I have been applying polyurethane or just plain urethane to a water ski. I’m not sure how to get a glass-like finish. Today, I’m going to buy some polishing compound and some cleaner/wax to see if I can smooth it out like glass using those items after sanding with 1500 grit.

Boat Shifting Adjustment

My dad and I adjusted the shifter mechanism in the boat. It is interesting how it works and I’ll give a quick explanation.

The transmission is a set of gears in the outdrive unit near the propeller. The gears are always engaged for both directions but they connect/disconnect from the shaft driving them when the direction is shifted. In neutral, neither gear is connected to the shaft. None of the transmission shifting mechanism is inside of the boat.

There is no clutch or torque converter like in a car.

So how does the boat shift? The teeth on the cogs that engage the gears are angled so that they shift into gear easily and grab hold tightly when engaged. When shifting out of gear, the gear shift lever pulls on a cable that pulls on the cogs and when the pressure is high enough, the engine is killed for a few milliseconds and the lack of pressure lets the cogs slip apart.

The engine is killed? Sure. It only lasts for one revolution, or something minimal like that, and doesn’t cause a problem unless something else in the shift mechanism is broke. The way this works in quite clever. The cable from the shift lever to the transmission has a few levers back in the engine compartment that allow for proper adjustment of the system. The cable that goes to the outdrive has the cable housing attached to a small lever that is under spring tension and has the kill switch attached. When the driver moved the shift lever towards neutral, the cables are pulled through the cable housings and the lack of shifting causes the cable housing of that outdrive shift cable to pull on the kill switch lever. As soon as the engine is killed and the transmission shifts, the pressure o the cable housing goes away and the kill switch is “un-killed.” It’s almost instant.

A more modern boat might have the kill switch triggered by some electronic sensor but why bother? This mechanism is fool proof as long as the mechanical parts are working properly. There is no clutch to fail and no expensive computer to burn out.

The problem we had was that the boat was not shifting out of reverse. All we ended up doing is adjusting the cable from the driver seat to the engine area so that it was shorter. When the driver is in reverse, the cable is already a little tight and the shifting into neutral happens sooner. Essentially, we adjusted things so that the cogs in the transmission are centered when the shift lever is centered, which was not the case before. This also had the side-effect of making the boat shift into forward a little sooner as the shift lever is moved. That didn’t make a noticeable difference but there are other adjustments we could have made if that were the case.

Kayak Rolls

I need to comment about this on Facebook. I did a one-handed roll in my kayak yesterday. It was ugly but it worked. I held the paddle in one hand in the middle of the paddle and rolled up without ever doing the sweep motion usually done when rolling a kayak.

Why don’t kayakers still call these things “Eskimo” rolls? Because it was the Greenlanders that invented them and Eskimos don’t kayak all that much, maybe?

[edit to add] I just discovered that this roll I did with one hand in the middle of the paddle may be called an Angle roll.

That’s all today. I have no blogged much because nothing interesting is ongoing or worth blogging about these days. I’ll need to start a programming project or work on an old project to get the programming juices flowing again.