Thursday, December 30, 2021

New Year's Eve Cruise 2021

HISC New Year's Eve Cruise 2021

As this is the last cruise for our sailing club in 2021, I really did not want to miss it. The weather cooperated we did a clean up of the boat  and we loaded the boat after it has sat for the last 5 months not doing much except go moldy. As the boat sits on the Dock facing East / West, the Port side of the boat is on the North side, away from the dock. Just like Trees  in a forest, the North side of anything left close to water will grow green, quickly! Despite our attempts to clean the boat every few weeks, that's all it takes for the damp atmosphere to encourage green growth on every surface that does not face the Sun. We spent a good effort scrubbing the boat down, focusing on the Port Side. Grrrrr!

With the boat fully loaded by end of day Wednesday, we planned for an early rise to get down to the boat before high tide at 6:30am. An early night for the 4am alarm and we quickly put the last few things together - clothing, Peggy's Travel Guitar, and our tech stuff - Computer, Tablets, Phones plus a thermos of Coffee.

We love this coffee pot, our daily brew is made (drip funnel) in this pot every day. It really does keep the coffee hot all morning and warm enough to drink for the rest of the afternoon.

The plan was to get down to the boat, leave the dock at high tide and then have a hot cup of the best coffee (that's almost any coffee while on the boat) but it didn't quite work out that way.

Despite leaving the house nearly 30 minutes later than planned, we were ready to pull away from the dock by 6:15am - All instruments installed (we don't leave them at the helm when we're away from the boat), all lockers unlocked for quick emergency access and all lines set to dry on the dock while we're away for the weekend. Engine running, last line cast off, FBFL (flash light) in hand to help guide our way down the dark canal, our EarTec headsets saved us having to shout directions as we quietly motored, barely making a ripple as we headed for the deeper waters of the New River at the end of the canal.

As we approached the bend before the 11th Avenue Swing Bridge, still in darkness, we called the bridge on #16 requesting an opening, the Tender was on the ball and started the opening. All this time I was on the Bow guiding Peggy as we made the turns down the still river. Not quite dawn, I had the FBFL shining ahead when Peggy noted that the engine temperature was rising beyond it's normal 148ºF 

The bridge had started it's opening, I dashed below realizing that I had not opened the raw water intake thru hull valve, my screw up!  Quickly opening the valve and expecting the temperature to start to drop as river water was pumped through the heat exchanger and the cooling cycle would do it's work.

It didn't! The engine temperature gauge was still heading up. It was above 180ºF now. I was pretty sure we could get through the bridge before the engine started to complain, but we didn't. We did get through the bridge, but the engine high temp alarm was sounding, it's not really loud, just sounds that way! Way Loud! I was at the bow and prepped the anchor to drop. Peggy steered us out of the channel center so that we could anchor and I dropped about 50' of chain, we were still moving and I had a challenge to keep control of the chain as the anchor dug into the soft bottom, but we did OK, Peggy shut down the engine.

Step 1: Check the raw water valve just to make sure I had opened the correct valve, it was open. I loosened the hose clamps that secure the hose to the thru hull valve. Closed the valve, removed the hose to the filter, opened the valve and confirmed that the water way was clear from outside the boat.

Step 2: Check the impeller - it could have seized or separated from the pump shaft. Quickly got my tools out and removed the face place from the front of the Oberdorfer Pump. The Pump was dry but the impeller looked ok. Squirted some water in the impeller area and closed up the pump, Peggy restarted the engine. I expected that if the water was flowing, the engine would almost immediately start to cool down. It didn't! 

Step 3: Change out the impeller, I always keep a couple of spare impellers aboard. Removed the plate again, this time the body of the pump was full of water. I still tried to remove the impeller and replace it but could not get the impeller off of the pump shaft --- - Note to self! Carry a spare Impeller Shaft with the spare impellers.  Thinking that as the pump was full of water, it had actually started to pump. So I replaced the old impeller and it's shaft into the pump housing, closed up the plate and asked Peggy to restart the engine. She did, it did, and cooling water was pumping out of the exhaust just as it should.

