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Log Entry

Holly starts a new job.

Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Yes, I'm awkwardly brilliant perhaps once a year. So right now I'm a bit concerned about how the rest of 2024 is going to play out. Have I used up my incandescent light bulb moment or am I operating on LED and have a long life of ideas ahead of me this year?

Recently, as in the end of 2023 and into the very beginning of 2024, CAYUGA needed a solution. Of course, this is a classic I love yachting story about to play out.

As you may recall, the engines and transmissions were fully restored. As a part of the overall process, the old engine mounts (solid, but a bit rusty and corroded) were replaced, the old mount holes were glassed in, and the stringers* (in case that word is not quite familiar) were ready for new mounts. Here are a few pictures of where we started.

When the tardy transmissions finally made their illustrious appearances last fall, the belles of the ball at that point, with much fanfare, everything was looking up. Here are some pictures of where we ended up.

One small problem. . .

The new mounts, and you knew this was coming, were slightly larger in height. Maybe because they're better, larger, sturdier, improved materials, whatever? But damn it, now one of the deck hatches doesn't close flush with the deck over the starboard transmission. Port is fine. OMG, whatever the fix is, it's got to be the same on both sides. AND it can't look like there was ever a fix. Not just one issue, but compounding ones.

Huh? Why? Because. She's a member of the Antique Classic Boat Society and if she wants to get any chances of any awards, she better look like her line drawings. She'll never win 100% original classic and/or restoration, the first owner changed her original engines from the not-nearly-powerful enough Chrysler M 360s (250hp) to the GM Marine Power S 454s (350hp) we have now.

The line drawings are pretty clear on what happened. The original is in black and the new GMs are in purple. This is helpful too as you can see the shaft alignment in degrees, the alley where the shaft goes through the hull, as well as the cabin sole location (deck), and how close the purple comes to the underside of the sole.

The guys at the yard were betwixt and between and I was called to the boat yard toward the end of the year after the successful first dip for the engine break-in. It was a somber atmosphere, with many seemingly upbeat ideas being tossed out, all thought through, but none were appealing and all meant a bunch of funky things I just didn't really get. I listened intently, VERY intently. I was standing there on the boat, inside the storage shed, at the edge with the door up, a cool day, but not bone-chilling. There were three of us. The engine guy, of course, the lead yard guy, and I think the son of the owner. Ideas were flowing like a keg of beer at a frat party.

I look at everyone with a little bit of trepidation, after all these are professional boat builders, but after about 15-20 minutes of this conversation, I'm like, huh, why are we doing this? There's GOT to be a better way than teak deck grates, a second ladder, bump ups or outs, and other ideas but I don't remember exactly. All of this is to fix the fact that the alignment of the starboard engine on the NEW mounts has caused the starboard transmission to be slightly higher than the underside of the deck hatch, like about 5/8", which is kind of a lot but not a lot. Funny enough, the deck hatches were slightly revised with the installation of the larger GMs - there is a small cut-out on the bottom of the hatches just in the place where the transmissions would have bumped up against the hatch. In the picture, you can see the small rectangle of additional wood added to the top for strength/deck integrity where the cut-out exists underneath. So, now we're revising it a second time.

The alignment problem itself was that the starboard shaft did not travel straight through the alley. It was running a little north in the alley and that was a tolerance no one was OK with.

And here's the light bulb moment. It occurred to me, why just not raise the deck so the hatch fits right?

A few minutes before I mustered the courage to speak up, Pete Mathews poked his head over the gunnels and was checking in on the brain trust. He just listened. So I finally asked, as there was a pause in the brainstorming, "Hey guys, what if we did this...". To my great surprise and delight, Pete chimed in as if lightning had hit and paraphrasing, said, "Yes, that was the fix, and here's how to do it!" The crew had a collective look of, "Hey, that might just work".

And so on March 1, the deadline for "in the water", I went to see the progress. I've been to visit every week since the mid/end of January, usually on Fridays which are days when work is out a little bit earlier, and it's been a magical transition of boat work over the past two months.

One more thing. An opportunity had presented itself. There was an ugly "fix" for a cut into the engine box when the prior owner took out the transmissions for service separately from the engines. Brad and I always thought it looked horrible. Truly jinkety janked.

I'll let the pictures explain it, because trying to do so to Brad who knew it was something to be fixed, wasn't quite sure what I was saying until there was something on paper. Perhaps Hunt Designs or Mathews Bros are interested in hiring me as a boat designer and/or problem solver. What a new job that would be! The first picture is the crappy-looking old situation. The second picture is the drawing of my idea. The rest is history.

Thank you Mathews Bros for taking my ideas and making them a reality - between your utterly talented interpreters of my deck idea and horrible drawings, your skilled craftsmen turned my thoughts out beautifully. And a sidebar thank you to Spencer Mathews who said to me this past Friday late afternoon that my ideas worked really well. I want you to know that the gravity of my thank you was grounded in a realization that I did something I never knew I could do, so it was a remarkable moment for me (and my boat). I felt proud, which is something I am wary of, but can't help but feel. My closing thought is to share that I don't see a lot of women running boats out there on the water, and what happened over the course of the past few months gave me even more confidence about playing on the water, fixing my boat, and conquering an I love yachting moment. CAYUGA is ready to go!

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Mar 04

So the real question I have as I am reading this on March 4th is did we make the March 1st deadline? Fingers Crossed for response.