Teak and Rubber

On January 10, 2011, in Boat Building, Photos, by Aaron

I’ve finished planking the for and aft deck of my little build.  This post shows two methods of adding the rubber between 1/2″ teak planks.

As you can see in the photo below, the method I have used here involves a great deal of sanding.  There is no reason to spend the time masking perfect lines (as in this case)  when there is a great deal of sanding to be done. You simply inject the “Teak Decking Systems” rubber into the gap filling as deep as possible, and then allow it to overfill. Finally, you trowel close to flat.

The more civilized method is to carefully mask each gap, inject until overfilling, trowel flat, allow to dry for 2 days. Use 100 grit sand paper on a random orbit sander until the tape starts to sand off also, then remove it.

As a note, I use an electric caulking gun to inject the rubber.  The teak and rubber decking is pre-assembled on the workbench using a jig and sanded using a table-top sander before it is installed in the boat.

In both cases, I like to sand first with a belt sander (120 grit) and then follow up with a random orbit sander (100 grit.)  If the teak is not for walking on, then finish with 220 grit.

Here is the finished laminates from the former post entitled “Clamps” and the sanded teak and rubber.

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St. Augustine Inlet – Tow US Boat Sinks

On November 29, 2010, in Cruising Notes, by Aaron

The St. Augustine inlet can be quite dangerous at times, this morning the coastal sea state was only 3-4′ but with the full moon tide ebbing, the inlet consumed a Tow Boat US vessel. while towing a disabled sailing vessel.

Here is the Pon Pon call from the Coast Guard

Pon Pon – Sunk Boat Audio

The St. Augustine inlet in calm weather is very easy to navigate for any size yacht, but with an ebbing tide and any kind of sea, it can simply be hazardous.

10000 Jellyfish

On November 22, 2010, in Photos, by Aaron

Just a random photo and clip of this strange patch of what looks like over a million jellyfish, the mass went on for miles and miles.


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US Coast Guard Gunboat

On November 16, 2010, in Captain's Rants, Captain's Raves, Photos, by Aaron

This heavily gunned Coast Guard vessel passed me in the Pamlico Sound on the East Coast this week.  I was able to snap this photo.

I’m quite happy to see a show of force on arguably one of Americas weakest points of entry, her coastline. More to the point, in all my years of bouncing in and out of the US waters and following all the rules to a “T”, I’ve never been boarded or inspected. I can only assume it’s because of lack of funding, but I would prefer to see a string of aircraft carriers up and down both coasts of North America, but that’s just one man’s rantings.

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One of the great things about being a professional yacht captain is the accidental discoveries along any voyage. While waiting for parts to be delivered in Norfolk, Virgina, I shot this video of a Norwegian naval training ship departing our pier.  While filming, the crew in the rigging started to sing. I don’t think any of the onlookers ever imagined such a chorus of powerful sailing gospel. One could not help but be envious of the comradery these young men exhibited.  I couldn’t help but be reminded of a misspent youth.


Log Jam

On October 17, 2010, in 61 Marlow, Cruising Notes, Photos, by Aaron

After a blustery night in Amsterdam, NY on an Erie canal terminal wall, I discovered a log jam of sorts in the tunnels of our 61 Marlow. The logs were lodged in the running gear and it was quite the task to remove in the fall weather. It’s a good thing we didn’t try to pull away with trees tangled in our props.  That would have ended badly!

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After spending the night on the Troy Dock, we set out on a frosty September morning for lock 1 (Troy Lock). Troy Lock uses the pipe system for locking vessels exclusively, where as the Erie Canal locks always have ropes and cables to use in the same fashion as pipes.

My only real concern was our vertical clearance, even though I’d measured three times and removed mostly everything from our hardtop.  The last bridge before the Waterford Lock (2) was very intense.

We have been locking port side for two days now and only because I have an aft deck wing station on that side.  We pick up one line upfront just for show and with a little help from the engines and thruster once and a while, the boat just sits there. The locks are very small and not not violent at all.  The boat barely moves and it’s not like the locks in the Panama Canal or St. Lawrence Seaway in any way.  Keep in mind we are 97 GRT and 61 feet, so on a smaller boat I would absolutely have two line on at all times.

Below is a time lapse video of Lock 2 (Waterford) and Lock 17 on the Erie Canal System.


