Friday, October 22, 2021

Annapolis Sailboat Show 2021

Our Trip to the Annapolis Sailboat Show 2021 

We planned on going to the 2020 Annapolis International Sailboat Show - but - Covid eliminated that option. Delta Airlines allowed us to save the fare for use by 2022 - and the Show was open in 2021 - had to go.
One of the Highlights of the Show

The Flight to Annapolis (BWI)

After parking in the Park-n-Fly lot at Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) we took the shuttle to the airport. We would do that again! Excellent Service, Friendly, Cheerful, Helpful and very easy to use.

At the airport, our bags were checked in at the curbside and we quickly progressed through the security system although it's a bit crowded after getting through the scanner and pat down, they should have a better system to allow travellers to sort them and their belongings, get their shoes on rather than the tiny area provided. We had breakfast before we left home and headed to the gate, that was our Steps for the day.

The flight on Delta was excellent! We travelled Comfort+ which really does have plenty of room at the seats, we would travel Comfort+ again in a heartbeat.

Our stayover at Atlanta Airport included a walk from Terminal A to Terminal D. Easy, plenty of time, a none-event. The flight from Atlanta to BWI was very pleasant no issues. We took an UBER from BWI to the Courtyards Annapolis ($55.99), easy and no stress, well, no stress for me other than when Peggy kept gripping my leg with an Iron hand each time the car changed lanes or approached a slower moving vehicle, no bruises.

The Courtyards Annapolis is undergoing renovations "Exterior Improvements" but those extend inside too. They have a Bistro - don't eat there in the evening, the bar is not bad but not a lot of choices. The airport food areas are better and they are not great.  Our room was just fine except for the Bathroom toilet cistern leaked and would drip all the time then refill noisily about every 9 or 10 minutes. I mentioned it to the reception staff before we headed to the boat show on Friday Morning, nothing was done. I called them and repeated the issue. A guy came to the room, replaced the cistern's flapper valve. It kept me awake a lot of that night too.

Ok, so we're at the Hotel and time to head to the boat show.  Uber ($18.91). We had purchased the tickets online but still had to wait in a long line (we got there before the show opened) - had we wanted to buy the tickets at the show we could have avoided the lines! go figure.

On our 'gotta do' list was visit the Catalina display, find a new pair of Bibs to replace those that fell apart (from the inside) on my trip on Grave last January and to find info about electrification of the boat propulsion system, especially about any install history on a Catalina 34.

The Catalina display had 4 boats: Catalina 425, Catalina 355 and Catalina 315. They also had a small day sailer. I really liked the C355 but as we have a C34 it's not that big of an upgrade. They also make a C385, it's only 4' longer but beamier than the C34 and the beam spreads back to the stern. I would be interested in seeing that boat. All of the 300+ boats had the option for Inmast Furling with an SMS which believe stands for (or should) Smart Mainsail System - Basically is has electronic torque detection to prevent continued furling or unfurling if the SMS detects an issue. That should prevent the main getting stuck in the mast or ripped by trying to pull it out if it were stuck.

I did note on the mini brochure from the folks at the Catalina display that all of their boats over 30' are rated CE category A Ocean NMMA Yacht Certified and follow all applicable ABYC standards. They sure look pretty. Although they didn't have tbe 385 on display, right  now it's the boat I would spend the money on, if I had it. :)

Best part of the show? 

That smile on Peggy's face when Captain Q gave her one of his caps! Priceless.

We're avid watchers of Captain Q and Randay when they find boats, hither and yon reciting years of knowledge as well as researched info about the boats, their owners, builders and history. Botb Cap'n Q and Randay took time to talk about their travels and what's involved with making one of their weekly you tube videos. Just go to and search for Captain Q.

What did we buy at the show?

I purchased a tackrite boom preventer, it was 20% off so only $50. My new mustang Bibs, a Sweatshirt to keep warm (it got cool up there) and a Catalina Long-sleeved shirt. That's it!

Where did we eat?

I'll not mention the airport food, wasn't worth the money or the time in  line. Friday we had breakfast at the hotel, surprisingly good, their Egg White, ham and cheese on an English muffin were really nice. After hours walking around the boat show, Day #1, we had Lunch at Pussers right next to the boat show. Nothing special, Salads with chicken. Despite the really busy lunchtime, the staff were excellent.

