Tuesday, March 28, 2006

There are better guitars to keep on board. I would really like my onboard guitar to be my Rainsong but its hard to beat the size and durabilty of a Baby Taylor. It sounds pretty good too. The Baby Taylor is mostly plywood so it is still pretty impervious to environment problems though I do keep the cabin warm and dry most all the time. The only downside to the Baby is that I really couldn't play a show with it.

The case stays on a shelf that is a good place for crew to store their seabags so I like to take the guitar off the boat or store it in the v-berth if there is a crowd. The few times I've used the boat to go play out I've brought the Rainsong and stowed the Baby Taylor in my truck.

I may finish recording my next CD on the boat. It's pretty quiet and I'm not often disturbed there. The acoustics aren't bad either. Since I'm doing the solo acoustic thing it's pretty easy to sit down and play most anywhere.

Friday, March 24, 2006


These are great little heaters. They cost about $40, are thermostatically controlled, and use 400 watts - about half of the power used by the full-size models. There are two of them on Scamper over the winter and it is always comfortable.


Two worthy pursuits - reducing the steps needed to get the boat ready for a quick daysail, and cleaning up the looks, lines, and decks. I decided to fasten two fenders to the dock. This way I or my crew are not bothered with retrieving or setting the fenders when leaving or coming into the slip. I bought a set of small cleats for each dock-mounted fender and have been pretty happy with the level of protection so far.

I also got six of these Taylor jam cleats (they call them something else but that's what they are) and put three on each side. They seem to work really well but I haven't tried educating deck-crew in their use.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Engine Flush

Last spring the fresh water cooling system disintegrated enroute to Olympia so I converted the engine to raw water cooling just to get me home. The engine was originally raw water cooled and I have no idea when the aftermarket cooling kit was installed. I talked to several Yanmar mechanics and they all agreed it should be no problem leaving the engine raw water cooled as long at the zincs got replaced as needed. Scamper has no hot water system (a plus in my mind) so I would not be missing any functionality.

I have added some sort of fresh water flush mechanism to all inboard boats I've owned in the past. They all required hauling out a hose when returning to the slip. When I re-plumbing Scamper's cooling system I added this feature and, for a year, dutifully flushed after every sail, short or long. This has the added advantage of regularly flushing the exhaust system which would stay salty even with a fresh water cooling system.

My wife rolls her eyes at my after-sail antics and it would be nice to make it a bit easier and quicker to take out and put away the boat.

To that end I'm trying out a Y valve that lets the engine get cooling water from the sea or from the fresh water system. Scamper holds 50 gallons of water and it takes a lot of dishwashing to go through the tanks during normal daysail and weekend use. The engine cooling system doesn't use too much water anyway. I've never thought the "emergency" bilge pump setup where you can get your engine to draw its cooling water from the bilge would be much use. In any case, using the fresh water tanks to flush the engine helps go through the water a bit quicker and will result in fresher water.

The new after-sail procedure is to open the cockpit locker just before I get into the slip and switch the valve over to the flush position. This lets me dock, idle for a minute or two, then shut the engine off almost right away. I don't have to get the hose out of the locker, connect it up at both ends, run the engine, and then put it all away.

I left the hose connection in place so I can put anti-freeze or a de-salt solution through the engine when necessary.

Everything In Its Place

These little plastic clips are great. A pair came with my cockpit table to clip the lowered tabletop to the binnacle guard. I've since found several places to stash a handy flashlight such as in the v-berth and under the nav station.

More Light

Boat US is selling these for around $75 on eBay. They list for around $120. I already had one and decided more light and heat is a good thing so I got another. There already was a screw-eye over the main cabin table so I added one over the galley, one over the nav station, and, seen here, one on each side between the after part of the cabin (where the galley and nav station are) and the main cabin.

I also added chains to get the lamps further away from the overhead. This lets me run the lamps bright (and hot) enough that I can read by them. The heat from two lamps keeps the cabin pretty warm too.