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November 2014 - Marine eNewsletter
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Shelter Cove Marina
2240 Shelter Island Dr.
San Diego, Ca. 92106



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Holiday Greetings From the Marina Office !
Greetings boaters - Here is your November 2014 marina newsletter.

We sadly watched our Baja Ha Ha guests depart on Monday, October 27 - a few had been with us for six weeks and vowed to return because they have fallen in love with San Diego! We certainly had incredible weather during their stay. Our remaining tenants are getting their boats ready for the change of seasons - (it's getting colder at nights, despite the beautiful daytime weather we have been experiencing) - and the docks are bustling with workers.

A new addition to our marina family arrived just as our Baja Ha Ha guests were leaving... Shaun is now Mama to an adorable Husky puppy named Charlie, who came via an airplane from Alaska! Since he comes from a long line of dog sledding sires, we will have to acquaint Charlie with the sights, sounds and smells of marina life - especially the sea lions!

Our November tip for boaters is to check your power cords and couplings for wear and tear (and replace as needed) in the event that we do get some rain this season, and also because we anticipate it won't be too long before use of heaters at night on our live aboards' boats will replace their daytime A/C usage.

Happy Thanksgiving - we are extremely thankful for our marina community and the privilege of living in the beautiful city of San Diego!

In this issue we have a recommended annual checklist of maintenance tips to keep your boat in top shape during the fall and winter.

In the "interesting stories" department, three of our authors have contributed some "must reading" for anyone contemplating selling or buying a boat.

We hope you enjoy this month's newsletter.

Shaun McMahon - Marina Manager

"Trial" and Error
By Bob Sherman
After weeks of looking online and driving to see boats all over Southern California, my clients had settled on a clean, well maintained sport fisher right here in San Diego. She was a real beauty and had everything that they wanted.

We were still in negotiations, close to a making a deal, during which time the boat had been hauled-out for bottom paint. To help seal the deal, the listing Broker suggested that my clients and I ride with him back to the slip on Shelter Island. We took him up on the kind offer and boarded the boat at the yard. Soon we were underway out on the bay, seeing what the boat could do.

After several minutes, everything was looking good "so far so good! Before starting our approach to Shelter Island, we asked for a full throttle test to verify max speed, see if the engines reached the proper RPM under load, without overheating. We were hanging on and examining the gauges, when suddenly, some of the stitching gave way on the isinglass enclosure" and the front windows partially imploded onto the helm station.

Disoriented, the skipper immediately brought the throttles back halfway -.or so he thought! In the confusion, he had actually put the transmissions in neutral. The engines were still screaming at full throttle - the moving boat was merely coasting.

I shouted, "Hey! Hey! The engines are still at full throttle! You are in neutral!"

Thinking it was I who was confused, he replied, "No they're not!" and without hesitation, intending to slam the throttles all the way back to idle, he threw the shift levers into reverse!

There was a horrible boom! and the boat lurched.

Once settled down, we had a feeling of dread. Needless to say, it was very quiet on board on the way in - all wondering how bad the damage would be. Surprisingly, the boat was still operational.

Over the next two weeks, the transmissions were checked, tested and scrutinized by experts. Oil samples were taken. They could find nothing wrong. Surprisingly, the ZF Transmission experts said that the clutch plates, which are designed to slip during routine shifting, can actually take this type of catastrophic of force in the event of grounding, a line that suddenly stops a prop, or that very same incident - to protect the gears, engines, mounts, etc.

We were assured that, while the clutch life would be shortened, the gearboxes themselves should be just fine. However, no amount of reassurance could make my clients comfortable after the incident.

The clients passed on the boat and eventually bought something else.

And that, Dear Readers, is the worst thing that ever happened to me on a sea trial!

Editor's Note: Bob Sherman has over 20 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

Tommy J's Favorites - Newmar Galvanic Isolators
- By Tom Jarvis
Galvanic isolation is a principle of isolating functional sections of electrical systems to prevent current flow; no direct conduction path is permitted.

Energy or information can still be exchanged between the sections by other means, such as capacitance, (capacitance is the ability of a body to store an electrical charge), induction, (electromagnetic induction is the production of an electromotive force across a conductor when it is exposed to a varying magnetic field), or electromagnetic waves, or by optical, acoustic or mechanical means.

Galvanic isolation is used where two or more electric circuits must communicate, but their grounds may be at different potentials. It is an effective method of breaking ground loops by preventing unwanted current from flowing between two units sharing a ground conductor.

