Monday, April 24, 2017

Searching for the Easter Bunny

Easter Spring Fling Cruise

The HISC planned to have this year's Easter Cruise (to be the Spring Fling Cruise from now on) at Lake Sylvia, however, there have been an increased number of liveaboards and visiting cruisers in the lake and that would make anchoring an additional 10 to 15 boats a bit of a squeeze. So the cruise planners moved it to Lake Sunrise, but then realized that it's Sunrise Bay. Nothing like a bit of confusion to get folks started on the search for the Easter Bunny.


As it happens, the weekend - April 14th to April 16th was a  rare one for us in that the tide suited us at both our departure from the dock on Friday and return on the Sunday.


As we were going to be able to leave the dock before lunch Friday and get back after lunch on Sunday, we had one dinner and one breakfast to take with us. The club was having a BYOA (Bring your own Appetiser) which normally translates, to 'You probably won't need to eat dinner after that'
So we took Oats for 2 days (just in case) and a Chicken Cacciatore for the Friday Night and a spare meal of pulled pork in tomato sauce. Plus a few bottles of wine, some Tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese for the appetizer which I would put together onboard Saturday afternoon. Oh, a bottle of Rum in case we had any guests along with our usual crates of water, V8, G2 and Ginger Ale. That should cope with anyone stopping by.

Beware the Bridges

It was an easy motor down the New River until we got to the FEC Railroad bridge which was down for maintenance and could only be opened via a Crane on the South side of the  bridge. We called the tender and asked for an opening. Their response was that the bridge had just closed and it would be 10 minutes before they could open it again. I advised them that I would do a few donuts in Sailboat Bend to kill the time, to which they replied - They'll open the bridge sooner if they can see me. 
So we did a couple of donuts at sailboat bend and then turned towards the bridge. At that time of the Friday morning, there were few people about at the bend, but there was a family preparing for a Kayak tour which seem pretty popular in that area.
We turned towards the bridge and could see the Crane attached to the South end of the span and as soon as they saw us, the supervisor started blowing his whistle to instruct the workers to clear the bridge for raising. It took less than 10 minutes for them to clear the bridge and raise it. Because of the crane attachment, they could open it partway, so we had to hug the south bridge fender to ensure our mast cleared the crane and raised span. I didn't hesitate in passing through once their supervisor signaled it was ok by a few more blast on his whistle and the 'come on down' arm signals.

Heading up to Sunrise Bay

We had spoken with Pam Angel & Dave LeGrow of Sjöfn and expected they would be at the Bay this afternoon too, so we kept our ears tuned for their calls to the bridges as we continued our motor up the Sunrise Bay. Passing Los Boulevard bridge with the current carrying us towards Sunrise Blvd Bridge, we had an easy motor up to the Bay. On arrival, Peggy took the helm while I prepared the Anchor and as we came into view of the Bay, I could see that Diversion was already at anchor in pretty much their usual spot. It's funny how we are all creatures of habit, we too looked for our spot on the GPS and dropped anchor, backed down on it hard before taking sightings to look for in case we were drifting. Time to put up the sun shade and the wind break (dodger window) and make some lunch.

Arrivals and Returns

Since we arrived, Sjöfn, Affection, Endeavour, Glory Daze, Always, and a bunch of other HISC members arrived. Socializing is easy with this group, a short dink ride over to another boat is all it takes, everyone is welcome.
A few months ago, I ran out of Olive Oil during my prep of Breakfast. We tied up alongside Diversion, so I popped my head out of the cabin and asked Joyce if she had any spare olive oil - Joyce gave me the remnants of her bottle. I have been carrying around a really nice bottle of EVOO since then to give back with gratitude. So I dinked over to their boat and returned the favor. One of the many things learned is always return something borrowed in better condition than when it was received. Joyce was happy crew 😊

