Friday, June 23, 2017

On The Hard Again: Getting it Straight - The Fix

Reader Note: This article deals with the resolution of the port running gear alignment problem. To fully appreciate the story you should read "Getting It Straight - Background" to understand the scope and complexity of resolving this problem.

The project's objectives:
  • To achieve running gear alignment within 3,000th of an inch (.003")
  • To determine, with certainty, the root cause of the coupling failure
Without finding the smoking gun that caused the coupling failure, the alignment problem is not likely to be solved. This was the case with the two haul-outs in March and April.

In order to achieve this objective, it was necessary to examine every component starting from the front of the engine and work backwards to the nut the secures the propeller to the shaft. This includes:
  • The engine mounts
  • The Evolution Marine Coupling
  • The shaft
  • The Tides Marine Shaft Seal
  • The hull cutlass bearing
  • The strut cutlass bearing
  • The propeller
Along with that, I needed significant technical expertise. These are the key players: 
  • Engineer Chris Murray from Soundown, the company that built the coupling
  • Top flight Cat technician, Guy Crudele, from Guy Crudele Repairs, a Caterpillar Authorized Marine Dealer
  • Rose Marine, a commercial boat yard capable of hauling the boat and supporting the project. 
Now to the story,

On Monday, June 12, I cruised the boat from Hingham to Gloucester arriving at Rose Marine's haul-out bay at 12:30 PM. The boat was immediately lifted, power washed and by 3:00 PM was blocked and sitting on the hard.

Guided Discovery on the Travel Lift ready for transport into the yard

Rose Marine Hardware and Office
Work began promptly on Tuesday morning. By the time I arrived on the scene the port propeller and shaft had been removed. The project was off to a good start. The shaft was on its way to the machine shop.  The propeller was awaiting transport to the prop shop. Guy was in the process of disconnecting the coupling while Jeff, his assistant, was starting the routine maintenance projects on the engines transmissions and generators.

Guided Discovery blocked on the hard early on Tuesday morning
Guy Crudele's truck is pulled alongside
Notice the port shaft is missing
Notice the white spaces along the waterline where the lifting straps prevented power washing
Removal of the shaft was necessary to determine whether it was "true." This crucial step was not done during the haul-outs in March and April. We assumed that if the propellers were not damaged, then the shaft should be OK.  In fact, Bob, at Admiral C&B Propeller, stated that upon arrival at his shop, "the props had no signs of a hard grounding." Admiral did perform edge work to remove minor imperfections and tuned the props to make them, to quote Bob, "better than new out of box props."

Explanatory NoteWe had a VERY soft grounding in November 2015 at the Big Pass sandbar. I was able to easily back the boat into deep water. Because the props are positioned well above the keel it is unlikely that they touched the bottom. My divers at Sarasota, and next year in Hingham, reported no damage to either prop. They did report missing paint on the bottom of the keel but, fortunately, no damage.

63 profile showing propellers positioned well above the keel
If the props were not damaged by the grounding, then the question arises as to whether the engines were properly aligned during the build and whether the shaft itself was true at the time of its instillation. The Evolution Coupling started shredding rubber at approximately 1,000 hours. If the engines were slightly out of alignment or the shaft was not true, then the failure of the coupling was attributable to misalignment. 

Port propeller removed awaiting transport to the prop shop
Wednesday, a Rose Marine technician removed the cutlass bearings from the hull and strut. The bearings show a pattern of elliptical wear.  The elliptical wear confirms the motion Chad, Randy and I observed at the power takeoff and shaft seal along with the leak at the lip seal during the sea trial in April. This motion and the leak prompted Chad to declare failure with regard to the alignment.

