Saturday, February 17, 2018

"Your channel will no longer be eligible for monetization"

Really? Gosh, what should we do?

Nothing, it appears. In the last five years, we've posted a hundred or more videos to include in our blog. On You Tube, we have have more than 360 "followers," a term we really dislike. Many of them have contacted us to comment or simply say, "we like your videos." Some have become friends.

The last time we looked, we had earned something over $3.00 for all of that work. No problem, we never began posting videos to make money. So, we'll continue to post videos of our boating adventures and You Tube can continue to make whatever money they can on our efforts.

Our faithful Admiral, Frances, has visited yet another doctor and has received some what we were told is really useful medication. She's not strong enough to throw lines to the dock hands yet, but knowing that woman, she will be. Figure two more months and she'll be climbing up and onto the boat and letting us know it's OK to get underway.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Ice in the river

We haven't accomplished anything on the boat due to the extended period of cold weather that we've been having. (If you are a nearby boating buddy, we know that you already know this, but our readership spans the nation after all).

It began with a week of very cold temps, not out of the ordinary for late January or early February. There was also a couple of minor snow storms and then a drastic change in temperature upward for a couple of days and to see 45 degrees during the day at this time of year is certainly not what we'd normally expect.

Just a few days of warm weather started the snow melt north of us and that raised the level of Connecticut's major rivers. Then it got cold again, but this time colder than anyone expected. Early on January 14, the temp in our car measured -7 degrees at 7 a.m.

As you might expect, we hearty New Englanders watched as most towns banned on-street parking, closed the schools and issued threats of electrical outages. There were long lines at our local supermarket and once again, we wondered what people do with all the bread and milk that they buy when faced with winter weather.

But, you'll be glad to know, we survived and due to Frances' superior culinary skills, did so over some damn good dinners. We did shovel some snow but there's nothing wrong with some exercise when you are otherwise trapped indoors by the cold.

We visited the boat earlier this week, mainly to charge the batteries. While we were there, we shot some video of the river. As of today (five days after our visit) the river is closed at East Haddam due to an ice jam. Two small (65 ft.) Coast Guard boats have been unable to break the ice dam and the bridge over the river was scheduled to be closed to traffic today while they made another attempt.

There are a number of missing spiles (pilings) at Portland Riverside, were our boat is, but nothing really serious. We have a couple of small boat projects that include refurbishing our trim tabs and doing some minor electrical wiring, but those can wait.

If you are among our friends who decamped for Florida (thinking of John T. here), good move this year.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Been taking a little break

We've been spending some time collecting ourselves after the storm that roared through here in early November. It brought down a neighbor's tree that punched a bunch of holes in our garage roof and left enough debris behind to cover most of our back yard.

After the insurance claim and the subsequent cleanup were behind us, we did visit the boat a couple of times just to do boring stuff like cleaning and covering the furniture. Of course, we also made a winter boat list.

During another visit, we removed the starter from the starboard engine and took it to Joe's Auto Electric, which is nearby. (Joe's father rebuilt a boat alternator for use about 25 years ago.) The starboard starter worked OK, but not as well as the port one, which Joe's rebuilt several years ago. Just seemed to us like prudent maintenance. They know the starter is from a boat so we don't expect it back any time soon. No pics of the starter removal but we'll shoot some when we put it back in.

 Making the trim tabs functional
Another item on the winter boat list is to get the trim tabs working. They did work at one time but very slowly. Recently they stopped altogether and although the boat runs fine with the tabs fully retracted, it would be nice to know that they do work.

We'll shoot some pictures of what we've been doing next weekend. So far, we've limited our tab work to disconnecting the hydraulic cylinders from the tabs themselves. That allowed us to pull the tabs all the way down and apply several coats of paint remover. Scraping off many coats of bottom paint (not put there by us) takes a long time but it eventually works. We're close to completing the top of the starboard tab and next weekend, we'll try cleaning off the bottom.

