Yes, I went a bit overboard!

As you saw in my last blog, last season wasn’t exactly a stellar boating year for us.  A Tale of Two Knees is pretty much self explanatory.  To say the least, AMFM3 spent a lot of time at dock and I spent a lot of time on board at the dock.

AMFM3 is a 1995 Sea Ray 370.  stereo ampsThe previous owner of the boat had spent a significant amount of money to upgrade the sound system.  It has 3 Exile 1100 watt amps, it’s own gel battery, two Clarion head units and 4 installed Exile speakers and 2 “bazooka” Exiles mounted on the arch.  Included are USB and iPod/iPad/iPhone hook up and an input for television audio.  There are also 2 speakers on the transom so music can be heard while on the swim platform or when you’re out swimming.

Old TVThe tv in the main salon was one of those old Toshiba TV/VCR combos.  It didn’t work at all.  We also had an older Toshiba flat screen with dvd player in the bow stateroom that could be moved to the cockpit and put on a mount that was there.  You then plugged the audio cable in and had audio through the speaker system.  The dvd player worked sometimes, not others.  It really was a handy thing to have with 2 grandsons on the boat.

old stateroom tvThe television in the salon was state of the art when the boat was built.  But it was time to make a change.  So I met up with Curtis from Mobile Works Electronics who was the person who installed the custom stereo system for AMFM3’s previous owner. After discussing options we decided a stack of 3 Blu Rays to feed 3 x 23″ flatscreens would be the way to go. He would install the flatscreens in the bow stateroom, main salon and upstairs in the cockpit.  This would eliminate removing a screen from one location to relocate in the main cockpit.

I did some online searches and ended up purchasing the 3 Toshiba screens and 3 Toshiba Blu Rays online.  The purchase on the Visions website was easy and I had the product in 3 days.  1846556B-944C-46EC-A106-568D4F911009_zpsnfem0t2jWhen I dropped it off at the marina, I saw the state of the interior of the boat.  I have to say I was worried!  But Curtis is a pro, this is what he does and I had to trust it would all go back together.  (It did)torn aparttorn aparttorn apart

Curtis had gone to his shop and made a custom panel to house the 3 players.  It would also serve as the surface on which he would mount the flatscreen.panel with blue rays

You can see it at the bottom of the pictures above and right.

AMFM has a generator.  inverterI had planned that we would simply fire it up to watch movies if we were out on the hook.  Curtis had a better idea.  He had installed the stereo system.  If you look at the first picture in this blog, you will notice a battery in front of the 3rd Exile amp.  He put an inverter (mid picture to the right) in the compartment under the salon seat where the vacuum is located.  The system now runs off the AGM battery that powers the stereo system.  There’s no need to run the gennie for this purpose, plus there is not strain on the house battery system.

The whole installation is custom.  Curtis designed everything on his laptop while in the boat.  He built the custom panel in his workshop.  He determined all the cabling and parts needed including one 45 foot HDMI cable that runs from the Blu Ray stack, up the starboard side of the boat, over the cockpit in the radar arch and down to the port outlet.

Here’s the main salon completed installation.

salon install

 

new stateroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The forward stateroom.

cockpit install

 

 

 

 

The cockpit television.  I’ll have a Sunbrella cover made for this one to cover when not in use.

 

 

So that’s how I went overboard last year. The funny thing about this whole install is that once I decided to go ahead, called Curtis and had him complete it, the project wrapped up at the end of September.  We haven’t even used the system yet!  The remotes sit at home awaiting our first weekend on the boat…which should be in only a couple of weeks!

 

 

 

 

 

The Tale of Two Knees

I’ve been bad.  Very bad…as it has been much too long since I sat down and took the time to write a blog.  But, I’m back and have a lot to say so I might as well do it here.

I have to say that I wasn’t sad to see the last of 2013.  It was a crummy year really. I only managed to put 20 hours on AMFM3 during the season last year.

There were a couple of factors that contributed to that.

In early June last year, we thought a couple of days on the lake cruising, over-nighting and just hanging out would be “just the ticket.”  Janet was due to have major knee surgery at the end of the month, so we didn’t know when she’d get on the boat next. Plus it was an outstanding weekend with great temperatures, sunshine and no rain like we normally get in June here in the Okanagan.

First, Janet & I provisioned on Saturday morning.  We loaded up with food, some steaks for a nice evening bbq, the requisite bottles of both red & white wine, munchies and a couple of choices of movies to watch.  Our intention was to head for a mooring buoy for the night. We were hoping to catch up with friends Mark & Julie floatingaway.ca and enjoy some boating camaraderie.

