Jiggety Jig

We’ll certainly be dancing a jig when these drives to Astoria are over. I almost named this post ‘New Lamps for Old’, but in that story, the old lamp holds a powerful genie. As far as we can tell, we might have an old boat, but there is no genie inside because so far we’ve been unsuccessful in using magic to make headway on all the projects. No, the only thing we’re trading so far is one problem for another, some big, some small, some easy, some hard, some cheap…no, that’s a lie. None of them are cheap. But we knew that going in, so whatever. We can’t really complain about that.

Still, there is progress. Our exhaust guy, Caleb, finished the new exhaust elbow and a fine piece of metal art it is. It fit perfectly and he even machined a brace for it. Take a look:

You can’t really see the brace, but it’s on the right toward the bottom of the insulation wrap. Simple, effective.

He installed the piece, Mike happily wrote him a check for his work, and then Mike completed the installation of the hoses and the insulation wrap. He used one roll of the wrap, and there is another in reserve if it’s necessary. The stuff does take up some space, though, so if we can get away with using only the one, we’ll be glad. No modification of the shelf or rearranging of the hoses for the hot water tank proved necessary. Two fewer small tasks to accomplish. We’ll take that. The good news is that this project is finished (knocking firmly on wood), ready for Shawn to come down to the boat and address the shaft/engine alignment once more. We are keeping fingers crossed that he can do that this week, as since he started on our job, Shawn has received a huge contract for on-going work for his business. He’s a very busy guy. We might be small potatoes to him, but we know he wants this off his plate.

The other good news is that it looks like our tweaking of the transmission cables is going to work out. We won’t know for certain until the prop is engaged, but it’s looking good. It would be terrific if we didn’t have to mess with that anymore. Let’s all knock on more wood, throw salt over our shoulders, and spit three times while spinning, okay? We may not have any genies, but who knows what other kinds of gods are watching?

The problem ‘de la semaine’, as it were, is the Airmar 744VL transducer that is supposed to be talking to our new Garmin 820XS chartplotter. Mike bought a special cable to connect the two so they would speak the same language. Yet it remains silent, which means we have no depth showing up on the GPS. Curses! Foiled again! Mike spent several hours tweaking and problem solving, to no avail. I am encouraging him to call Garmin and discuss this issue, as we are hoping their reputation for good customer service (which was one reason we chose to stick with that brand of chartplotter) will bear fruit. If any readers have knowledge of this problem, please do comment.

While Mike and Caleb played with their tools in the man cave, I began a very important task that has waited long enough. Cleaning the cockpit. With all the engine work, moving of stuff onto and off the boat, grit from being near a bridge, and the fact that winter is barely over, the cockpit was a pit of filth, not to mention the ubiquitous green algae that marks a boat from the Pacific Northwest. I got to work with scrub brushes and a mild bleach cleaner. Nothing kills algae like bleach. Of course, once I began cleaning, I had a hard time knowing where to stop, as the deck needs a scrub, too. Several hours later I could barely move, but by God my cockpit was lovely to behold. Remind me to buy a Costco bottle of aspirin for the boat. The rest of the deck awaits my attention.  I got out the bottom siders and the cushion covers, et voila. Gracious living, sailboat style. Stunts performed by Skipperdee. 

While I was cleaning, two new sailboats came in and docked at the guest moorage. And both of them had trouble docking because of the current. I looked up just as this guy hit the boat next to him in the slip.

A beautiful aluminum Frers design.

No harm done as the boat is aluminum, and the boat he nudged is steel with a lot of tires hanging like fenders on the side.  I ran down and he threw his stern line to me and soon he was snugged to the dock. He was single handing and I don’t know how he would have docked the thing in that current without help since he was almost sideways in the slip by the time I got to him. The other boat that came in was a Nauticat motor sailor and they looked like they had good control until they slowed down to make the turn into their slip. Then they started drifting quickly away from the dock. Mike and I ran to grab their lines as well.

All that’s to say that we cannot wait to get out of this marina. It has served its purpose and we’ve enjoyed the area, but we are ready to bring this boat home as soon as possible. Being right in the midst of that current is not my idea of where I want to be when trying to learn to dock this boat. I can see why there are so many steel boats in this marina, since apparently it’s not unusual for there to be games of bumper tag at the dock. But our boat isn’t made of steel, or even aluminum. And I don’t want to hurt it. We’re not even docked in a proper slip, because the piling fell over months ago and it still isn’t fixed.