Port strut and cutlass bearing prior to removal

Hull cutlass bearing prior to removal

Close up of the strut cutlass bearing
The wear pattern indicates a bent shaft causing an elliptical motion

View of the port transmission flange (just below the power take-off that runs the hydraulic system)
It's Tuesday morning. The coupling has been removed and delivered to Soundown for inspection

For comparison. View of the starboard side coupling, lip seal carriers and shaft seal

Coupling bolts, shaft seals and shaft seal carriers

View of the port shaft seal. Notice the brown trail caused by water leaking
The leak at the shaft seal was the tell-tale sign that Embree Marine Services' alignment in April was unsuccessful
Tool used to remove the strut cutlass bearing

The hull cutlass bearing cut out

New hull cutlass bearing installed

New strut cutlass bearing installed

Jeff from Guy Crudele Repairs working on the concurrent maintenance projects

Photo of a shaft being worked on at the Rose Marine machine shop

Dummy coupling fabricated by Soundown
This "tool" is the key to the alignment project

The propeller was sent to the shop for computer scanning
Guy Crudele was making sure that every component was machined to exact tolerances 
The port propeller was returned on Friday. The prop shop reports showed that the propeller met ISO 484 Accuracy Class of S - Very High Accuracy. ISO 484 defines the manufacturing tolerances for marine propellers. Both the "Initial" and "Final" Reports met the ISO "S" standard. The tolerances for the four blades were essentially unchanged from the prop work performed by Admiral in March. Bottom line. Damage to the propeller or torque distortion caused by blade misalignment ruled out the propeller as the cause of the misalignment or the damage to the coupling.

Frank Rose using a fork lift to assist Guy in positioning the shaft for installation
The 2.5 inch 15 foot stainless steel shaft weighs in excess of 300 pounds
Now, we come to the shaft. The machine shop reported that the shaft was bent 10,000th of an inch and that the bend was forward of the strut bearing. Since contact with the bottom or a foreign object was ruled out, the distortion in the shaft was the result of misalignment. Something caused the shaft to bend and the most likely cause is misalignment of the engine.

Guy Crudele installing the shaft

Frank and Guy pushing the shaft into position
This was the first big test of the alignment of the cutlass bearings
The shaft slid into place smoothly.  First test passed

Friday afternoon. Soundown has delivered the re-manufactured coupling
Chris Murray turned this project around in three days
Now let's talk about the coupling. Keep in mind the history here.
  • October 2016. New coupling purchased from Soundown (Cost $2,760)
  • March 2017: New coupling installed after the 2.75" flange is replaced with the 2.5" flange from the original coupling
  • March: The original coupling sent back to Soundown for re-manufacture
  • April: The re-manufactured original coupling is shipped to Embree for installation 
  • April: The new coupling is removed and shipped back to Soundown
  • April: The new coupling is checked for damage and a 2.5" flange is installed. Unit is tagged and stored for my eventual use on the starboard dsise at Soundown
  • June 13: The original coupling shipped to Maine for examination.
  • June 13-16: The original coupling is re-manufactured due to extensive damage sustained on the 200 hour run from Sarasota to Hingham
Recall that the coupling was removed on Tuesday morning and delivered to Soundown's manufacturing facility in Maine. Recall also that part of the coupling's job is to compensate for minor miss-alignment. The technician at Soundown reported that the coupling had been subjected to radical forces. A steel shaft within the unit that measures 2 inches in diameter by 4 inches long was bent 45,000 ths of an inch. Soundown had never seen such severe damage.

Special aluminum tool fabricated to lock the shaft in place when it is slid back
  in the water to swap out the Dummy Flange for the coupling

The shaft connected to the Dummy Coupling
The Tides Marine Shaft Seal is in the lower right hand corner of the photo
The Dummy Coupling facilitated a precise alignment.
The process of aligning the running gear involves physically moving the engine

The "shaft lock tool" is put in place
The shaft has to be moved backward in the water to remove the Dummy Coupling
The tool prevents the 300+ pound shaft from slipping backward and damaging the rudder

Jeff spray painting the port running gear on Friday afternoon

Remember the white patches along the hull where the slings prevented power washing
I had Rose Marine repaint the waterline and chines to get rid of the white patches (not yacht)
Guided Discovery being launched at 7:45 AM on a foggy Saturday morning
Guided Discovery operating on the starboard engine is en-route from Rose Marine to Pier 7 Marina
The aluminum  Dummy Coupling on the port side cannot deal with the torque needed to turn the shaft
Heading to Pier 7 Marina on a foggy Saturday morning on one engine

