Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Word from Sheryl Ann 41VT05 New Owners (Tuggers Vol.62)

We couldn't be more excited to be living aboard Sheryl Ann and part of this community. It means a lot that we have support for our questions as learning about a new boat can be extensive and in our experiences, often times expensive :) 

That was such a treat this morning to go the Sheryl Ann's page on the and see our photo! I will happily do some editing to update her profile soon-we've got a long next few days getting her into our marina in Seattle and moving aboard with our yellow lab Benny. We are hoping to be home on her in the next few days and have some time to breathe it all in and share photos. We are keeping the name Sheryl Ann because we think she's happy and it suits her well. I did notice there were five hull numbers rather than the 3 we kept reading about on the website-how funny they produced more and changed the name!  Makes you wonder where they are these days.

Anyway, thank-you again for the support and we are excited to be members of the LNVT Association (already sent in the membership fees!)

We are VERY excited!

-Khristy & Fletcher

Repacking the Stuffing Box (Tuggers Vol.62)

By John Barker,  Dun Wurkin #45

Saturday 1 November 2014 at 6 PM, after procrastinating for 5 months while the stuffing box leaked and was retightened and leaked some more, I decided to tackle the job while the boat was afloat in its slip (after fortifying my courage aboard the boat next door with bold talk with friends and a beer).  

Knowing that the job was coming, I began spraying the threads of the lock nut and packing nut with WD-40 months ahead of time.  I sprayed them at least three times between May 2014 and November 2014.  I also began assembling the tools I would need and would store in a special tool box labeled Stuffing Box Tool Box.  Here is a picture of the tools.

Starting in the upper left of the photo and working around is the 5/16 packing material, an 18” piece of line, some 1/8” wooden dowels, WD-40, and a hammer.  Then there is the chisel (it would work but I only needed one about 6” long, the stuffing pick (the 4” long silver colored tool with a corkscrew tip and a ring for grasping at the other end – my sincere thanks to the former owner, Peter Lukken, for having this tool onboard because the one I bought was too big), and the last tool is the chain ratchet.  Without the chain ratchet to turn the packing nut I could not have done the job.  The packing nut wrench that came with the boat was too small for the nuts, and there is not much lateral room to swing it anyway.  I also used a child’s toothbrush for cleaning out the threads inside the packing nut, a sharp razor blade to cut the new packing materiala short section of pipe the same diameter as the shaft to use to cut the packing material to the right lengthand I also had a short handled heavy hammer in the Stuffing Box Tool Box in case it was neededbut these four things are not in the picture.  Naturally I was out of paper towels and simply used (ruined) a towel from the shower.

I began by testing my bilge pump which sits about 20” forward of the packing not.  It worked fine and I thought it could keep up with the flow of water while I did the job. It did.

Next I sprayed WD-40 on the threads and on the shaft forward of the nut.  The shaft forward of the nut was fouled with some bilge gunk so I sprayed it, then wrapped the 18” piece of line around the shaft and then alternately pulled on each end of the line, rapidly spinning the line around the shaft and cleaning off the gunk.

Next I tapped a corner of the locking nut with my hammer and it moved slightly, so a couple more taps and I could turn it by hand and back it away from the packing nut.  I did not need the chisel because I had been spraying with WD-40 since May when I did need the chisel to first start tightening the nut to stop the leak months ago.

Next I put the chain ratchet on the packing nut and it worked like a dream, taking the nut all the way forward and off the threads.

I then picked out the old stuffing material.  This took a while, and next time I will wear gloves.  It takes a great deal of pulling force to remove the old packing material and each time my hand slipped my knuckles crashed into either the fuel tank or the shaft or the stuffing box, neatly changing the appearance of my right knuckles to purple swollen pulp, and breaking all fingernails below the quick.  Note to self: add gloves to tool box!

Here is a picture of old stuffing material hanging out of the right side packing nut.  The top of the picture is forward, and the white bilge pump can be seen below/left of the nut.  I slid the nut up the shaft to this point for better access.