With both tabs disconnected from the rams, we tried applying some power to see if either of the rams extended. They didn't, although the pump was drawing some current. This may be as simple as filling the pump with ATF but that's a long shot. On a boat, the simple fix is fairly rare and in this case the pump is down there where the sun never shines so we have a feeling that this will turn into a true winter boat project. In other words, spend money.

Cold weather
We've gotten our first taste of really cold weather. Last weekend, we went to the boat full of good intentions but the cabin temp was 28 degrees and after an hour of charging the batteries with our little cabin heater on, it had risen to 30. We gave up and went home. No fun working when you can't feel your fingers.

The cold weather is tough on Francis but she has compensated nicely by redecorating parts of our house. She can't get an appointment with a specialist until late January but with any luck (and some decent medical care) she'll be back to heaving a bow line next spring.

A shoutout to Bill Moser
Thanks, Bill, for reminding us that we've fallen behind on blog posts. Yes, we're still alive and kicking and looking forward to the days getting longer and our boat "to-do" list getting shorter. Happy holidays to you from both of us.

Friday, November 10, 2017

End-of-season winterizing

We certainly don't look forward to this job and it was made just a little worse because the day we did the engine winterizing, it was a beautiful day. While the go-fast boats roared by our slip at Portland Riverside, we dragged down the oil, filters and our vacuum pump and got down to the dirty work.

As usual, we warmed up the engines, spread out the Puppy Pads in the bilge and changed the oil filters. Dropped one but caught most of the old oil in a zip-lock bag along with the old filters. After that, we used the vacuum pump to extract the old oil from the engines and then started them up and let them suck up about three gallons each of anti-freeze. A shot of Marvel Mystery oil down each carb and the boating season was officially over.

We certainly hope that this year's weather isn't a hint of what's to come. The week before we brought the boat up from Norwich, the sea conditions were not pleasant and we picked our day to travel carefully. It was a rough ride in the Sound but nothing that rearranged the furniture. A few days later when we did the winterizing, it was like summer. As we write this, a couple of weeks later, we've experienced a big storm that downed some trees in our yard that punched some holes in our garage roof. All's good with the boat, however. She's safely in the big shed and we've found the time to pump antifreeze through the boat's fresh water system.

For  those of us who know us well, we can report that Frances is doing well. She was slowed down a little by what appears to be Arthritus but she is coping and in great spirits to get through the winter and begin another boating season. If you know her, I know she'd love to hear from you. You know her email address.

We shot some video of some of the winterizing agony. Not a lot of detail there since we've done that in previous years and frankly, changing the oil really doesn't vary much from year to year and it is anything but exciting video.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The cruise to winter storage

October 18... time to leave American Wharf and cruise up to Portland Riverside for what right now, seems like a very long winter with no boating.

We planned this trip for the previous week but every time we looked at the weather, it seemed to get worse. Winds from the west at 15-20 kts. is a little too much for us. When the Small Craft Advisories finally went away, we looked at what we thought would be the best day and headed out.

Frances is doing fine but we felt that the ride might be a little uncomfortable for her as would driving an extra car to Norwich so Bill created an alternate plan in which he'd bring the boat up himself.

Since you're reading about it here, you'll know that that worked out fine.

 The Enterprise Car Plan 
Bill drove his car to Norwich on October 18 and left on the boat. Once in Portland, Bill called Enterprise Rent-a-Car in Middletown and they picked him up at the marina (this was prearranged). Once he dropped off the delivery person, he drove the rental car home in Hartford. The next morning, he returned the rental car to Enterprise in Norwich and they gave him a ride back to the marina, where he picked up his car and headed home. Perfect! Total cost: $84.83 plus $2.00 to refill the rental car with gas. When you consider how easy this made the whole trip, we consider it a bargain.

The cruise
The Thames River was docile but cold. Bill had to stop at the sub base while the USCG and the sub base police pulled a sunken aluminum row boat out of the channel. That took almost half an hour. Once we turned west on the Sound, I could see that it wasn't going to be pleasant. The west wind was there as predicted and the opposing tide made it 15 miles of what we like to call "bang and slam" boating. However, we didn't rearrange any of the furniture and our 37 year old Silverton went through it without any problem.

