Sunday, December 16, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Kenny and Kristin Bishop sure know how to celebrate the holidays! That's Highland Mary 37VT18 all decked out and looking festive for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Tess II Deck and Companionway Hatch Repairs

Tess II 37VT22 will be out of the boat house tomorrow then will stay at the marina for a couple of days in the rain to ensure the repairs of the headliner and deck leaks are indeed fixed. Philbrooks said the hatch coaming sealant between hatch and the fiberglass deck had failed. They removed the entire hatch and coaming. Cleaned off the old caulking and reinstalled with new modern caulking/ sealant. They used all new long stainless steel through bolts to refasten. They then did a water test with a hose. Before reinstalling the headliner. I will repair the water damaged headliner next spring once the rain stops. I am a ticketed Joiner by trade, have all the required tools on board and my labour rate is A LOT LESS than Philbrooks.😀

The port teak was removed from near the stern along to the pilot house door area on the port deck. They found large voids in several of the thickened areas where the screws were for holding the teak in place once they opened up the areas with a grinder. 

As I had mentioned earlier when they applied forced air in the screw holes water came out like a fountain in many other places. Once they had it all dried out. All of the voids and all the screw holes were filled with epoxy. 

Then they glued new teak planks down. Then installed teak plugs with epoxy to make it match existing deak and appear as if it was fastened as the original surounding decks. Then the black caulking between planks was applied.

Bruce. Tess ll

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Get Injection Pump--Check

Well, that was certainly different than I'd envisioned.  What was planned to be a leisurely, two day trip to Nellie--some 554 miles away--turned into a one day marathon.

Wishing to avoid the last vestiges of Thanksgiving traffic we left at 3AM Monday morning.  The night before we'd done our weather homework and knew to expect some light rain. However, the temperatures were predicted to stay in the 40's for at least two days and so snow wouldn't be a problem.  

By 11AM  we were starting up the south side of Tug Hill, NY.  Hmm, Tug Hill, that's a cute name and we have an affinity for all things tug!  Anyway, that's when it started to rain.  It's also when Bicki's phone emitted a long blast announcing we'd entered an area under a weather warning.  What?  What weather warning?  It seems that the Tug Hill Plateau, in the brown area labeled 300" in the map below, is infamous.

Tug Hill, sometimes referred to as the Tug Hill Plateau, is an upland region in Upstate New York in the United States, famous for heavy winter snows. The Tug Hill region is east of Lake Ontario, north of Oneida Lake, and west of the Adirondack Mountains. Wikipedia

The current forecast said the rain would turn to snow in the next 12 hours and that 14" of lake-effect snow was expected.  Our planned two day trip to Nellie just took on some urgency.  Unless we wanted to be snow bound, we needed to be south of Tug Hill before midnight.  The race was on.

It rained, no poured all the rest of the way to Nellie.  Arriving at Crates Marine in Belleville at 2PM we implemented our choreographed plan: Bicki lays out the 200' power extension cord while I get the ladder erected and cut a door through Nellie's shrink wrap.  All the while it's pouring a cold rain.  The macadam around Nellie is chock-a-block with last week's snow, looking very much like icebergs afloat in a now quickly rising sea.  The hole I make in Nellie's white, plastic igloo is just barely big enough to allow us entry.  The clock is ticking.  Before heading south we need to remove the Cummins' fuel injection pump and the four fuel injectors.

There's a lot of plumbing to remove before the fuel injection pump can come off.

Systematically we go through the removal check list: engine at top dead center and locked; paper towels stuffed around the pump's drive gear as insurance against dropping the lock washer or nut into the engine; remove the drive gear lock washer and nut; remove the tube which carries the fuel from the fuel filter; remove the fuel return line; remove the four tubes which connect to the injectors; remove the throttle linkage; remove the three nuts which hold the injection pump to the engine; remove the one bolt that holds the injection pump to a support bracket; finally, use a gear puller to separate the drive gear from the pump's shaft and then pull the pump clear of the engine.  Clockwork it was, check, check, check as each step was successfully accomplished.  It wasn't until the last step, pulling the gear off the shaft, that we heard the dreaded "Houston, we have a problem." The gear puller, which was just purchased specifically for this job was several millimeters too wide.  No amount of futzing or verbal abuse helped.  All to this point was for naught.  Outside, meanwhile, it continued to pour and the temperature continued dropping. 