I pass the fishing trawler that was blocking the travel lift of Monday. Notice that it is listing to starboard.
Story I heard was that an engine had been removed. That would easily account for the starboard list

Jeff waiting on the dock at Pier 7 Marina
The final stage of the alignment occurs in the water

Guided Discovery at the dock at Pier 7 Marina
Guy Crudele is already hard at work completing the alignment
I spend 7 hours washing the boat
The last stage of the alignment occurs in the water. Once the Dummy Coupling, propeller, shaft and cutlass bearings are installed, the boat is launched and given time to "settle out." While on the hard, the hull is subject to forces from the blocking and jack-stands the substantively effect the alignment.

Now that we were in the water and tied to a dock the final phase of the alignment began. This involves performing the alignment with the shaft married to the Dummy Coupling. The initial reading according to Guy was that the alignment was out of tolerance by 27,000 ths of an inch. Time to move the engine.

All the facts thus far point to the alignment of the engine as the cause of the misalignment and the damage to the coupling, shaft and shaft seal. Remember, the engine is aligned to the shaft rather than the shaft being aligned to the engine. The Cat C9 engine weighs 1,500 pounds and is physically attached to other systems like exhaust and fuel (not easy to move). The process involves loosening the engine mounts, moving the engine with a pry bar and constantly checking tolerances with a feeler gauge as the mounts are locked down. 3,000 ths of an inch (.003") is within tolerance.

Guy achieved 2,000 ths on an inch (.002"). At that point, the Dummy Coupling was removed and replaced with the re-manufactured Evolution Coupling. We did a brief sea trial while tied to the dock. Essentially, the boat is put in gear and strains against the lines holding it fast to the dock. Believe it or not this actually works. Randy Cornett and I did this at Marina Jack. We could see the water leaking and the perceptible motion at the power take-off even with the engine at idle. Guy observed no motion or leaking. The final proof was the 4 hour run from Gloucester to Hingham. Upon arrival I checked the absorbent pad under the lip seal. It was bone dry. SUCCESS!

Illustration showing a rear engine mount in relation to the shaft and coupling

Rose Marine fuel barge approaching

Rose Marine fuel barge tied alongside after pumping 930 gallons into my tanks
Rose charged me $1,87 per gallon. The lowest price I've ever paid for diesel

Completed project after running 4 hours on Sunday back to Hingham. Notice that there is no water leak

The port engine starboard aft engine mount
Alignment required physically moving the engine
Notice that Guy has painted the engine mounts
Guy left the engine room spotless
Outside of some monumental expense, this has proven to be a very satisfying exercise. I worked with some phenomenal people, Chris Murray, Guy Crudele and Frank Rose who worked together to make this repair happen successfully. In total the boat was on the hard for 5 days. The entire project was completed in six.

Thank you to all!

Written by Les

Thursday, June 15, 2017

On the Hard Again: Getting It Straight - Background

This is going to be a long story.

The story starts in May of 2016 while en-route run from Sarasota to Hingham. During a routine engine check, I discovered black dust on the absorbent pad underneath the port side transmission coupling The pad was absolutely clean when we departed Sarasota.  This condition manifested itself after 1,421 NM and 200 hours of running since leaving Sarasota. My engines had just reached the 1,000 hour mark.

Port Coupling - Rubber dust on absorbent pad after 200 hours
Starboard coupling - no dust
Explanatory Note #1: My practice is to maintain clean absorbent pads underneath the engines and transmissions. This makes it very easy to spot a problem with the running gear, such as a fluid leak

According to Randy Ives, Outer Reef's Warranty Manager, the black rubber dust was coming from a bearing in the coupling and that eventually the coupling would need repair. He took the position that failure was not imminent and that I should address the problem when I came south in November.

