Tuesday, December 24

It’s a Wrap!
By Michael Argyelan

From all of us to you and yours, we wish you our best. We hope you've had an amazing year thus far and continue to enjoy the rest of 2013. Have a safe, warm, happy holiday and a happy new year!

In other news, the start of the 2013 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race starts tomorrow. I've copied some info from the website for your pleasure. Check on this link to see some cool shots of the maxi yacht Wild Oats XI. She’s just one of the 100’ yachts sailing in the race. It should be pretty exciting. Enjoy!

On Television
Over 80 production and technical personnel are involved to putting together the race start coverage. Covering the race is tricky and relies on numerous specialty cameras that are linked back to the main production facility using digital radio links.

Three helicopters and two chase boats track alongside the fleet. Two of these helicopters supply aerial footage whilst the third acts as a link platform, relaying close-up on board footage from two of the yachts as the crew undertake pre-race maneuvers and begin their race south. On top of this, two land based cabled cameras located at vantage points on North Head and South Head are incorporated into the coverage.

ABC TV will be following the fleet down the eastern seaboard and provide all the in race news footage that is used by the various Australian and International news networks.

On The Web
For those who can't get to watch the live broadcast of the start of the Race on the Seven Network across Australia, Yahoo!7 will web cast the program. You can also watch the same web cast on the home page of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race website.

The official race website is one of the most popular Australian sporting websites during the Christmas New Year holiday period and is your information portal for everything there is to know about the 628 nautical blue water classic.

Included on the website is the complete list of yachts entered, along with a photograph and description of each boat, a rundown on the crew, and the boat's past racing record.

You'll also be able to follow the event on twitter for race updates and via Facebook.

Yacht Tracker
By far the most visited page of the website is the Yacht Tracker page, which allows viewers to track the entire fleet or a particular boat from start to finish. Yacht Tracker uses a specifically designed tool that calculates the predicted results for each and every boat in the fleet, so you can see how each boat is performing.

Each yacht will be fitted with a Yellowbrick tracker that will obtain a position using the GPS satellite network, and then transmit that position back to Yellowbrick HQ using the Iridium satellite network.

Each yacht's position is then visualized on the race yacht tracker map or overlaid on Google Earth. In addition, the yacht tracker system also shows distance to finish line and progressive corrected time positions under the IRC, ORCi and PHS handicap divisions.

To do this, the CYCA equips each boat in the fleet with a Yellowbrick tracker that automatically updates the yacht's latitude, longitude, course over ground and speed over ground - and transmits that information via satellite to a land. From there, the data will be transferred to the website, which shows in text and graphics each yacht's position in the fleet, its place relative to other boats and known geographic features, and the speed currently being achieved through the water, as well as the direction in which the boat is sailing.

Viewers have the option of viewing the yachts on a chart through Yacht Tracker, or alternatively against satellite pictures on Google Earth. Line honors and progressive corrected times under the IRC, PHS and ORCi handicap categories are updated every 10 minutes.


Wednesday, December 18

That thing is huge!

In the pic are Assistant Store Manager Mike Travis and Production Manager Andrew Spaulding (L-R) in front of a massive boat at Newport Shipyard in Rhode Island. Andrew, Mike, Nick Fugate the Purchasing Manager, and I were doing recon out east when this was taken. I had them stand next to the prop for scale.

Safety Isn’t a Four Letter Word
By Michael Argyelan

Anyone living in the Chicago area has heard of tragedies involving our greatest of lakes, harbors, and tributaries. Whether it’s a fisherman falling in the water accidentally, a man overboard during a sailboat race, or the soft spoken gentleman a few docks down that decided to take friends out during a gale, accidents happen when on or near the water and we all need to think safety first.

As the Store Manager at Crowley’s, I hear so many stories in the store and around the yard. Some end as a comedy and some as tragedies. The most recent was of a MOB during a MORF race. Turns out that in the heat of the moment, “things”, very important procedural things, were missed or forgotten. All ended well with the sailor brought back aboard safely and a successful debrief. How can we prevent mistakes? One key word comes to mind, preparation.

Our boats are safely snuggled up in a boat yard, shivering and dreaming of warmer times. This does not mean our season is over. It’s never over if you’re planning on being prepared. This article will not be the be-all end-all to all things safety. We can only give you tips, tricks, and products to be aware of. It’s up to you to stay up to speed on all the rules, regulations, products, personnel, and hardware on your vessel.

Do you and your guests know where your safety items are aboard?  If not, it’s time to use the off season and make up a safety diagram. Find a diagram of your boat or a similar boat (try sailboatdata.com), and mark where your safety items are. Items we mark on my boat are the knife, flashlight(s), fuel shutoff, battery switches, fire extinguishers, PFD’s, flares, and wood plugs/through hulls.

