I like it here. I’m anchored between BC Place and the Science Centre. There’s a bunch of BS about anchoring in False Creek which makes it stressful for those folks who like to spend a lot of time here but for guys like me who don’t get here very often its pretty painless. They have “anchoring permits” that limit your winter stays to roughly 3 weeks every 2 months and your summer stays to 2 weeks in the same period. We keep several of the blank permits onboard so its pretty simple once we arrive to post a permit in the window. I also promptly take the completed form to the dropbox across from Granville Island, which is what you are supposed to do. But apparently nobody takes that part of the process too seriously because the dropbox was overflowing yesterday when I dropped my current form in it. I expect my form from November 2012 was still in the bottom of the box.
This morning I took Hawkito (our dinghy) up to Granville to turn in my permit. It startled me with how zoomy it was. In November it was kind of a dog, didn’t want to idle well and never really opened up. I dumped some kind of weasel piss in the fuel tank and evidently it has worked some magic on the jets because today we got up on plane and actually got going so fast that I scared myself and had to slow down. I took Hawkito out again this afternoon for groceries and she even idled this time. Last time I had to rev it out, then quickly slow it down, grab a gear and open it up again before it had time to die out. Not very good for the transmission and really awkward for manoeuvring around the dinghy dock or when returning to Gray Hawk. There’s no kill switch on the engine which wasn’t a problem in November – idle it down and it would happily die. Not so today – I had to choke it to get it shut down.
There’s a lot of tankers anchored in English Bay. Coming in yesterday I counted 15 but I know I didn’t get them all.
I went looking for a Soviet Union this morning because I had a cheque that needed to be deposited after the end of January. I ended up walking up Granville to West 15th before I found one and on the way back I noticed a shop with an oddball assortment of “stuff” in the window. It was like one of those Dollar stores but obviously just some immigrant with connections to get cheap imported crap. There was everything from wine glasses to Hallowe’en costumes jammed into its narrow aisles. I didn’t really know what I was looking for but I was sure there was something in there that I needed and it turned out I was right. I bought an egg timer.
When you are running in fog the colregs require you to sound a “prolonged blast” at 2 minute intervals. I’m sure I could cobble up some kind of automatic system to make that happen and it might even be a fun electronics project but I don’t think I will do that. Staying focussed enough to push the button every two minutes seems like a good thing when you can’t see 50 yards (or less) ahead of the boat. On Saturday when I got caught in the fog on the way to Gibsons I used my watch but that was kind of a PITA so it occurred to me that egg timers are usually 2 minute timers. I checked this one this morning and sure enough, 2 minutes. It now forms part of our nav equipment. At $1.67 I wish all additions to the boat were as economical.
We knew about our inverter interfering with our fluxgate compass but it took me a while to put that knowledge together with some weirdness in the integrated nav system. If you look at the picture above you will see that the boat track isn’t perfectly following the plotted course. What’s happening is that when I’m cooking dinner and the inverter is supplying a heavy load it interferes with the compass that the autopilot uses. That compass is an electronic gadget mounted to the wall ahead of the helm. Evidently under a heavy load there is some kind of mag field coming off the inverter that interferes with the compass. It doesn’t happen all the time – only when we have both the oven and a space heater running – or maybe the oven and the teakettle. But when it does happen you can clearly see the boat change course and evidently the navigator takes a while to get that all sorted out. By which time the compass error has likely gone away which would cause the navigator to overcompensate. We’ll just have to live with it because having a hot dinner underway is just way too civilized to give up.
I talked to my solar panel supplier tonight and he says he has the panels ready to deliver so as soon as the boat show finishes up this weekend I’ll be headed back to the Bay. I don’t really have any reason to go to the boat show but I bought my tickets already so I won’t be leaving early. And I bought 2-day tickets. Busy. Busy. Busy.