Seattle Maritime Academy

So much to learn…. so many tools to buy…

One of the things about making this decision to go cruising is all the cool stuff you get to learn.

Tonight was the last of our Marine Diesel class at the Seattle Maritime Academy. The class was 11 weeks long (roughly) and was about 1/2 rambling lecture and 1/2 hands-on completely unguided lab work. The class could have been much better run and organized but in general coming out of it I feel like I know a lot more about Diesels to the point of being knowledgeable enough to do some of my own work, to have an informed conversation with a mechanic and to have a sound basis for doing research to figure out how to do things I can’t do right now. I’d give the class a C+. I’ was going to go lower, but I think the fact they actually have smaller diesels (like we have) was worth the C+. So it was passing, it accomplished the goals, but it also had a lot of wasted time. Judging by the amount of people who dropped out and frequently didn’t show up; I think many might score it lower.

One of the big outcomes of that (and of the Brion Toss Rigging workshop) is that I put together a big tool order tonight and will stopping in to get some Craftsman toys tomorrow. I like Craftsman tools, I’ve never broken one yet, they are reasonably priced and if I did break one they’d replace it! Did you know on you can order things and pick them up in the store? Very handy and saves shipping since I wouldn’t have been saving sales tax. I’ll post some list of things and pics of things when I do a full tool inventory.

Next on the course of learning is the Mahina Offshore Cruising Seminar 4 April 2009 in SeaTac, WA. I have good things about this seminar, I’ll let you check out the site yourself and I’ll post more when we’re back.

We stumbled on to the upcoming Mahina seminar because we’re also going to the Strictly Sail Pacific show in Oakland, CA 17-19 April 2009. I didn’t want to invest a whole day in SF on the one class so taking it here in Seattle is ideal! We’re very stoked (they say that in CA right?) to be going to the Strictly Sail show as we’re going to also use the time as a little mini-vacation as well. I’ll post more about that when we’re down there or when we’re back.

Update on our schooling

I mentioned before that Dawn and I are taking a Marine Diesel Class and I’m taking a Marine Electrical class at Seattle Maritime Academy. Well there’s only one more day of the electrical class left and we’re about halfway through the diesel class.

The Electrical class has covered all the basics of electrical theory which centers around Ohm’s Law. We’ve built some simple circuits on a bread board and tested voltage, resistance, etc with a volt meter. We’ve also done a bunch of calculations to determine wire sizes needed in certain applications. Last night we were a little more hands on and practiced some soldering. I’d show you the results but they’re not that interesting, instead check out these videos.

Intro to Ohm’s Law




How and Why to Solder Correctly

Marine Diesel Engine Maintenance & Operation For Boaters- 7306 CSS 122 3D

That is the title of the class Dawn and I started on Tuesday at the Seattle Maritime Academy which is a department of Seattle Central Community College. We got there at 6pm as the website said, the instructor seemed to be there milling around rummaging through things in the front of the room and people were trickling in and he started the class at 6:30 with barely a hello, barely introducing himself and mostly he ranted on about the facilities maintenance and then he told a pretty long story about the VP of SCCC selling a barge (and losing 9 classrooms and labs which sat on the barge) for $24K when the barge surveyed for $94-100K allegedly the buyer sold the barge on EBay for $130K.

Ooookaaay…… is what I was thinking at this point a little confused and starting to get upset.

He finally started talking a little bit about engines and along the way gave some miss information about biodiesel, gave some smarmy answers to questions about propellers. He also mocked the environmental laws, tax laws, ‘liberals’ as he frequently put it. Its like we teleported Crazy Cooter from the Dukes of Hazard to Seattle and asked him to be as offensive as possible.

In general the guy was a surly boat engineer, that’s fine, but we also didn’t cover very much information, didn’t provide an outline of the class and didn’t give a general engine overview for orientation purposes.

We did cover 2 stroke and 4 stroke cycles, which was interesting. We did cover how fuel usage rates relate to the HP output of the engine, and how that can also be calculated by measuring the fuel exhaust temperature.

I really really hoping the class on Monday was just the guy having a bad day. I was really excited about this class and if its not going to improve I’ll have to find something similar somewhere else, but it will probably cost a lot more. Here’s hoping tomorrow goes much better. He handed out a bunch of handouts I need to read now.. yay homework. ;-)