Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Blown Alternator and Class T 300Amp Fuse

Well when stuff goes wrong on a boat it never seems to be an easy fix.  In an attempt to find out what happened during last week's trip down river when we lost electrical power, I began trouble shooting our 12V system.

Upon testing the alternator I discovered the diodes were blown in it.   Luckily I had a back up alternator on boat.
Blown Alternator
As you can see in the photo a good deal of black soot was coming from the back around the area of the button diodes.

Shiny new alternator
Both alternators had the same rating, but the new one had terminals slightly higher then the older one, requiring a new ground cable to the engine block.  Once that was done all work well with the engine.
Fitting new ground cables
But not everything worked the way it should.  The house batteries would only work when the starter battery switch was in the combined mode.  So I dug all around in the engine room looking for the issue.    Then I thought about the two little girls from AdventureSail a couple of weeks ago.   Their motto was it's never the wrong time for a selfie.   I figured why not, no one would really believe I was upside down the in the engine room any way.

A bit more digging around led to the discovery that current on the house batteries were reversing themselves through the combiner. A Class T 300 Amp fuse near the positive side of the house batteries had blown.  Replacing that led to the problems all begin resolved.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

SIYC Drift/Race and turning five oh.

Last month we registered for the Sauvie Island Yacht Club's Drift/Race Cruise.  We were second to signup in the full keel class.

Our sign up package
The crew was comprised of Cheryl, Michelle, Tom, Kevin, Charing, Isaac, and your's truly.   We arrived at the boat at 7:00am to begin preparing her for the day.  Something happened and we lost our house battery bank, but managed to get the engine running.   Since we had our hand held VHF's we decided to go on to the race.   The race began at buoy 7 about 15 knots down river of the Vancouver Railroad Bridge.

Our first step in getting out was to get past the I-5 bridge.  I called for a lift and found the same operator who almost closed the bridge on us a few weeks ago.  He gladly opened the bridge for us and seemed to remember the boat's name.

Passing through the I5 Bridge
The Vancouver Railroad Bridge had just been opened by Moonshadow, staying open as we passed.

Through the Vancouver Railroad Bridge
Once we got through I turned the helm over to Cheryl and she led us under power to the starting area.

Cheryl at the helm.
We motored down to green buoy 7 which is about fifteen nautical miles from Salpare Bay.  Along the way the crew chatted and readied the cameras for the big race.

Kevin and Tom mounting a go-pro camera to the boat.
Tom, Kevin, and Cheryl chatting as we made our way down river.

Michelle asking the question, "we're racing this boat?"

Crew ready at the start

Isaac, "Dad, I'll jibe in a minute, let me finish my apple first."

Kevin and Cheryl getting the staysail sheets ready.
Once we got down to the starting line we waited for others to gather and ate an awesome lunch that Michelle had packed for everyone.  She had packed cheeses, raw veggies, crackers, and hummus.

Soon Craig the SIYC commodore called for the check in of the racers, and began the count down to the race. We started putting the sails up as the count down began.

CarolMarie getting her sails up
After the sails were up we circled as we waited for the start of the race.

Three of the competitors circling for the start.
 With a perfect start we crossed the line first, taking line honors for the start.

CarolMarie taking the start as the first one crossing after the firing gun.
 We didn't hold on to lead for long, Garry had developed a full speed as he crossed the line.

Shortly after the race begins we were passed by Garry.
The CarolMarie held onto second place for a good 45 minutes.  Here we are ahead of Moonshadow and Rowena.
CarolMarie holding on to second place.
In the photo below, way ahead is Garry leading the pack, then the CarolMarie, Moonshadow and Rowena.
CarolMarie still in second.
 By fifty minutes into the race we were passed by Moonshadow, giving the second place position to Richard.

CarolMarie passed by Moonshadow
An hour into the race we were past by Rowena.

CarolMarie in last place in the full keel division passed by Rowena
 The CarolMarie brought up the rear of the full keel class of boats drifting toward the finish.

CarolMarie drifting towards the finish

 All was not lost, because we did finish right before the first place boat in the fin keel class.

CarolMarie passing over the finish line right before the the first place fin keel boat.

CarolMarie finished
 At the finish the crew celebrated, taking down the sails and motoring over to Sand Island.

Race finished crew celebrated

Motoring to Sand Island at the end of the race

Tom and Kevin talking as we motored to Sand Isalnd

Motoring to Sand Island
 We moored at Sand Island and as I jumped off the boat the crew had made it down before me, sing "Happy Birthday" to me.  I was shocked and surprised; they had kept it from me the entire time.   We gathered over at Rowena for celebrated by having Guinness (thanks Michelle!), steak (thanks to Charing, and Cheryl), tortillas (thanks to Charing, and Cheryl), salsa (thanks to Charing, and Cheryl), lettuce (thanks to Charing, and Cheryl), tomatoes(thanks to Charing, and Cheryl), and avocados (thanks to Charing, and Cheryl).

