Friday, May 26, 2017

Hard at work

Sometimes maintaining our tugs requires more than tools!  That's Dave Howell, Nellie D. 37VT63, suited up in the photo below, preparing to go under the hull to work on fiberglass.  It all began with the removal of a legacy depth transducer which, I might point out, was buried under the genset and dang near impossible to reach.  With the boat on the hard the transducer was cut off the hull and the thru hull removed.  Repairing the hole required that a 14" sloped circle be ground into the hull to provide a bed for the new fiberglass sheets.  It took 26 layers of fiberglass, starting with a 14" circle and working down to one that was 2".  The patch was repeatedly sanded and fared with resin to blend it into the hull.  No more worries about a possible leak into the boat!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tug Spotting

"Tug Twins" on the hard in Lake City, Minnesota. That's Jack Robert 37VT17 on the left who just had her cover removed and Nellie D 37VT63 on the left. Both crews have been spotted working various projects getting the boat's ready to splash.

Home Again

The Maitlands just returned home aboard Victorious 37VT26 after 7-1/2 months of cruising.  They left their home port in Massachusetts and spent the Winter in Florida.  All their great adventures can be found on their blog at:

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Not only do LNVT owners get together, but they often dress alike!  Here is Ed McChain, Thistle 37VT47, and Ken Maitland, Victorious 37VT26, sporting their LNVT tee-shirts.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Friends don't let friends polish brass alone!  Allan Seymour, Sally W 37VT42, lends a hand to Jeanne Koenig polishing Salty Paws' 37VT66 hardware.   Looks like Jeanne may have actually bribed Allan with a bit of wine!

Rumor has it Sally W and Salty Paws will be buddy boating on the Down East Circle Loop this Summer.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Replaced Your Impeller Lately?

How long do impellers last?  The pictured impeller lasted three years.  The real question is, where would you prefer to change yours--at the dock or in a seaway?  Consider it cheap insurance to install a new impeller at the beginning of each boating season.

What the 37' LNVT Offers

Some LNVT-specific comments from Heidi: 

--Winter weather in Florida this year has been overall warmer than normal. Our Victory Tug ventilation is fairly good although it would be nice to have more air in the forward cabin for sleeping. 

--There have been only 2 days of rain in the past 6 weeks. Last spring we prepared Victorious by sealing leaks in the main cabin roof, and replacing the dripping forward hatch, but we're not complaining that it has been mainly dry on this part of our trip! 

--There is good room on our tug for storage of bulkier items, so we brought a sewing machine with us on Victorious.  We have put it to use creating items such as additional screening for the forward hatch and sun covers for the windlass and outboard engine.  Sun and bugs are a given in Florida. 

--We can't say enough about the layout of our LNVT. It allows us multiple spaces to stretch out (napping? working on a project out of the sun? watching sunsets without fighting the bugs?) or to gain privacy.  It's a wonderful place to live and travel in for extended periods.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Ceiling Panels Available

Joe Payne (past owner of Hiaqua 37VT03) has original ceiling panels available on first come/first served basis.  Contact Joe at if you are interested - Joe would prefer you pick up the panels, but shipment may be arranged.  Joe says there is not enough material to completely re-do ceiling as there are many holes in the panels, but if you need to repair an existing ceiling, this is the material you need.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Florida Cruising Adventures (part 2)

From Heidi Maitland, Victorious 37VT26

Our next stops in the Keys included Lignumvitae Key and Bahia Honda which are Florida State Parks.   In between these parks is the city of Marathon, a good stop for when a cruiser needs more than just scenic vistas.  Marathon is always busy; the City Marina has 225 moorings and more than 50 boats were anchored waiting for a mooring when we arrived.  We stayed 10 days in Marathon and met up with our friend from Marblehead, Massachusetts who is on a Lord Nelson 41' sailboat.  There are lots of interesting similarities with our boats including light fixtures, teak finishing and beauty.  A highlight in Marathon is touring the Turtle Hospital.  When we visited, there were 49 injured or sick sea turtles being treated, the most recent arrival weighing over 300 pounds.

On February 19, we left the Florida Keys after 3-1/2 weeks and headed to the western part of Everglades National Park.  There are no towns or settlements in this area, just transient fishermen, cruising boats and canoeists and kayakers (who arrived via a 6-10 day backcountry wilderness route).  We anchored in the Little Shark River where, from the dinghy deck, we watched loggerhead turtles, countless birds and fish and even dolphins.  There was also an opportunity to kayak from our boat and sneak down into some side-creeks, as far as the mosquitos would let you! 

