Monday, July 18, 2016

Mooring Repair

While we were involuntarily moored in Friday Harbor, this unusual work boat (the aluminum one with the I-beam supported above the foredeck, not the white one behind it) dropped anchor near us.  On board were a diver, a man, and woman: the crew.  And two hefty gentlemen who did not participate in operations except to look over the side.   With nowhere to go, we speculated what they were up to...

As we watched, a diver went down with a heavy line.  When the diver returned to the surface, the woman used a heavy windlass (not visible below the bulwarks) and routing the line over a block on the bow she hoisted up...  a concrete block some 6 or 7 feet square and perhaps 18 - 24" thick.  Trust me, this was HEAVY - the bow of the boat dipped a lot.  Obviously a quite substantial mooring anchor.

With the concrete hanging from the bow, the man attached a brand new pennant line, looking like at least 1-1/2", to the anchor block (with a chafe guard of course!).  He then manoeuvred to a good spot and she lowered the anchor to the bottom.  He then attached a (very) used buoy to the pennant, and they all went home.


The old mooring pennant had parted, releasing the buoy, which apparently fetched up on shore somewhere in Friday Harbor and was retrieved.  The action we witnessed was the reattachment of the buoy to the anchor on behalf of one or both of the observers, using a new pennant.

Conclusion #2?

That boat was ideally designed for mooring installation and maintenance.  We witnessed the maintenance part.  For a new installation, the new anchor would be placed in the bow, and then once transported to the desired location a hoist rolling along the I-beam would be used to retrieve it from the foredeck, roll it out forward above the water, and then lower it to the sea bottom.  Pretty clever design.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Lexan vs. Plexiglass

If you are replacing fixed ports on your boat, you will be faced (or should be faced) with the choice between Lexan (a trade name for polycarbonate) and Plexiglass (a trade name for polymethylmethacrylate, aka acrylic).  Here are some features of each which might help you decide which to use:
  • Plexiglass is transparent to UV radiation.  That means that anything inside the boat will be subject to UV degradation if the sun shines thru the window.  That also means that UV radiation passes harmlessly thru Plexiglass without having any effect on it.
  • Lexan is opaque to UV radiation.  This means that it protects the boat interior from the ravages of UV.  But because the UV radiation is stopped by the Lexan, that means the Lexan is subject to the damage that it is preventing on the interior.  UV damage to Lexan causes it to turn yellowish brown and craze (millions of tiny surface cracks).  The effect is that your view eventually is destroyed:
    Lexan window after 7 years
  • Plexiglass eventually crazes too...  But after a much longer time period.  However it does not turn brown or discolor.
    This Plexiglass port is 38 years old.
  • Lexan is often touted as the "bullet-proof plastic":

    Tensile strength σΜ at 23°CMPa 60-70 80
    Flexural strength σbB MPa 90 115
    Impact strength acU (Charpy) kJ/m2 35 15
    • Lexan 9030 Sheet Product Datasheet
    • Plexiglas GS Product Description

    In tensile strength and flexural strength Plexiglass is stronger than Lexan.  Plexiglass is weaker than Lexan only in impact strength (resistance to penetration by a quickly moving sharp object). 

    These comparisons are made on virgin material in both cases.  I have no data, but all that surface crazing has to act as stress risers and therefore crack starters - much earlier for Lexan than for Plexiglass.
  • Lexan is two to three times more expensive than Plexiglass.
  • Lexan is less scratch-resistant than Plexiglass
So, as in many things in life, the choice is not as clear (pun unintentional) as it might seem at first blush.  As the midway carny says, "You pays your money and you takes your chances."

I will say tho, that for Eolian, we have chosen Plexiglass whenever it was available.


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Best Garlic Press. Ever.

We've tried a lot of different kitchen tools for slicing and dicing garlic aboard Eolian.  But this little jewel that Jane found at the Ace Hardware in Friday Harbor takes first prize, running away.

Here's the business end.  You open the top and place your peeled clove on the grid.  Closing the top pushes it thru; all those little green fingers on the lid make sure that every delicious morsel is pushed all the way thru.

And for neat handling, the diced garlic goes into this little drawer, which you can then just pull out.  I'd say it holds 3-4 tablespoons, which ought to be enough for most meals.  Maybe.  But I suppose you could dump it and come back for more.  (Yes, we like garlic aboard Eolian.  You have been warned.)

For cleaning, the grid snaps out...

And the the gray plastic sweeper (what would YOU call it?) sweeps any garlic goodness that may be trapped between the fingers.  It's a clever design.

Finally, if you'd prefer sliced garlic instead of diced, there is a slicing grid stored in the very bottom.

They come in several colors, for about $10-13.  Now we are going to have to get one of these for the house.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Plea For Data: Salish Sea Bottom Hazards

Our recent experience in Friday Harbor tells me that our charts are not adequate.  There is at least one more wreck in Friday Harbor that is not on them, tho it is marked by a buoy.  But buoys break loose, and then the wrecks become marked only by local lore.

It strikes me that there is a lot of data on wrecks out there... existing as pencil scratchings on charts, notes in logs, etc.

It is time.  It is well past time, that this data be consolidated and made available to all.  Navionics has what they call "community edits" - crowd-sourced data, but not everyone uses Navionics.

So this is a plea:  A plea for all who read this post to dig thru their logs and charts and make all that accumulated wisdom and experience available to the entire boating community.

I will volunteer to maintain a public database of Salish Sea Bottom Hazards, until a better method for making this community data available to the entire community exists.

Here's how you can contribute and help your fellow boaters:
  1. Dig thru those logs and review all those notes on your charts.  
  2. For each wreck or other bottom hazard, note:
    • The location of the hazard - GPS/Lat-Long coordinates are most desirable, but if you don't have them then a verbal description
    • A description of the nature of the hazard, if known or available
    • The source of the data... Hard experience (!), NOAA, Navionics community edit, cruising guide, etc
    • If you wish to be associated with the entry and how (email, name, boat name, etc)
  3. Send this information in an email to WindborneInPugetSound (at) gmail (dot) com
Please don't worry that you might be providing duplicate data - that's fine.  I will sort it out.

So dig thru those charts and logs!  Be an active part of our boating community - lets all help each other!

Looking forward to your emails.

s/v Eolian

(Selfishly, I am most interested in data from Blind Bay, Friday Harbor, Echo Bay, Reid Harbor and Parks Bay.  In Parks Bay especially I would like confirmation of reports that the charted pilings in the south end of the bay have been removed, as has been variously reported) 

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