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246 F'n Saint

About DDW

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  1. Not available on Amazon. Only Alibaba - and you have to buy a full container load. Wire transfer cash in advance. I'll forward my their banking information.
  2. My father always said that cruising and farming were about the same thing: most of the time spent fixing stuff. Intellectual curiosity about how things work has pretty much vanished. First thing I've always done when I bring something new home is take it out of the box, then take it "out of the box" (apart). I often make the mistake, when someone asks how to use a device, of first attempting to explain how it works. Without this knowledge you will not be able to use it to maximum effectiveness, know when it is broken or working well. But most people's eyes just glaze and they ask which button to push.
  3. I keep a brass magnet on board for those occasions. Also a stainless steel magnet. Sometimes there is a reason for tight access. In my sailplane, to change the spark plugs you first remove the engine from the fuselage. Most of the time it's just laziness and lack of thought. One of the advantages of building your own boat (or having one built under tight supervision) is all of this stuff can be thought through. The disadvantage is when something ends up all F. U., you can only look at yourself in the mirror. My engine access is pretty good. The hydraulic panel in the pedestal is nearly impossible. All my fault. And one of the valves in the panel is leaking. My ignorance in not realizing that the hydraulics require more maintenance than the engine.
  4. You really haven't lived until you adjust the valves on a Desmodronic Ducati. Shims, and no valve springs: one cam to open them, another to close. If you get the clearances wrong, self destruction is very rapid.
  5. That is why in the olden days, HP used to make newly minted engineers work on the manufacturing lines for 6 month or a year before they had any real design responsibility. And - sorry to say - women often don't make good engineers: they haven't grown up taking things apart and breaking them. This applies to many yacht designers as well. They've never built a boat and ask for stupid things from the builders. Many also have not cruised much and it shows in their designs. I just spent about an hour mucking out the anchor chain locker, which was designed to drain into the shower sump. Drain placed a couple inches above the bottom of the locker (so it didn't really drain), to a dinky little bilge pump pressed into service as a shower sump (which can't remotely deal with mud, sand, rocks, kelp, etc). Also the windlass is on deck, no mud fences, designed to drain all the way back on the side decks and down through the cockpit. Smart. At least those cases were corrected in subsequent models.
  6. One issue - particularly true for software but applies many other places - is that user testing is obsolete. No one does it anymore. Nor SQA. The pressure to get the product out is so great, it is shipped without testing, the users are supposed to do that and then commiserate on the "user forum". Back in ancient history we did user testing. Put the app and the computer in front of a naive user. Make them use the thing. Make notes of where they were confused or down right flumoxed, figure out how to fix it. Lacking direct knowledge of how something should work, this is the way to get it. Imagine the user testing on that upside down oil filter. Mechanic begins to change it. Things get really ugly. Product managers there to observe the testing get bloody noses. If engineers are present they are given a proper beating. Product is immediately revised to have right side up oil filter.
  7. I could go on for many hours about software interface (man-machine) issues. Incompetence here is so ubiquitous as to be nearly universal. But on the horizontal oil filter: sure I can fix it. I can buy the parts (or make them myself) that should have been installed by the engine or genset manufacturer. In this case, Norther Lights - not a cheap unit and generally pretty good otherwise. How hard would it have been, how much would it have cost them, to put a right angle adapter in there? Perhaps slightly less culpability on the engine manufacturer (Shibaura) as they might normally expect the engine to be installed in a piece of agricultural machinery where the spilled oil can drain harmlessly onto the ground and into the water supply. In this install, down the side of the engine and pan and all over the bottom of the sound enclosure. That savings of $4 for a casting costs an extra 1/2 hour of cleanup at each oil change, the necessary disposal of oil soaked rags, etc. Say 8000 hrs average life, 100H oil changes as recommended, that's and additional 40 hours labor at $80 so for a $4 savings I will pay $3200.
  8. I speak, in this case, about those who mount oil filters on engines sideways. This has all the elements of a terrorist attack (or at least vandalism) since it causes mass human suffering and property damage to innocent victims, and the results are completely predictable and 100% preventable. In the spirit of the Mikado, I'd suggest that the punishment be that when you must change the oil on such an engine one of these engineers/product managers/CEOs would be delivered to your boat and required to stuff his/her head underneath the filter so as to soak up the hot oil with his/her hair. If they lack long hairs, then short hairs. And don't tell me "oh, you just punch a hole or stick a plastic bag over it" or whatever. Sure you can mitigate to some extent their crimes. You can also wear a bullet proof vest against mass murderers - but it doesn't make mass murder OK. Maybe I've gone a little too far with this, let me get another drink and think about it some more.....
  9. DDW

