MIA takes a trip and learns a lot.......

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by missinginaction, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: New York

    missinginaction Senior Member

    Well I finally did it. Loaded up the boat, took a deep breath and cast off.

    Took a ride from the Albany NY area out to Utica NY on the Erie canal. 160 miles round trip. If you don't follow the wooden boat forum, I restored an old 1973 25' Silverton sedan from the bare hull all the way up. It took a number of years.

    As I left for this trip I had only locked through (single handed) 4 times. My plan was to make at least lock 17 on the canal, the highest lift in the system at 40+ feet. I did that and a few more locks as well. 24 all together.

    What did I learn?

    1. Charts were extremely helpful. I suppose you could just "keep her between the red and the green" but charts enabled me to track my progress, to know exactly where I was and how far it was to the next lock.

    2. Having a marine radio enabled me to communicate with the lockmasters, this was helpful as well. They seemed to appreciate me letting them know I was coming when I was about 5 minutes out.

    3. Discretion is the better part of valor. On the second day of my trip a front came through. It was very rainy but the wind was not too strong. I stayed at a marina for the night after a days travel. The next day the wind freshened after the front passed and was blowing at 15 knots, gusting to about 30. I decided to stay at the marina for another day. The next lock was about a mile up river from the marina so I decided to take a walk. There was no way I could have locked through in that wind single handed.

    4. Weird things happen. One day I noticed steam from my exhaust and the boat seemed louder. I decided to stop. I pulled the hatch and noticed that my mufflers were much hotter than they ever were before. I had some lunch and thought about this for awhile. The engine temp was OK, the transmission oil cooler was cool so water seemed to be getting in there OK. Why were my mufflers so hot? I decided to pop a few hose clamps and look inside the transmission cooler, which was downstream from the raw water pump but upstream from the thermostat housing. Well, well, well......I pulled part of what looked like a zip lock bag out of the intake side of the cooler. That bag had made it past my louvered through hull fitting, past the Sherwood pump and was partially blocking the water flow. There was enough water passing to cool the engine but not enough to cool the exhaust.
    I thought that the louvered intake would keep out any significant debris. Wrong! Time to pick up a raw water strainer.

    5. My little Yamaha T9.9 made locking through sooooo much easier. It was a challenge locking through alone (I'm a single engine v-drive) as I had difficulty even in light winds, keeping the bow of the boat from swinging away from the lock wall. I was having this problem one morning and used the little outboard to assist. I was locking on my port side and the bow was swinging out to starboard. I started the little outboard and turned it so as to push the transom to starboard (which I hoped would work). I dropped the outboard into gear and left the throttle at idle. Sure enough the bow began to swing to port and in a minute was snug against the lock wall. I stood in the rear cockpit, where I could reach the outboard and held the transom to the wall with a boat hook There was a little tug on the boat but it was manageable. At idle I could actually see the little outboards prop slowly turning. Using that outboard as a stern thruster was quite effective.

    All in all it was a great trip and my confidence in the boat, and my ability to diagnose a problem and address it increased greatly. I met a number of very nice people along the way. I packed way to much food and not as much water as I needed. Fortunately there are placed to provision along the way.

    Regards,

    MIA
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Well earned I'd say. Congratulations, you've worked long and hard enough on this puppy to have some adventures. There's nothing more enlightening, than screwing up enough to count as real experence, the next time out.
     
  3. lake pirate rrr
    Joined: Aug 2016
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    Location: nashville

    lake pirate rrr Junior Member

    congratulations on a successful maiden voyage ..

    truly it takes a great deal of work to rebuild or build a boat ..

    and now your at the best part .. having fun and enjoying it all ..

    congrats and well wishes on many more excursions ..
     
  4. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: New York

    missinginaction Senior Member

    Having reflected for a couple of days, I think the most important lesson I learned is to STOP if you're unsure of something or if the boat doesn't feel or sound right.

    There was another boat I encountered along the way that went down in central New York. Apparently a thru hull fitting for a transducer somehow popped out. The captain said the boat felt sluggish and the bow seemed higher than normal but he pressed on. By the time he did investigate, the boat was half full of water and needed an emergency pump out. Fortunately the engines didn't entirely submerge. He eventually made it back under his own power but had to pay for the emergency services.
     
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    90% of the time, when investigating accidents and other marine incidents or events, it the need to press onto a schedule that forces poor decisions. The prudent skipper can wait, the one's we read about in the paper didn't, usually. It takes some experence to learn this. I did running a sailing charter in the Caribbean. It's tempting to take a boat load of paying customers on their 5 day cruise, but getting caught in an ugly patch of weather insures a few things. First the customers will never hire onto your boat again, maybe never any boat again. Second, no one's going to have a good time and lastly, you're running a serious risk of ship and/or guest injury. This is generally too expensive for most, so you quickly learn or are out of business. Among cruisers, the novices try to out run a weather system, while the experienced couple in the slip next to theirs, remains tied up, drinking and enjoying an extra day or two with land based facilities nearby.
     
  6. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: Japan

    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    A professional knows when to stop. An amateur continues on blinded by their own hubris.
     
  7. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The nice thing about getting old John, is my hairline has receded enough, where my hubris doesn't fall into my face and cover my eyes anymore . . .
     

  8. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: New York

    missinginaction Senior Member

    The philosopher in you is an admirable trait Paul.
     
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