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  • Plymouth


    After leaving Cape Lookout, North Carolina, we ran for three nights to Massachusetts and stopped overnight at ...
  • Cape Lookout

    Cape Lookout

    Our first stop after leaving the Palm Beach area was at Cape Lookout in North Carolina, just south of Cape ...
  • Time to Leave

    Time to Leave

    When we arrived in Palm Beach mid-March, we booked a slip at Soveral Harbour Marina for two weeks, expecting to ...
  • Nordhavn 47/52 Rudder Upper Bearing

    Nordhavn 47/52 Rudder Upper Bearing

    Boats are full of compromises, and advances in one dimension can bring problems in another. Nailing the full ...
  • Cracker Boy Boat Works

    Cracker Boy Boat Works

    When we hauled out in Whangarie, New Zealand near the end of 2013, we didn’t expect to go more than 2.5 years ...
  • Navy UDT-SEAL Museum

    Navy UDT-SEAL Museum

    The modern-day US Navy SEALs originated in World War II as Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) that provided ...
  • Kennedy Space Center

    Kennedy Space Center

    The Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral are synonymous with America’s manned spaceflight program. It was ...
  • Jupiter Exploration Program

    Jupiter Exploration Program

    We decided to execute on the mission of sending two people to Jupiter and safely returning them to Florida. We got ...
  • Fort Lauderdale

    Fort Lauderdale

    After our Naples trip we drove south to Fort Lauderdale twice, once to visit North Trail RV Center and the other to ...
  • Naples


    Earlier this month we rented a car and made a road trip to Naples, Florida to have lunch with a friend. On the way ...
  • USS California Distinguished Visitor Embark

    USS California Distinguished Visitor Embark

    Last Thursday Jennifer and I were down on Las Olas Blvd in Fort Lauderdale having an enjoyable patio dinner when my ...
  • Fleet Week Port Everglades

    Fleet Week Port Everglades

    This weekend we attended Fleet Week Port Everglades as a guest of Mike Chan, Protocol Officer with Navy Region ...

General questions & comments

  1. Tim Kaine says:

    It’s very easy to pick Dirona out in photos even when clustered up with a lot of boats. Those satellite domes stick out like a light house.

    That’s actually a good thing in my opinion so will put that down on my list of stuff learned. :)

  2. Timothy Daleo says:

    That N50 looks real good in grey. It was one of the last N50’s built and has sure gotten around. You saw them years ago in Portland right? Is it still the same owner?

  3. Tim Morris says:

    What is J cleaning the ss with? Looks like wet ‘n’ dry, but I’m sure not!

  4. Gregg Testa says:

    I have noticed in the engine room that there is a yellow handle or lever near the fuel tanks. What does it do and when did you have it installed and why?

    • Observant question Gregg. The yellow handles on the bottom of all the sight gauges are often referred to as CE handles. Normally Nordhavn’s have small screw closures on the site gauges top and bottom. Most owners leave them open but some open them and close them as needed with the advantage that broken or failing site gauges can’t drain their tanks. The disadvantage is these small rotary closures are a bit fussy and sometimes leak.

      European boats often need CE certification and this apparently requires that the the sight gauges by auto-closed by spring action. Dirona is not a CE certified boat but we like the auto-closed valves that allow checking the sight gauges by just pressing on the yellow handle for a second while the fuel in the sight gauges matches the tank level and then releasing so they are sealed off again.

  5. Timothy Daleo says:

    My little boat is like a floating tool box. Dirona is a floating Snap-on truck.

    • I do like having parts and tools on board but it’s impossible to always have it all. Being back in the US for the last few months has been nice. Just love Amazon Prime.

      • John says:

        James – checking out new tools by the light of a full moon (and Dirona). Now isn’t that a great way to spend a beautiful evening!

        • Hey John. Yes, it’s amazing whta some of us classify as entertainment but, for me, it’s arriving home in the envening to find the Amazon shipment has arrived and it’s new tools!

  6. Steven Coleman says:

    Hello James,

    I have a tool recommendation if you are interested.

    I was looking at the picture of your Raspberry Pi going out, and noticed your wire stripper/crimping tool. I’d say you strip enough wire and crimp enough terminals to warrant something different.

    The links below are to the top of the line however, you can find the same style at harbor freight stores for pennies on the dollar compared to Klein Tools. Klein have better metal and are better balanced and for decades that’s all I would buy however, tools have a tendency to grow legs on a job site unless you are working alone and the cheap ones do the same job and don’t hurt when they come up “lost”.

