Saturday, May 28, 2011

Home again!

Today, we loaded up and pushed off from the dock in Portland, more than ready after a long winter to join our friends at A-Dock in Norwich.

We got going at 10:15 AM under gray skies. The forecast promised it to be hot later, when the fog burned off, but our ride down the river was cool and windy.  This year we only hit four pieces of driftwood but nothing serious.  We have come to expect that after a wet spring.

This year, we limited our speed to just 10 mph, hoping to save fuel and seeing no need to rush.  A little less than three hours later, we entered the sound.  Still gray and foggy but very nice to see our favorite lighthouses pass on our starboard side.

Finally in the Sound, we turned east and headed to New London. As you can see, the sound was our friend today.

We maintained our 10 mph cruise speed and about an hour later, we passed another of our favorite lighthouses, New London Ledge light.

A mile or so up the Thames River, we were stopped by a Coast Guard Auxiliary boat.  We were told that we would have to wait 30 minutes while a skull race took place.  So we waited while the CGA  guys watched to see that we didn't try to creep up river.

Once released to proceed at "dead slow" speed, we passed the Yale Boat House where there was obviously a party going on.

Once past that, we decided to screw the fuel economy and pushed the throttles up.  Once we arrived in Norwich, we we were greeted with yet another Police Boat, but in this case, they were just out looking for us.

Nice boat and a nice greeting.

There were lots of hands on A-Dock to take our lines. God, it is nice to be home again.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Special update - boat in the water!

Act Three went into the water on May 24, late in the afternoon.  We went down and checked things out. It looked a lot dirtier than it did in the shed but otherwise was fine. We puttered around, started the port engine (the starboard engine didn't want to start), looked in the bilge to see how the newly packed stuffing boxes were doing, checked the lines and then went home.

Today, May 25, we left work at noon and again went to Portland Riverside. It was a beautiful warm afternoon and we got a lot done. We began by changing the plugs on the starboard engine, gave the carb a squirt of gas and off it went. The engine idled smoothly and came up to temperature. 

With that out of the way, we began the re-installation of the bridge enclosure, which we had taken off in the fall to clean and have a few small repairs done.  We had also removed the roof section, which we wanted to clean and waterproof. The yard crew found Bill's wrestling match with this giant piece canvas quite amusing but eventually, we got it up and in place.  Then we began installing the 12 side curtain sections.  Hmm. Where does this one go?  There must be 100 snaps and 24 different zippers but eventually, it all went together and looks pretty good.

To top the afternoon off, we sat up on the bridge, started each engine and let it run in gear at an idle.  No drama. It felt great sitting up there in the very warm afternoon sun.

Before we left, we began putting things away and stowing the stuff that we'll rarely, if ever use during the summer.

After work tomorrow, we'll change the oil and the oil filters on both engines.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Still waiting

 Act Three is still in the shed. We guess the excuse is that last week's heavy rain showed the launching of boats. We didn't bother to ask. The boat yard's owner, Ken Gouin, arrived back from Florida mid-week and as usual, things really started to hum. More docks were installed (in the rain, we suppose) and many boats were launched. On Saturday, we were asked to help Wayne (Ken's son) and Roger (worker) move a 38-ft. condo-style Silverton out of the well and into a nearby dock.  The owner simply had to be in the water ASAP so they launched his boat.  On Sunday, we watched as he fired up his diesels and literally lurched into the channel.  While he left the dock, gunning the diesels and madly shifting the transmissions, we happened to be talking to an old friend who ties up his boat at the same dock in New London where the Silverton condo does.

"He never takes the boat out," our friend said. "It's just their summer cottage."  Good to know. Hope this marina queen can dodge some of those trees we saw floating down river.

We just might get into the water next week, not that anyone had the courtesy to tell us that. The couple who own the boat next to us in the shed said that they were going to be launched on Monday and the couple with the boat in front of us said that their boat was going to be moved out of the way so that we could be launched.

We'll see.

Not to waste any time, we cleaned and waxed the hull.  It looks OK, but the Gelcoat on our old Silverton's hull sides has doubtless seen better days. At least it has something on it to protect it from the sun and salt water. We also tested all the navigation lights, took off the cardboard we had used to protect the deck during the winter and even removed the aerators from the faucets in the galley and head.  The aerator in the head was pretty well clogged and the one in the galley was clogged but cleanable. Guess we'll see of we can replace the one in the head.

If you are still reading at this point, you must really love boats.

We put out dock lines all the way around, removed the drop cloth that had been protecting our perfectly beautiful refinished swim platform, hauled up the inflatable and then headed for home where Frances had prepared a pork roast.

All the boat yard people have to do is unplug the electric line and drop us in the water.  The photo shows our little Yamaha portable generator. Once they do put us in the water, there will be no electricity, so if Frances wants to vacuum. we'll fire up the generator.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 14. Our last weekend in the shed

The folks at the boat yard told us today that the boat will probably go in the water Monday, May 16. Note the word "probably." We'll see, but if not Monday, it will be one day next week.  That starts the sequence of things we have to do to move the boat to Norwich.  Tomorrow, we'll drive to Norwich and put out our docking lines, fenders and boarding step.  Once the boat goes in, we'll start the engines, check things out and hopefully get a chance to change the oil and filers before we leave.  If not, we'll do it once we get to Norwich.

