your need is only in the
aid realm only a short distance to port or within ready availability of
a medical evaluation, The
Companion by Robert S.
Gould, M.D. is pretty good. Advanced
Afloat by Peter Eastman,
M.D. is more extensive, as is The
Guide from Her
Majesty's Stationary Office.
A general call to ships in the area with
medical staff on board may bring advice. "Safety
by E.C.B. and Kenneth Lee lists the following frequencies for the
International Radio Medical Centre: 4342 kHz, 6365 kHz, 8685 kHz, 12760
kHz, 12748 kHz, 17105 kHz and 22525 kHz. The 1st, 3rd and 4th are
listed as continuous. Communication is in English, French and Italian.
This was described as teletype, and may be outdated ,but I assume they
have some voice capability." - Mark R.
Anderson, M.D. Go to Dr.
for details on medical supplies for cruisers.
- Hard top egg shaped, that doesn't need annual inspection.
emergency radio priorities using
the MAYDAY, PAN or SECURITE prefixes during appropriate levels of
emergencies. These priorities are used in the following manner:
MAYDAY (repeated three times) to announce a distress
whereby boaters are threatened by grave and imminent danger and
requires immediate assistance;
PAN PAN (repeated three times) to announce an
whereby boaters intend to transmit an urgent message concerning
the safety of their vessel or a person on board or within sight of
SECURITE (repeated three times) to
concerning the safety of navigation or meteorological warnings.
When issuing any type of alert
include the following information:
name of vessel or
(cellular number if used) initiating the call
nature of incident
number of people
type of assistance
information deemed essential to a safe resolution of the situation
Life is a
They are so numerous, I haven't had the chance to get on top of the
mess I've made. When I do, I'll try and compile some of the more
managed to screw up on this page.
July to September 2010 - Vancouver Island
summers trip around Vancouver Island was an eye opener when it came to getting the boat in
tip top shape.Getting the feel for the boat.Getting to know how the equipment works…Or in a lot of cases doesn’t work.And
we need, need to
fix and probably need
to get rid of.
of our problems seemed to have a common theme.They
all involved some sort of fluid not going where
it’s supposed to.In fact now that I think about
it, just about
every kind of liquid there is on the boat, at some point ended up
Sink Reverse Flow Valve:The
kitchen sink.Relatively simple
solution:Don’t put the coffee grounds
down the drain that has a rubber back flow valve, it doesn’t like
grounds.Second bad idea:Don’t
let your well meaning friend fix it by
putting it back together without the back flow valve.Without
when we got a bit of chop one night, water coming up and down the sink
sounded like the boat was sinking.Back in
with the rubber back flow valve.
water pressure in our boat sucks.I thought it was
just the pump getting bits
of crap in it, so I bought a pump pre-filter screen.It
problem.I have one of those
accumulator tank things. It is supposed to keep the pressure even.Figured out it needed
some more pressure and pumped it up.Still totally
inconsistent pressure with the shower
going from cold to flesh
burning hot.I still haven’t figured out
what the problem is, but I think the next steps will be to get a bigger
and replace the accumulator tank if I can't figure out the problem.Problem with that is I’ll probably have to replace
all the pluming lines
to be able to handle the increased pressure.
Fresh Water Leak:On
the boat there is a hose attachment on the
outside.It is there so that you can utilize
dock water pressure rather than the 12V pump creating the pressure,
& you have an unending supply of water.Problem
with this is it is a great way to sink your boat by filling it up with
the hose when you’re not around when the pipes
blow.Anyway, last year when I was
trying to figure out what this hose attachment did, it blew a leak when
I hooked it up. Good thing I was there to see the boat
start to fill up. Now, when I am just working from the
tank water, the 12V water pump feeds tank water up to
this leak and slowly transfers the tank water into the bilge.Basically the water is being pumped up this same
pipe (that I previously blew the leak) where the external water hose
hooks into. Good news is it was just a mater of turning off
a valve that isolates the two systems. I should have had that
valve turned off anyway.
Bilge Pump Breaker:We
had up to 10 people on the boat during
this trip.The frequency that the bilge
pump breakers got inadvertently turned off happened almost daily.The breaker panel for the 12V is directly
under a nice place to stand in front of the chart table and it is also
next to where people slide in and out of the main salon table.This almost turned into a major problem when
the cooling system for the genset blew a whole and started pumping sea
water into the starboard engine room, almost submerged the genset.The bilge pump in the starboard engine room
had been inadvertently turned off.The
solution is that I’m going to have to get some clear plastic to cover
AC and the DC breaker panels.
