Monday, 11 August 2014

Sea Trials and other tribulations

I exaggerate of course, no such thing as tribulations when it comes to wooden boats....

This week was pretty fun as Barb would say, Gretchen and I took the Hunter up to Bobcaygeon on Monday and puttered around Pidgeon Lake which was new to me and quite lovely. The Hunter caught the attention of more than a few cottagers! We stayed at the "Bob Inn" which is now for sale due to health issues. Great location and interesting old buildings! Next morning we were off to Mississaugua Lake near Buckhorn for two days with friends. This is a tributary lake to the Trent Waterway and includes several other lakes which can all be boated on. We had some very nice runs.

Through the rest of the week a mad scramble to get the Greavette Sun Flash II in the water to see if we have a useable boat. Peter (our Doctor of Motors) was in and we got her running in a bucket - good trick with an I/O.

loaded up and ready to go!
in the water which is mostly outside the boat.

 Once in the water and satisfied that we were not facing any catastrophic leakage ie from the I/O diaphragm, we got down to getting her running. By cranking the throttle a few times she would fire and run at 4000 rpm for a few moments then quit. Eventually we tried keeping the throttle jumping while it ran and this would keep it running at 4000 rpm. Any attempt to lower the throttle would result in it quitting. Meanwhile the forward of the three carburetors was flooding and leaking over so we opened it up and fiddled with the needle and seat which improved the situation considerably.

Taking opportunity into our bare hands as it were - we decided to cast off and see if we could get into the lake by short bursts of starting until we could get it going at 4000 rpm. The thinking being that this might flow through whatever junk is fouling the carbs. We tricked the neutral start feature and made it out but she wouldn't make enough power to get on plane.

Using the handle end of a ratchet I knocked on the sides of the carbs and finally she jumped up and ran like a cat! While she remained prone to stalling nothing beyond a carb rebuild would prevent her being a great boat again. Must be our fastest boat that is not a race boat!

We poked our way up the Humber River a bit, ran around Humber Bay a bit and it was time for Jim to head home. You can see in this picture that he was very blue at having to leave Scott and I to carry out the rest of the programme...



MB and Scott head back out leaving Jim on the pier.

 So, as to the rest of the programme, that involved getting something to eat and the nearest docking with food is Chris' club, Mimico Cruising Club. We ran around there - took a picture of Chris' lonely Folkboat Puffin and tie up (as opposed to tied one on) for a delicious lunch.

One lonely Puffin - Chris being in Quebec for some reason
Hisself looking well, hisself

Scott looking pensive













That was the week that was and who could ask for more really. Actually you could. By volunteering or becoming a Gatsby member - you would be invited on the Raids and Sea Trials you read about here!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Cobey Raid last Friday!

OK so this was supposed to be part of the previous post but it got too late last night....anyway Dileas never made it into the water last weekend at Picton so was still untested. The new plan was to goof off Friday with a few of our folks and see if she was ready for service with the water pump done and some bottom repairs completed as well.

Thursday evening was Shore Leave Night and it was back to pizza & beer as the cedarstrip salmon got stuck in BC! Wayne, George, Ray, Glen & MB had a lovely time particularly savouring the pleasures of McEwans Scottish beer under Wayne's tutorial leadership - och aye!

George gestures hypnotically to the team....


MB had invited Gatsby member Ron to join the Dileas test outing and Glen decided to join us as well the next morning. The target for this little Raid was Bolsover on the Trent so we could enjoy the novelty of the Kirkfield Lift Lock on the way to Balsam Lake.


Ron and Glen on the channel marks

Just can't beat the sound!













Once into Balsam Lake we headed up the west shore to Glen's cottage where he needed to measure up for a new railing. He has a lovely spot but was liking the look of Dileas at the dock a bit too much....

does look good there!

measure measure measure













From there up to Coby (Coboconk) where we docked just before the bridge and wandered over the the nearest food supply for a lovey lunch looking out over the river. On our way back to the lake, the sky was beginning to look dark and the forecast wasn't good so wee headed back to our start point which took us back over the Kirkfield Lock again....

Quite a view
just a bit bizzare your first time in a lift lock!
the gate lowers to let us out.
down we go.













and so back to Sunset Cove Marina where we started. Bit tricky getting into the ramp but all went well and we missed the rain. So went the Raid on Cobey!