“It’s about time we do something different with a plastic fantastic yacht”.  That was my first reaction when we decided to head to Canada via the Hudson and Erie Canal this fall.

Doing the same old Atlantic string of ports like every other yacht from Florida can get a little old. I’ve asked the boss to allow me to tailor a route that we normally would not be able to do on a larger boat, as we just squeeze under the minimum vertical clearance of the canal of about 20′ feet (this is after I remove our radar and sat domes).

I’ve done the trip to The Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway and even though it’s a feather in the old captains hat, it’s nothing that I long to do again. Besides, there’s no better place to be while we watch the hurricanes stack up on our computer screens.

Now that we’ve decided to do the transit North, there is lots to plan and prepare for, right? Well, the more I research the transit in the Erie Canal the less I find there is to do. I’ve bought the huge inflatable fenders, studied the guides and charts and come to realize that this route is really set up for the smaller boat with the owner operator on a budget. From what I can make out, the permit or fee can be paid at the first lock and there is plenty of free dockage all along the way. My main concern was how to make reservations, not knowing true transit times.  After much reading, I figure we will simply tie up alongside the several lock terminals and parks that are along the way. Besides, I could use a break from marina life and a terminal wall in a small town park sounds inviting at this point.

I departed Sept 16th for the Hudson from NYC and after a two day cruise in the Hudson I should be at my first lock in the canal.

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Hurricane Earl Preparation

On September 6, 2010, in 61 Marlow, Cruising Notes, Videos, by Aaron

In this short video, we are preparing for hurricane Earl.  The storm was forecast to make landfall here on Maratha’s Vineyard as a Category 2 hurricane.  However when the storm made landfall, it was no more than a tropical storm. I moved the boat, our 61′ Marlow, to the Lagoon Pond in Vineyard Haven via the lift bridge.

We moored onto two moorings to the East in preparation for the storm.

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Acapulco Mexico Cruising Photos

On August 28, 2010, in Cruising Notes, Photos, by Aaron

Our final destination after transiting the Panama Canal was Acapulco Mexico.  The owner of the 98′ Leonardo Azimut still keeps the boat at the Acapulco Yacht Club. This Pacific Ocean harbor can keep the yachtsmen entertained for quite some time. Below are some photos of my time in the Acapulco Harbor.

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On August 28, 2010, in Boat Building, Photos, by Aaron

I’ve chosen to go with several thin strips of 16″ (0.8″ X 0.45″) teak for the outboard cap rail/rub rail.  The Glen-L plans for Lo-Voltage call for mahogany over 1″ in various sizes.

Using smaller strips is more time consuming, but very easy to work with when you are doing the job alone. Best of all, it yields a stronger finished laminate beam if you use proper epoxy glue and clamps.

I found it’s very hard to stem and clamp into place a 16″ strip of wood before it cools. For example, in the photo below, the plans call for a single (1 1/4″ x 1″) strip where I am using 6 laminates producing relatively the same size rub rail.

First layer of 3 laminates.

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Painted and flipped

On August 21, 2010, in Boat Building, Photos, by Aaron

After the epoxy hardened, I applied 2 coats of Interlux 2 part epoxy primer/barrier coat and sanded. Next, I applied 2 coats of flag blue, Interlux 2 part and reduced Perfection paint using the roll and tip method. I am happy with the result, but I did need some fairing.

Next, I will start on the teak cap rail.

I’ve built a rolling dolly so I can move the boat around the shop.


Vineyard Haven Marina

On August 19, 2010, in 61 Marlow, Cruising Notes, Photos, by Aaron

The Vineyard Haven Marina is the very best marina in the Haven.  It has an amazing staff and is a good facility overall. Perhaps the only advice I can offer is to try for a slip close to the beach and have your bow to the shore or the sea.  It was a little rocky just behind the T-head, but now that I am on the face dock with my bow to the beach, it’s perfect.  In fact, I’m going to leave my boat here for a week while I fly home. The Dockmaster is always checking everyone’s lines and fenders, and I’m sure I can get one of the dock crew to check on my boat while I am away. It’s the kind of place you don’t really worry about security and let’s face it, if Obama is arriving later today for a 10 day vacation then the island is pretty well secured. Be aware however, that if the wind decides to swing around from the NE, then the harbor will get quite bumpy.

