Blog October 2021

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HALLOWEEN LORE

Posted On: October 28, 2021

Halloween is one of the oldest holidays with origins going back thousands of years. The holiday we know as Halloween has had many influences from many cultures over the centuries. From the Roman’s Pomona Day, to the Celtic festival of Samhain, to the Christian holidays of All Saints and All Souls Days.

 

Hundreds of years ago in what is now Great Britain and Northern France, lived the Celts. The Celts worshipped nature and had many gods, with the sun god as their favorite. It was “he” who commanded their work and their rest times, and who made the earth beautiful and the crops grow.

 


The Celts celebrated their New Year on November 1st. It was celebrated every year with a festival and marked the end of the “season of the sun” and the beginning of “the season of darkness and cold.”

 

On October 31st after the crops were all harvested and stored for the long winter the cooking fires in the homes would be extinguished. The Druids, the Celtic priests, would meet in the hilltop in the dark oak forest (oak trees were considered sacred). The Druids would light new fires and offer sacrifices of crops and animals. As they danced around the the fires, the season of the sun passed and the season of darkness would begin.

When the morning arrived the Druids would give an ember from their fires to each family who would then take them home to start new cooking fires. These fires would keep the homes warm and free from evil spirits.

 

The November 1st festival was called Samhain (pronounced “sow-en”). The festival would last for 3 days. Many people would parade in costumes made from the skins and heads of their animals. This festival would become the first Halloween.

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ALMOST TIME TO PULL THE BOAT OUT

Posted On: October 26, 2021

Like it or not, the end of the boating season is rapidly approaching in the Northeast.

Lifting Your Baby Out of The Water

On the actual day of the haul, plan to be there if you can. You'll be able to take a look at just how fouled the bottom is before it's pressure washed and you'll get an idea of how your antifouling paint is working. Most yards do this immediately after the boat is hauled so the fouling doesn't set like concrete. "We always pressure wash a boat as soon as it comes out of the water," Leszynski says. "We have a waste-recovery system, and this ensures any bottom paint, dirt, or other contaminants are contained. Pressure washing is included in the fee for hauling, and we won't move a boat into the yard until it has been washed."

It's normal for the owner to drive the boat into the travel hoist pit unless you have made alternative arrangements. Have plenty of fenders on both sides of the boat to protect the topsides should you be blown sideways. Listen carefully to instructions given to you by the yard staff operating the hoist who will have done this maneuver many times before. You probably won't need docklines because the boat will be going right into the slings, but check with the lift operator. Larger sailboats may have to back in to the pit and even have the backstay removed so the rigging will clear the hoist. The staff won't lift a boat with you or the crew aboard so they'll tell you when to get off and anything else they need you to do before vacating the boat. Don't forget to shut off the engines, air conditioners and other equipment before the boat is hoisted.

All tanks should be as empty as possible, and while it may not be practical to drain fuel tanks, it is relatively easy to drain water and waste tanks. Full tanks add significant weight to the boat, and empty tanks will put less strain on the boat's structure when it is sitting in an unnatural element on land.

Before the boat is hauled out of the water, tell the travel hoist operator about any underwater appendages, such as fin stabilizers or pod drives, transducers, speed wheels and other things not easily seen when the boat is in the water that could be damaged by the travel hoist slings. "We are familiar with most boat designs", says Leszynski, "but it is helpful if owners mention things that may be special about their particular boat".

On The Hard

If your boat is being lifted for anything more than an hour or so, often called a "short haul," it is likely that it will be placed on blocks in the yard and supported with jackstands. If this is the case, tell the yard about any relevant structural features of your boat. Some downeast powerboats, for example, have hollow keels aft, which could potentially suffer damage if the boat is improperly blocked and supported. In cases like this, blocks should probably run lengthwise rather than athwartships to provide adequate support.

As a general rule, the workers in the yard have much experience moving and blocking boats, so it's best to leave it up to them as to how they do it. By all means watch, but don't interfere unless you see something that is wrong or unsafe; if you see a problem, bring it up with the yard manager.

Once the boat is settled into her spot, inspect the jackstands. Ensure they have chains between them to prevent them from spreading, which could cause the boat to fall over. Be sure that the attachment points of the chain to the jackstands are secure. Sometimes the slits in the metal of the frame into which the chain links sit are torn or bent from use, which could result in slipping or failure. If a stand is severely rusted, ask to have it replaced.

Also check the ground beneath the jackstands. If the stands are resting on, for example, sandy or loose soil, and especially if there's a slope, this may present a problem in heavy rains. The majority of jackstands will have three or four legs and unless they are on a solid surface, they should have sturdy plywood pads or other good support placed underneath to distribute the weight over a larger surface area, preventing them from sinking into the ground. If you see any problems, discuss them with management as soon as possible.