Sewage Holding Tank:The
jammed…That’s going to be a shitty job…I’m still pretending like it’s not there. We
don't really use the holding tank at all anyway.
Genset Heat Exchanger Leak:Not a lot more to say about
not convinced at this point that I even need this thing.Catamaran’s
weight.I’m thinking that a 5 kW diesel
generator, so that I can fire up the drier once a week is a little
overkill.Not to mention the added
weight and space of the washer and dryer.I’ve got
two diesel engines anyway, plus four 60W
solar panels.We discovered that we only really
genset once on our whole trip around the island. That was because Erin didn’t realize the heater
function on the dishwasher would drain the batteries.That’s
we’re doing.I’m pretty sure we’re
probably going to get rid of the genset, and the washer drier, and
with a nice deep pot sink for doing laundry and stuff.Possibly
washer/drier.Possibly get a
smaller portable AC gas
generator to boost the batteries if need be.This
will be an added bonus because then I have a
portable generator that
I can power a welder off of 220V. On the other hand, if we are
thinking of converting to electric drive motors, we will some pretty
heavy gensets; remains to be seen.
bit of miss fortune – sucking the power
out of the batteries with the dish washer heater, resulted in our
that the starboard side alternator was not producing any power.After tapping the batteries, we had just
enough power to fire up the starboard motor.Thinking
the batteries and
we’d be on our way with
the port engine, we tried firing her up.Didn’t
happen.At that point,
only thing recharging the batteries were the solar panels.Later
the rest of the
trip it wasn’t a problem, but as a result of the late start, we ended
north of Brooks Peninsula for an additional three days when the weather
got bad. I have a spear alternator, but I haven't investigated
what is wrong with the one not creating power yet. It could be
just some loose wiring.
Sea Water Cooling Filters:There’s
way.There is a lot of sea life
in the North Pacific.The ocean up here is green,
not blue.There is a lot of see weed and kelp
everywhere.Not as much as there used to
be I’m told, but still enough to clog coolant filters on an annoyingly
basis.During our five week trip, the
intake got plugged up four times.Maybe
some sort of a screen on the outside of the boat somehow would make
Diesel Line Air Leak:Climbing
rooms to bleed the air out of the diesel lines was a daily morning
ritual.I haven’t figured out why air is
getting in.It is getting in somewhere
between the tank and the first fuel filter.It
could be due to a leaky hose connection or maybe
back flow into the
tank.I don’t know.Dam I wish
this boat was electric drive.Generators are so
cheap these days and in an
electric drive system, the shittiest part to maintain.Currently
about $35,000.It’s almost worth it
if I could sell my two Yanmars and the parts Yanmar along with the Onan
for $16,000 or so.5.5 kW portable
generators go for about $500 at Costco right now.It
that just to
get my Onan fixed.Production electric drive boats
there right now (the Lagoon 420) claim to be able to go for about two
before even starting the generator up.Power is
regenerated through the props when you’re
sailing, from solar,
or plugged into the dock.Vendors that
sell the electrical equipment claim that the cost of moving around is
compared with a diesel boat. It cost us about $1000 to go
around Vancouver Island. With that kind of savings, I could by a
new genset annually if I had to. Maintenance
on an electric motor is pretty much just greasing and replacing the
and brushes once every 20 years!The
maintenance on a shitty $500 generator is not more than $500.
With the current oil situation, diesel has already doubled in resent
history and is going to double again in the near future.
the other hydraulic hand pump that lifts the
leg out of the water.I
at it yet, but I’m beginning to think putting an idiot proof mechanical
lift system in.
about it for shit happening on our August 2010 Vancouver Island
circumnavigation. The main shittieness
of it all was the amount of time spent screwing around with diesels.I am seriously considering switching over to
electric and running that off of some cheep replaceable generators, the
sun, and plugging it into the dock.
VHF Channels for Pleasure Vessels in BC
INTERFERENCE-USE LOW POWER
INTERSHIP SAFETY. Only for ship-to-ship use for
safety communications. For Search and Rescue (SAR) liaison with Coast
Guard vessels and aircraft.
