Tug FAQ's
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Owners Association

Here is a list of "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ's). Please feel free to contribute to this page! Much of what appears below comes from summarizing many of the great posts on the Forum so be sure to check it out too.


Q: Can you recommend a good replacement anchor?

A: On hard bottoms like on the West Coast or Maine try the Forfjord FRJ-4 40# or the FRJ-6 65#. According to Forfjord the 40 pounder is the right size for up to a 40' boat. Some LNVT owners carry the larger 65 pounder. The good news is that either fits comfortably in the hawse. On softer bottoms a 35# Danforth works great, fits in the hawse, and will lock in place when the chain is cinched. A 35#CQR will also fits well into the hawse. Cinching the chain won't lock the anchor's plow in place. A separate line around the plow is necessary to lock it in place.

Q: The chain rubs against the hawse keeping us awake at night. Any ideas?

A: Try using a bridle made of two heavy lines forming a vee at a chain snubber.

Nellie D. #63
Tom Blackwood drawing


Q: Is membership in Lord Nelson Victory Tug Owners Association open to non-LNVT owners?

A: Absolutely! We welcome all wannabees and enthusiasts to join.


Q: What size battery is needed to start a Cummins 4BT-3.9M engine?

A: Ambient temperature greatly affects the size of battery needed. That's why Cummins recommends batteries anywhere from 625 CCA (cold cranking ampere) on up. In a cold environment (0 degrees F), where the engine is harder to start, a 1000 CCA is more appropriate. (Source: Cummins Shop Manual, B3.9 and B5.9 engines, Section E, Minimum recomended battery capacity, Page E-23).


Q: What is a bow pudding (or bow puddin')?

A: A bow pudding is a type of bow fender made out of hand knotted rope. Bow puddings protect the bow of working tugs so they can push things. They also look quite spiffy on an LNVT. Marlinspike Artist does very nice work as seen on Concinnity below. On the West Coast you can try Donald Allen at The Rope Doctor. If you want to make your own here's a comprehensive how-to by Captain Ben Grudinskas.

Concinnity #17
Little Boss #30
Sea Turtle #40
Bodacious #44


Q: Any ideas on keeping the bilge dry?

A: Replace the prop shaft's packing gland with a dripless one, like the PSS.
A: Make sure the Bomar hatches are well seated and sealed. Putting a solid rubber doormat over the Bomar can also help keep water out.
A: Another possibility is to build a 5" high dam in the bilge just under the galley floor, creating a shallow but effective aft bilge, and that keeps the engine room bilge dry. A Rule-Mate bilge pump is placed in the aft bilge to keep the water level at about 3/4".


Q: What size bowthruster works well on an LNVT?

A: A thruster in the 200 pound-force category, Vetus 95 and SidePower 100, works best.

Q: How can the power of the bow thruster be increased?

A: Put a battery to supply power for the thruster under the main forward berth. This increases the voltage significantly due to the short cable run to the motor. The thruster's battery can be wired into the house bank.


Q: Any lessons leaned for installing a door in the bulwark?

A: Absolutely:
1. Install the door on the tug's favored docking side. For a left hand prop that's the starboard side.
2. Install the door at the same time you're painting/repairing the bulwark.
3. Cutting the door out carefully will save a lot of finish work. The thin kerf of a sawzall blade creates the perfect spacing between the bulwark's caprail and the door's caprail.
4. After the door is cutout, finish the bulwark part of the job first. The finished bulwark can then be used to size and trim the door—just don't touch the door's teak caprail.
5. Get hinges that don't have a lot of end play (i.e. axial movement between the leaves) or side play (the amount of movement of the leaves perpendicular to the pin). 'Loose' hinges will make your life miserable.
6. Hinge the door on the forward side and have it open inwards. Hinging it forward means you won't have to walk past it when boarding and going aft toward the companionway. Hinging it to open inwards keeps the door safe from docks and pilings.
7. Bevel cut (see picture below) the unhinged side. Fifteen degrees is sufficient. The door will fit tighter and look better.
8. Keep the fiberglass jam panel below the caprail. With the door closed the teak caprail should look continuous.
9. Put a strike plate or other support between the bottom of the door and the threshold. The strike plate supports the unhinged side of the closed door. Somebody, sooner or later, will walk on the door's caprail and without the strikeplate the hinges could be damaged.
10. Think about how best to finish-out the threshold. Big, expensive boats put in shiny stainless thresholds with the manufacturer's insignia on them. Lots of 'cool points' there. With a little forethought the same could be done here.
11. Choose a latch that that is both effective and doesn't stick out so much that it snags unsuspecting passers-by.