When I remove our clear pieces above the windshield, I clean them before putting them away.  There’s a process.  (there always should be!)  I put a towel, from the pile that we have for this purpose, on the floor.  Starting with the first large piece I clean both sides with either Invisible Glass or Plexus depending on how long it has been since a Plexus treatment.  Then I put the piece on the towel on the floor, grab another towel and put it over that piece.  This stops scratching when the pieces are rolled and stored.

Piece number two was cleaned and placed on the towel.  As I reached for another towel I stepped on the edge of the stack of two pieces.  Yup…they slid and down I went.  I planted my right foot and immediately hyper extended my knee, ultimately partially tearing my ACL. My right leg is my “bad” leg having had numerous surgeries over the years including having the knee cap removed.

knee

As I screamed, and used a choice word or two, I fell to port and slammed my head into the stainless railing around our cockpit sink.  I hit the floor and pretty much stayed there in a daze partially knocked out.  Janet, had asked our dock neighbours to call an ambulance and came over to me.  As it turned out I had a pretty nasty cut on my forehead and was bleeding quite a lot.

The next thing I knew, fire fighters and ambulance attendants are around me.  I was strapped to a board and delicately removed from the boat.  This was no easy task as I was wedged between the helm seating area and the cabinetry for the cockpit fridge.  But they did it and from what I recall they were a bunch of great guys.

My hospital visit lasted a few hours.  My knee was pretty swollen and I had a few X-rays. It’s so messed up though that the emergency doctor didn’t want to mess too much with it. He stitched up my forehead and sent me home.  It was a good thing Janet was using a cane because they didn’t give me anything to use so I had to steal hers.  (what a pair!) head ouch

2 weeks later Janet had her knee replacement. That didn’t go as well as hoped and she lost her summer on the boat.  The two of us were not on the boat together again until September.

I did get out on the boat with the kids and grand kids.  There were a couple of cruises with people from work also.  Our highlight was a week long visit from my sister Chris who was out on the boat a few times during her visit.  But I think we might have taken advantage of her kindness as she ended up helping with household stuff while Janet recuperated!  But there was also wine consumed…

Janet’s knee continues to hamper her mobility. Unfortunately she is one of those that knee replacement hasn’t worked as well as promoted.  We will still have to ensure that someone is either with us or on the dock to catch a line when we return to dock.  But that’s ok, we’re rarely alone on AMFM3 with 2 grown children, a son in law, 3 grandsons and many friends who all love to be on the water.

So, that’s a rather long winded blog.  There were certainly more things that happened last year that got in the way of our boating obsession.  But that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

Here’s to a great 2014 boating season!  Next blog…flat screen television installation!

1846556B-944C-46EC-A106-568D4F911009_zpsnfem0t2j

 

A New Season is upon us…

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The season of 2012 ended for us the last week of September.  Given we had a new to us boat, I totally lost my motivation to write here in the Burley Boating blog.  I just proved to myself that being consistent in the world of writing is tough.

But here we are, a new boating season upon us and so are the blogs.  I have a lot on my mind, so material shouldn’t be a problem…I hope.  So let’s start with where I left off in the fall.

Janet & I were part of the Club Sea Ray Homecoming event in Knoxville, Tennessee last September.  A bunch of Sea Ray enthusiasts regularly spend way too much time posting on the clubsearay.com forum.  It’s a place that has become a online destination for Sea Ray owners and other boating enthusiasts.  The event ended up being supported by Sea Ray at a corporate level and before you knew it, their Knoxville facility was packed with a bunch of us.

Sea Ray HQ

 

This is the front of the plant where we visited.  All of the staff there were extremely gracious and greeted us all like old friends coming home.  It was truly flattering.

The people here know their boats inside out. When you mention what boat you have, they know it instantly and can tell you all about the features that exist on your prized possession.

There is a great group shot of all the Club Sea Ray members in existence.  You can see it on my Burley Boating page on Facebook.  (Just search me out and Like the page please.  It’s a pic site for all boating from the Burley clan.)

Janet & I made some great new friends while there.  Mike and Karen were the first we met at the hotel.  Mike is a non-stop guy and tells great stories.  Jason and Jess were next in the breakfast room.  Jason is a great technical guy and has done a fabulous job with his 89 340.  Jess, Karen and Janet became fast friends at the event as well.

