The science behind anchors and rode:

Cruisers Forum rode discussion, chain vs rope:|


The fridge: AB Coldmachine and the fans.

When I stepped onto the dock after our 26 day day trip to Ottawa, a club member congratulated me on my trip and asked if everything went OK, “sure” I said, “it was great!” “Nothing broke?” he asked, “Nope” I replied. It wasn’t a lie, it was just that I didn’t remember that the fridge compressor was making strangled-guinea-pig-like noises as opposed to the usual Darth Vader sounds, besides, it was still keeping things cold.

IMG_0001A couple of days later the cabin was very quiet, on the trip, with a kids, stereos, motoring and lots of activity on the boat I hadn’t realized that the fridge was ominously silent. I looked in on the compressor under the port dinette seat and realized that there was no air moving, the compressor was very hot. Not having paid too much attention to the compressor in the past I figured it was supposed to be hot – but not hand-burning hot!
Clearly the cooling fans had stopped. The fans are computer fans, nothing special, easy fix I say to myself. I pulled them out and tested them. One was definitely dead, it wouldn’t spin up and when I poked it with my finger it raced then died.  The second made grinding noises and was sluggish, clearly the source of the strangled-guinea-pig noises.

Continue reading The fridge: AB Coldmachine and the fans.

Up the Rideau

In front of the Newboro locks.

This summer we took Tortuga up the Rideau canal to Ottawa, it was a great trip. I hope write some tips from the trip for others – in the mean time here are some photos from the Toronto -Coburg-Kingston leg.
Continue reading Up the Rideau


Spring launch is a bit stressful, polishing & painting the hull, servicing the engine, wrangling batteries, cold weather and launch coordination. Of course this year I was racing to finish the bimini and get the solar panels installed.
All that work and fades away once the boat splashes into the water, the engine fires up and I’ve got a boat again, not just a big expensive liability.
Here are a few photos from out first trip out with friends to Centre Island Centerville and then to catch the Victoria Day Fireworks on the water.
The boat is moored at that angle as it’s sitting on the bottom, the boat behind me has the depth I need.



She has a name! The boat was christened Tortuga last year, offerings were made to Neptune, rum was splashed and drunk, the old name burned and all traces removed from the boat… not that I’m superstitious.

Tortuga_sternI chose Tortuga, Spanish for Turtle, for three reasons:

  1. The boat is flat bottomed and beamy, kinda slow, like a turtle.
  2. The kids wanted to call it “Dude”, after the Dad sufer-turtle who says Dude on Finding Nemo.
  3. I’ve spent time in the Cayman Islands, which were originally called Las Tortugas by Christopher Columbus, as there were lots of sea turtles (for eating).

Let the plumbing begin! (shower relocation)

After the first season there were a few things that I wanted to change with the plumbing. I would like to think plumbing fixtures have progressed  since the boat was built 15years ago, and besides, Hunter didn’t really go all out on the fixtures in the first place. The changes may see mostly aesthetic but are more practical in nature. For example a single handle kitchen faucet makes mixing and adjusting water flow much easier, leading to less water use and waste. The spare hole makes a great soap dispenser location. (kitchen photo here) Boat plumbing would be much easier if I could send my 2-year old under the cupboards with a wrench. It was impossible to get a wrench onto the faucet nuts so I had to take the double sink out. The upside is I discovered the ice cube trays way under there -yes, we can make ICE! The bathroom faucet, while perfectly functional, is dated ugly and the shower diverter only sent about 80% of the water to the shower, the rest running down the drain. I didn’t like the shower hose traipsing across the counter and over the toilet.

Continue reading Let the plumbing begin! (shower relocation)

Holding tank, holding breath

The toilet to holding tank hoses on Tortuga, I assume, are original and the source of our stinking shame. We developed a big odour problem by the end of season and eradicaton of odour was a priority job for 2014 launch.  I picked up a new Jabsco pump unit on sale at the end of last season as the entire unit was cheaper then a gasket rebuild kit and I could see that  the flimsy plastic pump was distorting, so I wasn’t convinced freshgaskets would stop the spurts of water when pumping. Although not a source of odor, water spraying out of your toilet isn’t exactly the experience I’m after.

trident 1.5 sanitation hose I contemplated using PVC tubing instead of replacement hose as it is much cheaper and will never smell, but the complete lack of access to the hose run made me I realized that while I might (no, it’s impossible) get a pipe in, there would be no way to secure the pipe from banging around. Securing PVC in marine installations is key as flexing and movement will lead to cracked joints and leaks. Hose it is. Trident, the industry standard is guaranteed for 10 years, in fresh water I should be able to get 15-20 years – who knows if I’ll have the boat then?! I’ve gleaned what I can from forums and Peggy Hall and bought some holding tank treatment (Happy Campers) to keep the vent air fresh. Final task is  to back flush the vent to ensue proper airflow to the tank.

