Month: January 2015

On it’s way.

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It’s on it’s way. I received a email from the company that is supplying the tablet this morning saying that they had fixed the shipping option problem. I checked right away and everything worked fine. I even got to use the coupon code that was to have been finished a few days ago. Saved me $10 us. Today that is equal to about $100 Canadian… Or so it seems.

Tomorrow (Sat) I plan to take Jasmine to Lens Mills store so we can pick up a few sewing notions. (Why their called notions I don’t know. I’ll Google it some day. Maybe.) We need 1” foam to build a puppet. A cat puppet. I want to copy a puppet from YouTube called Ned.Ned

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXN0ej0eYCk He is funny! Jasmine absolutely loves him!

I also need to pick up some more needles for sewing the new cushion covers for the boats. The reason I need needles is I tend to go through them pretty quickly. I sew like I sail in regattas. On the edge. (I wear safety glasses when I use the sewing machine! I’ve had the tip of one shoot out and stick into my forehead when it broke once.) I’m going to get some more thread that matches the new material too.

I hope to get at the snow blower tomorrow and replace the fuel line and float bowl on the carb. It looks like it will be a nice day to do it. Should be a high of -5C.

Don’t forget to sign up for our draw for a free charter at our website. www.northchannelcharters.com

Still waiting for a shipping option…

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I’m still waiting for the company I tried to order the Teclast X98 Air 3G tablet to get back to me about the shipping problem. I’ve checked their site a couple times and there still isn’t an option up yet. I’ve looked around at different suppliers of this tablet and I’m going to wait for this one to come through. If I choose a different company it looks like I’ll have to pay about $50 US more for the exact same tablet… Also the others want payment via Western Union or my credit card. (Not a chance.) They also use DHL and the like to ship. Those shippers have extra charges for import and handling that can be outrageous. (UPS tried to charge me $ 103 for a $70 package of used cleats! I refused it and sent it back for a refund. The seller resent the same package via USPS {Like the add said it would be shipped.} and it was on my doorstep a few days later. With no extra charges.)

In the mean time I’ve been doing some research online on how to hack these tablets. It doesn’t look that hard to add and remove things that aren’t meant to be added and removed. I want to remove the Teclast logo and the stuff in Chinese that shows up on start up. I am going to put my logo there in it’s place instead. There’s a bunch of bloatware that I am going to remove too. Bloatware is the name for the little programs like games and apps that I don’t want or need for it. It bloats the file sizes and takes up hard drive space. (Ex: If I look on my S3 android phone I can find 2 different calendars… Both taking up memory space.) So it’s got to go.

I plan on putting a number of different chart plotting apps on it so I will need as much space as I can get. Not to mention the charts. Both raster and the digital ones. I want to put Activecaptain on it too.

Time record.

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I’ve been thinking about time lately. Time and maintenance. Maintenance for the outboard motors.

One could think it’s a simple thing. Change the water pump impeller and the bottom end oil at the end of the season and spark plugs as needed. Sure that needs done. But a little more often based on how long the motor has been run.

I’ve been looking online for maintenance schedules and they seem to all be different in the amount of time between different things needed being done. (Ex: Replace water pump impeller at 20 Hours or 100…) Hmm. I need to do more research.

One thing I know for sure is I need a way of figuring out how to measure how long each motor has been run for. Just hours of operation is good enough for this year. With new motors next year I’ll want to know a bit more info. (Things like, average rpm and fuel/ oil usage.)

So I need a way to record the hours of operation. I first thought of the hour meter on a Diesel sailboat. The round dial type with the #’s that rolled over. There kind of big and awkward for what I want though. Ideally I want something I can mount inside the motor housing. So it needs to be small.

So off to Ebay I went searching for a likely candidate. (Did you know Ebay is a search engine…? That’s how I get ideas for different things.) I found the dial type of hour meter first then after a little more searching. (digital hour meter) I found what I was after. hour meterIt’s digital. No battery required. Small and is easy to install. Perfect! Here is a link to the same thing I got but a different supplier. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Digital-LCD-Motorcycle-ATV-Snowmobile-Marine-Boat-Yama-Ski-Dirt-Hour-Meter-Gauge-/291263529626?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item43d0a8c29a&vxp=mtr

I ordered 4 today. 4 because I have 4 outboard motors and I may as well see how much time I’m putting on each one.

The X98 Air 3G tablet I ordered was out of stock from that supplier so I have received a refund and am going to order from another as soon as they figure out shipping. (The 2nd supplier has a problem on their site that doesn’t let me select a shipping option. And I can’t order the tablet without choosing a shipping option… There working on it.)

