Tuesday, May 23, 2017

outboards and John Muir...

A bit of copyright hi-jinks, a question of some import, and this sure smells fishy...

So, the outboard motor now starts on the first pull, shifts gears without issues, and purrs like a kitten.

Me, well my back has issues, I have a finger that may be broken, and enough stress points to qualify for a pre-existing conditions refusal of insurance. Is working on your boats propulsion system not a fun and frolicsome grand endeavour?

Still, to be truthful, the satisfaction of bring an engine back from the dead really is kinda nice. Something you might want to remember is that working on your own boat and its systems is not just about saving some money.

In the process of the two-hour-job-that took-three-days debacle I kept wishing that the late but still great John Muir had written a book about outboard repair...

Fact is, I have three books on outboard motor repair and none of them really touched on the how-to of the various issues that needed fixing or gave me the insight to sort out a fix on my own. That works out to nearly $75 bucks of paper taking up space on my book shelves that should be able to pull their weight but just don't seem to.

The words "pretty much useless" do come to mind though...

What did help was the voice in my head telling me how would John Muir might approach the current problems and what would he do to fix it.



The thing is, I realize that I tend to use the John Muir internal voice in my head for just about everything requiring the process of making complicated problems doable. It pops up when I'm doing rigging, building a guitar/surfboard/boat, and, lately, when trying to sort out the current political clusterfuck that is life in the year 2017.

Which is why I often suggest that folks with boats should buy an old used 70's vintage copy of "How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive" by John Muir and read it. It's really just a way to do things rather than a book about fixing a VW.


Listening to Ozomatli

So it goes...

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Did I really just say that?

The stupid it burns, somewhat nervous making (if not just downright idiocy), and in the "The goal is to make us see ourselves as THEM" department...

Shift rod all sorted out now so the remaining bit on the list is a simple takedown and clean of the carb...

Oops, did I really just say simple?

Oh shit.

Listening to a conundrum of covers

So it goes...



Friday, May 19, 2017

about yesterday's to-do list...

Speaking ill of the dead, a well made point, and regarding the goat/solar/water connection...

Yesterday was a bad day.

I got up with a list of things I needed to do. Among this too long list was check out the outboard and do its routine maintenance.

Maybe it's a good time to mention I really, really hate doing anything that involves internal combustion engines.

So, of course, there were problems.

The pull cord would not pull.

Something of a conundrum that. But with no small amount of "Duhs" and "WTFs" I managed to find the cause and the cord now pulls with ease.

The engine did not want to start. So I had to deal with the whole "Why is my engine not starting?" checklist and sort that out.

In the process of getting the engine to start and then run it for a while, I noticed that the engine did not want to stay in neutral and kept jumping, of its own accord, into either forward or reverse.

Can you spell B-U-M-M-E-R ?

Consulting my book on outboard mechanics I quickly sussed out the issue was that I had to adjust the shift rod...

How hard could that be? Seriously, loosen a nut adjust said rod, and hey presto it's a done job.

Did I mention I really, really hate working on internal combustion motors?

I'll fast forward to a whole bunch of hours later with an engine that still seems to want to be in any gear but neutral, a backache of epic proportions, bruised knuckles, and a great desire to see just how far I can fling said internal combustion engine into the bay.

Yes dear reader, I'm well aware that throwing an outboard into the bay would be polluting and bad. Which does not negate my desire to see the infernal piece of marine hardware sleep with the fishes. That said, I agree that a serious dose of sledgehammer and an unmarked grave in the local landfill would be far less polluting...

Which brings us to today's to do list beginning with fix the outboard. Not looking forward to it at all. Nope not my idea of fun in any shape or form.

So, at the end of today, I expect to sort out what little cunning trick or hack is needed to actually make the spawn of hell shift like it should, I'll have added another talent to my skill set, and taken comfort in that what does not kill us makes us stronger two-step.

Well that, or I may just become another case of spontaneous combustion brought on by maxed out frustration with internal combustion engines.

Listening to some Pete Townshend covers

So it goes...

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The cost of stuff...

A truly impressive voyage, a needful reminder, and in the "If I were a betting man" department...

So, there's this really nice 38-foot sailboat for sale and they are asking $35K. Make that really, really nice.

It has all the stuff you'd need to go cruising, has recently had a pretty extensive refit, and all the stuff you normally might want to consider replacing or upgrading has been replaced or upgraded...

Have I mentioned it is also a seriously pretty boat?

I'm pretty sure the word I'm looking for is...

Turnkey.

The fact is, I keep seeing boats just like this selling for less than $40K on a regular basis. Boats with no real issues that don't need a small fortune and daunting amount of labor poured into them are on the market and ready to go.