By this time it was gone 7am and we had to get through the bridges before 7:30am when they shut in the down position until 9am (rush hour road traffic). We approached 7th Avenue Bridge, called the Tender and he opened without any delay for us. Now the 'S' turn through Sailboat Bend  on the approach to the FEC Railroad bridge, we were expecting it to close at 7:10am and heard them on the radio announce that the bridge was moving (couldn't make it out to clearly) but we really wanted to get past that bridge so that we could get past Andrews and 3rd Avenue bridges before the shut down for the rush hour. I called the FEC Bridge asking if they could hold open for just a minute longer so that we could clear that bridge. I had misheard the bridge Tender, she had reported that the bridge was going up, not going down! Phew! As we approached the bridge with one vessel ahead of us, it began to go up and were able to clear Andrews and 3rd Avenue bridges. You bet I wished them all a Happy New Year!

Once past 3rd avenue bridge, Peggy went below and powered up the Auto Pilot. Oh Happy Day! It works like a charm! I was able to steer all the way from just before Tarpon Bend to Las Olas Blvd Bridge using the Auto Pilot. Just had to press the buttons to add or subtract 10º of heading and the boat quickly changed to the new bearing. I was impressed! With a 10º change in bearing, the boat would respond almost immediately. It was less noticeable when I changed by just 1º of 2º but it responded correctly and quickly all the same.

Once past Las Olas Blvd Bridge, we followed another sailboat under power up  to Sunrise Blvd Bridge which opens on the Hour and Half Hour. We made it easily and I used the auto pilot to steer appropriate course changes to avoid boat traffic coming the other way.

Peggy took the helm as soon as we passed Sunrise Blvd Bridge and went forwards to prepare the anchor. Sunrise Bay was pretty crowded, there were 7 big boats already in the Bay and ourselves and the boat ahead of us made it a crowd of 9. Mostly larger Catamarans. So we snuck into the North West Corner of the lake well clear of the other boats, but a bit too close to the homes at the edge of the Bay.

Time for breakfast: Cereal and Coffee, we had a cup of coffee and a couple of slices of Toast before we home this morning. Peggy was pooped, I was not far behind not having slept too well Wednesday Night. Nap time. I awoke to some boat noises and peeked out of the cabin to find that a couple of the bigger boats that had been anchored near the middle of the Bay had gone! Great! Let's haul anchor and move so that we have more room when our buddy boats raft up with us Friday. It only took a few minutes for us to start the engine, done our headsets, haul the anchor and move just a couple of hundred yards to the better anchor spot. Now we can relax.

Of course, we didn't, relax that is.  Ok, so Peggy hit the nap sack but I started to prep the boat for continuing to scrub it down and get rid of the remaining green stuff.  I turned the Dinghy over and added some air, it had been upside down on the dock for how many months? Once inflated, I raised it with our Utility block and tackle and put the dink over the side. Then I cleared the decks ready for some scrubbing.

It took an hour, by which time we were both ready for lunch - Left over Chicken wings from Wednesday's lunch and some Potato Salad washed down with a hot cup of coffee. Yes, it was still plenty hot.

After lunch, I spent another couple of hours scrubbing the Port side of the cabin top, it came up pretty good and that was enough work for the day.

Ok, I rarely sit idle on the boat. The Radar data connection to the Chart Plotter was showing signs of wear (it really was bent in too tight a radius), that got fixed with some Rescue Tape. The cabinet in the bathroom was not properly attached since the last time I removed it. I took the chance to check on the fuel tank and it's drip cloth lead detector. All's well. Lastly, I had started on the install of the new Nav Station goose neck lamp, so I completed it's installation leaving just the electrical hook up for another day.

The new lamp should not only illuminate the chart table, but also the inside when the table top is raised, something the old lamp could not do.

That was it for the day. Time for a Rum & Ginger, a glass of wine for Peggy and watch the other boats come and go, there's always something that happens that deserves the remark: Glad I didn't do that!

Before dark, Tom & Norma arrived on Ohana anchoring off our Port Side - hope they realized how pretty Eximius looked, at least forwards of the Cockpit.  Jeff & Judy on Affection arrived before dark too, they anchored off our Starboard Stern quarter.