Party time

We've been members of the HISC for about 2 1/2 years now, and one thing we figured out from participating in the Club Cruises is 'Come Early and Come Hungry!' The come early part is what we learned when we dilly dallied arriving at one event 20 minutes late with a delicious tray of roasted shrimp. By the time we got there, most of the food was gone. The come hungry part is - well, most members bring enough food for eight people, so there's lots of food! 
Today we prepared our Appetizer early and arrived at the host boats with a bunch of other members, we had to take turns in arrving - like a skyfull of aircraft waiting to land.
The host boats did the club proud! Lots of food plus everything that the members brought over, and plenty of appropriate drinks. Food eaten, Drinks drunk, Stories were told, and friendships gained. 
When Peggy was getting into the dink, it moved away, she got her butt wet. But no harm done, even the water was warm. We got back to Eximius and both dried off. 
We didn't sleep so good, the wind was chugging along and our VHF radio woke us up around 11pm and at Midnight. But! No anchor dragging, no bumps in the middle of the night. 

Sunday Brunch

The club catered a Sunday Brunch  aboard the host boats. So we had a light breakfast of Oats and made up a thermos of Coffee then headed over to the host boats.
It was time for the Easter Hat Contest. Not sure who won, but Pam Angel stood out. There were peep shoes, Pink Cocktails and a crowd chatting aboard the boats. Always a great group, and if you want to talk sailing, there's always interest and input. Love this bunch.

Wrapping up

We didn't have to be the first to break away from the event for a change, so we stayed in the Bay till after Noon, then, after watching the most of the other boats head out, we pulled anchor just as Always was pulling their's. Peggy motored us out of the Bay and south the few hundred yards to the Sunrise Blvd Bridge and we called for the bridge opening. Always was astern of us as we motored down the ICW towards Los Olas Bridge. Always peeled off just North of the bridge and we only had to wait a few minutes to pass under the bridge and thank the tender for the opening.
Then it was the usual motor south to past Bahia Mar and West towards Sand Bar Park. Just as expected, our speed changed as we moved from the flow of the IntraCoastal into the flow of the New River, but when it changed we also heard a significant change in the engine. Our RPM stayed the same but our speed dropped by over a knot. 
First thought was - Must be a stronger ebb current than expected - OR we have something around the prop! I dropped the engine RPM and shifted into Neutral intent upon a short burst in reverse to try and clear any tangles but when the engine stalled. Worst, we're in the channel North of Sandbar Park which is only about 50' wide and no engine! I tell Peggy that I'm going to drop the anchor and dash up front. Quickly releasing the anchor and lowing with the chain in hand over hand. The anchor bites the bottom, boy! does it bite! I am barely able to keep hold of the chain. Luckily it was still wet from hauling up in Sunrise Bay, so it does not burn my bare hands (normally I wear my gloves when working the anchor) - It drags out harder, this is getting scary! I manage to get the chain around the Boat Cleat and bring the chain to a stop. Turning back to the stern to see if I can get the engine running, I realize Peggy already has it going and is in gear! That explains a lot! Quick shift into Neutral and take a breather. 
I explain what took place, Peggy had not realized I was actually setting the anchor - NOTE TO SELF - make sure everyone knows whats happening and what not to do! 
We used Prop wash and to turn the stern to Stbd and take the strain off the anchor. I pulled it back in and we were on our way, although it was obvious that something was not right. I just hoped we had not damaged our Prop.

Didn't slip up today

Unlike our last return to the slip, I didn't nearly fall off the dock! Peggy made a perfect come alongside and we quickly prepared to load the truck. We're getting this process down! By the time I had the lines in place, power cord setup and secured, dink washed down and topside ready for inspection (sorry, a flash back to my Navy Days) Peggy had the cabin bagged up and ready to take ashore.

Note to self

Need to get a diver to clean the bottom and inspect the Prop & Shaft!

See you on the Water.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Time to talk Dirty - Fuel that is

Cleaning the Fuel Tank

Recently we were motoring and the engine failed, no big deal, we just coasted to the side of the river, tied up and I went and checked the fuel system. The Fuel Filter/ Water Separator was full of crud. 10 minutes later it was cleaned out and engine started - on our way. Need to clean the fuel tank!