Explanatory Note #2: According to Evolution Marine, the Evolution Flexible Shaft Coupling (EFSC) solves misalignment, absorbs and dampens shock loads and shaft vibrations, prolongs the life of machinery, and isolates metal-to-metal for quietness.

The EFSC is comprised of four major components: 1) a spool flange machined to bolt directly to the reduction flange; 2) a large circular rubber flex joint that's replaceable; 3) a split flange coupling for the shaft with pinch bolts, set bolts, and key-way; 4) a retainer cover that serves to protect the rubber flex joint, capture all bolts, and improve overall strength of the unit.

Meanwhile, at the completion of the May 2016 trip north, the Caterpillar C9 engines were ready for their 1,000 hour maintenance service. So, upon arrival in Hingham I put out quote requests to Milton Caterpillar and three other Cat AMDs (Authorized Marine Dealers). The 1,000 hour service involves, in addition to a normal oil/filter change, cleaning of the aftercoolers, heat exchangers, turbo chargers and a valve adjustment. This is a big deal (read as expensive - easily $10,000). Months go by an I get no response.

So I follow-up with the four perspective servicers. Milton Cat, the "big regional" Cat dealer was not interested in my project (and they will only work on engines - I have transmissions and generators that also need service - so I was really not interested in them). Two of the other Cat AMDs were too busy.  The third, Hansen Marine, took an interest in the project but they needed three tries to produce an estimate that closely reflected the 1,000 hour service tasks and required parts. They finally produced the "almost satisfactory" quote after I detailed the labor tasks and parts for them (using my Wheelhouse Technology Application).

Explanatory Note: Why, you ask, am I adamant that the servicer give me an estimate that lists all maintenance tasks and required parts? Simple. I want to ensure that the servicer can complete the job in one visit. I also want to shop for the best price. I do not think that is unreasonable.

Side Story: My son-in-law, Scott McBeth, runs a jet ski rental business at the Lighthouse Inn in West Dennis on Cape Cod. During his visit, which was just before my departure to Marblehead, he told me a story about getting ripped off on both parts and labor for a jet ski repair. Just for grins I decided to check Hansen's pricing on parts using my Wheelhouse Technology Maintenance Application. Oops. Hansen had overpriced about 15 parts to the tune of $600 as compared to Wheelhouse prices (which, by their own admission, are already marked up 10% over retail). So I bring the boat to Marblehead and the morning before starting the job, I bring the pricing "error" to Hansen's Service Manager's attention. Bad result. Tom calls back and says the owner, Bob Hansen, wont change the pricing. I get Bob on the phone and he gets defensive and belligerent (not to mention illogical about the reason for the overcharge). I don't like getting ripped off and Diana is shocked by Bob's reaction. We cancel the project.

Oops its September and I'm headed back to Florida on November 1 and I have no one to perform the 1,000 hour service. Back to the drawing boards. With a little help from Caterpillar I locate Guy Crudele, a Cat AMD located in Gloucester. Guy gets the parts and labor tasks right on the first quote and prices the parts at retail. Hallalujah!!!! Not only that, he completes the project on time and on budget. Hallalujah, Hallalujah!!!!

Meanwhile back to the Evolution Coupling Story. I made contact early on with Chris Murray at Soundown, the company that had acquired the Evolution Coupling business. After lengthy discussion, I decided to buy a new coupling ($2,700 - thank you) and have it installed when I returned to Florida. My logic for the new coupling was to swap out the "bad" one, have it rebuilt and keep it as a spare

So, upon arrival in Sarasota in November 2016, I immediately made arrangements to haul the boat and swap out the coupling. I chose Bayfront Yacht Yard, a division of Marina Jack, to address the coupling swap-out and bottom painting, which was definitely needed after three years.