After all the old packing material was removed from the nut, I then used a child’s tooth brush and WD-40 to clean out the inside of the nut and the threads.

Next I cut the new packing material to the correct length using the razor blade, at a 45 degree angle so that the edges would overlap, by wrapping it around the short section of pipe that is the same diameter as the shaft that I had kept in the tool box just for this purpose.  You don’t want to cut the material against your stainless steel shaft because the razor will cut the finish and cause it to rust.

Next, and crucial to getting the new material into the packing nut, I followed the advice of an experienced marine mechanic who knew that I was going to be doing this job: I hammered the packing material just a bit flatter so that it would easily slide into the nut, knowing that it would be compressed tight once the nut was tightened.  This worked well and I installed 4 rings of packing material into the nut, alternating where each end of each piece of new packing material met at 12 o’clock and 6’o’clock so that no two gaps lined up.  I tightened the nut down onto the threads with the chain ratchet after the first two pieces of packing material were installed, then backed the nut off and inserted the next two rings of packing material and retightened the nut until it did not leak.  I used the 1/8” wooden dowels to push the material into the nut evenly when it became stubborn or difficult.

I then cranked the boat and put it in forward gear at low RPMs to test the nut.  It did just fine and the nut was not hot to the touch after running for a while.

Then I cleaned up, put things away, and reported back to my neighbor's boat just in time for dessert.  I finished just before 8PM, so it took about two hours.  Now the special Stuffing Box Tool Box is stored next to the special Impeller Tool Box that has everything in it for that job!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

This just in from Tom Bauer on Cummins Thermostats (Tuggers Vol.62)

I'd like to add a short post script to the thermostat article from the Fall Tuggers.   It's important to know that Cummins thermostats operate the exact opposite of a normal car engine thermostat. Opposite from a car thermostat, a Cummins thermostat CLOSES as the coolant get hotter. This only comes into play when you are attempting to remedy an overheating Cummins away from home port. If a car is overheating under normal conditions, it's usually assumed the thermostat is stuck closed. The "get home" remedy is to remove the thermostat. Your engine may just run cooler than normal. 
If you removed the thermostat from a normally operating Cummins, it would overheat!  I haven't tried it, but in theory, if you didn't have a replacement thermostat, and you were overheating because of a thermostat stuck open, you could force the thermostat closed (or block the passageway) and the engine should return to normal temperature. 
The coolant doesn't want to go through the heat exchanger due to the increased resistance to flow. The path of least resistance (straight back to the coolant pump) must be blocked (closed thermostat) for the coolant to go through the heat exchanger. 

From the Bridge (Tuggers Vol. 61)

From the Bridge Issue 61

Nellie D. is underway and I write this while passing through Daytona Beach, FL.  We're three weeks out of the Chesapeake and a week from our destination in Naples, FL.  Aboard are Ken and Pat Smith, Polar Mist 49#7.  Tugs are very fertile soil and so there aren't many lulls in our conversation.  Ken keeps calling 37' LNVTs sports cars as they start, stop and turn faster than his LNVT 49.  But at one third of the 49's displacement, they'd better.

You can read about how much fun this year's three Rendezvous were in this newsletter.  For all their work putting together the events I'd like to thank Kim and Ted Shann, Tug E. Bear #62, Stephanie and Trevor Croteau, Hjortie #33, and Jeanne and John Niccolls, Knock Off #66.  On behalf of the fleet I say thank you and well done!

The Lord Nelson family consists of 85 tugs and 77 sailboats.  The sailors don't have an Association.  Believing there would be value to us if they did, we're helping them get one started.  Take a look at to see the progress.  Please help spread the word.  If you know anyone with a Lord Nelson sailboat please tell them about and pass their contact information on to me.

Just when we were getting comfortable with the number of LNVTs in the fleet (85), Tommy Chen tells me that he built two or three 41's that were sold in Japan.  Complicating matters, they weren't called LNVTs but were renamed for that market. We're back on the hunt; keep a good lookout. 

