Sunday, July 14, 2019

A Tale of Two Tread Plates, Update

OK, it's now been two years since the original experiment...

Here's how they look now:

As you can see, the untreated tread plate on the left is still groady... in fact it is even worse in real life than the picture shows.

And on the right is the plate which was treated with BAC, still looking clean, tho grey.  I said BAC, but for this experiment I actually used a version of BAC that has some silicone functional groups substituted for some of the carbon-based groups.  This version, called "Gold Shield" (sample provided by Drew - thanks!) is considerably more proof against washing out.  In fact it is used by hospitals to sterilize and keep sterile their bedding, even tho it is frequently washed.

I call this experiment concluded, and a success.  I am going to treat the other tread plate, and our bare teak rub strakes, with Gold Shield.


Sunday, June 30, 2019

It Just Got Easier - An App You Have To Have

Previously I wrote about the tricky tide-driven currents in the San Juan Islands,and how important it is to take them into account when planning voyages there.  In that previous post, I referred to the Canadian Current Atlas for the area...  the bible.  I also mentioned the somewhat involved procedure needed to determine which of the 100 or so charts would apply to the current time.  This procedure had to be applied to each of the alternatives when planning a voyage, and involved a lot of flipping thru pages and reference charts.

No more!

It's now an app!

Someone has laboriously taken all of the information in the Current Atlas and built it into an app...  an app that makes it absolutely painless to scroll backwards and forwards in time to compare alternatives.

And here is the big bonus:  it's all in the appNo internet connection is required, so this is entirely appropriate for use in internet-deprived areas (there are quite a few in the Islands...).

You can find it in your app store - search for "Current Atlas".  Yes, you'll have to pay for it, once.   (You had to pay for the arcane hardcopy version didn't you?)  It is worth every penny.

Get it.


Friday, June 28, 2019

Genset Summer

After doing all that work on the generator this spring, when we got back after a couple of weeks at anchor, I found this...

Yep - the seawater pump on the generator had failed.

Apparently the first to go was the seal - that's what keeps the seawater inside the pump and away from the bearings that support the shaft:

That's not supposed to be three different pieces...

In fact the seal was so far gone that it came out in three pieces.

And then, because Kohler didn't see fit to use sealed bearings, the seawater running past the failed seal got into the bearings.  High carbon steel does not do well with exposure to salt water...

Bearings no more...

But thankfully, I have the tools and a rebuild kit was just an eBay away for a nominal sum, so one more time into the bilges, and the pump was as good as new.  Actually better than new, because the rebuild kit came with stainless bolts to replace the brass (?!) phillips screws that had originally held the cover plate on.  I also replaced the single brass (again...) screw that held the pump cam in place with a stainless one.  That brass screw came out in three pieces...  I can just barely imagine what would have happened if the cam had come loose in there when the pump was running...

Better than new!

Previous post in this series

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Blocking Buoys

Port Madison
(Snatched from m/v Archimedes - hires version and a lot more information there)
When first we came to the San Juan Islands, one of our anchorages was Grindstone Harbor, a charming little cove on the south shore of Orcas Island.  Now that cove is filled with "mooring" buoys.

Our first  voyage in Eolian was to Port Madison, on the north shore of Bainbridge Island.  We had virtually the entire harbor to ourselves and our choice of anchoring spots.  But as the years progressed, more and more "mooring" buoys appeared.  And now the current situation (as shown in the picture above) is that there is essentially NO anchorage any more in Port Madison, unless you want to take your chances anchoring in the narrow channel still remaining for ingress and egress.

What has happened?  Well, first of all, nearly all of the buoys are perennially empty.   Then why are they there?

I cannot know in all cases of course, but I do know for absolute certainty (because I have talked to them) that there are those landowners who place buoys in front of their property in order to block boats from anchoring in "their" view.  Since these buoys are not intended to be used for mooring, they may be anchored with nothing more than a couple of concrete blocks.

In Rusty's blog, m/v Archimedes, there is a lot of information about what it takes to get actual legal permission to install a mooring buoy.  It ain't easy!  My guess is, that whatever their intended purpose, less than 10% of the buoys in the picture above are registered, legal buoys.  Even if they all were (ha!), Rusty raises the case for anchorage as a prior right.

So, what to do?

I have a suggestion.

Mooring tender in Friday Harbor

There are many outfits around the sound that install moorings.  Place a bounty on illegal, unsanctioned unoccupied buoys of, say, $300.  Further, allow the mooring tenders to keep the removed moorings and their anchors for later sale as legal moorings.  Kind of like towing companies get to tow your car if it is found abandoned along the freeway.

Now someone is sure to complain that the buoys should not be removed without notifying the owner.  Do you get a notification when your car is towed? NO.  And in any case, the illegal buoys are unmarked (or at best are marked "Private"), so ownership cannot be determined.

With this plan implemented, my guess is that within a year or two, most of the buoys would have been removed and their space returned to general anchorage usage.

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