When these things come to town, the marina parking lot and bathrooms are turned over to the tourists. It's quite a show.

When these things come to town, the marina parking lot and bathrooms are turned over to the tourists. It’s quite a show.

No, reasons to leave are stacking up. Between the three hour drive, the increasing traffic due to summer approaching, the lack of security, the closing of the marina parking lots to accommodate the cruise ships, the lack of a secure slip, and the constant wind and current, we’re pretty much done.  We’ll miss Astoria, but we’re ready to go. We’re ready to have this boat in our home waters, waters we know well after 10 years of sailing them. Home again, home again, jiggety jig.

14 thoughts on “Jiggety Jig

  1. This post is so familiar to me, almost as though I lived through it. I remember when Sundowner was in a far away marina. And in that marina she was in a slip too narrow and thus always in danger of being battered by the pilings no matter how she was tied up. It made working on her so much harder. Once your boat is near things will really start to truck along much better. And boy howdy, that is a serious exhaust pipe.

    • I hesitate to say anything with all your exhaust trouble, but… Your exhaust pipe is hard mounted to you exhaust manifold which is mounted to a vibrating engine on rubber mounts while the other end is braced to the very stationary engine room wall. This situation may lead to problems over time at welds or gaskets. Also having a water injection elbow that is not a stock bolt on piece will make it more expensive to replace when it wears out.

      sending good vibes your way to bring her to home waters.

      • Andy makes some interesting points. You might consider using very thick neoprene washers when you bolt the exhaust up to whatever it will be secured to. This would give it a sort of “flexible” mount on top. We have tons of leftover neoprene we can mail you guys if you need it.

        • Tate, that is an excellent idea and we actually have a good supply of all kinds of rubber gasket materials left on the boat by the previous owner. We’ll take a look next weekend. Oy. This is one of those times when it would be nice to have the boat 15 minutes down the road.

        • I too was a little concerned about the hard mount to the engine room bulk head. The use of a flexible coupling is a great idea. We could use thick rubber grommets as dampeners. When I fired the engine up with the new elbow, there were a couple of spots in the lower RPM range where a harmonic set up and I want to eliminate that.

          As important, and to Andy’s point, is the stress that could cause premature wear. I mentioned this very thing to Caleb and he said that while it is possible, he had never seen a system fail in that way (of course he would say that as he drives away) but the quality of the build leads me to trust his experience in the matter.

      • Andy, your comment is appreciated. I noticed that and Mike actually talked to the mechanic about it. The mechanic was not concerned about the wear to the welds, but Mike and I both think that something needs to be done to make the mounting to the engine room more flexible. At certain RPMs it would cut down on the movement considerably. yes, having a stock piece would have been our preference for this, as for everything, but we couldn’t find one that would fit our situation. Too late now. If we have to repair or replace this later, at least we will have the current pipe to use as a template for replace or repair. I think I’m going to learn to weld. Seems a very useful skill.

      • When I was building ships, we made sure that there was section of flexible expansion pipe in each straight run to handle thermal expansion as well as vibration. With the expansion pipe, you can hard mount the pipe, preferably at each bend. Under full power, you can expect exhaust temperatures in the 800-900 degree range. You will probably find the installed insulation inadequate.

    • YES! Tate nails it. This is how we ended up with a house 4 blocks from the marina! The hauling of gear down to a distant boat, trying to work on it while surrounded by all the equipment you need to do that is not an easy task. Once you get moved things will be so much easier.
      Also Skippy looks very handsome in the now clean cock pit. 🙂

      • Our house is a 15 minute drive to the marina, and I can walk to my office from there. To get this boat home, we have to go offshore up the coast of Washington, going the ‘wrong’ way. It’s going to be an adventure, for sure. And possibly that will be our vacation as well. Soon. Soon.

    • She almost needs her own name, so serious is it. Probably overkill, but at this point, we don’t care.

  2. I threw salt over my shoulder, but it hit Deb in the eye.
    Kidding. Hope you get the heck out of there real soon and get your gal home. I like Andy’s thoughts on the exhaust.
    Some good vibrations are heading northwest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.