    Helm and Rudders on Catboats

    A Nonsuch is generally well balanced, the exception might be broad reaching while overpowered. That is easier to do on a cat rigged boat because the jib isn't useless on that point of sail as it will be on a sloop. A Nonsuch has a fairly modern hull form, but it is beamy. On something like a Wyliecat, with a more throughly modern hull and higher aspect rig, these traditional complaints are pretty much absent. On my boat (a cat yawl with modern sail shapes) there has never been an issue with steering control. The mizzen makes little difference in this, up or down.
  10. DDW

    Cruise Ships: blessing or curse?

    I am slightly ambivalent myself for the same reasons. There is a big difference for example between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan, and one could easily surmise a lot of that difference is due to the large number of cruises that land at Ketchikan and the small number at Rupert. On the other hand, any benefit to the community is highly seasonal - May thru Sept up there. After the first week of October, New Town in Ketchikan must become Ghost Town. It had a very different feel than say Bar Harbor, where the residents dreaded cruise ship day, but took the money they could and then life went on the rest of the week.
  11. DDW

    Cruise Ships: blessing or curse?

    Yes, but the technology exists today to do it. No longer would you have to do seperate cruises to experience Venice, Greece, the Inside Passage, etc: it can all be done on one 7 day cruise. Even today you can experience Paris, New York, Ancient Egypt, Venice, and many others all within a 2 hours walk along the strip in Vegas. At least, that's what the brochure says, and honestly most people can't tell the difference.
  12. DDW

    Cruise Ships: blessing or curse?

    I think (and hope) we are moving towards a virtual Cruise Experience. It is there in all but name already. You get on a "ship", it is gently tilted to and fro for few hours, then you are disgorged into a Las Vegas hotel set type stage where you experience "local culture" for 4 hours, get back in the "ship" and go on. That is those that can be torn away from attractions on the ship itself: swimming pools, beaches , race tracks, casinos, carnival rides, water slides, etc. In Ketchikan (population about 12,000) if there are four large cruise ships at the docks, they disgorge 14,000 people (for the convenience of the local vendors, there is a calendar published of the daily load). There are towns - including Ketchikan - which have built an ersatz town outside of the real one to accommodate the crowd. There would really be nothing to do with them all if they didn't. I can't prove it in Ketchikan's case, but it is certainly true elsewhere, that the cruise lines funded and/or own the newly created shopping district. No reason to part with that revenue, genuine local artifacts and mementos fresh from the container via alibaba.com. Since the at-shore experience in their destinations is a created one anyway, why spend the capital and fuel to have a boat at all? Make it virtual.....
  13. Tis the season for Bull Rail Slime - got my lines good and slimed at two Broughtons docks. That tends to lubricate the splinters to some extent. Now, there is no doubt whatsoever that cleats are more environmentally sound than bull rails. Installed once and good for about 40 years or more. Does not require clear cutting forests (though I realize this is baked into the BC psyche). Cleats rarely fail, but if they do break apart they sink benignly to the bottom, rather than floating around as a hazard to navigation.
  14. A properly rigged spring line does nothing to keep your boat close to the float. And by the way, it is difficult to rig a proper spring line on bull rails. But then everything is more difficult with bull rails.