Monday, August 3, 2009

Lawn Ornament Rides Again - Cheap Boating (sorta)

After it was all said and done, Lawn Ornament has been a good girl this year. We have been out on the lake a bunch of times and she has behaved quite well. For those of you that don't already know, Lawn Ornament is my project boat. A 1974 Signa Delta 18, that I picked up for $900.

When I picked her up, the previous owner said she hadn't seen water in 14 years, and nothing worked. However, she had a strong transom, a good hull and her 115 HP Johnson turned over. Unfortunately, I was soon to find out that this particular 115 HP Johnson only had about 5 minutes left in her. She took me out to the middle of Wallum lake and died, never to be resurrected.

We had the good fortune to be rescued by a group of folks that my kids now refer to as the Lion, The Witch, the Wardrobe.

A blond man (the Lion) who was piloting a 12' aluminum craft with a very small motor happened to notice that we were adrift and asked if we needed a tow. I gave him a resounding "YES! PLEASE!". To witch (which?) the witch with him responded "You are not towing that beast with our dingy!". The Lion ignored her, flashed me a big grin, and threw me a line as he pulled along side. The Lion towed us in without saying a word to the woman with him who loudly protested for the duration of his rescue effort. Once we were successfully at the ramp, the Lion gave us a nod and wave and was on his way. I should mention that there was a third person in the boat. A gentlemen we think of as The Wardrobe. We dubbed him The Wardrobe since he did not look up, speak, or make eye contact with us at any time during our short encounter.

Lawn Ornament makes 35 Mph on Otis Reservoir in Otis MA:
(The video quality is not great, and the sound is even worse...)

Check back soon and I will share some of the trials and tribulations that led to Lawn Ornament's return to the water.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Boating Vacation / Staycation

Like many folks this year, we are going (or should I say staying?) on a staycation. While we are moving our base of operations from the family home to a nearby campground our normal "Big Family Trip" has been set aside for something smaller, and more economical. Our intent is to maintain a high level of summer fun, and a lower cost.

Last year my family and I bought a project boat for $900 and we have been working on it ever since. The boat is a 1974 Signa Delta 18. For those of you who are not familiar with it, it is an 18' open bow tri-hull with an 87" beam.

This year, the boat is going to be the focal point of our staycation and a source of much fun. To date, most of the money invested in the boat has been to repair equipment that wasn't functioning (other than a boat that floats and a trailer that rolls, everything else needed or still needs repair).

After my first time out in the boat this year, I realized that I needed some FUN equipment. Here is the list of what we got:

A SeaChoice Tow Harness [SCP 86701]. This is a handy device that attaches to the transom and has a pulley on a float that will be out behind our outboard motor. This eliminates the single attachment point and left turning tendency of the boat while I tow someone on a tube.

Body Glove Signature Crk Prem. Molded [BGW 2506]

I really needed this. I am not a water skiier, but I do enjoy tubing and skimming accross the water. This will be a new experience for me. I'll let you know how it goes.

Kwik-Tek Water Ski Rope 75Ft W/Handle [KWK AHSR5] We needed this for the new Kneeboard.

Sportsstuff Patriot Double [SPO 531547] The kids (I have 4), wanted something that was two up. Like all sportsstuff tubes, this should be a lot of fun.

We had tried to use Wal-Mart clothline and other inferior ropes without much success. We ended up using CZ (Competition Zone) tow rope.

AFI (Guest/Marinco) O/B Platform Kit 2 Step Ladder [AFI 67904] This was a special request by my wife and daughter who find it both frustrating and probably a bit humiliating to climb into the boat without it.
In the end, we'll probably spend less money that we would normally have spent on a vaction for six people, and we'll still have the equipment that we bought to keep the fun going for many seasons to come!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

First Boat Trip of the 2009 Season!

Today I took the Signa out for the first time since last year. It felt pretty good to pour on the throttle, and the kids and I really enjoyed tubing (though the water is still a bit chilly).

Make a Boat List
It is a good idea to create and maintain a "boat list". This year we took out the boat list that we created last year and things went very smoothly for the first trip of the season.

Maintain the Boat List
We found that since last year, we need a few more thing to make the boat list complete. The fact that our family is growing means more life jackets, more seats, and maybe even a bigger tube.

Fortunately, I can get everything I need at: !

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mercury Prop Selector & Other Great Marine Resources

Since we launched less than a year ago, I have had to answer a lot of questions about boats. Since this is such a rich and varied industry, I can't always answer the questions. However, I have been learning about great places to find the answers.

Here are a few great resources that I came accross this week.

If you are looking to figure out which prop will work with your craft, you can use the Mercury Prop selector. Even if you are not in the market for a Mercury Prop, most shops ( included) can cross reference the Mercury number to that of another manufacturer.

Online Marine Resources
Mercury Prop Selector Tool - Find the right prop for your craft

Garelick EEz-In - Manufacturer's website for lots of accessories, boating ladders, etc. (All available at

More to come soon...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Joanis Enterprises Launches

It's not really official yet, we have to make the site look better and find more great deals on marine and boating supplies to pass along to our customers, but all of the technical pieces are complete and we are offering some great deals on boating supplies already... is live and taking orders!

We decided to launch during the fall so we could get all of our bouys in a row before spring. Right now we are offering deals on covers, maintenance, and cleaning supplies. Next spring, you can look forward to great deals on everything from anchors to electronics.

We are also providing a boating forum for any boating enthusiast to use. The new boating forum will provide sections for general boating discussions as well as opportunities to list boating classifieds.

We hope that you'll visit soon!