Sacrificial zincs corrode away as they protect metal thru hulls, shafts and props from damaging electrolysis. Stray, low voltage current flowing between the AC safety ground and DC bonding system is a principal cause of this "galvanic" action.

Installing the Galvanic Isolator between the AC safety ground and DC bonding system (see diagram), blocks a majority of the low voltage currents and corrosive action on the zincs is significantly reduced (while the integrity of the critical safety ground path is maintained.) This means a significant savings in boat haul-out fees and zinc replacement costs.

For additional safety, all units feature a large capacitor, providing a secondary low impedance path for sending AC current to ground. Newmar offers two models one rated for 30 amp and another for 50 amp shore-power. Check out their website at www.newmarpower.com.

From 1996 to 1998 I worked for Courtalds Coatings Interlux Yachts Division. During this time the paint manufactures were tasked with creating a bottom paint that was below 150 grams/liter VOC for the Los Angels and Orange Counties' Air Quality Control Boards.

All of the paint from all the manufactures failed due to the resin not being able to carry a current. This issue has since been corrected. The problem then was that the bottom paint would "burn off" from all the metal below the water line.

I noted that only two boat yards in all of Southern California at that time did not have any problems with the water solvent bottom paint produced by all of the manufactures. It was because the yards coated all metal below the water line with two coats of epoxy primer prior to apply the bottom paint. This is an added precaution that every boat owner should request even with today's technology.

Editor's Note: Tom Jarvis is the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the SuperYacht Association and he also performs outside Marketing and Sales for the San Diego Marine Exchange. Click Here to email your boating product questions to Tom.

Christian Marine Surveyors

The "Trials" of a Sea Trial
- By Gus Giobbi - BlueSkyNews.com
If you look up the word "trial" in the dictionary, two of the definitions are:

  • The state or position of a person or thing being tried or tested

  • Being subjected to a suffering or grievous experience.

In my opinion, backed up by my own personal experience, these are two perfect definitions of what it's like to be the seller of a boat during a sea trial with the prospective client and the broker and/or the marine surveyor aboard.

For some reason (maybe lots of people sell boats in the fall and winter?), two of our favorite BlueSkyNews.com authors have chosen to write about their sea trial experiences, which has caused me to put forth my two cents worth on the subject this month as well.

In many ways, ours was the typical situation. My wife and I had a wonderful 40 foot Cruisers raised aft cabin boat that we enjoyed for many years, but the eventual day came when we decided to sell it.

The only argument we really had while we owned the boat had to do with cruising speed. This was the typical conversation.

Wife: "Why are we poking along? At this speed my hair is going to turn gray before we get across the bay."

Me: "Right - What do you want me to do - put this two bedroom two bath condo on the water up on plane?"

If you're familiar with boats like this, you know that at hull speed, you'll likely be cruising around 8 knots maximum, but up on plane, you can do 20 knots plus.

During a sea trial however, it's a standard requirement to put the boat on plane and run at full throttle for a sustained amount of time, partly to ascertain the boat's top speed, but no doubt also to see if something blows up.

So the day came. We agreed on the price with the prospective client, and all that was left was to do a sea trial.

With the clients, the broker, and my wife aboard, I gently backed out from our slip on I-Dock at Kona Kai into the fairway, and reversed the starboard engine to turn upwind and head out to the bay.

As I was doing this, the clients started chatting with me and asking questions about the boat and I became distracted. Like Captain Queeg in The Caine Mutiny, I was gradually continuing to full circle around back toward the docks.

All of a sudden, my wife called up to the bridge from the swim step and said "Hey! you're getting pretty close to the docks."

Not realizing I was still in reverse on the starboard engine, I hit the throttle - we all lurched forward as the boat started racing back toward the docks - then the knee-jerk reaction - when I finally realized what was happening, I threw it into forward without pulling back on the throttle.

I can still hear that sickening clanging BANG! that only a transmission can make when somebody tries to test its limits!

Fortunately, there was no damage, except to my ego.

I don't think there's a moral to these sea trial stories, except that a they can be a stressful experience, and maybe just realizing that before you go will help you to stay focused and not let others distract you.

By the way, the client still bought the boat.

Editor's note: Have a good sea trial story of your own? Send us an email and tell us about it and we'll share it with our readers - no sense in just Gus being embarrassed!

Buying a Boat - What You Don't Know "Might" or "Might Not" Hurt You
- By Kells Christian
In an attempt to be as cliché as possible, "it began like any other job". We were requested to perform a pre-purchase inspection and sea trial on a 1998 Sea Ray 290 Sundancer.

