The season is in full swing and we have been busy on the water. If you are like me you were hoping for some warmer weather to work on the boat. Now it’s finally perfect boating weather and all you want to do is cast off the bow lines and head for your favorite anchorage. Then again, you remember your diesel mechanic telling you that your should change the oil once a year. Arrrghh, I should have really done this in January.
Well, let’s get on with it anyway. To make things less painful, run your engine for at least half an hour to warm it up. This will make pumping out of the old oil so much easier. Diesel engines don’t like running in idle, so put the engine into reverse gear and crank the throttle to maybe 1500 RPM, or a little bit less, depending on how much you trust your mooring lines.
After maybe half an hour the oil should be flowing easily rather than be sticky like honey. You might be tempted to change the oil filter while you are at it, but you might want to wait a few ours with that until the most of the oil drained as much as possible back into the sump and is thick as honey again. This will allow you to change the oil filter without a drop of oil spilled. Changing the oil filter before the oil had a chance to flow back into the sump and while it’s still warm you will find yourself cleaning the engine bilge - it’s a messy job (yes, been there done that).
Oil and filter change: Check! Great.
Ahh, there are a few more filters on the engine. When is the last time you checked your Racor or secondary fuel filter? Just replace them. All a diesel engine needs is clean fuel and compression. So why not change the fuel filters once a year to keep things running smoothly.
While we are at it you may as well change the impeller on your raw water pump. “Oh, it should have a couple hundred more hours on it”, you say. That is what the manual says, yes. On the other hand, the last time I looked at the impeller on my Yanmar 3YM20, a paddle was missing and that just over half the life expectancy of the impeller. At $12 a pop, I make it a habit to change the impeller once a year. It will take less than 10 minutes of your time.
Since you are checking your cooling water level and the raw water strainer each time you take your boat out you are probably good on that front.
Have a look at both your belts (alternator & raw water pump). If they are approaching 500 hours since the last time your replaced them it’s probably a good time to get new ones.
So there you go - less than a hundred bucks out of pocket, maybe a days work on the boat and your marine diesel is ready for another season. No time like now to get this done.
Easy for me to preach. The work is done and I am sitting at anchorage sipping on a rum & coke watching a beautiful sunset.
Your Simply Sailing Team
Three of our instructors plus one from another sailing school recently completed the Sail Canada (CYA) Advanced Instructor clinic. Advanced sail training includes night sailing, sailing in heavy winds as well as sailing to and from a dock or mooring buoy.
The course was conducted in Silva Bay on Gabriola Island, BC. We used Greig’s Catalina 36 as our class room and Larry’s Contessas 32 for the sailing lessons.
The weather was fantastic. The sun prevailed and a stiff breeze kept the sails full. It was great to be on the water with sailors having such varied experience. From the merchant marine, to sailing offshore in the Pacific Northwest, the South Pacific, the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic - there is not an Ocean where the team has not sailed on collectively.
We learnt from each other through presentations each instructor prepared beforehand. It was interesting to see different teaching techniques and the use of cool props that keep the students engaged. One instructor even used painted chess figures to show how the different aids to navigation worked and another the seeds of an apple to explain how the wind drives a boat forward.
The instructor Oliver Woolcock was a fantastic course conductor. Oliver is a senior instructor evaluator with Sail Canada (CYA) as well as a Yachtmaster Offshore examiner with RYA and owns a CS 33.
We practiced different crew over board procedures, sailing to and from a dock with a sea breeze (quite challenging indeed) and navigating shallow passages that required careful study of the tide tables.
The course focused on bringing the different experiences together, reviewing alternative sailing procedures and discuss how to best deliver the advanced sailing skills during the class.
If you are interested in learning these skills - contact us for more information: 604-440-2864 or email@example.com.
Your Simply Sailing Team
The 2013 Swiftsure is now history and many sailors will remember this years event as one of the more challenging races.
The early start and a decent breeze made for good racing initially. On board Turicum (C&C 44) we had a great line getting through Race Passage and then sailed towards the middle of the Strait. We had great success with our Code 0 combined with a wind-seeker set as a staysail. That got Turicum moving in very light winds and we made good some spots.
With the wind predicted to be light later in the race we favored the American side where we expected less adverse current. Boats were scattered across the entire Strait form the Canadian shore all the way across to the American side.
The closer we got to sunset the lighter the winds became. Close to the mark, a Canadian Navy ship anchored in Neah Bay, the wind shot off completely and we were ghosting along with dozens of other boats nearby.
At four in the morning we rounded the mark alongside with maybe 20 other crews. The boats were lined up like pearls on a string, separated by less then half a boat length as one by one rounded the mark and started heading back to Victoria.
While the wind picked up slightly the current was against us. The regular tidal current was exacerbated by the spring run of form all the rivers draining into the Strait. At 9 am Team Turicum decided to turn on the iron spinnaker to get back to Victoria in time for the crew to catch the last ferry back to Vancouver.
While we are disappointed not having finished the race, it was a great learning experience for all of us. We built a stronger team that now works more efficiently together than during the Southern Straits Race. We are now all looking forward to compete in the VanIsle 360 Race in less than two weeks.
Christof is the owner and operator of Simply Sailing. An enthusiastic sailor he loves to share his knowledge with other sailors.
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