Emptying the Diesel Tank

The tank was just over 50% full according to our fuel gauge, that's about 12 Gallons, the tank holds 23 according to the label on the top of the tank. So we had to drain that fuel out.
Our fuel system is setup like this:

Tank - 2 Micron Fuel Filter Water Separator - Fuel Pump (with built in filter) - Engine Filter - Engine Injector Pump - Return Fuel Line - Tank

To drain the tank I disconnected the fuel hose from the output of the fuel pump and replaced it with about a 4' long spare piece of fuel hose. Stuck the end into a 5 Gallon Diesel Can and turned on the Engine Ignition. It took about 10 minutes to fill the Can.

I had two 5 Gallon jugs with me.
Later today I'll go back to the boat and drain the remaining Diesel into a 3rd Jug.

The white cloth under the tanks is actually a Puppy Training Pad. They make great work place protection sheets and are much cheaper than anything Marine.

Getting the Tank Out

The tank is located Port side aft, it's basically at the foot of the Aft Berth. So I have to empty the aft berth (cushions, as well as all the other stuff we keep in the Garage) and then remove the Wooden Panel to covers the Fuel Tank Area.

It's only held in with about a dozen screws, my DeWalt gyroscopic screw driver makes quick work of those.

That small hole in the underside of the deck above the tank is an inspection port that can is located inside the Port Aft Cockpit Locker. Pretty much useless and to get to it the locker has to be emptied, and then get myself into the locker. It's a game!

The Red covered bundle of wires is the Engine Control Harness that I replaced last year. I did a nice job on that. 

Here's hoping the fuel tank is OK, there are no signs of any leaks. It's held in by just a few screws on Tabs at each end that secure it to the shelf on which is sits.

There are 4 hoses connected to the tank: Fill Hose, Overflow Hose, Supply Hose, and Return Hose. On the top is the Fuel Sensor but that's just a couple of wires. However that sensor will get removed in order to clean the tank.

 After disconnecting the Fuel Fill hose (hose is breaking down, need to replace, so I cut that one off.), Then the Fuel Vent/Overflow (but it's illegal to let fuel overflow) and the Aft earthing straps.

Moving on to the front end of the tank.
It's cramped down here. Peggy took these pics, I'll not show those that show my wrong side! 😄

 Disconnect the Fuel Delivery hose (put end in a bottle to capture the few remaining drips in the line that goes to the Fuel Filter.) I could not get the hose off of the barbs on the end of the Fuel Shut Off valve, so I used a wrench to disconnect the barb fitting from the valve. Need fuel teflon tape to put it back.

Disconnect the Fuel Return Hose, easy.

Disconnect the Fuel Sensor - there's no plug in the line so I had to cut them. Will need to put new butt joint to reconnect them.

Unscrew the 6 screws holding the front end of the tank down to the plywood base. Discard the old unused earth strap, I had put in a new strap to the earthing block in the engine bay during the harness upgrade.
 Cleaned up the work area and eased the aft end of the tank up over the wiring and down towards the aft berth flooring.

There's definitely more fuel than I thought left in the tank. It weighs more than the 15lb advised by the forum guys.

Rubber pads on the floor to prevent scratching.
Tank is Out! Phew!
 Moved over the Stbd side of the aft berth to figure out how to get it out of the cabin.

The max width of the tank (along the edge nearest in view) is 24", the Cabin entrance is only 19" wide. The tank is 12" tall. so need to turn the tank on it's side - Fuel Return adaptor has to be down rather than have the Fuel Fill pipe, Fuel Shut off and Fuel overflow pipes down. The tank has at least a couple of gallons of fuel left in it (Yep, I forgot to take an extra fuel jug with me to decant the rest of the fuel. I figured there was less than a gallon in the tank, Wrong!)
Tank turned on it's side so that Fuel Fill pipe on the far end of the tank is now near the top right and the tank will come out of the cabin doorway.
 Awkward, but doable. Being careful not to scratch the cabin door or frame.

Once the tank was out near to the Galley Sink Cabinet, I was able to lift it above the sinks. There's only a few inches of room to spare between the back of the sink area and the cabin door frame, but not a big deal.

Grunting a bit, but the tank is coming out of the cabin.

