Sunday, September 30, 2012


After another email was sent I got the good news that the parts for the Honda 2000 generator are on the way and should be arriving sometime next week. So there is hope I might actually be able to get out on at least one more cruise this season. But, first I have to get the remaining seized screws off the Honda 2000:

Once that is done replacing the pull cord and reassembly should go much faster.  At least that's the plan.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Well, It's going into the second week and I'm still waiting for delivery of some replacement screws for the Honda 2000 generator. The good news is I may finish the the Helm Instrumentation project this week. Even came up with an "aha" solution that makes it versatile for use in the off season too. So life is still good because :

 "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." -Kenneth Grahame

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I was glad to be on board savoring the last sunset of summer 2012. When I awoke this morning it was fall. The sun will continue it's journey south and at some point BIANKA and I may follow it. But, for now I'm content to enjoy each season as it happens here on the Isle of Long.

Friday, September 21, 2012

WHAT WORKS: Plastic bag on the prop.

Once again I was away from the BIANKA for an extended period of time. One month or so. I wanted to avoid the marine growth on the prop the boat experienced earlier this summer as you can see below:

So this time I decided to do an experiment of something I had heard about from other sailors. Before I left the boat I covered the prop with a plastic bag. One of those that you get when you buy something in supermarkets etc... I tied it around the prop and came back a month later and it looked like this:

I dove under the boat just using my snorkel and quickly removed the bag from the prop:

I must say it worked pretty good  in keeping the prop clean of the major marine growth and only had a barnacle or two on the blades:

So if you are going to away for an extended time covering the prop with a plastic bag does work pretty good in keeping marine growth off the prop.

Monday, September 17, 2012

RELIABILITY: So much for that!

Reliability can be a double edged sword as I recently found out. I've had a Honda 2000i generator on board for as long as BIANKA has used electric propulsion which is going on five years. It is used for a number of things on board. Because BIANKA no longer has a diesel engine and therefore no alternator the generator comes in useful in assisting the electric windlass in raising the anchor so the 12 volt battery bank is not depleted. It is also useful in charging the 48 volt propulsion bank especially the all important bulk phase for charging before letting the wind and solar take over at anchor or on the mooring. It can also move the boat along nicely at three knots without draining the battery bank as an economical hybrid propulsion system. It also powers some of the 120 volt power tools I sometimes use on board too. For five years the Honda has been a reliable workhorse when needed.

So when I noticed the pull cord was starting to look a little frayed a few weeks ago I bought a replacement. After five years it was to be expected. It was still starting the engine but, I figured it was only a matter of time before I would have to change it. I was about to head out on a two week plus cruise with an extended stay at a dock in New York where I thought I'd replace the pull cord. The boat was fully provisioned up and I motored out to the mooring where I was about use the generator and my electric hookah dive setup to do a quick clean of the hull before catching a favoring current to start the cruise. I grabbed the pull cord and it suddenly broke.

Oh well, I thought no problem I've already got the replacement cord. I had the service manual for the generator which involved taking the covers off and removing the fuel tank to get access to the recoil starter to replace the pull cord. Not too involved I'd just depart a little later than planned or wait until tomorrow. The problem was because the Honda had been so reliable for the past five years I never had any reason to remove the covers before and because it was operating in a marine environment a number of the screws had seized up tightly.

I then spent two days trying to remove them using various methods from PB Blasterscrew extractors  and finally ended up drilling some of them out.

 I also used my Dremel Rotary Tool to  make slots in some of the screws turning some of the phillips head screws into slotted ones:

To make matters worse some of these screws were "special" items according to the service manual. Needless to say I did not start out on that cruise and am currently waiting for parts including some of the "special" screws to arrive.

CAPT. MIKES'S TIP:  If you are using a generator like the Honda 2000 or some other make on board. Take some time when you first get it to coat the cover screws with some of anti corrosion product like Tef-Gel .  It will save a lot of time and aggravation later.  One thing is for sure when I re install the screws each will get a nice coat of Tef-Gel  so in five years when I need to replace the pull cord again it will be a much easier and faster job.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

IN BIANKA'S GALLEY: Measuring Cups

I try to keep glass carried on board to a minimum. Usually that means only bottles of wine and beer which are stowed well. Broken glass is a hazard on a rocking and rolling boat. So when it comes to measuring in the galley area I have found plastic measuring cups are a perfect fit when cooking up a meal or mixing up some Boat Drinks.  I've been using two Evercoat epoxy mixing cups for years now. They are durable won't shatter like glass and are perfect for use in the galley.  I have them labeled with a Brother P Touch labels for galley use only:

Just so they are not accidentally  used elsewhere on board for mixing cleaning products etc... They are also very useful because they not only have calibrations in ounces but, also milliliters and cc's too. If you have recipes that call for those measurements:

 I use two in the galley area so I can use one for measuring dry ingredients and the other for wet ones. Such as when one is cooking up some rice for a meal:

Also because they don't have handles the cups stack inside one another:

 This helps save space and on most sailboats saving space is a real good thing!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