With that last list in mind, don’t forget to check your equipment for optimal operational status. Check all extinguishers. Make sure your flares are up to date. Make sure the fuel shutoff opens and closes smoothly.

If your PFD’s are inflatable, take them home, blow them up manually, and let them stay inflated for 24 hours. If they are just as full as when you left them, you’re good to go. If not, it’s time to check for leaks. With the same PFD’s, check the dates and condition of your cylinders and see that they are in optimal working order. If you don’t have whistles on your PFD’s, get some.

Do you have an air horn or signaling device? You need one. Do you have extra batteries for your flashlight? When was the last time you replaced them? You get the idea.

Going above deck, we need to check our lifelines, hand rails, stanchions, and pulpits. Be sure to check the bases for cracks and the fittings for corrosion. Do any of the fittings leak below deck? If that’s the case, you will be dealing with wet spots in the deck and have weak areas where you need strength.

When was the last time you practiced a MOB drill? Have you ever been shown recommended methods? If not, it’s time to get on YouTube and watch some videos, at the very least. I highly recommend having a written procedure that you practice at least twice per year. The process should be memorized. Only practice will develop the necessary muscle memory to be fluid while on the water in a panicked situation. A general Google search will bring up images and videos on techniques like the quick stop and figure 8 methods.

What equipment do we recommend above deck? At a minimum, we recommend having a horseshoe buoy attached to a 50 foot heaving line that floats that can be tossed carefully to the victim. That’s bare minimum.

The next step above that is the Lifesling2. 
The Lifesling2 is highly recommended and has a horseshoe shaped buoy with the heaving line attached all neatly stowed in a bag that hangs off the stern rail. The next step above the Lifesling2 is the MOM8.

MOM stands for Man Overboard Module. The MOM8 is one of the most advanced products in man overboard safety equipment. Here are some notes from the manufacturer’s website, “With the MOM 8 the only focus is on pulling a single pin. Located on the top of the canister is a deployment handle, which when pulled, releases the bottom of the canister and allows the inflatable devices to automatically inflate while falling into the water. When inflated, the ballasted Locator Pylon has a 6-foot waterline height. Located on top of the pylon is a water-activated, lithium-powered, flashing light with 5 years of life. The light can be seen nearly a nautical mile under normal night conditions. The pylon has 2 SOLAS reflective panels to aid the boat's search. Tethered to the horseshoe and the pylon is a 16" diameter, ballasted, self-opening Sea Anchor to reduce downwind drift keeping the victim in the same position as when he went overboard.” Pretty amazing huh?

To summarize, you mount the unit to the stern rail following the instructions, pull the pin in a MOB scenario, the unit automatically deploys a MOB pylon with a light, a line, a horseshoe buoy, all without thinking past step three of pulling the pin. If you don’t know what step one and two are in a MOB situation, it’s time to study!

Safety on the water applies to us all. Power, sail, race, or cruise, all boaters need to take safety seriously. If you have any questions, we are here for you. If you have an experience, tip, photo, or anything safety related you’d like to share, please email me at mma@crowleys.com.

Wednesday, December 11

20 Questions with Dan Bochnovic, General Manger.

1. How long have you worked at Crowley’s? 
24 years.

2. How did you first start working here? 
My recreational marine career started in 1979 at Sailing Specialist, a small shop in Clarendon Hills, IL. That experience led to working at Sea Castle Marine in Broadview, IL and then Patterson Marine in Chicago. I landed at Crowley’s as a Customer Service Representative in 1989.

3. Which departments have you worked in? 
All of them. I can paint a bottom, build a furler, change an injector, drive the travel lift, and program the database. 

4. What is the big new news in your current department? 
A continued push to be customer focused. Through events and technology we want our customers to be the smartest, fastest, safest, funniest, and most generous customers on the water. We host multiple events through the year. This past weekend was our newest event, the 2nd Annual One Day Sale Plus! Crowds of people came in on Saturday morning to learn about their boat and save a little money on holiday gifts and personal gear. We are industry leaders in internet communication with customers through online scheduling, sales, and bill pay.  Soon Crowley’s customers will be able to interface directly with the technicians working on their vessel. We are very excited about this prospect.

5. What is your favorite time of year at Crowley’s? 
I love the spring. The fast paced excitement and beauty of newly serviced yachts setting out for the first sail of the season gets me going.

6. How often do you go boating?
For pleasure, my partners and I have a standing sail date, every Wednesday evening.  Want to sail with us? Come on down, 7pm, North Juliet 11 in Monroe Harbor. Everyone is welcome.  Professionally, I’m on one of our customer’s boats or a work boat almost every day. Last week I took a little run to Hammond Marine to test some depth sounder readings. Walking around the facility is like a never ending boat show.