On Sunday Peter was in and we were able to do a test firing of the Greavette Sun Flash II and verify that it is pumping water and all systems still work. We degreased the engine and bilge so all looks good. Next the water test - stay tuned!


where there is a will, there is a way.



Sunday, 3 August 2014

A two Raid Week - Picton and Cobey

A lot happened in the shop this last week or two - otherwise our two outings with boats couldn't have happened! But Let's get on with the boating and social activity. First was a long scheduled annual event which we are now calling the Raid on Picton! Grant has again invited us to visit his cottage on the water in Picton and we had a great time again this year.

George ran his restored VW Hippie Wagon towing the skiff he built last year, Scott towed the Richardson AquaFlyer cedarstrip down and on Sunday afternoon MB arrived with the Dileas in tow and the Mini-Hopper sea flea in the back of the truck.

George in his lovely skiff
Richardson with 18HP Johnson










The crew went off chasing antique bikes at Ameliasberg Sunday morning - and got a ride on a restored Henderson 4 cyl Outfit - very cool bikes, I had a couple years ago - they want to lie down when you crank the throttle!

George might be grinning in this shot

1928 or so Henderson 4 cyl.



















More boatrides including on Grant's ChrisCraft Cavalier which he has installed new cabin windows in. Sunday afternoon we unloaded the sea flea and splashed it. Bernie has done a remarkable job - it really looks good. First run with a 50's Evinrude 7 1/2 MB restored last Thursday was a plowing match - so John put Grants 8 HP 4 stroke on and it did the same thing. Tuesday morning Grant and MB put it in the water again with the Evinrude tilted right down and she jumped right up and ran!

Mini-Hopper ready!
What a picture - hardly needs words

here he comes!

too fast for pictures



















And those are the highlights of the Picton Raid 2014 - our hearty thanks to Grant for his hospitality and generosity - again!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

In and Outs of the Museum....

During the summer we lose quite a few of our volunteers to their own boats and cottages but the rest of us carry on regardless! As there are multiple projects under way you'd think we'd just focus on getting those done, right? Problem with that is that half the crew - leader included - have ADHD!

Progress was in fact made on current projects:

Skiff got it's seats varnished and mounted -

about 7 coats of Epifanes

George does final assembly












and Mini-Hopper's deck was primed and painted -

first of three coats of primer...
two coats of Epifanes 218 green










One of the "tricks" of decent paint and varnish on the "mahogany" plywood we use is the filling of the grain in the wood - it is amazingly variable over the surface of any given sheet. The result is that we tend to apply two coats of primer and then sand most of it off to get a semblance of flatness then apply a third primer coat. Sand that to the point where the surface is still all white and if it looks pretty flat proceed with the colour. Amazing how "flat" becomes orangepeely once colour is applied though - in this case the first coat of green was sanded almost to extinction and there was still some orangepeel left. To get what looked like a final finish last night I used a full foam roller of paint for about 1 ft sq of deck. The truth will out this morning - haven't seen it dry yet!

Well, this is the result, looks OK in Gas-Hopper Green!


TNT was a bit slow this week, I needed a flush cutting saw to cut trim off the plugs we used in the coaming - mine disappeared last week so I bought a replacement from Rona - I think it is called a Fast-Max? It was no replacement for even the cheap one I had bought at Lee Valley. The blade is too short and thick to be curved in against the work - and it was a very slow cut to boot. Two pulls with the lost one per plug but this one required 10 or more sawing strokes and it marked the coaming up - not sure if you picked this up but it is not a recommended buy for our kind of work!

Coaming along nicely...
you can see the saw marks...


In order to possibly get some more boats in the water and to put the little gaff cat away, we pulled together a boat moving crew consisting of M'self, Jim, Scot and Michael on Thursday of this week. In order to get this boat into a good storage position we needed to do some serious shifting about plus we wanted to extract our Greavette SunFlash II from the back row! Pictures tell the story but we were able to create a whole new floor area for storage on the upper level - bonus!

Ready to go with gaff cat in tow...
Wittekat shifted over - she's massive!


Michael, Jim and Scot haul and tow!

Greavette wiggling out of storage.

little cat heading into storage.















Chestnut, Peterborough and dinghy.



