Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Trip to the Toy Store

With the impending visit by Erika this weekend, and online orders delivered to store, I needed to get down to the toy store (West Marine in Fort Lauderdale - if you've never been there, then take an hour to browse around some time.)

 In my online Order was the new Air Conditioning Unit for Eximius, Marine Air 10,000 BTU Reverse Cycle and the Garmin Instrument Kit.

 Now that probably doesn't mean much if you're not into sailing, but in South Florida, AC is a must (at least for a Brit In USA!) and knowing the wind speed and angle is pretty important. Moving towards our goal of cruising on Eximius for a month or so next year, we need to get AC up and running. This is my biggest DIY project on the boat so far.

The other part of the online order is an instrument kit.  We have the low tech wind indicators on the boat, little flags (tell tales) on the shrouds that point away from the wind, and a Windex (wind vane) at the mast head that shows us which way the apparent wind is flowing all the way up there and telltales on the Sails to show how the air is flowing over the sails.

So why spend the money on the electronic version of the wind indicator? Like most sailors, I feel the wind and look at the tell tales on the shrouds and on the sails and adjust the sails to match the conditions, but having a display show where the apparent wind is coming from and how strong, that helps stay aware of changes in the wind. If it's dropping off, then should I let more sail out, or if it's rising, should I reef (yes!) and is it changing direction? Keeping track of the wind changes helps anticipate changes we need to make to stay safe and to get the most out of our sails. So the instrument is great tool.

Included in the kit are:

  •  The wind transducer. That's the bit that goes up on top of the mast and collects the data on wind speed and direction. 
  • The wireless server interface (WSI) that allows me to have the transducer on the mast without having to run another wire down the inside of the mast. 
  • GND 10 box that allows the WSI to talk to our boat's network. 
Oh! We don't have a network! The Kit includes the start up network that allows everything to talk to each other and to show the data on the display at the wheel. Very cool.

But there's more! The kit includes a Water Speed, Depth and Temperature Transducer that connects to the network. So now the Instrument at the wheel will be able to display the wind direction and speed, our speed through the water, the current depth and the current water temperature. I just have to install it all. This is where I give thanks to the 25 years of Navy experience in electronics! Argggggh!

West Marine has a new boat owners program where we can get an extra % discount, so I took advantage of that by getting a few more things for future projects.

  • A sheet of Starboard - making an additional step on the back of the boat to make it easier to get on and off the boat from the water or dinghy and making a new Instrument panel at the Wheel so the new instruments are easily seen by the person at the helm.
  • 100' of new Anchor Chain
  • Hand rails for each side of the cabin dodger - give us and guests something to grab hold of as we get on the boat and into the cockpit without having to grab the canvas.
  • Safety Jack lines - they will be set on either side of the deck so that I can attach my harness in order to keep safe as I work on deck while off shore.
  • Cleaner and water proofing for the boat canvas - it's really not nice when it rains and the rain comes through the cockpit canvas and drips on as while at the wheel.
  • Bit and pieces for the AC install, hoses, shut off valves (sea cocks), strainers, etc. 
My boat projects list has grown quite a bit, but that's part of the fun of owning a boat. And I have to admit, when you install the system yourself, you know a lot more about it than when you pay someone to install it for you!

I'm getting to know a lot about this boat!