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!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

How far to go in Google Maps

Google Maps

Ok, I'm a sucker for net tricks, and Google Maps has a very cool feature that allows Distance Measurement. When I mentioned this to a sailing buddy, he asked if I would write up the process. So here goes.

How far is it from Point A to Point B on the Ocean?
Step 1: Open Google Maps and zoom into the area of interest like this:

This pic shows the map of the Atlantic Coast with Boca Raton at the North and Port Everglades Zoomed to 2 Miles. It's clickable so that you can go to the Map if you have an active Internet Connection.

Step 2: Place a Mark on the Map 

I'm going to measure the distance from Lake Boca to Hillsboro Inlet and then to Port Everglades.
To place the 1st mark, right click on the Map close to the Inlet at Lake Boca, then select 'Measure Distance'

Now you should see the 1st Mark on the screen, (I have placed an arrow and text to point to the mark. It's that round black circle with a white core)

Step 3: Place the 2nd Mark

Now mouse down to the location where you wish the next mark, in my example, that's going to be the Hillsboro Inlet, Then Click and the distance from the 1st Mark to the Second will be shown.

In the current (February 2017) version of Maps.Google this line between the 1st Mark and the 2nd Mark has graduation marks along the line and the distance at the 2nd Mark

Step 4: Adding more Marks

When you click elsewhere on the Map, you'll see a new Mark with the distance shown to that Mark from the 1st Mark.
Now this is starting to become useful.

I can add marks between any other two marks just by dragging any point on the line between two marks.

To delete a mark, just click on the Mark and it's gone.

Here I have added a 3rd Mark by dragging a point on the line out to the East. Notice how the distance is updated automatically.

I use this process when I'm guestimating the distance for a Sailing trip. It's quick and easy.

I have not yet figured out how to share a Map including the Measured Distance Marks & Lines, so if you know how, please comment to share it.

The process is similar on a Tablet, but there's no Right Click Option,
On my Android Tablet, I follow the steps above, but to place the first mark I just touch and hold a point on the map, that plants a Marker and description a description at the bottom of the screen. If I tap that description, it brings up options including Measure Distance!
To add additional marks, scroll to where you want the next mark then just tap the + Add Point icon in the lower left corner of the screen. That same process can be repeated. The options on a PC are far better.

Just to prevent argument! I only use this process when I want to quickly measure distances. When it comes to Route Planning we use Garmin Home Port, that allows us to export our routes to our onboard GPS system.

I hope you found this useful. It's quick and dirty, but sometimes it's the quickest option that counts.

See you on the Water.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Sleep Lightly

It gets really dark at night in the Cabin

When we are onboard overnight, we turn off practically everything except the Anchor light and Anchor Alarm if at Anchor, the Refrigerator (it's always on when we are aboard). So the Anchor Alarm (handheld GPS uses the least power of any option) is the only illumination in the Cabin overnight. That doesn't go down to well with Peggy, she has slipped on the Cabin Entrance Steps a couple of times, luckily nothing nasty, but it did highlight the need for some overnight lighting.

So last week installed 3 white LED lights placed to light up the lower steps of the Cabin Entrance, and the 'Hallway' (inside joke) as well as the Aft Cabin.

Cabin Step Lighting

This one is on the aft side of the Galley below some fitting that we have absolutely no idea of it's purpose! 

The lamp shines down on the lower step of the Cabin Entrance, it's white, and we have a bottle of Red Nail Varnish to tint the lens if it proves an issue with our night vision.

Aft Cabin Entrance Lighting

This one is just inside the Aft Cabin Entrance door on the inside and below the seat.

Again, we'll tint it red if it impacts night vision. We won't know till our next overnight trip.

 The 'Hallway' light

This one is mounted just below the Fold down Galley Counter extension opposite the Nav Table.

Here's that same lamp with the Counter Extension in the Raised Position (note the support brace is Starboard, the old, plywood piece was falling apart - just not strong enough.)

The Electrical wire runs from the Aft Cabin under the galley floor into the Galley counter base to the Cabin Entrance Lamp, then to this lamp. Then it goes down to the floor and under the Hallway into the Port Seat which holds the Holding tank. Then it passes up behind the seat inside the aftmost storage bin, up and aft into the Electrical Panel area.

The -ve is labeled and connected to the -ve Bus Bar behind the Electrical Control Panel, the +ve is connected to a toggle switch mounted on the inboard side of the Nav Shelf (It's a stand alone switch and easy to get reach from the Cabin Entrance Steps.) the Switch is supplied by a wire to the Cabin Lights Circuit Breaker on the Electrical Panel.


I purchased 100' of 18AWG twin tinned stranded copper wire, 6 Lamps (I have 3 left over) and 6 Switches (I have 5 that will be used for other lamps elsewhere on the boat) so the whole installation cost less than $25. 

And best of all - Peggy is happy!

See you on the Water.

Monday, February 6, 2017

My First Jib Sheet Bag

My First Jib Sheet Bag.