7. What kind of boat(s)?  
If it has a bow and stern, I’m on it. I have a Ranger 33. I sail both cruising and racing sailboats. I think its fun to back a 72’ motor vessel down the aisle into its berth at Burnham Harbor. Water skiing is cool too. Jet skies are thrilling. Last year my wife gave me the plans to build a wooden canoe. One of these days we’ll take it for a spin down the river.

8. Did you grow up boating?
Sort of. My brother wanted to be a rich banker. He needed his corporate advantage. He wasn't going to master golf so he bought a sun fish. I was the only one who would go with him to learn how to sail. That was the beginning of a long road.

9. What is your favorite boating activity?
There are so many. If I had to choose only one, I would go cruising with my wife Tina.

10. How many employees work for you?
I’m the General Manager at Crowley’s and we have 40 full time employees plus a dozen or more that come and go during the busy seasons.

11. Do they have job specific training? If so, how often do they go?
I make sure everyone attends professional training events throughout the year. I organize our in-house training. We have a class at least once a week throughout the winter. The range of topics is huge. Last month I was at the ASIS security show. Tomorrow’s topic is OSHA workplace safety. In a few weeks Grant and I will be at Underwriter Laboratories observing a test of the new StatX fire suppression system.

12. What job specific training do you have?
Over the years I have been to hundreds of lectures and classes on almost every aspect of recreational marine management, boat building, and repair.

13. What certifications do you have?
My college degree is in computer science. This year I completed the course work for my USCG Captains license. I'm currently reading the City of Chicago plumbing code, just for fun. I'm an IHSA Baseball umpire too. Basically, I have a hunger for knowledge and a self proclaimed nerd.

14. What is your number one recommendation to boat owners?
Take people boating.  Learn about every aspect of boating. Learn about every switch, every line, and every pump aboard. Learn about navigation and weather and the fish and the birds. While you’re out boating, teach others what you learned. Let them repay you with the wealth of their knowledge.

15. In your area of experience, what can a boat owner do to maintain their boat?
Clean it. The simple act of cleaning the bilge, the engine, the deck, everything, reveals the maintenance and repair required. A clean vessel is a safe vessel.

16. What is your number one money saving tip for boat owners?
Use your boat for your family summer vacation. No one will ever forget the experience. Ever. Guaranteed.

17. What is the toughest part of your job?
Time management. I want to spend the time to get the job done right. Many times there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to get to everything I want to.

18. When are you most likely to be found in the harbors?
Wednesday nights chillaxin' on the fine yacht, Integrity, North Juliet 11, Monroe Harbor.

19. What is your favorite winter activity?
#1 Building things in my woodshop.  #2 working on the boat with my partners. We take advantage of indoor heated storage to increase our ‘boating time’. Sunday morning 9 to noon at the boat yard. We meet at the boat about twice a month, have coffee, catch up on life, turn this or rub that. Mostly ponder what we should do next time.

20. What is the best way to get a hold of you to ask a question?


Wednesday, November 27

A Time of Thanksgiving

By: Michael Argyelan

This time of year, many of us are fortunate to spend quality time with our family and friends while sharing the gratitude that life brings us. For those of us at the yard, we will be doing just that. Some of us will be participating in charity events, going to family dinners, large or small, and some may put another check mark on the calendar in the countdown to the next time we sail.

We hope you, our valued friends, are able to enjoy some downtime this holiday weekend with your friends and loved ones. Our level of appreciation and gratitude for what we do here at the yard and the opportunity to serve you is at the top of our list. We all share the joys of boating and this weekend we take time to give thanks and gratitude and share in the joys of life.

As a reminder, the Ship’s Store will be closed from 5pm Wednesday, November 27th through Sunday, December 1st. Also, don’t forget our 2nd Annual One Day Sale PLUS! is on Saturday, December 7th from 8am4pm with the first ever Ask an Expert morning from 8am – 12noon.

We hope this finds you well and thank you as always for being part of the Crowley’s community.

Gobble Gobble!

Thursday, November 14

Crowley’s 2nd Annual One Day Sale Plus!

Crowley's Ships Store
2nd Annual One Day Sale
Crowley’s 2nd Annual One Day Sale Plus!

It’s that time of year again, where we start thinking of gifts either for a special someone or that pair of gloves, shoes, or jacket we’ve wanted for ourselves all season long. At Crowley’s, we are giving you the perfect reason to go for it now. Come to our 2nd Annual One Day Sale Plus and save up to 55%!

