Sunday, September 21, 2014

Catalina Island shake-down cruise

A couple of weeks ago we did an over night shake down trip out to Catalina Island and back.  There were a number of goals for the trip, including:

- Going through a long check list of "how the boat works" stuff with our salesman and signing off on that.

- Running the boat more extensively

- Testing the anchor gear

- Testing wide open throttle engine RPMs for both the main and wing engine

- Testing the engine room cooling

Tanglewood under way

Off into the sunset

The "how the boat works" list was pretty quick and easy to get through.  At this point I know the boat really well, but it was a good reminder to check a few other things, and we actually turned up a few minor problems.  Testing the emergency tiller was one project.  It's not hard, but it's not easy either.  The tiller is secured to the ceiling in the laz, and it's a very awkward, angled, two piece contraption that needs to be maneuvered up into the cockpit.  The angles and two part design are to allow it to com up from the rudder post through a hatch in the deck, angle forward to come through another hatch in the seat of the settee, Continue up above the settee table, then angle again to create a level tiller handle.  The two parts are because you can't snake it all into place a one piece.  It sounds complicated because it is, and the yard did a great job creating it.

The anchor testing consisted of paying out all the chain, checking the length, checking the calibration on the chain counters, verifying the painted markings every 50', and verifying accessibility of the safety rope securing the end of the chain to the boat.  One of the chain counters was calibrated correctly, but the other still needed to be set.  And neither had the correct chain length programed in.  These were all simple fixed, and it's good to know they can now be counted on (pun intended).  We also found that the entire last 100' feet are painted red.  I was expecting just the last 20 feet or no.  It's no problem, just something that's good to know in advance.

Our wide open throttle tests were to confirm whether or not the props were pitched correctly.  The pitch on a prop is like the gears on a bike or a car.  If the gearing is just right you make maximum use of the power available.  And on a boat it's really important no to over-prop the engine.  As part of commissioning, all engine manufacturers require that the engine be able to EXCEED max rated RPM to ensure it's not over loaded.  On the main engine we were very close, but not where it needed to be.  Even though it was only off by about 50 RPM, Deere wouldn't accept it, so the main prop had to be tweaked a bit.  The wing engine, on the other hand was off by quite a bit - almost 200 RPM.  It turns out that somewhere along the line the wrong size Gori prop made it on the boat with a pitch that was a full 2" more than it should have been.  Because it's a folding prop, all Gori had to do was supply a set of new blades.

We also ran a bunch of tests to check the engine room temp relative to Deere's specs.  On earlier sea trials it seems much hotter than expected, so the boat had been rigged with gauges and we were tasked with producing a lab report.  Sure enough, the temps were too hot and drew Jeff Leishman down to the dock on our return who in about 5 minutes spotted the problem.  The wrong fan had been used when the boat was built.  Once corrected, things looked much better.

A few days after our return a diver came to remove the two props.  Although I'm sure it requires a lot of practice and skill, the process is remarkably simple.  A whole bunch of 5 gal gas cans (clean of course) are flooded, taken down, and tied to the prop.  Then air is blown into them until they off set the weight of the prop.  The prop is unbolted, worked off the shaft, then lifted up onto the dock with the boat's davit.  Sounds simple, but don't try this at home.

Jugs used to float the prop

Jugs and prop lifted onto dock with davit

Prop going off to Santa's Workshop

After the Gori was reassembled with 24x17 blades instead of 24x19, and an inch was trimmed off the main prop, both engines reach full RPM as they should.  Looking good!


  1. She is coming along nicely Peter. If you had to guess how many more days until final sign off?

  2. I was recently wondering what to do on Catalina and taking a boat out myself with a small group sounds like fun. The boat is looking pretty good, glad everything got handled somewhat effectively!


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