Days before the scheduled haul-out a powerful northeast storm literally pushed the the water out of the ICW. Bayfront is located on Siesta Key and is accessed only from the ICW.  Bayfront, under normal circumstances, could only haul our boat at high tide and even then we would have only 6" of bottom clearance. Following the storm and for weeks thereafter (and in fact for the rest of the winter), Bayfront never saw even 5 feet at high tide (and even with a full moon). Good news, bad news. In this case they are both the same, We were unable to haul the boat, which turns out to be VERY GOOD NEWS as we would never have been able to launch it. In other words, Diana, Kodi and I would have been homeless for the winter.

Another Side Story: In anticipation of the haul-out, we rented a lovely 3 bedroom two bath home close to Siesta Key (and the boat) for 10 days using the HomeAway website. Unfortunately, we could not use it due to the water depths. So we lost $2,000. Again, good news. If the boat had stayed on the hard the financial loss would have been a $12,000 - $16,000 to rent a place for 4 months.

Back to the drawing boards. It took another two months to arrange a haul-out to address the coupling, bottom paint and other projects. This time I selected Embree Marine Services, a boat yard in St. Petersburg with a great reputation.

On Sunday, March 12, I cruised to the Harboridge Marina in St. Pertersburg with Phil Fuoco (a two time crew member - 2014) along with his wife Carol and two of their friends. It was a beautiful day for a cruise and we ended it with dinner at the St Petersburg Yacht Club.  The goal was to position the boat for an early Monday morning high tide haul out at Embree. After dinner, I drove my friends back to Sarasota and then drove back to St. Petersburg.

Approaching the channel that ends at Embree Marine Services
Early Monday morning, I pulled out of Harboridge and proceeded down a narrow channel to Embree. You can see by the photo of the Travelift that I arrived at high tide. Glitch. Due to the positioning of the boat on the Travelift (she was stern heavy), they needed to off load 300 gallons of fuel from the aft auxiliary tanks to enable them to lift the boat.

Arriving at Embree

The 63 was still in the water by the time we departed for Fort Lauderdale
Diana and I then took off for a two week "vacation" in Fort Lauderdale Florida. Our friends, Sophocles and Elena, generously gave us the use of their beautiful condominium with a spectacular 230 degree views that encompassed the city, the Atlantic and the ICW.

Jackson Towers, our home for two weeks
Houston, we have a problem. Ok, I admit that may be a bit more dramatic than necessary. On Friday morning, four days into the project I get a call from Chad Shakespeare, the Service Manager at Embree, informing me of a serious problem with the new coupling. It had a flange capable of receiving a 2.75 inch shaft. The shaft on the 63 is 2.5 inches. Oops.

I immediately informed Chris Murray at Soundown of the flange problem. Chris said "no problem," just have the yard remove the flange from the old coupling and install it on the new one. We did this and the project proceeded. Turns out it was not that simple.

Embree finished the projects on Thursday, March 22. Early Friday morning Diana and I drove 5 hours from Fort Lauderdale, stopped in Sarasota to pick up my friend, Jim Lampl, and drove to St. Petersburg arriving at around 12:00 PM. Jim and I departed at 2:00 PM after dealing with a few last minute issues. Our goal was to get back to Sarasota for a 7:00 PM dinner party with the Singers. We actually got there at 7;30 PM - lovely dinner party. OK, some days are a bit hectic.

Unfortunately, all was not well with the port engine running gear. Upon arrival at Sarasota I discovered that there was a leak at the shaft seal, which manifested itself on the clean absorbent pad that I had installed before leaving Embree.

I informed Chad that the shaft seal was leaking along with a couple of other minor issue. No problem says he and several days later, on April 10, his top technician, Randy Cornett, arrived at Marina Jack to address the issues. Randy had me "sea trial" the boat at the dock by putting the port engine in gear at idle speed. Sure enough, we saw water leaking at the seal and more importantly, perceptible motion at the power takeoff and shaft seal. Randy declared that the alignment was not successful. Randy and I contacted, discussed Randy's findings with Chad and we agreed on a date to haul the boat. BOY, DO I LIKE DEALING WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE INTEGRITY!!