We were surprised to find out the vessel was powered with diesel engines (Mercruiser 2.8L D-tronic 165 h.p. for you motor-heads) and initially most findings were normal. The current owners had purchased the vessel as a repossession, and they had been given various bits of wisdom, which they took as gospel.

Sometimes we share our experience and knowledge with boat owners and other times we simply smile and listen. We chose the latter when the current boat owner said that the generator could not be run when the vessel was moving.

It was late in the day and we had no time to run the vessel on the sea trial prior to the haul out. During the haul out most components on the bottom were normal and the findings were typical. The vessel was equipped with Bravo II outdrives, with one propeller per drive. We could not find any markings on the propellers to determine their specifications.

Next was the sea trial in San Diego Bay. One of the owners was driving, while the other winced at the thought of running the engines at wide open throttle.

I expressed empathy with those feelings and reinforced that they own the vessel and only they could decide how the engines would be run. Most professionals understand that wide open throttle tests are a necessary part of a sea trial and empathize with owners who have never even thought about running their engines at wide open throttle.

Four attempts were made at wide open throttle and each was aborted due to an unusual noise. The attempts were long enough to determine the loaded wide open throttle rpms of each engine was 2900 per the tachometers and the top speed of the vessel was 11 miles per hour.

The current owners had purchased the vessel approximately three years prior and had used the vessel as a live-aboard. They stated that they had never attempted to run the vessel any faster, and frankly they didn't care.

We advised the wise, young potential buyer, "this isn't right".

The following day we contacted Sea Ray and they stated that this model vessel with this engine package was built for approximately three years and per their records the vessel should run between 25 and 30 miles per hour at wide open throttle. They conceded that the horsepower was somewhat low and the vessel would be slow compared to its gasoline brethren - but 11 m.p.h.? The specified wide open throttle rpm was later determined to be 3,800.

The potential buyer had a solid grasp of mechanics and continued with the deal hoping that the problem could be simply resolved with new fuel, fuel filters, re-propping or something inexpensive.

We advised the potential buyer that the vessel would have very few buyers (in the future) as an 11 m.p.h. vessel, and if she were paying retail price she was assuming the risk until the hoped for "easy fix" was accomplished.

She purchased the boat at what she believed to be a fair price convinced that the value of the boat will increase when the performance issues are resolved. She was intelligent and confident she could resolve the performance issues and we are firmly rooting for her.

P.S. Don't believe everything you are told - generators can be run while underway.

Kells Christian has been an accredited Marine Surveyor since 1990. His expertise extends to both recreational and commercial vessels. Kells was Regional Director of Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) for 2 years and a prominent member of numerous other industry organizations. You can e-mail your marine surveyor questions to kellschristian@cox.net or Click Here to visit his web site.

How to Get Your Boat in Top Shape for the Fall and Winter
- By Richard Benscoter
We know its fall with winter approaching - not by the chill in the air, but by the starlings that continue to deposit their calling cards on our boats as they prepare to move south. We all hope their departure is sooner than later.

If we were living in the northeast the yearly task of putting our boats on the hard for the winter would be just about completed. But for Southern California boaters, warm weather is a year-round reality, so here's a maintenance check-list that will get your boat ready for the rain and cool weather that will come visit your boat over the next several months, but still in top shape ready to enjoy cruising during our periods of fantastic fall and winter interludes.

  1. Check engine oil level, coolant level, visual inspection for any fluids in the well or leakage; with engine operating check oil pressure, coolant temperature and alternator voltage.

  2. Clean the port/hatch seals monthly or every time you wash the boat. Dirty seals can allow water leaks. Wash with soap and give a fresh water rinse to the furler, sails, and any hardware exposed to sea water after each sail.

  3. Engine water strainer - Clean and remove debris.

  4. Shaft Packing Gland - Depending on type installed, it should be visually inspected for excessive leaks. The standard gland should drip one drop every minute at rest and once every 15 seconds while in gear.

  5. Belts - Inspect for hairline cracks, if find any, replace immediately. Buy a spare.

  6. Exhaust Riser - Look for corrosion, hairline cracks or water. Remove/inspect, probably replace, they last about 5 yrs.

  7. Change oil & filter - First, start the engine to warm it up. Turn it off, remove the drain plug, drain the old oil or use a pump to siphon it out, change the filter, replace the drain plug and fill the engine with new oil. Check owner's manual for proper oil and viscosity.