Here's a link to a collection of bulwark door pictures.

Lady 37VT08 (port side)
Titan 37VT31 (starboard side)
Neptune 37VT35 (starboard side)
Fram 37VT71 (starboard side)

Q: I lost the cap to the water-fill deck-plate overboard. Where can a replacement be found?

A: Bruce Griffiths, Tess II 37VT22, found the cap in the deck-plate CH5930 from Victory Products fit perfectly.

Deck Issues

Q: How thick are the teak decks are how are they held down?

A: They are 1/2" thick and are held down with #8 x 3/4" Phillips stainless screws. The screw schedule is 12" on center. The screws are countersunk and the holes bunged.

Q: Can water find its way below deck via all the teak fastener screw holes?

A: In theory no. LNVTs have a solid fiberglass deck reinforced by evenly spaced fiberglass battens. To maintain the watertight integrity, the teak decking is only screwed into the battens. The combined thickness of the deck and batten means the screw holes never penetrate all the way into the interior. (Note: some owners have reported leaks through the screw holes and it's possible that these screws simply missed the battens).

Q: The bungs get thin and pop off. Is there anyway to repair them?

A: Yes, several ways. (1) Remove the screw, countersink the bung hole a little deeper, then replace the screw. Use a waterproof glue (Titebond III or Gorilla) on the new 3/8" diameter bung and then sand or chisel it flush to the deck. Here's an article on this methodology. (2) A second solution is to replace the screw altogether with a long bung.

Companionway Hatch Removal

Q: How is the companionway hatch removed?

A: The first step in removing the hatch is to remove the top of the turtle. The turtle, also known as a garage, cavern or sea-hood, is the wood box that envelopes the open hatch cover. Remove the bungs and then the screws along the periphery of the turtle's top (see photo). With luck the turtle's top is now loose. If not the turtle's top will need to be cut along the wood joint between it and the frame below it. On some earlier tugs this joint was glued while on later tugs polysulfide was used. A putty knife may be sufficient to separate the two pieces. Once cut the top of the turtle will come off. Removing the screws in the hatch cover's stainless track will free the hatch cover. When it comes time to re-install the turtle's top use brown caulk in lieu of glue or polysulfide. Re-install the screws and bungs then sand and apply finish.

The hatch with the turtle behind it.

The top of the turtle with a pencil showing a bung location

Cooling System Cleaning

Q: Is there an easy way to clean the raw water cooling system?

A: John Mackie, John William (68), reports: I was going through some of the postings and see that the question of cleaning the heat exchanger core comes up quite often and there is always a number of answers and the one that seems to stand out is take the heat exchanger off and send it to the radiator shop for cleaning, another option is soaking it in muratic acid which I do not like to do because the acid continues to work unless you neutralize it with a potash solution, so I bought some Barnacle Buster concentrate and made my own circulating pump. Rather easy to do, I used a 5 gallon bucket, a 3,700 gal per hour bilge pump and hooked it up to the hose coming off of the raw water pump, discharge side, and used the hose that is hooked to the exhaust elbow at the turbo. I hooked it all up, turned off the water to the stern tube and tested the system with fresh water for a few minutes and then added the Barnacle Buster and circulated it for 2 hours, unbelievable the amount of stuff that came out of the system. After removing the circulating system I ran the engine to flush it out and moved onto the air conditioner and used the same solution but a different pump and did a thorough cleaning of the AC system. Took about 20 minutes to hook the systems up and only 10 to put it back together, alot easier than removing the heat exchanger and sending it out. I did check inside the exchanger and it was as pretty as the day it was made.

This "before" picture shows how clean the solution is before being run through the engine block.

