Some of us will know what we should be doing for small outboard motor care BUT we donít do it. Hopefully after reading this tip those of us who know and ignore will start to
perform these simple steps.
First things first is to know your small outboard. Completely read the owners manual cover to cover. I know I have never done this until a problem has occurred but I do know that after reading the manual I always find out something new. Fuel mixture ratio with the correct oil is very important for 2 cycle engines. In my case I luck out since I have a 4 cycle Honda. The age and condition of your fuel is also major factor in preventing problems. A small amount of water in your fuel or a full summer of aging in the sun can make the best engine run poorly. The most critical operation required to prevent motor problems is to run all the gas out of the unit before letting it sit idle for more than a couple of days. Allowing gas to evaporator in the carburetor into a gummy gel is the number one problem of small outboards. After ensuring that youíre doing the right stuff for your fuel system, make certain that your water pump impeller is changed at least every other year and that the plugs are in good shape. Running the outboard in fresh water once a year can help eliminate salt build up in the small water passages. A small repair kit with a replacement shear pin and emergency pull cord is a good idea to have with your small outboard.
With all the excitement with Bertha I thought it would be timely you go over some of the things you can do to prepare your boat for an approaching hurricane.
The first decision is where to put your boat.
1. Leave it in its slip.
2. Move it on shore.
3. Take it to a mooring in a " hurricane hole" anchorage.
4. Go to sea.
While all the above have their advantages and disadvantage, I'm going to assume you are leaving your boat in its slip.
The object first is to reduce the windage of your boat. Remove dodges, biminis, awnings,sailbags, and other objects that may cause problems in high wind. You may choose to remove your main sail but if you don't be certain to add lashing to the outside of the sailcover. This prevents the sail from coming loose and destroying itself in the wind. If you have a furling head sail have it furled tightly and secured. You may want to remove your topping lift and secure the boom end on deck. It also makes sense to remove any electronics or other valuables from the boat that might become damaged by water. The rail mounted outboard should be removed and taken off the boat.
Next look at your boat and imagine it floating 4-6 ft above the normal high tide. Loosen all bow and stern lines leaving lots of slack. The position of the boat in the slip should be maintained with plenty of long springlines. Place fenders along the pilings or the dock where the boat may end up in case of line failure. Test the movement of the boat in all directions.
The last word of advice is to have your boat properly insured. You cannot get a policy enforced a day or two before the hurricane hits. If you want insurance get it now.
Take all warnings seriously. I know recently that many hurricane warnings have resulted in little to no storm damage giving everyone the feeling that all this preparation work is needless. No one can predict exactly where hurricanes will hit so accept the fact it could hit your area. Preparation for a hurricane- Just Do It!
If you cruise in the Chesapeake Bay this tip should come in handy. Much of the bay is shallow and sometimes when you least expect it - bump - youíve run aground. Fortunately the type of bottom most commonly found is sand or mud which is generally harmless.
The first suggestion is prevention but I admit that I have had my fair share of groundings. Sometimes itís accidental but other times Iím just pushing my luck to explore that special location.
The first thing to do when you feel your boat first touch is to make a quick decision. Do you know where the deep water is and can you get to it? Many times a slight brush with the bottom simply means quickly changing course and sailing or motoring out to the deeper water. If that is not the case then first take the time to survey the depth around your boat to determine which direction is the best way out. Check to see if the tide is rising or falling. If it is rising take your time and the tide may just float you off. On a falling tide one must work quickly. Try moving the crew out on the rail or the boom to get your boat to heel. On smaller boats rocking the boat with crew movement may help. If the water is warm have the largest crew members go swimming to lighten the boat and have them nudge the bow in the correct direction. When all else fails use the mast as a long lever to heel your boat over. You can put out an anchor perpendicular to your boat and then attached it to the halyard and winch your boat over. If you get assistance from a motor boat have him heel you over with a line attached to a halyard. Most boats draw very little water when heeling over with their rail is in the water but beware- this could cause trouble with wing keel designs.
If all else fails then set out your anchors to maintain position and wait for high tide. Iíve found some of my most enjoyable anchorages stuck to the bottom. Cruising is fun - so keep it that way. If youíre aground waiting for a tide change then go swimming, read a book, fix a meal, play a game or any of the other things you love to do. Donít let it ruin your day.
Do you have a safety harness and a proper fixture to secure it to on your boat? Well as the water temperatures start to drop so do your chance of survival if you happen to go over the side. A life preserver is good but that still means that the boat has to come back and find you. This is very unlikely if you solo sail like I do.