 Happy dance. Tank out, nothing broken.
 Getting the tank ashore.

 As well as taking these pics, Peggy had the truck ready to load the tank.
Ready to strap the tank down and head up to Ohio (Kidding! the Forum guys will get this one)

The whole process from arrival at the boat, unload the Aft berth (cushions, etc.) Removing the port side panel, extracting the tank, loading onto the truck - About 1 hour. Less than 2 from house and back.

 I suspended the tank in order to drain the remaining fuel out of the Fuel Fill pipe.

Supporting it like this facilitated tipping the tank on end.

 Before removing the Fuel Sensor, I marked it's orientation with a piece of blue tape. I installed that sensor over a year ago, and still recall what a pain it was to orient the plate holes with the tank when the tank is in place.
 It's official. This is the original tank, 23Gallon capacity and for diesel fuel only.

I drained over 4 gallons of fuel out of the tank, that's about 32lb with 15lb tank weight - 57lbs explains why it felt heavier than expected.

Plan was to wash out the tank using Simple Green. I used a whole gallon, undiluted.

Poured in about a quart, swished the tank on it's suspension rigging and drained it out into a bucket. Repeated until all the SG was used up.
Grit and what!
The particles out of the tank measured upto 1/2" not much slime.

I poured the bucket contents through a filter but quickly clogged up. So that shown here is left after pouring the bucket's contents into another container.

Finally I put all of the fluid and grot into the original Simple Green bottle and set it on an angle overnight hoping that I could see the settlement in the morning.

That settlement is pretty much the same look as that in the Racor Filter base.

All of the fuel that I recovered from the tank after removal will be treated as compromised and discarded at the local recycle station.
The fuel pumped out of the tank passed through a 2 micron filter, so there's no particulate and it can be reused. I'll put some bioside in each of the four 5gal jugs before putting it back on the boat.

I'll check the Fuel overflow / vent to make sure it has a critter guard in place just in case all that grit is from something crawling into the tank.
And, of course, I'll replace the Fuel Fill hose and Fuel Filler cap, changing that from Sun damaged plastic to Stainless Steel. I'll also run a bonding strip from the new cap to the Engine -ve bus bar.

Putting the tank back in place should be easy (certainly lighter) and I'll rerun some of the wiring so that it does not wrap around the hoses.

Big thanks to the forum guys that provided lots of advice on what to expect in doing this job.

Glad I didn't have to drive up to Ohio

See you on the water.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Spring Cruise to Biscayne Bay

Biscayne Bay March 2017

Our plan, after the St. Patrick's Day HISC Cruise, then to head down to Biscayne Bay in company of Bill & Colleen of Duet.

Friday March 17th. 

St. Pat's Day Cruise

We hosted St. Pat’s Day cruise in 2016 and it was a bunch of fun, so there was no hesitation to volunteer to be host for 2017. Eileen Winchell suggested that I reach out to some of the newer members to be cohosts, so I contacted Gary & Joan Noto (LayLa) and also spoke with Michael & Katie Sparks (they have been unable to host and event yet.) Both quickly joined the host team and we planned the event communicating via emails and chats at the club general meetings. Michael had to pull out due to business demands, it happens, and I’m sure they will volunteer for another event soon (ask them!) . Jeff & Joan Keiser (Affection) jumped into to the void, the addition of Affection (big boat) was very welcome.

Peggy & I motored Eximius down the New River and up the Intracoastal to Sunrise Bay to anchor. I had contacted the Coral Ridge Yacht Club to ask if we could use their dingy dock in case any of our members wanted to join us by car. They were fine with that as long as we did not park in their lot, very understandable. We should ask the CRYC for each event, but we should also consider advising our members not to park in the CRYC parking lot. Bob & Pat Schuldenfrei drove down from Palm Beach and parked in the Galleria parking lot—10mins from the CRYC! So perhaps members should consider using Uber to drop off and pick up from the yacht club.

Diversion was already at anchor in Sunrise bay when we arrived, Bob was on his own this trip (I still owe Joyce a bottle of Olive Oil from a previous trip when I ran out while cooking breakfast!)