This "after" picture is proof that the Barnacle Buster is working.


Q: What material can go in the weather strip groove above the dutch door?

A: The groove size is 3/8" x 3/8". Local hardware stores stock 1/2" backer rod insulation that fits perfectly without need of glue, looks great and costs pennies per foot. Builders stuff this insulation into voids before caulking.




Q: What engines were used on the LNVT 37s?

A: The first 30 LNVTs came with BMW D150 engines. After BMW announced it was getting out of the marine diesel business, hull 31 was the first to get a Cummins 100hp 4BT3.9M. Hull 32 was the last to get a BMW D150. Hulls 33 through 39 got the 100hp Cummins and hulls 40 through 76 came with the 150hp Cummins. The 100hp and 150hp Cummins engines share the same block and differ mainly in their injector pumps and turbochargers. A good source of 4BT info can be found at: 4btswaps.com

Q: Any thoughts on engine replacement (if needed)?

A: LNVT's were designed so the engine could be removed without having to take the boat apart. Replacement engines include: Cummins 4BT3.9M; 160hp Yanmar 4LHA-HTP; Ford Lehman SP135; Mercruiser/Cummins 2.8L D-Tronic; and Volvo TAMD41H BT 140 hp. Teddy Bear #15 had this to say about replacing their BMW with a Cummins:

We had to change prop (expensive), build up stringers, relocate Cummins turbo from rear to top of engine (several custom parts), relocated expansion and overflow tanks, new wiring harness, new gauges and teak box to house gauges, new muffler, relocate exhaust from under floor boards to starboard under deck lockers, increase size of exhaust flange at stern, re-route water hoses and longer battery cables, etc, etc. Would estimate well over 100 hours additional work.

Q: What would it mean if smoke blows out of the exhaust all day long?

A: It could be a bad seal in the turbo on the Cummins engine. This can be repaired by removing the turbo and installing new seals and bearings. It could also be a blockage somewhere in the wet exhaust system (see the Muffler section below).

Q: What does the comma mean on the engine hour meter?

A: It takes the place of the decimal point. For example: 000375,26 means 375.26 hours.

Q: Any thoughts on replacing the Cummins' oil pan under the engine?

A: The major reason for pan replacement is that it sits low in the bilge and can rust if the bilge is wet. A replacement Cummins pan is aluminum so you might want to appy several coats of epoxy before installing. Replacing the pan requires lifting the engine off the engine mounts. Check for shaft alignment when the job is done.

Q: What type of transmission does the Cummins engine use?

A: The 2.57:1 Borg Warner Velvet Drive. Here's a copy of the maintenance manual.

Q: When is the best time to change your engine impeller?

A: Before it needs it! A good engine impeller looks like a gear, with rubbery veins that spin and flex as the pump does its work. Over time, impellers absorb seawater causing the veins to warp, bend or even break off. Even lack of use can cause the impeller to dry out, resulting in the veins to become brittle, crack and break off. Once the impeller is damaged, it cannot pump the full amount of water your engine needs. In addition, the broken vein pieces can easily clog the coolant system and cause serious damage.
It’s suggested by many engine mechanics that the engine impeller be removed and replaced annually. To help keep the impeller lubricated, many folks also recommend coating the inside of the pump with glycerin or dish soap.


Q: What kind of fuel economy should I expect?

Cummins 4BT-3.9M
RPM GPH Speed (kts) Tested Over
1600 1.36 6.4 1000 nm
1800 1.64 7.4 4000 nm
BMW D150
RPM GPH Speed (kts) Tested Over
1.7 7
2425 3.5 8+ 1000 nm

Q: What fuel additives are folks using?

A: Additives are available that will do one or more of the following things: increase the fuels cetane; increase the life span of the injectors; stabilize the fuel; and, kill the bacteria that grows in the fuel tanks. Both Stanadyne and Biobore have been used successfully in our engines.

Q: Is there any way to speed up fueling?

