Thursday, May 19, 2016

Our First Regatta - Planning

Hospice Regatta 2016

This will be our first Regatta on Eximius, it's a fund raiser for Hospice. My neighbor's husband died from Cancer a few years ago, great family guy, hard worker, didn't get to enjoy much of his retirement. Hospice provided care for him when the time came. His wife has been a friend of our family for as long as I have lived here, nearly 30 years, and she commented that she only had good things to say about the care that Hospice provided.

We sailed in the Hospice Regatta last year on a friends boat. I was really surprised how many folks supported Hospice, but glad they are and that they enjoyed supporting a great organization.

So far we have only raised just over $100, so I'm reaching out to my readers and asking if they would consider a donation no matter how small. I have setup an account directly that friends can donate online at everydayhero.

Thanks for following our Blog, we're coming up to the anniversary of owning Eximius on the Day of the Regatta, so it's kinda fitting that we do something special (Eximius is Latin for Special) that day.

We'll post lots of pics of trip.

See you on the Water.


Thank you!

Bob, thank you for helping support Hospice, looking forward to seeing you guys on Saturday.

Pam, thank you! I really appreciate your donation to Hospice.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

New Traveller - Done

We have been struggling with the traveller since we got Eximius nearly a year ago. Tried all sorts of lubricants including one touch specifically for lubricating sheaves. But nothing worked, it took a huge effort to move the traveller without any load and when under any kind of load, forgit abat it!
This pic shows the original traveller.
It's good sail trim to adjust the traveller either up or down (acording to the boat trim) but being unable to move it easily meant that we just didn't use it. And that results in poor sail trim when sailing from a beam reach all the way up to a close reach.

The old system was a 3:1 block and tackle with cam cleats on the ends of the traveller bar. That meant that we would have to stand in the companionway to try and adjust the sliding car of the traveller.

So, as part of our improvements and making it easier for us both to manage the boat sails and trim, we ordered a new traveller from Gahauer in California. A smaller company but great customer service and they made the original, now 30 year old, system that we're going to replace.

Woooh! Can you spell Hardware?
Peggy helped me guide the new hardware onto the track, it almost floated on... Peggy literally said - 'Wooooh'!

This is a serious upgrade.
The new traveler slid on soooo smooth, luckily I had a line around the traveler bar to stop it just floating off the other side.

We're talking 'SMOOTH' it's amazing, I would never have guessed that it would be so much smoother than the old unit.
The new control lines are led back to the cockpit, along with all the other sail control lines.

They are routed back to the cockpit via a pair of turning blocks on each side. It is simply amazing how much better this setup is compared to the original.

Now we can control the traveler from the helm without having to step down into the cabin companionway.

As the pic shows, the control line passes beneath the traveler bar and along side the 4 line clutch system.

Is it inappropriate to get all psyched up about a few pieces of rope and a bit of stainless steel?

Now we can simply adjust the traveler from the cockpit by lifting the line out of the cam cleats and re-positioning the traveler either up or down and then pulling the lines back into their new position in the cam cleats.

This is a big deal for Eximius! it changes the control from something that has been almost impossible to something that is easy for both of us. Peggy should be able to adjust the traveler position easily compared to being totally unable to make any change previously.

The Garhauer equipment upgrade has turned out to be a total success. Well worth the money.

Thanks Guido!

During the installation I had the normal issues: Screw that holds the starboard turning block strap in place broke, so I had to drill an extra hole aft of it to mount the turning block. The drill broke while drilling the hole for the inboard starboard cam cleat hole, but luckily it broke below the length of the screw, so it did not impact the secure attachment of the cam cleat. I miscalculated the length of the traveler control lines and had to buy a second set of lines from West Marine - they were really good about taking the short lines back, that saved me $60.

Total cost of project was $490 but really was worth it.

We're taking Eximius out for a test sail tomorrow, Sunday. Just a day sail, but it will give us a chance to practice our sail trim - so looking forward to this sail.

See you on the water.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Weather forecast got it wrong!

It happens.

We set out on Monday for a week long trip that would take us down to Biscayne Bay to enjoy sailing in our old (previous boat) grounds. The forecast was East Winds through mid-week turning to southerlies at the end of the week. Perfect! We could have a reach all the way from Port Everglades down to Miami followed by a few lazy days in the north end of Biscayne Bay.

