Outboard Blues

Outboard Blues

I got the chance to get out on the water with my new 20 inch, 4 hp, Mariner. At first glance it looked like the prop would set deep enough. If two people sit at the stern, there would be no problem. BUT if I go solo, which is typical, the prop cavitates as my weight moves forward in the boat. When I’m on the bow, I can’t see the prop but it sure sounds like it’s totally out of the water.

I posted on a Facebook group for ideas. I was totally surprised by the amount of responses. Many said take it back. Some said lower the mount on the transom. Some said change the mount where the motor clamps on. One said to add a new mount on top of the existing mount. Another also said that there may be a kit available from MarineParts.com to extend the lower end by 5 inches. I’m hoping that one is available for this model and it’s not too costly. If not, I will try to lower the mount at the transom by making an adapter plate using heavy aluminum angle.

In the mean time, I decided to investigate my old 25 inch Mariner. I started by checking the linkage by pulling out the rubber plug on the lower housing. I loosened the clamp to discover that I could put it into forward. This meant that the problem was in the shift linkage up to the motor. To see the top of the linkage, I had to pull the powerhead completely out of the housing. With the powerhead removed, I was able to work the shift lever easily. I soon noticed that the bolt that clamps the shift linkage to the lever had backed out and was hitting the bottom of the powerhead housing (notice the scratches). I carefully reassembled everything and gave it the barrel test. It works great.

It looks like I’ll be putting the old 25 inch back on the boat when I can. I just had my second hand surgery for “trigger finger”. The first was three years ago for my right thumb. Last week was on my left index finger. It’s a quick out patient procedure where the band that the inflamed tendon passes through is cut apart. It takes a couple weeks to heal and that finger will never lock again and the pain and swelling will be gone too.

First Three Weeks on the Water

First Three Weeks on the Water

I’ve tried to get down to the boat at least a couple times a week. I’m avoiding the weekends if I can. I’ve come to realize that the small 1,300 acre Prairie Creek Reservoir also rents slips for 300 other boats, mostly pontoons. Additionally, fishing boats and ski boats can be launched from the public ramp. There’s a 20 mph speed limit and a 200 foot idle zone from the shore that few recognize. Tubing is only allowed on the south 1/4 of the lake but often they can be seen screaming past the entrance to the club. I’ve been told the Indiana DNR enforces both the state and Muncie ordinances. Really? Although the sailing club offers private docks, fishermen can bring their boats into the docks to fish as long as they don’t tie-up to the docks. I upgraded my bow dockline with some heavy rubber snubbers to reduce the bucking caused by the excessive wake from non-idlers.

The Muncie Sail Club had their first get together since the WUHAN flu lock down. It was a full moon sunset cruise. It gave me a chance to try out my new battery and nav lights. After that, I decided to invest in a solar battery charger. I also installed a 12 volt accessory outlet that allows me to plug in the charger or a USB adapter (to charge my phone) or a new oscillating fan. I stayed overnight one evening and the cabin never cooled off. The companionway and hatch had to stay closed to keep out the mosquitoes! I’m on my second attempt at a screen for the hatch. I sewed up a mesh screen with Sunbrella edging with Velcro.

I took my trailer to a local welding shop near the club last week. I’m having him modify the trailer so it will have a true telescoping hitch. I’m hoping for about a 12 foot extension that can be easily used during launch and recovery.

Lastly, I’m now on my THIRD outboard. My second, the 1985 Mariner that I drove 3-1/2 hours to buy last winter, will no longer go into forward gear. Of course I discovered this when I needed it to get away from the rock seawall. I somehow kept the boat from grounding and managed it into another slip to tie-up over night. After some quick research online, I learned it may be a worn out dog clutch $$$. I confirmed this with the mechanic that bought my old Evinrude. He offered me a newer, 1993, 4 hp Mariner that he had picked up for somebody else. It’s in very good condition with a long shaft and for a great price. I picked it up yesterday morning and soon realized my old Mariner was 5 inches longer! It’s a 25 inch shaft instead of a 20 inch. I hadn’t planned on going to the club yesterday, but I had to find out if it will work with the existing mount. It will be close. If we keep the weight aft and the lake isn’t too rough it should do the job. I may need to find a different mount or extend the throw on the existing mount.

Almost forgot! I did put on my new slippery sails one afternoon. They were great! But when it came time to flake the main on the boom, it was impossible for one person to get it done. I’m back with the old worn out sails for now. 🙁

First Time Out – Solo

First Time Out – Solo

I’m slowly learning the ropes on how a Harpoon 6.2 sails solo. Everything needs to be prepped before leaving the dock. For now, I’m using the original sails that I repaired. The first time out, I rigged the Gerr downhaul on the headsail. It took quite awhile to thread the line through the blocks so it wouldn’t foul. The only issue I see with it is where the line passes through the clew grommet. It was pretty tight.

The next time out, I put up the main and jib. All was going great until I let the jib fly over itself and the Gerr downhaul blocks prevented it to clear. When I tried to lower the jib it jammed. I had to tie off the tiller and move to the bow very quickly to get it down.

I also figured out what to do about the boom vang clearing the dodger. The boom also interfered with the dodger so apparently it has to be dropped underway. Collapsing the dodger isn’t hard to do, but it’s a shame it can’t be used when sailing.

The first rain we had, I left the bailers closed while in the slip. There must have been two inches of water in the cockpit. Once I opened the bailers, the water drained to where it was just at the top of the bailer wells. So, with the bailers open the water seems to equalize with the waterline. Underway once you get enough speed, you can actually hear the water getting sucked out! The sales brochure is right – you can leave the bailers open in the slip.

I think I may also have my docklines figured out. The boat points toward the prevailing southwest wind in the slip. I have two lines. The first is looped on both ends and tied fast in the middle to the anchor eye inside the bow. These are thrown over the two posts on the pier. The second line is also looped on both ends and it has a heavy stainless carabiner tied in the middle. These are looped over the the pier posts and the carabiner in snapped onto the eye in front of the bow. This one comes off last and stays on the pier. For the aft lines, there are a cleat on both sides. The loops are thrown over the stern poles. These lines are longer enough to allow getting on at the bow but short enough to keep the bow off the pier. I’m not sure what Boston Whaler had in mind for tying up and hanging fenders because there aren’t enough cleats on the boat.

I quickly realized how slippery all of my freshly varnished mahogany is with wet feet. My only access to the boat from the pier is over the pulpit. I found some rubber grey anti-skid tape with an adhesive backing. I really didn’t want to put it on the anchor locker cover but it had to be done for safety’s sake.

Lastly, I spent a night on the boat alone. I stacked the new cushions I had made to get more padding. All night long they kept sliding out from under me. The Sunbrella is too slippery on the painted plywood covers. I’m beginning to think that the original design that had the upholstery stapled to the plywood is the right way to go. I’m going to try some rug anti-skid sheet to see if that will make a difference.

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