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First test run !!!!! ( All is well )

September 16 2007 at 6:26 PM
Paul  (no login)

Response to * Update on the 20' fiberglass Sea Skiff project (an "almost Commander")

Wow what a happy day today is ! Yesterday I took my time, not really knowing if we would go to the water or not. As it turned out, I worked and worked on various things, and it got late in the day and we decided to try for Sunday.

Rather than getting up at the crack of dawn, as we planned, we slept in and enjoyed the Sunday morning, and we eventually got to the marina around noon.

We launched the boat and pulled it around to the gas dock. We gassed up before arriving at the marina. There I noticed we were taking on water so I tightened the shaft log and rudder log accordingly. Everything looked secure, we didn't see any fuel leaks, the water intrusion was stopped, and the bilge pump made quick work of the evacuation.

Since this was the first time any fuel had gone into the filter or into the new fuel lines, I knew I would have to crank the motor a lot in order to get it started. This was the case.

Finally, with a little encouragement from a can of starter fluid, things came to life and it pumped enough fuel to light up and continue running. It coughed and smoked down the fuel dock, ha ha, and burn off some of that carbon and oil I used to lube things up with.

After that, the motor ran reasonably well, especially due to the fact that is has NOT BEEN TUNED at all. I have a wrong carb off a 1959 283 Chris Craft, and have not timed the boat, nor have I even put in new plugs or set the points. I knew it would run, so I decided to test it as it was. Don't ask why, lol. I just wanted to test things at the marina to see if the transmission was pumping fluid, etc., because it was an unknown ebay acquisition, and I was worried about it. It works fine by the way, but it took a little linkage adjustment to get it to shift on demand.

So we fired it up at the docks, and it drew a crowd. Everyone seemed to be appreciative. The sound of the motor was spectacular. Numerous people started recalling their earlier days when they were kids, on Chris Craft boats, etc., and it's part of the fun having an old boat because it always invokes memories like this.

I took a pyrometer to everything, and true to form when we first did the test run on the garden hose, eveything was perfectly cool. I attribute this to the fact that I serviced the pump and those pressure regulator valves.

Then it came time to depart the dock and see what happened. This was a nerve wracking event. Off I went on a short excursion around the marina, Janet watched from the dock. At first I got NO RESPONSE FROM THE HELM. I couldn't figure it out, nothing seemed to be working. Guess what? The darn rack and pinion was turing the wrong way, ha ha ha. When I turned to the left, the boat wanted to go to the right. It was nuts. I ended up putting my hand on the bottom of the wheel, and if I wanted to go left, I would move my hand left (which is actually turning the wheel to the right). How this happened is beyond me, I guess it was too much beer during the steering installation time. I do recall looking over the transom seeing the rudder working, but never put it together. It will be an easy fix, however.

That didn't keep us from going out for a speed run. Of course, we did a lap around the marina and the idle adjustment was a bit high, and the harbormaster asked me to SLOW DOWN due to the wake, sheesh, a guy just can't have fun any more. He's a great guy, by the way, no problem there.

We went out the channel, depth sounder working perfectly, bilge pump working when needed (after getting the mud dabber work cleared out of the outlet). Giving it a bit of throttle, it was very apparent this boat has PLENTY OF POWER. It picked up and ran great. Steering was a challenge, ha ha. We turned back into our own wake and ran hard, the boat ran through that like it wasn't even there.

All said and done, we're thrilled. Now it is a matter of attending to details, doing a little tuning, swapping out the prop, and of course tending to that steering.

I'll be posting photos within the hour, stay tuned !



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