Sunday, March 27, 2011

Port Orchard Yacht Club Spring Shakedown Regatta-WSSA No.2

Yesterday was the second race of the West Sound Sailing Association(WSSA) series. This was the Spring Shakedown Regatta sponsored by Port Orchard. It is a two lap, 11.7 NM race in Sinclair Inlet and Port Orchard. It has provisions for shortening the race at the end of the first lap for a distance of 7.6 NM.

The weather for this race was not real encouraging. It called for light winds to 10 knots early in the day with SW winds 10 to 15 knots in the afternoon.

At the start, we had about 5 knots from the south and rain. We got a good start at the pin end. It was a short beat to the first mark where we rounded second in our class just behind "The Boss" (J35). "The Boss" was on it's first race with a new owner, and it showed as they were very slow setting their spinnaker. We had a great bear away set on port and got up to speed rapidly passing "The Boss". Shortly after setting the spinnaker, we jibed over to starboard to cover "Dulcinea"(J105) and opt for the more favored right side of the course. We sailed hot angles and stayed ahead of "Dulcinea" past Annapolis.

There, the wind shifted ahead and gave indications that it would shift toward the North. We took down the spinnaker and set the jib and started beating into a light wind. The boats that stayed near the left side of the course still had a Southwest wind and lead by "Falcon"(a division II, Cal 9.2) they passed us and "Dulcinea". Fortunately, when the new SW wind reached us, the boats ahead slowed down. We reset the spinnaker and closed with the boats ahead and soon found ourselves leading everyone.

As we approached the Waterman Mark, the wind again shifted toward the north. We dropped the spinnaker and reset the jib. We dropped the spinnaker on deck and left it rigged in case we needed it again. As we neared the mark, our mission was to stay upstream of the mark. The current was ebbing and the boats behind us that did head toward the mark early found themselves being flushed past. We rounded the mark first, jibed to starboard, reset the spinnaker and headed for the right shore. Again, we reached at close angles to the wind to keep the speed up. We also found current relief along the right shore. But a few boats stayed along the left shore or in the middle and for a short time had better winds. "Dulcinea" passed us in the middle and Aldebaran(Catalina 30) did well along the left shore.

As we approached Pt Herron the advantage of the boats that stayed left or in the middle evaporated. "Dulcinea" slowed down and we started gaining on them. We jibed close around Pt Herron and into the ebbing flow of Pt Washington Narrows and received a good boost from the current. Unfortunately, we could not close the distance on "Dulcinea" in the remaining distance and they crossed the shortened course finish line ahead of us.

"Dulcinea" and us decimated the rest of the fleet. "Dulcinea" was first in class and first overall and we were second in class and second overall. In an exciting finish, "Aldebaran" almost finished ahead of the faster, larger, division I boat, "Tantalus"(Express 37). The previous owner of "Aldebaran" is the current owner of "Tantalus".

We had a great race and the boat was very fast. The crew did an excellent job and we worked well together. Thanks to Jim, Michael and Kathleen.

One interesting thing about this race: We had 19 starters. And even though we are a small group way out in West Sound, away from the great sailing center of Seattle, we completed a race when Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle had to abandon the Pully Pt Race on the same day!

Results: Here is our track for the day. We started near the Port Orchard Yacht Club, headed southwest to the first mark. Then north along the right shore and returned along the west shore to finish at Port Orchard Yacht Club.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Gig Harbor Islands Race-South Sound Series Race #4

Here it is a week after the Gig Harbor Race that I am finally writing about it. This is one of my least favorite races each year, so it probably explains my lack of enthusism about writing.

This race starts off the entrace of Gig Harbor, goes north through Colvos Pass, around a buoy north of Blake Island and returns to the start/finish line. Anyone that sails much in the northwest knows that the current always flows north in Colvos Pass. So unless there is a good wind, the sail south through Colvos Pass can be an arduous affair.

I started this race on Friday morning to deliver the boat to Gig Harbor. It was an easy delivery, the winds were light and the rain was light at times. But after I moored at Jerisch Park, the heavens opened up and a very soaking rain fell all afternoon. I started the furnace and stayed below reading and working on a splicing project. The boats that came in throughout theafternoon were crewed by generally soaked sailors.

By Saturday morning, the skies had cleared and the temp was near freezing. It did warm up as the sun came up. The winds were light out of the NE and with the current flowing north, it was tricky getting a good start without being swept over the line early. We got a good start near the boat end and started looking for lanes of current. We stayed mid fleet untill near Ollala when we hit a good combination of wind and current and passed several of the boats in our class.

We continued north in very light winds untill we neared the northern opening of Colvos Pass when the very light wind died and filled lighlty from the SW. The boats on the west shore got the wind before us. This brought three boats in our class passed us before it shifted to the north and filled to about five knots.

The race was shortened to the turning mark north of Blake Island. We motored home to Blake Island, loaded the crew into 'Big Red', the team truck and drove them back to Gig Harbor where their cars were and where Gig Harbor Yacht Club hosted a post race meal and social time.

