Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A Bookmark

Perusing trip logs along the Trent-Severn Seaway has become a sort of second sport for me as I prepare for this summer's relocation cruise. My biggest challenge with these logs is that so many seem to travel from Lake Ontario to Lake Huron, and I have found very few trip logs in the opposite direction. With some elation, I finally found a trip log of a sailboat starting in Lake Simcoe, headed for Lake Ontario, that only took place last summer.


I am hoping loads of folks will link through to that blog. I am full of questions with no way to reach the author, and hoping that they will follow backlinks to the Iris blog and reach me via a comment. I am also using this post as a bookmark so I can find the blog again.

The relocation cruise is only a little over a month away. I should probably get starting prepping things for it. I wonder how much beer I'll need...

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Mailman Cometh

You'll never guess what the mailman brought...

OK, so the box was banged up and broken open, and the packing slip and invoice were missing, but still... that's my new shift cable. You can see the difference between the two - the broken one is not new. the new one is not broken.

The new cable didn't come equipped with the right appendage to function as a shift cable. Apparently appendages are extra. No problem - I could just recycle the old one. One cotter pin and a hard pull and off comes the shifter attachment end thinggy. That's what its called in the parts manual. I swear.

Off with the old, and on with the new. The generic Evinrude cable is now a dedicated shift cable.

Being that I'll be in the cockpit when I try to shift, I needed to reattach everything to the remote control. Before I did that, I want to make sure everything was working well, and give it a little grease on the moving parts. Here are all the critical bits laid out on the futon.

From left to right: Plastic cover, Shifting components, Lever, Throttle components.

The first step to reassembly was lubing the throttle side. Here I have put some grease on the moving parts, and the cable is in position. The little steel pin above the assemble will hold the cable in place. The black circle in the lower left corner of the assembly holds the shift cable housing so it doesn't move when throttle is applied. Pic 2: The pin is in place, and the throttle side is ready for assembly. On to the shifter.

The shift mechanism is the same as the throttle for attachment of the cable, but I though I would flip it over for the photos so you can see the other side. I have lubed all the moving parts inside. In this shot you can see the black ferrule that will hold the cable housing. You can also see where it goes on the body.

And the cable is attached with the pin in place to hold it. This is actually a little finicky since the cables want to twist in the housing and that makes getting the pin in place difficult. Especially if your hands are a little greasy.

Now both halves of the shifter are ready to be assembled. The challenge here is that you have to match the throttle position to the shifter position. It took a few tries and some cuss words, but I got there eventually. The handle is attached but not bolted in place since it can be used to wiggle the shifter while assembling. This helps get things lined up. 2 views:

With the 2 halves together its time to put on the plastic cover that hides the cables. The screw wanted to cross its threads. It took some work to get it to play nice. With the cover on, the shift handle could be attached and the shifter tested. it all works!!

And finally, the shifter is installed back on the boat with the help of SWMBO and buddy who did a great job of holding things just right and picking up things I dropped.

Now I just have to finish all the jobs I started on the interior.

Friday, 13 April 2012

The Futzing Continues

The ongoing fixing jobs continue. Tonight I had the help of Buddy out there. At 4 years old he is good for holding screws and playing with the tape measure, and he can climb the ladder on his own now - its just like at the park!

Not a lot of excitement in the projects tonight. I did a repeat of the light installation for the port side, and Put in a pair of one inch "Clipper Clips" on starboard to hold the boathook in place. I had only bought these to push an order over $100 and get free shipping, but now I am pretty happy with them. They should make life easier when I am on final approach to a butt-puckering situation and need a boathook stat!

Today when that happens the order of operations is:
  1. Oh crap.
  2. Chuck go get a boathook before we hit that ______________
  3. Dad where is it?
  4. Did you check in the quarterberth?
  5. Yes
  6. Did you check in the vee berth?
  7. Yes
  8. Did you check the pin rails - nevermind.
  9. CRUNCH!!
Hopefully now the boathook will have a home and stay there. I may get a second set of clips for the other hook, and mount it on the port side. I need to get a camera out there again to take some photos.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Remote Controls

In my March Madness post a little while ago, I showed the beginnings of taking apart and rebuilding the engine remote. In that post I got as far as taking the remote off the boat. If you followed that at all, you are likely wondering why I let things sit after that. Truth is I am waiting for parts to come in from some warehouse in Florida.

Back then though I promised to pick up where I left off and give a look at what went wrong with the remote. To that end, here we go.

