Stern showing new paint and the zincs

Under the water

As part of the preparation work is things under the water.  The staff at Bohemia Bay Yacht Harbor used the lift to pull the boat up then put it on blocks and stands so they could work on it.

The bottom paint was in pretty good shape, only one section had a major growth of barnacles on it.  They spent some time scraping the area to clean it to be painted.  The previous owner had put a great epoxy barrier coat down so the work went about as well as can be expected.

While the boat was out of the water we also did a propeller swap.  I had the spare propellers reconditioned at MR Props in North East MD.  They take the propeller and put it on a device that looks like a lathe.  They spin the propeller to make sure that it “tracks”, that all the blades have the same movement through the water.  They also check that the propeller is balanced, so that it does not vibrate the shaft and the boat.  Lastly they check the “cup” or internal curvature of the blade.  The cup is what scoops additional water up and pushes it off the blade adding some efficiency to the propeller.

Last thing to check is the zincs.  If you look at the picture, there are two rectangles at the bottom, these are the trim tabs.  Looking closer you can see round circles on them.  These are the zincs.  They are mounted on the boat to prevent corrosion of the shafts, trim tabs, motor components, etc.  You can see that the two on the tabs are pitted and chewed.  They have been dissolved by  the corrosive underwater activity.  Above the tabs is a much bigger zinc, it’s in pretty good shape, so it will last another year.

VEX IQ Robot

Foster’s non-boat projects

While we will be traveling and seeing the sites as we go along I expect to have some down time.  While there is a ton of boat maintenance that needs to be done, with weather delays I’ll need something to occupy my time.  (There is only so much internet to be able to surf).

So projects and activities that I’ll be doing:

Amateur Radio – I’ve been a ham radio operator for a number of years.  I was pretty active when I got my license.  I talked most days on my ride to and from work.  In 2005 my car got broken into and the radio got stolen.  I didn’t replace it and was off the air.  Recently I got a new radio and an antenna to make a new portable setup.  I’m in the process of now assembling all the parts to get it all to work together, but not take up a lot of space.

Electronic kits – I’ve been hoarding some electronic kits to assemble.  They range from a Nixie tube clock to accessories for the Raspberry Pi.  I got some really cool art boards to work on so I won’t damage the table top in the salon.   I have a pretty big stock of components to take, all in all about 20 days worth of kits to assemble.

Arduino kits – I also picked up a few Arduino + electronic kits to work with.  So I’ll be able to do some combination microcontroller and electronics projects.  At one point back in the 80′s I was pretty good with 8051 chips, but thats a set of skills that has gone away.  So I’m hoping that when I start some of the unused brain cells will come back to life.

Robots – I’m taking my VEX-IQ kit with me.  I have the Super kit and the additional builder kit.   So I should be able to practice my build assembly skills.  The bonus is that the VEX-IQ kit has lots of pre-made parts so I won’t need to have the mess of cutting parts.  There is also a CAD program that I want to learn, so this will give me practice on designing something and then assembling it.

Computer Languages – I’m bringing a Raspberry Pi to play with.  One of my goals is to become proficient in both Scratch and Python.  I’ve got a pair of Scratch books and I was a backer of a Introduction to Python book.  So I expect to be able to have good examples to work with.  The only problem will be trying to get access to the TV to be able to use it as a monitor.  I can always use VNC to connect in from my laptop.

Board games — Susan has a stack of games, but I’ll let her post on that.

So all in all, I have about 75 days worth of stuff to work on.  So it’s doubtful that I’ll be going “I’m bored!”  But I don’t want to blow our weather karma, since that many rainy days will make it a very wet trip.

Compass from friends in India

Night out with work friends

At the end of March we had a small get together to say farewell to people I’ve worked with at different places across the last 5 years.  We filled La Poblanita on Lancaster Pike in Wilmington.  With people cycling in and out we didn’t violate the fire code, but we came very close.

It was a great evening of stories and people that had not seen each other in years catching up.  (Turns out that Delaware is a very small town for IT people, everyone seems to know everyone else). Lots of great last minute gossip and one last chance being plugged into the rumor mill.

The antique compass / sundial (and the chart magnifying glass on the main banner) are a gifts from close friends from India.  Just in case the GPS fails, we can find our way home.

A very pleasant evening, but another marker in our relentless march to the sea.

