Sunday, July 12, 2015

Our first trip to Lake Sylvia

Weather looks good for a sail this weekend, I mean 'Sail' !!
We plan on getting down to Eximius around 9:30 in the morning and head out to the ocean for a couple of hours sailing. There's a few things we need to do on the boat before we leave the slip, including an oil change.
Hope to see a couple of club members on their boats on lake Sylvia later in the day.

Had a great weekend, even took a siesta. Worked on the new VHF radio installation just to pass the time :)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Oil Change

If you don't change the oil, you know what happens to your engine!

Eximius' engine is the first diesel engine I have ever played with, and it needs to run right! So during the past few months, I have been studying diesel engine maintenance and servicing procedures. There's plenty of advice on the web, and hunting down what seems the most applicable info is the hard part.

I came across a site called Off Center Harbor, a great site for older boats and new, but they have a great series of videos on servicing diesel engines. Jon Bardo does a great job of covering the basics of diesel engines, that series of videos is worth the OCH membership.

Of course, the engine in the OCH videos looks new, Eximius' is much longer in the tooth, but it still has the basic engine components, I just have to find them.

The plan is to use a vacuum pump to extract the oil via the dip stick, and then put in new oil. Because I'm not sure when the last oil change was done, I plan on doing a 2nd oil change after allowing the engine to run for 10 minutes. If needed, I'll do a third oil change, right now the oil is pretty black and that's the only clue I have that I need to flush the old oil out by doing several oil changes in succession.

So, that's the plan! Let's see how it goes.

I purchased this: Air Power America 2000 LiquiVac Oil Changing System for Large Engine from Amazon.

To give an idea about it's size, it's about 20" long. I'll get to use it tomorrow when we do our first oil change before our weekend sail and anchor at Lake Sylvia.

How did it do?

Good news, it worked really well, at least until I tried to empty the pump kit, more on that later.
Following the instructions that came with the pump kit, I connected up the tubes and inserted the thin tube into the dipstick pipe. Then with the inlet valve on the pump closed, I quickly pumped a vacuum with 30 strokes on the pump handle. Was a little disconcerted by the collapse of the pump body, but understandable.

Then, with some paper towel around the dip stick pipe and under the pump kit, I opened the pumps inlet valve (the plastic connector that attaches the tube to the pump tank) and it quickly sucked the oil up the tubing and into the tank.

Left it doing that for a few minutes, and watched as the tank regained it's shape as the vacuum was replaced by oil.
Closed the inlet valve and applied another 20 strokes to the pump, then reopened the inlet valve. I did that 4 times in all and ended up with over 2 quarts of oil in the tank. A good start.

One last closure of the inlet valve and 20 strokes of the pump. Then I removed the tube from the dipstick pipe and opened the inlet valve to suck the oil out of the tubing.

So far so good, no mess. While waiting for the oil to be sucked out, I replaced the engine oil filter. Easy, just put paper towel below the oil filter and use a filter wrench to loosen it, replace the filter (applied a little oil to the filter gasket) and tightened it up with the wrench.

Now to empty the oil from the pump kit tank ... this is where I screwed up!
There was an empty oil bottle in the port side bench locker so I planned to pour the oil from the tank into that bottle. Using a funnel and plenty of paper towel covering the cabin sole, I started to pour the oil out of the tank into the bottle .... Arrggggg! There was a hole in the bottle, oil all over the cabin wood floor! 
Of course, both hand were full, one holding the funnel, the other the tank and Peggy stuck up in the cockpit with the cabin entry steps removed!

Lots of paper towel!!! Quickly found a plastic pale to put everything oily and a quick clean up of the floor with soapy paper towel.

Once clean up was complete, I put 2 quarts of oil into the engine. We flashed it up for a minute and let it sit for 10, then checking the dipstick, I added another pint of oil, ran it again for a minute, then waited 15 till checking the dipstick again. Perfect.

Phew. Now we have to do that a few more times to clean out the old oil.