Our last night there, we all got together for dinner.  We sat with Shaun and Heather who have a beautiful late 80’s Sea Ray 300.  They talked that night about moving to warmer climes from their home in Michigan. They did that, moving to Florida this past March.  But more importantly, Shaun and I have become great friends online.  We regularly chat on Facebook, trade texts and share pictures.  Janet and I are looking forward to our Florida visit with them this fall as we head back there once our season here is done.

The event was spectacular with rides on all the boats we wanted to ride.  Tenessee RiverOur favourites were the new 370 Venture and 510.  Much has been written about these two boats, but we all get to say we rode the original production models of each one.  It was a day to remember, especially given the friends we made.

Plus, we can’t forget about Rusty Higgins, Sea Ray’s Captain.  He’s a great guy and was instrumental in helping us through a couple of, what became, stupid issues that I shouldn’t have panicked about!  With Rusty’s help and Frank Webster in the background, we made the 3 plane flight and 3 hour drive to a great event!

We wrapped up the event with the dinner in Knoxville and called it a day.  Janet & I spent the next two days visiting Nashville and doing the tourist thing.

The really sad thing is that Brunswick Inc, which owns Sea Ray and Bayliner boats, decided to close the Knoxville plant.  Like many big corporations, down sizing has become a business credo.  “Right sizing” is a term that manufacturers use when the economy affects the sales of product.  Given the size of the price tag on new boats, the industry is trying to find its place in the face of churning economics, gas prices and labour costs.

Fast forward to this spring and my season started with an email from Canadian Yachting West and the editors of the Port Hole that is part of the publication.  The Port Hole is part of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron and regularly prints articles that are skewed to members of the organization.  I am a member and have volunteered with them for over 10 years, the last 7 of which I’ve been an Instructor of the Boating Essentials course each fall.

The editor asked permission to reprint my blog from this site about renaming our boat in the magazine.  I said “sure!” and the article was reprinted in the June issue.  If you don’t receive the magazine, please go back on this site and read it.

This year I also became the Commander of the Kelowna chapter of CPS.  While the term is a bit antiquated and military in style, it’s an honour to lead a bunch of dedicated volunteers who believe in boating safety.

Boat shows.  What can you say about them?  Well first, there’s a lot at the big ones that is just out of most peoples’ price range.  null_zps4c399045There’s always lots of stuff you can buy for your boat including lines, life jackets, electronics and matting.

This is a product that is made from strands of aerated PVC and rubber strands.  We had this installed on our swim platform as it is resistant to stains from just about everything.  This includes red wine, grease and shoe dirt!

This product looks good while protecting a part of the boat that is very difficult to keep clean.  A simple spray of water cleans it off and it soft under foot.

This is a shot of the whole stern of AMFM3.  We like it a lot.  Only time will tell if it’s really as good as the “DECKadence” guarantee says it is.

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So, I’m back in the water, having launch day happen in early May.  We’re now ready for the season and there’s lots to blog about!  Watch here or Facebook for the next update which will be about saying goodbye to AMFM2.

sunset 1

 

 

Sea Ray Homecoming and other boating fun…

It’s Labour Day Monday and the weather isn’t exactly the greatest to be on the boat.  I can’t complain though as this past 2 months of summer in the Okanagan has been amazing! We’ve spent a ton of time on AMFM with friends and family.  There has also been some marina excitement with a fire or two and we’ve made our new to us Sea Ray 370 into “our” boat.  More on that later in the blog.

First thing up is that we’re off to Knoxville, Tennessee for the Sea Ray Homecoming Expo mid-September.  This event, that was initiated and organized by Club Sea Ray members, has grown to a pretty big event.  A couple of guys from the Club Sea Ray site deserve a lot of credit and they are Rusty and Frank who spend a lot of time on the site.  Rusty works for Sea Ray and Frank is a gifted Technical Contributor on the site.  Along with help from Chuck and Sea Ray VP Marketing Rob Noyes this event promises to be a ton of fun.  If you are a Sea Ray owner, click here to register.

I must note the help of Rusty and Rob with an issue I had registering on the Sea Ray site.  My normal “worry gene” clicked in for a reason not worth mentioning here, but these two guys looked after it for me.  When I meet them and Frank and Chuck, I owe them a beer or two!

Fall is fast approaching and that means those of us in this part of the world have to start thinking about pulling our boats for the winter.  This is also a great time to sign up for some great courses with the Power Squadron to keep boating alive over the winter.  Wherever you live, the Squadron has a local chapter that volunteer staff and present courses that promote safe boating.