COAST GUARD LIAISON. A government channel used for
Safety and Liaison communications with the Coast Guard. Also known as
Channel 22 US.
DIGITAL SELECTIVE CALLING ONLY (NO VOICE) FOR
DISTRESS AND CALLING
INTERSHIP & SHIP-SHORE. All vessels.
INTERSHIP & SHIP-SHORE. All vessels.
INTERSHIP & SHIP-SHORE. Pleasure vessels.
INTERSHIP & SHIP-SHORE. Pleasure vessels.
INTERSHIP. All vessels.
INTERSHIP & SHIP-SHORE. All vessels.
call marinas in Canada on Channel 16-they are not authorized to use
16. All marinas monitor a common frequency, depending upon their
vessels less than 30 meters in length monitor only for vessel traffic.)
SEATTLE-Strait of Juan de Fuca west of Victoria.
VICTORIA-Strait of Juan de Fuca east of Victoria;
Haro Strait; Boundary Passage; Gulf Islands; Strait of Georgia.
RUPERT-Queen Charlotte Sound, Hecate Strait.
VANCOUVER-Vancouver and Howe Sound.
COMOX-Northern Strait of Georgia, Discovery Passage,
Queen Charlotte Strait, Prince Rupert -Dixon Entrance, Prince Rupert
Harbour, and southern Queen Charlotte Sound.
TOFINO-West of Vancouver Island.
contact the Canadian Coast Guard call the station nearest you: Comox,
Prince Rupert, Tofino, Vancouver or Victoria.
Right. Another one to chock up on the stupidity
board. This begins with
initial screw up which both caused a worse problem but also helped me
to not screw up all of the hydraulics systems on the boat.
First off there is
small hand pump hydraulic system for each of the sail drive legs
(that’s the thing that goes down into the water from the inboard engine
and houses the prop on the end of it). The purpose of this
hydraulic system is to hand pump the sail drive out of the water to
reduce drag when sailing or so the props don’t end up in the mud.
You may have seen or heard a similar powered system that just about all
outboard engines have these days to tilt the outboard out of the
water. On this hydraulic
there is a shut off valve. Having no experience with this system
before, I tried to pump the sail drive up when the valve was
closed. Basically I was pumping hydraulic oil and there was
nowhere for it to go other than blow hydraulic oil right out the side
of where the fitting was connected to the hand pump. If that
enough, it got worse. I was under the impression that breaks on a
car are a hydraulic system and therefore hydraulic break fluid is
interchangeable with hydraulic oil. HYDRAULIC BREAK FLUID IS NOT INTERCHANGEABLE WITH
HYDRAULIC OIL!!! I had some break fluid kicking around so topped
system with that. It’s not that break fluid doesn’t work,
it seems to works fine. Fortunately for me and the two other
hydraulic systems on the boat, toping up the hydraulic oil with
fluid didn’t solve the problem, it continued to leak. Fortunately
I have had enough experience to know that if I don’t know about
something, better to leave it to the experts, even if it looks
simple. I took the hydraulic pump in to be repaired. The
hydraulic shop explained to me how much of an idiot I was. The
problem with break fluid is that it is corrosive and eats the seals of
a regular hydraulic system. Not sure why the same thing doesn’t
happen to a break system, but I suppose there must be special seals or
something. So looking on the
side, it turned out to only cost me $105 to have the pump rebuilt and
before I went and wrecked the autopilot, steering and the other sail
drive hydraulics, I learned to only put AW32 or AW46 oil in the hydraulic
system. Just so you know hydraulic oil feels like oil; kind of
slippery. Brake fluid smells acrid; its got this feel to it that
you just know by touching it that this is some bad shit.
The engine that
wouldn’t quite. Here is my first
of some major shit happening. My folks and I were heading for Ruxton
Island from Shelter Island Marina.