And that oil bottle with the hole? Did you guess it? The bottle was stored in the port cabin bench locker at the side of the holding tank with half a dozen assorted oil bottles, but that empty one was resting on a stainless steel tube clamp. It had been there when we bought the boat, and was another thing we were going to get around to investigating/inventory. The clamp had worn a hole in the bottle, it was not empty. Now it is, and the oil is in the bottom of the locker under the holding tank. How the heck can I get that out without removing the holding tank.

Peggy came up with a solution... Use the Oil change pump! Duh! So guess what I'll be doing down at the boat this weekend.

Next oil change I'll have a container to drain the pump tank and should be able to get at least 2 oil changes done.

Another lesson learned.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July 4th .... special

Arrived at Bahia Mar marina midday Friday. We nailed the docking but, as is the rule,  no peanut gallery.

Several HISC boats already here, so after getting checked in, we headed up to the pool. If you are familiar with Florida's summers then you know how good it felt to dive into the pool. Coool.

Later that evening we joined Dale, Jacqui, Bill, Joan, Graham, Nancy, Paul, Diane, Jeff, Bob... and a bunch more of the HISC members at the Bahia Cabana Restaurant for dinner, at least, that was the plan! The power transformer across A1A blew and all of the block had total power failure, they could not even run their Credit Card machines (that needs a plan!)

So we headed across the road to the 'B' and had a great dinner facing the roadway watching all the walkers, bikers, skateboarders, stroller pushers, and all, go by.

Saturday was the 4th, so we pulled the flag to the top of the mast and later that day, Dale came aboard and climbed the mast. Ok, he didn't 'climb' the mast, we hoisted him up using a winch while Jacqui winced. Dale successfully threaded a halyard through the existing flag halyard block under the stbd spreader. So now we can fly burgees - another item to cross off the list.

HISC Round Table
At lunchtime we all headed up to the Tower on the West side of the Marina for a patio lunch. But somehow, Jacqui & Dale (hosts of the event with Bill) managed to get an upgrade. So we had an air-conditioned room for a private party. Pool, Sag Bags, Tumble Bricks, and great conversations.

I'm not sure that anyone other than myself noticed that the rug in the room was an abstract of the British Flag. Nice to see the UK represented even if it was underfoot.

Two J's

Dig in

Suzi in charge

Everyone was visiting the boats, including ours, and making plans for the evening to watch the fireworks from the beach. We're really not crowd types, so we planned to watch from the cockpit on Eximius. Several other members planed to do the same on their boat. A few adventurous types headed out to the very crowded beach (at least I was told it was crowded, looking that packed car parking areas, it was!)

So, we had a great 4th.

I'll add some video later.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Monday, July 6, 2015

We've got Cards

If you hang around enough sailboat owners, someone will give you their card.

Here's our first Sailing Card

The insert pic is a selfie we took this past new years eve. For the past 10 years, we have celebrated the arrival of the New Year aboard our 25' Catalina on Biscayne Bay. This year (2015) the weather was not co-operating, and we did not get to go sailing. Instead, we took a bottle of bubbly on to the boat which was sat on her trailer at the side of our house beneath the tarp.

That pic is one of my favorites.

Here's looking to celebrating on New Years eve this December aboard Eximius, not sure where we'll be, something else to look forward to.

See you on the water.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

We've got music

Peggy doesn't demand much, but she really enjoys chilling to her music and I wanted to do something that was just for her.  So today we picked up a new stereo from west marine,  well it was their 4 day sale.

So we stopped by the boat to drop off the stereo and speakers.

Not wanting to waste the trip down to the boat, I started to do the install. The cutout at the Nav Station was the exact same size as the original stereo but the wiring behind was a jumble.