After the grey matter between the crews' ears what's the most important piece of safety equipment on a tug?  ActiveCaptain in one of their recent newsletters proposed it's an iPad; a standalone, self-powered, navigation, weather prediction and communication system.  That's hard to argue with unless you've had your finger smashed in a slamming Dutch door.  Then the most important piece of safety equipment is the door's latch.  Avoid the drama--use your grey matter-- always latch the door.  After all, you'll need those fingers to work your iPad. 

Dave Howell, Nellie D. #63

Waves from the Northeast (Tuggers Vol. 61)

By Sally Seymour, Sally W #42

We've all heard it: the inquiring knock on the hull … or the meager "Hello? Anybody aboard?" 
... or nearby shouts, "I LOVE your boat!"  Reactions range from the modest: "First I have to sell my sailboat"… to the rabid "I want one now!" 

The interest this summer has been particularly intense here at our dock where we sit surrounded by half million-dollar (and up) toy yachts. And we've noticed that the list of available LNVTs has shrunk quickly this year.  Looking back over the last five years, the trend is even more impressive.

Even though prices have not returned to 2009 levels, interest has rebounded. But we'll leave others to conjecture on the "whys"  while we observe and report.

Ron and Peggy Davis of Richmond, ME, new owners of Brendan Luck #48, spotted our tug in the harbor over Labor Day weekend. They stopped by to inquire, and we directed them to the LNVT website.  Six weeks later they bought After All #48 and made their inaugural cruise from Rhode Island to Maine.
Al and Diane Robichaud of Acushnet, MA are not far behind, but still eyeing the prize. We expect the number of available 37's to drop by one soon after they finish harvesting at their cranberry farm. Al enjoys grilled cheese sandwiches aboard Neptune #35 every Tuesday with John Isaksen in Fairhaven, MA.

Having guests aboard always tops the list of favorite activities. Roger Lee and Martha Burke enjoyed a family cruise in Penobscot Bay aboard Fram #71. The McChains cruised with friends and family in the Chesapeake Bay region, including the "tongue-twister" rivers Piankatank and Rappahannock. John and Jeanne Niccolls joined up with Bob Allnutt, Victory #2, and Dave and Bicki Howell, sans Nellie D. #63 who spent half the summer on the hard and the other on the dock at home. Sigh. [We are happy to report that Nellie D.'s  dock lines have been cut and she was recently spotted happily bobbing in Naples, FL - ed.]

Some tugs in our region spent a lonely summer at their docks. Carl Butterfield says, "Carla B. #5 spent a lot of lonely nights in the slip," while Hal Findlay says that Le Papa #24  "is screaming mad."  But Hal plans to make it up with plans to do the Great Loop in a couple of years.
There's a lot of talk about doing the Loops in the near future. Bill and Keefer Irwin took Callisto #19 on a trial run on a portion of the Mini Loop. They cruised the Champlain Canal and a portion of the Erie as far as Lake Oneida.
John and Lisa Taylor played good Samaritan with Aramis #40, towing a 60-foot sailboat off the rocks. However, no good deed goes unpunished and the little exercise compressed the arms of their tow bitt. Ed McChain reminds us to be careful when towing. He volunteered Thistle #47 to rescue a boat aground and missed disaster when a cleat flew off.
Photo by Sally Seymour, Sally W #42

In August, while Nellie D. #63 languished at the dock, Dave and Bicki drove to Maine, jumped aboard Sally W #42 and took a mystery cruise to Islesboro for a surprise rendezvous with Fram #71. Could it be any better?