Gathering near Rowena at Sand Island Park

Crew having dinner after the race....
Of course what's a surprise party without a goofy hat, birthday candles and cake.  Thanks, to Alicia and Ray, from Rowena all three were provided.   Here Ray is presenting me with the little birthday cakes, and candles.

Cake and candles.

Cake and candles.
 After the party we needed to get back to Salpare Bay because we didn't have a stable electrical system.  So the crew when back to the CarolMarie and helped put her away; flaking sails and putting the sail covers on.

flaking out the sails on the CarolMarie

Drifter ready for bagging.

 Everyone on the CarolMarie got crew shirts thanks to Charing....




Saturday the 17th of May was one of the best days of my life.  I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate by 50th, then by being with my best friends, doing my favorite pastime, and celebrating with my family and friends.  Thanks to my friends and crew: Tom, Cheryl, Michelle and Kevin. Thanks to my son Isaac for coming along even though he says he hates the boat.  But most of all thanks to my wonderful wife, Charing for pulling together a perfect day for me.

Even though we lost the race, I wasn't bothered by that fact in the least.  I am reminded in sailing (just like in life), it's not about who is there first it's about the adventure getting there.  If last Saturday were the metaphor for my life, I'd have to say I came in first, because my adventure was much sweeter with the friends and family I had on our boat.

Monday, May 12, 2014

CarolMarie - OWSA and AdventureSail(R)

Last Saturday May 10th the crew of CarolMarie volunteered to support OWSA in AdventureSail(R).  AdventureSail® a nationwide program for young girls at risk ages 9 to 14 is a rewarding experience for the volunteers as well as girls.

We had Charing, Terry and Jim Novel (S/V Ranidan) joining us as volunteered crew, along with one OWSA volunteer, one AdventureSail(R) volunteer and two girls. We sailed from Salpare Bay going to the Rose City Yacht Club where we picked up the volunteers and girls.  We took them out for a day sail on the river, and they had a blast.

Fun day overall...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The CarolMarie is now registered for SIYC Race Drift and Sailstice 2014.

Last night the call went out for crew because we'd register the CarolMarie for Sailstice 2014 and for SIYC Race Drift.

The SIYC race drift has three other boats in the same class of the CarolMarie, so it should be fun.  Answering the call for crew One Boot Tommy, Fingers Rhodes, Charing, and Michelle.  That was a winning crew for the SYSCO races, so with luck it will be on the CarolMarie. The Sauvie Island Yacht Club’s Race 2014 will be on the 17th of May and is an all day event.  The race starts about half way down Sauvie Island and ends on the other side of St Helen’s.  The start begins at 12:00pm so we need to be there early to get the boat to the start line in time.

The 21st of June is Sailstice 2014! Save the date! ( This is an all day – all out sailing tradition.   Everyone who went last year and a blast! - Summer Sailstice was founded in February 2001 by John Arndt, as the global, annual celebration of sailing held on the summer solstice. The annual Summer Sailstice sailing event is free to all participants and has grown from 200 boats signed up in 2001 to almost 5,000 boats today. Since many sailors join in the fun on many different boats, the actual number of Summer Sailstice sailors participating is estimated at almost 19,000 annually. Summer Sailstice strives to inform and mobilize sailors, their families and communities to enjoy and conserve the beauty of the oceans and while raising awareness of human impacts on the fragile marine environment and wildlife. One of my earlier boat S/V Merlita was the 25th boat to join Sailstice in 2001. My tradition has been to take the day and circumnavigate Sauvie Island going from the Willamette River to the Multnomah Channel to the Columbia River to complete the circumnavigation. Sauvies Island is larger than Manhattan Island, and much nicer to look at.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

When Cruising, Sh*t Happens

Last weekend was the SIYC’s annual navigation cruise, and we attended with the CarolMarie.  The premise of the navigation cruise begin with a quiz of navigation questions and puzzles, which are graded once your boat arrives at the meeting place.  This year’s meeting place was the Gilbert River docks on the north west corner of Sauvies Island.
Isaac and I on the weekend cruise
My son and I together took the boat down to the Gilbert River docks.  We left at 11:30am on Saturday, starting down river from the Salpare Bay Marina we went under the I-5 Bridge whose mid-span was 64 feet in clearance while we needed 58 feet.  I called the Vancouver Railroad Bridge for an opening.   