For  our Friday dinner we went to a local deli and purchased a couple of Brie Sandwiches and a bottle of wine. Expensive and turned out too much food.

 Saturday Morning we had the same breakfast at the hotel. Then, Day #2 at the boat show we visited O'Brians on Main Street - Oh Sooooo Good!  Appetizer was Shrimp Cocktail, plenty for two, too much for one. Shrimp were perfect. My choice was Spinach salad with Crab Cakes, absolutely delicious, the Crab cakes were real giant Crab! Peggy only got to taste the Crab Cake. Peggy's choice was Seared Tuna platter, that was an OMG moment, way to much for one person, we almost ate all of it together. A couple of glasses of wine and two Jack & Gingers finished off an excellent lunch. Ok, so the $139 bill (including tip) was a bit steep, but we were ok with it just this once.

Sunday we headed into town (Uber) for breakfast. Mike in our Sailing Club had recommended Chick & Ruth's - THANK YOU MIKE!  The Uber driver dropped us off right next to the restaurant. It was a chilly morning and it was packed, first seats available after a 20 minute wait hanging out on the sidewalk watching people go by, were outside. I kept looking at the store across the street that looked like it sold sweatshirts.
So for Breakfast, I had Eggs Benedict with Crab Cakes and Potatoes. Peggy had a Ham and Cheese Omelette. My breakfast set me up for the day, eggs runny inside = Perfect, Crab cakes - would have them every day, potatoes - Delicious. Peggy's omelette was too much, I had to help out. Coffee was pretty good too. The bill was the lowest we had for a meal all weekend!

Back at the hotel after a great visit of the Maryland State House - (ask Peggy about that, she's the history buff) we ordered dinner from the Royal Kama Indian Restaurant. It was literally a five minute walk from the hotel and was waiting when I got there. The restaurant was almost empty, I guess time of day and it looked like it was brand new. I have not had a really good Curry in ages, theirs made up for it. Good sized chunks of nicely cooked tender chicken and delicious curry sauce and rice. Really good, worth going to Annapolis just for the Curry. 

Monday morning we left the hotel before 7am for our Uber trip back to the airport where we planned to have breakfast. As I said, airport food is not worth the mention.

Our Uber drivers were great although one did have his music too loud and didn't understand our request to turn it down (4 stars). The best was John on Monday Morning with his Tesla 3, very pleasant. During our discussions the subject of self driving ( no driver) cars came up. I'm not a fan: If we travelled in a Taxi, the relationship is that of Service provider and Customer. When using Uber ( the relationship is much more friendly and always (ok, nearly always) a great conversation. If we used a Driverless Self driving Auto, the relationship is not there! Just a couple of passengers sitting inside of a tool. We would probably be subjected to endless Ads on a big video screen. No thanks.

Our Flights.
The best part of of the trip travel wise was actually due to a failure! We travelled both ways on Delta Comfort Plus, that meant that we boarded earlier than most. While sitting in our seats waiting for everyone else to board the flight from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale, I noted that there was some kind of issue hearing the very quiet comments between the cabin crew. A few minutes later the Pilot announced that there was a safety issue with the plane and did not feel it safe to fly. They were trying to correct the issue but he was not confident that would happen quickly and pre-warned us that they had stopped boarding and were looking at alternative travel arrangements. A few more minutes passed and he confirmed that the issue needed much more attention and that he was going to start the de-boarding process shortly, as soon as they had confirmation about the alternative flight arrangements.

At this point I was very happy that he made a clear decision and did not take the unnecessary risk. Less than 10 minutes later, the Pilot advised that there was a similar plane waiting at another gate and that we should de-board and proceed to the to the other gate. Guess where the other gate was? Yep, at the other end of the airport terminals - We had to walk from terminal A gate 1 to Terminal T gate 2 Time to get walking! Everybody exited quietly and got the legs in motion, some needed wheelchair assistance.

By the time we arrived at the T2 Gate they had nearly completed preparation of the aircraft. We saw the pilots and crew arrive, they walked too, and less than a half hour later we were boarding with cheerful crew and fellow passengers. Well done Delta Airlines! 