On my boat I have permanent jacklines made of 1/4Ē rigging wire which run from bow to stern on both sides. They are stretched fairly tight so that I donít trip over them. Other types of jacklines are made of heavy harness strap material but those are usually removable since the sunís UV exposure will weaken them. Even a spare line run from the bow cleat to the stern cleat will do in a pinch. The object is to avoid attaching to the convenient location of lifelines or their bases. Lifelines are generally not constructed to take the forces generated by your safety tether and they also do not allow you to travel very far before having to be detached.
If you donít have a safety harness please get a quality one that fits. This is not the piece of equipment to cut corners on cost. Cheap one are cheap - A good one will cost $80 -100 at a discount store. Fancier models are available which have built-in flotation and other horns and whistles. Get one - Wear It - Use it properly -It could save your life.
Feedback from a reader
From: Allender- NZ
Subject: jack stays
Just had a quick look at your pages and noticed your thoughts on jackstays and you said you keep them fairly taut. This it not a good idea as the force that is exerted on them should one fall is far greater than if they are kept as loose as practical. If you imagine a tight rope walker on a taut rope and one on a very loose one that sags down say 45 deg you will find the force on the fixing points differs greatly. No doubt the mathematicians amongst us could say but I suspect around 10 times eg I'm 80 kgs which means nearly a ton if my lines are tight. I sail a 26 foot keeler Ron Holland designed built in timber around 1977 sloop rigged with a lot of seaworthyness and a lot of fun. Going back to your site now. Rick Allender
I agree with your comments. The forces are very high on the vector analysis of the taut line with a deflection perpendicular to the line. The point you make is a good one and that is the reason I use 1/4" stay wire with backed up thru deck U bolts for end fittings. The same analysis is true for those who use lifelines and it is the reason you can't depend on them. My choice is based on the fact that I can use the jackstays easily and have oversized them for the forces. My suggestion to use line in a pinch may not be great but better than nothing. If you are interested I'm an engineer and the math is quite simple. The angle with force applied = about 8 degrees.( from pulling on actual stay) For the force let's use 400#.( The person doesn't weigh that much but allows for momentum) You have two sides supporting the load so the force on one side is 200#. The line tension = 200/ sin 8 deg. = 1437 # (your guess of 1 ton was close)This does not account for the hanging up on lifelines, sheets or other stuff but it does allow you to play with the numbers. The fact that the wire stretches makes a big difference because if the line remained at a 1 degree angle the forces would be 11,460 # WOW! Slack lines have less force but may cause tripping or tangling. Taut lines (or better -less slack lines) allow easier use with much high forces. Thanks for the feedback Rick
Onboard "Entropy II" I have an old fashion pressurized alcohol stove. Iíve learn to operate it properly and it works fine for low to moderate cooking temperatures but it really is slow when boiling a quantity of water. For my pressure cooker or pan frying a steak it just doesnít produce enough heat. If I had a larger boat Iíd certainly consider installing a built-in propane stove but the requirements for proper installation is really not practical on a 28 ft. boat.
My solution is my single burner sea stove and I love it. This stove uses a single one pound propane cylinder and has a gimbal mount on a detachable bracket. I have one bracket located next to my alcohol stove and one outside on the stern rail. For normal cooking I always use the sea stove first. While it is working I still have available the 2 alcohol burners which serve fine for the simpler task like warming up vegetables. During the hot summer I put the sea stove out on the stern rail and prepare "one pot" specials in my pressure cooker. With the propane as my main burner I find that I can go 7 to 10 meals on one cylinder. Refilling my alcohol stove tank has been more than cut in half.
Propane gas is heavier than air so please take the proper precautions. Do not store the propane cylinders in the cabin or in the lockers. I have a bag attached to my stern pulpit which holds three cylinders. After cooking I always return the propane tank to its storage bag. It may not be fancy but Iím cooking with gas.
The installation wasn't hard at all. The hard part was buying 8" stainless
steel bolts to go through the teak blocks and through the cabin top. No I didn't
reinforce the cabin top. After drilling through it I found out its like 3/4"
thick and I put big backing plates under the bolts. I cut holes in the head
liner to access the nuts and covered them over with thin blocks of teak. I used
a 5 to 1 mainsheet system and led the sheet up to the gooseneck and then back
to the cabin top winch which seems to be more than adequate to sheet it in. I
haven't really found the sheeting force to be that big a deal. It only takes a
couple of wraps around the winch and I can crank the sheet in 30+ knots
of wind with no trouble at all. Also we used a 4 to1 system on the control
lines and even with the main fully loaded in the worst wind even my wife
could pull the car up to center line and beyond.
