Capt. Bill Pike's blog
Okay. So we don’t spend much time in the office. In fact, we spend a lot of time on the trail. This week we’re visiting the heart of the heart of the country, meaning Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and checking on a bunch of manufacturers, including Charles Industries (Casey, Illinois), Tiara Yachts (Holland, Michigan), Carver Yachts (Pulaski, Wisconsin), Marquis Yachts (Pulaski, Wisconsin). Cruisers Yachts (Oconto, Wisconsin), and the folks at Kohler (hmmmm, not too far from Sheboygan, Wisconsin) you know, the genset folks.
“While installing new primary fuel filters on the ol’ Lehman recently, I realized I spend more time doing maintenance onboard the Betty Jane than I do actually cruising. But hey, we’re talking an old boat.
For quite some time now (I figure about three years…not bad for a guy who’s painstakingly punctual about procrastination), I’ve wanted to either refurbish or replace the Fiamm air horn on the Betty Jane. While the old girl’s brightwork usually looks pretty good and folks occasionally say her gelcoat resembles a patina of Awlgrip, that ancient horn up there on the flying-bridge cowling looks like the Wreck of the Hesperus, comparatively speaking. So here’s the deal—I have finally decided to take the bull by the horns or, rather horn, and put one of the following two options into play:
You see lots of Racor FG500 fuel-water separators kicking around the waterfront, both on new boats (mostly protecting gensets) and on older ones like my Betty Jane, where the trusty little device helps stop water and other contaminants from getting into the main engine.
We have winter down here in North Florida. And occasionally, like denizens of the snowy latitudes, we yearn for summers past—you know, when it’s warm enough to virtually live in one of the most comfortable, practical, and fashionable ensembles ever invented for subtropical temperatures: flip-flops, a t-shirt, and a bathing suit.
When I was about the age of this little girl (her name’s Reagan and sometimes she calls me “Uncle Bill” and sometimes she calls me “Captain Bill”), a great thing happened.
I recently had a job to do onboard Betty Jane that seemed virtually impossible. There are a couple of seven-foot-long cosmetic trim pieces over each of her fuel tanks and I needed to remove each of them so I could get at and replace the hose clamps on the fuel fills.
There are all sorts of ways a teak deck can be spiffed up. And all sorts of levels to which the spiffed-upness can be taken. I recently opted to exalt my Grand Banks trawler Betty Jane's woodsy pavement (both on her main deck and her flying bridge) to the highest level I could afford, both money-wise and time-wise. Check out the photo above. You can be the judge of how successful the month-long ordeal actually was.
There are all sorts of boating weekends, of course. Sometimes you leave the dock, sometimes you don't. Sometimes you cook a meal or two onboard, sometimes you don't.