The bridge tender responded the traffic was fairly heavy on the rails, and it would be a while.  Soon two tugs boats lined up on the down river side of the bridge and we were joined by another sailboat called “sail la vie”. 

At 12:45pm the railroad bridge swung open and we waited for the traffic to clear then went through.  We dug out the Autohelm, and connected it up to steer us down river. While there was a cool wind running through the cockpit, there was no wind.  Isaac and I talked about loads of things to pass the time. I asked him at one point to read off our chart plotter how we were doing.  “Seven and a half knots, S.O.G.,” he called out.  Our knot meter was reading 5.4 knots, so we getting a define push from the river.
Isaac at Stern of S/V Rowena
At 3:45pm we arrived at the Gilbert River docks. We hadn’t finished the navigation quiz, but gathered with everyone else aboard S/V Rowena to review answers.  Having not finished the quiz we came in fourth of four boats competing in the quiz.  Six boats from the SIYC were there at the docks.  We all joined together for dinner on S/V Rowena again.
S/V CarolMarie at Gilbert River Docks
After dinner, four of us brought our guitars and had a jam session that went well past 9:30 pm.  It was a great time.  Isaac and I retired to the boat afterwards for a game of chess, and a good nights sleep.

The next morning all the cruisers met again for breakfast on S/V Sequoia. The doughnuts we brought were a great hit.  By 10:30am, everyone went back to their boats to leave for our respective home ports.  I started our engine then went back to the dock to socialize a bit more before heading home.
Ray preparing Rowena before the call from Alicia
Ray McCracken, Craig Johnson, and I were all standing on the docks talking about various things, when a scream came from S/V Rowena. “Ray, Ray, there is water gushing into the boat,” Alicia screamed. Ray scrambled aboard, and soon enough hatch doors flew open everywhere. A cloud of the worst fumes a human being was ever witnessed to smell rouse from those open hatches.  Apparently, the boats holding tank split open, dumping the entire contains into the bilge of the boat.   Both Ray and Alicia were soon topside, ready to home and fix the damage to their home.

Since our marina is near Ray’s we boat buddied back up river.  We motored home leaving the Gilbert Docks about 11:20am.  Again checking our S.O.G. to the knot meter showed we were fitting a 1.8 knot current on the way home, making it slow.

About one hour into trip we noticed S/V Moonstruck tied to the dock, north of McCuddy’s in Scappose.  I thought it was odd, but I waved to Richard, getting a happy wave back while he was on his cell phone.  Richard and I are both docked at Salpare Bay, so I thought he must be stopping to see friends.  As Rowena passed them I noticed he slowed down considerably.  I called Ray on the VHF.  He told me, Richard was waiting for Garry to come down and help as they were having engine problems.  Rowena later caught up with us at the Vancouver Railroad Bridge as we waited for the tender to swing the bridge open. 

Ray flew past us in  Rowena and headed right under the I-5 Bridge.  I was a little nervous because I saw the channel mark reading only 62 feet of clearance and we were at 58 feet.  Just as I was pondering if I should risk the clearance another sailing vessel called the I-5 bridge tender from the up river side asking for a lift.  The tender responded immediately that he'd lift the bridge.  I made way as fast as I could toward the lifting span.  As I began to go under the upriver boat had just cleared the bridge, so the tender started lowering the bridge.  I immediately called the tender saying he was lowering the bridge on me.  He said it was too late, I should have called him.  He said I needed to risk the clearance on the fixed high center span.  Reluctantly I made way to the fixed span, clearing it with a foot or two, but not a relaxing passage.  I had a few words I would have told the tender at the time, none of which I care to repeat in this blog.

With the I-5 Bridge Closing we made way to the fixed span

At 4:30pm we arrived at the pump out station at Salpare Bay. Charing was there to great us and help bring the boat in.  We pumped out the holding tank and motored to the slip.  

CarolMarie Coming into Salpare Bay
Isaac at the bow helping with lines

All three of us cleaned up the boat, then went over to the Island CafĂ© for dinner and a couple of Island Vices.  I called Ray up and offered our extra bedroom to them.  He declined but sent me the picture, of McCracken’s Cracked holding tank.  He said they just finished vacuuming out the bilge and were washing it down.

McCracken's Cracked Holding Tank
I guess the lesson from the weekend’s voyages was, when cruising sh*t happens.

------------------- Post Cruise Updates -----------------------------------------------------------

Rumor was on the docks of Salpare Bay that Moonstuck engine issue may be a bad oil pressure gage.  Ray and Alicia have a new holding tank and are doing fine on Rowena.