Ahoy, boaters! Welcome to yet another boating blog, this one focused mainly on small-craft cruising and boatbuilding on the canals and lakes of Ontario, Canada.

Many folks- like us- love the water, but have land-based commitments (you know, jobs and things like that) that prevent us from sailing off to the sunny south. That's OK- there are plenty of interesting places to cruise right here in Canada, many of which can be explored in a weekend (or perhaps a long weekend... or a week).

Our current flagship is Sunset Chaser, a five-metre runabout designed by Phil Bolger and built by Matthew B. Marsh. In the shop is the prototype of the Marsh Design Starwind 860 power trimaran, which we are building to extend our cruising grounds.


On The Water

Photos, ramblings and the occasional bit of useful information from our voyages aboard the runabout Sunset Chaser and other small boats.

Failure analysis: Shredded outboard lower gear set

MBM20130801-202332-3279s.jpgThe outboard's back from the shop (Ward's Marine, Kingston, ON) and the lower gear unit is in pieces. Unfortunately, the damage is worse than we had hoped, and rebuilding with new parts would not be economical. Here's the story of what happened, as told by the shredded innards of the gear set.

Something's not right with this outboard...

"Kr-r-r-rattle-rattle-CHUNK."

It's not a sound you want to hear from an outboard engine.

The cause of the noise is shown in the photo. Can you find it?

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In The Shop

Dispatches from the shop: Progress reports on our boat building projects, plus some useful information for those of you who are building, restoring or repairing your own boats.

Crossbeam details

The crossbeams of the Starwind 860 are its most complicated parts, from a construction standpoint. Today I'll show you a few internal details from the aft pair.

Crossbeams, little by little

Trimarans are finicky to build. There really aren't too many ways to simplify the highly loaded crossbeam structure, particularly when (as in our case) it has to be able to fold for trailering.

Our Starwind 860's aft crossbeams are now sitting partially assembled in the garage. The webs, the strut blocks and the centre blocks are in place, and it is now time to start closing them up.

Guide to Thread Compounds

There's a bewildering array of mystery goops available for use on threaded fasteners and fittings. Which one's right for the job?

More S860 crossbeams: Centre bearing blocks

The Starwind 860 trimaran's crossbeams are joined on the boat's centreline by a massive hinge pin. This mechanism ensures that the two outriggers fold in sync. The peak load on the centre bearing could be up to 41 kN (about four tons) port-starboard or 11 kN up-down, and the structures around it need to reflect that.

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