Thursday, August 17, 2023

What's in a name?

What's in a name?  A lot it turns out.  In Tommie Chen's case culture, history, and custom all played a part.  David Agahchen, Tommie's son, tells us the rest of the story.

My father's birth name was Tomi (pronounced 'TOH-mee'), a Japanese name that means abundance. He was given this name to symbolize hope and resilience for a young family surrounded by war-torn poverty and uncertainty. 

During the five decades of Taiwan occupation, the ruling Japanese government mandated that all families give their children Japanese names to maintain control over the people.

My father's sister was named Telu (pronounced 'TEH-loo'), which means light. She was named to illuminate a world shrouded in darkness. And just as Telu was a guiding light, my father was named Tomi - a symbol of abundance amid challenging circumstances.  

When the Japanese occupation in Taiwan came to an end, the Chinese government sought to reverse its influence. As part of this effort, they mandated that all families change their names to Chinese. The Japanese name 'Tomi,' written in 'kanji' characters, is pronounced as 'Fu' in Chinese Mandarin. Since it was customary to have two given names in Chinese at the time, his parents decided to add 'One' to his name. With that addition, when he was just four years old, his name changed from 'Abundance' to 'The Abundant One.' Fu-Yi.

Throughout his life, Dad's parents and family members continued to call him Tomi, embracing the name that had been a part of his identity from the beginning. After moving to North America, he adopted the Anglicized spelling 'Tommie' (pronounced "TOM-mee"), not only to keep a connection to his birth name but also to make it memorable and pronounceable for friends and business contacts.

Like all proud parents, his mom and dad took great effort and thought to raise their kids, starting with the names they gave them: light and abundance.

Fwd: [LNVT] Tug Talk this Saturday at 11:30 AM ET

Ahoy Tuggers,

  The topics for this Saturday's virtual Tug Talk will include:

  - Options for a worn out intermediate bearing
  - COB rope lighting ideas
  - An easy to setup stern deck umbrella
  - Improving a cable steering system

Come with questions or come with solutions.  All are welcome.

  Jeanne of SaltyPaws 37VT66 will facilitate the Zoom room.  Here's the Zoom link:

  See you Saturday, Dave

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Tommie Chen's Memorial

The following was the LNVT Association's contribution at Tommie Chen's Celebration of Life which was held in the Sequoia Centre at McCall Gardens, 4665 Falaise Drive, Victoria, on Thursday, June 22, 2023, at 10:00 am. 

In attendance representing the Association was Mike Dunn, Wally 41VT02.  The LNVT video  shown during the Memorial was by Greg Whitaker, Julie B. 37VT63.  Speaking via Zoom for the Association was Dave Howell, ex-Nellie D. 37VT63.  Here's what was said.

It's an honor to be here to talk about a friend, Tommie Chen.

Tommie and I first met in 2006. I had bought one of his tugs and was attending the tug rendezvous in Seattle. Tommy was at the rendezvous too making a presentation. At dinner one evening he and I sat at the same table. Little did I know then what a big impact he would have of my life.  In the next 17 years we would drive across the United States together, travel to both Taiwan and China, and have myriad discussions on every aspect of his tugs.

I need a digress a moment and talk about Tommie the philosopher.  Let me set the stage. It was 2014 and we had just arrived in Shanghai for a three week-long walk about.  The next day we needed to be 1000 km to the West, in Wuhan, to catch a Yangtze River cruise ship.  The obvious question was how are we going to get there? Tommie sallied-forth, undaunted, and quickly returned with standing room only tickets on an overnight train.  Here we were jet lagged from the long flight across the Pacific and now contemplating another sleepless night standing on a train.  Naturally, I had to ask why we didn't go by plane or bullet train.  After all, they are a lot faster and only slightly more expensive.  In response, Tommie furrowed his brow, looked at me incredulously and said, "Food is better on the slow train."

Tommie's business philosophy was to build the strongest and safest boats possible. When asked why things were done in a particular fashion, he would typically respond, "Otherwise kill customer."  Being one of his customers I was happy to hear he held us in such high regard.  Clearly he felt very strongly about doing things right.

Tug owners have found over a hundred changes that were made during the tugs' 16 years of production. Tommy was adamant that these changes were improvements and not done to simply save money. History bears him out.  In years of looking we have not found a single change that wasn't an improvement.

Tommy was the star at every rendezvous between Washington, Wisconsin and Maryland that he attended. And, he attended over a dozen of them.  He was always very generous with his time and would patiently answer every question. Once, while examining a tug, he was asked why it had two window weep holes when the rest of the fleet only had one. He stopped for a moment, tilted his head deep in thought and then replied, with a big smile on his face, "Mistake, no charge."

 Tommie's celebrity amongst tug owners embarrassed him. For example, he never understood why tug owners asked him to autograph their tugs. The fact is we know something Tommie couldn't.  Because we see it everyday out on the water.  Hardly a person goes by a tug that doesn't smile and wave.  Tommie's tugs brighten people's lives.   So, while food may be better on the slow train, life is made better by being around one of Tommie's tugs.  What a legacy he has left.  In closing I'd ask John to play the short video we put together honoring our friend, Tommie Chen.