Now the project get's more complicated. Chris Murray from Soundown was not happy with the flange swap-out and felt it may be contributing to the misalignment. So, he had Embree ship the old coupler back to Soundown so it could be rebuilt and have a 2.5 inch flange installed. Due to the fact that I was departing on May 1 for Hingham, Soundown expedited the rebuild and shipped the coupling to Embree overnight (read as very expensive). Just for the record, the new coupling, the rebuild and the shipping came to $5,181. Ouch!

Note: Chris also agreed, as part of the deal, to rebuild the new (now old) coupling once it was removed. The plan was tag it and store is as a "spare."

Guided Discovery "On The Hard Again"
On Tuesday, April 25, accompanied by Phil Fuco, I cruised to St. Petersburg to haul the boat at Embree. Upon arrival, Embree off loaded 300 gallons of fuel from the auxiliary tanks to facilitate the lift. Chad's team went to work, hauled the boat, swapped out the coupling, installed a new lip seal and, working in conjunction with Chris Murray, re-did the alignment. I returned on Thursday, April 28th to take possession of the boat.

Reader's Note: The following paragraph appears in the article "Decisions, Decisions and Still More Decisions."

"The boat was hauled on Tuesday, April 25, at Embree Marine Services to correct an alignment problem on the port engine. On that haul, Embree had removed 300 gallons of fuel from the auxiliary tanks to facilitate the lift. On my instructions, they returned all 300 gallons to the main tanks, which topped them off, and put the excess (31 gallons) in the auxiliary tanks. Therefore, I left St Petersburg Florida on Thursday, April 28 with 1,000 gallons in the main tanks. Upon arrival in Sarasota I noted a fuel burn of 39 gallons. At departure on Monday morning I had 960 gallons in the mains (and 31 gallons in the auxiliaries)."

After the off-loaded fuel was pumped back into the tanks (see above), Chad, Randy and I took the 63 for a sea trial off the local waters. This version included running the boat through the full power curve to check for any vibration and to exert maximum stress on the running gear. Chad came up to the bridge with the bad news. The shaft seal was leaking and they could see perceptible motion at the power takeoff and seal. Chad took the helm and I went to see for myself.

As we headed for the city dock the three of us discussed the situation in relation to the upcoming 1500 NM cruise to Hingham. Chad explained that he had done his best and was now out of options (even if I agreed to delay the trip north). He agreed to refund the cost of the alignment $1,080. He did not think that the misaligned running gear posed a safety problem that would cause me not to make the trip north. That said, the 200 hour run north would probably damage the coupling. So the consequence was strictly financial.

Did I mention that I like doing business with people of integrity? Chad Shakespeare and Embree Marine are good people who stand behind their work. Most of their work was successful and where they failed they corrected the problem or refunded the charge. Hard to argue.

So, you ask, where is the pony in this pile of manure? By heading north back to Massachusetts I have the opportunity to work directly with Soundown, the manufacturer of the coupling and their engineer, Chris Murray. Soundown's headquarters is located in Salem Mass which is close to Gloucester where there are marinas with the ability to haul the 63.

Stay tuned for part two of the story.

Written by Les.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

On The Hard Again: Getting Hauled Without Getting Hosed

As mentioned in the first "On the Hard Again" article, there are three major projects for this round of maintenance and repair:
  1. Normal maintenance of the engines, transmissions and generators
  2. Correction of an oil leak on the port engine that manifested itself on the trip north
  3. Alignment of the port engine's running gear.
The third, the alignment project, necessitated hauling the boat. This project is extremely complex as it involves a lot of moving parts (which is an interesting play on words as the running gear is mostly moving parts). The systems involved, working from the transmission backwards, include:
  • The Evolution Marine Coupling
  • The shaft
  • The Tides Marine Shaft Seal
  • The hull cutlass bearings 
  • The strut cutlass bearing
  • The propeller
Given that I had already made two tries over the winter to resolve the alignment problem, both of which were unsuccessful, I was determined to get it right this time. This involves a lot of players: 
  • A Caterpillar technician to deal with the engine maintenance and repairs
  • An expert on engine alignment
  • A propeller shop with the ability to work on shafts and cutlass bearings
  • Soundown, the company that built the coupling
  • A boat yard capable of hauling the boat. 
Believe me putting all of this together is fraught with challenges and ultimately required considerable time to assemble the right players.