Most of the workings of the remote are hidden in the quarter-berth, with only the handle and the cables exposed outside the boat. The portion of remote inside the boat looks like this:

As you can see at the back of that pic, the cables that connect the remote to the throttle and shifter exit at the back of the fixed unit to push and pull at the controls on the outboard.

Looking closely, you can see that one of the cables has frayed badly, in fact the casing for the cable has failed completely. That cable is the shift cable, which I imagine was stressed when a stray nut was preventing the engine from shifting into reverse earlier in the season. Replacement cables are now on their way from Florida as mentioned above.

I took another photo of the cables to give a feel for the failure.

Of course it held together until we were coming down the fairway a little hot and I really needed reverse badly. I didn't get reverse, but with the right swear words, and a little help from dock neighbours, we managed to get the boat parked without any damage.

In order to remove the cables from the shifter, you have to open the shifter up, which is easy enough since only 3 bolts hold it together.

Inside, the shift mechanism is on one half of the clam shell casing, and the throttle is on the other. Everything is very dry, so I plan on lubing all the moving parts with a good synthetic grease that has been floating around since my mountain biking days.

So the first side of the gizmo is the throttle mechanism.

The way the throttle remote works is that the handle rotates a centre pin which has a cam attached to it. The cam moves a slider up and down a groove to give limits to the movement. This defines full throttle in forward and reverse. The cam also slides against an arm which extends to apply pressure to the cable. The cable then opens and closes the throttle at the engine.

The other side of the remote is the shift mechanism.

Based on the same centre pin, which attaches to the handle in the cockpit via a bunch of splines on the hub, the shifter is about equal in its simplicity. The small spring on the right of the photo presses a plastic slider into detents that define forward, neutral, and reverse. the bright silver button at the bottom of the photo is the cable attachment. When the lever is rotated, the cam moves between gears, the detents engage, and the cable is pushed or pulled to shift gears at the engine.

Now that we've seen inside the shifter, we'll have to wait for the new cables to arrive and see if it all works once it gets reassembled in the boat. According to the folks in Florida, that should be any time now.

Sticker Season

This time of year I hear a lot of people wondering what sort of fonts they should use for their boat name. 5 years ago about this time we had the same discussions. At that time we decided that the boat's name should be short, easily recognized, and easy to spell in phonetics. This shortened our name list considerably and Iris avoided being named "Queen Wilhelmina" although that is a perfectly lovely choice, if it works for you.

In any case this about font and colour, not names. Here are a couple of pics of Iris as she sits today. We are still prepping her for spring launch. She has a sort of boom tent over the cockpit since I have a few projects on the go up there. The reason for the pics though is so you can get a feel for what our lettering/font size looks like. If you are handy with graphics programs, feel free to overlay your boats name in whatever font you choose, and you will see what your name of choice looks like in your font of choice on a Catalina 25.

Font choices for boat names are pretty much unlimited. I have seen everything from scrawly little-kid writing to beautiful swirls and twirls in cursive writing to bold calligraphy. Our reasoning wiped most of these clear. We felt that it was important that another boat be able to see our name and hail us from afar, so we wanted a clear, simple font that anyone could read.

In the end we got what you see below. I believe the font is "Callibri" but I don't remember. For colour we went with a strong contrast to the hull colour, and we spaced the letters far enough apart that they could easily be read without blurring into each other. If I were to redo the lettering on iris, I might move the letters further apart to better define them from each other.

For scaling, the capital letter 'I' in each of these pictures is your best way to measure the height of the font. On the side of the boat, the 'I' is 12" high. On the transom, the 'I' is 7-1/2" high. If you dig around in your graphics software, you should be able to scale a photo to size, and that will allow you to judge the best height for your lettering (click on photos to open in full size).

Finally, some folks get all excited about applying the decals once they buy them. You can buy your name from about any vinyl graphics place, and there are many both online and brick-and-mortar shops that will make up the lettering for you. Look for signmakers, automobile graphics, and window decals in the yellow pages. The name will arrive on a sheet of paper. You position the name where you want it, and hold it in place with a couple pieces of masking tape, then peel off the backing, stick the letters where you want them, and smooth them out using a plastic spreader available in the fiberglass/bodywork section of an auto parts store for $2.

I have been told that it is best to wait for a calm day for this job. A breeze can blow the sticky letters after the backing paper is removed, causing the letters to stick to the boat or each other when you aren't prepared for it. This will result in some, erm, "customization" beyond what you intended.

Good luck, and happy naming!