The flight home was quick and on the updated time.  A bus from Park -n- Fly arrived within minutes of our bags at the baggage claim, probably less than 10 minutes to the parking lot, the driver pulled up right behind our truck. We headed home, stopped a Publix for some dinner and bread (I didn't have any bread left in the freezer). A glass of wine for Peggy and a Cap'n Morgan on ice for me, dinner and relax. We could unpack the bags in the morning.

Great trip. Especial thanks to Delta Airlines, Uber's driver John, and all of the folks we talked to at the boat show. A HUGE thank you to Cap'n Q you and Randay made Peggy's Day. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Refitting the Rubrail

Refitting the Rub Rail on our Catalina 34

Pic from Ohana
If we brush up against a piling when docking, occasionally, the Rub Rail Vinyl extrusion will pop out of the Aluminum track and form a loop that just wants to get bigger.

First time this happened I spent hours trying to get it back in place, but now have the process down so that it only takes a few minutes.

If the 'Loop' is close to the Stern then it should be moved gradually towards the Bow and if it's near to the Bow, then the 'Loop' should be moved gradually towards the Stern.

Here's how to 'move the loop'

Basically the Vinyl rub rail has stretched, it's Vinyl, of course it stretches. The trick is compress the 
vinyl as it is moved.

Let's imagine that the Vinyl has popped out several feet from the stern on the Port Side.

Start by pushing the aft most edge of the loop back into the aluminum track and the Pushing will compress the vinyl just a small amount. As the aft end of the loop is compressed and pushed back into the track, most likely the forward end of the loop will come out of the track, just a bit, but that's ok, it's not pulling out and stretching, it's just easing out of the track.

Inch by Inch, continue to press the aft end of the loop into the track and pushing that edge towards the stern and thus compressing the vinyl a little more. Again some of the leading edge of the loop will pop out of the track, don't worry. As this process is repeated, the size of the loop will diminish, eventually, it will be such a small loop that both the front and stern edges of the loop will be able to be compressed and pushed back into the track. 

Having done this several times now, I'm able to reinsert a significant loop back into the track in less than 20 mins. 

To get the Vinyl back into the track, I get the lower edge of the vinyl into the track first and then push down on the upper edge of the vinyl to force it into the track, all the while pushing the vinyl to compress it towards the end that I started from.

Hope this works for you.

See you on the water.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Autopilot Upgrade - Wiring the System

Upgrading the Autopilot Power supply

Our existing Autopilot was badly wired when installed before we purchased the boat Six years ago. Now that we're replacing the Autopilot with a new Raymarine EV-100 system, we're making sure that the power supply is up to spec, all of the other cables are new.

The Autopilot Control Unit (ACU-100), the Electronics and Wheel drive motor of the system, requires 7amps 12v DC power. Separately, the new Raymarine SeaTalkng network Backbone requires 3 to 5 amps. 

The Electrical Control panel on Eximius is planned to be rewired later this year but we'll take any opportunity to upgrade the electrical system before then.

The Electrical Control panel has a 15amp breaker for the Autopilot. With a total of a max of 7amps, I'll replace existing 15amp breaker with a 10amp breaker.

The existing wire from the breaker to the Autopilot is #16 and the round trip distance is about 30 to 40 feet. The Correct wire size for 7 amps along that length of wire is #10.

Of course, the probability is that the -ve cable to the old Autopilot is also a #16 so that will have to be changed out for a #10 also. I installed a -ve Bus Bar adjacent to the engine a couple of  years ago, however, the planned upgrade to the Electrical panel includes having new -ve bus bars inside of the electrical panel housing. There is a -ve bus bar in that area, but it's just not suitable - and has far to many wires terminated at the bus bar. I'll install a temporary -ve Bus Bar near the panel.

So, we're going to pull two Red #10 (+ve) and a Yellow #10 (-ve) wires from behind the Electrical panel, aft into the Bathroom, aft again into the area behind the aft berth stern bulkhead then to the ACU area along with all of the other wires from the Navigation system (GPS, NEMA2000, Radar, and VHF, Echo Depth Instrument). 

In an earlier post I covered the rewiring of the instruments at the Helm Nav Shelf, so all of the instrument cables now exit from the deck down into the aft berth.

The existing electronics requires 2 fused connections supplied via the Aux GPS Circuit Breaker. Another two fused connections to be supplied via the Autopilot Circuit Breaker.

