Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Weighing down Eximius

With all of our 'gotta do' projects complete, it's time to prep Eximius for our first real trip.

Sure, we have taken her out onto the Ocean a few times, at least out to the 3 mile limit to empty the holding tank, and we've joined up with other members of the HISC at Bahia Mar and Lake Sylvia, but it's time for a shake down cruise and to get comfortable with our boat. We need to get some water under the keel!

So the plan is to load up the boat on Friday afternoon/evening and return home. Then Saturday morning, head down to the boat, final loading and head away from the slip around high tide, about 8am.

We'll stay at Bahia Mar Saturday night, it's only an hour from our slip to the Marina, but it'll give us a chance to make the tides for the next part of the trip.

Bahia Mar is a great marina, right next to the beach and all the facilities. I expect to setup our temporary Air Conditioner to keep us cool overnight ready for an early start Sunday. Our goal is to get to Dinner Key around High Tide Sunday Afternoon. That way, our passage through the keys into Biscayne Bay will be on a rising tide, gives us a bit of leeway with our deep draft boat.

I hope to be able to post some videos of each leg of our trip, both to allow us to reflect on how things went and to practice blog videos.
See you on the Water!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Getting dirty with the Diesel engine

Having completed the installation of the new electronics (wind system) I wanted to check out some of the engine system to make sure it's ready for our trip next weekend.

1st was the Heat Exchanger. It has a Zinc that corrodes faster than the heat exchanger metal, it's a 'sacrificial zinc' and has to be replaced as it corrodes away.

Here's what I removed, probably doesn't mean much unless you have had to replace one yourself, but it has a major problem. That little bit in the lower right of the photo, it should be about 3" long! The rest has corroded away, as it should, but it's not doing it's job any longer.

There was a spare on board (thanks Deke!) but I went to get another before I used the spare. So now I have two spare (found another one, thanks Deke!)

Before putting it back together, I cleaned up the zinc holder so that there would be a good electrical connection between the zinc and the base and the heat exchanger.

That was easy.

Then I checked the raw water filter for the engine. Not blocked, but quite a bit of flotsam, so I cleaned it out, need to get a spare.

Next, check the water pump, pretty important part of the engine cooling system.

That cover should look polished, it's pretty worn. The good news was that Deke had left a new pump on board, so I figured I would replace it and recondition the old pump.

That's when it started to get dirty!

I keep a pretty good tool kit on board, so it only took about an hour to change out the pump, much of that was figuring out the 'how', if I had to change it again, probably take about 15 minutes.

With the pump replaced, we ran the engine and I'm very pleased with the flow of raw water through the engine. It now spurts out about a cup of water about every second. Cool (pun intended :)

We spent the rest of the time on the boat today checking the engine temperature sensors, drying up the small amount of water that was spilled during the work, and putting everything back together, basically starting to make the boat habitable for the up coming trip.

This should mean that we can spend some time taking Eximius to new places. Ok, so we're heading to Biscayne Bay, old sailing grounds when we owned JD. The deep keel of Eximius will keep us on our toes as the bay has a lot of shallow areas. I'll take lots of pics.

Stay safe, see you on the water.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Getting some Wind Part 2

Now that the Garmin gWind Transducer is securely installed on top of the Mast, time to work on the helm wiring.

First step is to extend the existing electronic's wiring in order to relocate the GPS & the Garmin Echo 300 echo sounder to their new home. That involves removing the existing silicone plug where the wires pass through the cockpit deck and below in the aft berth.

The existing wires are taped to the pedestal guard and pass through the deck which is sealed with a substantial blob of Silicone Caulk.

When the new cables are run through those holes, I'll install BlueSea Cable Clamps to waterproof the deck join.

I'll replace the tape with plastic tie wraps and clean up the deck when it's all done.

Helm Instrument Platform

The GPS is currently mounted on an Aluminium Bracket which has a 27" bar secured underneath that acts as a really good hand hold when climbing past the wheel.

The new GPS mount will also be the home for the Echo Sounder and the new Garmin Wind Instrument (GMI20)  So the bracket and handle bar have to come off first, I'll need them as the template for the new instrument mount.

I need to remove the legacy equipment wires that are fed through a hole in the pedestal.

Having a tough time figuring out how to remove the Compass so that I can get to the wires that are fed down into the Pedestal.

The existing wires seem to be secured inside the pedestal, and I don't want to just cut them off and leave them hanging inside, there's a chance that they could get entangled with the pedestal steering chain. I really want to avoid that issue!