A marina in the middle of winter is akin to a graveyard.  A marina in the middle of a winter maelstrom is akin to a morgue--actively avoided by any sane person.  Bottom line, we were on our own, the clock was ticking and we needed a gear puller.

I love Google.  A simple query led me to a nearby auto parts store which had the requisite tool.  Purchasing it I got both the solution to the problem and a real world lesson in opportunity cost.  

When an option is chosen from two mutually exclusive alternatives, the opportunity cost is the "cost" incurred by not enjoying the benefit associated with the alternative choice.  Wikipedia

Last week I searched and price shopped long and hard before buying the $14 gear puller that didn't work.  Now here I was, in the heat of the moment, gladly paying $38 for one that would.  The time needed to search for a less expensive option was now too costly.  I love applied economics, it's so illustrative.

Things then went swimmingly; the gear came off, the pump came out and so did the injectors.  It was now 5PM.  The job had taken 3 hours.  It was pitch dark outside and the rain continued to fall without respite.

At 6:30PM we reached the all but deserted border crossing at Alexandria Bay, NY.  The single car in front of us was quickly waved through.  The border guard asked and we answered all the proforma questions.  When we should have heard, "Welcome to the US", we heard instead, "You've been chosen for a random agricultural search."  Aargh!  We proceeded, as directed, between the orange barriers, parked in the designated area, gave our keys to the 16 year old looking border agent, and walked into the interrogation area.  After answering yet more questions, my favorite being "Are you carrying more than $10,000 in cash," we sat down and waited for the rummaging of our car to be completed.  The latest weather forecasts were now predicting the snow to start before 11PM.  This got us to wondering, how long does it take to thoroughly toss a Civic?  The answer, on this cold, quiet and rainy night was 20 minutes.

By 8PM we crested Tug Hill, received the checkered flag and were happy knowing we'd beaten the snow storm.  However, like a sore loser the storm continued to pelt us with rain until midnight.  

Twenty-four hours after leaving home we're back home   It's 3AM, and we've traveled 1100 miles.  The Cummins' injection pump and injectors are in hand.  They'll be sent to a shop to be rebuilt. Looking back over all the events of the past day it's ironic that the rapid pace allowed by car travel enables the slow pace of our tug travel.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Battened down for a long winters nap

Peter Reich reports that Teddy Bear 37VT15 is in hibernation at his dock in Shelter Island, NY.  

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Sheer to Make You Smile

As appeared in Soundings Online October 2018.  By Peter Reich, Teddy Bear 37VT15.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Thistle Dew 37VT47 Launch

New “Go Navy” poster 

Into the Fog.

After a brand new paint job Thistle Dew is splashing in Port Angeles, Washington.

Salty Paws and Loon Meet--Finally!

Bob Ewing and Jeanne Koenig (Salty Paws) and Alice and Andy Mutch (Loon 37VT57)

Jeanne Koenig, Salty Paws 37VT66, shared this picture and says, "Two Maine tugs 2nm apart [and members of the Down East Yacht Club] finally meet after 3 years."

Tug Spotting

Peter Reich, Teddy Bear 37VT15, writes
"My daughter is at Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend [WA] and took this photo."

Peter S. Reich. MAC

Friday, August 3, 2018

Tug Spotting

Lord Nelson 37VT70 spotted in the Netherlands
[photo provided by owner
Peter van Dommelen]

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A Closer Look at the Rudder Post Cutless Bearing

I've been wondering why there's a cutless bearing, or what at first glance appears to be a cutless bearing, in the rudder post.  Perhaps the yard's purpose wasn't additional support, but rather to aid in the installation of the rudder post tube.  Specifically, they wanted to keep the post centered, within the post tube, while the post tube was being fiberglassed into the hull.  Here's a picture of an installed post tube.  It's 7" long (1" of that protrudes outside the hull), with a 2" ID and 2-1/2" OD).  

