Monday, 30 June 2008

We almost made it!

Well - we got out for the long weekend and everything seemed to be running fine. No hint of engine stumbling on the way to Beau Rivage and the generator worked fine when we needed it (although there was a pungent anti-freeze smell that disturbs me). We had a lovely weekend, 'though we obviously missed the Sea-Ray memo - we were the only Carver in a sea of six Sea-Rays. They were all from Village Quay at Ivy Lea, so they know our boat better than we do. Unfortunately, this morning as we approached our own dock the starboard engine stalled again and, although it would restart, would not keep running. It was very windy and handling the Carver with the one (counter-rotating) port screw is a nightmare. We went straight to Gordon's where we docked (it wasn't pretty!) by drifting sideways into the 1000 Islands Playhouse dock (thanks, Cheryl G, for letting us stay overnight). Gordon's have ordered some ignition parts (next guess after carburetor) but, tomorrow being Canada Day, nothing will happen until Wednesday. Hopefully we'll be up and running by week's end, but we'll still be very nervous about heading far - we thought we had it licked last week!

Update - ignition parts ordered from Kingston are back-ordered and should be in by next Tuesday. It's soon going to be mid-July and the summer will be over before we know it. I'm beginning to wish we had our dependable Fairbanks back!!

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Tricks and Tips

I've begun a new blog where I'll post ideas for projects which I think might be helpful to others. I'm often searching on the web for a solution to a problem and come across information that helps. It always impresses me that DIYers take the time and trouble to post their solutions on the web. So here's my attempt to share. My intention is to offer solutions to 'duh' moments and save you some time and grief. It's separate from our main blog because not everybody wants to read about this stuff. I'm no engineer - just a guy who's relatively handy and pretty good at making do. If my suggestion helps you, let me know. If you think it's stupid, keep it to yourself.

Link from here or click on the sidebar "Tips and Tricks from the Bluffdwellers".

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Third weekend NOT out

Well, we're still plagued with mechanical issues. Despite two sessions with the local marina's mechanic, we're still not running. Actually, we're running but can't stay running. Opinions range from bad gas to bad carburator to bad luck. And, of course, because when it runs it runs perfectly it's extra-hard to nail down exactly what the problem is. We're taking the boat over to the service marina again tomorrow and hopefully, during the course of this week, they'll figure out what's wrong and fix it for good.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

First weekend out

Last weekend we had the first opportunity to get out on Daydream Believer for the weekend. We have decided that this summer will be a stick-around-here summer - time to get used to the new boat. There's a lot to learn about a new boat: everything from how long the fridge will run between charges to how long you can use the head before you need a pump-out.

We headed out Friday afternoon to Beau Rivage, one of our favourite Parks Canada islands just off Gananoque. We weren't really sure that we had everything we needed but headed out anyway, knowing that the trusty dinghy could run home in 5 minutes for anything we'd forgotten. What we didn't know was that we wouldn't even make it to Beau Rivage. As we passed the lighthouse just west of Gan, one engine sputtered and quit - as I worked to restart it, the other one died. I could get the engines to run with lots of throttle but as soon as I backed off the throttle and shifted into gear they died again. We were quite close to Beau Rivage and could see boats of friends docked there. A few calls on the VHF raised no response so we considered dropping anchor since we were beginning to drift into the channel.

Just then friends from Beau, G & B, out for a 'toot' in their tender, came along and offered to tow us to the park dock. Once situated there we began to troubleshoot the problem. It was evident that there was a gas supply problem, since neither engines nor the generator would run, but we weren't sure whether it was a clogged filter or maybe water in the gas. Secured at the dock and among friends it seemed time to relax (the fridge was still working!!) and leave the solution 'til morning when it would be cooler in the engine compartment (it was about 30 degrees here on Friday). The portable Honda geni was fired up to refresh the batteries.

We were right about not being totally prepared for this first trip. Among those things lacking were a complete tool kit and adequate spare parts. However (aside from some good-natured ribbing) the comraderie among boaters is such that a quick trip to town with DP enabled us to get what we needed. All fuel filters were replaced and, it would appear, problem solved. Both engines run like tops and the geni fired up and ran smooth as could be. Time to relax again and enjoy the gorgeous weekend.

Saturday afternoon I scooted over to the Golf Club to pick up m-in-law for the afternoon and supper. When it was time to take her back, guess what - - - the outboard on the dinghy wouldn't start. Again DP was pressed into service to ferry her home. A change of the spark plug solved that problem so I was OK to ferry in to town and back for church Sunday morning (even when the weather is nice, the church seems to want their organist there for services).

Sunday all things mechanical seemed to perform as expected so we enjoyed the afternoon (the thunderstorms never developed) and headed home at suppertime. It's a pig docking at our dock if there's any wind but with some adaptations of the dock and more experience in handling the new boat we'll be fine. We're already looking forward to getting out again next weekend. This time I'll have enough tools and spare parts to rebuild the engines.

btw - this was our first opportunity to use the new smart-phone (HTC Touch) to check email and access the internet (keeping up with TheSinger and PetDoc's blogs and other news). Can't say enough good things about the HTC Touch - we love it.

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