||From the Marina Office
Greetings Shelter Cove Mariners - Here is your January 2016 marina newsletter.
The new year is bringing new beginnings at the marina. Our Administrative Assistant, Sharon, will be leaving us - (though hopefully not entirely) - and a familiar face to long-time residents at the marina, that of Liz Santiago, will now be seen full-time at the front desk on the weekdays. Liz first started working at the marina on a part-time basis back in 2008, and has recently been filling-in on the weekends as needed; Sharon's hope is to stay in contact with the staff and residents of the marina by now assuming the "fill-in" role on the weekends while she learns the ropes of her new government job.
Winter is traditionally the season of boat selling and buying at bargain rates, and though a bit less robust than last year this time, we are seeing the same pattern at the marina and have been receiving a multitude of phone calls from new boat owners inquiring about slip availability. The demand for live aboard slips has not diminished, even with the colder weather upon us, but most of the marinas in America's Cup Harbor remain at full capacity with their allotment of stay aboard tenants.
The new Shelter Cove Marina diner discount cards will be available for tenants soon, and we hope you will patronize and "spread the news" about all of the wonderful restaurant options we have locally. (Please see www.sheltercovemarina.com or www.boatbnb.com for details on each participating restaurant.)
In this month's issue, we focus on bringing you some useful tips for your favorite subject - preventative maintenance on your boat.
Yes - it's that time of year again - the cold and rainy months are ahead and the boating season has slowed down, so it's an excellent time to make a good inspection of your boat, and take care of those maintenance tasks you've been putting off.
Not to be all work and no play, in this issue we refresh your knowledge of how to safely enjoy one of Southern California's most famous events - the migration of the California Grey Whales as they pass by our shores Southward on their migration into Mexican waters.
We wish one and all a prosperous and personally enriching 2016!
The Staff at Shelter Cove Marina
Time to Check the Health of Your Shore Power Connection
Along with Winter comes the cold and rainy season, so here are a few easy tips on how to make sure your shore power is ready for the new year - courtesy of marine electrician Brett Dingerson.
To start, turn off the shore power breaker and unplug both ends of the cord. Begin with an inspection of the dockside shore power receptacle since many causes of fast zinc depletion and/or electrolysis can be traced to there. Check both the boat and dock connections and replace anything that causes concern, this is where most marina fires start.
Then look at the slots in the cord receptacle and the prongs of the cord. If the yellow insulator surrounding the metal has a burnt, charcoal appearance, this is indicative of a connection problem caused by corrosion and/or excessive heat.
A note if you have only 30 amp service - leave your water heaters turned off as much as possible. They draw between 10 and 15 amps, or nearly half the available supply. If you have the water heater on and then you fire up additional appliances like a microwave (10 amps), coffee pot (10 amps), or toaster oven (12 amps), you're pushing the maximum available power through a connection that isn't that great to begin with, which worse yet lives in a salt water environment.
Be sure to support your shore power cord at both ends with a Velcro strap or small boat cord. The best connection possible is the idea - secure, tight, and dry. Also, secure your cord along the dock; and of course, don't let it hang in the water.
Treat shore power with the same respect you treat lightning, since shore power problems can certainly strike out of nowhere. Lastly, let the marina office know if you see anything that causes concern.
Rules of the Road Quiz
Question: When you are the operator of a boat and you are going to overtake a boat in front of you, in which of these situations are you the "give-way" vessel?
- When you are a power boat overtaking another power boat,
- When you are a sail boat overtaking another sail boat, or
- When you are a power boat overtaking a sail boat?
Answer: All of the above. The vessel that is overtaking another vessel is the give-way vessel, regardless of whether it is a sailing vessel or a power-driven vessel. The vessel being overtaken is always the "stand-on" vessel.
Taking the "Search" Out of "Search and Rescue"
- By Captain H. G. "Rags" Laragione
At our maritime college, a big part of our curriculum is to teach our students how to use the newest and latest navigational technologies.
However, we find that even though most boats and yachts today are equipped with a modern VHF radio and GPS system that can literally save lives or effect quick rescue in an emergency, for one reason or another, some owners have not programmed them to take advantage of these incredible search and rescue capabilities.
Specifically, we're talking about three things - MMSI, DSC, and AIS.
A Maritime Mobile Service Identity number (MMSI) is a nine digit number used by maritime Digital Selective Calling (DSC) in conjunction with Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) and your GPS system to uniquely identify and locate your vessel.