The Fiberglass Post Tube Penetrates the Hull and is Fiberglassed Into it.  A 7-1/2" x 2-1/2" Hose (Not Shown) Connects the Post Tube to the Packing Gland.   The Metal Retainer, Seen above the Post Tube, Keeps the Lower Part of the Packing Gland From Moving When the Upper Part of the Gland is being Tightened.

I imagine the yard installed the rudder posts something like this.  Drill a hole in the shoe and install the gudgeon.

The Shoe's Gudgeon (or Lower Rudder Post Bearing)

Next, mount the rudder post's upper bearing in the lazarette.  

The Upper Rudder Post Bearing

Next, drill a 2" hole through the hull on a line between the upper and lower bearings.  

Next, slide a 1-3/4" rudder post through the upper bearing and then through the hole in the hull.  Before seating the post into the gudgeon, slide the post tube onto the post.  Push the post tube against the hull and draw a line on the hull at the intersection of the post tube and hull.

Remove the rudder post and cut along the line on the hull.  Now, finally, install the rudder post and post tube again.  Slide all but 1" of the rudder tube into the hull and fiberglass it into to the hull.  And there you have it, a perfectly aligned rudder post and rudder post tube.

A Piece of Rubber Emerging from the Rudder Tube

In conclusion:  The rubber that we've seen coming out of the post tube for years isn't part of a cutless bearing.  The rubber was there to make sure that there was a tight fit between the rudder post and the rudder tube during construction.  Once the fiberglass had set the rubber was superfluous.

Dave Howell, Nellie D. 37VT63

Maritime Links

A very interesting website with links to all things nautical:

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Champlain Rendezvous

Little Bitt, Nellie D., Callisto and Fram

The tugs have arrived in Burlington, Vermont!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Tug Spotting: Carla B. 37VT05 and Nellie D. 37VT63

A mini rendezvous on the Erie Canal at the Schenectady Yacht Club, NY with Carla B 37VT05 and Nellie D. 37VT63

Tug spotting: Fun 37VT75

Peter Reich forwarded these pictures of Fun which was spotted today in Coecles Harbor, Shelter Island, NY.  She's looking good!

Engine Room Ventilation

I have so much enjoyed the blog and seeing what other folks do to improve their tugs, so I thought I would take a little time to tell you what I have been messing with on Thistle 37VT47.

A couple years ago I decided that the engine room lacked enough ventilation for proper cooling and air for the engine.  I installed an inline 3" blower.  It was kind of noisy with a high pitch whine.  But, it seemed to help, maybe 10 degrees or so, but this is hard to measure.

I also didn't like the fumes from my Cummins 4BT3.9-M 150HP crankcase just floating around in the engine room making everything a little oily. The cure for that was a 3 or 4 hundred dollar breather cap device.

My inverter/charger was starting to complain about the temperature.  Its manufacturer wants it in an area with lots of ventilation and a maximum temperature of 104 degrees.  That must be a misprint or else they are not made to be used in Virginia.

Seems we are getting a little older or maybe just spoiled but I ran the 8KW generator a lot this summer so we could have air conditioning. Wow, does it get toasty in the engine room with everything running. There was really no other place to install the inverter/charger and so here is my solution to the problem.

They were promoting a blower for engine rooms at the boat show (Sea Flow SFBB1-130-01) that was super quiet, with a 4 yr. warranty and made for continuous operation. I installed one on the port side blowing out and one on the starboard side blowing in. Based on engine room size and the blowers rated output, theoretically they change the air once per minute.  I aimed the discharge from the blowing in air blower straight at the inverter/charger to help with the high temperature issue.

A close look at the blower sending the warm air out will show a ¾ inch plastic tube that is an extension of the crankcase breather tube. This is placed near the intake of the air out blower. I find a little oily residue on the outside of the boat at the 3" round vent, so we know it's working. The in and out vents are new and none of the original vents are changed in anyway.

Ed McChain, Thistle 37VT

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Tug Spotting: Callisto 37VT19

Callisto, with Keefer and Bill Irwin aboard, is spotted on Lake Champlain heading towards Burlington, VT

Teddy Bear Gets an Update

From: Peter S. Reich, MAC <>
Date: June 27, 2018 14:29:35
Subject: Before and After

Only took 33 years to do this!