LayLa turned up at Sunrise Bay Friday evening and rafted with us. They came armed with the victuals for the Sunday Breakfast and plenty of Spuds for the St. Pat’s dinner aboard. Affection turned up, as planned, Saturday morning and joined the raft up. Gary & myself dinked over to each boat and attached a Scavenger Hunt clue to the outside of the boats and advised them that the hunt would start at the Hosts at 3pm (lesson #1—hand them a flyer with the times) 

By 3pm we had 11 boats at anchor and their crews started to arrive at the host boats. Each had to dink over to the other boats, note the boat name and clue for the Anagram that had the clue of ‘Cheerful Sailor’. 

Some of them motored, some got dragged, but Rob from Always rowed the course. Rob got back in 2nd or 3rd place and they also got the Anagram—’Jolly Jack Tar’ (google it!) 

At 5pm, everyone came over to the host boats, bringing food, drinks and good cheer. We had to split the food between two boats there was so much! We had about 30 people aboard our boats and most of the food quickly disappeared. After dinner, we held the Trivia Contest. Not much interest was shown by the teams sat on LayLa and Affection, not until they realized that the prize for a correct team answer was a miniature bottle of Rum. Then everyone got in on the act. 

The Best St. Pat’s outfit contest was awesome! Members really went to town. Sully & Lorrene took the best dressed couple award and Kendal Marcelle took the best dressed individual award. Finally we had the Original Limerick contest, and this year everyone got the idea. They had to recite their own original limerick, not one found on the internet. Hector came in 3rd with a technical recitation. Jeff Miskin 2nd with his baudy (who would have thought) limerick, and Pat Schuldenfrei came in at #1 with her Limerick about the tale of her squirrel infested sails. Sully, Jeff and several others took the microphone (virtual) and the stage to render their comedic tales that had us all in fits of laughter.

As dusk moved on, everyone returned to their boats, we could hear laughter coming from several well into the night. It seemed that everyone had a good time. Sunday Morning and members started to arrive at the host boats for Bagels & cheese & Coffee (and hot chocolate— #2 lesson, that’s a must for next year) . Because we were leaving for Biscayne bay for a week long cruise, we had to break up the party at 9am. But our anchor was crossed with the other boats in the raft up. Hector & Jeff Keiser dinked out and hauled up the macramé of anchor lines to free ours. Then we said our goodbyes and backed out from the raft up and headed South. 

What a great weekend! Thanks everyone for taking part, getting in the mood and making the event. Especial thanks to Joan & Gary on Layla, let’s do it again. And to Affection, Jeff put a lot of effort into hosting. The beer was great!

Sunday March 19th. 

After backing away from the St. Patrick's Day Cruise host raftup, we motored down to Port Everglades. As we approached 17th Street bridge, we could see this tall ship in front of us.

We had our sails up before we got out of the turning channel and they filled as we turned South towards Miami. Wind was pretty much from the West, so we had a nice beam reach all the way south.
There's a southbound current close to the shore, normally we can gain an extra 1/2 knot by keeping with 1 to 1.5 nm from shore. Seems we did because we hit 8.3 knots GPS and reached Miami Government Cut earlier than expected.

Now consider that this was Sunday afternoon! NUTS! We had to stay out of the main channel because the Coast Guard had restricted access as there were 3 cruise ships in port. So we took the lesser channel that passes South of the Main Channel.  That channel was crazy! And according to folks that frequent that area, it's Sunday madness. Dozens of Jet Skis, Dozens of Motor Vessels that don't seem to understand that scorching past a sail boat causing a huge wake can cause a lot of damage.
We had to follow the channel markers that are clearly identified on our GPS, as well as our backup of Navionics and Google Maps (the pic is a screenshot from google maps). Then once we were able to turn south into the ICW, we headed down to pass under Rickenbacker causeway. Duet had caught up with us before we turned towards the bridge and we let them pass (not that we had the option, they are much faster than us under power) so that they could lead the way to Hurricane Harbor.

