BC Ferry Queen of Vancouver Island - N48 41.408 W123 23.554
Moses Point in Saanich Inlet - N48 48.098 W123 29.050
Harbour Air float plane
Saanich Inlet - N48 40.924 W123 29.456
Wayne Rock (I think)
BC Ferry again with Mount Maxwell on Saltspring Island in the background - N48 41.408 W123 23.554
Adjusting the mixture screw on the carb.
5 Litre V8
The starboard side plug
The port side plug
Approaching the bridge between North and South Pender - N48 45.943 W123 15.487
In the bay at Sidney Spit - N48 38.496 W123 20.529
Buying a boat
I considered buying a boat for quite awhile and looked at all sizes up to 32 feet or so. Of course it is not just the purchase cost that needs to be considered there is upkeep and moorage fees as well.
Finally I decided on the 18 - 20 foot range. Twenty years ago I had an 18 foot K/C with a cuddy cabin and really liked it. It had a 140 horse outboard however which I did not like. In fact I had to rebuild the power head at one point. One of the pistons burned and ruined the crankshaft as well. A new crank was 600 dollars. I ended up finding a used one for 300. At least I can say I have rebuilt a V4 outboard engine. Twelve hundred or so dollars later and many hours in my workshop I had it running again.
This time I wanted to get a boat with an inboard / outboard and once again to have a cuddy cabin. Noise is an issue with me and I/Os are quite a bit quieter. I did not want a bow rider because I am fearful of this type of hull on the open ocean. I have punched the bow into a wave a few times and would not want to experience that in an open bow boat. I can't imagine what it would be like to instantly take a couple hundred gallons of water into the front of an 18 foot boat. Some say a bow cover will stop it from filling. I for one would not want to do the test. Once I was in a friend's 17 Olympic (with a closed bow thankfully) we got into the chop that occurs off the point of Bechy Head on an ebb tide, anybody that fishes out there will know what I am talking about. We were making our way around the point and punched the nose in. Luckily there was a canopy firmly snapped to the windshield otherwise the cascading water would have drenched us. When it stuffed in all you could see was green and the water was spraying out from between the snap points on the windshield. It was like a scene from the Poseidon Adventure. We got a little wet but survived unscathed and got to the fishing grounds.
After looking around I decided the boat for me was the Bayliner 2152 classic. It has the cuddy, the I/O and above all I like the way it looks. At 21 feet it still can be on a trailer weighing in at around 3000 lbs. I found one online in the summer of 2007 and emailed the owner to confirm that it had fresh water cooling. I would not even consider buying a boat with raw water cooling. It had the fresh water cooling but the guy was asking more than I wanted to pay. I tucked a print of the ad into my expanding boat folder and kind of forgot about it.
In early November my wife said to me "we should buy a boat" she had always been onboard (no pun intended) about getting a boat but had never been that direct and to be honest I had mixed feelings myself. I pulled out my folder and contacted the 2152 owner to see if he still had it. He did and was now prepared to take offers. I ended up buying it for a reasonable price, in hindsight it was not as good a deal as I originally thought but it was the boat I wanted.
The New Boat
It is a 2003 21.5 Bayliner 210 Cuddy classic. It has 6 seats, a cuddy cabin, a walk through windshield, stereo and an anchor storage compartment on the nose. It is powered by a 5.0 Chevrolet V8 engine rated at 220 hp. Top speed is close to 50 mph.
It needed a little TLC
Over all the condition of the boat was good. The previous owner thought it had about 200 hours on it. He had bought it from the original owner. The gentleman who sold it to me was the type who uses things but does not repair.
The first obvious issue was the bottoming brake actuator on the trailer. A friend who is a mechanic gave me a hand and we pulled the wheels and hubs off and replaced the brakes. I bought the complete backing plate assemblies from West Marine and bolted them on. Initially one of the wheel cylinders leaked, we took it back apart, removed and reinstalled the rubber cup and it fixed the problem. I had a little trouble adjusting the brakes. I had to set them up so they actually dragged so much you could not turn the wheel by hand to get the actuator to a point where it did not bottom out. The brakes are made to kind of apply automatically with the forward rotation of the wheel, that coupled with the rusty drum and new shoes amplified the problem. In the end I just adjusted them up tight and backed them off 5 clicks and then road tested it, they were fine. I also repacked the wheel bearings and replaced all the brake fluid.
The previous owner had done his own servicing (supposedly) and kept no records so I started by checking all the fluid levels and changing the oil. I also replaced some bolts that were missing on the cuddy cabin door hinges (with stainless of course) and got all the running lights working.
First Launch - December 31, 2007
We launched the boat from the Sidney municipal boat ramp. It is a nice ramp, very wide and there is a well maintained dock. Normally it would be about eight bucks but the meter was broken, so for us that day it was free. It was a beautiful day with no wind and mostly sunny but cool. I had a bit of trouble starting the engine which I attribute mostly to inexperience. I have gotten so used to starting fuel injected engines that I have forgotten how to start a cold carbureted V8. The engine ran OK but not perfect. It would miss a bit after idling and was pinging a bit. Some of the problem was due to carburetor icing. We traveled over to the fuel dock at Van Isle marina and squirted in about $70.00 bucks of fuel. From there we went over to Sidney Island and drifted near the spit while we ate lunch which consisted of cold pizza from the night before. We started up again and headed through John's passage and around and into Saanich Inlet. It was cold but it was good to be out on the water again. We mucked with the mixture screw a bit to try and improve the idle. It did not seem to really change things much.
The first reloading of the boat on the trailer went ok. My previous boat had a trailer with rollers. This one has carpet covered blocks. It was quite difficult to wind on and it kind of chattered as we cranked. The pitch from the strained winch line increased as the boat advanced. Next time I might put the trailer in the water further.
Engine tune up
Since I was not happy with the way the engine ran I decided to first check the obvious. I changed the fuel filter and checked the old one to see if there was anything weird in it. It was fine just nice clean gasoline and a few particles that disintegrated when I tried to pick them up. Next I pulled a plug out from each side and visually checked them. They were the correct tan colour so I just put them back in. I pulled the distributor cap off next. It looked a little grungy and there was a slight amount of condensation present. I purchased a new cap and rotor and retained the old parts as spares.
Pender Island Run
It was a little warmer this time and the new engine parts made the difference. The engine ran like a clock with no misses and it started up fine. We left from the Sidney ramp and went out and around South Pender Island and traveled back through the narrow channel between it and North Pender. On the way to South Pender we saw many Porpoises which we later identified as Dalls porpoises. They have a small dorsal fin and are in the range of 7 feet long. We used John's passage on the way back once again. This time prior to backing the trailer in to reload I put dish washing liquid on the trailer pads. It stopped the chattering and made it easier to crank on. Some day I will have to get an electric winch.
The next articles from here on in will be less about the boat and more about the journey itself.