Exhaust risers mix water and exhaust to cool it before it leaves the boat

Engine work

One of the features of owning a 20+ year old boat is that you can get it for a reasonable price.  One of the problems is that there are 20 year old items that need to be repaired or replaced.

The propulsion system of the Quo Vadimus is twin 250HP Hino engines.  They are very similar to what you would find in a Japanese truck.  The biggest difference is how they are cooled.  In a boat we suck raw water from under the boat.  It then goes through a radiator that is called a Manicooler.  It is a 4″ brass tube that has about 20 1/4″ smaller tubes on the inside.   Raw sea water passes through the big tube, swirling around the smaller tubes cooling them.

The raw water continues into the metal devices shown above, they are called risers.  The hot exhaust from the cylinders comes into the big openings.  The water swirls around the outside cooling the exhaust. At the very end of the riser, the water is mixed with the exhaust gases to cool them even more, the final temperature is about 15 degrees higher than when it started.

The exhaust / water mixture then travels down a 8″ tube to the rear of the boat and is dumped overboard.   The water cooling allows the exhaust to travel through the aft compartment without burning anything.

The original risers were made of cast iron and were beginning to clog with sediment and had tinges of rust.   While they would have lasted another year, it was a good time to replace them.

So in 2013, we opted to take the exhaust out, clean the manicoolers, pressure test all the tubes and then powder coat the insides to reduce corrosion.   Earl, our Hino engine guru, had the two risers show above custom made.   The one on the port (left hand side) engine used to go at a diagonal across  the center of the lazarette, really taking up a lot of space.  The new one runs the exhaust hose across the back of the engine and then along the hull.  This freed up a ton of storage space.

And while Earl had everything opened up, he checked the adjustment of the valves to make sure things would run smoothly.   So at this point we are all set with major engine work.   I will need to do the easy things like oil and filter changes every 100 hours, etc.


The Great Loop

One of my longest dreams (other than being an astronaut) is to travel by boat the “Great Loop of America”.

The Great Loop is a circumnavigation around the eastern half of the United States. We will start in the Upper Chesapeake Bay, go down the C&D Canal, down the Delaware Bay, up the New Jersey coast into New York at New York City . We travel up the Hudson (past the Statue of Liberty), take a left at the Erie Canal and follow it for about 100 miles.  Then north past Oswego, then shooting across Lake Ontario we enter the Trent/Severn waterway. This leads us up to the Georgian Bay and following the  Northern Passage across the upper edge of Lake Huron and then into Lake Michigan.

Down the eastern edge of Lake Michigan into Chicago (yes, down the middle of Chicago) and into the Illinois River. Now heading south we enter the Upper Mississippi. Following it south past the St. Louis Arch and then about 200 miles and we join the Tennessee River. (This is about the half way point) We follow the Tennessee south meeting up with the Tennessee–Tombigbee Waterway and pop out in the Gulf of Mexico.

We then follow the Florida Shore line until we hit the Atlantic Ocean and Georgia. Coming inside off the ocean we travel up the Inter-Costal Waterway to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay at Norfolk VA. 400 miles later we are home.

Total of 6000 miles. We expect to take a year doing it, traveling slow and with the weather.

The flag is from the American Great Loop Cruisers Association.  At any given time there are about 200 boats along the loop.   We fly the flag so that we can meet other people as crazy as we are to take a year off to go boating.   There are lots of people that have done the loop, there are a few that have done it more than once.  (It’s also said that there are some boats out on the loop for over 5 years looking at everything along the way.  )


Quo Vaduimus exterior


Welcome to Quo Vadimus Marine!  This site is about the adventures on the Quo Vadimus, a 1993 Bayliner 4588 Pilothouse.   We’ve had three years of other cool adventures, but this is the formal opening of our blog.

Our big adventure coming up is to travel the “Great Loop”.  We will be taking off for a year to travel around the eastern US.

The first set of posts will be about getting set to go, then we will be posting out trip once we get underway.   This will be our way of keeping in touch with our friends and family back home.

The crew of the Quo Vadimus is:

Foster – our Captain for the voyage.  Chief boat driver and responsible for all the mechanical systems.

Susan – the Admiral (inside boat joke, the Admiral always out ranks the Captain.)  She is our chief navigator and head chef for all the wonderful meals we are about to eat.

Belle – the boat cat.  She is the most excited about the trip, but she is hiding it well.

We are looking forward to the trip and hope you enjoy reading about our voyage.

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. -John Steinbeck