On Saturday, December 7th from 8am to 4pm we will have a fantastic sale all day long with savings up to 55% off retail prices. Even our closeout racks full of SLAM, Henri Lloyd, Sperry, and Zhik will be up to 55% off. Our closeout shoe rack will be up to 55% off of as retail as well.

Henri Lloyd’s Pro Gore Tex line will be an unheard of 50% off. Additional sale items include Adidas CC Lace Boat Shoes and Adidas DLX Boat Shoes at 35% off, Sea Line dry bags and gear at 30% off and Henri Lloyd’s Shockwave will be an additional 10% off the already marked down 30% off for a total savings of 40% off.

In addition to having the most phenomenal pricing on gear you’re going to see we’re also offering 20% off the rest of the store. If you have plans to replace hose clamps, a bilge pump hose, a few wires, sailing gloves, etc., you’re guaranteed a 20% discount on in-stock, in-store items. If you store your boat with Crowley’s you will receive an additional 5% off your sale. Spend $100 or more and receive a free Race to Mac hat while supplies last.

Have a few DIY projects you are going to attempt this year and not sure how to begin? This year we’ve added a Plus to the sale day with our first ever ‘Ask an Expert’ morning. From 8am to 12 noon we will have two members from the Rigging, Fiberglass/Paint, Mechanical, and Installation departments to answer your questions on DIY projects, estimates, work orders, and more. Ever wanted to corner a mechanic and get your questions asked? Now you can. Do you want to know more about your furler or rig tune? Come out and ask an expert. How about a question concerning a recent estimate? Pop in and bend someone’s ear for a bit.

If you haven’t been in the store for awhile, we’ve changed some things up. We have a larger selection of Gill sailing gear, did a bit of remodeling, and hired new staff. Come on in and see why our customers will consistently drive over 100 miles to buy from our store, service their pleasure craft, and store their boats. Complimentary coffee, to keep you warm, and doughnuts, to fill you up, will be available.

Additional details on sale items can be found at www.crowleys.com/onedayplus2 or by calling the store at 773-221-9990 ext 340 or Customer Service at ext 330. We look forward to seeing you at the sale Saturday, December 7th and thank you for choosing Crowley’s Yacht Yard.


The Crowley’s Family

*All sales final. Sale prices good for in stock items only. Sale does not include special orders or online orders. 

Wednesday, October 30

CorrosionX – You need to have this onboard

By Andrew Spaulding
Typically, I’m not one to push particular products with a hard sell. When asked, I will tell you what I think, but often the products that we choose to use every day on board our boats is a matter of personal choice. Many of them that occupy the same space are only significantly different on the outside of the bottle.

Once in a while there comes along a product that is so much better than what surrounds it on the shelf. CorrosionX is one of those products. I first saw CorrosionX used to rescue UHF boatyard radios that had fallen in the saltwater. If the battery was removed quickly enough and the circuit board was doused in CorrosionX, the chances were good that the radio would be fine. We also sprayed down engines with it to help slow the onslaught of corrosion in a saltwater environment. CorrosionX also helped with intermittent electrical problems by chasing away moisture from connections. I started using it to lubricate my multi-tool and it works great.

So, I moved from Connecticut to Chicago and didn’t think much about CorrosionX, mostly since corrosion is MUCH less of a problem on Lake Michigan. I wanted to get for my tools and when I stopped in the appropriate place in our Ship’s Store, it wasn’t there. So, I told the purchasing manager what great stuff CorrosionX is and he bought some for the store. I didn’t give it much thought until I went to a purchasing show with that same manager and I stopped by the CorrosionX booth.

At the CorrosionX booth, I learned why CorrosionX work so well and why it is better than the other products that limit corrosion. CorrosionX uses a technology called Polar Bonding where the molecules of CorrosionX have a positive and negative pole. These positive and negative poles actually bond to the surface of the metal, displacing whatever material is there. Due to Polar Bonding, CorrosionX causes common metals and metal alloys such as iron, steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass, bronze, etc. to chemically behave more like noble metals such as gold and platinum.

CorrosionX also has a dielectric characteristic, so it's safe on electronics and completely shuts down electrolysis between dissimilar metals. Even so, due to CorrosionX’s thin film technology, it won’t interfere with electrical connections. Actually, since the anti-corrosion properties will clean the contacts, it actually helps make electrical connections better.

I know it all sounds too good to be true, but it is. So if you are still wary of such kind words about a product you’ve never heard of, try it on your tools before you spray down your engine. If you have a stainless steel grill at home or on the boat, spray it down with CorrosionX. Come back in a day or two and wipe it off, you won’t remember a better looking grill. 

Friday, September 13

Winterize with ValvTech

Important winterizing information from ValvTect:

As we move from summer to fall, properly preparing your vessel for winter storage is very important to protect your investment and have a trouble free start-up in the spring.

