A couple of months ago I couldn’t get my normally trusty 9.9 Mercury outboard to start no matter what I did. Choked it. Squirted it full of starter fluid. Changed the plugs. Needed to, anyway, but nothing. I even went on a trek to Harbor Freight to buy a spark tester. Didn’t work. Or it was probably too light to see if the light was shining when I pulled the starter cord.
I decided the carb was probably clogged because I didn’t run it dry the last time I had it going and it’s common for the needle valve to gum up and stick as the volatile gas evaporates and leaves the two-stroke oil in the carb. So I ordered a rebuild kit from Sierra.
I read the repair manual and watched a few videos about that model motor on YouTube and then took the damned thing off the motor. It wasn’t hard at all. The carb was surprisingly clean inside. But I used carb cleaner anyway and replaced all the gaskets. Actually I took it apart a couple of times because I wasn’t really sure about the situation of the needle valve and the float.
As I was getting ready to put it back on the engine I was in my dinghy and noticed that the switch where the kill switch lanyard goes wasn’t in the “up” position where it’s supposed to be in order to run. At this point I’m 95% certain that’s why it wouldn’t start. Oh, well, new plugs won’t hurt. I just hope I didn’t mess up the carb by taking it apart.
I attached the fuel line and the linkages and let it sit. Truth be told I was scared to try it out and find out it wasn’t working. It has been sitting there for close to two months, I guess. On nice days I’d say “you really should try and see it the outboard will start. But fear overcame me.
Today I couldn’t hold off any longer. I hooked up the gas tank, pumped the fuel line bulb until it was solid and pulled on the starter cord. Nothing. Checked to see if the switch was properly set. It was. Gave it a squirt of starter fluid. Pulled the cord and BRRRRRROOOM we have lift off!!!
I’m writing this on bright but chilly morning here in the Bradenton Beach, FL, anchorage on my new “almost” a computer. An Acer R11 Chromebook.
The day before yesterday (Friday 1-4) my Macbook Air took a bath. Don’t ask…It’s the second time that’s happened. I took it apart for the second time and dried everything off but it won’t start. There’s a good possibility that it needs a needs a new I/O board like the last time. They’re cheap so I’ll try and get an new one. BUT the thing is I NEED a computer. I LIVE on my computer because there are days when I can’t get ashore, as you know.
Yes, I have my iPad but it’s getting kind of funny and having problems charging. Sometimes I have to wiggle the connection around to get it to work properly. The problem may be in the pad itself, or it could be in the plug. There are 16 gold contacts (eight on each side) and after a while they wear down and problems arise. I’ve gone through probably a dozen sets of chords since I bought the thing down in Panama about six years ago.
The Macbook Air is maybe a year older and that’s ancient in computer terms. But I loved it. Best computer I ever owned and I’ve owned a bunch. But after the first drenching and getting it up and running again it had problems that I didn’t bother to correct. The keyboard no longer worked so I bought a cheap one to plug into the computer. For some reason the Bluetooth program disappeared so I had to go with a keyboard with a cord. A pain in the ass, frankly, but it worked. Also left-hand speaker died as did the fan. But it was still kinda workable.
So, when the thing went down for the second time I knew it was time for a replacement. But I sure didn’t have $1,300 lying around doing nothing so a new Macbook Air was certainly out of the question. Even a regular Windows computer runs around $600 which is half of what I get each month in Social Security. Why not stick with the iPad until I can save enough? Well, the virtual keyboard thing sucks. That’s why some of my posts are riddled with spelling errors. I do have a Bluetooth keyboard but it’s big and clunky and doesn’t work very well.
Looking at computer ads the most reasonably price jobber doos were Chromebooks. They’re “Almost” computers but everything is done on the “Cloud.” Maybe I’m a 21st century Luddite, but I’ve never grasped the concept of the “Cloud” and I don’t trust it. And Chromebooks really need to be online to work. But the Chromebooks only cost a couple of hundred bucks and, with my Christmas largesse and some money I actually had left over from last month’s economic life I could swing that. And I gave serious consideration to how I actually use my computer.
First of all I’m almost always online. That’s why I spend $70/month for a hotspot on my phone although right now I’m piggybacking on a nearby open wifi site and my phone is turned off. Most of what I do is zero in on Facebook, news sites like Yahoo, emails, and writing like now. A “real” computer is a bit of overkill for what I do. I don’t play a lot of games other than Angry Birds 2 and some card games like Spades Plus, so a Chromebook will do okay. I went over to the mainland in the afternoon and, as much as I hate to admit it, went to Wally World that advertised the lowest prices for Chromebooks.