Using my multi-meter, we figured out the wiring to the speakers ( + & - ), and then it was just a case of connecting the old wires to the new wiring harness. Of course, it was 95F outside and about 98F inside, and I was sweating like a ... why do they say 'sweating like a pig' ?? but I was. Testing the output at each connection, we had the new stereo speakers working and in place within an hour. Then a few minutes making up an AM/FM antenna, and we had Radio reception (all of those years in the Navy paid off ;)

So by the time we left the boat and headed home, we had music! Now Peggy has to copy her favorite tunes to either a USB flashdrive or to an SD card or we have to wire one of our phones to the stereo (we thought we had purchased the stereo with Blue Tooth, but it seems the choices were Blue Tooth or SD card, and SD card will always work even when outside of phone range. And with the choice of 32GBytes of music on the chip, we should be able to listen for the rest of our lives without repetition, (ok, at least a few years!)

Next plan is to take the boat back to Bahia Mar for Independence Day - maybe I'll get that oil change done mid week.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Renaming Ceremony - Video by Matt Dreiss

Matt Dreiss took tons of Video over the weekend. He was kind enough to create this YouTube video for us. Great Job Thanks Matt

Renaming Ceremony

Renaming Ceremony June 20th - 2015 @ 16:00hrs.

At the Bahia Mar Resort & Marina 
Fort Lauderdale Florida

Ahoy, Ahoy, Ahoy!

Gather round, Gather around: It's time to give graciously to the Gods to ensure this vessel plys the seas, safely on the top.

Following tradition, and being unable to find a virgin to wash the boat, we will break a special, highly valued bottle of bubbly on this fair hull.

But first, we must give homage to the Gods.

Let's make noise as we recognize these gracious Gods so that they know we are thinking of them
1st to  Poseidon - (Neptune)  - and his queen Amphitrite -(Make some noise!)

2nd (Make some noise!) to the Wind Gods:

  • Boreas the North-Wind,

  • Zephryos the West-Wind,

  • Notos the South-Wind,

  • and to Euros the East-Wind
And lastly, but not least, to Phartos God of the Wind from behind.

Raise your Glasses and give cheer To the Gods!

And now while you refill your glasses, to show the Gods that we have gone to no end of effort to appease them, I need you to give cheer, loudly and vociferously in recognition of our efforts:

Were you Welcomed to our Vessel with a drink or two? Louder!

Were you impressed by the amount of Silicone Caulk that was spread around the boat to keep her dry in all conditions before, during and after your visit?

Did we offer food enough to fill?

Did we dress this vessel so that it would be easy to find and bring some cheer to these weary docks?

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

We were asked many times about the Name of this sailing vessel, and how it was determined and how it was spelled, so let me tell you all at one time.

The previous owner, who shall remain anonymous, had done many things to this boat in order to give it's old soul longevity and encourage it's survival during many trips out on the ocean. After we visited the boat with the mind to purchase her, I commented to my fair wife that the boat is 'SPECIAL' and suggested that if we purchased this boat, then we should call her 'SPECIAL' However, Special is sometimes used as a platitude, like Isn't he Special! and Peggy exclaimed that she would not sail on a boat that had the name 'SPECIAL'.

Later that day, after we two agreed to try and purchase the boat, Peggy suggested we translate the name into Latin. We asked the God of the Internet (Google) how Special would translate in Latin. And thus the name was cast Eximius.

And now we call on the keeper of the Bubbly - our Commodore Suzi. Bring the bottle of very expensive bubbly to the bow and wash the bow to wipe away the old name.

Now head down to the stern and pour to wash away the old name from Stem to Stern. 

And thus we celebrate the new name for this fine vessel: 


Let the Gods be praised and know that Eximius will travel on the seas with their consent.

Now let's raise our glasses (fill them if you need) and let the world know of this vessel's new name.


And in response to every bridge tender on the ICW,
that's spelled:

Echo, Xray, India, Mike, India, Uniform, Sierra


Uncover the Transom

Cheers! to all, and we look forward to meeting with you on seas both near and far.

Welcoming the Gods aboard

 The Goddess ensuring all are paying homage

 Commodore 'Suzi' washing away the old name with Champagne

From Stem to Stern 

Unveiling the new name 'Eximius' 

Tina announcing to the Gods with her Conch Horn 

Very special thanks to  Pam & David (The Gods)