Thursday, June 13, 2013

The boating season is here

As i sit in front of the gym waiting for them to open this morning, I am starting today's blog. It will be a busy day and this is the best way to do a brain drain prior to actually starting things.


Today is the day where Lil Provo heads down to her summer home sitting on the water in Keyport Harbor.  She is all clean in and out, has the basic required gear on board, and is packaged up and ready for the trip east.  I have to pick up my salty dog buddy Blue and bring him back to verify the tail lights are working and just in case there are any issues on the trip, it will be nice to have someone who can help or share the pain.

Need to verify we have the right ball on the hitch as we tow a few different trailers.  Check the lights and make sure they are working properly. Run over the tie downs and load straps making sure they are secured and tight. Throw a couple extra ropes on the mast just to make sure it doesn't go anyplace. Make sure we have gas and oil in the back of the truck, a case of bottled water, and tools.

In looking at the boat the other day I noticed the boat was not all the way forward to the stop by the winch.  Nothing I can do about this at this point, she must have slide back an inch or so on the trip home. We'll just make sure we have her secured pretty good.

It may be a challenge to find a home for her at the boat yard as it was still packed with boats last week with very little available room.  If there are people working on their boats, the little space available will be used for parked cars. We have to get there early to beat this possibility. Then take off the tie downs, remove the ropes, get the boom out of the cabin, and make sure they have everything they need out and ready to raise the mast with the hoist on top of the building.  Then she can be placed on her mooring which is about 100 yards off the KYC dock.

Over the next couple weeks as I come down to take her out, I will bring more of the summer supplies down.  Things like the fishing tackle, snorkel or dive gear, portable radio, DVD player, cooler,  change of clothes, and whatever else I remember.

It is now time to pick up  Blue and start this mornings adventure.  First thing is to hook up the trailer to the truck and inspect everything TWICE.  I back up to the hitch and make sure we have the right size ball and plug in the wiring.  No tail lights!  Time to now see where the problem is. I pull out the back up wire from the back of the truck and change to a new trailer wire hookup. Ahhhh, some lights are working. Time to check bulbs.  Another 5 minutes and all seems fine with the lights.  Time to jump in and take our time towing the boat to the bay.  No rush!

The ride is uneventful. Thank goodness.  We pull in and look for a place to park the boat.  Blue gets out and helps with directions as I try backing her in and getting her in a safe spot.  Sometimes leaving her in the way makes them put you in right away. Hmmmm, should we?  I back her in and then take a walk to the office to confirm she is fine where she is and John tells me that is fine.

I have Blue grab a nearby ladder and I climb on board to remove all the lines I have holding the mast in place. Blue removes the tie downs and load straps. I go into the cabin and bring out stage boom which I leave in the cockpit along with a baggy of Clevis pins and round cotter pins I case they need an extra.  Next we get the rudder attached to the back and are pretty much done at this point.  We undo the hitch and I move the truck up a little to we can load the truck with items taken off the boat. I then walk around the boat and take my annual pictures of boat as dropped off.  This is a good practice to get into!

Instead of leaving we take a walk down to the ramp and notice there are now about 20 boats in the mooring field and KYC dock is finished and the launch is an horde right off the dock.  This means the mooring field will begin to fill over the next week or so. I take a few pictures out into the harbor and we return to the truck and boat.  Blue puts a cinder block under the front of the trailer so we don't have to reply on the crackdown wheel.  I go the fridge in the back of the truck and pull out a couple nice cold waters for Blue and I.  We head on back and detour along the Keyport water front which is very active.  We notice that Pedersen's has put in a bunch of new docks on the old pilings and still adding more.

Another successful beginning to another season.  We head home.

Next project is to finish the dinghy.  She's pretty much ready, but I want to replace the wheels on the transom with new wheels and relocate them so we don't have to turn her upside down like we have for years.  The idea is to set the wheels up so we can just pull her up the ramp with everything still inside.  Previously, we would unload her and turn her over and pull her up the ramp.  I began to think how inconsiderate this was for others waiting to use the ramp. So I plan to change that this year.  It will require some major work on the transom and rear bench seat, but it will be worth it.

First thing to due is turn her over and cut some holes in the front face of the bench seat so I can use bolts and not self tapping screws.  This will also allow me to back it with an aluminum plate to add strength. When done I can fill with foam.

This method will allow me to turn the boat upside down when I get her up to the spot I store her in the boat yard.


Today we have to finish up the dinghy.

blue and I turned her over and I cut a hole in the face of the bench seat large enough to get my arm I side with a wrench.  I figured out where I wanted the wheels to be ans marked the transom. The bolts you get with the wheel kit are not long enough to make an easy installation.  I used a drill the next size smaller than what the bolt would require and screwed the bolts into the transom. After screwing a bolt into each hole I removed the bolts and pumped silicon into the holes.  With the kit they give you o-rings and washers to help seal out any water. Being I had no room for washers or o-rings, placed a glob of silicone on each hole. I placed the wheels on and screwed in the bolts which tighter right up.  I then went inside and put the self locking nuts on each bolt.  I was really surprised how much silicone came through each hole.  After all the nuts were tighter I ran a bead of silicone around each wheel plate to give some added protection from leaking.