A link to the LNVT video in honor of Tommie:

A link to the entirety of Tommie's Memorial:

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Attend Saturday's virtual Tug Talk, get help solving problems, learn new things, meet fellow owners

Ahoy Tuggers,

Saturday at 11:30am ET, LNVT owners are meeting virtually via Zoom to discuss all things LNVT. Tug Talk is free, fun, worthwhile, and easy to attend. To do so, simply click on the Zoom link below just before Saturday's scheduled meeting time.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Regards to the fleet, Dave

Friday, June 2, 2023

ChatGPT on the best things about an LNVT

A question for ChatGPT: what are the best things about a Lord Nelson Victory Tug?

The Lord Nelson Victory Tug is a beautiful and well-regarded vessel with several notable features that make it stand out. Here are some of the best things about a Lord Nelson Victory Tug:

1. Classic Design: The Lord Nelson Victory Tug embodies the classic design of traditional trawlers and tugboats. Its distinctive look, with a raised pilothouse and a sturdy hull, evokes a sense of timeless maritime charm.

2. Seaworthiness: The Victory Tug is renowned for its exceptional seaworthiness. It has a solid construction and a displacement hull that provides stability and a comfortable ride, even in rough waters. This makes it an ideal choice for long-distance cruising or exploring various waterways.

3. Fuel Efficiency: The Victory Tug is designed to be fuel-efficient, allowing for extended cruising without excessive fuel consumption. Its hull shape and displacement design contribute to lower fuel consumption, making it an environmentally friendly choice for boaters who value sustainability.

4. Comfortable Interior: Despite its compact size, the Lord Nelson Victory Tug offers a surprisingly spacious and comfortable interior. The clever use of space allows for a well-appointed living area, including a galley, a cozy saloon, a comfortable sleeping area, and a functional bathroom. The interior is often crafted with high-quality materials, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.

5. Versatility: The Victory Tug's compact size and maneuverability make it versatile for a variety of boating experiences. It can navigate through narrow waterways, handle tight marina spaces, and explore shallow areas that larger vessels might not be able to reach. This versatility opens up a wide range of boating possibilities, including coastal cruising, river exploration, and even the Great Loop journey.

6. Craftsmanship and Quality: Lord Nelson Tugs are known for their exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail. These vessels are often hand-built and meticulously finished, reflecting the dedication and expertise of the shipbuilders. The high-quality construction ensures durability and longevity, allowing owners to enjoy their Victory Tugs for many years.

7. Community and Legacy: Owning a Lord Nelson Victory Tug often comes with a sense of belonging to a passionate community of like-minded boaters. There are enthusiasts and organizations dedicated to these vessels, offering opportunities to connect with other owners, share experiences, and participate in events. Additionally, the Lord Nelson brand has a proud history and legacy, adding to the overall appeal of owning one of their tugs.

It's important to note that individual preferences may vary, and what constitutes the "best" aspects of a Lord Nelson Victory Tug can differ based on personal needs and boating goals.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Cable Steering Upgrades

Kenny Bishop, Highland Mary 37VT18, has done two innovative things to make his cable steering more robust.

First, grease fittings were installed in some of the sheaves to more effectively lubricate their axles.  While the modification isn't difficult to do, the trick is finding a spot to drill through the sheave's mount and into the void around the axle.  Once this is done, the hole is tapped and the grease fitting installed.

Kenny's second upgrade was to replace the steel steering cable with a Dyneema cord.  (Note: "cord" is the sailors term for rope that has been cut to length to serve a specific purpose).  Compared to steel cable, pliable Dyneema is much easier to feed through the sheaves.  A simple knot replaces the cable clamps at the quadrant end.  Kenny says that the "meat hooks," which abounded on the steel cable and frequently drew blood, are now a thing of the past.  

They say proof is in the pudding.  Well, the sheave's grease fittings and the Dyneema aboard Highland Mary have been working trouble free for three years.  What's really impressive though is how easy and smooth Highland Mary's helm is to turn over.  How easy? 

Here's the simple test setup used to answer that question.  With the tug's engine off, a  scale, measuring in pounds, pushes against a spoke until it starts to move.  When the spoke moves, the scale's reading is recorded.  For Highland Mary it averaged 2.1lb.  Compared to two sisterships with cable steering, Highland Mary's helm was 2 to 5 times easier to turn.  

In summary, well lubricated sheaves with a light and pliable Dyneema steering cord results in a helm that requires significantly less force to turn.

Dave Howell, ex-Nellie D. 37VT63

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Titan 37VT31 Finished the loop today!

I finished my loop today in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, aboard my Lord Nelson Victory Tug "Titan".   I left HHI April 2, 2022 and finished today April 20, 2023. Here is a picture.
Jerald Jones

Monday, April 17, 2023

Passing the Baton


Jerry Jones stopped in St Augustine as he is nearing the end of his 6700 NM Great Loop journey. He said favorites along the journey were the western end of the Erie Canal and both sides of Lake Michigan.  He has about a week left not only of his journey but of his ownership of Titan. He says it is very bittersweet and not looking forward to walking away for the final time.

Jerry is passing the baton to the new owner Bolton Sanford. Bolton hopped on board at St Augustine for the final ride up to Charleston. He is excited to gain the hands on operational knowledge as he takes the baton from Jerry. Bolton plans to rename the boat Sully and thoroughly explore Charleston.  

Monday, January 30, 2023

Chain Hook Solution


Peter Reich found a potential solution for catching the anchor chain with a clever hook.  He’s hoping it works better to catch the vertical chain.  He also reports several other winter projects including varnish to get Teddy Bear ready for the spring.