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Friday, March 28, 2014

NOTHING IS SIMPLE ON A BOAT

So I decided I wanted to update my flat screen LCD TV on my boat to a newer model with smaller bezel and more screen size and Smart TV characteristics. In my house a 55” home theatre with surround sound installs in half a day.

Mostly I wanted the new TV on the boat to be a bit bigger and take a data stick for movies we burn at home. So we want the new TV to play through all the sound system and JBL speakers in the boat at the helm and in the cockpit. So to do that I find out it needs another cable from TV back to entertainment centres. They are on opposite sides of the boat with a companion way in between. So all the units are pulled out and the service panel behind the TV is opened up and the fishing cable process begins. After an hour or two of trying ... the walls basically have to come off.

Time flies when your having fun and eventually the new TV gets mounted. But apparently there is no such thing as an entirely flat back TV on the market. The TV chosen has a hump at the bottom (internal speakers) that makes it stick out a bit and with the bracket added it’s pretty wobbly. No good on a boat that jumps waves at 50 mph. And besides it doesn’t clear the dam bathroom door. Move it over on the wall another inch and it does clear by 1/4” ... but wait there is supposed to be an optical output on this TV for the cable we just spent hours fishing across and there is no. Ok so that will mean an internal modification to the TV ... and you know what - that ultra thin TV sticks out further than my 2008 TV that was bolted flush to the service panel. It’s just something in the way to bang heads. Answer I’m told, is cut the wall service panel to accept the hump at the back of the TV and bolt it directly to the wall ... and modify the TV for an optical output. Did I mention it needs and extension mounted on the wall to connect the USB data stick as well? After a day the boats all apart waiting for the next set of modifications to make this work. I’m exhausted just thinking about it and all I have to do is watch. I can’t wait for the bill.

Aren’t boats FUN! Why is nothing simple on a boat? Do the manufactures have a secret pack with the marinas to create cash flow to all in the industry? No maybe not, but you just have to sit there and watch all the issues that emerge on any boat job as a project takes hold. It’s not like the service guys or mechanics are dogging it. It’s a boat, and boats are meant to be frustrating just like dogs are meant to bark and cows moo. So the boats all apart and at some point the installer will come back and make more mods and burn though a bunch more time. Eventually some day I will get a TV I hope that works that looks like it belongs - just in time for the next project. YIKES save me from my boat.

Posted by at 4:44 PM
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

SAILORS TATTOOS & POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

For the record I don’t have a tattoo. The few times I have considered it, my wife gave me a cold icy stare. My daughters would disown me for a time. Maybe some day I’ll just get one anyways ... just be contrarian. The neatest boat tattoo I have ever seen was a collage of a compass rose and a tall ship with the scripted words “Take Me Home”.

Tattoos are part and parcel to boats and ships and have a historic place at the table. Tattoos with sailors can be traced back as far as the 1700’s when Captain James Cook came across the natives of the South Pacific. His crew decided to get tattoos as "souvenirs" of their visit. After that the connection between sailors at tattoos has been ongoing. However the obscene tattoos did not begin until the early 1900’s when the United States government declared that anyone with an "obscene" tattoos would not be allowed in the navy. With that declaration many men got tattoos as an easy way out of serving ... creating a boom of naked woman tattoos. However if they later decided to join the navy they had to have a tattoo artist "dress" the woman. How politically correct is that? Eventually folks got over it and naked tattoos became mainstream. But along the way they became politically incorrect. Don’t you get tired of political correctness? Maybe I should go out and get a naked woman tattoo so I can offend those that stick there nose up at anything that’s not vanilla. It’s a said thing when a high percentage of the population believes everyone must be cut from the same cloth and conform to their set of standards to be considered the “right type of person”. Artists and rock stars get an automatic pass, but that’s about it - but I digress.

It is important to mention that in marine culture sailors have the custom of getting tattoos to be a part of the family like relationship. In addition the purpose of sailor tattoos were to record the sailor’s important events or experiences such travels, achievements, naval hierarchy, rank, status, membership or any other significant event in life. Sailor tattoos were also visual way to preserve the culture of the maritime superstitions. Long ago sailors were a superstitious lot and had the belief that certain symbols and talismans would help them in when facing certain events in life. They thought that those symbols would attract good luck or bad luck in the worst of the cases. For example the images of a pig and a hen; both animals are not capable of swimming (actually some pigs can swim). According to superstition and sailor beliefs, God would look down upon a shipwreck and see an animal incapable of swimming and would take it into his hand and place it on land. Hmm ...why not just a life boat tattoo and God could have placed them back in the boat?

Anyways here’s to tattoos and non conforming politically incorrect folks, who just want to have fun and be a little bit different than their neighbour.

     

Posted by at 8:15 AM
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

EXTREME WINTER WILL MEAN DAMAGED BOATS

This is probably the most severe winter that Ontario has seen in 40 years. That Polar Vortex just won’t let go. We’ve had colder winters and we’ve had snowier winters ... but not many as consistently both cold and snowy, for this long of a duration. As I sit and type this on March break where I am in Haliburton, it is blowing a full gale outside from the north with minus 40 wind chill and we are building on our all ready abundant snow levels.

If there was a winter that you would want your boat in indoor heated storage this would be it. Many outdoor stored boats have sustained damage over the winter because snow loads have collapsed shrink wrap and tarps and of course the snow and rain build up in cockpits and freeze and thaw eventually breaking cockpit drain hoses and flooding into the bilge. In many cases because it has been so cold, mechanical equipment that has been marginally winterized (where lines and tanks were not drained 100% dry) is frozen solid as the winterizing antifreeze just can stand up to this kind of cold (unless your buying the minus 50 stuff). Things like stern showers and anchor wash down systems are easily overlooked and are no match for this kind of cold. If you have any moisture in the balsa core or stringers of your boat it will have been frozen solid in maximum expansion mode this winter and it can cause both structural and cosmetic damage to boats. In the states there is a bigger problem because marinas down the Eastern seaboard don’t expect the kind of cold weather they received this winter and they don’t winterize boats to minus 20. In South Carolina & Georgia by example they rarely drain water lines.

I was talking to a new BGB advertiser in the Penetanguishene area that is in the business of repairing major boat damage and recycling boats that are beyond repair ... and he is expecting a bumper crop to come in once people are out and about checking their boats out this spring. Add to that the maintenance work that many boaters have put off for a few years due to economic conditions and it could be a very busy spring for marinas and boat service businesses. Our recommendation - if your boat is outdoors stored, check it out as soon as the weather breaks a bit and schedule your maintenance early to avoid loosing part of the season due to mechanical problems.

Posted by at 8:32 AM
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