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TAKING THE BOAT OUT OF THE WATER?

Posted On: October 21, 2021

Here's some things to consider as you contemplate taking the boat out and storing in it in a yard or marina.

What's the cost of hauling and relaunching? Some yards quote just the haulout price and some include the relaunch in their price. Usually haulouts are charged based on length of boat, but not always, so ask.

Can I work on my boat myself? Not all yards allow you to work on your own boat, often citing insurance concerns. Check on what's allowed if you plan on doing any work yourself.

Are there any "lay days" included? If your boat will only be out for a few days, there may not be any storage charges, but some marinas charge by the day, week, or month as soon as the boat is blocked in the yard.

Is there a fee to bring my boat to the haulout well, and how much is it? If you need the yard to move your boat because you're not able to, there'll most likely be an additional charge. If you're a long-time customer, though, you may be able to get it waived. Bimini or backstay removal may come with an extra fee.

Does the cost include a high-pressure washdown? Most marinas provide this service as part of a haulout, but ask, don't assume.

Where will you put my boat? After hauling, your boat will be blocked ashore. In a large marina, that could mean a long hike from the office or chandlery, and worse, possibly too far from electrical power or water, which you might need.

Can I bring in outside contractors? Marinas want you to use their services and may charge you a fee or even a percentage of your outside contractor bill. Most will require the contractor prove he's properly insured. Some prohibit outside contractors altogether, citing liability, though there is little risk to the marina if you and your contractor have the proper insurance.

When will my boat be relaunched? If you hope to use your boat the next weekend, you could be disappointed if the yard tells you it could be several extra days. Let your yard know in good time when you'd like to go back in the water, but be aware that sometimes tides and weather may preclude you from getting your ideal time and date.

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AVOID DISTRESS- DRESS TO BOAT SAFELY IN THE FALL

Posted On: October 19, 2021

Fall has arrived. Boating weather may range from freezing conditions for New England frostbite to very hot and humid tropical weather for offshore fishing in Miami or cruising in California. Staying comfortable means staying safe.

Wearing layered clothing helps keep you dry and comfortable, because each layer is only required to do one thing well. A hydrophobic wicking layer of long underwear worn next to the skin disperses perspiration outward. A middle insulating layer traps warm air, providing a barrier from cold outside air or fabric, and helps funnel moisture to the weather protection layer. The breathable outside layer uses hydrophilic, water vapor absorbing coatings or micro-porous membranes like a heat-driven water pump, allowing water vapor molecules to escape. Solid water molecules are blocked, along with wind, from entering. With each layer performing its designed function you stay dry, warm and alert, however hostile the outside environment.

Many boaters have no incentive to spend more for high-tech synthetic socks, and will instead wear cotton. The problem with this approach is that cotton retains moisture, and it is this moisture that causes friction and blisters. For years, many in the healthcare field recommended all-cotton socks to prevent foot problems. This is the biggest myth out there! Cotton absorbs moisture and in socks, that moisture stays next to the foot creating an ideal environment for bacteria and fungi to grow, and for blisters to form. Stay away from all-cotton socks!

The extremities, especially the head and neck, are where most of the body's heat loss takes place, so protection is critical for the head, neck, hands and feet as well.

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WINTERIZING YOUR BOAT SYSTEMS

Posted On: October 14, 2021

What Systems Need To Be Addressed?

Generally, anything that uses water for cooling or carries water for use on board, needs to be winterized. Fall is also the perfect time to do your annual oil change and transmission fluid, or lower-unit gear-lube change on your engines. Make sure your to-do list includes: Oil change and cylinder fogging for engines and generators.

  • Lower-unit gear-lube change for outboards or sterndrives.
  • Topping off the fuel tank, adding stabilizer or biocides as needed.
  • Draining or flushing/filling any raw-water cooling systems with nontoxic antifreeze. Don't forget the air-conditioning system.
  • Water system winterization, which can be draining or flushing or filling, depending on your preference. This includes tanks, heads, pumps, shower sumps, sinks, and even seacocks, if the hose runs don't drain entirely.
  • Inspection of anodes and running gear.
  • Washing the exterior of the boat to remove salt and dirt, and getting the cockpit or other exterior drains cleared.
  • Make sure batteries are fully charged, or better yet, remove them where they can be stored indoors and given a booster charge from time to time to keep them topped up.
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WINTERIZING? SETTLE IT NOW

Posted On: October 12, 2021

I hear complaints every year from boat owners who thought the marina would winterize their boat but the marina didn't do it or didn't know it was supposed to.

Disputes arise when the marina and the boat owner don't have a well-defined contract that spells out exactly what's to be done.

