Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Gloucester, Mass. USA
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Rep Power: 14
Paddle wheel transducer
I remember one time, sailing along in my buddy Jackís C34 when the paddlewheel unit for the knot log became fowled. Now, Jack liked to trim and tweak like he was racing for the Americaís Cup. He was getting upset that the patent thing didnít work and wanted it fixed, now! So, I offered to go below and take care of it.
I pulled the bilge plate up, located the plug and started to remove the paddlewheel unit. Now this was the first time Iíd ever played with one of these and wasnít sure what to expect. I undid the thread ring and started working the unit out with one hand while holding the plug at the ready with the other. It was just about this time that the boat plowed into a party-boat wake!
The lurch of the boat hitting the wake forced me to drop the plug and let go of the unit to catch myself as I fell in a prone position, down into the bilge directly over the hole! The rising water pressure put the final grace on the unit and it popped out with a will! It clonked me right in the head, followed by the inrush of water from its 2 inch opening as the plug rolled way up into the bilge, out of reach into the next bay.
An old focísel song we use to sing on the olí Truant came to mind, the first verse went:
Dares a leek in da boat dear skibber, dear skibber!
Dares a leek in da boat, dear skibber, a leek!
I dragged myself out of the bilge and grabbed the paddlewheel unit. Keeping my upper body over the inrush of water to keep the bunks and settee from getting soaked, I cleared the seaweed off of it and stuffed it back in the hole!
It really broke Jack up as I came on deck looking like a drown rat! Through his laughter he informed me that at least the log was now working. It was still a standing joke years later for Jack to ask me if I would go down and clear the knot log!
Seriously, I can live without another hole in my boat. I agree with Jeff that real-time speed through the water can give useful information for sail trim and such, but that would be of interest more to the racing crowd then it is to me. When navigating between the buoys in a Down East fog, Iím more interested in my actual speed over the ground. The old Loran and now the GPS gives me information that I can plot directly to the chart.
There are many old ways to judge the speed of your boat both through the water and over the ground. I havenít used them for so long that Iíve forgotten, off hand the formula for timing a chip log for speed trough the water or a lobster pot buoy for speed over the ground. I use to be able to read the wake and judge the speed to within a tenth of a knot or so. I suppose I could pull out my old logbooks for a refresher course. Some day, when the oil has all dripped dry, I may need to do just that!