Friday, August 14, 2015

First Carburettor Strip down and Rebuild...

I really should have photos on this, but I was up to my bits in... well little bits.

My Suzi DF 2.5 was quite unwell. She has only run for a bit, but she's spent 2 winters sitting in the shed. At first I could not even turn her over, but (with the kill cord removed) I spun the prop and then pulled the starter, rinse repeat until things freed up. I guess it just took a while to get oil all around it.

Then whoopee, she started.

But only with full choke, any attempt to touch the throttle, or take off the choke killed her dead.

Googling arrived at the realisation that the carb was probably gunk city. So a quick look at youtube and this video amongst many gave me a place to start.

One €10 can of carb cleaner, and a couple of aluminium foil trays to put the bits in, a set of socket spanners, and a few screwdrivers (including some quiet small ones for the jets) and it was time to open things up. (Nitrile gloves are good too, carb cleaner fluid is pretty harsh.)

There was less gunk than I expected, and I was starting to loose faith that this simple cleaning would make any difference, until I started on the jets. Remove and clean them one at a time, then you don't have to figure out which one goes back where!

The two main jets were fine, but the pilot jet was clearly not. It's hidden away under a screw - how does anything get in or out? Clearly something does. The pilot jet was completely blocked. No light at all. I left it sitting in carb cleaner while I had lunch, then gently poked it with a very fine needle. Eureka. I saw the light.

Then the "put it back together game". As I disassembled it, I'd "looked back" to see how it would go back together. Pictures might have helped, but for the DF2.5 it's not that complicated.

Moment of truth, Choke, Pull, she lives.
Kill the choke, she dies. Oops, not enough throttle. Try again.
Choke, Pull, alive.
Some throttle, kill the choke, she's still running,

I wound the throttle in and out, and she revved up and down, Just Peachy.

I'm not sure what that would have cost me at the local Suzi Marine supplier, but it would have been a trip out, and another trip to collect, and I can't imagine getting away with less than €75?

But now I know a little more about engines. I suspect that this will be an annual event given how tiny the pilot jet is. Pictures next time....

How a Carb works...


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sailing in Clare


After spending so much time building a boat, I have learned that it's much easier to steal an hour or three to work on the boat, than to steel an entire day to go sailing. But on this trip to Clare with the family, a day presented for me to go sailing, by myself.

The sea is a very different place, with tides and proper waves. At first I found a lovely place to launch from, Bell Harbour, only to find it dries for a good portion of the tide. Also, as you come out to the sea proper, the entire body of water funnels through a small channel. Not a place to be in a small open boat unless you are within an hour of high tide.

Ballyvaughan however has a slip, which is good at all time of the tide except the lower end of the springs. It's quite steep, but there were a few local lads, who were kind enough to help me getting The Lady Caroline down, and back up again later.

Now I have built a boat, and sailed it once or twice, but sailing is still a learning thing for me. I really must remember to close the self-bailers before launching the boat.

For single handing, I need to add some sort of rudder lock. I also need to learn to heave too, but given that there was a short steep swell, and at times I was close to picking up a bath full of sea water over the side, it seemed the wrong time to try that out.

My little Garmin showed my speed, which I tried to use to see how setting my sails affected things, but with the swells and the gusts, it was quiet hopeless.

TLC did just fine. I did not fly the Jib, since I am still learning, and she does not point so very well without it, be we managed.

On the way out, when I hit the worst of the swell, my course was taking me directly parallel to the waves. This was a quite a lot less than fun, so I fell away a little, and then headed back up into the wind so that I was crossing the waves enough to keep things stable.

On the way back I came in along the coast a little more to avoid the worst of the swell, that put the shallow sand banks between me and the rest of the Atlantic.

My plans for the next trip are to try heaving too, try anchoring, and if I can sort out oars before then to see how I manage at rowing a little. TLC has a 6' beam, so she's won't be an easy row, but we should be able to manage.



Sailing In Clare


"The cold rain makes it hard to see where the barren rock that passes for soil meets the bleak grey cloud. If this is summer what fell shadow must be cast on the soul of any man exiled to spend a winter in Clare?"
- Me, after a week in Clare in August


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

More Bike than Boat




The front gears are not yet set up, the rear are, the brakes work. As does the steering Some things I have noted...


  • The bent plywood seat is SO much better  than the original.
  • Foam sleeping mats for camping are perfect for lining the bent plywood seat.
  • The (very) tiny play in the linkage is not a problem at all.
  • I had to "fix" the USS as the original steering tabs were effectively longer at the forks, resulting in a gearing effect. The wheel turned less than the bars. (not good)
Some thoughts on riding the bike.
  • You can't easily move your body to balance. Counter Steering Helps a LOT. I learned this driving motorbikes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countersteering
  • It's way easier to start off down a slight hill.
  • There's no suspension. I do appreciate that's obvious. But you can't lift up out of the saddle. I may "spring" the seat. I've seen suspension seats for normal bikes. We shall see.
  • The USS bars have a lot of leverage back and forth. Even tightening the bars a lot at the bracket does not stop me from moving them about if I push or pull to hard. I am thinking of welding them at a suitable angle.
  • A VERY light hand on the USS bars makes the bike travel in a straight line. Less is MORE. Hauling out of the bars as you start off makes for a very short journey.

I like it. I like it a lot. It will need a little more work. Some tweaking. Lights, mudguards, pannier brackets, paint, etc. Once it's presentable I'll post some pics.

My welding needs a LOT of work. Right now I can make stuff stick, and it will hold against a car jack. But I'm scoring about 0.2 our of 10 for artistic merit, and that's only cause they hate to give you 0.It will take a bit of practice before I'm prepared to go out in traffic, and I need a decent helmet mirror. 


plans, forum, tutorials etc. are here http://www.atomiczombie.com/

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A little about welding..

