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Sunday, May 6, 2018

A New Cruising Dinghy

Made the big switch from our old fiberglass rowing skiff to a new Achilles RIB.

Here's a few pics of the new boat. More details and pictures on our new cruising blog:

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Sad News

Sad news about George Buehler. He was the inspiration and designer for many excellent,
stoutly built ocean going boats- including our KamaHele:

To all concerned…
It saddens me to announce the sudden death of George Buehler.

George died February 28, 2018 at age 69 of complications following an aortic aneurysm and emergency surgery.

George would be honored that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to WAIF at
Whidbey Animals' Improvement Foundation is a non-profit organization which was formed in 1990 in an effort to help Whidbey Island's homeless companion animals.
Another important organization is Old Dog Haven at

His business George Buehler Yacht Designs at this time will be closed. Any future information of his memorial service or future business details will be provided at a later date.

George is survived by his wife Gail Buehler.


New davit for the bow

The long range plan for Kamahele is to build and install a forward mast, which would also include a lifting boom to handle loads on and off the fore deck. This major project is on the back burner as we get the boat ready for cruising this summer. There is only so much you can do working evenings and weekends...

So the quick fix for now is to install a poratble davit that can take care of launching and retrieving the kayaks from their storage cradles, and also work as an anchor handling davit at the bow. With the size of anchoring gear needed for this boat, some kind of lifting advantage is a necessity for switching anchors, re-rigging, etc.

The design I came up with is a simple aluminum pipe davit that rides in upper and lower sleeves that clamp to the rail. The sleeves have an inner UHMW bearing that the davit tube rides in, and there is also a UHMW disc where the davit flange rides on the top of the upper sleeve. I made 3 sets of sleeves for the davit and they are installed on the port and stbd rails, and at the bow. The davit can be easily moved around to any of these locations to handle whatever needs hoisting. The sleeves might make a nice cupholder for a beer bottle too, but I haven't tried that yet.


The winch I ended up using is a brake winch, which locks automatically when you stop cranking. This makes single handed lifting a little easier since there is no lever to flip when switching direction (like on a standard trailer winch).

Saturday, November 25, 2017

New Cruising Blog

As our boat-building lifestyle gets back to more of a boat-cruising lifestyle, this seems like a good time to start a cruising blog. We've begun to take Kama Hele out more and put some hours on all the equipment we've been installing to get the boat cruise ready and get everything "dialed in". In the coming year, we plan to do a lot more weekend trips, anchoring out, boat handling practice for Sue, and maybe a trip down to the Channel Islands in the late Summer. All this stuff will be on our cruising blog at:

I'll still post boat projects here (there's always something I'm working on), but please check out the new blog to see the boat doing what she is designed to do.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Putting things back together.

Next couple of weeks after the haulout were spent cleaning and putting everything back together inside the boat. The forepeak deck had to be rebuilt, with a bigger hatch to access the bow thruster hydraulic equipment:

Boxed in some ballast:

Went with the same industrial tile flooring in the forpeak as before- it seems to hold up pretty well.

The Haul-out

So its been a little over two years since our last haulout.
No real surprises coming out of the water. We lost a little paint around the anodes (we are slightly over-protected with zincs), and the prop had quite a bit of calcified growth, and a nice colony of mussels on the keel cooler. We designed a big margin on the keel cooler to allow for warmer water and marine growth. Was nice to see that the engine cooling system was still performing great, even with all the growth that we had on the cooler.

We got right to work installing the thruster tube. The bow thruster tube is a section of 12" schedule 40 steel pipe, about 3/8" wall thickness. Plenty strong. Here's some of the work cutting in the holes for the pipe.

Once the fit-up was good, the tube was scribed and cut to match the hull plating. We added doubler plates and a couple of bolt on steel bars on each side of the tunnel to keep big debris out of the tunnel.

The controller went right between the tiller and the engine controls. It looks a little tight in the pics, but is very ergonomic, and allows for easy control of the rudder and bow thruster with one hand.

A great tool for this kind of work:

The cat wasn't much help:

I spent the second weekend at the shipyard cleaning and painting the inside of the forepeak, then installing the gear leg (the part that connects the motor to the counter-rotating props), and hooking everything up: hoses, wiring, directional control valve, gear oil reservoir, etc.

The finished product:

I got my hands on a "corrosion meter", which measures the effectiveness of the zinc anodes protecting the hull, and tells you if  all the underwater metals are properly protected by the anodes.
Required a 1/2" hole in the hull for the reference anode and a couple of wires to hook up:

Decided to try Propspeed coating on the propeller to cut down on some of the growth between haulouts. Also added a nasty looking serrated line cutter to the shaft:

Back in the water:

The bow thruster worked right out of the travel lift- no issues, plenty of power, and a huge improvement in close-quarters maneuverability.