Today, we started very early with a stop at Defender in Waterford to get some hull cleaner and polish and a flag holder that Frances has been requesting for months. With that done, we went back to Portland and did a few last minute maintenance things like replace a canvas snap on the side of the bridge and investigate why our old Guest remote control spot light wouldn't light up any more.  The relay in the spotlight had apparently hung up and since this thing is probably 20+ years old, we decided to give it one more opportunity to redeem itself.  We turned it on and then gave it a sharp rap with the handle of a screwdriver.  That did it.  The spotlight came to life and continued to work each time we tried it. Note to the boat list for next winter:  Ask Santa for a new spotlight. Today's equivalent of our old Guest spotlight (almost identical to the old one) is more than $300 so Santa may need to be generous.

With that done, we began cleaning the cabin top. This is a two-step process: first apply the cleaner and once that has been polished off, apply the wax. The cabin top looked OK after application of the cleaner.

We're still trying to get rid of the oak leak stains that appeared while we were waiting to get into the shed last fall.  These stains won't come out with any substance that we have tried.  We'd rather not damage the gel coat trying to sand them off.  Anyone have any ideas?

Then, armed with a supply of old towels, we began the cleaning and then waxing process on the starboard hull side.  Amazing how big a 34-ft. gets when you do this. We managed to finish the starboard side before we ran out of energy.  Looks OK,  Not like a new boat but probably good enough for this season,.Tomorrow, after returning from Norwich, we'll tackle the port side.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Having some fun with Silverton

We thought it might be fun to write a sales brochure for the 1980 Silverton as it might have been written back when the boat was built. "Family values" were a big thing back then and the $27,000 that the basic boat cost would have been quite an investment for most families. Knowing what the boat is really like, we took a few liberties but they are all in fun.

A new yacht for a new for a new decade… The 1980 Silverton 34 Convertible!

Just step aboard this beauty and you’ll know that Silverton means fun on the water for the whole family!

Look at those lines!  Completely redesigned this year with features that will turn envious heads at your dock. That flared bow will cut through the roughest waves and that gentle sheer-line includes a generous four-inch wide deck.

The hull of the 1980 Silverton 34 Convertible is solid fiberglass, hand-crafted by Sliverton’s expert assembly team.  The decks are cored with balsa, a new light and super strong material that saves weight and adds strength.

Step into the 225 sq ft. cockpit complete with single boarding ladder.  (Additional boarding ladders are optional.) That coaming is a full three feet high so falling overboard is virtually impossible, even for the most energetic youngster.

You can even order an optional swim platform in rugged fiberglass or classic teak to make the whole ocean your family’s favorite swimming hole!

Open the two giant doors in the cockpit floor and you’ll find two state-of-the-art Chrysler 360 cubic-inch Marine engines.  These V-8 engines, built in the American tradition of pure power and reliability, total 500 HP and will give you speeds of 25 miles per hour or more.  Slow down a little and enjoy real fuel savings, something that many Silverton owners do given today’s $1.25 per gallon fuel prices.

And with the 1980 Silverton 34 Convertible, you can forget engine tune-ups.  Simply order the optional all-electronic ignition and you’ll never have to worry about old fashioned points again.   Your engines will start immediately using a big Group 27 battery and massive 65-watt alternator on each engine. Dual engine batteries and vapor-proof battery switches are optional.

And look where the engines are mounted! They’re “aft” and out of the way under the cockpit to save space and move your Silverton 34 Convertible’s center of gravity back to improve handling.  Using Chrysler’s unique V-Power mounting system, these powerful engines transmit energy through Walter V-Drives via beefy 1-1/4-inch shafts to propellers that are a full 22-inches in diameter.  And best of all, the unique V-Power mounting system puts all the engine parts that you’ll need to access right at your fingertips.  You’ll wonder why all boats aren’t designed like the 1980 Silverton 34 Convertible!

Now slide open that big glass door (and optional screen) and step into the salon! The floor and walls are carpeted in attractive and durable carpeting.  Big windows surround you to let in light and large sections of the side windows can even be opened to let in that ocean breeze.  Optional air conditioning can make your 1980 Silverton 34 Convertible just like home!

Ask the little lady for some lunch or dinner and she can cook virtually anything on her two-element Princess electric stove.  She can wash up the dishes at the stainless steel sink or make things even easier with the optional hot water heater.  A double stainless steel sink and a 3.3 cubic-ft. NorCold AC-DC refrigerator are also options that you’ll want to consider.

While you’re waiting for your favorite meal to be prepared, light up and relax knowing that Silverton has cleverly hidden the 220-gallon gasoline tank right under the salon floor, where it’s out of the way.  This is design and engineering for which Silverton is known the world over!

