The water is so close now we can smell it. After trailering Soulianis out of our landlocked boatyard, she’s now poised and ready for launch — right after we finish painting the centerboard with bottom paint. 

The launch goes well at first. No leaks, and the motor runs. One problem: forward gear doesn’t have much oomph, and reverse doesn’t work at all. So, about that feathering prop we rebuilt… we’ve got some troubleshooting to do.

Hope you enjoy!

Lauren & Kirk

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Episode Dialogue

– It’s 8a.m., the day after our splash, and we’re out again.

– Fun times, on the launch pad.

– So, we were way off.

– Way off.

– All right, here we go.

– Now, the no-see-ums are eating us alive. We are so close to the water. After three months, in our land locked boat yard, we finally made it out. Soulianis was put on a truck, and trailered a couple miles down the road to another yard, with water access. Where she was transferred into a travel lift in preparation for splashing.

– About 20 thou.

– Okay.

– Sound about right?

– Yep.

– [Lauren] Wow, left me hanging twice. Left me hanging twice.

– Oh, sorry, I thought you were pushing me out of the way. I thought you were going, “Get out of the way”.

– This is step number 99 of 100.

– {Kirk] Well that thing’s fugly.

– Yeah it is. Yeah, that, so this is how far we got it done last time.

– Yeah.

– So that’s pretty.

– That’s for the power wash.

– Yeah. Yeah that’s pretty far. Pretty gross up there. It’s like a little mermaid up in there.

– That’s pretty dang clean.

– Yeah.

– [Lauren] So I know your sitting right now, but where did all of this energy come from?

– The water is right there.

– We are so close to the water. So close we can see it. We can sort of smell it. Smells kinda swampy . So what’s happening right now?

– Well we’re scraping the centerboard. Getting it ready for paint tomorrow. Then Lauren made me a super, fantastic drink. So I’m taking a breather.

– [Lauren] What did I make you?

– I don’t know, what did you make me?

– [Lauren] I made you an nice cold . Oh, hi chip!

– [Lauren] Back to it.

– Shift number three. The late shift.

– [Lauren] How long do they shake it up in store for you?

– I don’t know, like two minutes.

– [Lauren] So probably like twenty minutes human time equals, what are you at five minutes in?

– No.

– A long time to go.

– I’ve done 5 minutes 3 times. I’m done. We’re done. It’s shooken

– [Lauren] Did we talk about using the hydro-coat?

– No.

– For the centerboard? The only way to get access to our centerboard is to be raised up in slings. We cannot hang longer than a weekend in slings. And copper coat you need 3 days at least. Cause the barrier coat needs to be applied and then it needs 24 hours. And you need to apply the copper coat which takes a few hours. But then you need 48 hrs after the copper coats applied for it to dry. So it’s just, there’s no way for us to put copper coat on the centerboard, which is a bummer. So, we’re gonna throw on four coats of this. And call it good.

– So I sanded last night. Well I scraped and then I sanded. And, this morning I wiped it all down. I also put west system epoxy on the spots where their blocks were sitting under our keel. And then roughed that up a bit this morning. Just to kinda act as a barrier coat on those spots. And the centerboard we didn’t have enough or enough time. And there wasn’t any barrier coat on it anyhow. So, there certainly wasn’t any two part barrier coat on it.

– [Lauren] Oh, okay.

– There might have been a barrier paint. But even that, it was off in most spots. All right.

– I am so ready. Sitting here in my chair being super ready.

– [Kirk] That was a good first move. What’d you do?

– I dipped the whole paint roller in paint.

– [Lauren] Yeah, just trying to coat the roller and our $80 paint.

– Just trying to use as much of our $80 paint on anything I can, before it gets on the boat, as possible. Yeah, all over that glove. All right, here we go. Look at that.

– Ooh.

– Won’t that be freaking pretty.

– [Lauren] For all those times that were gonna see the centerboard.

– Yeah, all those five times.

– [Lauren] We pretty much never going to see the centerboard.

– Yeah.

– Unless we drop it down to clean it.

– Right. Yeah, it’s not like we’re gonna leave down while we’re swimming around the boat.

– [Lauren] Right.

– All right, I think we can.

– Raise it.

– Lower it.

– Lower it down.

– Yeah. Yip, all right. I almost think we should just put on coats until we run outta time.

– Yeah.

– Or run outta paint.

