Saturday, March 5, 2011

Annapolis School of Seamanship

Check out the clever visual aids for other kewl classes offered - like Marine Electronics. Or Marine Electronic Navigation, just to name a few. These wall units are actually on wheels so that they can be moved around. The top one is all things that would be wired up on a boat including a starter battery and house battery. We used it a couple of times in our marine diesel class to trouble shoot why an engine wouldn't start. I believe they use the same method to teach deductive troubleshooting in the marine electronics class. Very kewl boards.

Marine Diesel Class - Level 2 by Cap10 Tom

Toward the end of Level 1 class, Scott asked who was staying for the next two days for Level 2 class. He identified the lucky 7 people, then told us he wouldn't be very nice to us. In fact, he said we would hate him after the first day. He was right. We spent the first day trouble shooting two engines, both of which were severely "bugged". This guy was diabolical, he must have stayed up until dawn working in his bugs. Once we thought we were closing in on a problem, he would just give us a cold stare and shrug his shoulders. The idea was to be systematic and verify the function of each component. We would ask for a new part, and he would say "prove it doesn't work" - you get the idea. I won't give any clues about how he planted his bugs since that would spoil the fun if any of you decide to take the course. We mangaged to get both engines running and he finally turned back into the nice guy he really was. The lessons we learned that day were hard fought and I doubt I'll forget them soon.

The second day we worked on adjusting valves without looking at the timing marks on the flywheel - since you can't usually get to the flywheel in a cramped engine compartment. We learned how to check and adjust injection timing, plus we spent quite a bit of time messing with the injectors. We pulled them out, took them apart, tossed them around, and even rebuilt a few. We learned to use a Pop Tester, a really cool bench tool which measures the pressure needed to activate an injector. This tells you if your injector fires at the correct pressure, plus you can also see the spray pattern. Basically, this tool tells you if your injectors are screwed up. So here we had an engine where we all took turns adjusting valves, messed with the injection timing, and yanked out all the injectors. We put everything back together, bled the fuel and the motor fired right up! I learned that diesels pretty much have to run if there is clean fuel, air, and enough cranking RPMs.

Next, we worked on a "project" engine in the courtyard. This was a big Westerbeke taken out of a powerboat used by John, the owner of the school. Seems this engine was acting up so he thought it would be great if each class could work on it until it was fixed. Sort of a low-cost overhaul under the guidance of a real diesel mechanic. We got it running, but it still made a strange noise at 2200 RPM. Too bad he needs the engine back in the boat in a few weeks for a Seamanship class. I guess he'll just run it at a higher speed.

Level 2 was well worth the time and effort since confidence in engine room is a really good thing.

After day one of Level 2, nourishment for the brain was needed.


Bacon Sails and Marine Supplis

Queue the angles singing.....Bacon Sails and Marine Supplies sells used and new - everything. Mainly used. Seriously, everything.

You need a new heat exchanger, they have a used one for a song. A new thermostat, they have one. A new sea water strainer, they have 10 to choose from. A new...whatever, they have a used one for a fraction of the regular NEW price. *Notice please the use of diesel engine parts in my everyday speech now that I have attended class. Elle Woods indeed!

And sails....OMG! Hundreds and hundreds of sails. Possibly thousands.

We came away with some terrific bargains limited only by our luggage.
*By the way....If you carry a bunch of odds and ends sailing gear in your carry on say....a dinghy pump, TSA does not know what the hell to do (- not in the TSA manual) and they will take their super efficient, highly professional time to research. Meaning they will scan it multiple times, search the bag, scan the individual item again, shake it, sniff it, lick it, and put it up to their ear like a sea shell before finally asking "what is this, bagpipes?"

Cap10 Tom fell in love with this little number at Bacon Sails. Thank goodness we flew vs drove to Annapolis. Whew!

Annapolis - A drinking town with a sailing problem

No trip to Annapolis would be complete without at least one stop to Pusser's Bar for a Painkiller. They give you the recipe. They sell the mix. But nothing compares to having a Painkiller served up proper (strength 2,3 or 4...always start with 3). Unless of course it's having a Painkiller from the Marina Cay Pusser's in the BVI's. If you don't know the history of Pusser's Rum- Wiki it.

Notice please the skinny Pusser's Rum bottle. You might be WELL my dear friends, the original bottle is fat and won't fit in the wine/liquor rack of any boat. NOT GOOD. Our bartender explained that these were new and by request of the bartenders. This became my new quest....I needed to find a resource/liquor store for the skinny bottles so we could have Pusser's on s/v Honey Ryder.

But alast....I searched and searched only to discover the bottles are only for Pusser's bars. ARGH!!

However, I did score some Peanut Rum.
*Yes, the pic is blurry but is it the pic or the picture taker after a Painkiller or two? Hummm?
**Please see previous posts about peanut rum and the peanut butter cup martini.

Fun in Annapolis

Downtown Annapolis and the capitol

Very historic

We stayed at the O'Callaghan Annapolis Hotel and walked to class each morning over the bridge to Eastport. Ok....we didn't actually walk. We planned to however the hotel has a free shuttle van that drove us AND he was available each morning when we were headed to class. We did walk home each evening.

The above is a modern day skipjack coming in with his load of oysters for the day. I learned all about it at the Maritime Museum. Ohhh....the fresh oysters in Annapolis. YUM!
Speaking of yum - tons of great places but definitely go to Chick & Ruth's Delly. It's a throw back to the old time Mom & Pop style deli.

