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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.

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Old 07-02-2013
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Re: Cruising Skills/Practice

Originally Posted by sully75 View Post
The boat has an outboard. Do I understand that in general people don't really repair their own outboards, they take them in for servicing? Not like an atomic 4 or something where you more or less have to know how to repair it to have one?

It's a Suzuki long shaft in good condition. But if it went south I would not have a clue.

Any guides to outboard ownership you'd suggest?
Having an outboard serviced regularly or doing it yourself once you know how is the best way to keep stuff from going wrong with it. I had an issue with the outboard in question, which was mounted on my fish and ski boat, due to the fact that I was testing it after I had recently purchased it. The PO had not done maintenance, although he claimed he had, and I had taken the boat and launched it, had it running for well over an hour, and then decided to take it for a short spin. The little timing advance spring came off and messed me up so that it had no power and would not run above an idle. I had to take the cowling off and then manually advance the timing to get back to the ramp, it was getting dark, the tide runs very strong there and it would have put me right into the middle of the Houston Ship Channel if I had not gotten it under control. Moral of the story, either check things out well before it gets dark, or have a mechanic in the boat...lucky for me I was the mechanic, unlucky for me I was also the only person on the boat and it is not easy to steer, rig a string to a timing advance and then get to safety while you are drifting very rapidly towards VERY large ships that would never even know you were there.

At least it was still light enough to see the stupid piece that gave up and fell off, any darker and it would have been a lot harder to figure out under pressure.

Lucky for me I had several people come along who helped me get things sorted out about the time I was getting it back to the boat ramp, of course luckier would have been them coming along a little earlier haha.
It is good to learn from your mistakes, but much better to learn from the mistakes of others...
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Old 07-02-2013
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Re: Cruising Skills/Practice

Get a sea gull and you will learn amazing things about engines... only kidding! But on the other hand, Have you ever read the book Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance?
Personally I would have spare plugs, and swap them periodicly, try to achieve mechanics touch, snug but not stripped; try reading the plugs, black is too rich, sandstone is cool, white, too lean? I forget.
Get a multimeter and learn how to use it for continuity, voltage, and short circuits.
Know where every thru hull is, and work them periodicly.
Check your anchor rode, make sure you have a swivell, and stainless seizing wire on all shackles.
What else? A million things. Turnbuckles, dirt in fuel, alternate fuel filters for you diesel guys; know how to at least do a broadstitch with palm and waxed twine, Where's my beer?
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Old 07-03-2013
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Re: Cruising Skills/Practice

Your trip sounds awesome, and you sound like the sort of guy that's going to take preparing for this seriously.

The only thing I'd suggest are some shakedown cruises while you still have a car and money and place to park the boat and work on things. I'm still a beginner; but what I've learned is that pretty much any problem is solvable, if you're sitting at a dock with money in the bank. But that's not necessarily true when you're seasick and pitching in the waves out in the ocean when something important is broken.

Good luck!
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