But the forecasts were WRONG! It Happens!
Monday night, as planned, we were at anchor in Lake Sylvia with the intent of heading out of Port Everglades early Tuesday (8ish). But Monday night the wind howled all night long, from the East as predicted, just much higher winds than expected. I guessed that the waters off the coast would be churned up from 12 hours of high winds and that would make for an uncomfortable ride down to Miami. So we decided to work on a few boat projects remaining at anchor in the lake till Wednesday... if the weather was ok.

Tuesday afternoon, buddies arrived from Miami at Lake Sylvia with reports of the winds already being from the South but not high enough to fill the sails running north. So they had motored all the way, about 50 miles. We enjoyed Dinner with them aboard Eximius and shared, as boaters do, ideas and stories of adventures past. 

There was virtually no wind Tuesday night! The cabin was sweaty despite have all ports open to encourage ventilation. We could have flashed up the Generator and turned on the Air Conditioning, but as that thought came to mind the wind picked up a bit. So sleep was fitful last night.

Wednesday morning and our buddies left early. As we had planned to for a week on the boat, we had plenty of provisions, including wine and liquors, gotta have my Rum! 

But by mid morning weather reports were forecasting nasty stuff in our location, in fact the radar was showing nasty stuff already out in the South West, a quick decision and we flashed up the engine and headed back to the slip.

We cut it a bit fine. The low water in Lake Sylvia can trap the unwary, but we kept away from the skinny bits. Heading up the New River with the Jungle Queen (JQ) behind us, we headed to the first bridge - SE 3rd Avenue. Called in our request for an opening and cleared with JQ who was ok if we lead the group of boats heading to the bridge.

Literally within sight of the bridge, our engine died! A quick call to JQ that was right behind us to inform them of our engine failure, we then slowly drifted over to the north east side of the new river and was able to tie up along side to secure the boat. Once secure, we restarted the engine and left it running a few minutes. Confident that all was now ok, we called into 3rd avenue bridge and advised them that we would like to take advantage of their next opening, it would be in just a few minutes due to outbound traffic. JQ was headed back down the river followed by a pretty big motor yacht. We cast off and held our place to allow the other boats to clear the bridge before we motored ahead and passed under the open bridge. As soon as we were clear and thanked the bridge tender, we called into Andrews Avenue Bridge requesting an opening. 

Andrews and 7th Avenue bridges opened pretty quickly and we were able to dance around the outbound traffic by the bends before each bridge. Then it was up past Coolies Landing and up towards the split in the New River and the last bridge in our course. 11th Avenue Swing Bridge was closed but ready to open and we didn't have to hang back as it opened up for us. We cleared the bridge passing a couple of Kayaks and headed towards out slip.

Turning up the canal that led to our slip, I prepared the boat to go alongside while Peggy helmed the boat slowly up the canal towards the slip that was on our Port Side. Our plan is to bring the boat to a stop as the bow is just past the first slip piling so that I can step off and secure the bow to allow the stern to drift around so that the boat is Stbd side to ready for our next departure.

As we came up to the first piling, I used the boat hook to cast a line over the piling and back to the boat, but the boat slithered to a stop before it reached the slip about 4 feet away. At first I thought that perhaps Peggy had misjudged the arrival, but it was not her doing, we were aground! I was able to pull the boat using the line around the piling and step onto the dock. Once the bow as tethered to the piling, I got back on-board, took a spare dock-line and went forwards and stepped off again. Now I used that long dock-line from the center cleat on board to the dock and heaved in to bring the boat around Stbd side too. Gray clouds were forming. 

By the time I had secured the boat and moved the spare fuel canisters from the boat to the slip, the first cooling spit of rain started. By the time I had all 4 fuel tanks in the back of the truck it was raining solidly. During the arrival, the boat hook had separated and half of it was floating in the river, but now was not the time to try and get it, mid river is about 25 feet away. 

Peggy was below after covering up the instruments, shutting down the engine and prepping our gear, bedding, clothing, food etc. to be carried ashore and put in the truck for the drive home. 
I took a line and went to the neighbors home as the book hook had floated near to their dock. After clearing with them that it was ok to go into their backyard to try and retrieve the pole, it only took a couple of minutes to snag the pole with my line and recover it before heading back to Eximius thanking the home owner as I left their property.

Now the rain was coming down with a vengeance! All of the ports on the boat were closed and we needed to wait it out. Peggy & I put together a lunch sandwich and an Ice Coffee (gotta love left over morning coffee with Ice!) while waiting for the rain to subside - this is Florida, wait 10 minutes and it will blow over - It might return, but rarely seems to last more than 10 minutes continuously.

