Thank goodness we are on the waiting list for the techs at Fathom Marine to make a service call. The last time we took the boat out it came back smelling strongly of coolant. It is not only your eyes and ears, but all of your 5 senses that should be utilized when troubleshooting issues on your vessel. I tend to take notice if the generator shifts to a different pitch or if there is smoke billowing out of the engine room vents but more subtle signals are also indicators that it may be time to get the checkbook out again.
My darling publisher wants to know when we are bringing the boat up to the Delta so we can arrange a get together with all of the Bay and Delta Yachtsman clan. I would love to host a cocktail party on board, but truthfully, I have lost confidence in this boat. I am fine when we stay in waters close to home and it is not the fear of becoming stranded that worries me. It is the impending Damocles Sword of yet another huge financial outlay required to keep this old tub afloat. The fact that the boat is 40 years old is a contributing factor to the continuous ebbing of funds. Being older has put a strain on my working parts, so it is no wonder the boat is also losing stamina as time goes by.
Hopefully, Fathom Marine will find that it is just a hose that has split from age or has become disconnected. Fingers crossed it is not anything more damaging or expensive. The cacophonous new engine alarms never sounded so hopefully there is no overheating involved in the coolant smell factor.
I had planned to throw some sacrificial money at this boat in the form of a major engine service on all the machines in the bilge and had budgeted for that expense. I wonder, will that satisfy the Mechanical Gods? Fathom Marine has been very busy lately, I am glad we are on their list so I can get this issue diagnosed as soon as possible. It would be a shame to spend another entire summer tied to the dock. Damn boats, anyway!
Bay and Delta Yachtsman publisher, Ty Mellott, was at Pacific Sail Expo recently and fell in love with a new product from Neptune’s Maps. A young Bay Area sailor, Peter Hejno, came up with the idea to create 3-D nautical charts. These bathymetric charts are fascinating to view. Peter says, “Ever since my childhood I have been fascinated by maps, history and the sea. I am very fortunate to live in the San Francisco Bay Area; one of the most beautiful sailing destinations in the world. Whether I’m hard at work making maps, or sailing around Alcatraz Island, I’m constantly fascinated by what lies beneath. The bathymetry of the ocean is, in my opinion, on a par with the breathtaking panoramas above it, but so much less accessible. With this in mind, I set about bringing these underwater landscapes to life so they can be given the attention they deserve.”
“It takes several paper charts (and a great deal of patience!) to complete each 3D nautical chart. I have to hand-cut each layer around the original contours with exact precision, allowing each layer to overlap seamlessly when mounted. After the painstaking cutting process, the pieces are mounted onto separate layers before being glued together for the final piece. People spend hours poring over every inch of these pieces, so it’s important that accuracy is preserved. I started to create 3D charts as a hobby in 2016, often as gifts for friends who sail. Following the advice of those friends, I decided to go into business. Since then I have completed and sold nearly 150 unique pieces, many of which you can see on my website.” The average medium size chart takes between 20-30 hours of work. The San Francisco Bay and the Hawaiian Islands are the most popular charts by far; Peter says, “I have done so many of each, I think I could sail them with my eyes closed.”
Commissioning a chart is easy. Visit the website, www.neptune maps.com. The prices start from $250 for small 11-inch by 14-inch framed pieces. Examples of Peter’s work are currently on display at the Berkeley Yacht Club, Richmond Yacht Club and the Catalina Art Gallery in Avalon, California. For more information on where you can view these unique nautical treasures visit neptunemaps.com or contact Peter directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Good news for fans of Clipper Cove; one of the few protected anchorages on San Francisco Bay. The proposed Mega-Yacht Marina that was proposed to fill 32% of the Cove with slips catering to larger vessels has gained no support from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee. After hearing extensive public comment, the Committee unanimously passed a resolution affirming the City of San Francisco’s commitment to preserve Clipper Cove for public recreation and education purposes. A new marina may be built sometime down the road, but the footprint will be much smaller and have less affect on the current public uses of the popular area.
Many a neophyte sailor has learned how to tack and jibe in the protected water between Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands. The sandy beach is protected from prevailing winds and the muddy bottom is good holding for those of us who like to drop the hook. Thank goodness cooler heads prevailed, this time around at least. Well done, members of Save Clipper Cove!
On the other side of the coin, there is now a $10 per day anchoring fee at Aquatic Park. There was an irritating squatter in a trimaran that the authorities had a devil of a time removing from the protected anchorage. To prevent a similar incident from occurring, the decision was made to charge a fee.
The new system will make it easier for visiting vessels to schedule and obtain permits and will aid the Park’s efforts to increase visitor security, swimmer safety and environmental compliance. A $10 permit fee will be charged for each overnight stay in the National Historic Landmark District, and regular users can obtain thirty nights of anchoring within a calendar year by purchasing a $45 Annual Park Pass which also includes admission to the Park’s historic vessels berthed at Hyde Street Pier.
The online system, and fee, will bring the Aquatic Park Cove in line with other artificial anchorage locations in the Bay Area offering similar experiences, accessibility and amenities. The permits will be issued using the Recreation.gov reservation system which offers campsite and tour reservations at parks and other recreation sites across the country. Beginning the first of last month, boaters can now reserve a mooring using this link Aquatic Park Cove Anchor Permit Reservations and vessels entering Aquatic Park Cove can easily contact the Park’s permit officer on VHF marine radio channel 83A (157.175Mhz) using the call sign Aquatic Park NPS followed by transmission of the vessel’s name.