So lets start with the haul-out. To haul the 63 you need a Marine Travelift with the capability of lifting 100,000 pounds. There is no boat yard within 40 nautical miles that has that capability. I either have to go south to Plymouth or north to Gloucester. I chose Gloucester as I have a relationship with the Guy Crudele, the Cat AMD that works out of there.

Explanatory Note: The 63 empty weighs 73,000 pounds. Add 9,100 pounds for diesel fuel (1,300 gallons at 7 pounds each). Add 2,400 pounds for water (300 gallons at 8 pound each). Add 3,000 pounds for our gear and stuff. Add 1,000 pounds for the tender. Fully loaded the 63 weighs 88,500 pounds. At a minimum, we need a 50 metric ton Travelift.

I called Cape Ann Marina and Rose Marine for quotes. I would classify Cape Ann Marina as a yacht yard and Rose Marine as a commercial yard catering to working boats. A yacht yard was, in my opinion is preferable to a commercial yard. Hence Cape Ann would be the preferred choice.

When I called these yards I asked the same question: "What is your per foot charge to haul the boat and have it on the hard for 4 days?"  Rose quoted $10.50 per foot with no charge for the first 5 days. Peter at Cape Ann quoted $10.00 per foot plus $1.00 per foot (or $63.00) for each day on the hard. Do the math. Rose wanted $662. Cape Ann wanted $630 for the haul and $252 for the time on the hard. Total: $882. Rose wins on price but only provides 110 volt 15 amp power via an extension cord. Cape Ann wins, theoretically, on yard cleanliness and the ability to connect our power cord power. I chose Cape Ann.

Explanatory Note: When you ask a marina for a per foot haul-out charge and tell them the boat will be on the hard for 4 days, you have a REASONABLE EXPECTATION that the per foot charge includes the haul out and the return of the boat to the water. Again, you have made it clear that the boat is going to be in the yard for 4 days. So, logically, it has to go back in the water. Since the boat is not going to hang on the lift, another reasonable expectation is that the boat will blocked and stabilized with jack stands. Finally, it is not unusual that the per foot charge includes power washing the hull (as the marine life if not removed immediately hardens into CEMENT). Here's an example. "Haul boat, pressure wash, block and launch  ($10 per foot)  plus $25.00 for pressure wash.

Back to the story.

I called Cape Ann and agreed on Monday, June 12 as the haul date. The owner, Drew Domenick, told me I needed to get my yacht insurer to name them as a named insured (which included the names of 7 entities) and sign some documents. Imagine my surprise when I received Cape Ann's contract and saw that $10.00 per foot was for the haul-out only. Returning the boat to the water was ANOTHER $10.00 per foot. Then I noticed that they wanted $7.00 a foot to power wash the hull (4442) and another $4.50 a foot to block to boat. Do the math. They wanted $31.50 a foot plus $252 for 4 days on the hard. Total: $2,217. UNBELIEVABLE!!!

So I called Rose Marine again, spoke to the owner and asked him for clarification. He confirmed that $10.50 per foot included the haul-out and return to the water. I then asked for the cost to power wash the hull. He said a minimum of $100 and not more than $200. Not unreasonable. I pay my diver $315 to scrub the hull in the water. Again do the math. Rose wanted $762 to $862.

There is a big difference between $2,217 and $862.

I call Cape Ann back and spoke to Drew Domenick. I pointed out that his representative had mislead me with regard to the charges. He gave me a song and dance that I should have looked at his website as the charges were clearly listed - which they were. However, as a gesture of "goodwill" he agreed to comp me one day on hard (yes a whopping $63). I thanked him profusely for his generosity and promptly signed up with Rose Marine.