A: Yes. But first a brief overview of the problem. A fuel tank's air vent lines should be installed such that there's a continuously upward slope from the tank to the atmospheric vent fitting. As delivered from the factory, an LNVTs vent lines have several downward dips in them. Without a whole lot of boat motion these dips can fill with fuel. Later, as you take on diesel, and with the vent plugged, the only air escape is opposite the in coming fuel. Sometimes, when the fuel gets near the top, whoosh, old Faceful! If you're at a dock where there's a sudden wake, the whoosh will happen even before the tank is full. All this unpleasantness can be avoided by lifting up the floorboards and removing the dipsticks on each tank before pumping fuel. This allows air to escape more easily as the tank fills. However, this makes it a two-person job: one outside to do the fueling, and one inside to watch the holes for bubbles and yell "STOP!" just before the geyser begins. Greymalkin 37VT71 reports: "After many years of working this procedure in tandem, we finally had the vent hoses relocated when we replaced the fuel tanks, and now we can monitor the fill from the helm with Tank-Tender."

This is a picture of the port-forward fuel tank aboard John William 37VT68. The vent line is clear to better show what a drowned line looks like.

Here's a close up of the drowned vent line. As can be seen, red diesel has filled up this low point in the vent system.

Q: Any thoughts on adding more fuel filtration?

A: Twin racor filters have been installed on the port side of the engine room just forward of the battery bank. One idea is to locate the vacuum guage in the pilothouse where it can be seen underway.

Q: What is a workable plan for drawing fuel given the multiple tanks?

A: There are several schools of thought. The first is to simply leave all the valves open so fuel is drawn-from and returned-to all the tanks simultaneously. The second school of thought is summed up well by the following from Greymalkin 37VT71. Given the multiple tanks, you have an advantage in drawing from only one at a time, not just opening everything up. You can measure each tank (fuel-flow gauge, dipstick or Tank-Tender) and know how much you have remaining. You have the other tanks in reserve until you switch to them, and all this makes being mindful of the old "1/3-1/3-1/3" rule easy: No sudden "oops!" when all four tanks hit bottom. A couple summers ago, we found another advantage. In a hurry, (always a mistake!) we raced to fill the water tank at the last minute. (You can see this coming, can't you?) Yep—-right into the starboard fuel tanks. I was lucky----we were running on the portside aft tank for about 5 miles before I noticed where the water stains were on the deck----nowhere near the water deckplate. Conversation ensued. So did a side-trip to a $300+ fuel removal, and a $400+ fuel refill. Expensive mistake, but damage was limited to the unused tanks; a new engine would have cost a whole lot more, had I been running on all four.

Q: Any ideas on fuel polishing?

A: Here's a detailed solution on Trawlers and Trawlering.

Q: Can the fuel tanks be replaced?

A: The 37's were designed so the fuel tanks can be removed without having to cut holes in the boat. Tommie Chen said it is a very very tight fit, but it can be done.


Q: Any recommendations for counter top material and installation?

A: Ralph Hampton, Good News! #63, wrote up some excellent lessons learned when he installed Corian.

Q: The hand pumps on each side of the galley sink don't work. How do you fix them?

A: These pumps need to be used often to keep the seals lubricated and the check valve working. Often a non-operational pump can be made right by filling it, via a tube into the spigot, with fresh water. Let it sit for a while and then try operating the handle. If it still doesn't work, move the handle up and down while continuing to fill the spigot with fresh water. If this doesn't work the pump will need to be removed and disassembled.

There is a ball in the pump's bottom which acts as a check valve. Inspect it for debris and freedom of movement (note: a new check valve added between the through-hull and the hand pump will help if the ball cannot be made to seal.) . Next, check the seal between the piston and piston wall. Often softening up this leather-like seal, by soaking it in water, will get the pump working. Next, check the seal at the pump's top. This is a stem packing material such as found in an old style faucet stem. Finally, check the hose and connections to the through-hull/water tank with care. Any obstruction or air-leaks will prevent it from working.


Q: Any Ideas on how best to install a generator?

A: Ralph Hampton, Good News! #63, wrote up some excellent Lessons Learned when he installed his 5kW Onan.


Q: How are the handrails attached and how can they be repaired if they come loose?