Dorade Alignment (Tuggers Vol. 61)

By Craig Kurath, Annie #38

I had an interesting occurrence last month while on a fairly short and rough voyage from the lovely artist community of Langley, WA.  I traveled from Annie's home port of Port Townsend, WA to spend the evening in Langley and then the next day went on to Kingston, WA, where the Port Townsend Yacht Club was going to have our "Oktoberfest Brats & Beer in Kingston."  As we came around the south end of Whidbey Island, I commented that either there were a lot of small white fishing boats out or the wind was really blowing in the Puget Sound.  There were no small white fishing boats out there.  As we approached the shipping traffic lanes, the swells were three to four feet tall and were on our port bow.  The good news was I could point directly into the swells and our true course over the ground, compliments of wind, swells and tide was going to take us directly to Kingston.  What luck! There was a little green water coming over the rail and really strong spray made using the windshield wipers mandatory.  Annie and the crew were up to the ride, although the autopilot was not and I got to steer for the entire distance, a rare event for me.

Upon arrival, I was shocked to find that it was so rough, water had sloshed out of the toilet bowl! That was a first time for me.  Then I decided I had not dogged the port well enough. Then a little light went off: There was so much solid spray during the crossing, the dorade could not handle it and had dumped fresh air and salt water into the head!  In Kingston, I was telling a friend who is a retired supertanker captain about the event and he gave me an interesting lecture.  The bottom line is dorades work better facing backwards, drawing air out of the interior of the boat and aren't facing large seas.  I have seen many discussions about having a dorade facing each direction for better airflow and am sure this works very well.  I think I am going to leave both facing aft for the time being, allowing the starboard dorade to draw the hot air out of the engine room.

More discussions about dorades are found in The Best of Sail Cruising, by Anne Madden, and The Warm Dry Boat,  by Roger McAfee.  They agree that dorades should be facing aft, drawing air out of the boat.  They state that the natural airflow in powerboats underway (or pointed into the wind) is from the aft, venting into the forward part of the boat.  They further suggest that hatches should be hinged forward so they will draw warm, moist air out of the boat while preventing spray or worse from entering the boat when they are open.  Maybe when I replace or repair Annie's hatches I will reverse them.

Fashion News (Tuggers Vol. 61)

Rei and Al Peterson, Kedge 37VT43, hated to throw away the slightly weathered LNVT burgee.  What to do?  Well use the logo on a jacket of course.

What a fabulous idea!  

Special Thanks to our Editor Craig Kurath, Annie #38 (Tuggers Vol. 61)


Dave Howell (L), President of the LNVT Association, presented Craig Kurath (R) with an award for his four years of service to the Association as Tuggers Editor.  All of us wish to thank Craig for a job well done!  

Profiles: Mike and Barb Lawrence, Raven 37VT04 (Tuggers Vol. 61)

By Phil de l’Etoile, Brave Duck 37VT67

Mike and Barb were sailors for over 20 years up in the Pacific Northwest, but in the process of moving up from a 30' racer, they decided to go motor because a larger sailboat might be hard to handle with no crew.
While at the yard in Anacortes, WA, Barb spotted a sales flyer for Raven.  They both immediately wanted that LNVT, which was in very, very, good shape. But the price wasn't quite right, and negotiations went on and off for about a year.  But then things suddenly went very quiet.
A year after the first viewing, they decided to sell the sailboat and they approached the same broker who was handling Raven.  But now, the seller had been asking if "those folks" (Barb and Mike) were still interested, and in the end they all struck a deal.
Mike and Barb live in Arlington, WA and keep the boat in Everett, WA, about ½ hour from home.  As previously mentioned, Raven was in great shape, but Barb and Mike decided to take "clean and shiny" to a new level, so now it's a wonder anyone coming to the West Coast Rendezvousies (sic) are willing to park next to them.  From all of the teak and brass, to the spotless bilge, inside and out, the brightwork is perfect.

Oh, not to mention LED lights and light strips all over the place. I followed Mike's example and put a Costco motion detecting LED light inside the refrigerator, and now whenever my wife, Nancy, opens the fridge I hear "Ooh."  It was the cheapest upgrade I ever made.  Thanks Mike.

