Quick update

It’s been a while…

I’ve been sort of busy lately, so haven’t had time to do much with the boat. We have had here out a few times, just motoring around.

The battery didn’t survive the winter, so picked up a new Walleye 1. Seems to be doing the job well so far.

When I tried to start the engine for the first time it was a bit of a battle. It didn’t help that it was still near freezing in the nights, so the engine was pretty cold. It cranked slow and didn’t seem to be catching. I didn’t know if it wasn’t getting fuel, was too cold, or what. I had read about a cold start button and the engine and was about to try it when I remembered how the mechanic got it going the first time. I removed the silencer type things , and cranked the engine over while spraying WD-40 into the air intakes. It immediately began cranking faster and soon caught and started running. Purring like a kitten. Well, as much as a Volvo MD11C can purr that is.

All last season the alternator didn’t work. It wasn’t a big deal since I could put the battery on charge, but it was something I didn’t want to let slip too long. I had quite a bit of “fun” getting it out. But all’s well that ends well. And scraped, raw and bloody… I certainly don’t have a mechanic’s lithe hand. Turns out it was just the regulator which I could have swapped in situ. Anyways, got it back in and measure 14 volts while running. Good enough for me.

Another bit of work left over from last season was to connect the motor back up to the fuel tank. When I bought the boat there was half a tank of at least 5 year old diesel. Not wanting to run that varbish like (and smelling) substance through the engine, I had it temporarily running to a jerry can. I sucked up all the old diesel using a drill pump attached to the outlet of the fuel filter then filled it with new. After pumping a bit more I could see the much lighter diesel gong through the filter so hooked it back up to the engine. Turned the key and… it started! It even kept running. I figured I must have put air into the system, but I guess I lucked out.

My next major project will be to re-caulk the teak on the cabin roof.


New Addition

A lot has been happening lately. I have been able to take pictures, but not get the stories down on LCD.

From the lake dropping 4 inches in a day (and using truck inner tubes to get the Maiden away from the dock), to dragging anchor 200 feet in a few minutes during yesterday’s storms, it hasn’t been boring around here.

Last night my sister Lorah bought my brother-in-law Alex a neat boat – a Georgian 23. She is somewhat portly looking, but packs a lot into her 23′. With 6’1″ headroom, inboard diesel, and generous accommodations, she is one fine hole in the water.


Now she just needs a name.

It’s been a while.

I have been meaning to make a post for a while. I have the boat in the water (much later than planned), but haven’t rigged her sails yet.

I have been puttering around the bay as I build confidence in her engine. I had a problem with overheating which ended up being a leaky raw water strainer. I removed it and now things look better. I suppose I should get around to buying a new one.

This weekend I hope to get the leeboards on.

I reversed my earlier  decision and am going to rename her “Iron Maiden”.

Back to puttering!

Lil’ Sinker?

When reading various sailing forums I always take special interest in people’s opinions on the best way to learn to sail. These threads usually break down into arguments on taking lessons, versus just getting out there on a boat. I’m more of a hit the ground running type guy so while I considered lessons, ultimately I decided I’ll just dive in.

One thing gleaned from these forums was that learning in a dinghy had some real advantages. The main one was that you get a better feel for the wind sailing a dinghy compared to sailing a bigger boat. You also get a better feel for the water as the smaller boats react much quicker, often dumping their new captains in the drink. Sounds like fun.

I had been watching the various classified ads looking for a sailing dinghy and finally found one cheap enough and close enough to grab. I went to see it and we agreed on a price.

She certainly needs work, but nothing that a little bit of plywood and fiberglass can’t fix. The sail is in very good shape, which was the main thing I was worried about.

She is a 10’er with an 18′ mast and a 8′ boom.

The plan is to get her floating as quickly and as cheaply as possible. At least I will gain a bit of experience working with fiberglass. Not that this experience will be of any use on the Dutch Treat, but I will be able to pretend I know what I am talking about with owners of glass boats.

Here she is.

The sheer batten has rotted away, but that should be easy enough to replace. Sheer batten. Almost sounds like I know what I am talking about eh? She came with a full set of plans, which will help in whatever I need to fix. And know what to call the various parts.