We had a simple dinner of Pasta and Source. Peggy played her guitar despite having had a glass of wine. We both had showers. Desert was a Klondike Bar and another glass of Rum & Ginger.

To close out the day, I wrote this blog article.

Today's "Gotado List" includes:-
  • Install an Engine Area Lighting fixture - can't see squat when it's dark outside.
  • Install a Cockpit Light - it would have helped when we were setting up the instruments in the dark this morning.
  • Apply new Shoud Turnbuckle Cover top end Tapes - the old tape has long gone.
  • Get a decent head lamp, I could not see the keys when trying to unlock the boat lockers (3) in the dark. Yep, we haven't made a dock departure on a long while --- if ever!
  • Get a new service kit for the bathroom toilet  --- we used most of the spares last time we were out, how long ago??
  • Get a new Camera mounting - the old one is so corroded that it will not tighten enough to hold the action camera in place. 
  • Relocate the Mini Inverter - I had to remove it from it's home in the aft berth as it was too close to the newly installed EV1 sensor for the new Auto Pilot.
  • Replace the Starboard Bow Nav Light. - The port light is fine, the Stbd one is not. Might be just a new LED lamp that needs replacing, I have spares.

Ok, it's 9pm, that's it. Hope to get some great pics tomorrow as the other club members arrive and we prepare to celebrate the end of 2021 and the oooooh can't wait to make 2022 a better year.

More tomorrow!

Paul & Peggy aboard Eximius.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

New Asym Spinnaker Turtle Bag

New Turtle Bag for our Asym Spinnaker

An earlier post in SailingEximius explained how we were donated a spinnaker for Eximius, here's a link to that article about our Asymmetrical  Spinnaker. It did not cover the Spinnaker Bag. The one we received was not designed for the sail we were given, it was huge! About 5'6" tall and 3' in diameter. The sail was almost lost in the bottom of that huge bag and managing the bag on the deck when preparing to raise the Asym was not a pretty sight.  Time to make a new Turtle.

I had some left over Green Sunbrella and had purchased a few yards of white phifertex left over for another project. I can always do with the practice, so I made the new bag.

Design concepts: 
  • Needs to have a top that will open and be out of the way when extracting or storing the sail from/in the bag. 
  • Because the sail could get wet, the bag must have some ventilation. Only on one side so that the outboard side of the bag has no vents.
  • Must have some line holders at one end for the Tack line, Port & Stbd Clew lines and the sock mouth hoist line.
  • Must have a method to attach to the lifelines so that the bag doesn't need management while being busy with raising or lowering the sail.
  • Some rigidity along the top of the long sides would be nice to help while storing the sail into the bag
  • Must have handles on the end to ease storing or extracting the bag (it's probably going to be stored in the Aft lazarette).
Step 1: Make a drawing of the parts. Top, Bottom, Front Panel, Back Panel, End Panels (2), Line Holder Bags (One piece made all three line holder bags), Tube holder and Rim for the zipper then cut out the two pieces of Phifertex for the vent in the front panels.

Step 2: Mark up the Canvas and cut out each piece with my Hot Knife.

Step 3: Sew the Tube Holders 

Step 4: Sew the Vents onto the Inside face of the Front Panel
Cut out the fabric on the outside face of the front panel to make a 1/2" hem around the edge of the Vent hole. Sew the hems onto and through the Phifertex.

Step 5: Sew the End Panels onto the Front Panel.

Step 6: Sew the zipper to the inside of the Front Panel and the Inside of the two End panels. Sew the Rim to the top edge of the Zipper.

Step 7: Sew the Tube holders to the inside of the Front Panel just below the zipper and to the Back Panel the same height up from the bottom of the panel as the Front Panel.

Step 8: Sew the Line holders to one end, sew a piece of webbing with a snap hook for the Head of the sail at the other end.

Step 9: Sew the Top Front and sides to the Rim.

Step 10: Sew the Back to the top and two ends.

Step 11: Sew the Bottom, first to the Front, then the end without the line holders, next to the back and finally to the End with the line bags making sure not to sew through the bottom of the line bags.

Step 12: Cut the pieces of 5/8 external diam pex tubing to fit the tube holders and insert into the tubes.

All done!