Profiles: Richard and Connie Hildahl, Awesome 37VT58 (Tuggers Vol.61)

by By Phil de l’Etoile, Brave Duck 37VT67

Prior to buying Awesome  in August of 2012, Rich and Connie Hildahl were longtime sailors and have a long history of boating.   Speedboats, sailboats, and now a real power boat.  Their last boat was a Fisher 37' Motorsailer, Viking Prins.  

Both Rich and Connie are retired, Rich as an energy consultant for Ernst & Young, and Connie as a teacher.  They live in Longbranch, WA and keep Awesome within sight nearby in Filucy Bay.

Just after they bought the LNVT, Lady Margaret, they showed the boat to the other family members.  Seven year old grandson Haakon marched onboard and exclaimed, "This is awesome!"  So Lady Margaret was out, and Awesome was in.

For the Hildahl's (not to be confused with owners Dale and Diane Hugdahl, of Renton, WA), boating is a family affair, and adult kids Lars (who found Awesome in FL), Bjorn, and Britt, along with grandkids Haakon (7 yrs) and Soren (6 yrs) are all part of having lots of the family fun.  One senses a hint of a Norwegian ancestry here.

Earlier this year,  just before the West Coast Rendezvous, I saw Awesome unattended at the dock behind Anthony's in Olympia, WA.  I periodically checked to see if the owners were onboard yet.  Finally, Rich and Connie returned and we talked about the Rendezvous which was only a few days away at the nearby Olympia Yacht Club.  

So,  in spite of having met me, Rich and Connie decided to attend the Rendezvous and they spent two days meeting the other Tuggers.  Awesome and her crew are a great addition to the LNVT Association.   

East Coast Attendees Laugh at Tides (Tuggers Vol. 61)

Four tugs, 27 owners, 2 past owners, 4 wannabes and friends gathered at Dave and Bicki Howell's, Nellie D. #63, on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay's Church Creek for the annual East Coast Rendezvous.   This year's event was co-hosted by John and Jeanne Niccolls, Knock Off #66.  Everyone pitched in, bringing an amazing array of food, salty stories, and eclectic items for the silent auction.   

As usual a very popular activity was tug inspections and just chatting about everything Victory Tug.   Even though the Howells are great planners, they couldn't control the weather and the water creeping into their front yard, due to unusual winds and tides. This called for quick action.   It gave new meaning to the Howell's exclusive waterfront campsites and forced campers to go to Plan B. 

Tug talk discussions continued into the wee hours.  Bill Irwin, Callisto #19, explained how he coveted Knock Off's mast seen at last year's rendezvous and he spent the winter building his own.  (You can see photos of the new mast at:  Other riveting topics included the perennial favorites of fuel tanks, treating wood, polishing brass, tea stains, water tight hatches, thru hulls and bulwark doors.   

Sunday morning dawned and captains were anxious to get underway. A front had passed through overnight and high pressure brought cooler temperatures with brisk winds.   The waters on the Chesapeake would be a bit choppy, but nothing an LNVT couldn't handle with ease.  Special thanks to the Niccolls and Howells for hosting this event.  Photo below shows Knock Off #66 heading home after the rendezvous.

Midwest Hospitality (Tuggers Vol. 61)

The Midwest Rendezvous was hosted by Trevor and Stephanie Croteau, Hjortie #33.  This is the second year for this gathering and like last year it was held at the St Croix Yacht Club in Hudson, WI.   The weekend always seems to start a bit early with a few of the boats cruising up the Mississippi together to attend the event.  The weather couldn't have been better.  Four  tugs, ten owners, and Lord Nelson sailboat owners  Chuck and Terri Jakway, Aria 41LN18, were in attendance.  Everyone was especially excited to meet and talk with special guest Tommy Chen (Lord Nelson Yachts builder and designer) who also attended.