I have just ordered a second fuse block (see below) in order to provide a neat install of all four of those connections.

These blocks have a transparent cover and have 4 individually fused connections, however, I expect that only two of each will be required.

There will be a seperate Terminal block for the -ve connections.

Those fuse blocks will be mounted on the Aft Bulkhead close to the ACU. 

RANT Time!
Ok, I understand that electronics manufacturers need to make the cables long enough to suite a wide variety of installations, so the cables can be quite a bit longer than required. HOWEVER - they should have a note on the installation instructions suggesting that the cables should be trimmed to a length suitable for the installation. I've seen so many installs of Boat Electronics where the installer has coiled up the wires and left them loafing about somewhere behind the various panels on the boat. Today I pulled out 6 cables each one at least 15' long that could have been as short as 5' Grrrrr! I spent over an hour figuring out which cables were no longer required and could be removed in their entirety. At least I got them all out.    But then I started on replacing the power wires for both the Garmin Echo depth finder and the Garmin GPS - I knew they were bad, but had no idea how bad! Tomorrow I'll work on replacing those cables.


During a conversation with the Raymaine Tech support, I learned that there should only be a single power connection to the SeaTalkng Network backbone. My plan was to add 12v DC to that backbone. However, as they also clarified that the SeaTalkng backbone is basically identical in function to the NEMA 2000 backbone and that if they are going to be connected it should be via a SeaTalkng to NEMA 2000 (which Raymarine refer to as 'Device net') via a backbone connection and not a spur connection. That means that the 12v DC that is already provided for the NMEA 2000 network will also power the SeaTalkng backbone. One less power supply to worry about. That means that the 2nd Fuse block noted above will only provide power to the ACU-100 and not to the SeaTalkng backbone.

Down at the boat yesterday, I was able to remove a few unwanted cables (because they went nowhere and had no power on them). It required that I remove the Aft Bulkhead in the Aft Cabin, not too difficult. The port side bulkhead of the Aft Cabin also came out just to allow more access.

It will take a bit of effort to sort out the remaining cables. The Data cable from the Radar Unit cannot be cut and has about 30' of excess cable. Probably because the Radar Dome has the option to be mounted up the mast.

The bare wire connections that have to be made to the ACU-100 are the type I try to avoid, but there's no getting around it on this device. However, I can terminate the bare wire ends with Ferrules.

The ends of the bare wires that extend beyond the ferrules will be cut off. That leaves a nice and strong termination to clamp down with the Screw in wire holders of the ACU-100

Those ferrules will be used on the bare wire ends of connections for the SeaTalkng Spur cable, the Wheel Motor Power, the Rudder Position Sensor and the Power cables.

Some of those wires are just 24awg, imagine how fragile they would be if the bare wire ends were simply inserted and screwed down into place.  The kit was cheap from Amazon, worth every penny.

The old power cable for the old Autopilot is a two wire sleeved cable at the Autopilot end, but the other end is not sleeved and is not the same cable. So that whole wire has to come out as mentioned above. Sadly, the cable passes from behind that aft panel in the Aft Cabin up to the side of the Port side Cockpit locker - that means the locker has to be emptied - it's crammed! Probability is that I'll find a join in the cable that is slavered in liquid tape - I really really detest that stuff.

Anyway, while getting this part of the project done, Peggy found another leak in the cockpit, she was scrubbing it down after all the groty work I did earlier this week. The to Aft Cabin port lights are leaking. Another project, but for now I have applied Butyl Tape to where the outside port light flange attaches to the side of the cockpit seating. Another post for that.

At this point we're ready to run the power cables, 30 mins to empty the port side cockpit locker, another 30 to pull the old cable out (and the other defunct cables), same again to the the cables all the way from the 12v Control panel. Replacement should be  quicker as there'll be room in the loom cable ties for the new cables after pulling out all of the old cables.

That's Monday's job.
This project does seem to be taking a whole lot longer than expected, what's unusual about that, but we are spending time getting rid of the failed equipment and wiring. If we were installing this from scratch it would take a fraction of this time.  Oh well! Boat projects tend to do that.

Update: Here's the schematic modified after talking with Raymarine Support

Had to take a break on this as we found a couple of leaky leaky bits around the cockpit to aft cabin windows, that lost us two days.