Peter S. Reich, MAC
⚓️ 631-749-0138 ⚓️

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Dan Reich Cruises On

From Peter Reich:

Got a coat on the cap rail yesterday. Very special formula. 60% Epiphanes,40% Gleam, 1 teaspoon Dan's ashes.

Tug Spotting

Thistle 37VT46 and Victory 37VT02 get together at Bob Allnutt's dock in St Mary's, Maryland.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Hiaqua in Coffman Cove, AK

From Randy Miller, Hiaqua 37VT03:  

Amazing sunset at 9:30 in small, non-native fishing community, pop 200. We spent the evening in their tiny bar  the local favorite drink:  Duck Farts (a shot of Crown Royal, splash of Kahula & Baileys). Yum!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

37' LNVT Bulwark thicknesses

Repairing the Caprail Trim Board

With the hawsepipe out and that caprail trim board removed I considered it a good time to grab my calipers and gather some data.

Measuring the Bulwark Thickness

[These numbers will help] if someone wants to use that caprail trim board for pad eyes to support fenders.

Hawsepipe and Bulwark Measurements

The tape on the left recorded the thickness of the hawsepipe insertion point.  The vertical center tape recorded those thicknesses where the inner bulwark is recessed.  The vertical tape on the left held the readings for the full thickness bulwark.

The hollow cavity behind the trim board is one inch deep.

There is little strength there and should one want to tap into the fiberglass it would provide the distance needed and with it should go a caution of not to go too deep as one will soon come out the inner edge of the bulwark.

That is the way Thistle Dew was set up and that is what lead to the breaks in that piece when fenders would get fouled around a piling, ladder, etc.

I intend to abandon that technique and go to a couple of fender clips. If they don't fall overboard and become completely lost, they should give me more flexibility in setting the fenders and also eliminate the possibility of another fracture.

Tom Blackwood
Thistle Dew, 37VT46

Monday, June 11, 2018

2018 East Coast Rendezvous

Fram 37VT71 just arrived in Burlington, VT to attend the 2018 Rendezvous.
Roger Lee and his crew may be a month early, but they'll be there. How
about you? Check out the planned events and all details for the 20-22 July
rendezvous at:

Hope to see you there!

Tug spotting

Salty Paws 37VT66 is in Shelter Island NY on a Teddy Bear's 37VT15 mooring.
That's Bob Ewing being greeted by Peter Reich. It sure is a wonderful
thing to see Peter as he has been quite ill this past year.

Tug spotting

John William 37VT68 was recently seen in the Abacos. Looks pretty nice there!

Tug spotting

Hiaqua 37VT03 is enjoying their cruising in Alaska.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Lessons Learned--The Sinking of a Nordhaven

"Experience is a harsh teacher: She gives the test first and then teaches the lesson later." 

DNR Photo of Ghost Rider

Here's an excellent blog posting from Ghost Rider, a Nordhaven 47, recapping the incidents that led to the boat striking a jetty and subsequently sinking.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Cutlass Bearing or Cutless Bearing?

Actually it should be called a  "water lubricated, hydrodynamic standard rubber sleeve bearing."  Yea, that seems a little much.  But, how the name came about is an interesting story.

Mike McCoy's Thoughts on LNVT Resins

I was re-reading the last Tug Talk [Spring 2018] and noticed that orthophthalic was misspelled in the title of the article.  It's correctly spelled in the quote from Net Composites in the body of the article. That launched a teaching script in my brain. It's a hereditary problem. Not that it's interesting to anybody but a science nerd like me but here we go…
First let's review what a polymer is.  The word has two parts poly meaning many and mer which for this tutorial will define as "the building block".  So starting with a big soup of "mers" a catalyst and a stop molecule a chemist can build polymers of specific lengths.  Dimer and trimer would be a two and three starting blocks connected. The stop molecule puts a cap on the amount of mers that can be connected. Alternatively large chains can be created and then chemically chopped up to specific lengths and the purified by separating them by apparent molecular weights.
In the resins you have described there are two starting blocks; iso and ortho phthalic acids (the ph in phthalic acid is silent). They are isomers of each other.  Iso means "the same". But wait! "They have to be different or there is no discussion. Right?" Iso an ortho phthalic acids have the same chemical formula C8H6O4  or better yet C6H4(CO2H)2.  They have the same molecular weight and share many other physical attributes like melting point but they differ in how the constituents are connected to each other. In this case we have two carboxylic acids and a benzene ring.  IUPAC (a bunch of old guys that make the rules for chemical nomenclature) explains the difference by using a naming system that tells where things are connected. So we have benzene-1,3-dicarboxylic acid and benzene-1,2-dicarboxylic acid respectively.
Figure 1 Isophthalic Acid

