Monday, March 15, 2021

Companionway Board Storage Solution

Eximius' Companionway Boards

C34 Companionway Board storage

We have tried several different ways to store the Companionway Boards on Eximius, but most involved in storing them in the aft berth or beneath a salon cushion. All were a pain.

Then I figured out this idea of making a baggy that holds one board on each side of the cabin steps. 

The bags are made to measure as the boards are different widths. They are currently secured to the bulkheads with Stainless snaps, they do unsnap a bit too easy, so I'll change them out for Lift the Dot Snaps.

If I need to get access to the engine, simply unsnap the covers and stow the boards elsewhere until engine work complete.

The Baggies have a piece of plastic sponge sewn on the inside of the bottom just to avoid wearing through the lower edge.

Now we can unlock the boards, slide the top open, and lift out the top board, insert it in the Port side Bag (they store on the same side as the handle), repeat the same for the lower panel and we're all set. No boards dropping into the salon and no rattling around when under power.

The bags were made from off cuts of Sunbrella.

See you on the water.



Sunday, March 7, 2021

Change of Command at the Hillsboro Inlet Sailing Club

 Hillsboro Inlet Sailing Club - Change of Command Rendezvous March 6th 2021

I have the Honor to be the HISC Commodore for 2021-2022 

Tough Cap to wear, Dale Kern the outgoing HISC Commodore did an amazing job last year, holding our club together during the Pandemic, even growing our membership. We have a strong club.

The height of the ceremony was the display of the 2021 Cruising Flag.

Normally we have a Circle Raft Up with as many as 72 boats in a Sunflower formation. This year, still under restrictions due to the Pandemic, we're not allowed to raft up, so the Change of Command Circle Raft up was changed to a Rendezvous.

Some of the club members arrived on their boats at Sunrise Bay on Friday Morning, we arrived around 3pm, by sunset there were 7 boats from the club and one more, Past Commodore Dale, arrived Saturday afternoon when he had finished helping out at the club's Youth Sailing Program on Saturday Morning.

It might not be obvious from the picture, but it was raining, no cats, no dogs, but plenty of rain.

Before the anticipated rain arrived, Astrid Hunton allowed me to try out her SUP, first time ever on a SUP, Fell off on first attempt to stand up, water was not so bad, I was laughing at myself. So the rest of the practice was on my knees so that I could figure out the Paddle technique. A visit over to Hector on his boat for some paddling technique advise, I stopped going around in so many circles after that.

We're staying on the lake until around 3pm as our dock is tide bound until 4pm.

This was a great weekend, a much needed break after the hectic preparation over the past month for taking the helm. Thankfully, there are over 60 club members that fill the various committees and board positions to help us stay afloat.

Looking forward to next weekend - St Patrick's Day cruise. 

See you on the water.


Saturday, February 13, 2021

Installing a Garmin DST810

 Garmin DST810 Depth, Speed and water Temperature Transducer.

When our Garmin DST800 Depth, Speed and Water Temperature Transducer failed last month, I made the decision to replace it with a DST180 Transducer.

The new model has improved electronics and additional features. We do not have the electronics to use the additional features, but if we had to upgrade other equipment on the boat, those additional features might be useful. Of course, this assume that the new Transducer lasts longer than the previous 2 in less than 5 years.

Ok, so the installation consists of 3 parts. Sourcing the new Transducer, Installing it and Testing.

Sourcing the DST810 Transducer

Garmin (Airmar) DST801 Transducer Kit
    After extensive search web wide, I found that the best deal was actually from Garmin. The Transducer is an Airmar DST810 but is branded by many of the Marine Technology companies. West Marine does not have it on their website at present (February 2021) and West Marine does not provide Extended Warrantees on Transducers ( Somehow I was able to purchase a 2 year extension from West Marine when I purchased the previous replacement in 2019.)  So the only benefit from the various companies selling the Transducer would be their shipping charges and price. Garmin came out on top. I was able to verify that the DST810 was available to fit in the same thru-hull as was installed for the removed DST800. The DST800 was a standard length Transducer, but it was available in a Short version, so I asked Airmar to confirm the Part number of the suitable DST810 Transducer.

The new Transducer arrived on time from Garmin.