Back on task, I removed the wooden bulkhead between the aft berth and the fuel tank in addition to the bulkhead between the aft berth and the water tank, all in order to get access to the jumble of wires that are behind those panels. So far I have pulled out another 40' of poor quality wire, bad connections and wrong sized wires.  By Saturday we had the wires pulled all the way into the main salon, just a couple more feet to go in order to get them out from the tangle of wiring behind the electrical panel. See the pic at the top of this post.

It's Labor Day Weekend, so we're doing family stuff until Tuesday, plus I'll get a bit of Canvas work done to bring in some boat bucks. Plan is to head down to the boat on Tuesday morning with the hope of running the new wiring from the circuit breakers to the fuse blocks close to the ACU and the GPS/Echo instruments.

Just in case you're wondering! Yes, we're ready to get the boat out as soon as this work is done! Working on the boat is fun and fulfilling, but we need water under the keel time.

Update Thursday Sept. 9th.
Down at the boat yesterday. Peggy spent most of the morning scrubbing down the deck, it's a constant challenge. With the power cables ran from the Cabin thru to the After berth, I was able to sort out the mess of wiring above the aft water tank. While at it (yep, another bit of project creep) I pulled the wire for the Echo Depth finder's transponder from it's old route into a much shorter and neater route which allowed for the additional wire to be coiled up neatly. Here's a pic of the current state of the wiring behind the aft bulkhead.


Sadly I could not find the adapter cable I had purchased from Amazon that joins the NEMA 2000 backbone to the SeaTalkng backbone - we spent way too much time searching for it. A new cable should arrive Friday. Saturday we'll go down to the boat and should complete the wiring at the Aft bulkhead, connecting the ACU and the Backbones. That should leave just a few more steps.
  • Replace the Wheel Pilot with the new one.
  • Complete the cable management of the wiring from the aft berth all the way to the main cabin.
  • Connect the Positives (Red #10) to the two circuit breakers
  • Connect the two Negatives (Yellow #10) to the -ne Bus bar at the back of the electrical control panel.
  • Test everything before doing the sea trials.
Well, Saturday was a huge success. I completed the looming of the cables in the Port Side Cockpit locker, removing about 30 old zip ties that were really not doing anything. Then completed the wiring in the aft berth, that's the cables going to the ACU, the SeaTalkng backbone connection to the NEMA 2000 backbone. Installed the Negative terminal block and connected the -ve from the ACU power connection, the -ve from the Echo depth instrument and the -ve from the GPS power connection. Then the +ves to the two fuse blocks  - 1 for the ACU and the other for the GPS & Echo Depth. Ran the ground wire from the ACU to the fuel tank grounding tag (the fuel tank is grounded to the engine) Basically got all of the wiring in the aft berth complete.

So the plan on Tuesday is to go down to the boat and run the wires from their entrance into the cabin (that's inside the sliding door cabinet above the Nav Station) and connect +v's and -v's as mentioned above, at that point we should be able to test the electronics. WooHoo!

Of course, life gets in the way! On monday the roofing company is due to arrive at our home to start work on replacing the roof and Facia. We're in Florida, so that work needs a bit of personal supervision, the last company we used 20 years ago did a carp job and had to re-do some of it due to failing an inspection. Now I know what to look for - and I'll be looking!

We may get the boat out in a week or so, won't that be sweet!

See you on the water - soon.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Replacing the Coolant Hose on Universal M25-xp Diesel Engine

Replacing the Coolant Hose on our Universal M25-xp Diesel Engine

The short hose from the Coolant tank to the Thermostat housing appears to be breaking down near the thermostat housing. At first I  thought it was corrosion of the housing but then realized it's more likely the hose is deteriorating near the hose clamp.

Talking online with buddies on the C34 forum, they confirmed it would be ok to replace the hose with a Silicone hose.

Found one on Amazon and placed the order. It arrived on time and I just needed to spend a bit of time getting the old hose off.

After removing the hose clamps, I used a steel bent point to pull the hose away from the housing and from the coolant tank, only took a few minutes

Cleaned up the housing (Aluminium) and the tank connection (copper) and it was time to replace the hose.