I have a favorite saying about people who engage in sharp practices. So this is for you, Drew Domenick.  "You can cut a fat hog, but first you got to catch it."

Hope you enjoyed the story.

Written by Les.

On the Hard Again: Gloucester Cruise & Accommodations

The 63's need for maintenance and repairs has us in Gloucester again. The projects for this round fall into three categories:
  1. Normal maintenance of the engines, transmissions and generators
  2. Correction of an oil leak on the port engine that manifested itself on the trip north
  3. Alignment of the port engine's running gear.
The alignment of the port engine will be dealt with as a separate article titled "On the Hard Again: Dealing with Repair Challenges." This project is also the reason for the series title "On the Hard Again" as this particular repair cannot be done in the water,

This first article will deal with the fun stuff, the cruise from Hingham to Gloucester and the challenges we face as live-aboards when the boat goes on the hard.

Bottom line. We need to find a place to live while the boat is on the hard. Diana to the rescue. She undertook the task of finding a place for us to live. My role is to move the boat, clearly the fun part.

For this trip I decided to cruise to Gloucester single handed. That cruise started Monday morning with cast off help from Skip Roper, a former crew member (November 2015).  The weather was perfect, calm winds with a temperature in the low 80s at 8:15 AM.  The tide at departure was dead low, which exposed all the shallow water along the route out to open water. Fortunately, my route is well marked with lots of deep water.

At around 9:00 AM, I passed Nixes Mate (a tricky spot), turned north into President's Road, the main channel out of Boston Harbor and activated the route to Gloucester. The GPS showed my ETA at 11:50 AM. I called Rose Marine to report my ETA and was advised that their crew goes to lunch between 12:00 and 12:30 PM. This prompted me to throttle back to time my arrival when the crew returned.

Map of Gloucester Harbor
Rose Marine is across from the State Fish Pier
4 hours later, having averaged 7.3 Nautical Miles Per Hour from the dock, I arrived in the Gloucester area and headed down the channel to Rose Marine. Here's some of the scenery I passed.

Expensive waterfront homes to port as I approach Gloucester Harbor

The lighthouse at Ten Pound Island

Gloucester downtown area

Arriving at high tide

Passing historic buildings at Rocky Neck Park

Scenery on the way to Rose Marine

Rose Marine is located just after the dinner cruiser to port

Commercial fishing boats across from Rose Marine

Approaching Rose Marine at 12:20 PM, I passed the Beauport, a dinner cruiser docked just short of the Travel Lift, which is between the stern of the dinner cruiser and the blue fishing boat.

Boats on the hard at Rose Marine

Holding station at the lifting bay waiting for Rose Marine to move the fishing trawler

Oops. I picked up polypropylene lobster trap line on the port propeller
Good thing the boat was being hauled today

Power washing begins

View of the yard while the 63 is hanging on the Travel Lift

Guided Discovery waiting for transport into the yard and onto the hard

We had dessert at this lovely Rockport restaurant 

Rockport Harbor
Where to stay. Diana found us lovely accommodations at the Ocean House Hotel at Bass Rock. Below is the hotel's "pitch."

"Perched on the rocky shores of Cape Ann, just a short drive from Boston, the Ocean House Hotel at Bass Rocks is a historic landmark in scenic Gloucester. Originally constructed in 1899, and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, our hotel has welcomed guests for more than 100 years. Picture-perfect views of the Atlantic Ocean and rocky Cape Ann shoreline inspire you to unwind in comfortable rooms and suites with private patios and verandas. Enjoy complimentary seaside breakfast each morning and watch the sun set by the fire pit every evening. Take a dip in the heated outdoor pool or make use of our complimentary bikes and go exploring. Relax, unwind and play at our historic New England retreat at the edge of the ocean in Gloucester."

Ariel view of The Ocean House Hotel at Bass Rock Gloucester

The Ocean House Hotel at Bass Rock

Pool and rooms at the Ocean House 

Fire pit and ocean view from our room
Written by Les