T=Rigging Knife.

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I don’t have a true rigging knife. I have a really nice cutter knife I carry when on the boat. It is a fold up type that takes Stanley utility knife blades. It works very well for cutting things. When it gets dull I just flip the blade or replace it. It’s not the type of knife that you can leave on the boat though. It has an aluminum body with a steel blade. The blade will rust pretty quickly. I don’t want rust on my nice white gel-coat! Or even in a storage area so I carry it with me.

Now I am looking for a new knife. One that is a true rigging knife with a marlin spike. The knife idea got me thinking about what I should have available on the boats. Right now I have knives for the galley… Not rigging.

I think I am going to get a rigging knife for each boat and leave it in a spot where it is handy. Maybe hung in a little mesh cloth bag or mesh pocket on a cloth organizer bag.

I like the idea of each of our customers having easy access to a rigging knife if they didn’t bring one on the trip.

I’m going to see what is available out in the online market. Maybe even get mono-graphed knives with North Channel Charters on them. I’m not thinking of anything fancy. I just want it to do the job at hand.

I’ll report back on what I decide on.

Another tablet… Kind of.

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I received an email this morning from the company that I purchased my new x98 Air 3G tablet from . It said. We regret to…. Their out of them. So they are refunding me my $. After a little searching I found another one from a different supplier for $12 more. So once the refund occurs I will put it toward the other one. (I can’t wait to try this tablet out!)

When it comes to booking sailing charters I don’t think I will have the same problem… We only have the 2 boats in the North Channel this year. (Maybe one in the Thousand Islands too. If you want that…)That can’t be too hard to keep track of. I have a booking calendar on the website.( northchannelcharters.com Same place you got to enter for a free charter…) The calendar shows you what weeks are available and the ones that are booked. It shows you that. I have another calendar that I overlay that has the booking info for the booked weeks so I can keep track of who has what weeks. That Google calendar is handy once you get the hang of it. (It took me a while to get the hang of it…)

It looks like I have a better chance of finding the missing cats from Wortley Village now. The police shot a coyote yesterday in the village! Link to the local news station. http://london.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=538060

It was one mangy looking coyote. I’m pretty sure there are more around the area. This was just one of them. With the river and natural path system as perfect corridors through the city there’s always going to be critters wandering around. Deer are common in the park that Heidi and Jasmine walk through every day on the way to school.

Last summer I noticed at Fanshawe Conservation Area that there were posters up on the campers notice boards about coyotes in the area. I didn’t check the day use areas for the posters but I know we didn’t have any up at the yacht club. We don’t need coyotes their. We have raccoons that are almost as big and very bold. They will go into your car and eat your lunch if you leave the windows down while out sailing…

I got the results from my blood tests today from my doctor. I’m healthy as a horse! my white blood cells came in at 151. (Not the 115 result I got from Canadian Blood Services.) My Dr. thinks their was a problem with their testing machine… (Heidi was tested right after me at the blood donor clinic and was fine…?) The day we went to give blood I had just finished a very long day of work and was tired. That may have contributed to it…

After the visit at the doctors I went to Kensal Rental and picked up a new float bowl and fuel line for my snow blower. I noticed it smelt strongly of gas in the garage yesterday when I got the axe out. I decided to check the fuel tank on the snow blower and it was empty… After a bit of looking around I found that the fuel drain on the bowl of the carb was leaking. So that is what I wanted to get at Kensal today. The parts guy talked me into buying a new bowl for $2. I decided to get new fuel line while I was there as well. It seemed a little soft when I was playing with it when I rebuilt the carb. I will install those when we get the next nice day to work outside.

I’m going to use a trick I learnt in high school to feed the fuel line through the motor housing so I don’t have to take everything apart. By everything I mean 3 head bolts and 3 more shroud bolts. fuel tank etc. I don’t want to loosen the head bolts just to get the fuel line installed. That is a great way to mess up a head gasket. So I won’t do that.

Don’t forget that the first 20 customers are entered into a draw for one of the tablets I’m using on the boats for navigation. So that is a 1 in 20 chance to win a really great tablet and have a really nice chart plotter! Book at northchannelcharters.com

Ice chopping.

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I took Jasmine out to Fanshawe Lake today. We went out to check how thick the ice is. I brought an axe to chop through to find out the thickness. We had a fun time on the way there. I didn’t let her know where we were off to or why we had the axe with us. She guessed it correctly about 10 min into the drive their.