The ride up the Connecticut River was fine (absent any fall foliage) and Enterprise picked Bill up within 15 minutes of his call. The pickup driver was a 20-something female who told Bill that he was "funny, like my grandfather." Oh, well. At least she didn't say "my late grandfather."

Docking at Portland Riverside after a long - but great - day.

There's video here. A little long but at the end of the year, we like every minute we can get.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Tinted windows

After discussing darkening the windows on our boat for about eight months and contacting a number of vendors, we finally decided to begin by having just the three large windows at the rear of the cabin tinted.

We arranged to have Dwayne, the window-tinter who seemed the most cooperative (and who lived fairly close to Norwich), meet us at the boat at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Our first task was to remove the three six-ft. long rear blinds that were in poor condition,  Then Dwayne took over. When he was finished less than an hour later, our boat had a new look.

The amount of light and heat that the tinted windows keep out is substantial and while no one will ever notice but us, look really cool.

Can we see out at night? Yes. Can people see in at night? No, not under normal conditions. This was a fairly expensive job but we're more than pleased with how it looks and the extra room that became available once the blinds were gone. Next, we'll save up some more boat bucks and have the side windows done, as well.

With that spiffy new look to the back of the boat, Bill was moved to wash the exterior, a job that took him the entire rest of the day.

On Sunday, we decided to head over to the gas dock to fill up. Our original plan was to cruise over to Greenport during the week but the aftermath of Topical Storm Jose was predicted to make that an very unpleasant ride. But we gassed up ($450) anyway.

Not a very exciting video but we've added it below it anyway.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Reverse Polarity

"I am an expert of electricity. My father occupied the chair of applied electricity at the state prison."  - W. C. Fields

Reverse polarity is something that most boaters don't really worry about. Those big yellow (and expensive) shore cords that we use to connect to shore power have carefully designed prongs that keep us from plugging them in backwards.

Our boat has two reverse polarity indicators (tiny red lights) on our power panel and neither of these has ever lit up.

On Saturday evening of Labor Day weekend, we were aboard and Frances was busy preparing dinner. Yes, she was drawing a lot of current, what with both stove elements lit up brightly and the toaster oven just getting warmed up.  That was in addition to the battery charger and the hot water heater. Then the lights went out.

No problem. We know what to check. Circuit breakers?  All on. The breaker at the dock? On and ready. Shore power cords connected? Yes, nice and tight. What the hell? There goes cocktail hour!

Since Bill didn't have any useful ideas, we decided to go to bed and sleep on the problem.

The next morning, Bill assembled all of his tools and got access to the breaker panel (with the boat unplugged from the dock, of course). His theory, based on a good night's sleep, was that the main breaker was faulty. Sounded good and he soon swapped in a new one. But that didn't work either. 

Then he went for the socket into which one of the shore plugs connects to the boat. Unfortunately, that looked good too. Nothing black and burnt.

Then it was down on the wet deck to look up behind the shore power inlet plugs. Maybe a wire had broken off somewhere? Yes, this was a desperation play because we had zero additional ideas. Fumbling up behind the plug we could feel the three wires (black (hot), white (neutral) and green, (ground). Each was routed neatly forward into the boat except the black (hot) wire that first detoured into a fixture mounted between the two power inlets. That fixture was our 1980-era reverse polarity indicator that had never worked. In fact it had been ignored for all the years we have owned the boat and we would never have known its function except for the faint words "Reverse polarity" stamped on its face.

The excitement built as Bill disassembled it and pulled it out of its mounting hole. It had a tiny bulb, long since dissolved in corrosion. Hmm. Black wire goes in energized and come out dead. Time for some quick rewiring!
The original Silverton reverse polarity light removed. No continuity between those two contacts meant no juice to all of the boat except the air conditioning.

It took only a few minutes to butt-splice those lengths of black #10 wire together and fasten the power wires back in place. Even with the door closed, we could hear Frances cheering as all the lights came back on.
Now we have some holes where the old light lived. We'll have to fit something in there. We'll bet that Frances has some ideas!