Here in the Okanagan, we present different courses like Boat and Engine Maintenance, Boating Essentials and more throughout the Fall and Winter.  Simply go to CPS Kelowna for the Course Calendar and sign up.  We start right after this weekend so don’t miss out.  You’ll see yours truly at the front of the classroom for a few nights!

This past summer was fun and interesting.  The big event of the summer was the gas dock fire at our marina in West Kelowna, Shelter Bay Marina. 

Needless to say  this was pretty scary and the gas dock burned right down to the dock.  A sailboat and classic cruiser (you can see them in the pictures) were damaged with the sailboat being written off.  That’s one less place to get gas on the Okanagan Lake which really doesn’t have many places to get gas.  Hotel Eldorado is the closest to us and that’s great as it’s a favourite place of ours to go.

At issue really is the total lack of vision the governments in the area have to the biggest tourist attraction the Okanagan has.  

We lost a gas dock downtown last year, which won’t be replaced until over this winter.  Fortunately it will be run by the Eldorado people which means it will be safe and well done.  But, it will be overly busy in the height of the summer, making for a less than enjoyable refuelling experience no matter the size of your boat.  At this point we are told that the gas dock at our marina will be rebuilt over the summer.  We keep our fingers crossed as we have just learned our marina manager Clay has pulled the plug and is leaving  the marina.  This is sad as he has been the driving force of change and improvement at the facility.  We can only hope that will continue.  And we can only hope that the excellent summer staff of the past 2-3 years is back on the new dock.

CHANGE.  Big word…but the only constant in life!

We bought our Sea Ray 370 this past March.  It was in the water at the time, so we’ve spent a lot of time on her, making the boat “ours”.  Part of that has been a less than experienced neighbour who managed to hook our Danforth anchor on a stanchion and break it.  This resulted in a bent anchor chute as well which meant both had to be fixed or replaced.  Our shower sump would constantly recycle, so we replaced that.  

To the right is CPS colleague Clark working away at the installation.  I have to say I asked him to give me a hand, but he ended up doing all the work.  It took us a bit longer than anticipated, but we eventually got it done on a Friday night.

Needless to say, I’m thankful for Clark’s help and the peace and quiet of a new pump that you can’t hear and that actually works!

 

 

As written here on Burley Boating previously, we also changed the name of the boat.  She is  now known as “AMFM 3” after going through the complete de-naming / renaming ceremony.  We also had new cockpit carpet installed and a replacement bow cushion made complete with a Sunbrella cover.

The final piece of making AMFM 3 our boat was a complete new canvas installation with camper back.

We started with a sloped back cover.  

This picture shows AMFM with the screen slope back installed as well as the above wind shield screens on.

You’ll note that this leaves little room at the stern of the boat for an adult to sit.  You lose all that living space with this configuration.

 

We solved that with the new complete camper back.  We now have the complete cockpit, front to back, for living area.

The two side panels and middle rear have roll up Eisenglass to reveal screens.  This allows air to flow through the cockpit area, but provide some protection from the elements.

This will extend our season both at the beginning and end, which we look forward to next year.  It should be noted that while underway, the rear and side panels are removed to alleviate any carbon monoxide from being trapped in the cockpit area.

Finally, what’s wrong with this picture?
How about 2 very young children, on the bow of a boat WITHOUT life jackets?  Whoever the owner of this boat is should be fined, forced to take a CPS course and then put through an exam on boat handling.

I watched this boat pull into the dock with these two little guys sitting on the bow of the boat, unsupervised.  If they’d fallen overboard, they could’ve been seriously hurt, even killed.  Stern drives have propellers that turn at a high rpm.  This “captain” (and I use that term loosely) would never recover emotionally from that kind of accident.  Neither would the child.  Get educated!

So, that’s about it for a very long blog.  Then again, it has been awhile!  You’ll certainly see a couple of blogs soon about the Sea Ray Homecoming Expo.  Both Janet and I as looking forward to that more than you know.

I end with my on air closing line,

“water on the water, beer on the pier”.  Be safe no matter what you do…especially on the water.

I thank my boating buddy, Mark for taking the latest picture of AMFM 3.  This one is complete with our new canvas and shows the boat with the side panels removed.

