10th March: Seatern has a gear lever

I struggle to “dock” Seatern at the jetty and hate to think how it would be in a Marina! Even with the Tohatsu outboard, “Dai”, on low revs she tends to do about 1 knot – but in any case if I take way off too soon she will tend to get blown off course. I need to be able to use neutral and short forward jabs (“steer before gear”) …and reverse when I get it wrong! However changing gear means bending down and loosing sight of what is happening, usually I over-do the correction.

The Tohatsu motor has attachment points to fit remote controls – the gear change is taken off the middle of the starboard side of the motor. However it’s hard to see how a cables could be fitted so that the motor could still be tilted up and turned on its side. Unless the cable was long and looping which would mean it was in the way when sailing!

I decided to attach an extension directly to the gear change handle on the motor. The Seahawk inflatable which I have as a potential light weight tender came with some very poor jointed plastic oars. I’ve bolted the joint end of one of these to the gear handle. The other part of the oar handle is simply screwed into the joint when needed. The motor can still be tilted even with the extension handle in place. However the tiller has to be pushed up out of the way implying one steers with the motor. I may try a shorter handle if this proves a problem.

I’m using a standard outboard tiller extension for the throttle which attaches with a thumb screw. It will be interesting to see how my new controls work – I haven’t tried them yet!

Today was the first spring-like day and I had planned to go over to the island. However the forecast for the next two days looked wet and windy so I didn’t (in the event I could have!). Instead, as well as making the gear lever, I got various small tasks done: Cut the becket off the mast base ratchet block for the main halyard (I’d re-used a dinghy mainsheet block); fitted a swivel block for the lazy-jack halyard to stop the lines twisting on the mast (a big improvement!); replaced the teak mounting plate for the echomax bracket with a tufnol one (the old one had cracked probably having been caught by a shroud during mast raising); and… made a toothbrush rack!!!