March 30, 2009

Bilge Pump Blues

The only item replaced more frequently aboard a boat than a bilge pump switch is fuel. The reason they break? Most of these float switches are powered by a tiny, 18 or 22-gauge wire at the hinge point of the float. Everytime the float rises, that teensey wire gets bent. After a few more cycles it gets kinked. Finally it just breaks. Connection lost. While electronic or other solid state switches prove generally more reliable, they too are not foolproof. Additionally, replacing your float switch with one of these may mean making a change in the installation, some re-wiring, possibly even relocating the entire pump/switch assembly in order to make things fit. Your decision then is to easily replace, plug-and-play fashion, the one you probably have. Or spend a little more time, and a little more money for superior technology. Me? I stock a couple of replacement switches and have wired a waterproof plug on to the lead from the battery. (ALWAYS "hot wire" automatic bilge switch) I can swap one out in 10-minutes, simply crimping a mating plug to the new switches wiring. I did the same thing to my washdown pump, another piece of equipment that seems to need frequent replacement. Of course,that setup also cost me some time and money. Hey, its a boat. Get over it.

Tradition and Heritage

I'm proud to carry on the tradition of service to the boating community started by my great-great-great-great-very great grandfather, Jerry Falvey. Jerry was the premier purveyor of fishing tackle on New York's Fulton Street, back when it was real working waterfront. I am honored to have a split bamboo rod fitted with the patented reel seat mentioned in this obit from the NY Times.

Falvey's Guide To Fishing Long Island

Geared-Up Publications is the publisher of Falvey's Guide To Fishing Long Island, the most comprehensive guide to upping your catch of striped bass, fluke, weakfish, sea bass and more.

Build a Dinghy:Part 1

Every boater should build a small rowboat, or preferably, a so-called "sail and oar" boat like the one currently under construction in my shop. Building your own small boat provides a saltier, classier dinghy than the ubuitous inflatable or roto-molded plastic models available in the catalogues. I cant refute the seaworthiness of the former or the economic practicality of the latter, but building even a simple plywood rowboat like this one grants insight into all kinds of boating minutia. Hull shape, the balance ( or conflict) of weight versus strength, storage, capacity and more become different animals when your the decision maker instead of just kibbitzing after the fact. A boat a'building makes you a better judge of boats and boat construction in general. That you get a custom, lightweight dinghy made and finished exactly like you want is a great bonus. These little boats cost a few hundred in materials and about 40 hours to complete as a rowboat that can take a small outboard. Add another 20 hours if yuo elect to build the sailing bits and rig. They weigh about 60-pounds. Imagine, as you row the waterfront, someone ashore notices the little head-turner under your command and asks, "Where'd you get that?" Your reply, without missing a stroke on the oars --or as you tack smartly--is the real payoff: " I built it."

Are Inboard Engines Dead?

Volvo Penta"s IPS and Cummins Mercruiser Deisel's (CMD) Zeus make bigger boat propulsion choices more demanding than they were just a year ago. Add to that a growing number of large , outboard-powered cruising, sport and fishing boats built by the likes of Everglades, Intrepid, MjM and SeaVee and for the first time, the venerable conventional sahft-and-rudders inboard's position as the power of choice for "serious " boats between 3o and 50 feet is threatened. In a running series of posts, we'll examine the pros and cons, look for your feedback and reach some conclusions you can use when makiing your propulsion decision. Check this video from the helm of Everglades new 35 Express with trip 350 Yamahas.
The first thing most guys say when they first see pods, like the IPS installation in the picture is: " Man, I'd hate to hit something with those things!" My response is: " If I hit something hard offshore, I'm gonna have a bad day regardless of what makes the props turn." C'mon...bring it on.