Peggy complains about the Sheet lines loafing about in the Cockpit, always concerned that she will trip over them. Just for those that are not too familiar with the use and size of the Jib Sheets: The Jib sail is that big triangular sail on the front of the boat. When we are sailing, the two lines from the Clew of the sail (the aft most corner of the foot of the sail) is in tension held by one of the two Jib Sheets, each 45' long. One line (the active sheet) is wrapped around the Winch on the leeward side of the boat (opposite from the windward side of the boat) while the Lazy Sheet is loose on the Windward side of the boat. 
Now, both lines should be neatly stowed at all times but accessible for any adjustments such as tightening the sail or easing the sail. The Lazy sheet has to reach all the way around the front of the mast to the clew of the Jib. So the part of it that is in the cockpit is much shorter than the Active sheet which only has to reach from the winch to the clew on the same side of the boat. Got it?

When sailing any distance, we're probably not tacking back and forth as much as we might when in a race. We're probably taking it easy and might stay on the same tack for at least a half hour, possibly more, possibly several hours. So when that is our game plan, then it makes sense to stow the lines yet still make it easy to grab them for altering when needed.

To stow them, I decided to make a Sheet Bag to hang on the Lifeline, and if it works out, I'll make a second.

My First Jib Sheet Bag

Here's some pics that shows how I made it.


The Back plate is Sunbrella to match our existing boat canvas (Royal Blue Tweed). It has a flap at the top that folds back over the top lifeline and another near the bottom (12" below the top) which folds over the lower lifeline.

The Lower flap is made separately (it's the small blue piece in the pic) 

The Front plate (shown beneath the Sunbrella in the pic)  is made from Phifertex which is a mesh that will allow the Sheet line to drain if it's wet.

The Flaps have Velcro hook & loop to secure them to the lifelines.

Top of Front plate

Shown here, the top has been cut and folded to form the angle (45°) where the sides meet the Back plate and the front of the Bag.

The front piece is then cut away to leave a 3/4" hem, more for reinforcement than anything. I also left the folded sides (the piece under the thread reel and scissors) rather than cut them off, again, just to add strength.

Binding the top of the bag Front plate.

I used some 1.25" Binding tape to neaten up the front of the bag as well as make it look just like a pro finish.

It's not easy sewing the binding without a binding attachment, so I first pressed the binding folded in half with my tailors hot iron and that made it a whole lot easier. Turned out really nice.

Forming the bottom of the Front plate

Pretty straightforward, I marked out everything before starting to cut or sew any of it. Forming the bottom was just a case of folding the bottom and each side so that the marks lined up then run it through the machine. You can see the 3/4" seam markings along the side. So this is the Inside of the Bag, it will be turned inside out when the bag is done.

 Reinforcing the bottom of the Front plate

Again, by leaving most of the folds on the bottom and only cutting off a small amount in the middle, this should extend the life of the Sheet Bag.

The Back Plate

This shows the Back Plate complete. The Top Flap has matching Velcro strips that close over the top lifeline.

12" below that is the Lower Flap that folds over the lower lifeline. 

When I make the second bag, I'll make the lower flap about 1" narrower, when I joined the Front Plate and the Back Plate the first time, I accidentally sewed through the flap. If it is a 1/2" in from each side that wouldn't be a problem and it would simplify the process of sewing the Back Plate to the Front Plate.

 All done.

Doesn't look as good in this pic, but I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.

I'll add some pics of the Bag installed tomorrow.

Hopefully, Peggy will be happy that the lines, well, one of them right now, will be out of the way. It has a second advantage, this will move the line off the winch when we're not sailing, so I can make some Winch Covers next

Update Feb 7th. 2017

Installed on the boat this afternoon, looks SWEET!

See you on the Water.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Great Birthday - Thanks

Thanks Bill - Great Birthday Sail

An unexpected call from Bill asking if we wanted to go out on his boat for a day sail - Bill did not know it was my birthday, and I didn't mention it. But Peggy was happy to go. We had met with Bill & Colleen several times, they are always good for a chat, especially if the subject is sailing, Lobsters or the Bahamas.

We arranged to meet them at 11:30 and stopped by Eximius to pickup Peggy's Jacket, Gloves and PFD and spot.

Despite the traffic, we arrived at the Fort Lauderdale Yacht Club around 11:20am, so we had time to update our Spot Locator message.

At the Boat, Bill greeted us with his typical humor and we climbed aboard with the boat at high tide.

Bill had done much of the departure prep before we got there, so it was only a few minutes before I was able to help cast off and we backed out of the slip at the Yacht Club. Coolleen was doing other stuff today, so it was just the three of us.

We motored out of the FLYC channel into the Intra Coastal Channel and headed for the 17th Street Bridge. There was 55' of clearance, so we were able to pass under the bridge without an opening. 

Turning out towards the Ocean, we could see that it was going to be a nice sail, not a lot of lumpy water out there. 

We raised the sails once outside the entrance and turned South, but the wind was fickle, so we turned to the North just so that we could hug the coast, and then Bill enabled the Auto Pilot. He has the same model we have just a few years younger. 

