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Old 03-12-2013, 08:33 PM   #1
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Six Months On

It’s been six months since I bought my first cruising motor boat, a full displacement timber hull 50’ x 16’ x 6’with a single 6lxb Gardner engine and during this time I’ve clocked up 336 engine hours, including a delivery run of 400 nm and a 1500 nm cruise to Tasmania and back for the Wooden Boat Festival.
This isn’t my first timber boat and I’m aware of the onerous maintenance issues, but I prefer one-off designs and accept that this sometimes means timber.

Looking back at my initial worries about leaping into a motor boat for coastal cruising, I think I’ve learned a couple of things.

Given a bit of patience, close quarter manoeuvring with my single engine fifty footer is indeed pretty straight forward. The bow thruster sometimes helps.

Full, wide side decks with direct access from the wheel make the boat easy to bring alongside and very usable at anchor.

Although they weren’t on my original wish list, now I think stabilisers are almost a necessity for longer coastal passages.

Pulling off all the zincs and replacing them with half the number of Maddox blocks seems to have fixed the galvanic/electrolysis problems.

The heavy RIB tender is a pain bouncing around at sea and a handful to land on a beach, but it’s terrific for exploring remote destinations, so I’m now hanging on to mine.

The ancient Gardner engine started out being a bit of a threat, but it turns out of course that it only needs what they all need - fuel, air, oil and water. We are now at peace with each other.

Adding strong hand rails alongside the engine was a very good move - especially when topping up oil at sea.

The aft cabin is small for a fifty footer, but its small size allows a larger, more useable aft deck. In fact the older less efficient accommodation plan is not crowd compatible, but seems safer to move about at sea.

The program of cutting plenty of access hatches in the hull ceiling planks has paid off a couple of times and I will continue cutting, even to the extent of replacing heavy single hatches with multiple lighter ones.

I thought I’d miss not having a flying bridge, but not yet.
I don’t miss cruising under sail at all.

The first six months have generated even more questions, but I’ll ask those in another thread.

Cheers, John

P.S. Any concepts of ‘brand’, ‘asset’, ‘residual value’ or ‘return on investment’ pushed by purveyors of plastic are a bit of a mystery to me. In my experience boat ownership is a constant cash liability, balanced by regular injections of total enjoyment, so I don’t feel the need to defend timber or argue engine economics too seriously – it just happens that (so far) this boat suits me and my way of staying afloat.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:45 PM   #2
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Rather than "at peace", the polish on Gardner suggests a love affair. So does the whole boat, what a great acquisition success story.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:02 PM   #3
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Greetings,
Mr. 419. VERY nicely stated.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:12 PM   #4
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Holy crap!! My tounge is on the floor!!! That engine room is the SHIzNITS!!!!!! Well done. Wow. I'm going to copy it as much as I can, if you don't mind.
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:27 AM   #5
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John,
Good to hear from you.
How was the trip down to Tassie.
Would love to get a voyage report of where you stoped etc.
Sound like the Gardner is going well. You didn't have to do much to it did you?

I am still doing a few up grades to Tidahapah and hope to have rig and paravanes fitted soon.
Are you heading north in the near futuer.
Cheers
Benn
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:00 AM   #6
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Love that Gardner John! Thats a very impressive engine room.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:31 AM   #7
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Very cool looking boat and a great post.

Quote:
In my experience boat ownership is a constant cash liability, balanced by regular injections of total enjoyment
I kind of collect boating aphorisms, and that's a good new one to add to the collection!
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceK View Post
Rather than "at peace", the polish on Gardner suggests a love affair. So does the whole boat, what a great acquisition success story.
Hello Bruce,
The previous owners maintained the highly polished Gardner look so I’m just continuing the routine. It also means I can take a forensic approach to all those oil dribbles and splashes. Remember I (was) a sailor, so engine love (not that there’s anything wrong with that) still feels a bit unnatural, but I’m sure it will follow.
Too early to call 'success', but no signs of buyer's remorse so far.
Cheers, John
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swampu View Post
Holy crap!! My tounge is on the floor!!! That engine room is the SHIzNITS!!!!!! Well done. Wow. I'm going to copy it as much as I can, if you don't mind.
Thanks for the comments Swampu, but the previous owners did all the work. I'm sure they'd be flattered if you saw something you could use on Cajun Rose.
The ER was originally made watertight with an auto fire supression system for commercial survey, but I think it makes sense to keep them. Mind you, I haven't tried the original manual pump with the fire hoses yet.
How are you going with your huge Cajun Rose projects?
cheers, John
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tidahapah View Post
John,
Good to hear from you.
How was the trip down to Tassie.
Would love to get a voyage report of where you stoped etc.
Sound like the Gardner is going well. You didn't have to do much to it did you?

I am still doing a few up grades to Tidahapah and hope to have rig and paravanes fitted soon.
Are you heading north in the near futuer.
Cheers
Benn
G’day Benn,
I did want to give the boat a bit of a shakedown by doing fairly long legs, the longest being Hobart-Twofold via Tasman Island (427 nm) running with WOT about 90% of the time.
Overall the Gardner performed pretty well, drinking 14 litres per hour with 1 litre of oil every ten hours, although at WOT she often didn't get up to 1400 revs.

The only major hassles were losing hydraulics, killing anchor, pilot and davits, this was with the anchor stuck 1 metre below the surface in Wineglass - a good chance to practice some basic skills with the handy billy.
The next day we lost the steering ram off Maria, which was a good time to play with the emergency tiller. Much fun was had coming into Triabunna with the throttle at one end of the boat and the (blind) tiller at the other.
The steering Ram seals were replaced in Triabunna and the hydraulic pump bearing and shaft were rebuilt in Hobart. Cheap and cheerful fixes on bog-standard hydraulic kit. The reliance on one pump bearing for all those systems is food for thought.

Another worry was those fuel tanks which were condemned at the Gold Coast Marina. We tested the supposedly stuffed one with water on the delivery run down to Sydney and it was fine, so we coated the inside with some high-tech gunk and used both for the Tassie cruise. I know they'll have to be replaced soonish, but at the moment the Gardner service comes first.

Overall, comparing the same cruise under sail two years ago, it turns out that the boat might be a pretty good fit for my wrinkley goal of coastal passages in a straight line at 7-8 knts around Tassie and Qld.
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Sydney to Eden 208 nm, Eden to Wineglass Bay 321 nm, Wineglass to Triabunna 35nm
Triabunna to Hobart via Dennison Canal, Hobart to Cygnet, Kermandie, Huon River, Port Esperance
Hobart to Eden via the “Hole in the Wall” between Cape Pillar and Tasman Island 427 nm
Eden to Jervis Bay 128nm Jervis to Sydney 84nm

I can fill in more details if you are interested.
cheers, John
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor of Fortune View Post
Love that Gardner John! Thats a very impressive engine room.
Thanks Sailor,
The previous owners did a good (and expensive) job.

Those ER stills are before our first round of mods, which included access hatches in the beautiful (and very heavy) floorboards, and rails alonside the engine. The next round is moving some equipment to get better access to pumps, belts etc.

There's a big difference between young healthy tradies using specialist tools and experience at the marina, and me changing belts and impellors in the middle of Bass Strait.

The only major hassle is headroom, but evey time I'm down there bashing body parts I tell myself that life is compromise.

cheers, John
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