Installing Garmin DST810 Transducer.

    Because we had a DST800 Transducer installed, installing the DST810 Transducer should be easy.
  • Connect the Transducer to the NMEA 2000 network and verify that the display shows Speed when the paddle wheel of the transducer is spun.
  • With the transducer connected, establish a blue tooth connection to the Transponder from a Table or Smart Phone.
  • Now that we know the transducer is working, disconnect it and route the transducer wiring into the boats looms.
  • Before inserting the Transducer into the Thru Hull, it has to be painted with Bottom Paint and the O-rings have to be lubricated with the lubricant supplied with the Kit.
  • Finally insert the Transducer into the Thru hull. Note. The thru hull is currently occupied by the Dummy Plug to keep the water out of the boat. So the 'insert' function has to be done pretty quickly, water pours in at somewhere around 1+ Gallons per second. Remove the 'Plug' that currently fills the Transducer thru hull and quickly insert the new Transducer. Before screwing down the securing ring of the Transducer, make sure that the Arrow on the top is facing forwards towards the Bow. Tighten down on the securing ring and use the locking wire to lock the securing ring from unscrewing by threading the wire between the hole in the top of the securing ring and the hold in the ring of the Thurhull.
  • All of that went without a hitch. Plus I completed the wiring run using tywraps and tywrap wall ties to keep the run neat and tidy. I left enough slack where the Drop attaches to the NEMA 2000 Backbone to facilitate moving the hub of the backbone when I upgrade the DC Electrical Control Panel later next month.

Testing Garmin DST810 Transducer

    The pre-installation testing only tests the Speed and Bluetooth functions. Once installed we need to test the speed through the water, Depth and Water Temperature.
    Depth is pretty easy. With the boat electronics energized, the current depth at the dock should be displayed on the Chart Plotter.
    Water Temperature. This is Florida, the water temperature is an easy one to test, we'll just put a thermometer into the water near the Transducer and compare that to the temperature indicated on the Chartplotter.
    Speed - we need to be moving through the water. We can compare it to our GPS speed, but this requires that we are moving - time for a trip in the boat. We did a spin test of the Transducer before putting it into the Thru-Hull. 

Blue Tooth functions

    To be honest, I really didn't know which data will be available via Blue Tooth, but we already use our Blue tooth enabled phones and tablets to utilize the data from our Victron System (Solar Regulator and Battery Sensor). So this is going to be interesting. The Blue Tooth data is access via the Airmar Cast App.
    Well that worked out pretty well. With the Transducer already identified via Blue Tooth during the pre-install testing, we knew that we should be able to connect with it installed.
With the Install complete, we flashed up the Garmin GPS Chartplotter and confirmed that we were getting water temperature and depth. Using the Airmar CAST App on my phone we started the calibration setup.

    Installation complete, testing complete (except for Speed Calibration) all wiring secured and I'm ready to sign off on this project. Over the next few weeks we'll check the speed calibration.

See you on the water - Soon !!! (Working on the new cabin cushions, the refinishing of the companionway hatch-boards.

Stay safe folks.


Friday, January 29, 2021

Garmin DST800 Failed

 Garmin Depth/Speed/Temperature (DST800) failed. 

We splashed Eximius at Playboy Marine Yesterday (January 28th 2021) without any issues and headed for Sunrise Bay (the lake just north of Sunrise Blvd Bridge). The good news - The newly painted bottom and propspeed on the prop and shaft made a significant improvement in boat speed. We normally have to pus the engine over 2100 rpm in order to nudge past 6 knots through the water. Today we attained 6 knots at 1700 rpm! WooHoo! We broke 7+ knots at 2000 rmp and 7.5knots at 2100. Awesome.

Another round of "Thanks" to Patagonia Services! Thanks Leandro & Luis.

The bad news, our Garmin Depth Speed Temp transducer failed. The data is delivered to the NEMA 2000 network, speed - good, depth - all over the place from 40' upto 240' and most of the time it's just reporting garbage. 

More good news though! We purchased the Protection plus coverage when we bought it 2 years ago, woohoo! It's covered! We'll take it back to West Marine in the morning and start the return process.

And even good news- because the transducer output is direct to the NEMA 2000 backbone, removing the transducer and disconnecting it is an easy task. Similarly, the replacement should be a snap too.