The events were informal with pot lock meals and social gatherings at the Yacht Club.  There was time to tour the boats, discuss everything related to Victory Tugs and even a chance for a bit of shopping in town.  On Saturday the boats cast off their dock lines to take a little scenic luncheon cruise down the St Croix.  Everyone, including the other boats on the river seemed to enjoy the outing.  The big event of the weekend was a dinner cruise where we were treated to a fabulous meal and an evening tour of the lights along the river.  

Thanks Trevor and Stephanie for the hospitality and for putting together such a fun event.  We all hope you are willing to host a third gathering! 

Welcome Aboard! (Tuggers Vol. 61)

From Macy Galbreath, LNVT Vice President

How exciting – we have several tugs that have changed hands this quarter so there are three new owners plus a number of enthusiasts/wannabees to welcome…
Barbara Horwick and Thomas Stracener of Seattle, WA recently purchased hull #55 formerly Ecco Domani and named her Hardtack.  They are new to tug boating and the LNVT world.  Hardtack will be kept in Port Angles.
Yvonne Bates and Randy Miller recently purchased Hiaqua #3.  Yvonne is a retired pharmacist and he is an industrial designer. They live in West Seattle but will keep Hiaqua in Anacortes,WA.  Besides sailing/boating they enjoy international cycling trips.
Congratulations to Ron Davis and Peggy Dunn (Richmond, ME) who brought their tug #48 Brendan Luck (formerly After All) from Rhode Island to her new winter home in Maine several weeks ago.  They love the boat and look forward to caring for her and exploring the Maine waters.  
Al and Diane Robichaud own a cranberry farm and are from Acushnet, MA.  They have spent many hours aboard Neptune #35 with the Isaksens and are now looking to purchase their own tug.   They also attended the East Coast Rendezvous this year and enjoyed meeting other owners.  We look forward to when we can welcome them as owners.

David Rubbo and Rita Pappaconstantinou are from Brant Rock, MA and David writes that he is actively looking for a 37' tug.  There are still some good ones out there so we hope to see David as a new owner soon.
Another wannabee is Andrew Gratz from Dennisville, NJ.  We look forward to hearing more from him.
Peter LeBeau from Pembroke, MA has joined us as a wannabee.  There seems to be a trend here as we have three wannabees in this list from Massachusetts!  

West Coast Rendezvous (Tuggers Vol. 61)

How is it that the Rendezvous just seems to be such an amazing time for Lord Nelson Victory Tug owners?  As owners we really do enjoy getting together and more importantly, being together.  Case in point was when 11 tugs, 25 owners, 9 prior owners and friends got together over the Labor Day weekend for the West Coast Rendezvous.  The event was held in conjunction with the 41st Olympia Harbor Days and hosted by Kim and Ted Hosts Kim & Ted Shann, Tug E. Bear #62 at the Olympia Yacht Club.

As well as climbing all over each other's  boats and spending hours chatting, there were countless activities to keep everyone occupied throughout the weekend.   There was a farmers market, tours of vintage tugs, craft fairs, restaurants and numerous shops to visit.   It will come as no surprise that besides just being together this group always seems to enjoy eating.  We'd all eat way too much, swearing we'd never eat again, but when meal time came around there we'd be ready to partake once again.  Kim and Ted donned their chef's hats at the barbecue grill for dinner one night, creating the most memorable meal of the weekend.  Of course eating on the Olympia Yacht Club's deck overlooking those "cute" LNVT tugs only added to the festive mood.

This year's venue was selected in part to help support the Olympia Harbor Days and the vintage tugs that come from far and wide to compete in the annual tug races.  Tom Blackwood and Janis Bialko, Thistle Dew #46, for many years have served as the finish line boat for these tug races.  This year was no exception, but this time they were joined by a flotilla of LNVTs lining the Budd Inlet race course.  Quite a site to see!  We all got into the spirit of the event and cheers for boats with names like Joe, Galene, Sandman and Thae Bell could be heard all along the race track.  

The West Coast Rendezvous was a wonderful event filled with friends, food, activities and so many memories.  Our many thanks to Kim and Ted and the Olympia Yacht Club for hosting this special event.