 The new hose has an Elbow, so no need to try and curve it but simply cut the ends to length.

I didn't have any of the non-perforated type of hose clamps handy (not sure where they are right now) So I used the original clamps.

The new hose looks to be a good replacement. We won't be running the engine for at least a week while I complete the Autopilot upgrade project. But I will replace the clamps and then run the engine to ensure there's no leaks.

An easy job. Then it will be time to clean the engine and give it a fresh coat of engine paint.

See you on the water.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Autopilot upgrade - installing the EV-100 Sensor

Installing the Raymarine EV-1 Sensor Core

This is the new EV-1 Sensor Core, part of the Raymarine EV-100 Autopilot kit we're using to replace our existing Raymarine Autopilot - if you have read the previous posts, you know, the old unit is suffering from Alzheimer's - It doesn't know where it's going and keeps on forgetting things.

This is the old Autopilot's Compass unit. It's mounted on the bulkhead with the door to the Aft Berth, the new unit will not fit there.

The new unit has to be at least 1m (3'3") from the engine, other electronics or magnetic interferances.

Also, the top of the sensor puck has an LED that should be visible and is only visible from the top of the sensor puck, so the new sensor has to be about 12" from a deckhead (ceiling) and that really limits it's location on Eximius. We have a couple of meters long SeaTalkng cable to facilitate positioning the sensor from the ACU. In response from Raymarine, the EV-1 has to be a minimum of 1m from the ACU.  We're working on that location issue.

Finally figured out the location for the EV-1 sensor.

That is on the bulkhead between the Galley and the Aft Berth Starboard side.

The Raymarine Spur Cable is connected to a SeaTalkng Backbone via a 400mm spur cable. The backbone cable connects to a T-piece has a terminator on one end and a backbone cable on the other.

The backbone cable is secured to the existing wiring loom above the soffit under the deckhead (behind the teak piece)

I spoke with Raymarine support this morning and a really helpful guy confirmed that I should not connect the NEMA2000 to the SeaTalkng network via a spur cable, but via a backbone connection cable.

This change eliminates the 5 way backbone connector and replaces it with a single T-piece connector.
The result is a more simplistic schematic but it adds about $150 to the project. I should be able to return the unused SeaTalkng to Device net Spur cable and I'll have to sell the additional equipment on Craig's list or E-Bay. 

On yesterday's visit to the boat, I did get the cable for the Rudder Position Sensor secured to existing looms all the way to the ACU and a few of the other cables setup for install. Definitely making progress. The new connectors will not arrive until Friday next week, but I have plenty to get done before then. It does look as though the install will not be done in time for Labor Day weekend, we'll see how it goes. I could get everything else done before the last few bits arrive, so maybe we could sail that weekend. 

See you on the water - really! That's the plan.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Autopilot Upgrade - Mounting the p70s Control Head

 Mounting a Raymarine p70s Controller

The Autopilot Controller for the existing system is mounted on the Starboard side bulkhead adjacent to the Helm Wheel. To reach it we have to bend or sit down to operate the buttons, definitely not the best position for the controller.

This is the New 'p70s' Autopilot Controller. Size wise it is almost identical to the Garmin GMI 20 Instrument already mounted on the Helm Nav Shelf. So I'm making a similar mounting unit.

Sadly, the plumbing business has changed the design of their End Caps for their 3" PVC Pipe. Good news, is that the new end caps are even better. So the new mount is only two parts instead of three for the GMI 20 instrument mount.

The mount is made from 3/4" Starboard and is 6" along it's longest edge (lower left in this pic) and 5" Wide.

The back is made from a 3" PVC End Cap from lowes. $5.35

I drilled out the Starboard with a 3" hole cutter (the internal diameter of the End Cap) 

Secured the end cap to the starboard using 1" #4 philips flat head SS screws.

There's a hole in the lower side of the end cap for the connection to the SeaTalkng cable to the Backbone.

The lower edge of the Starboard is cut at an angle that matches that of the Garmin GMI 20 Instrument so they pretty well match now.

Getting the bezel off of the instrument is a little tricky when the instrument is mounted. I found using a very fine pin Pick it comes off pretty easy.

The finished product, total cost about $10 including screws, Starboard (purchased from Sailorman in Fort Lauderdale by the lb) and the End Cap.

