Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Nellie hits the newsstands!

MUSCATINE, Iowa —A Lord Nelson Victory Tug passing through Muscatine stopped for about a day to let her passengers off to explore.
Dave and Vicki Howell, of Cambridge, Maryland have been making their way up the Mississippi River on their tugboat, the Nellie D.
They have been traveling for almost a year, beginning in Florida last November, until they paused in Muscatine Monday evening. They will be leaving to continue their journey Wednesday morning.
"We'll keep chugging up," Vicki Howell said.
She said they began their cruising 20 years ago in a sailboat.
"You have to have a little bit of wanderlust, a little bit of adventure, and you have to be willing to learn in order to do it," Dave Howell said.
The Howells said they are typically on the water four to six months out of the year, although this trip has been longer.
"You meet people that know things that you don't know and mentor you and help you," Vicki Howell said.
She said they love learning about history along the rivers they explore, and were intrigued by their visit to the Muscatine History and Industry Center.
"So it's kind of fun here to hear all about the button industry," she said.

Dave Howell said at a previous stop, on the Tennessee River, they saw a display of a flat-bottom boat that was used to collect mussels.
"We asked what did they do with the mussels, and they said 'Oh they sent them some place to be turned into buttons,' so we sort of closed the loop on what happened to them," he said.
The Nellie D. was made in Taiwan in 1987, and the couple said the almost 30-year-old boat has been with them for 10 years.
The outside of the boat is composed of fiberglass, but Dave Howell said the wood interior was created by woodworkers, often a family who would stay on the boat to finish.
The wooden floors, furniture, and decoration have a lot of detail, surrounding the occupants of the boat with beautiful teak.
With river levels high, they said they travel around five miles per hour up the river, so they take turns steering.
Navigating through the locks and dams along the river can take time as well, they said, as they may have to wait for barges to pass through before they can.
"So if the water's calm we drop anchor and wait," Vicki Howell said.
Although they were not able to stay long, the Howells said they look forward to stopping in Muscatine as they travel back down the Mississippi next year.
"Everyone's been so friendly," Vicki Howell said.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Spotted: Saltwater Joys 37VT12

Saltwater Joys at Newcastle Creek Marina, New Brunswick, on Sunday morning, 28 August.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Jack Robert 37VT12's Fuel Tanks

The final push to get Jack Robert's rebuilt fuel tanks back in.

Dee Anderson asks, "Are we having fun yet?" Maybe fun is the wrong word, but it does look like progress ;-)

Spotted John Isacson

From: John Mackie <>

Spotted John Isakson [Neptune 37VT35] on this 'strange' boat on the Elizabeth River, Virginia. John and some friends are doing a delivery from St Pete to New Bedford. Boat runs 20 plus but I think they were stuck on the inside for most of trip so far. That water does have a tendency to run down hill.

On our way home [Merritt Island, Florida] just crossing Curratuck Sound.

Had a great stay with Bob Allnutt [Victory 37VT02 in St Inigoes, Maryland] again.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tug Spotting in the fog

From Sally Seymour
Sally W 37VT42

We had a great weekend with Salty Paws 37VT66, rafting up in a beautiful cove. This past Sunday morning was beautiful, but the fog rolled in as we departed and we spent four tedious hours in lumpy seas dodging lobster pots and watching the radar. Very thick and ethereal. It reminded me of a spec in a snowstorm with gigantic evergreens laden with snow sitting on the surface no, I wasn't hallucinating. 

[Photo of Sally W take by Billy Black]

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tug Spotting ~ Nellie D. 37VT63

Nellie D. was just seen on the Mississippi River passing through St Louis, Missouri.  She left the Cumberland, traveled on the Ohio and has been moving ever so slowly up the Mississippi for the past six days.  They just arrived in Alton, Illinois above the Mississippi Melvin Price Lock, where the river conditions are much improved.  In fact, unlike the past 280 miles, pleasure boats are now seen in abundance and the river current is much more tranquil.  Nellie D. is expected to continue north and will be attending the Midwest Rendezvous in Hudson, Wyoming in mid September.

Another dry bilge!

Pet Tug 37VT66 just installed the Slurpee, or as owner Debbie Steplock call it, "Dave's [Nellie D.] contraption.  She also told us that husband Lou loves it.  It took only a few minutes to suck up all the water in the aft bilge, which is now bone dry.  As you can see in the pictures below, Lou installed his Slurpe pump aft, near the companionway step.

You can find more detailed information about this contraption in this LNVT blog by searching on the word "Slurpee".  Tuggers Issue 67, Letters to the Editor, also has information regarding the Slurpee installation.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bowmar Hatch Improvement

Trevor and Stephanie Croteau, owners of Hjortie 37VT33, recently replaced their Bowmar hatches.  The newer hatches are more secure with a four-point hatch dog mechanism.  Trevor indicates that since replacing the hatches he no longer gets water leaking in the lazarette.  The four-point hatches fit in the old two-point hatch flanges.

1980's 2-Point Bowmar Hatch Dog

Current 4-Point Bowmar Hatch Dog

Cummins Turbo Gasket Leaking Coolant

When Nellie's turbo gasket started leaking coolant last month I tried to stem the flow by tightening the turbo's four mounting bolts.  When that didn't work a new gasket was installed.  Now the new gasket has a little leak.  John Niccolls, ex-Knock Off 37VT66 mentioned that his turbo gasket had leaked and been replaced too.  I suspect that others may have the same problem.
Proper gasket installation is critical and the Cummin's Service Manual gives it short shrift.  Enter Tony's Tip's (Seaboard Marine) to save the day.  If you haven't read Tony before I highly recommend him.  He's been in the boat business for a long time and takes a no nonsense approach. 
Here's Tony's advice on installing the turbo gasket. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Tug Spotting

Monkey 37VT52 was spotted in the Merrimack River, Newburyport, Mass with its owner Pam Bates enjoying the day on the aft deck. It was sent to us via a friend of Keefer Irwin, Callisto 37VT19.

Tug sighting Tugnacious 37VT07

--- Forwarded message ---
From: John Mackie <>
Date: August 4, 2016 11:08:00
Subject: Tug sighting Tugnacious
To: Dave Howell <>

Long Island Sound outside of Port Washington

John Mackie

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Plymouth LNVT Rendezvous in the News

Read the article here.

SmartPlug Repair

Nellie's Broken Cord Seal

A SmartPlug was installed on Nellie in October of 2012.  It has worked well and we're happy to have the extra safety it affords.  In June of 2016 there was a noticeable tear in its black cord-seal.  I contacted SmartPlug hoping to purchase a repair kit.  Terry Gilliland,, asked that I send him a picture of the problem area.  After seeing the picture (shown above) he said the replacement parts would be provided free under the warranty.  A week later the repair kit (pictured below) was received.  As the picture below shows, a new socket is included with the kit.

SmartPlug's Repair Kit Contents

Today I installed the new parts.  It took about an hour.  If I had to do it again 15 minutes would be sufficient. 

Repaired SmartPlug

The new socket is definitely better than the original: the three wires are held in place with setscrews and the cable is tightly clamped to the socket.  Another nice improvement is that a weather shield is provided to protect the connector when it's not attached to the boat.  DBH