A: According to John Niccolls, Knock Off #66, a 1/2" hole was drilled in the fiberglass, then a rubber plug was inserted and a long machine screw threaded down through the rail into the rubber plug. I guess the idea was that the plug would expand and grip the fiberglass. Well, it worked for over 20 years then got loose--that's the rail we use all the time when getting on and off the boat from the dock, the dinghy and the swim ladder. I choose to drill out the 1/2" hole and fill it with epoxy, pilot drill into the hardened epoxy and run the 1/4" machine screw down through that. We bedded with 4200, of course. Seemed to do the trick.



Q: Is there any way to reduce rolling in beam seas?

A: A little change in course will dramatically alter the boat's motion so tack off slightly and take the waves just forward or aft of the beam. Another solution involves a structural change to the hull by adding either inactive or active stabilizers.

Inactive stabilizers (1) Riding sails work to a limited degree in moderate conditions, not much good in rough conditions. You will have to sail off the wind 45+degrees to make them effective. Every LNVT with a mast can be made to carry a riding sail for little more than the cost of the sail. Deploying this sail at anchor helps keep the bow pointed into the wind. (2) Outriggers work well at all speeds. Down side is they will give an 'oil ri'g look to your boat, can be dangerous to deploy and retreive, and will slow the boat by 1 to 1.5 kts. Additionally they'll require major structural support at coaming and below deck to handle loads. There are no known LNVTs with outriggers. (3) Roll chocks work well at all speeds but can be expensive to install. They reportedly don't add much parasitic drag and thus don't slow the boat. Here are Knock Off 37VT66's bilge chock blue prints pdficon.gif.

Active stabilizers electronic/hydraulic roll stabilizers work well at speeds above 6 kts, most fins are protected by a skeg forward of the leading edge, while those without leading edge skegs are more prone to floatsam damage; probably the best from the visual view point, won't change the lines of your boat, at least above the waterline. Expensive to install. One 37 and two 49's have installed active stabilization.

Riding Sail on Elnora #37
Roll Chock on Neptune #35
Roll Chock another example
Active Stabilization on Polar Mist 49#7

Q: Why are there vertical, hairline cracks in the top of the rub rail?

A: On some hulls the factory put the gel coat on too thick in the top of the rub rail. Instead of flexing with the hull this too thick gel coat responds to otherwise normal stresses by cracking. This is strictly a cosmetic issue and can be fixed by removing the too thick gel coat. John Mackie, Larsholm #68, ground out the cracks and installed a layer of West System and 7.5 oz cloth tape. Note: many owners have repaired the cracks only to have new cracks appear. This is because the the too thick gel coat wasn't removed along the entire length of the rub rail. Fixing the local area of a crack guarantees a crack won't come back in the same place. It doesn't, however, guarantee that a crack won't come back just a few inches away. See Tuggers, Spring 2011, Vol. 47, for a more in depth discussion.

Q: Why is there a tea colored ooze coming from my freeing port?

The tea-stain beneath the freeing port
The freeing port undressed
Glass on the freeing port to hull joint
Reglassed and ready for paint

A: The bulwarks are filled with a brown foam. Any water which gets into the bulwarks, via the hause for example, mixes with the foam, takes on its coloration, and eventually appears as a sticky goo. Since the bulwarks have no drain, the water escapes by exploiting a weakness in the joint between the freeing port and the hull. The factory used a filler to join these two surfaces together. Stress, perhaps from a rough docking or a freeze/thaw cycle, causes the filler to crack. One way to repair the problem is to glass the freeing port to all adjacent surfaces.


Q: Any recommendations on insurance companies?

A: Allstate, Boat/US, Progressive. From Greymalkin 37VT71: I can recommend another really fine insurance company, especially for boaters who travel in the Northwest, on the B.C. Coast, and in S.E. Alaska. Premier Marine is a Canadian-based company, underwritten by Lloyds. It has a full-coverage policy that costs less than most others and has two great talking points: (a) No waivers or extra fees or required notification for the above northern travel, and (b) they know Pt. Hardy from Prince Rupert, with amiable West Coast people immediately ready to help you. I compared several policies, and they're tops in my opinion.


Q: Any good places to mount kayaks?