It will be secured to the Helm Nav Shelf using a couple of screws from underneath the shelf into the bottom edge of the Starboard.

Very pleased with this part of the project.

Next part is to install this at the helm and run the cables through the cable glands near the bottom of the pedestal guard. Looks like we'll be doing that on Wednesday.

See you on the water ---- Soon! 

Update - Wednesday August 2021
Well that went well.
This morning I went down to the boat with a plan - reposition the instruments and mount the new p70s Autopilot Control head in it's new holder.

This is the Helm Nav Shelf before today's work.
The Garmin GMI-20 is on the starboard side of the shelf. The GPS mount is centered at the back of the shelf. The Garmin Echo instrument mount is on the port side of the Shelf.

That black line is a zip tie that we use to hold down notes that we keep at the helm like the bridge list for the ICW or the Dock map of the various marinas we visit.

Left side of that picture is forwards, Top is to Starboard and right is aft.

After the work, the GMI-20 is on the Port side and the Autopilot p70s is on the Starboard side.

Not shown in this picture, the Garmin Echo Depth instrument is now located to the Starboard side of the Pedestal guard.

The data and power cables are temporarily secured to the Pedestal guard but are not re-routed to their final position yet. That requires the opening of the cable gland at the foot of the Pedestal guard, pulling the wires up from the aft berth, repositioning them to the shortest side.

When completed the wires will be routed as follows:
Port Side Gland: GMI-20, GPS and Radar Cables
Stbd side Gland VHF remote, p70s, Echo Depth, Autopilot Wheel motor.

First step in that process is to clear out the Aft Berth (our Garage) so that we can get to the old Autopilot's ACU. Remove the old Fluxgate Compass, run new power cables etc. etc. Worth another post.

Again - See you on the Water.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Installing the Raymarine Rudder Position Sensor

Installing the Raymarine Autopilot Rudder Sensor (RPS)

This starts off techy, but read it to the end.

As mentioned in the previous post, the plan is to mount the RPS on the underside of the Aft Locker Shelf Support Beam. 

The RPS arm must be parallel to the Steering Radial Drive Radius when the rudder is amidships. There is a small amount of adjustment of the sensor (it has 3 extended slots in it's mounting base)

Schematic of RPS
Connection to the Steering Radial Drive

The vertical alignment of the RPS and the Tiller Pin has to be within +/- 5º Max. I'll make several Starboard Mounting plates of different thicknesses and use those that are needed to get the alignment within tolerance. I have several thicknesses of Starboard, so this should be easy. 

Well that first layout didn't work. The vertical alignment of the Tiller Pin would move everything down too low on the Steering Radial Drive - there would be huge chunk of starboard on the underside in order to clear the ridges.

Second design: Duh, looks a lot simpler.
This pic shows the underside of the Steering Radial Drive, that hole with the cable poking through is the problem for the 1st design.

Duh - Just make a bracket that can be held in place using the Thru bolt (center of the 5 in the pic) 

Basically an L shaped bracket made from 2" x 1/4" Aluminium Bar and mount the Tiller pin near the end of that bracket. There's a flat surface behind the head of that center bolt, so the bracket should be solid enough. I'll add a few brazed shims to the bracket if needed to ensure it's soli

Schematic of Tiller Pin and Support Bracket

Down at the boat again this morning with a makeshift Tiller Pin Support Bracket, just to figure out the size of the RPS mounting plate. We'll also check the max Rudder Angle, it has to be less than 60º from Center to Port and Starboard. The pic above shows the dimensions

To make the Bracket, I purchased a 24" piece of 2" x 1/8" Aluminium Bar Stock from Lowes. Marked the bar about 6" from the end. With the bar held in an Oven Gloved hand, and a plumbers Butane heat gun in the other, I heated the bend mark for 5 minutes. Then set the hot bar between a couple of garden stepping stones and bent the bar to shape. After cutting the bar to size, drilled the end hole and the Tiller mounting pin holes. Aluminium nuts and bolts hold the Tiller Pin in place, Loctite to keep them there. 

I added the two SS screws and lock nuts to add stability to where the plate is attached to the casting on the bottom of the steering radial drive. Plan is to attach the bracket using the center rudder post bolt, then tighten up on the two stabilizing screws and lock them in place with the lock nuts.