Continuing up the west coast of Florida we got dock space in Everglades City at the Rod and Gun Club for a night.  This outpost is the southernmost town on the Florida west coast mainland, and seemed wild-west-like, in a Florida sort of way.  Lunch at the Club was slow and gracious, and they don't take credit cards.  The next day, on our way to Marco Island, a sheriff's boat pulled up to us.  Ken and I looked at each other wondering what we had done wrong, but he just wanted to ask questions about our boat.  We seem to get that a lot!  

We continued north up the coast with stops at Naples, Sanibel Island, Cayo Costa (another Florida State Park) and got as far north as Cape Haze (just north of Port Charlotte) before turning south again.   In the Cape Haze area we made two trips to the beach at Don Pedro State Park which can only be accessed by boat.  This park not only offers pristine Gulf waters but is known for the tiny black fossil shark teeth which wash up onto the beach.  We found enough teeth to fill a small 35 mm film canister, remember those?  We had a special treat when 91 kayaks, canoes, and small sail boats competing in the Water Tribe Everglades Challenge detoured into our marina due to high wind conditions.  These racers are self powered and travel roughly 300 miles in 8 days or less.  You can learn more about these races at 

Getting ready!

From Sally Seymour, Sally W 37VT42

Yesterday was a little shake down cruise on the Connecticut River.  [Getting ready to set off on  the Mini Loop soon with buddy boat Salty Paws 37VT66].

Bonding Solution on Sally W

Regarding the recent discussion of corrosion of thru hulls, we can't guarantee that this bonding will solve the corrosion problem, but it sure looks promising.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Tug Spotting Lucy 49VT03

Just in from Victorious 37VT26

Can you see LUCY in this photo? It is Brooklyn, from our view on the East River. We weren't very close but it was easy to see the tug bow!

Getting out the binoculars I could see two people aboard and they were looking at us through binoculars. The current was with us and we were past in a flash. But I wish we could have planned a stop.

It was hot today so there were lots more boats out in NYC than we usually see.  Made it to Norwalk islands area, CT, near the end of our 7 month trip. The heat wave is breaking and a new front is blowing through.

Florida Cruising Adventures (Part 1)

From Heidi Maitland, Victorious 37VT26 

We last heard from Victorious as they were cruising this past Winter in Florida.  Heidi provided us with an update on their travels and their adventures - ed. 

The next stops after Boca Chita were all in the Florida Keys:  Key Largo; Islamorada; Lignumvitae Key; Marathon and Bahia Honda.  The 3-1/2 foot draft is a real plus for the Victory Tug where the Florida Bay's water depths are 6 to 8 feet deep maximum.  Key Largo was a provisioning stop for the us, with a good anchorage right off of a park at the town offices.  There is an inexpensive bus that runs every hour, but we chose to use our folding bikes (stored on the dinghy deck) to move about here.  

We broke up the leg from Key Largo to Islamorada with a stop in a small bay off  Windley Key.  Our first morning we awoke to find that sometime in the night our anchor had dragged.  We learned our Danforth anchor, which we changed out from our Forfjord last month, is not very good in grassy bottoms.  Luckily we had anchored far enough away from the other boats so that we didn't drag into anyone, but from now on we will have to be more choosy about our anchoring spots.  The next night we picked a sheltered corner off the north side of Islamorada.  Here we used our bigger Danforth, a 35 lb. Fortress, even though it wasn't rigged to the windlass.  We were very secure despite the fact that it was quite windy.  It was about a mile to dinghy to activities down the shore but we liked the peacefulness and safety of the secluded anchorage.  Our inflatable kayak was perfect here for exploring along the shore and around the mangroves.  We stayed for four nights and especially loved the beautiful sunsets.  

In Islamorada we moved to the Lorelai Restaurant dock for Super Bowl Weekend.  Friends joined us, staying with us aboard and sleeping in the main cabin's pull out settee.  They enjoyed being aboard and who knows, maybe a Victory Tug is in their future!  We spent our days walking, riding our bikes, kayaking and somehow always seemed to end up eating our meals at the Lorelei Restaurant at the head of the dock.  With no TV aboard, Super Bowl Sunday found us "die hard" New England fans once again at Lorelai's watching the best Super Bowl ever!  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Pretty as a picture

The beautiful photo is on the cover of the Spring Tuggers Issue.  It is Victorious entering Boca Chita in Biscayne Bay.  With no causeway to connect this island to the mainland all visitors must arrive by boat.  The island boasts a beautiful beach and a replica lighthouse, but not much else.  Heidi said, "We were not sure if we wanted to stay one or two nights, but the next morning when we saw that some critter (a rat?) had chewed through our cockpit door screen, we were sure we would be leaving!  The 'rat' helped itself to our snacks which we had in baggies on the counter and it left droppings all over.  We were vigilant for signs of the critter for a few days and were grateful it did not appear to have stayed on the boat." 