A: Two 12' kayaks can be mounted upside-down and stern forward on the pilot house roof (photo). While they fit well, they block the pilothouse ceiling hatch from opening.


Q: Can cables be run up inside the wood mast?

A: That may depend on the type of mast your boat has. For some of the wooden masts that are aft of the stack, yes. It's a tight fit (electrician's gel will ease the job). The new cables won't fit inside the stainless tube between the mast's base and smoke stack. Nylon tying the new cable to the stainless tube is effective.


Q: How do water lift mufflers work?

A: The lift-type muffler is a vertical canister that fills with raw water and gas from the engine’s exhaust system until it reaches a sufficient level to overflow and exit via the boat’s exhaust system. The water cools the gases and reduces sound levels. (paraprase of Capt. Ken Kreisler)

Q: Do they require periodic maintenance?

A: No, other than regularly inspecting all fittings leading to and from it, ensuring hoses are free of abrasions and hose clamps are tight. (paraprase of Capt. Ken Kreisler)

Q: Do they fail and if so what are the symptoms?

A: Interestingly, some of our high engine hour tugs (Kedge #43, Our Villa #56, Greymalkin #71, and Renegade #72) have had their mufflers fail. This is a hard problem to recognize but symptoms can include engine overheating, reduced raw water coolant flow, and a smokey exhaust. Very high back pressure (greater than say 10 psi) can be a sign of a muffler with a blockage.

Q: What's the mode of failure?

A: The following was Heather Macphail's, Greymalkin #71, experience: When the boat was built, somebody in Taiwan who didn't understand the properties of PVC used pipes of that material as cores to wrap the fiberglass around at the entry and exit holes of the muffler, when building it. Then the pipes were not removed after the fiberglass cured. Scroll forward to the point where the installed muffler is in long use, and the exhaust is finally enough over time to melt the PVC completely, and you have a picture of what was plugging the muffler-barely letting enough exhaust through. The mechanic who found the black gooey mess showed his boss, and neither of them could believe the boat came in on her own! This, by the way, is not an easy problem to diagnose: Water had continued to flow, the engine did not overheat, and the only symptoms we had been working on were uncommon smoking and maybe a little less water than we would liked to have seen. We (not just I, but several mechanics up and down the coast) had been puzzled. The lift muffler was our final check—-as in, the last thing you look at is always the solution, right? My recommendation is that any owner with an unexplained smoking exhaust include a check of the muffler first, just to be sure this one wasn't an anomaly.

Editor's note: several tugs have reported finding blackened, tennis-ball-sized PVC masses in their wet exhausts. John William #68 found three such balls caught inside the exhaust hose just a few feet before the raw water through hull. Dolphin De-Light 49#8 found some PVC masses inside their muffler. It's possible that more tugs have had this problem but it went undetected because the balls passed all the way through the wet exhaust system and into the sea.

Credit: Power and Motoyacht Magazine


Q: Where can you have weather proof nameboards made?

A: Try American Plastic Lumber, Shingle Springs, CA


Q: Any lessons learned for PSS installation on an LNVT?

A: The prop can be left on. Back the shaft out until the prop hits the rudder (try turning the rudder full starboard or full port as one direction allows the shaft to come farther out than the other). Size the PSS for a 2" shaft and a 2-5/8" stern tube. The aft part of the PSS will slide over the threaded section from which the packing gland nut was previously removed. The hardest part of this job is getting the shaft out of the transmission coupling. PSS installation only takes 20 minutes and is straight forward. If, after the job is over, you have more than two parts (the packing gland nut and it's stop nut) in your hand you took off too much ;-) Current wisdom, as summarized in this Forum posting by Annie #38, is to not remove the existing packing gland support as it acts as an intermediate bearing (e.g. pillow block or journal bearing).

Q: Anyway to make sure the PSS rotor stays in place?

A: Place a hose clamp or shaft zinc next to it. Leave a 1/8" gap between the two. If that gap disappears you'll know the rotor is moving.


Q: Any provisioning lessons learned?

A: Here's a provisioning article by Bicki Howell, Nellie D. #63

SCREENS (Privacy and Bug)

Q: What are folks using to keep bugs out?