The finished Turtle Bag with the Asym Spinnaker inside ad all zippered up.

The two white squares are the Phifertex vent material.

I made two vent areas rather than one in order to maintain material integrity. 

Bag is 42" long, 17" wide and 14" tall.

The three Line Bags are made from a single piece of Sunbrella and are open at both their top and bottom edges.

Each bag is 3" deep and 5" wide.

The Red line is the Port Clew line - it's 1/2" double braid line with 1/8" Dyneema from the Clew, long enough to nearly reach the Port Side.

The Green line is the Starboard Clew Line, same design as the Port Clew line.

The Red and White line is the sock Tack line.

The All white line is the Sock haul up and down line.
The inside tube holder can be seen on the right in this pic.

This is the 'Head' end of the bag. 
The black webbing has a Stainless Steel spring hook to attach to the Head of the sail which is the last part to go into the bag and the first to come out of the bag

To store the sail in the Turtle bag, the Foot of the sail (the Fiberglass funnel at the bottom end of the Sock) is put into the bag near the Line holders end.
Then the sail in it's sock, is folded several times over reaching to each end of the bag.

The Head of the sail is clipped into the bag.

Finally, the lines are stored into the Line Bags.

Now the bag is ready to be zippered up and closed.

Here's another view of the bag with the sail stowed and the lines in the Line bags.

The stiffening tube is clearly shown in this pic.

It looks cramped but there's plenty of room to store the sail.

The deciding factor on the size of the bag was the Mouth of the Sock, it's 16" wide.

The Sail actually extends beyond the mouth of the sock by about 5', I just stuff the remaining sail material into the mouth, it's in there pretty loosely.

Sporting my favorite shirt - Red Catalina Sailboat long-sleeved shirt from Catalina Yachts when we visited them at the Annapolis Boat Show in October.

This is a whole lot better to manage than the original Turtle bag and takes up less room. I'm really hoping it will fit inside the Aft Lazarette and be comparatively easy to pull out when we want to fly the Asym.

Heading down to the Boat on Friday, we'll find out  if that's where it going to live.

Getting lots of stuff done for the boat, it's about time we got her out sailing!

Hopefully we'll see you on the water.

Paul, Skipper of the Sailing Vessel Eximius.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Dinghy Inflator Carrying Bag

 Replacing the Dinghy Inflator Carrying Bag

The last time we inflated the Dinghy using our West Marine Dinghy Inflator, the bag zips had siezed and I had no choice but to rip the top open in order to be able to use the air pump. Grrrr.

It's been a few months, the inflator, in it's defective carrying bag, has been sat on a shelf in the Garage. Every time I saw it, that guilty feeling would rise and I would mentally take a note that I needed to fix that bag.

It's Thanksgiving, I have a few hours to use and figured now would be a good time to stop those guilt trips. I had a few yards of Sunbrella and a new Zipper. Spent about a half hour designing the new bag. The old (original) bag was not big enough to hold the Pump, the Extended power supply wire and the air hose because I had extended the supply cable by about 20' when we purchased Eximius as the pump would not reach to the foredeck where the dink is located and back to the 12v outlet in the cabin. The new bag is 12" wide, 9" tall and 8" deep, there's a divider between the pump and the other stuff (wire and air hose0.) I used the original bag's shoulder strap.

The new bag took about 3 hours all told. Well worth it.

It looks a bit 'baggy' no pun intended, but the extra space ensures that all of  the equipment required to inflate the dinghy are all in one bag.

The strap is the original

The zipper is a YKK #10 Black single pull.

All seams are 1/2" bottom and sides are all double stitched.

The top has a 5/8" rim so that the zipper goes around the corner rather than around the top (that would be a really tight turn for the zipper)

Despite the extra space in the bag, the air hose still requires a fight to get it inside.

I never did understand why West Marine did not include the adapter from the hose to the dinghy air valves. So the adapter has been secured in place using rescue tape.

The power cord extension wire was crimped and waterproofed with heat shrink. There's a quick disconnect at the pump end of the wire.

We'll take it down to the boat on Friday when we install the new Nav Table light.

See you on the water, please let it be soon!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody.


