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Starter fluid

By: ycd0108 , 5:26 PM GMT on January 20, 2012

One of the Profs at the local college bought an old fish boat and it "needed" TLC. He called me and another poet/carpenter. We took our tools and crossed the "Pond" to West Vancouver.
M.V. "Wren" sat in the yard of another poet/prof on a trailer. Not the prettiest vessel. The crew got busy with antifouling paint and I messed around with the propulsion system. The engine was a 7/14 Easthope: one lung and magneto ignition. There was a small cup to pour gas into the single cylinder and a short bar to throw the flywheel to start the characteristic "Pop pause Pop" of the Easthope. Once I had checked this engine out I figured our best bet was the 9.9 Mercury outboard so I spent most of the couple of days there building an outboard motor mount off the canoe stern of the vessel.
At some point I was welding something on the rudder and noticed the smell of burning hair. Once I got out of the big clunky welding mask I found that my shoulder length hair was aflame.
Mike and I went back home to the Island and the Wren was launched and checked out. We got a call to come back to bring the boat over to the Island - 35 kilometers, I think, over the Salish Sea (called Strait of Georgia back then).
We bundled aboard with the essential supply: Big spray can of ether (Starter Fluid) and about a dozen beer each for the crew.
We left Horseshoe Bay with flying colours - the old Easthope flumping away while the Merc hummed. Pretty soon the Easthope coughed out so I went forward to give it some ether and gasoline and throw the flywheel and we picked up some speed again. This became the pattern of the voyage: Three guys sipping beer in the stern well and one guy at the helm till the Easthope coughs then I go back in and snort some ether with the old engine and it would, most often, make the friendly gesture of firing for a while.
We were approaching our harbour destination when the wind started to pick up and the waves followed. The Easthope still needed regular shots of ether but it became clear that my weight moved forward lifted the little Merc's prop out of the water and we were in danger of loosing both motors. I gave up the intimacy with the old engine and went back to being ballast. Wren made it to the Fisherman's Wharf and the good news was there was a Pub close so we could call for a ride and top up the fluid levels.
I noticed the smell of ether but guessed it was because I had been sharing my stash with the Easthope. Finally one of the crew looked down and my day pack he had been resting his foot on was noticeably wet with starter fluid.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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15. ycd0108
2:08 AM GMT on January 22, 2012
That one made me dizzy - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koyaanisqatsi
with english words.
"runaway Freight Train on a Dark and Stormy Night"
Sums it up.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
14. Patrap
1:46 AM GMT on January 22, 2012
The runaway of change, meets the eschaton..or the "Singularity".

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13. ycd0108
10:09 PM GMT on January 21, 2012
Back again:
A neighbour called to say my dog (I'm dog sitting Jupiter, my daughter's dog) was running down the road. We have some folks who come out to the "bush" here and bang away with shotguns and whatnot. Jupe would be a very poor hunting dog because he just runs away from the noise. Maybe he's not as crazy as I think, though. I have had three dogs shot over the years - two survived. I put him in the pickup and tell him it is bullet proof.
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12. ycd0108
9:07 PM GMT on January 21, 2012
No he was not kidding. We had an early form of "Savings and Loans" in those days. In fact it is still a main pillar of the Canadian economy: Pump the money in and take a good sized percentage. This works fine as long as the value of the =--
Dog gone
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11. Ylee
7:32 PM GMT on January 21, 2012
Ycd, that banker must've liked you a lot to offer a 220k loan for a boat!

Or was he just kidding?
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10. plapman
1:41 PM GMT on January 21, 2012
Good morning
It is too bad man's best friend doesn't have a longer life span. A person sure becomes attached to them.
I wish rhey'd install skylights in the ER room. Looking at a white ceiling and watching the clock sure makes for a long day.
Enjoy the day.
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9. ycd0108
5:52 AM GMT on January 21, 2012
Gotta get to bed.
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8. ycd0108
3:29 AM GMT on January 21, 2012
I forgot to mention the sign.
The "Challenger" was a deep water Black Cod fishboat. Traps were included.
Behind the wheelhouse was a large sign. It read:
"In Cod We Trust"
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
7. ycd0108
1:12 AM GMT on January 21, 2012
Oops. Lost another post.
"No Hope" might have been what the fisherman who got so frustrated with his engine he unbolted it and muscled it over the gunnel named his power (?) plant. He said he refused to row the engine back to the dock. I lost the last post when I went looking for Washington Marine.One of the largest diesel engines I have seen in a boat was a Washington.
I had an appointment with a loans manager at my bank to borrow 1500 dollars to take my boat up the coast and had to "Kill some Time" so I wandered down to the wharf. There was the 70' "Challenger" and the owner invited me on board. I had purchased a 451 "Screamin' Jimmy" diesel from him a year before this and he was in the process of selling the Challenger. He wanted about 180K. Took me on a tour of the main engine: I stand 6'4" and the Washington stood almost the same height in the engine room but I was standing on floor that was at about the height of the main crank shaft so the sump would be another 2' below.
I went on to the appointment and the loans manager.
No problem for the 1500$ but I mentioned the boat and he said he could put me in command for no cost. That is: we would write up a loan for about 220k and both he and I would be happy.
You need a "Master's Ticket" to run such a boat
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6. Bogon
10:51 PM GMT on January 20, 2012
After watching Rob's video, I have to say it sounds more like Slim Hope.
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5. ycd0108
10:38 PM GMT on January 20, 2012
I went looking for information on the old marine engines:
http://www.oldmarineengine.com/discus/messages/3/ 2884.html
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4. ycd0108
10:21 PM GMT on January 20, 2012
Afternoon Ylee:
It was common to have a can around. I've been trying to remember which machine I used it on - besides the Wren.
The thing ether does, though, is go to gas phase at normal temperature and pressure so it does not pool like gasoline. I don't recall any accident reports but I have not seen a can anywhere around for many years.
Hunter S. Thomas said: "There is nothing more disgusting" than a person who has snorted a lot of ether. I guess I never actually snorted enough.
The Easthope was an early marine engine made here in B.C. They based it on the Ford piston and built a cylinder with a water jacket. I don't know which came first, the Easthope or the stationary power plant you mention. Another early marine engine was called: "Vivian"
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3. Ylee
8:41 PM GMT on January 20, 2012
ycd, I remember as a young man I'd carry a can of ether in the trunk of my '67 Chevy, not because I needed it, but as "insurance"! Never mind that having a can of very flammable liquid in a trunk that got really hot in the summertime was the smartest idea! :)

The Easthope sounds like those old stationary engines that farmers would attach a belt to and run a thresher with.
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2. ycd0108
8:02 PM GMT on January 20, 2012
Morning Rob:
Thanks for the link. The one I worked with had this small bar you set in a cutout on the flywheel designed so the bar was released when (and if) the engine fired.
'Course every now and then - you jiggered about with timing as well - the thing would backfire and push the bar through the hull below.
The M.V. "Link" had a Chrysler Crown flathead 6 cylinder engine when I bought her. There was an old rusty crank handle laying about in the bilge. She would not start one time out jigging for cod so I found the crank and attempted to turn the engine over - not an hope.
No other boats out there after waiting a while so I went back and fiddled with the distributor and eventually got it turning and advanced the spark and Voila: away we went.
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1. RobDaHood
6:25 PM GMT on January 20, 2012
Youtube of an easthope engine.
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Now looking at the potential of humans (including myself) with regard to understanding complex natural phenomena.

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