A: LNVTs came from the factory with stainless steel screens (see picture below) for each sliding window. The second and third pictures below show how a screen door was added to the companionway of Titan #31. With a Pull-Apart hinge the door is easily removed if necessary. As the last picture shows, a screen was added to Titan's pilothouse window too. Metal pins on the screen's upper frame go into receiving holes on the window frame. A simple latch on the bottom of the screen keeps it in place.

Factory stainless screen
Companionway screen door (Titan #31)
Pull-Apart screen door hinge
Pilothouse screen on Titan #31


Q: Is there a way to improve the effectivness of the rudder?

A: The following is from a 9/09 email from Capt. Bob of Renegade (#72): In 2003 had yard add "rudder cheeks" to aft end of rudder at a 90 degree angle to each other and 135 degrees with each respective side of rudder to increase resistance surface (2") for water flowing by rudder in either forward or reverse. (Note: 1/8" stainless was used in the fabrication). Modification hasn't effected tracking or fuel consumption. Rudder cheeks are frequently utilized on commercial single tugs to increase manuverability. Experience after 10,000 cruising miles and over 200 locks on Lord Nelson Victory Tug has convinced me that this design modification has increased manuverability. For example, using forward and reverse gear and minimum throttle able to turn vessel in own length.

Another way to improve rudder effectiveness is to install an articulated rudder. Two tugs have done so: Minot's Light 37VT53 andTortuga 37VT69.

Q: What are the weak points to watch in the steering cable system?

A: Steering cables have parted just at the point where they turn on the quadrant into the fastener. Also look for frozen pulleys as they will fray the cables.

Rudder Chock

Articulated Rudder (Minot's Light 37VT53)


Q: Can an LNVT be trucked?

A: Absolutely — at least the 37's and 41's. Several years ago Carolina 41VT06 was trucked from S.F. to Seattle. And just about every year a 37 is trucked somewhere. Vessel height is a major contributor to the cost so keeping the height down is important. By removing everything taller than the pilothouse nav boards (the smoke stack, radar dish, etc.) a 37, loaded on a low-boy trailer, is 14'3" tall. Remove the nav boards and the height comes down to 14'. See also Tuggers. Vol 33 pdficon.gif, Fall 2007, pg. 2, "Trucking an LNVT—Lessons Learned".

stack removed

on low-boy truck


Q: Has anyone installed a Washer / Dryer?

A: Ralph Hampton installed a combination washer/dryer on #63 Good News. It was done as part of the Corian countertop project in the Galley and required eliminating the storage compartment between the settee and the galley counter. See also galley countertop lessons learned

Wood Finish

Q: What finish did Tommy's yard use on the interior wood?

A: … the varnish that our shipyard used is made by a Japanese manufacturer called "Ozeki". The varnish is a polyurethane/epoxy based varnish. To apply it, you'll need to add catalyst (methyl ethyl ketone peroxide) to the varnish. The base coat, covering coats and finish coat are all the same type; "Ozeki" polyurethane varnish. There's one base coat, five covering coats and one finishing coat which is sprayed on. There is no wax finishes . Floor finish, wall and ceiling panels and cabinets and eyerything interior are all done with the same type of varnish. From a 27 August, 1995 letter from Jack Chen to Jeff Ewell, Renegade #72, pdficon.gif.


Q: How do I eliminate a water leak which manifests itself in the galley overhead?

A: This is a vexing problem because water entering via the pilothouse (roof, rear wall, teak trim above the pilot house visor, or rear windows) or the smokestack, or via fastener holes in the dingy-deck's teak will appear as a drip from the galley or salon headliner. The reason:

… there is another glass deck that runs under the outside exposed deck in both the saloon and the pilothouse. All the wiring and such runs between these two glass decks, and I believe where the wiring goes up by the brass pole in the saloon is where the water comes down between the holly headliner and the lower glass deck above it. It then just goes to the lowest point of the headliner. If it doesn't leak at the low point of the headliner, it is because those slats are tight and they hold the water. In our case, the water sits in the headliner and then when the boat rolls, the water comes out over the fridge. This may not actually happen until several days after the rain has stopped. Phil de l'Etoile, Brave Duck (67)