Add to that the fact that asking prices are just that. Good boats can often be had for a lot less if you're adept at haggling.

Just saying...

Listening to SEKAI NO OWARI

So it goes...

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

POP 32 floats right-side-up...

Badtux on the subject of hope, a story you need to read, and EBM with an apt shipwreck analogy...


A maiden voyage of note.

Listening to some Dylan covers

So it goes...

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

a blog I enjoy...

A little insight from Dick Dorworth, some very scary listening, and in the "Why am I not surprised?" department...

Salt & Tar is a blog you should be reading.

Still here?

Listening to KIZ

So it goes...

Monday, May 15, 2017

the toys/fads conundrum...

Talking about climate change, a postmortem of interest, and Krugman on tRumpistan...

The other day someone wrote and asked my opinion on what SUP they should buy.

Now, I'll admit I just might be the very last person someone should ask for advice regarding stand up paddleboards (otherwise known as surfboards for old guys too old to get up from a paddling position) but, as all of a sudden SUPs seem to be a required part of the well-equipped cruising boat/experience I did consider the pros/cons and offered some advice...

Get a windsurfer instead.

Though I should add the proviso that free advice is worth what you paid for it.

Seriously though, while no fan of windsurfing (the bad parts of two good sports combined) it has not escaped my notice that, as an old past-its-sell-by-date fad, windsurfers can be had for as little as $25, the entry level (think BIC) boards are big enough to stand up and paddle on comfortably, and you can even (dare I say it?) sail the damn things.

Or, you can just wait another year or so until SUPs are bypassed by the next fad (foiling water skis perhaps?) and pick one up for pennies on the dollar.

Listening to Quitapenas

So it goes...

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Good design at a fair price and a question...

Something you may have missed in the news, color me in agreement, and an obvious but seemingly overlooked fact...

Here's an impressive self-steering gear that you might want to take a look at.



It's actually a quite simple but elegant design not all that dissimilar to some other vanes from way back when. Of course, as designed it is a direct vane to tiller sort so not quite up to the rigors of most cruising boats unless said cruising boats are perfectly balanced and have a very "light" steering. Still for its price it is not a bad starting point if you have a transom mounted rudder (or are thinking of building an auxiliary rudder) which can be controlled with a trim tab.

Crafty folks will no doubt see just how simple the open source design vane is and the possibilities of doing a DIY clone approach which would appear nearly tyro-proof.




At a cost of between $200-$300 or so it really should make you wonder just why the Auto-Helm upper vane only unit costs an astounding $2350.

Listening to Midnight Oil

So it goes...

Saturday, May 13, 2017

an exercise in simple...

Crime in America, the stupid/hateful it burns, and in "the legion of Trump Dignity Wraiths" department...

The other day, perusing what's available in the world of blocks and suchlike I had several WTF moments.

First of all, the cost of blocks is just insane.

Secondly, they're over-complicated. Complication in any system aboard a boat is going to be, sooner or later, problematic.

Lastly, most blocks available today are not designed to be user serviceable.

Looking at available alternative like the Antal friction rings and suchlike I found the costs were still too high but at least the were uncomplicated, near impossible to fail, and compared to "blocks" a whole more affordable.

Still, for what amounts to just a simple anodized aluminum ring they are way too expensive. Which is why you may want to check out this puppy...

Yeah, a simple rappel ring. Pretty much works just like an Antal ring and, at a cost of less than $5 ($4.95 at REI), is a third of the price. It's strong with a breaking strength of 4400 pounds and there is simply nothing to fail... What's not to like?

Which is not to say the Antal type rings do not have an advantage or two but for almost all the ways we would use a block or friction ring...

...a rappel ring works finest-kind.

On "So It Goes" the jib, staysail, and spinnaker halyards only use rappel rings. That said, on the mainsail hoist I use a cheek block in combination with an Antal ring so the total cost of of blockage on the mast comes to less than sixty bucks or thereabouts.

Fact is, the only blocks I really find needful is for the mainsheets, staysail sheets and on the running back stays.

The best part of the exercise is I know I won't have to be climbing the mast to fix block related mayhem anytime soon.

Listening to Las Ligas Menores

So it goes...

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Plan B...

A virulent cancer, G&T with a couple of astute observations, and a bit of common sense...

It's raining.

Generally speaking, I like rain but it is somewhat problematic if your to-do list for the day involves coating stuff with epoxy in the cockpit, building a new self-steering gear, and touching up the new paint job on the mast.

So, it's plan B... splicing Dyneema loops.



Listening to a bunch of Talking Heads covers

So it goes...