Some good books

  • Farm and Workshop Welding
  • How to Weld: Techniques and Tips for Beginners and Pros (Motorbooks Workshop)

Phases of not being able to weld (just stick welding mild steel - lets not get silly just yet)

  • Can't strike an ark
  • Can't run a bead
  • Can't run a neat bead
  • Bead is (too high,  too flat, undercuts the metal, laced with inclusions)
  • Can't join metal at all
  • Can break metal about with bare hands
  • Can break metal with hammer
  • Can sometimes break metal with hammer
  • *Can't make neat weld to join metal
  • Can't always make neat weld
  • Take a lot of attempts to dial in the right settings on a different type of joint.
If I get past this list, I'll consider my self to be about "beginner" status.

I guess it's true of so many things. They seem simple until you start to learn about them, and then you find out how much is involved.

Some Simple Ideas 

(Bear in mind I'm an utter novice, so this has very little authority behind it) 

Too cold, you only join the surface. Too hot you burn through.

Too Hot, Speed Up to compensate, and you don't deposit enough metal, you get undercutting.

Too Cold, Slow down to compensate, you end up with too much metal, and inclusions from the slag getting around you.

As you run a weld, the metal heats up, at the start it's stone code. Circle at start for a second before you start moving.

On thin stuff you need to do short welds, then let it cool. Repeat.

More weld material does not make a weld stronger, a nice convex fillet is stronger than a blob as the blob introduces a sudden change in thickness of metal, which is a stress point. The weld is stronger, the joint is weaker. It will break at the edge of the blob.

Buy an automatic helmet. As a beginner this makes a lot of difference.

* I'm about here, on a good day. With varying degrees of the preceding problems.

Monday, May 07, 2012

And now I'm learning to weld...

It's a long way from boats, but I'm planning on building a recumbent bike. See http://www.atomiczombie.com/

I've started learning to weld, there's tonnes of stuff out there, the good the bad and the ugly. Some of it is just plain wrong. The dedicated sites are better than instructables & such.




 Ymmv, given that I don't know a whole pile about welding, do take my recommendations with a whole pile of salt.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Winter List

No boat is ever finished, and I have my list for the winter....


  • Brass rubbing strips on the rudder, centreboard and the front of the hull
  • Cargo Netting for bits and pieces
  • Fix the bow eye, it was too small and it bent
  • Add a nose wheel to the launching trolley
  • Add a winch to the trailer or trolley. This needs some thought, I want to make it easier to get the boat onto the trolley and the trolley onto the road trailer.
  • Wooden Trim where the hull joins the deck. More sanding.
  • Reapply oil to the seats, coamings etc.
  • Put the wooden bungs in the screw holes in the coamings.
  • Lazy jacks / topping lift
  • See if I can improve set up time for the mast / sails. I think if I have something to support the stern while on the trolley, I can raise the mast by hand. We shall see.
  • A mount for the GPS
  • Bilge pump (or pumps) that I can use on either tack.
  • A better way of stowing the outboard while towing.
There. Now I have a list.

It's longer than I thought it would be, but it'll get longer yet, lists always do.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sailing in November

My wife's family is from Cavan, and my parents have retired there too. So, on Friday we drove to Cavan, with the boat in tow. While my wife and the children visited her parents, I met my parents at the lake with the boat. (Thank you my love for the time you give me to sail.)

The lake was up about 4 - 6 feet over it's banks, which meant the car park was flooded to 18 inches. So I had to push the boat and trailer right through the (bitterly cold) water in the car park to get deep enough to launch it.

I'm now in my 40s, so Mom's claim to being 21 is not looking good, but she rolled up her trousers and waded knee deep into the lake to climb on board.

Her father was a Ship Builder in Arklow, and this was her first time going out sailing in a boat built by her son. The world turns.

It was also only my third time out in the boat. So her faith in me may be misplaced.

Using an A Frame, an open hinge, and temporary, sprung stays, I've hugely simplified hoisting the mast and setting up the boat, but it still takes about an hour. This time, I rigged the Jib for the first time. Up to now I'd only be flying the mainsail.

The lake was divided into regions of small waves, ripples, and of glass, depending on the lay of the land, and the shelter of the trees.

As you can see the lake is somewhat convoluted.


View Larger Map
Our journey went from the Bridge marked A above to the turn in the lake and back. Hardly an epic voyage, but an adventure nonetheless.
For the first time I popped up the Jib. It's on a rolling furler, and it was far easier to fly it and later stow it again than I'd expected.

Mom took the helm for a while, and we generally took it easy. In spite of it being the start of November, it was surprisingly warm, and the sky was blue, barely dotted with clouds.

At one point we tacked back and forth a few times to clear a copse of sunken trees whose crowns were barely half clear of the water. With a pivoting centreboard, and pop up rudder, I fear no shallows, but tangling with those trees could have left us stuck, but in deep enough water that getting out to push off was not an option.

I had not turned on the GPS so I've no idea how fast we were going. It was light enough air that we could sit one each side and sail without any concern of capsizing. There was a noticeable increase in speed when we flew the Jib. At times we "flew along", but when we passed through the shadows of the trees, we had to look at our wake to be sure we were moving at all.

The return to our launch site was narrow, close to the wind, and in shelter. After slowing to a halt and drifting back and sideways twice, I relented and used the outboard engine to take us in to where I could jump out

I'd like to say a big thanks to my father, who in spite of not having any wish to board any boat which is not large enough to have a choice of restaurants, did help me set up and tear down the boat, and sat reading in the car awaiting our safe return.

These lakes will be my sailing grounds for a while, and there's more than enough to explore. As the kids get older, there's plenty of "pirate coves" and "magic islands". I think I'll need to order "The Swallows and The Amazons".