One rainy day I dropped the wood overhead in the pilot house while installing antenna wiring and found one of the bolts securing the side light board to have penetrated the lower fiberglass layer of the roof. Water from the pilot house roof would flow down the bolt, along the underside of the roof to the aft pilot house wall. There it would flow down the wall, follow the forward overhead bulkhead structure in the aft salon and run around the wood overhead finally exiting along one of the seams and the overhead light fixture located over the ice box counter. Pete Lukken, Dun Wurkin (45)

The pictures Phil took of what's behind the headliner are very instructive. Finding the source of a leak may be difficult, but leaks can be eliminated by doing the following things:

  1. Smoke Stack — Caulk the joint between the stack and pilothouse. Make sure the four bolts holding the stack to the pilothouse are well caulked too. Inside the stack check for a good seal around the deck penetrations (i.e. electrical wire, LPG, and bilge vent chases).
  2. Rear Pilothouse Windows — Make sure the window channels drain properly. In a heavy rain the water shouldn't over-flow into the boat. Check the seal between the stainless steel window frames and the outside fiberglass cabin wall.
  3. Pilothouse Roof — Check that every fastener and wire penetration into the pilothouse roof is well caulked/sealed (i.e the nav-light-board fasteners and wires, antenna wires, etc.). Check the bedding of the pilothouse ceiling hatch.
  4. Teak Decks — A broken caulk joint allows water to accumulate between the teak deck and fiberglass sub-deck. This in itself won't lead to leaks unless a deck screw (a) penetrates through the fiberglass (note: they're designed not to, but some have) and (b) has no caulk or bad caulk. Make sure the deck seams are sound and re-bed deck fasteners in suspect areas.
  5. Teak Trim over the pilot house brow — John Mackie, Hull #68, removed the teak trim and brow to find that the brow did not have any caulk or bedding under the lip with the fasteners and relied on the teak trim to stop water intrusion.
  6. Dorade Box — Check around the vertical pipe inside the dorade box which carries air below decks. If this fiberglassed joint has failed water will leak into the head or shower room.
  7. Pilothouse Opening Window Well — The wells that hold the two front pilothouse windows can leak. Cap Saumon #16 fixed the leaks by attaching a small paint brush to a stick and then painting the bottom of the well with fiberglass resin.


Q: Why is there sand in my water tank?

A: It may not be sand but rather a precipitate of aluminum. The stainless water tanks have aluminum lids. Several owners have replaced the aluminum lids with either stainless or plastic ones.


Q: Our Maxwell 1000 windlass just stopped working, any ideas?

A: It could be the motor brushes are worn.


Q: What material can be used to replace the existing window channels?

A: www.Faucher.ca has stainless steel window channel (621-4471) that fits an LNVT's 10mm glass. It costs $47/8' + shipping. Another solution, documented in this slideshow, modifies smaller, but off-the-shelf channel to fit the 10mm glass. Another solution is to replace the 10mm glass with 1/4 tempered glass as channel is readily available for 1/4" glass. However, a drawback to the 1/4" glass solution was pointed out by Jim Backus, the LNVT's marine architect, when he said that only the 10mm glass meets the tugs' bluewater design specifications.


Q: Is there a good replacement for the rubber stops on the window locks?

A: 5/16" vacuum line caps make perfect replacements. By the way, the rubber stops used by the builder are actually LNVT faucet gaskets.



Q: Should zincs be placed on the rudder?

A: Yes. Try a 4" diameter zinc placed on the upper forward part of the rudder.

Q: Should zincs be placed on the shaft?

A: Yes. Try putting a collar zinc between the prop and the cutlass bearing. Or inside the boat, a wiper riding on the prop shaft can be connected to the bonding system.

Q: How about zincs to protect the prop?

A: Try refitting the shaft aft of the prop with a Size H prop nut anode zinc that replaces one of the lock nuts.

Q: Is there a zinc on the bow thruster?

A: Yes. Both Vetus and Marine Hardware thrusters have their own zincs. Rather than buying OEM Marine Hardware periwinkle zincs, try a small, conical, outboard motor zinc. It costs a lot less and works great.

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