There are some strange liquor laws here in the Haven, but there is a second floor self-service bar at the end of the dock. There is a good mix of both big boat crew and owner operators, but everyone is very friendly.

If you really love this place, then it’s for sale  for just over $4,000,000.00.

The Haven is by far one of the best stops on your way North.

Our Marlow in VH

Office and Club House

I’ve added a short video of  a bad day in the Vineyard Haven Harbor. In this short clip the wind speed is 22knots and we have swells rolling in the bay and marina. This is rare here but it does happen, when it does, move to a slip that allows ou to spring your boat off the dock.

Oriental S.C. Fireworks

On August 15, 2010, in Cruising Notes, Photos, by Aaron

Oriental is a very small town located in South Carolina on the ICW and it was a surprising great stop over for July 4th. The town hosts a community fair and if you lay alongside outside of the seawall in the Oriental Marina, you’ll have front row seats to a very good fireworks display.

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Megafend or Megafailure?

On August 15, 2010, in Captain's Rants, by Aaron

Inflatable yacht fenders in so many ways are simply fantastic! Well, when they work. Recently I ordered 3 large Megafend brand fenders from West Marine online (www.westmarine.com) and after 12 hours they were all deflated, and my Marolw 61 was smashing against the floating docks at Charleston City Marina.

Now, I will say, I have been using inflatable fenders for years now and I have never had a failure of any kind and I will continue to use them, however there are two rants here about customer service.   First and foremost, West Marine took almost a month to respond to my email to their customer service department. That’s just embarrassing! I’ll never order from West Marine online ever again. The second point is that the people at Megafend responded to my email the very next day and they knew some of their fenders had defects, but would send me replacements as soon as they had some on hand. That was the right thing to do, however, it’s about two months later now I haven’t heard from them yet.

The defect was a very slow air leak at the seams and you can see in the photos where I have sprayed a soap- water solution and the bubbles illustrate the leak.

Cruising New York Harbor at Night

On August 11, 2010, in Cruising Notes, Photos, by Aaron

It’s hard to keep your eyes on the road and radar with all of the splendor of the NYC skyline at night, but use caution.  It’s a busy place to cruise.

General traffic is the most obvious issue here.  There are the rapid ferry services, tour boats, other yachts and giant barges that have little ability to quickly maneuver in the swift 3+ knots of current. Losing track of vessels in the background light is text book here in the harbor and compounding the matter are the many tour and ferry boats that almost never use any sound signals when coming off the dock or maneuvering. A big tip is to steer clear of the ferry terminals.   They come blasting out of their slips with no signals and the captain’s eyes are not adjusted to the light change as they hit the gas towards New Jersey.

There are three main security zones that are notable to a yacht’s night cruise in NYC harbor.  One and two are clearly marked on your navigation chart, which are the zones around the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.   You can get fairly close here and it’s not really a concern. The other zone is around the aircraft carrier and submarine museum on the Hudson around mid-town.  This 1,000 yard zone is monitored by a security guard who can activate a very loud, and not to mention embarrassing siren, announcement for half of the city to hear.

Night cruising in New York Harbor is a perfect example where AIS is your biggest savior.  Most of all the commercial traffic is transmitting and are easily visible on your scope and the same goes for your vessel if you are transmitting. I can’t say this enough that all boats should have an AIS transceiver!  Buy it, install it and learn how to use it.  It’s easy, trust me!  The same goes for the dinosaurs that are running yachts.  You know these guys, the captains that sit around the yacht club bar, but don’t know how to respond to a text message from their twelve year old daughter.  These are the same captains that have no problem telling you that “I’ve been a captain for twenty-five years, I don’t need that gadget” all the while their nuclear powered pacemaker is keeping them alive.

Surprisingly, there is little or no official security presence here in the NYC harbor and there are no special regulations for cruising the harbor for US flagged vessels. Since the rules are always changing for larger yachts and foreign flagged yachts, always check with official and current sources for any changes, not just a google search or by asking the dockamster.

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On our journey to Acapulco, Mexico via the Panama Canal on Litos a 98′ Azimut Leonardo, we spent a month in Roatan, Honduras. The best marina choice is Barefoot Marina and resort. A small key on a private island with plenty of water. Run by a nervous couple from America, they have some great villas for rent, a restaurant, pool and  likely the best little spot on the island.

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