The real bonus as you mention is the gain in cockpit space and the fact that
you don't have those sheets dragging through the cockpit every time you tack
( or especially jibe). The sail also handles much better and you can control
the main better. You can take some of the heel out ( which my wife is
appreciative of) with the traveler.
It was kind of expensive mostly because I also put in a new mainsheet system
using Harken blocks (1540) the price for everything was around $1000.
For many years I lived with the bare teak toe/rub rails on my Cape Dory. While the teak rail is very pretty, it is totally useless as a rub rail. Whenever arriving at dock I was constantly avoiding any contact with the rail to protect them. When tying up along side of a dock I had to use many fenders to ensure nothing would touch the soft teak railing. Hence, I called them my rubless rails.After too long of a delay I finally added the required metal rub strip.
My decision was to go with stainless steel. If I was going to add the strip to protect the teak I didn't want to go cheap and use aluminum and worry about it getting damaged. I got my rails from West Marine (model 408278) in 12 foot lenghts and predrilled on 6" centers.I started at the stern and worked my way around the boat fastening with #8 screws. I also used a little silicon sealant to bed the strip.For the ends at the bow I used tapered rub rail ends (model#202390).The total material cost was under $200 and it took about 2 hours for the job. My only regret was "Why didn't I do this sooner?".
This tip of the week came by way of a Christmas gift from one of my fellow workers. We exchange names at the office and give each other gifts during our Christmas party. My standard is to pick something like a peanut gift box which is easy to find and certain to be consumed by the receiver. This year I received a sailing calendar and the Nautical Chart -Symbols, Abbreviations and Terms Manual. This manual is great and the topic of my tip.
The Nautical Chart -Symbols, Abbreviations and Terms Manual is prepared jointly by the Dept. of Commerce (NOAA) and Dept. of Defense (DMA). It has all the keys,symbols,notes,and terms to explain everything found on NOAA charts. I had the actual Chart #1 (a training chart of somewhere in New England) which on the back gives most of the key information but it was never handy when I needed it. This manual is laid out well by listing items in groups as well as alphabetically in the index. I can't find my chart #1 to compare it to the manual but I know I like the manual better and will keep it close to my navigation station on my boat. My suggestion is to buy the book for yourself and also keep it in mind for a great gift for that fellow sailor.
How many reefs can you take in your main sail? If the answer is one, plan this winter to get your sail to a sail loft to have an additional reef added. If your answer is two, then could you use another? I had a very high third reef sewn in my Cape Dory sail soon after I purchased the boat. I can probably count the number times I used the third reef on one hand but when I need it , it was great to have. Does your boat have roller furling on the headsail? Is your headsail very large? You may want to consider a jiffy reefing for your genoa. I had a hanked on 140% genoa and an 85% jib, which created a large hole in my sail area range. I know it's a little unconventional but I had a reef added to my genoa to reduce it down to about 110%. No, it isn't as easy as roller furling but it works. The reefed 110% sets well and has allowed me to keep my genoa up much longer than before. Reefing is much easier than changing headsails. Before adding the reef there had been numerous time that I had taken down the genoa and hoisted the jib only to find it necessary to put the genoa back up one hour later. So get with your trusted sailmaker now that business is slow and talk about adding an extra reef. Next cruising season you'll be glad you did.
For this week's tip I'm going to break away from my usual format and send you out to another link. I have avoided doing this up to this point since I hate the number of pages on the web with little content and only links. However, I was impressed with this site and I think you will enjoy it. It shows you a variety of simple knots and explains how to tie and use them. Besides I can't think of a better way to spend that cold winter's night than with a short piece of cord practicing tying your knots.
Well after all that hard work was it worth it? I think so. I still haul my boat annually but am certain the bottom could easily make it for two years without any substantial growth. I just like to give my boat a chance to dryout and I need to do other work as well. (Wax topside,clean prop,service thru hull fittings, etc.) When the boat is hauled the bottom is power washed and it looks good enough to go right back in the water. I've even had people think the year old paint had just been applied. The manufacture recommends 3 coats, but all I do is check for any signs of the white paint showing through. If not, the bottom gets one coat of paint overall and a second from the waterline down to about 2 feet. This paint stays active, wears even, and requires no sanding. I am sticking with the Interlux CSC ( I'm afraid different brands might not interact well) but there are several different brands on the market which are less costly. I am very satisfied with the results and my annual bottom job is now very simple. If you plan to keep your present boat for more than five years I think the hard work is well worth it. If you are doing the barrier coat anyway try the ablative paints. They really avoid that accumulation of old paint and eliminate the sanding part of bottom work.