More fun in Eastport MD

I planned to visit the Maritime Museum in Eastport but when I got there I discovered it was closed.

However I met a lovely local Annapolis couple - Charles and Josiane out for a walk near the museum. Seems they met when Charles sailed into Savannah (from across the Atlantic on his maracuja yacht, no less !) when Josiane was teaching there.

As we chatted in front of the closed museum, a man drove up and went in the office entrance. One thing lead to another and the three of us ended up with our own private tour.

Very kewl. I only wish I would have had more time to chat with my new acquaintances as they were an interesting couple to be sure.

Friends with Benefits

Just kidding! More like friends that are sailing connected....Sailing Industry connected to be specific. So while Cap10 Tom was in Level 2 Marine Diesel Class, I explored Eastport and all things sailing. Imagine that!

Annapolis is Mecca for sailors and what I discovered is that specifically Easport (part of Annapolis but don't say that to an Eastport person) is like a HUGE candy store for sailors. All the players are here. Sailmakers, canvas shops, yacht brokers, navel architechs, riggers, yacht clubs, and on and on.

I went out and made some friends. Imagine that!

Dan at Sailrite was an absolute Prince of a guy. He was patient with the hundreds of questions I had and gave me tons of good ideas and suggestions on various canvas projects for s/v Honey Ryder. Funny guy too. This shop is simply a MUST for any sailor visiting Annapolis. Hands down awesome! *Dan knows his Eastport lore too. Good, good stuff!

Next stop was Doyle sails. Chuck gave me a tour of the loft as we talked all things sails. Calibers are outfitted with Doyle sails from the factory. He has some great suggestions for cleaning and sailing care.

Lee Ann at North Sails was wonderfully warm and friendly as we chatted about all things North Sails including their super high tech sail loft in Nevada of all places. She loaded me up with two North Sails DVD as well as offering up their head and water as I was hoofing it all around Eastport.

The history in Weems & Plath was amazing. Pictures of Commander Plath with Charles Lindbergh! None of him with Amelia Erhart - explains alot doesn't it. Just kidding! A nice chat with the receptionist or as I like to call her...."my new best friend at Weems and Plath"....taught me a simple way to test the barometer on s/v Honey Ryder to see if it's working - put it in a zip lock bag. If the barometer changes, then yes, it's working. If not, then no it's not and it needs to go back to Weems and Plath to be fixed. How kewl is that little insiders tip!

Finally there was multiple visits to the Eastport city hall aka The Boatyard Bar and Gill. Sorry no pics. Too much to see, hear and observe. ALL the racers, cruisers, crews, owners, industry sailors go here. We stopped in the first time Sunday after class. I overheard the following from a group of hardcore sailors "And this bastard just came back from the Sydney to Hobart race where he was responsible for them having to turn back to the start to secure the life raft and the SOB's still finished among the top group of yachts." OMG! And the pics on the wall - Dennis Conner, Gary Jobson, Terry Hutchinson, Paul Cayard, etc.... And the yacht burgees from all the various clubs. And the food. OMG! We met Bill and Pam here and ended up having dinner with them a few nights later. He's originally from KCK - Strawberry Hill and she is from Oklahoma.
The other Eastport must is Daves Pub. We had found this little gem in 2007 when we where at the boat show. Cap10 Tom ate there both days of his level 2 class. I joined him the second day. YUM -crab cakes and Maryland crab soup. Again - overflowing with sailing industry folks grabbing a quick lunch.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Marine Diesel Class

In our continuing quest for knowledge of all things sailing and boating AND as an offensive move to be worthy of our Yanmar 56...we have just returned from Marine Diesel Class at the Annapolis School of Seamanship.

A VERY worthwhile use of time and $$. We both took Level 1.

(As one friend - who shall remain nameless (KIM) giggled as she pictured me in class)...I was a bit worried that I would be in a class with a bunch of guys that already knew a ton about diesels and I would end up being the.....Elle Woods (think movie Legally Blond) of Marine Diesel Class but I wasn't. There were 16 of us total in level 1, three nautical chicks including me.
OK - there was ONE Elle Woods moment involving a cap labeled 710 but everyone else in the class was questioning it too, I just happened to be the "blond" that asked. Turns out it's a little engine humor that Scott likes to throw in each class to see who he can trip up.
Figure it out yet? 710? Cap labeled 710? Turn it over.....710....OIL. See, not so easy.

The school setup, classroom layout, visual aids - (the engines) and hands on were great. John Martino, Annapolis School of Seamanship owner and Scott Segal (AR Marine) expertly guided through the mysterious and wondrous world of marine diesels.

This one even had "windows" cut into various areas so we could actually see inside. Scott -(of AR Marine) fired it up and let us look in the various "windows" so we could see first hand what

Level 1 class was 9am-4pm for two days. Our syllabus included Principles of Operation, Anatomy of a Diesel Engine, Maintaining Your Engine and Troubleshooting. There was plenty of opportunities to get engine oil up under our nails as we took apart various areas of the engines, learned to bleed the fuel lines, changed impellers, changed the oil and filter, etc.... as well as some tricky troubleshooting.

Cap10 Tom went on to take the level 2 class while I made "friends" in Annapolis and specifically Eastport. I am going to let him personally share his experiences in Level 2 class.
For me, I now know the basics of marine diesel engines. How they work, the pieces and parts, maintenance musts, some of the things that can do wrong and how to best methodically troubleshoot any issues early on. I would strongly recommend this class for anyone with a marine diesel engine.