miscellaneous

Outboard service

As a surrogate for being able to sail, I have serviced the outboard. Up to now, I have paid someone else to service Henry Honda (BF-5A), but I wanted to know more about outboards. I used to service my car engine, so I thought a four-stroke outboard should not be beyond my capacities. The owners manual is not much cop, so I got hold of a copy of the service manual (Google is your friend). I post this as an aide memoire, so that I will remember what I did, when it comes time next year to do it again. Assuming the outboard survives my attentions… ;>

Henry with his hat off

0. Make a cup of tea and contemplate the task. The first crucial step in any engineering process.

1. Run the outboard up in fresh water and rinse everything thoroughly in water. Leave running for 10 mins to get everything warm.

2. Stop the engine and dry it.

3. Drain the engine and gearbox oil whilst warm and leave to drain out for a while. Engine drain plug was very tight indeed. I’ll try to get a new copper washer next time.

4. I bought a replacement spark plug, but the one in place looked fine, so I gave the electrode gap a bit of a sanding, checked the gap and put it back. I sealed the new one in a plastic bag and will leave it aboard in case of need.

5. Replace fuel filter.

6. Lubricate as required using a combination of spray lube and thicker grease (depending on the location).

7. Put the oil sump plug back in and fill the engine with oil.

8. Squirt gearbox oil in from the bottom until it dribbles from the top plug, then put the top plug back in (easier said than done).

9. Give the engine head a quick spray with WD-40.

10. Run the engine up for a while to check all is well (started first time!)

I tried to get the prop off to check and grease the spline, but I could not get it off at all. It may well have to go to an agent for them to use a puller. I tried tapping it with a piece of wood, but I was worried about bending the shaft or one of the prop blades.

As a result of this service, I feel a bit more confident about the layout of the outboard and the condition of it (which looks good; it’s ten years old this season). Henry has not had to work terribly hard, but should he get tired or poorly when we’re on the water, I now feel that I would be more likely to be able to work out what’s wrong. Oh, and I saved a trip to the (not especially) local dealer and a bit of cash too.

miscellaneous

When the wind blows….

 

 Like most people who enjoy the outdoors, I am a compulsive weather watcher. I’m sure I have more than 10 weather related apps on my phone. My favorite site is wind guru. It is very accurate for the wind direction, though it has a tendency to slightly underestimate the wind speed (The optimistic sailor’s forecast?). The wind speed is colour coded- more colour, more wind. Pale blue is good, dark blue is lively, pink, red and purple suggest finding an alternative activity! 

The first trip of the season was due to begin tomorrow, and I know Easter is quite early and is known for volatile weather, but wind guru has altogether too much purple in it for me this week. Hopefully we’ll only have to postpone for a day…

miscellaneous, videos

From trailer to sailer

Last time I rigged Aurora was at Suffolk Yacht Harbour in Levington near Ipswich in Suffolk. I decided I would try to make a time-lapse of the rigging process. Unsurprisingly, this turned out to be harder than expected. Firstly, the camera exposure is difficult because of the amount of pale sky in the shot. Secondly, its amazing how many cars and people went past the camera during the filming (and I thought at the time how quiet it was!). Well, I’ve adjusted the exposure a bit and edited out all the cars and here is the result. Look out for, Aimee, my wandering helper….

 

https://vimeo.com/96246030

miscellaneous

The (not so) Grumpy Cup

We attended the Gaffers’ AGM at Greenwich Yacht Club last month, acting on a tip-off from Sue Farrer of the North Wales section of the OGA. We (or, more accurately Aimee and Alice) were delighted to be awarded the Grumpy II cup. This is an award given to youngsters, in our case to recognise Aimee’s helping skills and Alice’s enthusiastic crewing (well, throwing water at other boats mostly) at the Traditional Boat Festival in Holyhead last summer.