Once the rain stopped, we hauled the important things, food, and phones, to the truck and joiined in the afternoon traffic on I95 for the journey home.

At home, it was raining to hard to unload the truck, so we left that till later.

So that was our 'Adventure' for this week, as I said at the start - It Happens!

See you on the water.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Battery power

Power woo hoo!

With the batteries fully charged, we put them to the test this evening. Pegs wanted a hot shower and our only means of heating the water was running the inverter. 

So... 10 mind of DC to ac inversion and we had hot running water woo hoo!
The system drew 118 amps compared to nah Nutting doing on the old batteries. Running the engine for 30 mind should recharge. I'm stoked. Here's a pic as peggy came out of the shower 
😂 we're good to go.

See you on the water. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Cruise 2016 - Prep

May Cruise -2016

We planned on a short Cruise this month. Commitments and getting the Batteries upgraded cut the cruise down to a single week. So we plan on just heading down to Miami and hanging out near Nixon's with some sailing in the North end of Biscayne Bay returning home on Friday. The Kids are keeping an eye on the house for us and our neighbors are always on the ball, so we keep them informed of our plans.

The boat is ready: Sunday Night time to pick up a friend at the airport and fill up the spare diesel tanks just in case. So Monday all we have to do is head down to the boat load up the food, and cast off in time to get to the first bridge after 9:30 as they stay closed during the morning and evening rush hours. 

This will be our first decent sail in several month, so we're looking forward to the 53 mile journey down to Miami on Tuesday. The Wind is forecast to be from the East, ideal for that trip. We have our clothes packed, bedding is on the boat, the only thing to do on the boat is top up the aft Fresh Water tank - 10 mins max.

Here's our sailing area. The screenshot is from my Samsung Tablet running Navionics HD. At the top is Port Everglades, we plan on heading out to the Ocean early Tuesday Morning after a night on Lake Sylvia.
Here's looking towards a peaceful night so that we get our early start.
Monday afternoon/evening will give us the chance to check that everything is secure for Sea.

See you on the water.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

New Batteries Installed

New Batteries - Installed - And charging

Well, it looks like we'll make our trip South with the new Batteries installed and charging seems to be just fine.

The new Batteries have power post in a slightly different orientation so the old Series / Parallel cables did not fit. A trip to West Marine and Boat Owners Warehouse and I had the bits to make new cables.

It took longer to get the bits than to actually make up the cables.  But they do look good and the Crimps are top notch.

By the end of the day, the new Battery connections were in place, tested and the charging circuits restored.

Today I installed the Galvanic Isolator

It's mounted on the aft face of the Head bulkhead. It's connected inline with the Earth/Ground wire from the shore power plug. 

In keeping with my plans to label all new electrical wiring, the GI wires are labeled and everything is tie-wrapped to keep it neat and tidy.

On a side note. The Port side cockpit locker is big enough for me to get into and then room for a couple of stowaways!

While at it, I cleaned out all of the old junk webbing, lines and hoses before putting everything back together.

By the time I left the boat afternoon today, the electrics were 100% back together, we're better protected from Stray current that would risk corrosion of our Prop & Shaft etc. So now I just have to tidy up the Cabin before we are ready to load up for our week's trip down to the Bay.

Tomorrow (Sunday) I'll mount our new Swim Ladder extension that I drilled and cut this afternoon. Also mount the new Starboard Outboard Motor Mount ( I just don't fancy having to re-varnish the wooden OB Motor mount that came with the boat last year.)

So Peggy & I went to the store this afternoon for a Provisioning run. Tomorrow it's just pickup some Diesel - we'll take 15 Gallons with us to cover the planned trip if we have to motor all the way there and back.

Tonight, we cooked chicken and prepared 4 meals, tomorrow we'll cook a Pork Tenderloin in the Slow cooker and that will be all of the dinners taken care of. Plan is to leave the dock early Monday before the bridges close for the morning rush hour traffic.

Perhaps this trip we'll get a few videos and pics of us actually under sail. So far the weather forecast is good for the entire week. Keep our fingers crossed.

See you on the Water.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Fried Batteries

We have been nursing our boats House Batteries for the past year, but they have finally given up the ghost. They are boiling off electrolyte faster than we can add it! Just a week after a top up, they drank another 2 gallons of distilled water! So, time to bite the bullet.

