Tag Archives: Hunter 340

Bamboo sink cover

IMG_0329Counter space is rare on most sailboats but seems to be a premium on the Hunter 340.  At first glance it seems there is a reasonable amount of space but the counter has a double sink, garbage hole/lid smack in the middle of the counter and a top-access fridge. There is only about a square foot that is free.  Preparing meals is like playing chess, you are constantly moving things around the counter trying to strategize the best way to do things. This is especially so with summer meals with multiple salads or burgers and all the condiments and trimmings. A sink cover creates much needed space so I decided to make a second cover for the larger sink to compliment the white Starboard (I assume?) cover for the small sink. I am also contemplating making a cover for the stove as small items like jars tend to fall over on the grill. Continue reading Bamboo sink cover

Winter Cover – DIY

Sailors seem to be divided into two camps,  winter cover or no winter cover. I’ve played on both teams but I’ve finally become a card carrying member in the cover camp. In the past I  used tarps from Canadian Tire, silver on one side and black on the other.  Some years I didn’t bother, I didn’t see much of a difference, the old boat was leaky covered or not, and being over thirty years old, the UV had done it’s damage to the gel-coat.

20140203_143234_snowI think it was the day I visited Tortuga last winter when I decided to cover it. There was a couple of inches of snow and ice on the boat. Snow,  like rain isn’t my main concern, it was the ice I was worried about, specifically water creeping under deck fittings, into cracks and crevices and then freezing. The freeze thaw cycle has the potential to tear a boat apart, keeping water and snow off a boat is the best defense, short of indoor storage. Continue reading Winter Cover – DIY

Yanmar Service Bulletin – coolant & fuel bleeding

Winter always brings a small amount of anxiety for boat owners, get your winterization wrong and you’ve created expensive problems. Fresh water systems get a dousing of pinnk antifreeze, but engines seem to cause confusion. Given that engines are made up of many materials with different properties, such as rubber gaskets, aluminum, brass and steel,  coolant additives are important to ensure parts aren’t being corroded by the very liquids designed to protect them. Here is a list of coolants from Mack Boring regarding Yanmar engines.

The coolant/anti-freezes that have been tested and approved are shown below:
  • Texaco Long Life Coolant Anti-Freeze both regular and pre-mixed Product codes 7991 and 7998. This product is available in gallon containers, drums and bulk. It is recommended that the cooling system be drained and flushed before filling. Only Texaco Long Life Coolant should be used for top-off. This product has a much longer shelf life than conventional coolants provided the integrity of the container is maintained. For additional information and availability contact Texaco at 1-800-782-7852.
  • Havoline Extended Life Anti-Freeze/Coolant. Product code 7994. This product is available through Texaco gas stations, Procedures are the same as with Texaco Long Life Coolant Anti-Freeze.
  • Dex-Cool Long Life Coolant. This product is available through GM service centers worldwide.
  • Prestone Extended Life Coolant. Product code AF888. If the above coolants are not readily available, Prestone Extended life coolant is satisfactory.

Full text can be found in this Yanmar service_bulletin: fuel bleeding & coolant

Here is another great link on Yanmar engines: http://nsc.ca/nsc_library/techtalk/dewitte_diesel.htm

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