The sail is a nice red. We liked the colours of the emblem on the sail and may use them as inspiration for her paint scheme. Hull blue, inside green.

Mast, boom, keel and rudder.

Just have to think of a name.

I love the smell of diesel in the morning

The boat had been sitting for a while before I bought her. Five years I was told. She had been prepared for winter storage, but who knows what could have happened to the engine over the years? Today was my day to find out.

I was originally scheduled for a marine mechanic to look at the engine on Tuesday, but had a call from a client who needed me that day, so I rescheduled for Thursday. It was with no small ire I heard the storming skies from bed this morning, thinking we may have to make it another day. As it turns out the weather blew through just before we were set to meet.

So with a charged battery, a can of diesel and high hopes I set off…

The first thing to do was install the battery. I hear these engines can be hand cranked, but I wasn’t about to go down that path. After the battery was in I put the battery switch,and some other switch, to the needed positions. Nothing. Jim (the mechanic) then jumped into the cabin and put the switches to the actual correct positions. We have light on the starter panel! Things are looking up! We are ready to go!

After a brief tutorial on how to prime the engine, a turn of the key rewards us with… Clicks. The engine wasn’t turning over. Arg! Jim figured that a bit of water has got in, and a cylinder was stuck. A little bit of prying on the flywheel loosened her up. We are ready to go!

With a shot of diesel in through the air filters (filters removed), we cranked her. Jim let her spin for a few seconds then closed one of the compression levers. The sound slowly changed from the engine turning over to… something else. I was informed that it had just run for a few seconds! I thought that he was still just cranking, but it was actually running. Only on one cylinder though. It seems like compression was low on the previously stuck cylinder.

Now, the reason she only ran for a few seconds was that the diesel that was in her wasn’t exactly in the best shape. When she ran it was only on the stuff we squirted into her.  I had put new diesel into what I thought to be an empty tank, but it seems like there was already a bit in there. I quickly ran out and got some more. This time the line was taken off the engine side of the fuel filter and fed into the can of fresh diesel.

As Jim primed the engine, he noticed the fuel wasn’t getting to the injectors. There was lots of fuel at the pump, but it getting any farther. Arg! The only thing that could cause this was the pull line that is used to shut the motor off. Maybe it was stuck in off position? We had been getting fuel at the injectors before, so something must have happened in the last 30 minutes of so. Jim took off part of the fuel pump and looked in. Turns out the old diesel had gummed up the part that the pull line I mentioned earlier actuates to shut off the engine. A few sprays of WD-40 and it’s moving again. We are ready to go!

I pulled the battery out of my truck to have a fresh supply of juice, attached it, and we let her crank. She wasn’t catching immediately, so Jim sprayed WD-40 into the air filter which helped her come to life. He stopped spraying the WD-40 and she continued to run, and on both cylinders! She is alive!

The boat is not in the water, and is fresh water cooled. This means that we couldn’t run her long without fear of catastrophic failure. The throttle was pulled back and she fell into a nice and easy idle. Afterwards Jim said he was happy with how the engine sounded. I was happy with the sound of him saying that. I guess once we got the cobwebs out of her, all she needed was to run a bit to get that previously stuck cylinder back to full compression.

I took a quick video of the engine running at speed in all her diesel clacking glory. I sort of regret not getting one of the nice steady idle. Anyways, if you care here is that video – all 5 seconds or so of it.

Thar she blows!

I know I may be misappropriating the famous quote from Moby Dick as it is the wind I am referring to, not a whale expelling it’s breath, but she is howlin’ out there!

Woke up to more open water than we have seen for a while. We are still iced in, as our little corner is pretty protected. It’s just a matter of time…

On the topic of Moby Dick, I think it may be time to read it again. Last time I read it, I was pretty busy with work and would fall asleep after a few pages. It also doesn’t help that I find the wording in the novel to be convoluted at times. I don’t like having to go back and read passages multiple times, as it brings me out of the story and back into being a guy sitting there with a book. Maybe now I can give it the attention it deserves.

Split your lungs with blood and thunder
When you see the white whale
Break your backs and crack your oars men
If you wish to prevail

This ivory leg is what propels me
Harpoons thrust in the sky
Aim directly for his crooked brow
And look him straight in the eye