Alice & Aimee Erb receiving the Grumpy II cups 2014

 

 

Photo by Pete Farrer

On the back of that, Aimee was asked to write a piece for the Gaffers Log, which will be appearing in March:

Our boat is called Aurora; it’s a Cape Cutter. It’s nineteen feet long and we often sail in it, and sleep on it. It may be small and cramped, but us four all fit in it – snugly.

Before we had a gaffer, we had a dinghy and I went to a dinghy sailing club where friends and memories were made and doors were opened. I remember going sailing with friends from school and the next day we’d pretend to be world-class sailors.

We’ve taken Aurora on many trips all over Britain, since we got her in July 2012. Last year was a very eventful one; Dad adding all sorts of gadgets and gismos to our little boat and going out on many adventures all over the place.

My three favorite things about sailing are…

Firstly, I enjoy meeting people. For example, when we went to the Holyhead Traditional Boat Festival, I enjoyed seeing all sorts of boats, including pirates with cannons. I even got to go up a mast in a bosun’s chair and I could see for miles around! There was racing at the festival and I helmed Aurora. Our little boat may not be the fastest, but it was fun and I felt as if I could sail around the world.

Another favorite of mine is going on adventures and getting soaked. On many occasions, my sister Alice and I would jump off Aurora at anchor and swim ashore. There are many examples and one of the most enjoyable was when went to Falmouth with friends and family. We explored the seas along with Zephyr (another Cape Cutter) and, yes, we did get wet. We trekked beaches and swam in the chilly sea, had breakfast on the boat with a lovely view of the shore and I even got to crew on a Catamaran; I leaned back so far my head went into the water!

My third and most exciting highlight of last season was when my sister and I were awarded the Grumpy Cup II. I don’t know why it’s called ‘grumpy’ but it’s a very good description for my sister (just kidding!). I was very taken aback when our names got called out at the AGM. When my mum told me there were going to be awards given out, I said that there was no point in going, as we never get awards. At first, I was annoyed that mum didn’t tell us she knew about the prize before the AGM, but I was glad it was a surprise. I felt proud, happy and a bit embarrassed all at the same time.

My sister Alice said, “I felt very happy about getting my first trophy. I took it into school and the head teacher gave it out again in assembly. My favourite thing sailing last year was the regatta in Holyhead- I loved sailing around in the parade throwing buckets of water to splash people on other boats; I got really wet. Our friends on another Cutter (a pilot cutter called Mary) let me go up their mast in a harness. I wanted to stay up there all day!”

Those were my favorite things of last year. So that’s why enjoy sailing so much; all that adventure, all those memories and all that fun.

By Aimee Erb (12) and Alice Erb (8)

miscellaneous

Some TLC from Honnor Marine

I had noticed that the sealant around the strakes was quite cracked and would be starting to let water past, but I have never used Sikflex before. Not having a good record with the application of grout in the bathroom, I decided to let the experts at Honnor sort it for me. Fortunately, I was able to watch, so next time I’ll be able to do it myself.

A bead of sealant (Sikaflex) has been applied along the joint between the strake and the hull. Note that this does not have to be tidy and a small surplus has been applied.
The sikaflex (or equivalent) is spread along the joint with a wooden spatula to ensure that the joint is properly filled. Note that it is not neat yet and some sealant gets onto the hull and wooden strake, but this does not matter (as long as it is removed before it dries). Any excess is scraped off the spatula onto a card or waste cloth.
Using a succession of rags soaked in white spirits, the sealant is given a smooth finish and any overspill on the wood or hull is removed. It is important that any streaks of sealant are removed before they dry. The sealant will come off the wood easily, as long as it is varnished. The final wipe is with a dry cloth.
The final touches are being put to this job, and very neat it looks too!
miscellaneous

The Deluge

Yesterday brought some very heavy rain. You’d think a boat would be quite good at dealing with the wet stuff, but it turns out that its not a good idea to leave the boat with its bow sloping downhill. The torrential rain on the sliding hatch runs down into the boat, so I was greeted by a puddle of about 10 litres of rain water in the cabin (Makes a mental note to put the cover on when the boat is on the driveway….)