He took the picture while we rafted with him and Julie on a mooring buoy just north of Lake Okanagan Resort.  It was a great afternoon and another reason why the boating lifestyle is great!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Re-naming Your Boat

In the boating community, it is often seen as bad luck to rename a boat.  Unfortunately for a lot of boaters, the name that comes with the boat isn’t appropriate for the new owners.  I even have a friend who passed over several boats he would’ve bought because he didn’t like the name and will not change it because of this belief.

Well, I’m not one of those people.  I’m as superstitious as the next person, perhaps even a little bit more so than most.  I too believe it’s bad luck to change the name…IF you don’t do the official de-naming / re-naming ceremony.  Yes, there is such a thing.  Here’s the link: 48 North.

I have to say that I believe the superstition to be absolutely true!  On launch day of our 1992 Thompson Santa Cruz I radioed the marina where we moored the boat.  I used the call sign “AMFM” as I had with our previous boat.  At this point the name had not been “officially” put on the boat.  The old name “Sea Yaa” had been removed by the brokerage, but the ceremony to de-name had not been performed.  When we tied to the gas dock awaiting slip assignment, I shut the boat down.  I then headed to the slip upon assignment and, voila, my port stern drive seized!  Now, I was a believer!

So after we had the logo designed and printed, I set out to de-name the boat first.

We had fellow dock mates on board and performed the de-naming part of Vigor’s ceremony.  The next day, my son Ryan and I set out to clean the stern and apply the new logo.  We followed that with the renaming ceremony.

This picture was taken that day after we applied a coat of wax over the logo.  “AMFM II” can be seen clearly.  This was in 2004 by the way.

Fast forward to 2012.  Being the superstitious person that I am, the procedure had to be done exactly the same this time around as in 2004.  That meant the logo had to be designed for me.  I enlisted Ryan to do that as he is web guy / designer.  Next, upon the completion of the design, I had Stroma Signs here in Kelowna create the vinyl lettering and logo for installation.

Next on the list was to remove the old name.

This is the old name, “Right Here Right Now.”  When I think about it, the name could’ve worked as it was inspired by the Lenny Kravitz tune of the same name. Given I’m a radio / music guy, it might have worked.  But, our last two boats were “AMFM”, so tradition (and superstition!) had to continue.

Ryan and I got to work one Saturday removing the name.  I got part of the removal done prior to Ryan’s arrival.

A heat gun, razor blade and patience got things done at a fairly decent pace.  The old lettering was weathered and the glue old so it worked out pretty well.

Ryan and I set out to remove the remnants of glue from the old lettering. This took a little while with some elbow grease and scrubbing.  After that, some mineral spirits cleaned the last lettering/glue off. We then cut polished the fibreglass with some Buff Magic, my new favourite product.

Next up on the agenda was the de-naming of the boat using the Vigor’s ceremony from the link above.  It includes bubbly and some ceremony.  For this, the whole family participated including the grandsons, who enjoyed bubbly as well…lemon flavoured sparkling water.  After the ceremony, the bubbly is poured over the bow.

That’s me in both pictures performing the appropriate and required process to the day.

So, we called it a day to let the Buff Magic settle on the fibreglass and have a bite to eat.

On Sunday it was time to get the new logo on the boat and then rename it.  Ryan came down and we centred the logo with tape and started the application process.  It was a bit tricky, but we got the first of the 2 sheets on.

You can see the tape holding the clear plastic that the letters are attached to on the backside.  The cool thing is that the orange applicator tool that Ryan is using, is the same one we used in 2004.  Funny how I can’t find many things all the time, but I always know where that is!

 

Next we applied the blue outline that goes around the AMFM III part of the logo.  It went on quickly and we were done.

 

The final part of the process was to do the renaming ceremony.  It’s short and sweet and, yes, involves more bubbly in glasses and the remainder poured on the bow.

 

 

Setting superstitions aside, we turned this into a family event.  Ryan was a big help, Nathan, Heather and the grandsons Koen and Thijs were there.  Many of our dock neighbours came over at times to watch the process and make comments.

When all is said and done, our 1995 Sea Ray 370 now really feels like it is ours!  The bonus?

We love this boat and all the fun it has brought to the Burley family and all that it will bring in the future!

What does AMFM III mean?  First of all the  “III” is for the number 3.  This is our 3rd boat hence the number.

Both Janet and I are in radio.  We’ve worked in it all of our professional lives.  So the AMFM is the reference to the 2 bands of radio we’ve worked in all those years.  (yes, I started on air playing 45s on turntables!)

 

The name does have a dual meaning though.  Here it is:  “All My F*^king Money”…’nuff said!  (3 times over)