The heart of your vessel is its engine….regardless if you own a sailboat or power boat. Improper winterization of the engine and its fuel can cause unnecessary expense or even engine failure.  The introduction of ethanol blended gasoline, ultra low sulfur diesel and biodiesel have created a significant problems for boat owners that require special attention. 

Ed. note: Here at CYY we have removed hard crystalline deposits from several fuel systems this summer. In all of the cases, the boat owners were using biodiesel blends from land-based stations.

Gasoline Engines
All gasoline in our area is blended with up to 10% ethanol (E10). In some cases 15% (E15) and 85% (E85) may be available. Under no circumstances should you use ethanol blended gasoline with more than 10% ethanol. Since ethanol is very corrosive, can separate from the gasoline and degrade quickly. It is essential E10 always be treated with an ethanol gasoline treatment such as ValvTect Ethanol Gasoline Treatment.  This is especially important when storing your vessel over the winter. When storing your boat the gasoline tank should be 7/8 full.  This will prevent condensation from developing in the tank that can lead to phase separation of the ethanol and reduce harmful vapors from escaping.

Additional items that need to be addressed are:
(1) run fogging oil through the carburetor (if so equipped) and cylinders by spraying fogging oil in the spark plug holes
(2) for higher horsepower outboards use ValvTect Marine Motor De-Carbonizer to remove hard carbon deposits on the piston head which can cause powerhead failure.
(3) Be sure to run the engine dry of fuel by disconnecting the fuel line while the engine is running. (4) Change all filters.

Diesel Engines
All diesel fuel is now ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) and contains less than 15ppm sulfur.  Almost all USLD available at service stations in our area contain 10% or more biodiesel. While both of these fuels are environmentally friendly they are very “problematic” for use in marine engines. We recommend you DO NOT use a diesel fuel that contains biodiesel.  Biodiesel, and USLD present some of the same problems as ethanol for marine engines. In addition, they are very susceptible to bacteria growth.  Non-biodiesel blended diesel fuel may only be available at marinas. It is more expensive but worth the additional cost.  We recommend all USLD be treated with ValvTect BioGuard Plus 6 to prevent bacteria growth and corrosion, lubricate injectors and fuel pumps and stabilize the fuel.  Change all filters. Fill the fuel tank to 7/8 full.  Do not run the engine dry.

Some of ValvTect's popular products for winterizing are available in our ship's store. ValvTect makes many products to solve many fuel related problems on your engine. If we don't carry the ValvTech product that you want, we can special order it for you. For more information regarding ValvTech products please browse their website, click here.

Wednesday, August 14

Tall Ships Chicago 2013

That is a lot of rigging!

Match Racing Up Close!

By Andrew Spaulding

Last Saturday, I had the privilege to watch some of the Chicago Match Cup racing from the Chicago Match Race Center’s (CMRC) VIP tent at the end of Navy Pier. The Chicago Match Race Cup is one of 6 events on the Alpari World Match Race Championship Tour that takes the best match racing skippers and their crews around the world.

To see world class match racing from a few feet away from the starting line was a great experience. As a lifelong amateur racing sailor, I know the opportunities to actually watch a race in person are few and far in between. Sure, I’ve been out there watching the mark roundings of some events over the years, but at the Match Cup this weekend, we were close enough to watch the sails get trimmed. I did notice that going upwind the sails were trimmed flat. Flatter than I would have expected for the amount of wind, although I guess that is a function of the driver’s skill. The better the driver, the narrower the slot, the flatter the sails can be which will reduce the drag that belly in the sail causes. Experts out there, feel free to chime in my observations.

Anyway, it was a fantastic day, and I wish the Verve Cup wasn’t going on at the same time so that more of you could have attended the Match Cup. Definitely put it on your calendar for next year if the World Match Race circuit comes back to Chicago. I don’t see why they wouldn’t, from the dock talk I heard, the sailors liked the venue and certainly the spectators were enjoying the show. There were quite a few passers-by headed for the Tall Ships that stopped to watch for a while. The sailors present had to answer lots of simple questions about match racing and sailing in general, but everyone seemed to be enjoying the process.

So, one of the best parts of the day was sitting at the table next to Taylor Canfield’s mother. On Saturday, Taylor was ranked number 2 in the world; he also is the sailing director at the Chicago Match Race Center which made him the local favorite. Every start, every tack, gybe, and mark rounding was a moment for Taylor’s mom to worry about. The good news is that all the worrying paid off, Taylor won the event catapulting him to the top of the world rankings.

For more information about the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, click here. For more information about the Chicago Match Race Center, click here.

Wednesday, August 7

Impeller Blades Found!