We have never been to this area before, just south to No Name Harbor years ago, but not the little bit further North. I think the area is nicknamed Nixons (not be confused with Nixons on Bimini)

The wind was from the West and blowing in the high teens. We tried to come alongside Duet but it was not a good idea. After bumping hulls we decided to just anchor off and dink over.

Despite the bumpy weather, we slept pretty good that first night, no anchor alarms until early morning when the wind shifted to the North. I had set the anchor drag alarm to double my rode length but had not set the GPS at the anchor point, and it was pretty skinny water too. The alarm was expected.

Monday March 20th

Much calmer in the morning, we dinked over to Duet and discussed our plans for Bimini. We also setup for a day sail down to ICW Mile Marker 1100 and back just for fun. And you know what they say when two boats are going to the same place at the same time... 

Duet pulled anchor ahead of us and were on the course before we had our sails up. But I knew that our boat would sail closer to the wind than their Catamaran, So I used that to our advantage. Duet had rounded the virtual mark about 10 minutes before us, but the haul back would be to our advantage. So once around the mark, I turned us to head up close but not pinch and we worked our way ahead of Duet, She had to tack a couple of times and ended up well westward of the finish while we close hauled much nearer. 
I kept a watch on Duet. Peggy asked when we were going to go about to head back to the finish  anchorage. I replied that we would turn the moment we saw Duet turn or sooner if I felt we could nail the mark. Once our GPS indicated 120 degrees off course for the mark, I turned Eximius to the South West and eased the sheets, we ploughed that course! Holding off Duet with ease. An exhilarating sail.

Once back at anchor, we pulled out our prepared meal of Chicken Cacciatore, a bottle of wine and headed over to Duet. What a great couple Bill & Colleen. we always enjoy sharing stories with them and the Lobster King has many.

Tuesday March 21st

We were happy to have a day off, so Bill & Colleen headed out to Fowey Rock to look for bugs. I got on with a couple of boat projects, like: Replace the incorrectly wired aft berth 12v outlet with the proper wires and wire in the 40Watt inverter that I had installed but not yet wired into the boat system.
Bill called us when he was returning through Stiltsvill and we agreed with Duet to move further South to Elliott Key, a favored hang out for us after 10 years of heading there on JD our boat before Eximius.

We were underway, sails up within 10 minutes and caught up with Duet as she came out of the Stiltsvill channel. As we sailed south, Duet kept closing on our course, which was odd, then I guessed that he was going to pass by the East channel from the Feather Banks, but we had to take the main channel due to our 5' 7"draft. So then I turned and went behind him. Bill called on the phone asking what we were doing. When I explained he indicated that he was talking about anchoring further North than Elliott key harbor and I thought that was too skinny for us. I checked the charts and recalled the anchorage we had used last year off of Boca Chita Key, so I turned for that and Bill followed. He found a preferred anchorage and we anchored about 100 yards apart. (we were kinda shy about going along side his boat after the bump on Sunday) 

Dinner time we dinked over taking with us Wine and Shrimp & New potatoes. 

We're pretty good at planning our food for our sailing adventures. During the weeks leading up to the cruises, we'll cook double and use the Vacuum pack device to seal and then freeze the meal. In prep for the trip down with Duet, we made a couple of meals for 4 and vacupacked those. 

This night we took the shrimp, it was uncooked, vacupacked with a knob of butter and some herbs, so by the time it was ready to take over to Duet, it had defrosted and the shrimp were well marinated.
Duet has a really nice -BQ with a hot plate, ideal for cooking Lobster and Shrimp and the Spuds. Delicious. Throw that in with some lobster and a nice bowl of salad and we have a dinner fit for royalty.

Before heading back to our boat, we had agreed that the weather was turning nasty on Thursday, so an early return to Fort Lauderdale might be wise. It was!

Wednesday March 22nd.

After and early, lite breakfast, we prepared to head back, Duet pulled anchor ahead of us and was on her way while I was still acting as a manual windlass pulling in the 80' of chain and anchor.
Once the anchor was up, Peggy turned us to follow Duet out of the Anchorage under motor and then North just keeping clear of the shallows as we approached the Stiltsvill in Biscayne Channel.