15 miles up the south arm of
the mighty Fraser River. It used to take a good couple of hours
at least to make it out to the mouth where the Sand
station is; that is if the current was in our
favour. That was part of the problem. The tides around the
Straight of Georgia aren’t particularly extreme, maybe 16 feet from one
end to the other, but this was one of those week ends. We
left Shelter Island Marina around 13:00 on April 24th… Or at
least we tried to. I should have taken this to be a
warning. My dad and I were not 20 feet off the dock, right at my
slip, and we were stuck in the mud. Being new to the boat and
being a catamaran, I didn’t expect that only a three foot draft would
run into a problem like this. I guess the 17 million dollars the
government spends on dredging the Fraser river annually, doesn’t mean
that they are necessarily worried about whether us pleasure boaters are
going to get stuck or not. From what I found out later the
river’s slough that the marina is in, hadn’t been dredged in a long
time, if ever. Generally it is the commercial areas of the river
that get dredged, but that’s a whole other story. I
guess we stepped off the dock right at an extreme low tide. The
bow was in the mud, we were perpendicular to the dock, but just not
quite far enough out to rotate the back corner of the port side around
to clear the Aramoana,
dock. The factor here to consider is
that a catamaran is of course longer from corner to corner than it’s
over all length. Luckily one of the guys that live on the
Aramoana was home and assisted us in not swinging into his boat.
After about 15 minutes of figuring that out we managed to push
ourselves a little further into the silt and managed to swing the stern
around so that we could back out into some deeper water. In
out, bad luck incident number 2 hit.In all the chaos I completely
forgot about the dingy and
its line that I had tied up to the transom. In reversing I
managed to wind the dingy line around the starboard prop! Now we
had only the port prop to rely on. We were only half in control
as we were drifting towards some other boats tied up on an adjacent
dock. Some how I managed to bring her round and up along side an
boat that we could tie up
to, to sort out our new problem and wait
for my mom to get there. After taking the prop off and getting a
new painter for the dingy, my mom arrived and we were off; down the
river, past Steveston, past the Sand Heads and out into the Straight of
at Silva Bay at Galiano Island, we decided
to pull in to the RVYC dock at
Tugboat Island and go no
further. Power, heat, what more can
you ask for.
taking Louie for a walk and a poo, around
11:00 the next morning we cast off for Ruxton Island; normally about a
45 minute trip. The tides being particularly strong this weekend,
we pulled out of Silva Bay and around the corner to Gabriola Passage
to discover that we were facing a current of about six knots against
us. We crept closer and closer to the centre of the current off
to one side of the whirlpools and out of the main stream flow. At
this point we were only doing about six knots and we were about to
through ourselves into the main stream which was also doing about 6
knots in the opposite direction. When you really give’r in the
boat, you can get it up to about 7 knots which we’d only have to do for
about 30 yards before we would be past the hairy part. Cranking
the engines up to full
hit the main stream. We were not going anywhere. All of a
sudden in a plume of black smoke, the starboard engine dropped from
3000 to 2000 RPM. She pretty much swung herself round and was not
going through that passage. We
anchored for a couple of hours at a shelly beach
(which is when the photo in the top right corner of this page was
taken). After having a nap and the tide slowing down to slack, we
continued on to Ruxton, arriving at about 17:00 that evening.
Keeping the engines running at 2000 is all it
would do before it would either leave a trail of black soot or start
giving off black smoke. At the end of the weekend, we took about
six hours at reduced speed back up to Shelter Island Marina. I'm still baffled by it.
video was taken before the mechanic opened the engine up. I still
don't know how it could run at full speed for an hour before it would
crap out and then run at 2/3rds speed.
It turned out that one of the three
cylinders’ connecting rod had come loose and pretty much destroyed the
engine while I stupidly drove around with it like that. It is
really quite amazing that the engine was still able to run at 2000 RPM
on two cylinders when normally it would do around 3000 on three
cylinders. I never suspected that it had thrown a rod.
either until they
took the head off to discover the piston not moving. Who knows
why it gave up. Previously to this trip, some oil appeared under
the engine. Perhaps that had happened again and the engine over
heated. The mechanic suspected that possibly the connecting rod
bolts had been over tightened and finally gave up, as it was the bolts
that had failed and caused the breakdown.
The options were to rebuild the motor. Parts
were going to be $3,000 or $4,000 plus labour and I was already into it
for a grand or two. I ended up going for the second option which
was to buy a rebuild that was the same model, available from a mechanic
in Sydney on the Island. $6,000 for that and when all was said
and done, I was out by a little over $11,000. But I got a parts
motor now… Hopefully that was the last of three bad luck things
to happen in a row.