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2014-08-30

That sinking feeling

Not a pleasant vista. Photo (c) J.C.
So, kids, keep those bilges clean, free of debris and attached to decent batteries! This was the scene about a week and a half ago at the marina where I keep the 33-footer. This is an older sort of small powerboat, arguably dirtier than mine but of a similar vintage, I would guess. It sank due to some sort of unknown bilge pump failure, but why water was coming in in the first place remains unknown.

Actual salvors doing actual salving. Not seen often around these parts.

Also a mystery is how this boat could be refloated, pumped out and then...not immediately sink again. Seen here is the handy work platform from which the guys brought in to fix the "sunken, fuel-dribbling power boat hanging off the dock" situation.
That's gasoline dispersant in the water, and an absorbant boom to contain (partially, at least) the fuel spillage.

I think for these salvors it was a nice and easy day to resurrect a boat sunk in a marina, as opposed to a freighter run aground in a storm or anything during the winter. I enjoyed their casual way with tossing live AC power cords hither and yon. 

Rises again, only to be hauled away.
The owner was surrounded by a cloud of unknowing: he had no clue as to why his boat sank, or, indeed, why it was floating again. But to judge from the slightly gritted teeth I encountered at the marina office, plus the very tatty look of the boat, I suspect Mr. Grew will be trailering his powerboat from now on, as he has Left the Marina. Just another day on the water. Keep those hose clamps tight, kids.






Have a seat, Skipper

Base, strut, sliding plate thingie.
From the department of "failure to prioritize" comes The Helm Seat Purchase. I am in the midst of finishing the prolonged installation of the new diesel in the hope that I can, mastless, at least chug around in circles before haulout. That's the stated goal.

But sometimes opportunities/curses arrive in unpredictable ways. The opportunity was to purchase, at a discount, a long-contemplated item: an adjustable helm seat for the pilothouse. The curse came in the form of the closing of Genco Marine's Queen Quay outlet. Genco Marine was not only the closest chandlery to both my boats, it was also where my wife, the redoubtable Mrs. Alchemy, put in four to five days a week of thankless retail grinding. There's a West Marine in the downtown area, but seriously, that is the equivalent of suggesting Walmart to the purchaser of bespoke tailoring. They are great if you want an anchor-themed placement or a hat that declaims "Kiss the Captain!", but that's not me at this stage. Besides, even WM is slated to be bulldozed for condos, which is the Toronto way of things.

So while Genco will keep (along with Mason's, Holland Marine and a few others will continue to exist in the western hinterland of Mississauga, fat lot of good that does for a man with two boats and no car. Thus, the somewhat early purchase was made, because I got to put my bum in it first.

This will have to be moved around a bit to find the precise spot desired.
I needed a rather tall seat strut, because my wife (now and forever) and my son (currently, but not for long) are about one foot (0.3 m) shorter than am I, and we needed about a ten-inch height range. So calculations were made, and this is the result: a nice helm chair with arms, and yet not so padded that it can't rotate in a complete circle.  It also comes with a $100 item called a "sliding pedestal", meaning that it can shift forward enough to make the relative difference in arm length, and therefore, helming comfort, a non-issue. About the only change I might make is little cherrywood blocks screwed into the helm panelling so that the crew can brace their feet in heavy seas. After that, it's a manner of drilling holes and making sure a backing plate is installed under the steel decking to spread the load of bodies bracing themselves against the sea. Personally, this is intended mainly for motoring, as sailing will be done largely from the outside helm, but this will be very nice to have when peering at the various navigational gadget I have yet to install.