Later on after the silicon had dried, I put a coat of paint on the transom.  And other fiberglass work I had done.  The dinghy is now ready and rolls along perfectly. Just the way I planned.

We will bring the dinghy down next week in hopes there is some room.  Today the place was still a zoo with absolutely no place to store the dinghy. Maybe with high tide during the mid-day time this week they will get more boats in the water and giving us some room for the dinghy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Raritan Bay Fishinig and Bay in General


Raritan Bay fishing is really cranked up.  The bunker are in, but most of my reports say clams are still the favored bait. On Friday bunker were snagged and used, but only the clams brought in fish.  Some real cow stripers were brought in and some big blues as well.  Big fish is the word!  The Knoll has remained productive.  There were some nice Blackfish caught as well but thrown back.  There also seem to be a lot of skates being caught.  Great fishing on boats, but not as good from the shores.

The marinas are filling up and the Keyport mooring field is starting to have the sailboats placed on the moorings, but at a slow rate. KYC is still rebuilding as the Keyport waterfront and Penderson's Marina. The season is here and some places are not ready yet.

We should have our boat in the water this week.  We will have a chance to fish and sail the bay.   That will have us ready for the Memorial Day weekend which will be here in a flash.

We'll leave you with this thought.


What happened to the weather?  40's this morning!  Same thing is on the agenda for tomorrow.  I guess there is no need to rush the boat down to the boatyard today.  I will finish packer her up with supplies and take her down sometime this weekend.

The sailing is not usually that good early in the season, but the fishing is.  Stripers are being caught at average around 20 pounds, blues have entered the bay in big numbers, bunker schools are here as well, fluke has started with some good sizes fish being caught. And sea bass opened Sunday and there have been some nice fish taken.  Those looking for Ling will just have to keep looking.  Some big blues are in the bay and gives you one heck of a fight. Using steel leader or 50lb plus leader and circle hooks are a must if you plan on bringing them on board.  Flynn's Knoll is still turning out some really nice fish, plus you can catch fish from the front of the bay to the back of the bay right now.  Some nice fluke being caught in the back bay.  This weather may slow things down or even set it back a little due to the temperatures.

The Keyport mooring field has a few more boats in it than last week, but nothing like usual.  I do believe Sandy slowed a lot of us down due to damage control, making ourselves a little longer than normal.  It appears KYC will have the dock finished soon.  John Olsen and the boys are still setting mooring balls and trying to get some control over the yard once Sandy. Once the boats are off the hard would be a great time to bring in some dumpsters and whip out the chain saws to get rid of the pile of boats damaged beyond repair or of no value.  I have kept my boat there for years and this a year it was a zoo!  Due to the lack of the ability of other boat yards, Olsen's was fuller than I have ever seen.  I'll bet they were pretty busy this winter with repairs.

Keansburg pier looks like it will be finished shortly.   I was told fisherman were using some of the pier already.  The amusement park looks like it is pretty well together and if interested you might want to check their website.  Most of the shores have been cleared of damaged buildings and seems so barren in some areas.

I don't know about you, but we are ready for this season.  Sailing, fishing, relaxing cruises, trips up the Hudson, and just hanging on the boat will all be here before you know it.  Have fun!


Another ride down to the bay.  Stopped in South Amboy and it is lacking the normal Sunday morning cars in the parking lot.  I walked down to the shore and see three fishermen trying their luck, a few boats out on the bay, but no usual Memorial Day weekend.  The wind was blowing off shore at the waterfront and it was very gusty. The fishermen were a good walk down the shore toward Old Bridge so i just observed from a distance and saw no action. They were able to cast pretty far with the help of the wind.  I then got back on Route 35 and thought I would check out Viking Marina and found a few boats in the water, but not much else going on here.  Back on the highway and off to Aberdeen where there was a guy fishing from the rocks and had a good size bluefish in the cooler.  It was really windy here with waves lapping against the shore and the bay was covered with white caps.  I jumped back into the truck and headed over to the Keyport Marine Basin.  This is where there is a lot of action. Tons of boats in the water, boat traffic moving out to the bay, and just a better feeling of activity. They will all be in for a surprise once they get out there.  The ramp has a good number of trailers, but few boats visible from the parking lot.  There was a large yellow cigarette type boat being unloaded from the trailer.  With the waves and the chop, this is not a good idea. Most the fishing boats cn not be seen and are most likely up around Old Orchard, Romers, or Flynn's Knoll.

Now time to check on the sailboats, but am surprised to see the mooring field empty except for a handful of boats.  I would have thought, based on yesterday's activity, there would be a bunch more, but no changes.   Wow, this is the first Memorial Day I can not remember not seeing a mooring field full of boats.  I'll bet that the KYC dock has something to do with it.  If there is no dock ready, there is no way for members to get to their vessel, so most are likely waiting for the dock to be finished.

A stop at KYC reveals that is definitely a factor.  dinghies are lined up on the hard, the parking lot has two cars and the crane looks like it still has more work to do. Across Keyport Harbor I see a group of fisherman on shore with coolers, chairs, and a bunch of poles on sand spikes. They are ready for the holiday weekend!

We pull out of KYC and head down the street to Olsen's.  We see an immediate parking problem win the number of boats on the property.