Searching around the web and researching the quality of batteries to use, I figured on a budget of $150 for each of the 4 6v Golf Cart Batteries. I found some at Sam's Club but not available in Florida, but at just over half price I considered having them ready for pickup out of state and making a weekend trip somewhere - it would save $300. But that didn't fly.

Then, when leaving the local Home Depot, I stopped at Batteries Plus just to inquire about their offers. They had batteries that met all my required specs for $85 each (plus tax, disposal fees etc.) So I picked up 4 of them on the spot with the caveat that if they did not fit then l could return them. (Didn't think I could measure the old ones in situ.)

Next step is to remove the old batteries and clean up the Battery Bay.

1st Battery is Out!

Here's the 1st battery out. That hole is in the cabin seat base. The previous owner had cut that out so I guess he had replaced the batteries after adding the seats.
Note the corrosion muck on the top of the battery. Not visible from the top is the fact that the sides of the battery were a bit bowed, swollen from the pressure inside during charging.

I didn't take pics of the various braces that I had to remove to get the battery out. One thing is certain, the batteries cannot move around when braced in place, and if the boat was thrown into a nasty orientation, then knowing the batteries would remain in place is a good thing. But I have no intention of every testing it out.

3 More to go!

Getting the 1st battery out was the hard part, the other three are just a case of connect the lifting strap and haul up. I figure the batteries weigh about 55lbs each. So moving them from the boat to the truck is a careful process. Don't want to slip either on the boat or between the boat and dock, especially as there is an $18 core charge on each battery that is refundable when I return them to Batteries Plus.

Battery Bay Cleanup

With all the batteries out of the boat (ok, the starting battery is not being replaced, that's pretty new). Time to clean up the Battery Bay.
The base is shaped to receive the original 2 12v Batteries, but the 4 6v Golf Cart Batteries has a higher power density as well as the fact that they nearly fill the entire battery bay. It's a tight fit.

Clean up - Done

I didn't expect it to clean up this easily nor this well. The atharwtships braces have been cleaned and the corrosion residues polished off.
The base is covered with a piece of plywood, it's stained but not damaged so just dried out and cleaned up before putting it back in place.

Time to take the dead Batteries home.

Shiny new Batteries

Got them in place, but not connected yet. Short trip to the boat today to load the batteries and do some clean up. 
These Durecell Batteries weigh in at 65lbs each and that 10lbs is a good extra chunk of lead, so I'm hoping they'll last.

Of course, maintaining and not abusing the Batteries is the way to extend their life, so the boat's electrical system is getting a bit of an upgrade too.

Part of that upgrade is to ensure all of the terminals are strong, clean and properly labeled. The labeling is part of my on going efforts to improve the quality of the electrical system and make it easier to work on the system when needed. So all of the Battery terminals have been cleaned and are ready to be labelled before reconnecting the Batteries to the boat system.

Electrical Upgrade

The upgrade consists of several steps, 1st is to construct an accurate wiring diagram that reflects the true wiring setup on the boat at present, it will actually be two diagrams. One a schematic showing what's connected to what and the other a physical diagram showing where the parts are and where they are connected. It's going to be a busy weekend.

Already determined is that there is no Galvanic Isolator installed on the boat. This could give cause to galvanic corrosion of metal parts in or surrounded by water. That includes the Prop, Shaft, Cutlass Bearing, Metal Through Hulls as well as Engine parts that are subject to salt water (like the heat exchanger) - A Galvanic Isolator is on it's way.

Second issue is the means of charging the two sets of batteries - #1 - House Batteries (that's the four that are being replaced right now) and #2 - Starting or Emergency Battery (that's a 12v battery that appears to be in good shape and holds it's charge pretty good)

To prevent the batteries from discharging to each other when not charging, I'm installing an Automatic Charge Relay (ACR) that will automatically connect the 2 battery banks when a charging current is apparent and disconnect them at other times. It also disconnects the two banks when the Starting Battery is being used to start the engine, this prevents voltage spikes being delivered to the boat's electronics.

Installing the GI is pretty straight forward, just cut the earth/ground wire from the shore power connection inside the boat, strip off the ends and connect them to the GI mounting the GI in a dry location. Should take about an hour to do that.

Installing the ACR is a little more complex, as it also requires the wiring to the two battery banks and the charging circuits. That demands that the wiring diagram is done first. So that's high up on the list. it will be a busy weekend!

And it looks like the Weekend will start early, Dan the diver is available to clean the boat below the waterline tomorrow at 10am. So I'll get an early start on the diagramming.

See you on the water.