We saw the wild turkeys in their favorite place on the way into the park.  Their favorite place I think is the farmers field on either side of the entrance to the park. We also saw lots of critter tracks in the snow inside the park. Deer, fox and mouse were the most prevalent. The only live critters we saw, other than the wild turkeys, were a flock of about 150 mallard ducks and 5 squirrels.

We drove as close to the lake as we could which left us by the rowing club. We walked into the lake from the road.20150125_130303(0) It was nice walking in through the trees. That changed once we got to the lake. There was a high of -7C today and it was windy. So the wind chill made it feel like -18C on the lake! I cleared a patch and started chopping. It only took a few min to get through the ice to the water. Good thing too as we weren’t dressed for staying long in -18C conditions.

The ice is 9” thick.20150125_125952 20150125_130135 Plenty safe for walking on and playing on. We saw a guy ice fishing. I’m surprised we didn’t see more guys ice fishing.20150125_125959

Earlier today I was working on collecting and putting together a bunch of links about how to sail as well today. I have found a bunch of great information online and want to pass that along to people that don’t know how to sail. I’m also going to give lessons to one of the dads at the Waldorf school. I offered to give sailing lessons that do not have any merit or finishing qualifications for a fundraising auction last Dec. (I am not a licensed sailing instructor. Hence the no qualifications at the end of the 5 hours of training.)

I heard from the winner of the trainings wife a week or so back and want to get info to her so she can present it to her hubby on his birthday in Feb. I want him to have some knowledge about things before we hit the water. (I think I am going to give her 6’ of halyard line so he can practice knots too.) Here is a video of what the average person knows about sailing… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4CQ4T_K8Hw

After Jasmine and I went ice chopping we went grocery shopping for dinner we had planned with old friends. It’s hard to get together any closer to the holidays… End of Jan works fine though.

While we were out I took some time to look at a new cell phone for myself. I am out of my contract with my last one and am looking for something new. So a new one is free. I was looking for a Samsung Note 4 but now I’m not sure what to get after talking to a sales rep. I have more research to do now.

Dinner and company were great!20150125_185850

The first 20 customers.

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The first 20. Why 20? What is important about this number?

20 is the number of customers I want for the summer season. I want at least 2 boats booked for charters for 10 weeks straight. That will give us enough income to cover costs and offer another boat in either the North Channel or some where else. (Thousand Islands…? Give us suggestions on our website. www.northchannelcharters.com ) That means that more people will be able to sail in the most beautiful cruising area in Canada. And do it at an affordable cost too.

To thank those 20 first year customers I am going to give them 10% off the price of a charter in the next season. Also I am going to draw for a tablet like what I have on the boats for navigation. The Teclast X98 Air 3G. So that’s a 1 in 20 chance of winning a really nice tablet! 1 in 20!

Why the 10% off and the tablet…? First the 10% (=$100!) off the next year is to say thank you for using us.

The tablet draw is something else. A little gift for one lucky customer that I hope will get lots of years use out of the tablet. Do you think they will tell their friends at the yacht club or the marina about their new chart plotter/ Windows 8.1 tablet/ Android 4.4.4 tablet/ really big phone/ media center/ GPS/ almost everything you can do with a computer multifaceted thing…? (The only thing I think it doesn’t do is make toast. But there probably is an app for that…) I sure hope they tell there friends!

We need people talking about us. How different we are. How we are designed for the average sailor. Why we are designed for the average sailor. It’s not that we can’t flood the internet with advertising. We could. (It is a little cost prohibitive…) We don’t want to be that type of company. We want to be the one you can trust to provide affordable sailing charters in nice places without all the snootiness that some huge multinational charter companies exude. We are a small company that works for your interests. Why? Because we are one of you.

We have sailboats that would make the average day sailor guy on the street say. “That’s a great sailboat!” The T22 owners say. “That’s roomy and easy to handle.” The 30’+ sailboat owners say. (…?) They still can’t figure out why we do it…(35’ used as an example. Big boat owners don’t tend to want to charter smaller boats than what they have now…)

I almost forgot to mention the free charter each year that we are giving away. Yes a 1 week free charter any time after labor day while the boats are still in the water. (I’d even let someone tow one to Lake Havasu if they looked after the extra insurance etc.) Enter here: www.northchannelcharters.com

The idea is to get people to tell their friends and let them know that we offer a great opportunity to live out some of those life long dreams of cruising without breaking the bank.