Sunday, April 27, 2014

Yes, There Be Submarines

Many folks know that the peninsula formed by land between Idlewild Bay and Scenic Bay on Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho was the second largest U.S. Navy training facility during World War II.  Many folks don’t know that the Navy has maintained a presence on the lake even to today.  The operation today is the U.S. Naval Acoustic Research Detachment.  In addition to a 133-foot, quarter scale destroyer, there are several submarines.  

If you only go to the Bayview part of the lake on weekends, you might get a glimpse of these tied to the docks at the research facility located in the southwest corner of Scenic Bay.  Occasionally during the week, you get to see these boats transiting between Bayview and a research area north of Cape Horn - - in the deepest part of the lake (1,100 feet plus deep).  The submarines are often escorted by a surface support boat.

Snickerdoodle’s sail number is 4839.  One mid-week afternoon while I was sailing back to Bayview from Whiskey Rock, my VHF radio announced, “Sailboat #4839; sailboat #4839; this is the U.S. Navy; maintain your course; say again – maintain your course; a submarine will surface directly astern of you; maintain your course.”  And, sure enough, about thirty seconds later a submarine surfaced about 200 meters astern in my wake.  That was an exciting afternoon.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Galley Plumbing

Galley Plumbing

All boats have “quirks”…  One of the “quirks” found on Catalina 25s and Catalina 27s (and many other production boats from the late 70’s and 80’s) is that the galley sink drain and the icebox drain share a thru-hull fitting and valve.  This is a fine arrangement for draining these two parts of the boat while at anchor or tied to dock somewhere.  This is not a good arrangement if you are sailing in moderate breezes and heeling more than around 20 degrees or so.  If the thru-hull valve is open (allowing the sink to drain if needed), the icebox floods as the boat heels over to that side of the boat (heeling to port while on starboard tack on Snickerdoodle).  If your icebox is loaded with provisions for the weekend plus ice, the provisions get soaked and the ice melts faster than expected.  When you look in the icebox, your astonished expression is often, “What a mess.”…… or words like that.

The original plumbing exploded drawing for my Catalina 25 shows a valve on the icebox drain so that the icebox drain can be shut while leaving the sink drain open.  In fact, by the time Snickerdoodle was manufactured, Catalina had changed this to the installation of a “check valve” or one-way valve that was supposed to only allow for the icebox to drain.  Unfortunately, the “check valve” never worked properly and I found on numerous occasions that the icebox contents had been flooded and some were ruined.

To correct this deficiency, I installed an in-line bronze ball valve in the icebox drain line.  The installation of this ball valve fixed the problem nicely.  The only thing that I have to remember when winterizing Snickerdoodle is to make sure that this ball valve has pink antifreeze in it for the winter.

So, take a look at your galley sink and icebox drains to see if you might want to add a similar ball valve in the icebox drain line.