We found this pile of impeller blades while changing a cracked cooling water hose. The boat was new to Crowley's last winter. We changed the impeller in the spring and while the old one had cracked blades they were all still attached to the impeller. So, these blades have been floating around in this engine's cooling system for some time. We are amazed it ran without overheating. The lesson is to be sure that you get all of the blades out of the cooling system if you change an impeller that is missing any of them.

Wednesday, June 5

The Chicago NOODs

The first time I told someone I was sailing in the NOOD (National Offshore One-Design), I didn’t get why they laughed. Now that I do, I laugh every, single, time. So let’s start the article off with a big thank you to whoever gave us the NOOD Regatta name and for all the great laughs that come with it. Now, if you aren’t sure what the regatta is all about, here’s a bit of info for you.

This year’s NOOD Regatta will have more than 150 boats racing in 17 sections. There are boats from 19’ to 70’ and sections with as few as 4 boats and as many as 30!  If I were a spectator, I’d be out there watching the T10 fleet start with 30 boats on the line. Talk about fiberglass carnage. Anyone have a long range microphone? How many, “starboard!” shouts will there be? It should be quite the event.

There are sections for those racing PHRF, PHRF long distance, ORR, ORR long distance, and more than a handful of one design classes include the J111, J109, Beneteau 36.7, and more. I am also pretty excited by the Belmont Station racing. Oh, didn’t I mention there are multiple venues for this event?

Up at the Belmont Station of the Chicago Yacht Club there will be a circle just for the Rhodes 19 and the Viper 640 crews. Have you ever seen a sailboat get up on plane like a power boat?  No? Well get on up to Belmont and watch the Vipers. They can get up on plane with a chute up and it’s pretty spectacular.

We also need to thank Sperry Top-Sider for sponsoring the regatta and being a big part of making it happen. Of course the Chicago Yacht Club and their race committee needs props for being ever so awesome in their participation. Last but not least, we would like to thank, ourselves! Crowley’s will be there as the vendor for Sperry shoe sales. Yes, yes, we want your money, again.

Want to follow along with the daily results? Check it out here (here is http://www.yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=756   

Wednesday, May 29

Power Boat Trim for the Beginner

By Andrew Spaulding

The first time I jumped in the family Whaler without parental supervision, I punched the throttle forward just as soon as I left the dock and the bow shot up in the air blocking my vision. This was my first experience with bad trim in a powerboat and it wasn't much fun. Most boats have a way to adjust the trim of the boat through the outboard, sterndrive, or trim tabs. Trimming the boat properly is a way the driver can deliver the safest, smoothest ride for the conditions.

Many beginners drive powerboats around with their bows in the air, because they are unaware how the trim function can change the operation of the boat. This is understandable since there isn't really any equivalent in cars or motorcycles. However, a properly trimmed boat is easier and safer to drive for many reasons.

There are a few key points to trimming a boat properly. Once you understand these and get a little practice, you’ll be driving like a pro in no time. A boat needs to be balanced in two directions – fore-and-aft and side-to-side. A smaller boat without trim tabs needs to move people and stuff side-to-side to get that balance proper. Larger boats with trim tabs can use them to straighten side-to-side trim as well as fore-and-aft. Take care to not use too much trim tab to straighten the boat. Using more trim tab than necessary causes more drag on the boat, slowing the boat and wasting fuel.

Fore-and-aft trim is adjusted on smaller boats with the stern drive angle or outboard angle. Typically, the switch controlling this is on the side of the throttle control. The proper fore-and-aft trim for any size boat will change with the conditions. For popping skiers out or “hole shots”, trim the bow down. This will minimize the cavitation (when the prop breaks loose from the water) and keep the bow down for better visibility.

Generally speaking, as the boat comes up on a plane, you will want to trim up the bow for a smoother ride. If the bow is too low in the water it can catch a wave pushing the boat around making it difficult to steer. However, in rough weather you want to do the opposite. You will want the bow down so that the waves are sliced by the sharp part of the bow, not slamming into the flatter part of the boat bottom behind the bow. In very windy conditions, if the bow is too high, wind can get under the boat causing a dangerous loss of control. When you are pulling a skier or tuber, you should keep the bow trimmed lower. This will help keep the boat from losing speed in sharp turns.

As you are learning to trim a boat properly, make small adjustments to the trim so that you get a feel for how much trim is necessary to make a difference. Since all boats react differently to different trim levels and conditions, practice doing maneuvers at different trim levels while you slowly increase your boat speed and repeat them as necessary to get a feel for the boat. It is easy to get a boat out of control with too much speed and poor trim, so please be careful out on the water.