The other day I awoke from an extended nap after have spent several unsuccessful hours trying to get the new GoPro Wi-Fi BacPac remote to work.  I sat in the cockpit thinking about the lack of the days productivity. Then I noticed an older couple on the shore rigging up a Sunfish to go for a sail. It was blowing hard because the area was squeezed between hurricane Leslie passing to the east and high pressure moving in from the west.  Winds were 15 to 20 gusting to 27 knots. I saw the older gent start to sail. A few minutes later I saw the boat had capsized. The guy eventually was able to right it but, obviously he had had enough. He lowered the sail but, the winds were still driving him and the boat out further into the harbor. He was having a difficult time removing the mast as the boat continued to drift. Then I noticed the woman on the shore had jumped into the water and was now swimming to toward the man and the drifting Sunfish. After she reached it both she and the man were hanging on to a nearby sailboat to avoid drifting further out into the harbor. This was not looking good. So I got on the radio and called the Harbor Master who luckily was still around. I let them know about the situation and directed them to the scene and a few minutes later had rescued the couple and got them and their boat to the shore. So it turned out it was not such an unproductive day after all and I felt pretty good.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

SEPTEMBER 11,2001 8:46 AM

I was down below stowing a few things away about to get underway from New York to cruise toward Nantucket. When I suddenly heard a plane flying overhead. I thought that plane sounds like it's flying really low. Then ...

Monday, September 10, 2012


I started this blog over six years ago for various reasons:
1) It was a way for me to document various projects I did on the boat and when I did them.
2) It was a place I could share information, tips and techniques with others. Helping them learn from my successes and also avoid some of mistakes I made as I have learned from others.
3) It was a place I could document my travels and  experiences in the watery parts of the world both on BIANKA and other boats.
I am happy to write for myself but, it is also nice to know that others find some of my thoughts, projects and travels useful. So I was pleased to open up an email this morning from Elizabeth Fitch that read in part:

"The Bianka Log Blog, has been selected to be featured on our Sailing Blogs Facebook page: We like to pick blog posts that are well-written, topical, and engaging, so congratulations!"

It's certainly a nice feeling to have THE BIANKA LOG BLOG looked at and highlighted by others. Thanks to all readers who tie up here on occasion! I really appreciate it.

Saturday, September 08, 2012


I ran out of water last night. Both water tanks on BIANKA were now empty. Well, it looks like I'll have to take the boat to the dock for the first time since June. So when I awoke at around six am I made plans to head over to the dock and refill the water tanks. Normally, this would be a liesurely procedure. I would first have my usual Medaglia D'Oro Instant Espresso Coffee  along with a muffin or perhaps a Granola bar. But, there was an added urgency this morning. The winds were currently 7 to 10 knots out of the south but, they were expected to pick up to 15 to 20 with higher gusts as a cold front approaches. I wanted to be off the dock before they pinned me to the dock if I could help it. So I skipped my wake up coffee. In the cockpit I planned my approach to tie up to the face dock  of the marina. I even took into account the falling tide and wanted the bow to face the current as I docked. I thought about the logistics and which side to put the fenders on. I took out my dock lines and fenders and rigged them up on the side that I was sure was my plan. After they were rigged I went forward to drop off the mooring and then realized that everything was rigged on the wrong side for my plan.  So I had to re position everything again.
LESSON LEARNED: Next time take fifteen minutes and have your coffee before working on any plans or urgent ideas in the morning.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


 I was a little bummed as I finished cooking some Chicken Tika Marsala for which I forget to buy some cream to finish it off so I had to use non fat milk instead.  Oh well. As I sat down in the cockpit to enjoy it along with a nice glass of red wine, I heard from across the channel the channel the jolly sound of a Concertina  being played. The delightful sound of sea shanties one after another were drifting across the water in the still night air providing me with great joy as I dined. The sound was coming from a raft up of two boats where some people were enjoying themselves sans electronics. It reminded me of a recent book I had read of a journey along the New England coast in the 1840's. The author described being at anchor somewhere in New England and hearing the singing and playing of Sea Shanties coming from one of the other ships in the harbor. For me it's was one of those special evenings that elude those on land or get off their boats after a short day sail. It also made me imagine what it must have been like that evening in that harbor in New England back in the 1840'S. Just another magical evening on board the BIANKA.

Saturday, September 01, 2012


Here in the states it is the three day Labor Day weekend. If you are to believe the mainstream media it is the end of summer.  But, a quick check of my Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book  tells me this is not so. Still millions of people believe it and so make a mad crowded traffic filled dash to enjoy it. That goes for those on the water too! Where many harbors and anchorages are very crowded with boaters trying to squeeze in some boating during the last three day holiday weekend of the summer:

Not me. I sometimes live a complicated life, this summer was no exception. These days I work freelance and work when the phone rings. This summer I worked about five weeks between July and August and then my girlfriend wanted to spend a few days on the beach on the eastern end of the Island of Long where I stared at the seagulls and they stared at me:

I'm not complaining by any means. Even though I did not get to spend much time on board the boat in July and August. Having some money coming into the wallet from the work gig and spending two weeks on the beach is not such a bad thing. But, it's not the same as being on board the boat. So today I finally get back on board with nothing on my schedule for the next several months. But, I'm not going to be joining the crowd on the waters just yet. I'll be hanging out on the mooring until at least Tuesday. I've got a few projects on board that can keep me busy until then.  I'll let the crowd of boaters get their frenzied last licks in while BIANKA stays attached securely to the mooring. I'm happy to wait until the crowds leave.While for many this Labor Day weekend marks the end of the sailing season for me it is just the beginning.