Once we had everything that was to leave out on the grass we hooked up and headed back to the shop. The boats we brought back include, the Fontaine cedarstrip (see ACBS article in a recent Classic Boat issue), a SlickCraft moulded runabout and our Greavette Sunflash II.

Saturday included power-washing raccoon evidence and hay from the new arrivals including an assessment of what we have to work with under the covers. Here's where we are so far:

Greavette SunFlash II, looks good but varnish is on brink of failure and will have to be renewed sooner than later. If mechanicals check out she should be fine for some running this season if not left in the sun too much.

drat - didn't take picture with cover off!

Fontaine cedarstrip, still looks good but deck is quite faded and has some loose areas of varnish. We decided to whip the fittings off the deck and give it a "quick few coats of varnish" - ever heard that before? Stay tuned...

Our motor shop is preparing a Johnson 40 for this girl.

and the Slickcraft moulded plywood runabout. We have never had a chance to examine this boat since it was donated at least 8 years ago so was a mystery unveiling yesterday! Best news is that the hull seems to be in excellent condition which in our experience is a rarity in a moulded ply boat. This boatbuilder is still in existence but this is from their early history and is certainly a very deluxe creation for it's time. The Merc 65 that came with it was checked out and found to be free and fired right up. The upholstery on the other hand has been hard used by raccoons.

George removes raccoon evidence...
the bottom has been glassed but is OK


overall in good shape and sharp looking

this was a classy craft at the time

















So an interesting week. Mini-Hopper almost ready for sea trials - maybe next weekend? Stay tuned!


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Boats 4 Folks Fleet coming along

Most of the current activity in the boatshop is related to getting boats for this year's youth boatbuild programme completed. The kits for the skiff build are ready to go, the Lightning mast is partially rigged and we will be picking up new track and bronze screws this week to keep this happening, the first sea flea (Mini-Hopper) could go in the water for a test any time now and the TNT is right side up being readied for varnish and paint as well.

Anton shows the use of a scraper blade
flattening the epoxied bottom











Mini-Hopper ready for deck paint

 Within the limitations of our shop, (no varnish booth) we are fussy about finish quality. The bottom of the sea flea was a good example. Three coats of primer then sanded out flat, some fairing filler in a few spots, sand out again and two more coats of primer. Two coats of green marine paint, sand out again and two more coats to get a pretty good result.

Chris reworking one of the bronze fittings
Lightning mast with fittings..








 The Lightning mast and boom are getting their hardware reinstalled now, some rework is required to improve the fit and fastening of some parts. The original brass sail track was brittle and broken up so we are searching for new sections. Brass may no longer be available so we may have to use stainless.

Scott C getting ready for varnishing

George can't wait for testing day....












 The TNT bottom eventually came out well and now we are getting on with the topsides. Scott is countersinking and plugging the screws holding the coamings in place, next day or so should be stain and varnish on these parts.


Scot M is flattening out the outside of a skiff.

One of the challenges with getting good paint and varnish results is the uneven grain of the marine mahogany plywood we use. some areas of the sheet have a nice flat grain and other parts of the same sheet are very deeply ridged and require filling. Often you really can't see this until you have begun to paint...dang!

This lovely canoe-skiff was recently dropped off...

No maker plate is evident but this very light, cedar and canvas outboard skiff has very lovely features. It needs minor woodwork and re-canvassing however the rest seems in very fine condition. If you know who built boats like this or recognize it - please let us know!

12' gaff cat boat - unknown builder

has been upside down for years










the gift of Bruce Weber, a very pretty boat.
Finally in this issue (well maybe), we rescued this lovely gaff cat from a back yard in Mississauga a few weeks ago. She has lovely lines but no builders plate so don't know who made her. Bruce the donor has had her a long time but didn't know her history either. Looks like she could be from the 30's or 40's, doubt you would see cedar planks the width of the one-piece side decks in a boat built after that. Any thoughts out there!

Oh yes the July Shore Leave Night is coming up I think on the 31st. Give us a heads up if you are thinking of coming for BBQ salmon-on-a-plank courtesy Troy!

Oh yes (again) - thank you for the old outboards that have been trickling in! We are getting up to the inventory needed to run the kids programme. The one big hole still is the 3 HP class of motor - if you have one of these not being used any more please consider dropping it off!


motors like this needed!