Thursday, April 20, 2017

I BOUGHT AN UNDERWATER DRONE

I made a post a few weeks ago about an underwater drone geared toward fisherman that I thought might be useful on board BIANKA if the price was reasonable. Since it is over the one thousand dollar mark I scrubbed that idea. But, doing further research I can upon an alternative underwater drone that was in an acceptable price range for my budget. The only problem is it has not yet hit the market and will not be available until at least June. So placing an order for a non existent product is somewhat a leap of faith. But, I have been there before. Like in 2007 when I decided to convert BIANKA from having a diesel engine to installing electric propulsion. Not a lot of sailboats had done such a conversion at that time. So I had no real models to follow. Though since this drone is considerably cheaper than the EP conversion it is a much better risk. At around $500 the Fathom One drone is the right price for my budget and so I decided to take the leap and buy one sight unseen.
I'm looking at the drone as another tool to have on board not a toy. My primary reason for buying it is to use as a visual check on how BIANKA's anchor is set.  The five hundred dollar price seems worth it if it helps me know that my much more expensive boat is anchored well so I can sleep at night. It can also help me see what the anchor might be hung up on if I sould have trouble raising it. Another use might be to find an item accidently lost over board. Of course it might also be fun to see what lies below the boat too. But, checking the anchor will be it's primary use. I will post more details and show how the Fathom One works out once I have it on board and can test it's abilities. So stay tuned.


Tuesday, April 04, 2017

SPRING CHECK SURPRISES: The Good and the Bad

A nice 60 degree F day in between rain storms. It has be awhile since I've checked on BIANKA about a month. Since that time we've had a near blizzard and some pretty heavy rains. I don't shrink wrap BIANKA for the winter having found the boat when shrink wrapped develops mildew in spots and generally tends to get grimy and feel humid when shrink wrapped. So I was surprised to see despite the snows and rains of the last month BIANKA's bilge was pretty dry except for the splash of antifreeze I left in it during my last visit:


She's a pretty tight boat. I think I helped make her tighter by taping over the cockpit hatches. This prevents excess water, ice and snow from leaking down below. Probably something I should do every year when storing her for the winter.

I just did a quick check and took some photos of a few things that are on the maintenance list. One of the items is the jammed Maceration pump. I'm not looking forward to working on this item for a number of reasons but, mostly because it's location looks like it is going to be a pain to get access to and remove. While taking some photos of the pump area I noticed that one of the clamps that secures the head intake and wash down hoses was severely rusted:


This is a boat sinking issue and it is moved to the top of the list of Spring Outfitting issues to address.