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

LED Nav Table Lighting

Replacing the original Navigation Table Lighting

I'm pretty sure that is the Original Nav Lamp (it's the flexible lamp in the corner of the Nav Table)

It's Red, that's good for use at night but not good for reading charts at night as it basically makes any red markings on the chart invisible.

It's not very flexible and doesn't reach far enough from the corner.

It gets very hot! It's an incandescent lamp, so it draws a comparatively high current compared to a modern LED light fixture and that's 0.5 Amps! A LED should be a lot less.

I found this one on Amazon.
"AnTom 12V LED Dimmable Reading Light, RV Boat Bedside Map Chart Light for Camper,Van,Sailboat,Caravan"

It's advantages are:- Dimmable and it is supposed to remember it's last setting. That should mean that if it's turned off when dimmed, then it should return to the same settings when turned back on ( and, apparently, it's the same when the power is turned off and turned back on, unlike other brands found on Amazon)

The instructions are confusing "Loosen the button and turn the knob to adjust brightness" Not sure how to "Loosen the button"

Looking at this image it appears that color is set by Pressing the Button and then turning it:- Left towards warm white and Right towards Bright Red.

I figured it out! When it reads 'Loosen' it really means - Don't press while turning! 

Mounting is a slight issue. I'm pretty sure that the space to which the existing lamp is affixed is not 2.6" wide and the screws being on the sides would prevent securing it in that spot. So it will have to be mounted elsewhere. That's not a bad thing as the corner location is not ideal primarily because not reach most of the Nav Table.

I'm hoping to be able to mount it close to the center of the instrument bulkhead so that it's not in the way when opening the Nav Table Lid.

I'll use an inline fuse holder for now, it will eventually be wired to a fuse block that is protected by a Voltage Regulator. 

Oh! and it has a USB charger: 5V/1.5A output, always welcome. However that does affect the size of fuse required. The USB output is 1.5Amps, the lamp is probably less than 0.2 amps. The total run both ways from the Fuse Block will be about 3'. Using the BoatHowTo wire size calculator (it's better than looking up the tables) I figure that correct size is 18AWG, however, the ABYC recommend not using an 18AWG cable. Hmmmm. I have over 100' of 18 AWG twin tinned Stranded Copper wire. The Ampacity of the cables is not an issue and the ABYC recommendation has the exception of a length less than 18" outside of the jacket, so I'm confident that it's ok to use the 18AWG cable pair.

On the Boat, I confirmed that this lamp will not fit where the base of the old lamp is located. But the good news is that if I mount it on the decorative rail above the storage over the Nav Table, not only will the lamp fit neatly, but it will also allow the lamp to illuminate the inside of the Nav Table when the lid is open. So I have two locations where it will fit.

I also confirmed that the existing lamp only draws 0.3Amps.

Decision made. I'll mount it to the decorative rail just aft of the Fan that's mounted on the same rail.

(The white battery lamp unit is long gone) With the new lamp mounted there, the light can illuminate the Nav Table, all of the Switch Panel, it can even light up the shelf behind the plastic sliding shelf doors.

The USB connection can still be accessed and the lamp base side securing screws can both be accessed for installation. That last point limits where the lamp base can be located, it has to be secured in place.

The wiring can easily be ran into the shelf area and down to the fuse block that will be located behind the area above the switch panel.

Great, we have a plan. All of the parts arrived from Amazon today (Tuesday 11/23/2021) .

Looks like we can visit the boat tomorrow and get that installed.

More later :)

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Hole in the boat, what to do?

Hole in the Boat.

After completing the new Auto Pilot installation, we're left with the old Raymarine Auto Pilot control Instrument mounted on the Starboard side of the cockpit steering well.  Right now the Instrument is still in place, but it has to go. That will leave a 3" hole in the boat.

Looking for ideas on what to put in it's place. 

I could repair the hole but the chance of getting a match on the gel coat in that particularly visible area are slim.

I could install another instrument, but that's why we moved the new Auto Pilot instrument (p70s) to the helm shelf, it's a bad place for an instrument - it gets knocked when someone enters or exits the helm station and it's difficult to see down there.

Looking for ideas, please comment if you have an idea or experience similar.