Figure 2 Orthophthalic Acid
It's extremely simplistic but accurate to say when two isophthalic acid mers are connected they create more linear polymers than when orthophthalic  acid mers are connected. The latter polymer takes up a different three dimensional space. When the polymers crystallize into solids their crystal lattices differ.  This might explain their differing susceptibility to permeation by water.
Lastly but maybe most importantly…  I don't believe that this difference is a significant factor in the blistering problem on some LNVT's . The greater influence on the hull integrity is the quality of the polymers as delivered by the manufacture(s). Some were not as good as others.  Batch to batch reproducibility is hard to maintain especially if many sources where used. The yard would have accepted the product as delivered and not done any in house testing. The guys working in the shop would see the difference and a good crew would adapt accordingly.
BTW…when I took my paint down last I saw clear resin. This makes me believe that Tug E. Bears bottom was possibly gel coated but no pigment was added. I 'll take a better look next time.

Mike McCoy, Tug E. Bear 37VT62

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Corrosion on Elnora's Intermediate Shaft Support

A surveyor, last year, found that Patrick Mitchell's Elnora 37VT37 had a badly corroded plug in the propellor shaft's intermediate bearing.  

The plug was installed inplace of a hose fitting when Elnora was upgraded with a PYI dripless packing gland.  

Patick picks up the story:

My survey last year discovered a corroded bolt that was in the place of shaft hose. This bolt was threaded in as a plug.  Looks square on the top. I took some before and after pics after scraping away green corrosion.  My dripless PYI seal is fine but your newsletter comments are timely for me.  I am tempted to think my corrosion is related to your concerns. 

Mocko Jumbie Drops Asking Price

I have decided to lower my asking price to $75,000 for Mocko Jumbie hull #49. I am working full time as a nurse now and building our house on our days off. I have no spare time to work on the boat, or much less enjoy her. Hurricane season is right around the corner and I really want her taken out of the Caribbean hot-zone for storms. We were very lucky last year, as hurricane Maria claimed dozens of vessels on our island [St Croix].

Liz Harding

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Burligton, VT Rendezvous--Save the Dates

Just received this nice postcard reminder from Keefer and Bill Irwin, Callisto 37VT19, for the 2018 East Coast LNVT Rendezvous.

This is the Fleet's first ever Rendezvous in Burlington, Vermont. It promises to be a lot of fun! You can find all the details at here.  Bicki and I have RSVP'd in the affirmative.  Hope to see you there.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Spring Commissioning Tip

Hose Attachment to the Intermediate Bearing Support

During your Spring commissioning be sure to check the integrity of the metal hose fitting on the intermediate support bearing.  This fitting supplies raw engine water to the packing gland. Since it's below the waterline, a broken fitting will allow seawater to enter the tug.  The following sage advice comes from a recent LNVT Forum post from Wesley Eldred, ex-Little Bitt 37VT21, "I would encourage all owners to check this fitting as a failure when under way could be most inconvenient." 

Lady Katie's Failed Fitting

In 2013 Lady Katie 37VT28's fitting failed at the dock.  She slowly filled with water and was saved from completely sinking by an observant passerby. 
Corrosion on the Hose Fitting

Just last month Mike McCoy, Tug E. Bear 37VT62, found his fitting was badly corroded. 

Tug E Bear's New Bronze Fitting

He replaced it with a new bronze fitting and reported that the repair was straight forward and easy.  

Doing a simple fitting inspection during the Spring launch could prevent the trials and tribulations of an underway emergency.