Your friends will never believe that your Silverton 34 Convertible came with standard equipment like a stylish barrel chair, a pull-out sofa (sleeps two more guests) and a unique pop-up simulated wood grain table that converts instantly from a coffee table to a dining table.  Give Silverton lots of credit for thinking about all the ways you’ll enjoy your new Silverton 34 Convertible!

Look again and you’ll see that that your 1980 Silverton 34 Convertible has even more functionality.  The salon has its own completely enclosed and safe steering station.  That’s right!  You can steer from the comfort of the salon and there’s plenty of room to mount your optional LORAN unit. Score another one for Silverton! (Dual windshield wipers are an extra-cost option).

Beyond the salon going forward there are two more berths (there are six counting the fold-out sofa on your Silverton 34 Convertible) and a completely private bathroom with a flexible shower head.  Just close the door and enjoy a great shower even at anchor. With the optional water heater, your shower can be better than home!

Need to “go?” Silverton has equipped the 34 Convertible with a Gravity Toilet!  Flushing is as simple as stepping on a small pedal. Waste is flushed with seawater instantly and is stored in the lower part of the toilet ready for disposal with the optional macerator pump and Y-valve as soon as you are away from the dock.

Moving forward even further, you’ll find the master suite: two 8-1/2-ft. berths in a “V” configuration with lots of shelves and additional storage compartments to keep everything you need while cruising.  Once the kids are asleep, the captain and his first mate can open the overhead deck hatches and count the stars!

Ready to get underway?  Climb up the teak and stainless steel ladder to the flying bridge, where as captain you’ll command all of your family’s nautical adventures.  Note the vast display of instruments. You’ll be able to monitor everything from here. Silverton’s unique tinted venturi windshield will make steering from the flying bridge a pleasure and make you feel like the Captain you are!  Settle down in the center mounted captain’s chair and tell the crew to cast off! (Captain’s chair with padded arm rests is optional.)

You and your family are on your way to a safe and comfortable cruise aboard your 1980 Silverton 34 Convertible! See a great spot to stop for a swim?  You can anchor effortlessly with the optional electric anchor windlass. Just touch the “down” switch and your anchor will deploy automatically. When it’s time to leave, touch the “up” switch and your anchor is automatically drawn back aboard and stowed safely, without the assistance of a crew member.

While underway, your family can enjoy their favorite music with Silverton’s optional tape cassette player. For safety and convenience, Silverton can arrange for the installation of a 25-watt marine radio with 14 ultra-stable crystal-controlled marine channels.

You and your family will find that the only thing bad about your new Silverton 34 convertible is leaving it at the dock at the end of a cruise. Your children with show off the snapshots of their most recent nautical adventure at school and your wife will share the secrets of her great boating recipes with her friends.

For a long vacation or simply a weekend getaway, your 1980 Silverton 34 Convertible is the best investment your family can make!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Why isn't the boat in the water, you may ask?

Beats us!  As you can see, the river level is no longer a threat (and hasn't been in a week) but, there are the docks, still lined up waiting to be put in the water.

Apparently, the yard crew had a run-in with a dozen or 30-packs of Bud and almost nothing was accomplished this past week.  With no docks in the water, there is no place to put boats as they are launched.  I registered a complaint with Karen, who manages the yard, and we'll see how far that gets us.

There were many angry sail boaters around the yard today.  Sail boaters can get vicious and we heard lots of comments like "Aw shucks" and "my wife isn't going to be happy!"  Most of them relived their anger about not being launched by waxing their boats.  That 'ill show them!

Meanwhile, Darryl, husband of yard manager Karen, was taking advantage of the great weather on Sunday by hauling in a lot of fish.  He told us he caught many white and yellow perch and of course, catfish.  We asked him what he used for bait and he said, "just ole garden worms." Nice to know.

By now, we're running out of things to do.  This weekend, we mounted the boat's Coast Guard documentation number plate in the bilge against the hull on the port side.  We also installed new temperature sensors on both engines so that now the oil pressure and water temperature sensors are compatible with the new gauges. Then we took the stern light apart and measured the bulb so we could order a replacement LED for it. Oh, we also filled the water tank.

On Saturday, we noticed a discrepancy between the readings on the port-side gauges in the salon and the ones on the bridge.  Everything look OK so we decided to sleep on that little problem.

On Sunday, we noted that when we turned on the lower station port-side ignition switch, the gauges on the port side on the bridge functioned oddly.  Also, the low pressure light for the port v-drive didn't light up.  We investigated and found a broken wire that runs from the salon ignition switch to the instruments on the bridge.  That wire makes the bridge instruments functional even when the the engines are started from the salon.

We found that wire hanging with the ring terminal broken off up behind the bridge helm. Once we reconnected it, the upper helm gauges worked perfectly.

The interior of the boat is ready to be cleaned and I guess, not being in the water, that's the next thing we'll do.  Maybe we'll even have time to wax the hull.