All this may sound a bit daunting (acronyms always do), but it's not all that complicated.
An MMSI number functions much like a phone number and allows boaters with DSC-VHF radios to make a touch-of-a-button emergency call that automatically transmits vital information to all other DSC-VHF radios within your area.
AIS uses your MMSI number in conjunction with your GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver to transmit your position and movement through your VHF radio transmitter.
The bottom line is that if you have the equipment, you owe it to yourself to get it programmed to use this valuable free life-saving capability.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so if you want to see a live map of how this works, Click Here.
If you want to investigate on the internet how to get an MMSI number and program your equipment yourself, the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center is a good place to start.
Alternatively, your marine store electronics representative should be willing to walk you through it.
Either way, if you haven't set up your systems to take advantage of this fantastic technology, we hope you'll get it done soon.
Captain Laragione is the President of The Maritime Institute which offers USCG approved courses for mariners. Curriculum ranges from the maritime rules of the road to the 1600 Ton Captain's License. Captain Laragione is well known for his motto - "The key to safe boating is education; so let's get educated!"
It's That Time of Year Again
Now that we're in the slow season for boating, it's a good idea to do some of that necessary preventative maintenance before old man Winter sets in.
Here's a checklist courtesy of Gerry Charest at Marina Village to get you thinking about the multitude of tasks that you or your mechanic can get started on:
- Check the engine shaft and rudder stuffing boxes for leaks and looseness.
- Inspect fuel lines, including fill and vent hoses, for indication of softness, brittleness or cracking.
- Wipe flexible hoses with a clean cloth. A strong odor of gasoline or diesel indicates a hose should be replaced, but only with a Coast Guard approved type for fuel.
- Inspect all other components in the fuel system - fuel tanks, fuel pumps, filters, for leaks. A dry rag can be used at connections and you can also trust your nose. Hose clamps should be snug and free of heavy rust.
- Wire brush battery terminals and fill any low cells with distilled water.
- Exhaust manifolds should be removed every few years and inspected for corrosion, which could restrict water flow.
- Cooling hoses should also be inspected for signs of old age, check for stiffness, rot, leaks, and/or cracking. Replace as necessary.
- Inspect bilge blower hose for leaks.
- Clean and tighten electrical connections, especially both ends of battery cables.
Thanks for the checklist Gerry - there are many more maintenance tasks that should be performed on a recurring basis. Some are simple and others are more complex and require special tools or equipment.
Your own knowledge and skill level should dictate whether or not you are comfortable performing a particular maintenance item. If in doubt, call a certified marine mechanic.
Avoiding "Terminal" Illness on Your Boat
This time of year always seems to bring a lot of calls for help concerning boats that won't start, and the problem is usually the batteries. Boats don't get much attention during the winter months.
You don't really need any expensive equipment or tools to check the health of your batteries if you know a few simple things to look for:
1. If you go to your boat and smell something like rotten eggs, then either your refrigerator quit working or your batteries are fried. It's hydrogen sulfide gas and it's nasty stuff.
2. Feel the sides and tops of your batteries while they are being charged. They should not be too warm to the touch. Run your fingers down the side and feel for a hot section, which could indicate a bad cell in that battery.
3. Battery terminals that are coated with a powdery looking substance are also an indicator of a problem.
4. Take the caps off unsealed batteries and use a flashlight (a plastic one) to look inside. Any cells that are excessively lower in water, relative to their neighbors indicate a problem.
5. Batteries can, and will explode from sparks at their terminals, so one last tip. If you need to replace your batteries, remove all electrical loads from the system before you begin, and use only insulated tools. If you have to use a bare metal wrench to remove battery cables, wrap it in electrical tape from the unused end to the working end and remove the negative cable first. You can always remove the tape when you're done.
Whale Watching in Southern California a Boater's Guideline
- By Bob Sherman
Thar she blows! 'Tis the season for whale watching in Southern California. January, February and March are the peak months for the migration of the California Grey Whales, as they make their annual migration, into Mexican Waters.
However, it is important to take great care when witnessing this amazing spectacle. In fact, all skippers need to be especially vigilant this time of year, even if you are not "whale watching", especially when three miles or less offshore. I know one client who inadvertently struck a whale off Catalina.
If powerboating, it will be more comfortable and easier to locate whales in the calm morning hours. However, afternoon sailing is ideal because the lack of propeller noise is less disturbing to the whales. (Whales travel around 4 knots, so you may need to furl in the jib when following alongside.) The whales will be traveling parallel to the coastline, heading south/southeast. You may spot them as close as a mile offshore, up to 5 miles offshore.