Guys on the C34 Forum advise that I need to remove the compass light fitting (the black piece on the top leading edge of the compass) and that will allow me to twist off the stainless steel cover.

I'll find out this weekend.

We're still gearing up for our shake down cruise in late September, and getting the electronics projects out of the way is a big part of that.

It'll be interesting to see how this project works out. And working on a boat is at worst fun! at beast, great fun!

And, as I have stated often, when you work on your boat, you learn a lot about it, it's systems, and yourself.

Making Progress

Here's the sketch of my idea:

 On Saturday, I built the new instrument platform in my garage, well, out front of the garage, at this time of year, the front of the house is in shadow throughout the day, much cooler.

Here's the old GPS Mount and grab bar (Peggy claims it had her name on it, like it's gonna get her!)

The bar is too long and the angle bracket has a good bit of surface corrosion, what you would expect of about 25 year old aluminium. The bar is going away and I'll clean up the angle bracket.

In the background is the Starboard that will be formed into the new Instrument Platform.

 After removing the GPS mount from the bracket, I could see how wide the new platform needed to be in order to have the Echo Sounder, GPS and the new Wind Instrument neatly setup.

So I should have some Starboard left over for a few other small projects.

The platform should have enough room on the ends to form handholds in place of the killer bar.

The angle bracket cleaned up nicely just using my multi-tool sander. No mods needed to the bracket at all.

The round cut out is shaped to match the top of the Pedestal Guard tubing. 

Of course, I got carried away with the construction process and so didn't take any more pics until I got everything setup on the boat.

One of the 'smaller' projects is to install the VHF Remote at the helm. As I was already working on the wiring that passed through the deck in the cockpit, this was an easy addition.


 Well, almost! The entire system is installed, all the instruments are working and the VHF radio remote mike is installed and works great.

In this picture, it's easy to see the instruments, and the mike on the right. The handholds are easily strong enough and easy to grip when getting behind the wheel.

There's enough room on the instrument shelf to put a note pad or chart printout.

The Garmin Wind instrument is awesome, and when we install the Depth/Speed/Temperature transducer (during our next haul out) the data from the transducer will be available for the GPS and the GMI20 (that's the instrument on the right :) )

The Wireless Server interface is mounted on the V-Berth aft bulkhead, It connects to the GND 10 which provides the interface to the Gamin NEMA 2000 network.

The GND 10 is screwed to the liner at the outside of the Port Cabin Center Cabinet. That's where I keep our Flags.

That completes the installation until our next haul out. Then I'll install the new thru-hull and transducer.

This NEMA 2000 network is cool. Basically, everything we add to the network provides data to anything else on the network. So the GPS can show the info from the Wind & Depth Transducer, and the GMI20 can show the wind, depth and temperature data.

Eventually, we may add capacity sensors to the tanks on Eximius, then the data will show how full they are, how much fuel, water and waste we have on board.

If we add an instrument to the Nav Table, then all that data will be available for display there too.

Good days work.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Getting some Wind Part 1

High on our list is adding a wind instrument. So this Labor Day Weekend, that's the project.

The installation process goes something like this (things change despite the best planning)

  •  Test the system at home. 

I have several 12v converters left over from old computers/monitors/DVD drives etc, So I can use one of them as the power source. It only took a few minutes to connect all the pieces of the system to get it working.

Of course, there's was very little wind, but the system works great. With the Wireless wind transducer mounted on a pole in the yard and the electronics sitting on the kitchen island, it ran for 7 hours without an problems. So testing is done.
  • Mount the transducer on the masthead.
Bill Zimmer, a member of the HISC, has a Mast climber from ATN, and offered to loan it if needed. So I picked that up last night and Bill offered to assist at the boat today, assuming that he doesn't get the urge to go sailing. Hmmmm which would I chose?

So we're heading down to the boat this morning to basically get the transducer installed.

Learnt a couple of lessons about using the mast climber.

#1: Wear Gloves!

Get Prepared (what you need to have with you - put it in the bag)

Takes a little getting used to the method 
Don't lean back too far!

Check the Mast out as you go.

Don't get your knickers in a twist.

Take a breather.

Nearly There.

Phew! made it.

Cross that off the list!

Next, install the network, and the first part is extending the existing instrument cables so that they will reach the new Instrument platform in front of the helm. Stay tuned.

Here's the RatsNest of wire below the helm pedestal.