Wednesday, May 22

Bodacious Dream Wins Leg Two of the 2013 Atlantic Cup

If this looks familiar, it is - changes in bold. Bodacious Dream wins leg two of the 2013 Atlantic Cup. Chicago sailors Dave Rearick and Matt Scharl cross the finish line 4 minutes and 59 seconds ahead of the second place boat after 231 nautical miles. Check out the event site by clicking here for more  photos and video. Check our blog here for a larger picture. Photo credit Billy Black.

Memorial Day 2013

Memorial Day is coming up this weekend. While you are out on the lake enjoying boating or munching a burger at a backyard BBQ or enjoying a parade, it is important to remember why we have the holiday.  Memorial Day is the day that we remember the sacrifice of the over 1 million men and women who gave their lives in the service of their country.  

The holiday started after the Civil War to honor the Union and Confederate soldiers that died during the war. By the opening of the 20th century, the honors were extended to all who have died in military service. Traditionally, on Memorial Day the flag flies at half-mast to commemorate the dead until noon when it is raised to full hoist to remind the living we need to ensure their sacrifice wasn’t in vain.

While Veterans Day is for all veterans and Memorial Day is for those that have died in uniform, I think it is important to give thanks to all veterans and military families on Memorial Day. At Crowley’s Yacht Yard we are honored to work with five veterans that served overseas during times of armed conflict:

Dick Gravengood – World War II
Bill Savage – Vietnam
Matt Markiewicz – Gulf War I
Andrew Spaulding – Gulf War I

Ritchie Geoghan – Gulf War I

Wednesday, May 15

Bodacious Dream First to Finish Leg 1 of the 2013 Atlantic Cup

Bodacious Dream wins leg one of the 2013 Atlantic Cup. Chicago sailors Dave Rearick and Matt Scharl cross the finish line 8 minutes and 28 seconds ahead of the second place boat after 642 nautical miles. Check out the event site by clicking here for more  photos and video.

Marine Corrosion - Part 2

By Andrew Spaulding

Last week in “Marine Corrosion – Part 1” we discussed some marine corrosion terms and how sacrificial anodes work to protect your boat’s underwater metals. This week, I want to cover the corrosion survey process. The goal of a corrosion survey is to measure the potential of the individual underwater metal units and the boat as a whole without any outside influence with a reference cell. A reference cell can be one of several types, the most common being silver/silver chloride or zinc. The metal that makes up these reference cells is pure or a very specific alloy. The potentials between these reference cells and many different metals and alloys have been recorded in tables by laboratories.

Once these measurements are recorded for the boat in question, the values are compared to the reference cell tables. The potential between a fiberglass-hulled boat and a silver/silver chloride reference cell should be from -550mV to -1100mV. If the boat as a whole is in this range, you boat has the proper amount of sacrificial anode.  If your boat is less negative than this, you are under protected against galvanic corrosion. If your boat is more negative than this, you are over protected.

You may think that over protected is ok, but unfortunately, being over protected has its own set of problems. Under water coatings can be literarily blown off the bottom by gas bubbles forming on the surface of the metal. Also, an alkali solution can form on aluminum which will eat into the metal.  Neither of these issues are good and their symptoms can look like galvanic corrosion. The reason we use precise alloys for our reference cell and a volt meter that is accurate measuring 10s of millivolts is so that we can know what is going on with the boat, not make guesses, nor assume that the dock chat about corrosion is correct.

Once we have the boat’s hull potential recorded and the underwater metals are surveyed, the corrosion survey can progress. While measuring the hull potential, we turn on and off every direct current circuit. If the boat has a problem, one or more of the circuits will change the measured hull potential. This is an indication that that circuit has a fault that needs to be addressed.

If the boat lives at the dock plugged into shore power, this process needs to be repeated with the AC power cord and all of the AC circuits. Typically, AC power is not a contributor to long term corrosion issues, but since some AC circuits are intermittently used it is important to test them as part of a corrosion survey. AC power can be the source of serious corrosion, although it is usually so severe that it gets noticed quickly.

Corrosion due to a faulty electrical circuit is called stray current corrosion. Stray current corrosion severely damage underwater metals in a very short period of time. The pictures above show a propeller and shaft that were damaged to the point of replacement in a few weeks.

Last week, I went out to start a corrosion survey. We didn’t get a chance to finish the survey due to thunderstorms, but we did find some suspect DC circuits. We also measured the hull potential at the maximum for galvanic corrosion protection. Any more protection and the boat would be over protected. This condition is okay at the beginning of the season since the anodes are at their maximum potential. I would expect as the anodes do their work over the season, the hull potential of the boat will settle into the middle of the acceptable range.