Look for the characteristic "spout", which is a misty spray, lasting only a few seconds before it disappears. Keep everyone involved in the search. Watch for other boats that may be following a whale. If there are only a couple vessels, you might join them, but don't overwhelm a whale with a large group of boats. Better to find your "own" whales if you can.
Whales will usually spout three or four times, about a minute apart, before diving or "sounding" for 7-10 minutes. This is usually when you see the tail raised - have that camera ready! While waiting, hold your course and speed, but be looking 360 degrees for the whales when they surface. They often come up somewhere else.
Due to the increased popularity of whale watching, it is important that boaters use care and restraint, to avoid stressing or harming these magnificent creatures.
Guidelines for whale watching can be viewed online at WhaleMuseum.org: In particular, look for the printable brochure entitled: "Be Whale Wise, Marine Wildlife Guidelines for Boaters, Paddlers and Viewers."
A summary of these guidelines follows:
- Be cautious and courteous in your approach, to the whales and other boaters.
- Slow down to 7 knots within 400 yards, and slower as you get within viewing distance.
- Keep clear of the whale's path. If whales are approaching you directly, cautiously move out of the way. Avoid abrupt changes in course or speed.
- Do not approach whales from the front or behind. Come carefully in from the side, gradually turning to parallel their course. Remember, the whales are trying to avoid being hit by boats- they don't know what you are going to do. As the ocean water visibility is usually around 50 feet, they cannot see you - they only hear you.
- Try not to approach closer than 100 yards to any whale.
- If you find yourself closer than 100 yards, put engines in neutral or turn and sail clear.
- Limit your viewing time to 30 minutes for a particular whale or pod of whales - in consideration of the animals and other boaters.
When departing, do so at moderate speed until well clear. Good luck, and enjoy!
Editor's Note: Bob Sherman has over 28 years of Yacht sales experience and is the owner of YachtSource. He is also qualified to instruct on all vessel types, and has held 100-ton Captain's license since 1982. He is an avid sailor, and scuba diver. You can send an e-mail to Bob at bobsherman@BlueSkyNews.com
How to Make Your Sails Last Longer
You clear the harbor and the wind catches your sails, and your beautiful sailboat leans over ever so gracefully as her elegant bow cuts cleanly into the increasing chop of the waves. Here's a few secrets to make those expensive sails last longer. more...
Sails Need Sun Screen Too
Always make sure to roll your genoa with the UV protection cover on the outside. If the sail gets rolled up with the acrylic cover on the inside, the sun will cook the leech of your genoa.
If your main does not roll into the mast, make sure to put the sail cover on when the sail is down. The leech (back edge) of any sail carries the highest load, and when your main is down on the boom, it is the leech that is exposed more than any part of the sail.
Flogging, or violent luffing, breaks down the fibers in your sails. Some luffing is inevitable (when raising your mainsail for instance), but try to keep this to a minimum. Never motor directly up wind with your main flogging.
Don't Get Led Astray
The top of your genoa suffers from flogging when the jib sheet lead block is too far aft. When the lead block is too far aft, the sheet applies more tension straight back along the foot than down along the leech. This causes the top of the sail to flutter.
The Lead Follows
Don't forget that when you roller reef your genoa in strong winds, you'll need to move the genoa sheet lead block forward because as you roll the sail, the clew moves forward. If you don't move the lead block, the top of the sail will flutter violently in the stiff breeze.
Silence is Golden
If the leech of your sail makes a terrible racket from flapping, tighten the leech line. Not only does tightening the leech line reduce the noise, but it prevents the back of your sail from destroying itself -- and that saves you plenty of gold.
Trimming your sails properly in strong winds requires a lot of halyard tension on both the main and genoa. Do your sails a favor by easing the tension on the halyards every time you come in from sailing. Leaving them tight unnecessarily stretches them.
You wouldn't leave your patio furniture outside all winter, so why would you leave your sails up all winter? If you don't plan to use your boat for several months, when you put your boat away at the end the season, take down your sails and drop them off at your local sail loft for washing and inspection.
This is the best way to protect your investment. Washing your sails extends their useful life by removing dirt and salt that abrades sailcloth. "Do it yourselfers" should rinse off both sides of all your sails with a garden hose, then dry them well before storing them in a cool dry place. Do not store your sails in your boat where they can pick up nasty odors and develop mildew over the winter.