    This style crimper has better mechanical advantage than your “automotive style” giving you a much better crimp on insulated or non-insulated terminals. Plus it’s easier to use in tight spaces.

    Mechanical advantage and use in tight spaces is key to this style wire stripper also. While I’d never recommend stripping a live wire, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. You’ll find there is no need to place your thumb on anything metal while stripping wire.

  7. Rod Sumner says:


    On the hydraulic cooling system anodes wear rate:

    With the caveats I do know know the coolant type, temperature, etc. have you ever checked the pH of the coolant?

    Simple test strips should suffice

    I remember a cooling application once where the ‘normal water’ was very corrosive to copper bus bars and required treating

    Just a thought!

    • The hydraulic heat exchanger is a hydraulic oil to sea water heat exchanger so the coolant is sea water and we don’t have much influence on the PH. However, it is true that oceans are trending towards lower PH. The problem is we just use what we are floating in.

      You are right that engine cooling heat exchangers (and a lot of other more expensive parts as well) can be damaged by acidic coolant. We have heat exchangers on the wing and generator but the main engine is keel cooled. All three engines have just had coolant changes and are running Cummins ES Compleat Long Life premix coolant.

  8. Christian says:

    Nice red moon coming up tonight!

  9. Tim Kaine says:

    In regards to the fuel leak…..Seems like that might be a candidate to shove some JB Weld on that. As small as it is, that might hold it at bay till a better solution can be found or done. Just a though

  10. Timothy Daleo says:

    I have a DeWalt battery vac on the boat too. I use it for getting the last 1/4″ of water out of the bilge. I never thought of using it for inflation. I will have to find an adapter on Amazon. :-)

    • Our “adapter” is a short length of re-enforced water house that just barely fits into the end of the vacuum and the standard pump adapter fits into the hose. We use it to fill and evacuate the inflatable fenders and it also is used to fill the large tender and both fill and inflate the small one. The vacuum is super fast and delivers around the low 3 psi needed by the fenders and tenders.

      • Timothy Daleo says:

        I will try a water hose with a simple brass nozzle.

        Are you going to fix the diesel leak from the inside or outside of the day tank?

        • It appears to be a very tiny bubble in the weld — some impurity or the metal wasn’t clean enough. It’s so small the paint has been preventing leak and even when open it takes nearly 1/2 an hour to even form a drip. I drained the tank, ground off the paint on the tank outside in the area to reveal nice shiny aluminum and sealed it with two light coats of JB Weld and then a thin coat of 5 min epoxy. The tank can be removed without much work for rewelding but it’s probably not worth the hassle at this point — I suspect it’ll not leak a drop.

          • Steven Coleman says:

            I know where there is an aluminum condenser coil end loop on a R-410A system that was patched several years ago with JB Weld.

            I seriously doubt you’ll ever have trouble.

            • Given the temperature extremes and pressures in a air conditioning system, that’s impressive performance. In this application, we have more moderate temperatures and less than 3 PSI so I suspect it’ll do very well. Thanks for the data point.

  11. Christian says:

    James I see you on the mooring. Call us if you are available. 6039696320

  12. Tim H says:

    Nice video of your canal transit. Thanks for posting.

  13. Christian says:

    Hi James and Jennifer. Welcome to Massachusetts. I’m guessing you may be staying at Brewers if not on the hook. If you have time to get breakfast tomorrow before departing the Water Street Cafe has perhaps the best corned beef hash in MA. My wife and I strongly recommend trying it if you have the opportunity. I am quite sure Spitfire would agree as well. Where will you be staying in Boston? Look forward to seeing you.

    • Thanks for the tips Christian. We ended up spending a great afternoon and evening in Plymouth. A really fun visit and a great introduction to Massachuseets. This morning we are heading to Boston. We’ll be staying at Charlestown Marina and that’ll be our home base for our time in Boston.

  14. Timothy Daleo says:

    I am not familiar with East Coast waters. Can you cut through the canal or do you have to go around?

    • Timothy Daleo says:

      You making good speed through the CCC. I hope you can post some video!

    • Christian says:

      They can definitely transit the canal. Looks like they are going to stop in Plymouth. James do you have an estimated arrival for Plymouth and then Boston? You two will love Plymouth. Really looking forward to seeing Dirona.