The term "winterizing" doesn't have a universal meaning, and your definition of winterizing and theirs may be completely different. Telling someone to winterize the engines and freshwater system doesn't mean they'll also close the seacocks and winterize the head.

If you're hiring someone to winterize your boat, insist on a written contract that clearly lists every job necessary to protect your boat and has a firm time frame, beginning well before the first typical hard freeze. Include language that specifies not to de-winterize until you authorize it in case something comes up and you won't be using the boat through the next winter.

Pay with a credit card if possible. If the boat didn't get winterized properly per the contract and you have damage, you can dispute the charges with your credit card company, which gives you more leverage. Also, don't assume that the marina will routinely inspect your docklines and bilge unless you specifically pay for the service.

Bottom line: Whatever you expect to be done, spell it out in writing.

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COLUMBUS' SHIPS RE-EXAMINED

Posted On: October 07, 2021

Columbus Day 2017: When is it, and why do Americans celebrate it? | The  Independent | The Independent

As everyone knows, Columbus had three ships on his first voyage, the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. The flagship Santa Maria had the nickname La Gallega. It was a nao, which simply means "ship" in old Spanish; today, we might call such a ship a carrack. She was fat and slow, designed for hauling cargo, not for exploration. Some sources say that the Santa Maria was about 100 tons, meaning that it could carry 100 toneladas, which were large casks of wine. There has been much speculation about just how large such a ship would be; the best current thinking, by Carla Rahn Philips, puts the length of Santa Maria at 18 meters, keel length at 12 meters, beam 6 meters, and a depth of 3 meters from keel to deck.

The Santa Maria had three masts (fore, main, and mizzen), each of which carried one large sail. The foresail and mainsail were square; the sail on the mizzen, or rear, mast was a triangular sail known as a lateen. In addition, the ship carried a small square sail on the bowsprit, and small topsail on the mainmast above the mainsail.

The Pinta was captained by Martín Alonso Pinzón, a leading mariner from the town of Moguer in Andalucia. Pinta was a caravel, a smaller, lighter, and faster ship than the tubby Santa Maria. We don't know much about Pinta, but it probably was about 70 tons. Philips puts the length of Pinta at 17 meters, keel length 13 meters, beam 5 meters, and depth 2 meters. She probably had three masts, and most likely carried sails like those of Santa Maria, except for the topsail, and perhaps the spritsail.

Smallest of the fleet was the Niña, also called Santa Clara, captained by Vicente Añes Pinzón, brother of Martín. The Niña was another caravel of probably 50 or 60 tons, and started from Spain with lateen sails on all masts; but she was refitted in the Canary Islands with square sails on the fore and main masts. Unlike most ships of the period, Niña may have carried four masts, including a small counter-mizzen at the stern with another lateen sail. This would have made Niña the best of the three ships at sailing upwind. Philips puts her length at 15 meters, keel length 12 meters, beam 5 meters, and depth 2 meters.

How fast did they go?

As you can guess, speed of sailing vessels varies considerably with the speed of the wind. Over several days, ships of Columbus's day would average a little less than 4 knots. Top speed for the vessels was about 8 knots, and minimum speed was zero. These speeds were quite typical for vessels of the period -- and indeed, typical for the entire Age of Sail up until the time of steamships and clipper ships. So overall, 90 or 100 miles in a day would be typical, and 200 phenomenal.

Of the three ships on the first voyage, the Santa Maria was the slowest, and the Pinta was the fastest. The differences were small, however, perhaps about 0.1 knot between them.

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STORING YOUR BOAT SOON?

Posted On: October 05, 2021

WHAT TO ADDRESS WHEN STORING YOUR BOAT

Generally, anything that uses water for cooling or carries water for use on board, needs to be winterized.

Fall is also the perfect time to do your annual oil change and transmission fluid, or lower-unit gear-lube change on your engines. Make sure your to-do list includes: Oil change and cylinder fogging for engines and generators.

  • Lower-unit gear-lube change for outboards or sterndrives.
  • Topping off the fuel tank, adding stabilizer or biocides as needed.
  • Draining or flushing/filling any raw-water cooling systems with nontoxic antifreeze. Don't forget the air-conditioning system.
  • Water system winterization, which can be draining or flushing or filling, depending on your preference. This includes tanks, heads, pumps, shower sumps, sinks, and even seacocks, if the hose runs don't drain entirely.
  • Inspection of anodes and running gear.
  • Washing the exterior of the boat to remove salt and dirt, and getting the cockpit or other exterior drains cleared.
  • Make sure batteries are fully charged, or better yet, remove them where they can be stored indoors and given a booster charge from time to time to keep them topped up.
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