Our placing was poor for this race. There was definatly some local knowledge and a little luck that helped the leaders. But, we had a great day anyway. The sun came out, the temperature was up and the crew worked well together and had a good time.
At the Jerisch Park dock the morning of the race.

Our track for the day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Great Bronco Engine Transplant- The New Heart Fits

Today was a big milestone. With some help from my dad, we have the 302 V8 engine sitting in the Bronco II on the motor mounts.

For now, this is just for fitment and mockup and I plan on taking the engine out and putting it back in at least one more time. The biggest issue today is that the pan hits the passenger I beam bracket. This is a known issue in this type of conversion. I may grind on the bracket some more, put a dent in the pan or both. Also, I may have to lift the engine a little to get the headers on. Maybe I should have installed them first.

Although the bell housing does not hit the tunnel flange, I will probably bend it flat for header clearance on the right side. This is also a known item, but I wanted to try installing the engine first to see how it looked. Now do you see why I had planned to remove and reinstall this engine again?

But, now I can design and fabricate all the systems and components needed to make this engine run.

Good progress today. It took about 1-1/2 hours from picking the engine up off the floor up to having the bolts in the motor mounts. It will be easier next time
Transmission attached and ready to hoist.
High above the body of the bronco.
Tipped up and starting into the engine compartment.
Engine sitting where it was designed to go.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Great Bronco Engine Transplant- No Retreat No Surrender

Bruce Springsteen sings a song called "No Surrender". In the chorus is a line "No retreat (baby) no surrender". He belts it out with passion. I feel that is where I am at with the Bronco Engine Transplant, I cannot retreat now and I am going forward without surrendering!

This week was a major milestone in this project. Yesterday, the old engine was removed from the Bronco. My dad came over and helped me. I spent a day and a half disconnecting everything, draining fluids and rigging the lifting gear. The final lift went OK. Since I was trying to take a "path of least resistance", I did not remove all the peripheral components on the engine. And some things like the exhaust crossover were virtually impossible to remove. Another consideration was for the buyer of the engine, he could see where everything was. It was a tight squeeze, but with some jocking around with the lifting gear, we finally got it out. The only casualty was the distributor cap broke when it was pinched against the firewall.

Today was spent removing the wiring harness(most of which I cannot use), the motor mounts (very difficult to remove) and cleaning parts. The buyer of the old engine is driving over from Yakima on Saturday. I advertised it on Craigslist and he seems really excited about buying it.

Now that the engine is out, I can measure where the new engine will be be placed and can start work on installing the radiator and build the new wire harness. I hope to install the new engine next week for the fit test. That will just be to check the fit and design some of the new installations around the engine.
Here is the old V6 engine being rolled out of the garage. No retreat now!
And waiting for the new owner.
The empty engine compartment.
Now I have to clean out the engine compartment of 27 years of accumulated grime.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Great Bronco Engine Transplant- Tranny Mods and Looking For Trouble

During the last two days, I have accomplished a lot on the transplant project. I disassembled the automatic transmission and installed the adapter piece and tailshaft that will allow the transmission to the existing Bronco transfer case. While I was at it, I installed a "shift kit" that will hopefully improve the shifting and make it snappier and probably harsher.

Disassembling and reassembling the transmission was easier than I anticipated. I bought a shop manual on a CD, so I set up a laptop and had it running while I worked. I covered the workbench with cardboard and kept the parts in order of disassembly.

Today I installed the shift kit. While I was working, I noticed that a check valve was missing from under the filter. The spring was there, but the plug was gone. Somebody probably lost it when the fluid was changed as it can drop out. Fortunately, the shift kit had an extra plug that was for a competition setup. It fit the hole perfectly. The parts people say that you can't find these anymore.

Last week, I went looking for more trouble with the 302 V8 engine. I had read something about the valve seals hardening, breaking off pieces and jamming the oil pump. Sure enough, the new oil pump had warnings about that happening. So I looked carefully at the valve seals and found one broken into three pieces with a fourth piece missing. A friend loaned me his valve spring compressor. Tomorrow a set of seals should arrive from Jegs and I will change out the seals. Fortunately the tool my friend loaned me enables me to remove the springs and change the seals without lifting the heads.

Should be ready to start removing the Bronco engine next week. I advertised it for sale on Craigslist and have had one response so far.
It was a bit of a lift, but was able to get the transmission up on the workbench.
As I removed components, I kept them in order.
This is as much as I disassembled.
The valve body disassembled. The shift kit does not amount to much. One new spring, reconfigure a valve to increase pressure, enlarge a couple of holes in the separator plate, remove some balls and plugs and reinstall a couple of new balls.

The transmission mostly assembled with the new adapter. I still need to install the bell housing, but will probably wait until I get the transmission on the ground. I also need to drill and install a drain plug in the pan and install the pan on the transmission.

Hard, broken valve seal. Interesting that this was No.4 intake valve and that plug was not fouled, but it was "wet" and I could not figure out what it was wet from. I thought residual gas had found its way there. Maybe oil?