“This new system and fee for overnight anchoring out allows us to continue to protect, preserve and share the very special places here at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and it improves a service important to our visitors,” said Park Superintendent Kevin Hendricks.
I inquired and found that Aquatic Park is still closed to all power boats. Due to the number of swimmers, sail boats only please.
Each year, The George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service recognizes exemplary contributions. In 2017, the honors for “Outstanding Volunteer Service, Youth Group Award” went to Sharks Director David McGuire and the Aquatic Park Stewards Program with Francisco School for their exceptional service to increase local awareness about the impact that marine debris has on San Francisco Bay and oceans worldwide.
Since 2016, the Francisco Middle School’s eighth grade team, led by teacher Michael Guenza, has brought more than 650 young people into San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and lessened the human impact on the environment through their community service. In fact the debris they collected, which included over 35,000 cigarette butts, inspired the short film, “Hang Onto Your Butts!”
So my cockpit painting project is coming along nicely. More paint on me than on the boat, of course, but a fresh coat of paint makes this old boat sparkle. Okay, not exactly sparkle, but at least it is an improvement. Since we cannot take the boat out until Fathom Marine checks the cooling system anyway, I may as well spend my free time splashing paint around. The aft companionway is finished to my satisfaction (remember my family motto; okay is good enough!). Now on to the side decks.
“OH, NO!” is the very last thing you want to hear when your marine mechanic opens the hatch to the engine room. Isaac Crawford had been working on another boat here on our dock and stopped by to get the filter information for our Isuzu engines before undertaking the fluid and filter changes. Upon opening the hatch to the engine compartment the first thing he noticed, as any good mechanic would, was that the floor boards were floating. As we all know, water is supposed to stay on the outside of the boat. After only a few minutes of investigation, Isaac found that the packing gland for the port propeller shaft was flowing like the Mighty Mississippi with a steady stream of water pouring unchecked into the bilge. I switched on both bilge pumps, only to find that the larger automatic pump had shirked its duty. The float switch had failed which explained why the floor boards were doing the breast stroke. The smaller, manually activated, gusher pump had to take up the slack for his lazy big partner and pumped and pumped and pumped and then pumped some more. It seemed to take forever to get all that water back outside where it belongs!
I do not know where we fit into the Fathom Marine work schedule but you can bet that I will be on pump duty until they arrive. The best bilge pump is a scared woman with a bucket as the old saying goes. Sweetie ordered and installed a replacement for the big automatic bilge pump and Isaac returned with the tools necessary to tighten the packing gland, so I am delighted to say that we are no longer sinking.
Mary Buckman had an even more frightening event on Shantung, her Cheoy Lee Clipper Ketch. Mary’s boat is about the same vintage as Dancing Dragon both having been built in Taiwan in the late 70’s. Isaac was on board Shantung doing a regular engine maintenance prior to the long anticipated Napa River Cruise with the Bay View Boat Club fleet when he found the bronze through-hull valve supplying raw water to the engine had not only “pinked out” but was actually corroded and ready for imminent failure. Isaac recommended that she call Vessel Assist and have the boat towed to the yard without delay. Shantung was scheduled for a haul the following Monday so the timing was perfect.
I’m sorry to say that in spite of her best efforts Mary missed the Napa River cruise; however, she has replaced all four through hull fittings, painted the hull, reapplied gold leaf to the scrolling and name board and practiced the hell out of her fiddle.
We went up to visit our dear neighbor to see is she was ever coming back to the marina. Ever the gracious hostess, Mary supplied a picnic for us with salami, bread, root beer for Sweetie and brandy complete with snifters for the girls! Too much brandy, too much sun, but a good time was had by all.
These darned boats; you have to keep your eye on them every second! The Fourth of July is a great time to get out on the water, if your boat is operable. Please conduct a thorough inspection before you leave the dock. Check fluid levels and all that important stuff. Independence Day is on a Wednesday this year, the perfect opportunity to make it a long weekend. Many towns and municipalities along the waterfront go to great effort and expense to put on a dazzling pyrotechnic display. Martinez, for example, has their fireworks in the park right next to the marina. San Francisco sets up two locations for their pyrotechnics, one off the municipal pier and the other from a barge anchored off Pier 39. If you are not on a boat the best vantage point is probably from Aquatic Park, but Pier 39, the Cannery and Coit Tower also offer great views. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that the Karl the Fog (yes, he has a name) takes the night off so we can enjoy the show!
Also, the 34th Annual Plastic Classic sail boat race takes place on July 21st at the Bay View Boat Club. Stop by to see what everybody has been talking about for all these years! It is always a great party. The margarita machine will be working overtime and the music is guaranteed to keep your toes tapping. Parking is a bitch for both autos and boats so if you are thinking of coming by land, public transport is likely your best bet. Anchoring is permitted in the cove outside the Club but you will need a dinghy to get to the dock. These little hurdles just add color to the adventure, don’t you agree?
Take advantage of the long summer days and get out on the water. And, if you see something interesting, take a photo and send it to me so that I can share it. You can always reach me at kim@yachtsmanmaga zine.com. Until next month, keep your lines tight and your flies wet! H