In addition to the Tiller Pin Bracket, I need to make a shim on which to mount the RPS and then mount it under the Port Side Shelf support beam.
1/4" thick Support shim 
I made 2, the other is 3/8" thick

The Install process will be:
  • Remove the Thru Bolt which prevents the Steering Radial Drive from rotating on the Ruder Post.
  • Install the new Tiller Pin Bracket on the bolt and reinsert the Bolt and secure in place.
  • Mount the RPS on the new Shim.
  • Align the shim so that the Pin on the RPS and the Tiller Pin are aligned and the RPS arm, Tiller Pin mount form a Parallelogram.
  • Run the Connector wire from the RPS forwards over the Aft Water tank and then join the loom of wires that reach the APU.

With everything prepped, I just need to get down to the boat early enough to be the heat or late enough for it to have started cooling down. Currently, the daily noonday temp is typically in the high 90ºF :(

Anticipating that I should be able to complete the RPS install in just one more trip to the boat, I'll hold off publishing this post until then.   Tuesday August 10th 2021

Update:  Thursday August 12 2021
Well, after getting all of that prep done, we took a break on Tuesday to get our Vaccinations - not Covid, we did that back in January, no, on Tuesday we got our Shingles Vaccine - shot #1 no biggy. Well, no biggy till Wednesday morning. Couldn't sleep all night and woke up unable to lift my left arm. Ibuprofen did not dull the pain! Wow, it gave me a little insight to what people suffer when they lose control of a limb. So Wednesday was a write off, I was able to steer my electric lawn mower, but very tenderly. So I mowed the lawn single handed.

Thursday almost 100% back in action. Lifting my elbow as high as my shoulder was slightly painful, but I felt I could make progress on this project.

We were down the boat by 10am and quickly got to work. 

Step 1 was to remove the center bolt. This pic shows the two shelf support braces on either side of the Steering Radial Drive. Removing the bolt took some doing, over 1/2 Hour to get it out, glad I'm a skinny guy.  That small USB powered rechargeable battery fan helped me keep my cool.

The bolt was a really tight fit through the rudder post, it needed a little persuasion but there's no room to swing a cat, barely room to tap the bolt with a hammer (of course I had a nut on the end so that the thread was not damaged.)

With the bolt out I took a break. The plan was to divide the job into steps. Step 1 done, got the bolt out.

Step 2  fit the Tiller Pin Bracket.  Step 3 install the Rudder Position Sensor with it's mounting plate. Step 4 fit the connecting stud between the Tiller Pin and the RPS pin.

After sweating for another hour, the Tiller Pin bracket is installed. There was no need for the stabilizing bolts, it's secured really well just using the Center Bolt.

This photo was taken after the install was completed, it shows the Connecting stud already installed.

Peggy had a good idea! Use a clamp to hold the RPS unit mounting plate to the underside of the shelf support braces.

I didn't have a suitable clamp on board, but I did have a velcro strap, it worked like a charm. That probably saved the day, I just don't see how I could have held that mount in place and screwed the plate to the underside of the shelf support brace.

Thanks Peggy.

This shows the completed install. the RPS is screwed to that Green plastic plate which is then screwed onto the underside of the Shelf support brace.

The biggest issue is getting the alignment correct and I'm not sure how accurate it is. This area is really difficult to work in.

The RPS has 3 slots around its circumference, that allows for some adjustments. The Connecting stud also has about 1/2" adjustment due to the two nuts on the connecting stud. 

Now that it's completed, I took this set of images.
But just to give it some context, this job involved quite a bit of Boat Yoga.

Getting into the aft locker / lazarette, takes some doing, but getting down into position in order to be able to reach the underside of the Steering Radial Drive requires a bit more flexibility.

I'm on my second shirt in this pic, the first was sodden by the time I finished installing the Tiller Pin Support Bracket.

Peggy took a couple of pics when I was not looking.

With the Rudder Position Sensor installed, we're ready for the next step. Run the wire from the RPS to the Autopilot Control Unit (ACU) and Install the EV-1 Sensor Core, both those jobs are easy by comparison to this part of the project.

Total time to install the RPS at the Boat -  3½ Hours. Plus the loss of a few pints of sweat equity.

See you on the Water.