29 May 2010

Missing Her

They say you know when your vacation is long enough when you start thinking about work, again. My break away from the Blue Moon voyage must be almost up, because I am definitely thinking about her!

The Blue Moon at anchor
photo jalmberg

The new engine is on order and should be delivered on or about June 7th. It wasn't easy to choose one. Here's what I was hoping to get:
  • at least 15 hp
  • 25" shaft
  • as high a gear ratio as possible (3:1)
  • as big a prop as possible
  • as light as possible
  • as reliable as possible
  • as fuel efficient as possible
  • easy to find repair people (on east coast of US)
Dealers call this a 'sailboat' motor, or a 'high thrust' motor. It's designed not for speed, but for power. And since the Blue Moon displaces about 8,000 lbs, power is what's needed.

Unfortunately, no one makes an outboard that meets all these criteria. The closest I could find was the 10hp Yamaha T9.9 GEXH. This is a bit less horse power than I was hoping for, but all the 15hp high thrust engines are designed for powerboats and come with power tilt and all sorts of things I don't need. This makes them more expensive, heavier, and too big for my bracket.

However, practically every cruiser I talked to on the Okeechobee Waterway recommended the T9.9 from their own practical experience. They say that the high gear ratio and big prop more than make up for the missing horse power, and that it should be plenty for my little 23' boat.

Here's hoping that I never mention my engine again in a blog post!

Notice the over-sized prop
photo yamaha

One thing I'm really looking forward to is having lots more electricity than before. The T9.9 comes with a 6A alternator that will put out twice as much power as my solar panel. This should be a big help in keeping my batteries charged. I'm going to redo the wiring in the boat (I can't make heads or tails of the current wiring) and install a 12v reading lamp, a fan that I'm definitely going to need for sleeping, and some sockets that will make plugging in my solar panels, cell phone and computer charger, etc., much easier and neater. I've been dealing with a kind of rats nest of wiring, and I'm looking forward to cleaning that up.

Speaking of cleaning up, I've been redoing my List. I've touched on my 'cargo' several times but, in a nutshell, I started this voyage with waaaaaaaay too much stuff! My cargo hold in the beginning was jam packed, making it difficult to move around the boat and inconveninent to get at things. I had things 'containerized' in Rubbermaid plastic boxes, labeled 'Food' and 'Clothes' and 'Equipment' and 'Books', and although the boxes were better than having everything rollling around in a pig pile on the floor, they took up a lot of space.

This looks pretty neat, but actually, almost the whole cabin floor is taken up by various boxes, 
making it hard to move around down below, particularly when underway.
photo jalmberg

I have been shedding unnecessary stuff on a more or less continuous basis so that I should be down to 2 plastic boxes, a duffel bag, and a few hammock. I hope to be able to have the cabin floor empty by the time I leave the dock, this time.

By the way, I keep forgetting to mention that I took the advice offered by several readers and painted the Blue Moon's entire deck with non-skid paint. I did this way back in Sarasota, while recovering from my infection, but kept forgetting to mention it.

photo by Interlux

I added Interlux Intergrip to two pints of White and Bristol Beige Brightside paint, and gave the deck, cockpit, and anchor well a second coat of paint, that they needed, anyway. This made the whole deck, from stem to stern, non-skid and it has really, really made a difference. I haven't banged my shin since applying it. Huge difference.

The sad thing is that I actually had the Intergrip from the beginning. I always intended to add it to the second coat of paint. The problem is, I ran out of paint in Steinhatchee, and that is not a good place to run out of paint (or anything else). The nearest West Marine that had my paint in stock was in Jacksonville, and I was too impatient to drive there to get it. Big mistake!

Live and learn, I guess.

Next Episode: On the road again

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  1. Excellent choice for an outboard to push Blue Moon. Several years ago I used one to push a 36 ft 18,000 pound sail boat over 1300 miles with mishap and low fuel consumption. I would stil have it and the boat but something hit the bottom while crossing from the Fl. Panhandle to Tampa Bay and she sank. Wish I could prove it was a sub!

  2. Wow! Sounds like there's a story, there!

  3. John,
    Thanks for sharing your adventures.
    The offer of a grocery run if you overnight in the Melbourne area still stands.
    merlinuxo at yahoo.com

  4. Merlin: I'm going to take you up on that offer. Should be in Melbourne sometime around 12 June, with any luck.

  5. Look forward to seeing you and Blue Moon!


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