March Weekend 2012
12 March 2012 | Whortonsville, NC
Judy is working during tax season and I have not felt great since m doctor diagnosed pneumonia shortly after our last trip. To add to all that, it seems the weather has been the pits every time the weekend rolls around. The weekend weather was not great but at least it would be tolerable. We needed to check on the boat. Donny from Wayfarer’s Cove marina had stopped by a few weeks ago to align the engine. He reported that it was not far out of alignment and he made it better but he was concerned that there was still some vibration at lower speeds. We also needed to do a quick test run up the creek to check out the shaft alignment.
Saturday March 10, 2012
We left home about 7:30 and were in no hurry. We stopped for fast food breakfast and lunch plus a grocery store and coffee stop so we didn’t arrive until nearly 2pm. Bill and Susan were down for the day and Susan had picked up some really nice shirts for me at the Goodwill store. The shirts were all major brands and all fit perfectly. Thanks Susan!!
He got the boat ready for a quick trip to check out the shaft vibration. The short story is that Donny did do some good. The shaft vibration was not nearly as bad as it had been, but it was no better than before the shaft was replaced. I guess we will just call it even with Wayfarer’s Cove and keep an eye on the vibration. We may need to call in a professional if it gets worse.
The really exciting part of the trip came later. I went below several times during our two mile trip and noticed an unusually strong exhaust smell. I was hoping this was actually residual anti freeze burning off the manifold from when I ran her hot on out last outing. No such luck. The exhaust smell got stronger and stronger in the cabin. The engine was running fine. When we landed I asked Bill to come aboard and take a look. After about 10 minutes he found a small hole in the insulated part of the exhaust near where it connects to the water lift muffler. This was not good news but thanks to Bill, at least I know what the problem is. If I decide to take a crack at fixing it myself I will know what parts need to be replaced. I haven’t been very successful in the past acting as my own diesel mechanic so I will probably get someone to just fix it. I can’t imagine just replacing a single part of a 19 year old salt water exhaust system. I suspect replacing the entire exhaust from engine to muffler is the answer. Oh well as they say, if you want to dance to the music…
We had a really nice visit with Bill and Susan and Joey and Dorothy aboard Bill and Susan’s “Cest La Vie”. She is new to them this summer and they are getting ready for the season. We were very comfortable until the sun started going down. Then the temperature started to drop rapidly. Bill and Susan wanted to get home so the party broke up. I had made a double batch of spaghetti at home on Friday so we had a very nice meal when we added a “bag” salad. We read for a while after dinner and I tried to research the exhaust problem but we didn’t last long. We had run the new propane heater for several hours (on low) and the cabin was toasty warm. I would never leave such a device running unless I was watching it but it sure did a stellar job of getting the cabin warm. We turned it off and placed the propane cylinder out in the cockpit before we turned in. The electric cabin heater was able to maintain a comfortable temperature all night.
Sunday March 11, 2012
We lost an hour due to daylight savings time. The jury is still out for me on DST. I enjoyed it when I was younger but it seems to take a long time for me to get adjusted now. Oh well, it’s not up to me.
At some point I would like to operate my amateur radio from the boat. I don’t want it bad enough to go all out for an insulated backstay and automatic tuner so I had been researching alternatives. Turns out, there was an article in Catalina’s Mainsheet Magazine by a fellow ham who had designed a 20 meter antenna that was cheap to build designed specifically as a temporary (HF) high frequency antenna for a Catalina 30. I built the antenna a while back and brought it along this time. I did not go to the trouble of bringing the radio transmitter but I did bring an antenna analyzer and a tuner. This would tell me if I would be able to use the antenna to transmit without actually transmitting. I rigged the antenna as the designer directed and was able to easily tune it to 14.3 Mhz which is a popular maritime mobile frequency. In fact, according to the design, the antenna should have been resonant at 14.3 without a tuner but the analyzer told me it was not. In any case it did work and I think it will be a good fit. Several years ago, I bought an antenna known as a HamStick. It is a whip antenna designed to be used on an automobile. When thinking about using it on a non metal sailboat, there is an immediate problem. Transmitting antennas mounted on automobiles use the metal body of the vehicle as a ground plane for the antenna. Without this ground plane, the antenna will not work effectively. My theory is that if I clamp the whip to the stern rail that may be enough metal to at least provide minimal communications ability. Some folks say it will work some say it won’t. I was able to tune the antenna to its designed frequency with a tuner. The next step will be to connect the transmitter and find out if anyone can actually “hear” me.
We packed up and headed home about 11:30 which is actually pretty early for us considering the loss of the hour. Our plan is to stop by to see Jonas and family on the way home. Hopefully the boat will be in tip top shape before the season gets underway.