– [Lauren] Sure, why not? Yesterday Kirk finished everything below the waterline. We got the centerboard painted. We got our plug back in our rudder. So we’re finishing the Bimini patterning today. Round two of the Bimini patterning. After we figured out that we incorrectly tensioned and then didn’t properly tape off the sides of the bows. It was a nightmare. So we redid everything. We measured everything over again this morning. We’ve got our first pattern on. And now we’re gonna do the back pattern, which is in between the back bow and the intermediate bow. So, we’ve got two sets of pattern marks on this pattern, and on the other one too. We flipped it over and we fortunately had another color of sharpie. So, now we know that the good one is purple. A lovely windy day to make a Bimini pattern.

– Lauren?

– Yeah.

– Can you tape this, or hold me while I tape this down?

– Yeah. It was way too windy earlier, so we waited until the wind died down. And now the no-see-ums are eating us alive.

– Well, it’s the last time we’re gonna see her looking like this for a while. It’s been a long, hard couple of months. But today is finally the day. I think we’re good.

– Centerboard.

– Seems fine.

– We’re in the water.

– We launched this morning at 8a.m. And they pull you out of the sling so that you don’t start up your motor and you catch the slings in your propeller. And it’s just, it’s a really tight squeeze. So they pulled us around and we fired up the engine again, just to make sure everything was working. with to the thru hulls. Bilge is dry. I patched a thru hull. And replaced a thru hull. And both of those are dry, so far. See what happens tomorrow. And then it came time to kinda test the propeller, because we rebuilt our Autostream feathering propeller, while we were hauled out. And we were tied really tightly, cause we’ve got another boat immediately behind us. And we were kinda overlapping. We put it in forward, and it really didn’t seem like it was tugging on the dock lines a whole lot. We put it in reverse, and it wasn’t moving at all. There was just no water moving. Even when we throttled up the RPM, like really high. We immediately knew what the problem was. It was that we didn’t put the propeller back together correctly. So when we took the propeller apart, we took video of the whole thing. But we need to get better at taking photos of details, or video of details before we take stuff apart. Because we read the instructions, and the number for each blade is numbered one, two, three. And they’re supposed to line up exactly. And the blades go on straight. And if you get it all right, you should’ve been putting it back together exactly how it was when you took it apart. We followed those instructions. But when I looked at the propeller blades, in forward it didn’t look like there was very much pitch. That’s in forward gear, and there’s not a whole lot of pitch. But when we go into reverse, there’s even less, which is what they say. Man, that doesn’t look like, it’s got hardly any pitch at all. But when we looked at it, all the numbers lined up perfectly. So we took it off and we moved it over a tooth, on the gear, and then we had much more pitch on both, but it wasn’t lined up right. And we couldn’t figure out what we had done wrong. And so we had to choose, do we either line it up one tooth over, or do we line everything up right, the way that you’re supposed to.

– [Lauren] According to the markings.

– According to the markings, and so that’s what we did. But I sorta second guessed everything, and I went and I adjusted the pitch on the reverse, because it was so flat. And i wanted to increase the pitch, because it was so flat. But it was so flat that when I increased the pitch, I actually put it into a forward pitch. So when we got in the water today, we actually had.

– So instead of having forward and reverse, we had some forward and nothing.

– Yeah, luckily we’re not launching at a very busy time of year, because it took us so long to get outta the yard. And we were able to get re-hauled back out today. There was a guy who came around, whose a prop specialist. Either he had never taken one of these apart before, and only knew of them in passing, or said, yeah he knew what it was because he’s the prop specialist, and he’s supposed to know what it was. I had to give him a number of instructional steps, because he put the blades on wrong, like five or six times. Long story short, he got the job done. And we took the boat out for a sea trial just now. We have forward and we have reverse. And everything is working. But we have way too much pitch in both. For both forward and reverse.

– [Lauren] Which means what in the water?