  8. Water Pump Impeller - Inspect and replace at least once per year, especially if temperature gauge rises - some suggest replacing every 100 hours. If the vanes lack flexibility or show hairline fractures, change it.

  9. Transmission Oil - Replace.

  10. Fuel Filters - Replace both, this is a great time to practice bleeding the fuel in case it needs to be done out at sea.

  11. Check engine mounts for cracking or delaminating.

  12. Holding Tank Flush ,Back flush holding tank vent after rinsing holding tank.

  13. Lubricate head - using Super Lube.

  14. Wet Cell Batteries--Check water, add distilled and fill to split "rings", clean battery posts. Gel/AGM Batteries--Make sure battery post are clean and tight.

  15. Deodorize refrigerator/Icebox - Using undiluted white vinegar wipe down entire inside of box.

  16. Toilets--Pour about 10 ounces of vinegar in toilet & pump 1/2 of it out (let it sit as long as possible).

  17. Pumps - Run all pumps-especially macerators & sump pumps; be sure to "open" the discharge valves.

  18. Sea Cocks - Work each one (move handle open/close a few times.

  19. Disinfect sink drains - close seacock, pour 1/4C of bleach, add water to sink level.

  20. Bilge - Cleaned and dried run the bilge pump to make sure works, the manual pump should be hand pumped as well.

  21. Rudder Bearing - Inspect for leaks and/or cracks every time you are in the lazarette or every 6 months depend on use.

  22. Mast--Check base for corrosion and standing water.

  23. Electronics - Check for firmware updates, especially GPS.

  24. Propane - Check for leaks, after use, turn off solenoid, close valve, should retain pressure for at least 1 hour.

  25. Hoses and hose clamps - Inspect hoses for abrasion or cracks and check clamps for wear and make sure they are tight. Squeeze hoses to make sure they have not degraded - replace if too spongy.

  26. Pedestal - Oil (use engine oil) wires & chain, be sure less than 1/2" deflection per exposed foot, grease needle bearings.

  27. Port light and Deck Hatch Gaskets - Apply silicone grease to all gaskets.

  28. Fresh Water Tanks - Sterilize (with chlorine bleach), flush, sweeten (with baking soda) and flush.

  29. Fire Extinguishers - Be sure all gauges are in middle, take off bracket, shake vigorously, break up caking (dry chemical).

  30. USCG Courtesy Marine Exam - They go through most safety items, be sure to check any CO2 cartridges inside life jackets, dates on flares and replace expired ones.

  31. Anti-siphon Valves - Take off top fitting, blow into hole on top, be sure air can get through.

  32. Running rigging - Visually inspect for chafe and fraying, rinse hardware & deck/hull with fresh water.

  33. Rinse, inspect, and clean anchor rode with freshwater.

  34. Zincs - Check zincs for wear, replace any more than 75% consumed - Zincs usually last 6-8 months.

  35. Clean bimini and dodger.

  36. Mast - Check for corrosion around all dissimilar metals, inspect each fastener/cotter pin to be sure not coming out. At that time, clean the shrouds and mast, for anodized spars.

  37. Standing rigging and turnbuckles - Look for meat hooks and cracks, if any, replace. Blocks & running hardware--Lubricate with a dry PTFE spray.

  38. Furling Gear/Bearings - Fresh water rinsed getting to the bearings, Windlass--Grease cones

  39. Dodger and canvas - Lubricate zippers and snaps.

  40. Running Rigging - Wash them in cool water, fabric softener and extra rinse. Air dry. Inspect for chafe or fraying, if possible (no splice), reverse the ends.

  41. Winches - Clean with kerosene, re-grease, be sure to use light oil on pawls

  42. Check shroud tension and balance--tighten if necessary, also check forestay & backstay, lube all turnbuckles.

  43. Inspect anchor rode for wear, loose shackle pin, may need to re-splice line to chain.

  44. Inspect shore power connection for corrosion/overheating. Check both ends of the cords for signs of wear, corrosion and especially any signs of burning or heat. Apply a thin coat of dielectric grease.

  45. Sails - Washed and inspect and frays or loose stitching needs to be repaired by your sail loft.

Richard BenscoterEditor's Note: Richard Benscoter is a long time avid sailor. He and his wife Debbie are both avid sailors and members of the Silver Gate Yacht Club and owner of the Mariners Woodshop. If you have a sailing question for Richard, send e-mail to richard@BlueSkyNews.com.

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