Monthly Archives: July 2009

Loki update…

He’s door-bell happy, ever since he figured out nudging the doggie-out-doorbell ( sleigh-bells hung from the kitchen doorknob) will trigger the nearest human to open the door to the fenced yard for him and his canine buddies.  He’s starting to ring it just to step outside and lounge on the deck.  Clearly he’s got the hang of this trick. Starting tomorrow we’ll start limiting how often it yields an open door.


According to records, on December 12, 2008, a puppy was born in the vicinity of Heard County, Georgia. By the accuracy of this date, this pup and his litter mates may even have been born in the Heard County Animal Control Center. Whatever the case, that is where this pup stayed until, like so many others, his time ran out. Fortunately in his case, he was rescued by Eleventh Hour Rescue, a non-profit group dedicated to saving the lives of innocent dogs on death row. Please, visit their site, read their ‘About’ page, look at the faces of the dogs they’ve rescued but still need homes. Every day across the country while happy families are buying purebreds and designer puppies, there are frightened, confused dogs in shelters, needlessly put to death for no other reason than lack of a home. This tragedy must stop. If there is room in your heart and your home, make the choice to save a life. Look at these faces…

They are all rescues, and all wonderful, loving, delightful members of our home. Left to right: Loki (7 months), Moxy (12 years) and Rex (3).  Loki arrived under the name Zeus, though he didn’t seem to acknowledge it, and we felt Loki, the Norse god of chaos and mischief, might be more appropriate for his playful personality. In one day’s time he’s already settling in quite nicely and catching on to house routines by following the other two.

To one reader in particular, if you see this, yeah, I know. And by the way, he looks just like a 40 lb. version of Ari in black.

More pictures to come!

Steering issues and marine surveyors…

It must be July, as once again we rebuild the steering. In truth, more like replace. This goes back to last summer when the helm pumps and ram were failing, which goes back to the previous fall when, prior to our ownership, a mechanic, while replacing the cutlass bearing, reinstalled the rudder with the tiller arm upside down. This was done after the initial survey and days before we picked up the boat to move her from Salem to East Dennis in horrendous November seas. This was reportedly inspected by Rob Scanlan, CMS/MMS Master Marine Surveyor, both before and after the initial survey, but was clearly overlooked.

This was just one of many issues, such as our well documented keel problem Rob Scanlan failed to note in his initial survey, as he was supposed to inspect the cutlass replacement and was reportedly present while the skeg was removed. I would like to note Mr. Scanlan NEVER sent me a final, complete survey following the sea-trial, even after numerous polite requests, all made prior to our realizing any of these overlooked issues. This oversight allowed the tiller to overswing the rudder stops, which in turn left the ram cylinder completely misaligned and allowed it to move far beyond the proper 30 degree angle, causing it to alternately bleed hydraulic fluid and draw air into the lines. This lack of hydraulic fluid contributed to the ultimate failure of both helm pumps, as well as the hydraulic fluid ‘burping’ from the upper helm destroying the mastic bedding on the bridge deck, which in turn caused leaking into the cabin and damage to the interior joinery. Needless to say, it was one very costly, and potentially critical oversights.

When I consider the conditions we travelled through with steadily failing steering, I realize we were fortunate things hadn’t turned out worse. Far worse. We hired Mr. Scanlan, a “Certified and Accredited Master Marine Surveyor”, as an agent to inspect the boat thoroughly, a boat many hours from our home, and we paid for a full survey, not just the ‘insurance’ survey, knowing we’d be travelling a good distance in an unfamiliar boat late in the fall as the weather went from bad to worse, only to find oversights such as this.  Mr. Scanlan’s site was filled with glowing praise and testimonials, and it seems oddly surprising that his survey missed a number of critical points. It is unfortunate that Rob Scanlan never returned my calls or sent me a final survey, and it is unfortunate that ultimately I’m left wondering whose interests he was serving; the buyer, who he may likely never meet again, or the yacht broker with whom I’m sure he’s had past dealings with and will likely see again through his career.

So back to the present, as in last weekend. Frank knew last year’s rebuild of the old pumps and ram cylinder weren’t permanent fixes, but they carried us through the summer while we waited for the new parts to arrive. Maybe we’d get another season out of them. Maybe not. The bridge helm was starting to act up, so we decided to be safe and swap it out for the new one. I suggested if we were going to open the lines, we might as well just do it all and leave the old parts packed as spares. Of course, there were the usual issues of one or another random bolts that needed replacement, which ate up hours of running around looking for the right hardware. By Sunday night all was installed and the bleeding had begun, but it’s likely there’s still a bit of air to clear out. A good day or two of chop should do that.

Update: I have since discovered  a discussion on the Wooden Boat forum where another dis-satisfied customer with a boatload of problems states “beware of a surveyor named Rob Scanlan…” and “if I ever do get the survey I paid $1500 for, I will show that to anyone who wants to see it.”

And this little tidbit recently came to my attention and I found it rather interesting. I’ll let the article speak for itself:

Massachusetts resident Rob Scanlan advertised himself as an accredited marine surveyor, using the acronym “AMS” to the chagrin of the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS), which alleged it owned the certification mark “AMS.”Odd, that wasn’t on Rob Scanlan’s resume.

SAMS sued Scanlan in Florida and a U.S. District Court there found Scanlan in default. SAMS then tried to enforce the judgment in Massachusetts before Judge George A. O’Toole Jr.

O’Toole held SAMS failed to provide proof of proper service in the Florida action. On the merits, Scanlan counterclaimed to cancel the “AMS” mark. O’Toole granted SAMS summary judgment on that issue since Scanlan failed to prove “AMS” was generic. Soc’y of Accredited Marine Surveyors, Inc. v. Scanlan, 2005 WL 670541 (D. Mass. 2005).

Great movie lines, round 2…

I haven’t posted much lately, simply due to the fact that I’ve been busy doing all those fun things I don’t have time to put online. In other words, Annabel Lee running fine, other than a few minor kinks we’ve quickly resolved, and we’re dividing our time between using the boat and working on her. All is good in the world.

This past weekend the weather has been perfect, if somewhat gusty at times. Yesterday was the 4th of July, my favorite and  most sacred of days, observed perfectly with good friends, good (barbecued) food, and wrapped up with a night on the boat watching fireworks. No, we weren’t among the crowds I’m sure were there along the Manhattan waters. The 4th is a day when many who rarely if ever use their boats head out, loaded to the gunwales with family, friends, food and drinks. Rules of the road? What road? I don’t see no road! Needless to say, the 4th is a day we leave the waters to the amateurs, those braver than us, and the professionals who get to sort that whole mess out. We happily watched five different fireworks shows while sitting on our bridge, tucked safe and sound in our own slip, then went below to read a bit before sleep.

Passing wakes, however, made for a bumpy evening. At one point I went up to the salon to silence a few noisy items as we rocked away, and noticed our neighbors heading up the fairway. So I step outside in my pink pajamas to lend a hand with lines. They’re coming in fine, nearly docked, when a sharp gust of wind blew their bow around, up against ours. They tried to move clear only to find the boats firmly locked together, with their bowrail lifeline fouled on our anchor. Others were on hand, trying to help, and I scrambled around and back aboard, working the boats apart, and they backed neatly into their slip. By this point Frank, realizing something was amiss, had come above. As our neighbors tied up and shut down, they apologized profusely, expressing concern that we’d sustained any damage. For a moment everyone nervously looked things over, but fortunately both boats appeared unharmed. Frank leaned over, inspected the pulpit, then grinned and said my second favorite movie line: “Hey, you scratched my anchor.”

(Number one favorite movie line: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”)