Let's see how long it takes to get the replacement, I'm betting March 1st. Comment with your estimate.

See you on the water.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Patagonia Services

Patagonia Services at Playboy Marina

It's been 3 years since Eximius was hauled out for bottom work, last time my neighbor and I sweated for days sanding the hull lightly and then painting, then compounding the hull and polishing - we never finished that and had to work on it some more at the dock later.

This year we hired Patagonia Services at Playboy Marina to do the hard work. There were dozens of mini blisters on the hull, not unusual, but also on the keel. There was also some fairing over bottom paint that was an issue. I decided to have Leandro from Patagonia Marine take the keel down to the metal and refinish it. They did a great job, really pleased.

Unlike at the last haulout, there was no Catalina Smile just the scar where we had the smile cleaned up and faired by salerno marine in Port St. Lucie 5 years ago.  No water intrusion so all was well.

They did a really nice job of priming with Primocon and faring the area between the keel stub and the keel.

I also had them repair a hole where I removed the old speed transducer that is no longer used (our new transducer is Port side aft of the keel and is a combined Depth/Speed/Temperature transducer)

Most of the work was done by Luis, he worked for days to get everything done.

Then they (Louise) completed the job by applying 2 coats of the same bottom paint we have used since owning the boat.

The result is handsome!

I'm really pleased with the work done by Patagonia Services. 

Leandro, owner of Patagonia Services, is a member of the Hillsboro Inlet Sailing Club, so he knows us, but I'm sure his standards are the same for anyone's work.

Thanks Leandro.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Looking good

 Eximius is looking good.

Old lettering removed, new applied with a hint of a smile. 

Thanks Ross & Astrid for the tip about the hull side polish, worked out really well.

Eximius: We get a lot of 'Why 'Eximius' ? 
The story is told in one of our first blog posts, but we still get that 'What?' enquiry when folks first see the boat name.

Just a bit of fun.

The boat detailer was able to compound both sides and the transom, but the years of Poliglow did not submit to his polishing attempts.

Ross & Astrid (Commotion) advised me about the polish they use on their 20year old boat. Eximius is 33 years old, but the polish did the job.

We splash tomorrow, Thursday, but the tides are not in our favor to return to our dock, so we're going to hang off the hook Thursday night and return to our dock on Friday.

Then it's time to finish of the new Cabin cushions, new backsplash for the galley counter and finish off the new table.

Making progress.

See you on the water!

Monday, January 4, 2021

Stowing the Hatch Boards

 Stowing the Companionway Hatch Boards

Over the years we have struggled to find a way to safely, securly stow the two hatch boards. At first, we stowed them under the Cabin Seats, secure, but uncomfortable. Then we stowed them on either side of the Companionway steps, that worked, easy to store from when lifting them out of the companionway and easy to lift them to replace in the companionway, but they fell out onto the cabin sole several times and finding a convenient way to secure them that was easy to stow and remove was a tough one.

Finally figured out a solution that met several requirements
  • Easy to stow after removing them from the companionway
  • Easy to retrieve to replace them in the companionway
  • Secure stowage to prevent them falling
  • Stowage does not scratch the freshly varnished boards.
Solution: Hatchboard Baggies
The 'Baggies' are Sunbrella, shaped to fit the hatch boards with a piece of foam along the lower edge in the hope of preventing wearing through as the boards are frequently lowered into them.

The Tabs (shown on the right side in the pic) are double layered Sunbrella and will have Snap buttons applied.

Next time down at the boat we'll position them and add Snap Studs screwed into the wooden bulkhead on either side of the Companionway steps.

The boards have handles on the same side as their stowage bags, so the panel with the handle on the port side will be stowed in the Port side baggie.
When stowed, the handles should be within reach to enable easy pickup of the boards. 

Easy to make and I used left over fabric from another project.

I'll update this post with a pic of the boards in their baggies. The reason for using snaps to hold them in place is simple: If I need to access the engine, I would have to remove the boards, this way they are pretty well protected from damage when temporarily stowed elsewhere.  Right now there is a temporary, single, hatchboard securing the cabin.

Stay safe out there folks.

See you on the water.