the bitter end

The boat naming thing is hard. I got several great suggestions in addition to the ones I got here. In the end I chose to name her “River Tam.” It’s female and watery, two things that make for good boat names. It’s also deeply rooted in sci-fi, which is important to me.

I just know that there will come a time when someone other than me is using her and I’ll be scanning the water saying “Where are you, little boat?”

Yesterday we went to Cabela’s for some gear and trolling motor information. I love that store, but it sure makes my wallet lighter. I bought a 15 pound mushroom anchor, 50 feet of anchor rope, and a 5 watt solar cell. The solar cell should keep our boat and trailer batteries charged when AC power is not available from either hookups or the generator.

Last night after we got home, I did some research about anchor ropes and how to properly set them up. The kind of rope that we got at Cabela’s, which is composed of at least 12 separate bundles of nylon braided together, is about the strongest type you can get. The problem is that all of the instructions I could find online for setting up anchors applied to either 3-strand twisted or 8-strand braided rope. Also, it turns out that you should have a shortish section of chain attached between the rope and the anchor, to help pull the anchor horizontal for better grip.

Tonight, I went to Home Depot, another store that I love, and picked up 100 feet of 3/8″ 3-strand twisted nylon rope, seven feet of 5/16″ chain, and a couple of shackles. I then spliced the rope and the chain together to create my own achor rode, and used one of the shackles to connect the chain to the anchor. The whole rode was $43. It’s not as pretty as it could be, but I believe that it’s spliced correctly and it seems to be holding without unraveling against all the force I can give it with my arms. If I did it right, and I understand what I’ve been reading, it will get tighter and stronger when subjected to working loads. A picture of the completed splice:

rope-chain splice

I’ve also picked out the trolling motor I want, and I will be buying it from an eBay seller. It’s a Minn Kota Vector 65. It’s a discontinued model, but I don’t expect that to be an issue, as it says it’s new in the box. The Vector series has an advantage over the Endura series, which is what I could afford if I bought it retail. They’ve incorporated something they call “digital maximizer” which helps it use less battery power. The blurb is “up to five times longer runtime on a single charge.” I think the first two words of that claim are the important ones, but it should still help, even if it’s not as amazing as they are trying to make me believe.

I need a little more assistance from you, my readers. I’ve been using all the Google-fu at my disposal to figure out the right way to coil and store my anchor rope so it can be deployed without tangles, but I’ve come up empty. Do any of you have experience with stowing rope for easy re-decployment, and if so, can you explain in simple words how to set it up? Also, does anyone know what kind of materials and methods I can use to inscribe the boat with her name? The website says it’s made out of “38 mil Polykrylar.” The marine guy at Cabela’s figured that the pre-cut fancy lettering they sell wouldn’t stick right, and didn’t have any other suggestions for me.

4 responses to “the bitter end”

      • Yeah, me too – it’s mostly working, but I’m getting messages about the rss feed not being formed properly, and since I have to work today in order to get paid for Friday, I’m in no hurry to find out what that means.

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