Saturday, November 20, 2021

Rewiring our LED lighting circuit

Protecting our LED Lighting Circuit

I recently completed the BoatHowTo 'Boat Electrics 101 - Safe & Reliable DC Systems' online Course and it was worth the time and effort, it will help me when I get into our rewiring job on Eximius.  With what I leaned from the course,  I recently upgraded our Auto Pilot which involved removing all of the old wiring and rewiring the Cockpit Instrument power supplies. That was due to the obvious bad wiring install that was done before we took on the boat.

As part of the Boat Electrics 101, a 'bonus' lesson was about LED lighting, it went way past what I needed to know, but, again, was worth the effort. I have a better understanding of the types of LED lighting and the various options as far as appropriate LED's for particular use. eg. Light temperatures suitable for use inside a cabin etc.

That last lesson also explained an issue with Cheap LED lighting strips, I use quite a few of those: Galley, Head, Cabin and in equipment lockers. The issue is that those low cost LEDs have no power management on the strips and so they receive whatever voltage is available at their connection. When the Batteries are charging, the voltage could be as high as 14v DC when they are designed to operate at 12v DC. This high voltage will reduce their life expectancy.

My initial thought was to install a voltage reducer with a constant 12v DC output between the Lighting Circuit Breaker and the lighting Circuit. But then I thought, what about the Navigation Lights( Bow Lights and Stern Light), Anchor Light, Deck and Steaming light? All of those are now LEDs and potentially suffer from the same issue - over voltage reducing their life expectancy.

That complicates things slightly, I'll have to check the current draw when all of the lights are on, including the Nav lights. If the current draw with all the lamps on is less than 6A, then I can simply create a sub-circuit supply to those circuit breakers which is protected by the Voltage Reducer. Worst case scenario is that I would need to add two of the reducers, one for the Interior lighting circuits and another for the exterior lighting circuits.

This 8V-40V to 12V 6A 72W Voltage Reducer converts whatever the input voltage is (between 8v and 40v DC) to a reliable 12v.

6A is more current than all of our interior LED lighting combined. I'll test it onboard before installing it just to make sure there's no radio interference.

At that time I'll turn all of the lights on the boat, interior and exterior to determine the total current flow ( our electrical management system shows the current flow both In and Out of the Battery) I'll turn off the Solar Charger to ensure we're getting a true reading of the current flow.

If I'm going to go to the trouble of protecting the LED lamps/strips, I might as well rewire them all so that if one shorts out it doesn't flip the breaker and turn off all of the Interior lighting. So the plan is to break the Interior lighting into separate circuits.

Here's my initial diagram for the Interior LED lighting with the Voltage. 
Note. Because some of the circuits, eg. V-Berth, have multiple LED lamps, the Blade fuses will be sized accordingly.
The Exterior lights have their dedicated Circuit Breaker, I'll have to figure those out later, I'm sure they jointly take more than 6amps which is the limit of this particular Voltage Converter. I don't have an issue installing multiple converters, but they do cost $27 on Amazon. I'll update the diagram when I figure out the current in each circuit.

See you on the water - and after another grotty weekend here in South Florida cancelled a long weekend cruise, it had better be soon!

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Cockpit Table Storage Solution

 Making a storage for our Cockpit Table

The Cockpit table, affectionately called 'The Toe Buster' was refurbished a while ago, turned out pretty good but it won't last in the Florida Sun so we stow it below decks. Not having a set location for the folded table, it tends to get stuffed with all of the other boat gear in the Aft Berth and then is has to be moved around in order to get to the 'other stuff' - we needed an easy to use storage solution.

With a couple of webbing straps secured to the bulkhead just aft of the engine access door in the Aft Berth.  The TAble is not at all in the way, a good solid fixture position.

Those holes in the bulkhead were from some previous fitting that was removed before we purchased the boat.

I'll make another webbing strap that will hold the table in the folded condition when we move it to the Cockpit, that will make it much easier to move it up to the Cockpit or back down to it's new storage location.

An easy mod and already proving to be worth the small effort.

To Do: Make a 3rd webbing strap to easy moving the table around. Fill those old fixture holes in the bulkhead.

Looking forward to getting the boat out on the water.

See you there.