Seacock Replacement -- Lessons Learned

The following is a lightly edited email from Carl Miller, Saphria 35LN23.

Well, Saphira is back in her [Hawaii] mooring, about 30 miles each way to the yard. I did replace three thru hull fittings at this time. Total cost about $2000 counting the very expensive yard bill; 11 hrs labor charged. Based on the good condition of the thru-hull made the same way as the one that failed, I do not think the others in the boat require immediate replacement. But I will give you a rundown of each of the three since they each have a separate lesson learned.

I was unable to obtain either Groco or Perko fittings that have the built-in flange. The new fittings we installed with a 3/16” thick fiberglass backing plate, using 3M 4200 sealant inside and out.

1. This is the head discharge, the valve that broke. It is 1¼” valve fitting but connects to 1 ½” hose. (Disregard the plastic n=bilge hose). The shaft thatbturns the ball has rotted (dezincified) and the part that engages the ball had virtually disappeared.

Here are the guts to this valve. Note the slot in the ball where the shaft is supposed to engage. I wire brushed the ball, originally it was chrome plated but the plating was all gone, or covered by sealife crud—see separate photo. Even if the ball could have been turned the Teflon seals were chewed up by the roughness of the ball surface.

Somebody [John Mackie of John William 37VT68] mentioned these valves are not “full flow” --boy is that an understatement. Look at the reduction of the pipe size in the photo below—start with 1.25” ID pipe size (1.23 in2), then the nominal flow is a 1” diameter (.79 in2), then with the crud build-up in the ball which is pretty normal in a head discharge, the dia is .8” (.5 in2)— so the flow area of the valve is reduced by a third by the crud, and the nominal flow is already reduced by a third by the valve design. This doesn’t even consider the reduction from the 1½” ID of the pipe that is carrying the sewage. Use less toilet paper!

The hole in the hull was cut ¼” oversize for this valve, a mystery. The one above for ¾” thru hull (1” dia thread) is even more oversize. Here’s a photo of these holes and the hull thickness is clearly visible. I didn’t measure it but a safe estimate of the hull thickness here is 5/8”.

Hardest part to find was an elbow with 1½” hose and 1¼” pipe thread.

2. Now for the shower sump drain. This is a ¾” thru hull of the very same construction as the larger 1¼ valve described above. Since it was not damaged (note zero corrosion on the shaft) I was able to disassemble and see its interior design and condition. Happy to say that this valve could have stayed in the boat—it was on perfect condition except for the mineral buildup causing roughness on the ball. Plus there was a little slop in the handle which made it impossible to open the valve to full open as seen in the photos. Although the valve would still have worked, I am happy to have it replaced.

Here is how it works—the shaft has a square section on the end, this engages a slot in the ball and allows the turning motion. The shaft has a “head” which makes up to a Teflon seal inside the valve body; another teflon seal is on the outside under the spacer and handle, and the nut draws these to a seal. The ball is slipped into the valve body as the square section engages the slot. The valve interior has another Teflon seal both top and bottom of the ball; the top “nut” fitting makes up that seal, and has the pipe threads for the hose connection. No lubricating fittings. Electrical bonding was completed using a screw tapped into the valve body flange.

The toilet intake valve was also replaced. It seemed OK functionally, and it a more “modern” ball valve construction, but caution led to take it out and “look-see” It wasn’t any trouble to remove! Yikes only tree threads engaged the valve body to the thru hull. This was a result of the ¾” thru-hull threads being cut off too short; instead of a backing plate and a nut whoever installed this used a large brass washer and screwed the valve down to the washer and it is a wonder it held together. It is replaced with a conventional strainer thru-hull, with fiberglass backing plate and large bronze nut, and the new valve is threaded thereon.

In the photo you can see how little thread held this fitting into the boat—scary! Once again we found a problem BEFORE it happened at a bad time.

We could have reused this valve—it is perfectly functional-- but I will clean it up and keep it for a spare.

Pictures of completed installations coming on a few days.