Wednesday, May 8

Departing Crowley's Yacht Yard

Departing Crowley's Yacht Yard for one of Chicago's harbors. Photo thanks to Jon Paige, Rigging Manager, Crowley's Yacht Yard

Marine Corrosion - Part 1

By Andrew Spaulding

Marine corrosion is an insidious force that chews away at our underwater metals. At the start of any corrosion conversation, I think it is important to review terminology. Often the terms used have specific meanings that are muddled in common use, or we use portions of a term leaving the discussion open to interpretation. In an attempt to avoid both of these situations, we’ll start today’s marine corrosion discussion by reviewing some terms.

 Often you will hear the term “electrolysis” used to describe the effects of corrosion, but strictly speaking electrolysis occurs when DC current drives a chemical reaction. So electrolysis could be the cause of your corrosion, but it isn’t the correct term to use for galvanic corrosion or crevice corrosion or AC stray current corrosion - all of which could be the cause of underwater marine corrosion.

Ground is another term that is used improperly. You don’t have a ‘ground’ on your boat. However, you may have up to 5 ‘grounding’ systems onboard. There is a DC negative ground system that acts as a return path for DC current. If you have an AC (alternating current, not air conditioning) panel, you have an AC safety ground system that prevents AC electrocution. You have a bonding system connecting the underwater metals electrically for corrosion protection. You may have a RF/SSB ground plate for counterpoise. And lastly, you may have a lightening ground system for strike protection. All of these systems have a “ground” function, but they are designed to be separate, discreet systems.

Another marine corrosion term that gets misused is “zinc”. Zinc is a type of anode material that is commonly used in sacrificial anodes onboard boats. Anodes can be made of zinc, magnesium, or aluminum. For fiberglass boats in fresh water you should be using magnesium anodes. Zinc anodes don’t have enough potential to protect the underwater metals very well, if at all.

Graphic thanks to Electro-Guard, Inc. (http://www.boatcorrosion.com)
Sacrificial anodes protect under water metals with their galvanic potential. Any two metals that are electrically connected (with a wire or physically in contact) to each other and in an electrolyte generate an electrical potential that is measurable.  If the two metals are lead and copper for example, and the electrolyte is salt water the potential generated is about 100 millivolts.

Properly-sized sacrificial anodes will push the galvanic potential of the boat’s other underwater metals negative by about 200 millivolts. This is enough change in potential to ensure that the anode is sacrificed in place of the other metals. Since fresh water isn’t a great electrolyte, magnesium anodes provide the extra negative potential that is necessary to protect the other underwater metals. Aluminum-hulled boats and certain stern/sail drive applications require the use of aluminum anodes. Wood-hulled boats have different concerns all together – it is critical to not OVER protect the underwater metals in a wood boat or damage to the wood can occur.

The bonding system provides the electrical connection to connect all of the underwater metals into one big galvanic system.  Since we know what the galvanic potentials are for all of the underwater metals, we can measure them with a voltmeter. As we add anode material to the galvanic system we can see changes in the voltmeter. Also, if a piece of equipment onboard is leaking current into its ground system, we will see changes in the voltmeter reading as that equipment is turned on and off. It is through this process that we find what is causing marine corrosion to occur.

Later this week, I am headed to the harbors to conduct a corrosion survey for a boat. I will have the results to report in next week’s newsletter: Marine Corrosion Part 2. Hopefully, I will also have the answer to solve this boat’s annual battle with corrosion.

Thursday, May 2

The World Television Premier of Chicago Drawbridges

Chicago Drawbridges
will be broadcast on WYCC -Channel 20

May 5 @ 8 p.m.
May 6 @ 9 p.m.

Chicago Drawbridges is a documentary directed by Stephen Hatch and narrated by Patrick McBriarty, author and bridge historian, chronicling the importance of the bridges in the making of the Windy City, from the very first wood footbridge, built by a tavern owner in 1832, to today’s iconic structures spanning the Chicago River. 

Informative and entertaining this 56-minute film tells the story of Chicago’s development through the bridges based on the forthcoming book Chicago River Bridges from the University of Illinois Press (October 2013).

Created and produced by Stephen Hatch and Patrick McBriarty it also interviews professor, geographer, and author David M. Solzman, PhD.; Brian Steele, Director of Communications for CDOT (2001-2011); map maker and historian Dennis McClendon of Chicago CartoGraphics; James S. Phillips, PE (ret.); Ozana Balan King, Museum Director, McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum; Grant Crowley owner of Crowley's Yacht Yard; Betsy Steinberg, Managing Director of the Illinois Film Office; CDOT Engineer Vasile M. Jurca, P.E.; and Professor Michael Latham from Roosevelt University.  

Wednesday, May 1

More Boats Ready for the Harbors Everyday

Thanks to a great crew at Crowley's Yacht Yard for getting more boats in everyday ready for the harbor.