– Your boat is supposed to operate between 70 to 80% of the max RPM at cruising speed. And then have about 20 to 30% of your throttle left to kinda give you a little more power. When your propeller has too much pitch, you hit your cruising speed way too low, and so you give the boat more and more throttle. More and more fuel to push the boat harder, but it doesn’t increase the RPMs, ’cause it doesn’t have enough horsepower. So from here, to there. It doesn’t really change RMP. That’s about. I’d say that’s like almost half throttle. So the torque band and the horsepower band are converging up here. But you’re somewhere down here, hitting hull speed. And so you don’t have that magic mesh of torque and horsepower to have your engine operating efficiently. And so what that means is a number of things. You burn too much fuel, because your throttling up the RPM and it’s just spitting fuel into the engine. And then the engine isn’t combusting it properly. So then your coating your exhaust with black soot. You’re creating black smoke, and it puts a lot of wear and tear on it. Conversely, if you don’t have enough pitch, then you get too high of RPMs. You’re redlining before you hit your hull speed. You don’t want that either. So we have to find a happy medium. And we hit hull speed today at about 50% of throttle. We’re gonna actually haul out again tomorrow morning, because the propeller guy didn’t use lock-tite on the nuts, and we didn’t safety-wire the nuts that hold the prop on. So we have to be hauled out again. Haul out number three. The boat yard here has been great. So anyhow, we’re hauling out tomorrow. We’re gonna lock everything down, after we make a few minor adjustments to the pitch. And then we’ve got another day or two here, to load everything onto the boat. Kinda get the boat ship-shape and ready to head out. So right now, we’re drinking to a mostly successful sea trial.

– Cheers. It’s 8a.m, the day after our splash, and we’re out again.

– [Kirk] So this is reverse.

– [Lauren] Yeah, that’s huge.

– [Kirk] And this is forward.

– [Lauren] Fun times on the launch pad.

– All right, so the first thing I wanna do though, is I think just see. If we can’t change the pitch enough with the screws, we’re gonna have to take it apart again.

– [Lauren] Okay, so we should just.

– Should we see if we.

– [Lauren] We should see what happens with the screws, right?

– Okay. So let’s adjust the forward first.

– [Lauren] Okay.

– Turn is 300 RPMs, it says. So we have seven turns, how many are. Seven times three is 2100 RMPs.

– Yeah.

– So we should be able to completely.

– Adjust this.

– Adjust this.

– Once we get it turned.

– Once we’re close.

– Yeah.

– Okay, so we were way off.

– Way off. Good, all right well that sits with what I thought, half throttle, we were way off.

– Yeah.

– So can we look at the forward photo from before. It’s, unfortunately our camera support.

– [Lauren] The screws actually allowed for a much wider range of RPM adjustment than we thought. So we were able to change the pitch of the prop without having to take it apart. And this also ensured that we’d have enough lee way left to make minor adjustments in the water if necessary. Think we’re good.

– I think we’re good. We’re at least much better. This is what we’re trying to avoid. So yesterday when the prop guy put the prop on, we didn’t have enough pitch before. And now we have way too much pitch. This is all exhaust soot from when the engine. We were giving it more and more throttle, but the RPMs weren’t increasing, because the boat couldn’t spin the prop any faster. We should try and wipe that off.

– [Lauren] Yeah, so should we lube her up.

– I think we’re ready.

– Hopefully third times a charm.

– Okay, we’re good in reverse. We move, we at least know that. And that’s only at six knots right there. But we are doing a head wind.

– [Lauren] Yeah.

– Yeah, we didn’t go any higher than that. We didn’t get up to full hull speed, but we got very close with where we think our, kinda normal RMPs should be. We don’t have a tachometer, unfortunately. So we’re going by sound and vibrations, and what we remember. We’re gonna get a photo, non-contact tachometer, that we can put on the flywheel of the engine, and we’ll confirm when we do some prop fine tuning. But I think we are very very close to where we need to be. Hold up. Look at this, a ring that we’re gonna replace.

– [Lauren] Oh, look at that. After bending on our main sail, we said goodbye to Kirk’s parents, who’d been around to see us out of the boat yard. And then we took off. How cute is that. Love, it’s called, The Huff and Tuff.

– Yeah. That’s pretty cute. It’s tiny.

– So, just on our boat, in the water.

– Motoring.

– Motoring. We’re going about nine miles, then we’re gonna sit outside of lock. Wait for high tide. So that there’s gonna be enough water on the other side of the lock. But yeah.

– We’re out.

– We’re out.

– Everything seems to be going all right. Despite being a little bit under pitched, on the prop. So we are gonna have to make some adjustments. We can really only do about five and a 1/2 knots right now. And we should be doing six and a 1/2. But the motor seems to be running fine. Temperature’s right where it’s supposed to be. The new alternator’s putting out good power.

– Yeah, yeah.

– So, things are going well. Let’s dig into this thing. We haven’t even opened this thing.

– Yeah, we’ve looked inside and thought.

– Yip, there’s a sail.

– Sweet, crispy new sail. 20 Knots, new head sail.