Continue reading Holding tank, holding breath

Helm Seat repair

This fall the original owner surfaced and sold me all the missing bits and pieces – some pieces were more important then others, like sails and cushions, others just nice to have like spare filters and doo-dads.

One piece that was missing was the Helm Seat, at first I thought no problem, I can live without one- then a season of sailing made me realize that yeah – a seat would be good. I was going to make one from teak, a welcome addition to the cockpit which is a sea of white gel-coat – but all that is moot now.

The seat was taken off as it had water in it and the previous owner didn’t want frost damage. I could hear water sloshing around inside but couldn’t see how it got in. I moved it around my storage locker and one day noticed it was dripping, then I tilted it and left it. A couple of hours later there was a decent puddle on the floor coming out of a hairline crack in the gel. I was amazed at how much water is in the seat!

20131229_140134This generation of Hunter has the Helm seat swing back and flip over so the bottom of the seat forms a step on the swim platform. I discovered that one screw on the bottom that holds the rope pierced the cavity and was “sealed” with a dab of silicone…….! I checked the other holes with compressed air and they are all sealed.

I enlarged the hairline crack with a burr and drilled out all the screw holes to a larger diameter. Everything gets a epoxy and the leaky spots were filled with colloidal silica and epoxy.

Compass repair, again.

I tossed out the mounting frame from the original compass as I assumed I would never see it, then I got the compass…. It’s an OEM Suunto compass with a fancy Hunter logo inside, but for some reason the globe is full of “stuff” floating around. Looks like it was filled with dirty lake water?!

Black goo, very sticky goo.
Black goo, very sticky goo.

In the mean time, I sourced a well used Ritchie compass and fit it into the pedestal with a few strokes of a rasp. This compass however had a distinct lack of fluid. Not a problem, Ritchie is known for being rebuild-able, right? Now that it is winter project time, I opened the compass to discover a heaping glob of black goo inside. Hmm. Caulking perhaps? Sealant?

Upon further inspection I realize that I am looking at the bottom of the dial, how does the fluid stay in?

I find a parts-book online and see that there is supposed to be a rubber diaphragm inside – that explains the big blob of black stuff.

20131214_132349The diaphragm is about $20, the fluid $15 etc etc, being the frugal Scotsman and practical German! I figure, hey, there’s got to be a homemade solution here in the shop.

I cut a disk out of an oil can and put in some squeeze-cheese gasket, Permatex 2, screwed it all together, tossed in some lamp oil and splash of mineral oil. Seems to be holding.

20131214_141432I must say I’m a bit baffled that the fluid melted the diaphragm so completely. Did they not test the rubber? It seems like planned obsolescence but I suppose this is what they were referring to as “rebuildable”! ‘ cause you are  going to have to at some point. It reminds me of the arguments I’ve heard about American cars, cheap abundant parts versus slightly more expensive import parts.20131214_141528

I’m under no illusions that this fix will withstand the full expansion pressures of a summer’s sun, I’m sure there’s a reason for a rubber diaphragm, but I am optimistic that under the shade of the Bimini it might not piss itself in a day.

To be continued….


Hull refinish

945603_196408527181012_2085257297_nI decided to strip the bottom paint and put on an Epoxy barrier coat. I scraped off the loose blue bottom paint and then sanded off the VC17 that was next to the gell coat. It was easy going getting off the blue as it didn’t adhere very well to the VC17.
There were only a few very small blisters (5mm) close to the rear of the keel joint.

One suggestion is to use a good grade of sandpaper – sounds trivial but the expensive sand paper lasted much longer than the cheap stuff.

I used Interlux’s 2-part Interprotect 2000E, alternating between gray and white. I was able to squeak out six coats out of six gallons, including a sand between coats 5+6. I then put on two coats of red VC17. It was a bit of a challenge getting the curved waterline on the bottom of the hull where it’s flat. I taped then drew a line with a pencil and string – it’s a compound curve so a bit tricky, but when I was happy I just free hand trimmed the tape with an xacto knife – it came out pretty well and whatever imperfections there are won’t be seen as it’s under the boat!

I polished the hull above the waterline and it came out looking truly awesome!
tortuga_launch_hunter340Here it is on the lift – launch was a rainy day but all went well.