I’d done some research via the iPad on different models. Acer has a good reputation and the R11 model has some things I like. Such as a touch screen so I can embiggen (as the Simpsons would say) what’s on the page to help my feeble eyesight. Looking at the array in the store, the Acer had the sharpest, most vibrant display of any, and at just over $200 it was something I could afford. So, here I am happily pecking away on a decent keyboard and content.
When the tide comes in a bit more so I can easily get up on the dinghy dock I’ll go ashore and do a little grocery shopping. I need to do laundry but that can wait until tomorrow.
Except for the calendar January 1, 2019 seems just like December 31, 2018. It’s better than January 1, 2018 when the temperature in the morning was down into the upper 30s here in Bradenton Beach, Florida, anchorage. The temperature today is expected to get up into the upper 70s!
The Venture 22 foot sailboat I call home was never meant to be a “liveaboard.” At best, the designer saw it as a daysailer capable of taking a very compatible couple for an occasional gunkholing weekend. Literally thousands of them were built. The reasons why I live aboard the boat full time at anchor has nothing to do with today’s story.
The boat I bought is over 30 years old and, like all boats it had problems with leaks. Fortunately NOT leaks in the hull since there are no through-hull fittings like sea cocks. But there were leaks where the chain plates pierced the cabin top. Those were easily taken care of with the judicious application of caulking.
The most serious offender was the sliding hatch at the entrance to the cabin from the cockpit. Rainwater would seep underneath the flange at the rear of the hatch and, when closed up, as one must do when it rains, water would find its way to into the cabin and drip down onto the cushions I sleep on.
In the last year and a half I’ve tried several different ways to thwart the problem. The most successful was covering the entire pop up top (a device to provide standing headroom which I don’t employ.) with plastic sheeting, generically known as “Visqueen” to boat yard workers, and fasten it down with duct tape. It worked, but cosmetically it looked like crap and the Visqueen had to be replaced every couple of months as the sun’s ultraviolet rays degraded it.
After endless hours of contemplation sitting in the cockpit I think I’ve finally got it conquered!
I bought four 1”X4” boards. On edge they give nearly an inch of clearance for the hatch to slide beneath. After cutting three of them to size I screwed them to the teak rails the sliding hatch rides under. I needed a piece of plywood to cover the area, but
Since I depend on buses for transportation I’m limited in what I can carry at one time. So at first I covered it with Visqueen. It worked fine proven by the hours of hard, pounding rain we got last week.
I went to Home Depot the day before Christmas and got them to cut me a piece of ½” plywood a bit oversized for the gap. When I got it screwed down I discovered that I should have coughed up a couple of more bucks and gotten a ¾” piece as what I’d purchased sagged down and lay on top of the hatch.
But someone whose resourceful Yankee roots extend as far back as 1630 the solution was close at hand. I had a six foot piece of that 1X4 board left so I cut it down to the width of the gap, laid it on end and glued and screwed it to the plywood. You’re not going to get THAT to bow. So now there’s a ½” space between the top of the hatch and the bottom of the plywood cover. Just need a little caulking to make sure there’s no intrusion and a bit of paint to make it look nice and I’m done. Those black patches are the hard part of Velcro. They work great for grabbing ahold of mosquito netting when you need it. Just touch the netting to the spot and it sticks.
The final touch, though, was to fasten the solar panel to the new top. It had simply been laying on deck before though secured to the mast step with a cable lock to prevent theft. Now it won’t blow away or be rocked off the deck into the water. Came close to that once before, though.
In all it took me about an entire eight hour working day to get it built. The problem is, when you’re an old duffer with serious COPD things take longer. Tasks that shouldn’t be a problem leave me winded and in need of a breather. And it’s slow because being aware of how easily I get out of breath each step has to be thought out before actually doing it.
The new addition to the boat ISN’T quality work. My defense is: “It’s not an effin’ yacht, ya know….”
The water here at the Bradenton Beach, FL, anchorage is very shallow. Lots of boats come in at high tide and drop their hooks. For every high tide there’s a low tide and this is what happens.
Fortunately for ME I have a retractable keel and when it’s up (it always is, btw) I only draw about a foot of water. At low tide I’m sitting in about 3 feet of the wet.
Now you know…