There was a submarine just outside Port Everglades, it was heading South so we guessed it was not going into the port. As always, there were a bunch of ships at anchor off the Fort Lauderdale beach waiting to go into port. The wind from the East veered to the SE some of the time, but we had a really nice, easy and comfortable sail up towards Hillsboro Inlet, but not going quite that far (the track shows our Spot locations throughout the sail.)

Around 12:30 Bill brought out the sandwiches and we sat around the cabin table discussing our upcoming trip to the Bahamas. Bill & Colleen have done that trip - lots! And have plenty of local knowledge as he has been sailing this area and the Bahamas for around 40 years.

When you go out with  a seasoned sailor, you have to expect a few sea stories, heck, I have a few, and sailors are normally happy to share them. Bill is no exception, he kept us laughing, intrigued and excited with his recollections of  past trips. Not only is that fun, but we also learn a lot from them. Thanks Bill.

After turning South to return, Bill disabled the Auto Pilot and invited me to take the helm - This is the way to celebrate a birthday! The boat behaves quite different from Eximius, I had to learn how close the boat would sail and so quickly put the boat in irons. But after a few minutes we were able to turn back off the wind and then head South. 

The wind was it's normal finiky unstable self, but we made good progress all the way down the the Port. Bill was comfortable enough to take a cat nap on the stern seats. Seeing how he set himself up to relax, I realized he had done that often before. It was easy to bring the boat up during the puffs and head off during the lulls. I kept us out away from the beach just in case the wind died down and that would need us to tack back out. As it was, we were easily able to get all the way to the Port on a Port Tack. Bill did remind me that his boat had less than 4' of draft and getting closer to the shoal marker in Duet was not as risky as it is on Eximius. 

Once were past the shoal marker, Bill started the engines and powered up so that we could lower the sails. There's plenty of deck to get around on Bill's boat, so the sails were soon dropped and furled, zipped up in the mainsail's stack pack and ready for the return.

As we came in, Wizard was in front of us - nice boat if you like to race 

We easily passed under the bridge and turned up to the FLYC channel. In just a few minutes, we were tied up and the engines shut down. 

Bill brought up the Beer!

Thanks Bill for a great sail today, we both enjoyed every minute. Don't hesitate to ask us out again!

See you on the water. 

If you click on the expand icon in the title bar of the map above, you'll see the track we took. The waypoints with a Camera Icon have a pic.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Servicing Lewmar 46 Winches

Lewmar #46 Winch 

Servicing the four winches on Eximius has been on my mind for quite a while. I know they have not been serviced in the past 17 months and not sure when any of the previous owners serviced them. I spent quite a while reading up on the web about how to do it, what materials I would need and when and where to service them, even should I get them serviced by a pro!

I can't think of a good analogy about what a winch is to a boat compared to anything on a car, but having winches to help maintain the correct tension on the sail control lines is a big deal. Winches have only been around for about 2,500 years! and modern winches are a beautiful thing, if they are maintained. A broken winch is totally useless.

This is our Port Side Gib Winch. It's a Lewmar 46 Two speed winch. the 46 indicates that it has a gear ration of 46:1 or If I put 10lb of effort on the winch handle, the winch will put 460lb of effrot on the line applying tension to the Genoa (Gib Sail) 

I have heard horror stories about what folks found when they tried to service their winches. From the stories of bits flying off the boat into the water to the winches being so badly seized up that it's impossible to service them.

So I began this job with quite a bit of trepidation. 

Setup the Work Area

In an attempt to prevent parts falling off the winch during dismantling, I followed the advice of others and cut a disc out of the bottom of a cardboard box and surrounded the winch with the box.

Then 4 Screws removed to get the the Main Winch spindle retaining clips.

The Screws came out easily - Phew!

I had a plastic caddy nearby to put small parts as they came off the winch.

Here's a series of pics that I took as I progressed. The reason for taking them was simply to allow me to look back at them when reassembling the winch.

Once the line hook was off, the next part was to remove the self tailing disks.

Once the selftailing disks were off, the Drum was simply lifted up off of the main spindle.

Next, time to remove the bearing races and spacers.

Now the two speed gear spindles can be seen, they were stiff to remove but not really difficult.

Spindle looks pretty grotty, so do the gears

Time for the other two speed Spindle and Gear Assembly

Going well so far.
Now to remove the main spindle

I used the Winch handle to pull the spindle out the top of the winch spindle housing. It was pretty stiff, felt definitely un-lubricated.

Lots of grot on the inside of the base and the main spindle tube was totally dry with a crud build up, have no clue what it was, I cleaned it out using Simple Green and rags. 

Then I spent a coule of hours cleaning each piece. I used a gentle green pot scourer and plenty of simple green. I had carefully scratch off some of the really hard crud that was inside the gear teeth, but other than that, everything cleaned up really well. Sorry, didn't take pics of the shiny parts.

When putting it back together I used small amounts of Super Lube and a light water proof grease on the palls.

It went together really well and the difference in operation was immediately obvious: No screeching as the handle was turned, in either direction. The drum spun nicely and the two speed gearing worked perfectly.

Now to get the other 3 winches done, I hope I'm as lucky with them as with this one.

See you on the Water.