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2018-09-18

The rare instance of actually enjoying the vessel

We are coming around to the "no instruments on deck" idea...maybe a compass and maybe a tablet holder to show course, but not "the bridge of the Enterprise" as that distracts from keeping watch. Ignore the not-to-code propane tank...it's empty.
The day started with legal stuff, and then semi-related banking stuff. Then cleaning stuff (the never-ending aspect). But there was still enough hours and (more or less) enough wind to attempt a "let's get reacquainted with the boat" two-hour tour. Because we haven't sailed in weeks. We've done a bit of boat work, and we've been down to check bilges and clean away sad cobwebs, but there's been little time to actually get off the dock and move about on the water. So, despite a lingering cold and impressively hacking cough, off we went.

I'm still giddy at how accurately Marinetraffic.com can report our movements, and aware that I will want to turn the AIS off sometimes.
The wind was SSW 9-11, fitful at best, so we didn't crack much more than 4 knots and more often dawdled in the mid-three range. But that was undemanding and there were few other boats out, despite the weather being very warm and sunny for mid-September.
Outrunning a Hunter 24 was not difficult, even for a barge such as ours.
Save for the occasional plane landing nearby, it was quiet and cool. What a difference to the sorted chaos of the last couple of months. Regretfully, we have only a few weeks to enjoy this, as haulout is early this October, on the 19th/20th weekend, meaning I'll have to haul the mast a week or more before that. We may try to squeeze in a trip to Trenton, where our new house is, in the first week of October, but that's about that for the season.
Mrs. Alchemy's head, diesel jerrycan and Toronto skyline: a fairly representative prospect.
Gratifyingly, we still know how to sail. Nothing failed, no leaks, no engine blips and I laid the boat right on the dock upon our return well enough to see the missus step off with two lines and no waiting.
A bit loose as the wind merited it. The little grey blotch was a wasp starter kit.
I've started a somewhat frightening to-do list for the winter that will be the subject of another post soon. I recently heard an Andy Schell podcast with sailor Paul Exner, who has had to rehab his damaged boat after Hurricane Irma and sail it to a new phase of life in Hawaii, in which Exner defines seamanship not only in terms of knowing your knots and your splices, but in terms of time and labour management, as both are finite resources. I found it a rather compelling proposition.
Could we have gotten a pointless 0.8 of an extra knot with the staysail up? Guess so.
All in all, a beautiful, relaxing break and a mild injection of peaceful fun to remind us why the hell we've been subjecting ourselves to such levels of disruption on the home(s) front. It's for the greater good.

Yelling out "STARBOARD" not necessary in this case.
Now, I also reacquainted myself with an issue that is fixable, but remains a touch ambiguous in terms of "best fix". I have reason to believe our engine is significantly over-propped, which I can fix at haulout easily enough, but I would like to get my pitch numbers right. With a low-hours Beta 60 and a clean, if heavy-displacement, steel full keeler, I hit cruising speeds at too low (1800 RPM) a throttle settingand can't get above 2,050 RPM in relatively flat seas when I hit hull speed under motor. I do not have evidence of overheat or overpressure, however, which is good.


I've input my numbers into this worthy app, but the fact is, I have a 19-inch four-blade feathering prop (a Variprop D-107) on a steel full keeler and that isn't going to change. What can change is the pitch of said prop in forward (overpitched in reverse means I can stop and back down "with authority" and I don't care if I'm lugging for 30 seconds). But I do care I can't get the engine revving at hull speed a full 600 RPM short of its rated max, meaning unneeded strain and poorer fuel economy at cruise speeds (75-80% WOT).
The prop in, and with, question. Works like a charm otherwise.
This adjustment of pitch is probably a drop from the present 15 inch pitch to 11 or 12, but I'd rather do the math before I tinker with the stops in the hub. As a side note, everyone unhappy with their fuel burn or their RPM at WOT should understand this topic as it really makes a large difference in terms of efficiency and wear. There's even books on it, but I really just need to experiment at a slightly coarser pitch than the app (a very flat 10 inches!) suggests.

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