Screenshot of Navionics Chart  - North end of Biscayne Bay

Seeing the homes on stilts never gets old, but the channel is nothing much to shout about. Very well marked and it takes a turn to the South East as it reaches the Ocean.

Bill had suggested that we head out into the Gulfstream which is about 2miles of the coast near Miami, so we headed NorthWest once out of the channel. There's a bit of a southerly current close to Miami, but almost like magic, as we reached 2 miles off the Port entrance, we noticed the expected increase in speed and then turned North for home.

Duet was well ahead of us, they make at least a knot faster than us under motor, so by this time they were a couple or miles ahead of us. Otto, our Auto Pilot was behaving really well, we're getting used to letting him steer the boat while we can relax a bit while keeping an eye out for other boats. And there were plenty out there. So every now and then we had to tap the Auto Pilot controller course buttons to turn out of the way, but it was a pretty cool ride all the way up. We disengaged Otto as we got into sight of the Port Everglades inlet about 3 miles ahead to Port. 
There's a string of mooring balls running parallel to coast south of the Port, I guess it's a popular hang out for small power boats, but only a couple were occupied today.

We had motored with our Main up and made good time, but we had a time restriction window that meant we had to pass under the 17th Street Causeway Bridge by 15:00 otherwise we would not be able to get past all of the bridges on the New River before they closed at 4pm. We passed under the bridge at 15:20 and so we headed around the bend to Lake Sylvia.

The lake was pretty packed! It's a popular anchorage for folks waiting to cross over to the Bahamas or returning and taking a break before heading up the ICW. Today there were a couple of training boats with crews getting checked out as part of their Yacht Masters certification, they dropped anchor, hung around for a while, pulled it back up and went around the lake and anchored again.

We found a good spot and dug our anchor deep, the lake is well known for it's weird flows. We have been there in the past with a bunch of other boats and all of us facing different directions, even those that were almost next to us.

After the motor up from the Bay, we planned to just hang out and relax, it's what we do at the end of a days sailing (or motoring). Like many of the others in the Lake, we watched carefully as other boats came in looking to anchor. 
One large motor yacht came in and dropped his anchor ahead of us. His bow was probably 10' off the water compared to our 4', that meant he would need to let out more anchor rode than us. As he backed upon his anchor to dig it in, I stood looking very concerned, with my radio in hand and my Bosuns Call on it's chain around my neck. He got the message without me saying a word "You're too freaking Close" so he pulled anchor and moved to another part of the lake.
Later several other sail boats came into the lake, there were a lot of Canadian boats. I got to chat briefly with them when they asked if the holding was ok. They anchored a nice distance so all was good with the world.

We had our Dink on the deck and the outboard on the motor mount port side of the cockpit. The cockpit table was up and we had enjoyed a glass (or two) of wine and a chicken dinner. Loafing in the cockpit, I saw another catamaran entering the lake, looked familiar - It was Duet!
Turns out that we had lost site of them earlier not realizing that they had headed in towards Dania Beach and went for a dive and they decided to hang out in Lake Sylvia - Small world.

Thursday March 23rd.

The bridges on the New River close to marine traffic from 06:30 till 09:00 on weekdays to accommodate the rush hour road traffic. And we needed to be back at the dock by 10:00 to avoid low tide. So we left Lake Sylvia around 08:30 and got to the first bridge - 3rd Avenue Bridge - at 09:10 and made an easy pass, but the Bridge Tender at Andrews Avenue Bridge advised us that the railroad bridge was down, he would open when the rail bridge opened.
I called the FEC bridge tender and was advised they would open in a couple of minutes. Good timing! So no need to tie up and wait, we just held station which was pretty easy as the river was flowing towards us (and low tide!)
As passed the two bridges we heard a call for Eximius, but couldn't make out the caller. I responded that this was Eximius and then we heard 7th Avenue Bridge calling to let us know the bridge was open and if we could get there he would wait for us. Acknowledge and shifted into max speed. We swung around Sailboat bend and he was still open. As we passed beneath the bridge I thanked him on the Radio. These bridge tenders do a great job, and do their best to ease passage down the river whenever they can.

