Sunday, November 23, 2014

Re Power, Part II, Includes Sea Trials

The new engine arrived in late August. We had paid for it at the end of May. Jan and I drove out from Texas to Florida to help with the installation and do some maintenance chores.

Al Blande from Al's Mobile Marine was there with the shiny new motor. After three furious days of labor the old motor and water heater were on the ground and the new motor sitting in the engine compartment. There were two main obstacles. The new motor (3JH5e) was about the same size as the old one (3HM), but not quite. It was 100 pounds heavier, shorter, a bit taller, and a lot wider. It would not fit through the lazerette opening. The cockpit floor had to be opened which made the install easy but left a gaping wound in the White Pepper. The second problem was that the motor mounts were the perfect width but lacked an inch fore and aft of fitting the old holes. Furthermore, the motor needed to be lifted an inch to match the transmission to the prop. Al arranged for stainless steel blocks to be fabricated. These were expensive and would not be available until after Labor Day.

Jan and I drove to Texas with mixed emotions. Much work had been done, but the job was not finished. Back in Texas I was able to land a part time job for September and October. This job was helpful in partially paying for the project.

Also back in Texas I had time to work on the propeller selection which is the subject of another post. Of interest to anyone planning to re power, it takes 6 to 8 weeks to have a Sailor brand propeller made by Michigan Wheel. These are not off the shelf items!

During this time Al had continued to work on the engine install and by November only a few details were left undone. The big issue during this period was wrestling a 3 inch exhaust system into the back of the boat. This change was probably the most problematic of the entire project. However, large exhaust systems are the future because of environmental concerns being driven by Europe, mostly.

At the end of October I resigned my job, we wrapped things up in Texas, packed up the kitty and headed back to Florida for a rendezvous with the Al, the propeller, and our White Pepper.
Finally all the pieces of the puzzle were put together. The last touch was a shaft saver to guard against catastrophic failure of the prop at the transmission and shaft alignment while in the water.

Sunday dawned warm, gray and fairly calm. It was a good day for the sea trials. The new engine roared to life. We pushed away from the dock and headed out to the St. John's River. Al ordered 1500 revs per second for five minutes and then upped the revs by 300 cycles per second every 5 minutes. All the time he used his own instruments to measure the revolutions per second and engine temperature compared those to the actual reading on the instrument pod. The tachometer was about 40 cycles per second too low and the thermometer was reading about 8 degrees high. Both were within acceptable parameters. Wide open throttle was 3200 per second and boat speed was 7.7 knots. No smoke was seen and the motor did not seem to be overloaded at WOT. After the WOT trial White Pepper cruised easily back to the dock at 7.2 knots while running at 2500 per second.

All in all the morning was a remarkable culmination to a great deal of expense and work. I was especially pleased that the boat had matched and exceeded the expectations I had based on hours of calculation back the the kitchen table at Beeville.

Jan and I feel very confident about the upcoming cruising season. In fact, today makes me think “what was I thinking?” trying to carry on last year with such a crippled engine.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Reef Lines in the Boom

Homemade Rigger's Implements.  There is a 16' rod in my right hand and a crochet hook in the left hand.

When you do something dumb sometimes it forces a burst of creativity.  Earlier in the year I was trying to replace a frayed reef line.  I accidentally pulled the line all the way through the boom. How was I going to re rove the new line through the enclosed boom with only small holes for the pulleys at each end? I suppose that riggers have specialized implements for this task, but I didn't.

After a number of false starts I hit upon using an extra long dowel to push a light line down the boom.  The line was taped onto  the dowel with a loop on the end. The extra long dowel is shown above.  I made it by duct taping four regular wooden dowels (4' x 5/8") that I had purchased at Home Depot for 91 cents each. One of Jan's crochet hooks was borrowed in order to fish out the line when it arrived at the end of the boom. A pair of wire ties provided a lead to guide the light line over the pulley. Finally the light line was sewn to the reef line (end for end) and pulled back through the boom.

You can see from the grin in the photo that I felt pretty good about the project.  But in truth I had to spend about 6 hours undoing 10 seconds of thoughtlessness. On the other hand 6 hours is a fairly light penitence compared to some of my other 10 seconds of screw ups.