As we approached our dock on the Port side, Peggy asked which Piling I wanted to reach for. We agreed on the 2nd piling. Pegs approached the dock at about 25° and as our bow neared the dock she put Eximius in Reverse. The boat stopped, the stern walked over to Port - PERFECT! That's the way to do it. I was so impressed that I nearly fell into the water! ha! Rule! Get fully onto the dock before congratulating the helm on a nice landing! 😎

Wrap up

I'm really pleased the way we team up to get the boat secured to the dock, food off loaded, electrics hooked up, deck scrubbed down, truck loaded and take a breath before we leave the dock and head home. It sure makes for a stressless end to a great trip, shorter than planned, but still a great trip.
Hopefully we'll get to meet up with Duet on future trips.

See you on the Water.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Aligning our Alternator

Aligning our Alternator

Introduction: Our alternator drive belt sprays belt dust over the front cover of our boat's engine compartment. It's not a horrid amount, but enough to be a concern. Asking other owners of Catalina 34's the problem appears to be the Alignment of the Alternator compared to that of the engine main shaft pulley. So I'm digging in to see what's amiss.

Some pics will help.
here's the companionway stps that cover the engine. 
They are made up of three parts. Top Steps, Cover, and lower steps.

They are held in place by rubber bungees between the lower steps and the upper steps.

Top Steps Removed

Middle - Cover removed

All 3 step sections removed.
Here you can see the Engine and three pulleys.
On the left are the top Engine Coolant Pump Pulley.
Below that is the main crank shaft pulley
on the right is the White Alternator with it's pulley

All three are driven by the belt that encompasses all three pulleys.
Note the the 3 pulleys are actually doubles. but only the inner, nearest to the engine are used.

It's the belt alignment that is important. It ideally will travel parallel to the normal of each pulley shaft.

To test the alignment, I need to measure the distance, front to back of the belt from a known surface. That surface is the Engine Crank Shaft Pulley

Here's the Main Crankshaft Pulley.
The inner ring is the one used by the belt. I have no idea why, whoever installed this, there are double pulleys on all three.

Here's the Engine Coolant Shaft Pulley.

And finally, the Alternator Shaft pulley

Here's a view of the Alternator Mounting Bracket (note the spacer between the bracket ears aft of the alternator mount ear. Obviously custom made.

Here's a close up of the Alternator Support arm attached to the Mounting bracket.

Here's where the Alternator Mounting bracket is connected to the front of the Engine timing plate cover. The tiewrap is to secure the engine temperature sensor wires.

This pic shows the lower part of the Alternator support arm connected to the lower ear of the Alternator.

Exciting stuff Eh!

This is just to demonstrate where I'm using the Engine Main Crankshaft Pulley face as the reference to measure the belt alignment.

The Steel rule is being held on it's edge against the face of the crankshaft pulley.

First Measurement. .585" between the edge of the rule on the face of the Crankshaft pulley and the edge of the belt nearest to the Coolant Pulley.

2nd Measurement. .54" inches between the edge of the rule and the belt nearest to the Alternator Pulley

This evaluates to a .045" difference. Indicating that the alternator needs to be moved aft by ~.045" 

3rd Measurement. 1.04" from the edge of the rule on the face of the coolant pump pulley to the belt.

4th Measurement. 1.07" from the rule to the belt nearest to the alternator.

Again, this indicates that the alternator needs to move aft, by .03" 

So far, I conclude that the alternator needs to more aft by about 0.04" 

I would like to figure out if the alternator shaft is parallel to the main crankshaft. But let's take care of the first alignment issue.

Next, how to move the alternator .04" aft.
The Alternator mounting bracket has slots in it that allow for adjustment fore and aft of about .25" and I think it is currently almost fully aft, but won't know till I loosen the bolts holding the mounting in place to the exhaust manifold & coolant tank. Should be pretty easy, just loosen the 4 bolts and try to move the Alternator aft.

It looks like that will be Tuesday's project.

I measured everything again, (measure twice - cut once) Installed a new Alternator in May 2017, alignment was just sweet!