      • Yes, exactly right Christian. We will be passing through the canal. The current plan is to get there tomorrow afternoon at 2pm. Once we transit the canal, we’ll go anchor for a night in Plymoth before heading to Boston the following day. We expect to be in Boston until August.

  15. Jonathan says:

    While you are off Cape Lookout on anchor, are you going to do any scuba diving? There are a bunch of notable wrecks in the area, including the U-352 sunk during WWII.

    • Thanks for the tip but we ended up getting under way yesterday around noon so we didn’t get to do any diving on this trip through the area. We were unaware of the interesting wrecks in the area. Thanks Jonathan.

  16. Timothy Daleo says:

    75 miles off the coast with a slight tail wind and mixed chop?

  17. Tim Kaine says:

    Talladega and Bristol are my 2 top tracks with Texas Motor Speedway a strong 3rd. Gordon was my driver from the day he started but now root for Jr.

    Hope your next passage is a smooth one and will be lurking. If you get bored those videos while underway are great. Nothing like the sights and sounds of being on the move.

    • We’ve been to Talledega and like it but we usually like the mid-sized or smaller tracks even more. We would love to do Briston sometime.

      I hear you on the video but, right now, it’s just a lot of light swell so probably not that interesting.

      • Tim Kaine says:

        Sights & sounds are always appreciated by those who relish the water. No matter if your in 12ft seas or mirror conditions. The Indian Ocean was a great one. I have always been on outboards so the trawler sound is true ocean sound to me. I will be patient though and look forward to the next one. Glad to see you are having a pretty decent run North.

        • We’ve been wrestling with our primary sat system which has developed a hardware fault and the secondary satelite system which has had some configuration issues so we’ve not got around to this and we’ll be anchoring this evening. But, if we don’t shoot some footage today, we will on the next outing when we sail north out of Boston.

          Last night’s excitement was dodging traps on the way into Buzzards Bay. The fish boat traffic and trap density was heavy. The good news is the traps are marked with metal markers to they are detectable on RADAR. The bad news is the marks are big enough to damage top sides and the traps ropes are big enough to damage the mechanical systems. Day break was a particularily welcome site this morning. We are targeting arrival at the canal at 2pm and will anchor this evening near Plymouth.

  18. Timothy Daleo says:

    I see that Wild Horse, a Dashew FPB 83 is over by Carrot Island. If you are out in the T/T over that far you might catch a shot of her as you come and go.

    • We’re enjoying a good stay in the area and our enjoying this rugged part of North Corolina. Weather conditions are improving for our trip north to Boston. We’ll likely get underway tomorrow morning.

  19. Steven Coleman says:

    Hello James,

    As usual I’m enjoying your updates.

    Looking at your 7900 hours display I got to wondering why you run your water heater temp so high? Is it used for something other than domestic hot water?

    Additionally probably since I’m spending a lot of my time on roof tops these days my eyes were drawn to your Laz freezer temperature. While 96 degrees below ambient is by no means “bad”, especially since I have no idea what type of equipment it is, you might have picked up some dust during the yard stay. I wouldn’t hurt to look at how clean the condensor is when you get the time.

    • Steve, you were asking about why we run the hot water heater so high? It does two things for us: 1) it makes a 20 gallon water heater effectively larger since it is storing more energy, and 2) it is only heating when the generator is on and has charged the batteries enough to have sufficient generator capacity to heat the water.

      Also, when the engines are running the water tank is at 180F since that is what the engine coolant temperature is so we need a mix valve after the pump for safety. Once it’s in place, we figured running the tank hotter is mostly just upside.

      The laz freezer compressor is a Danfoss BD35F and I actually thought that it delivering 10F when the laz is 110F is pretty impressive. There is a lot of heat producing gear in the Laz (chargers, inverters, hydraulic resevoir, etc.) and it can get warm especially when the sun is beating down on it. We’re generally pretty happy with the freezer but a delta-T of just over 90F is about all it has ever been able to deliver. I need to be back there to change the hydraulic coolant zincs in the near future anyway so I’ll check the condensor at the same time. I suspect that’s all that little Danfoss can do.

      • Steven Coleman says:

        I remembered you telling me about your water heater awhile back and thought then it was rather small for two people so I thought I had it figured out shortly after I posted my question. You did confirm my guess and address a question I thought of back then but never asked, which was if you used the engine to heat water also.

        I hadn’t really considered the installation of your Laz freezer and was fixated on the temp and ambient which as far as ambient temp is not uncommon for me to see.

        I was on a poorly designed building this Friday where the air entering the condenser coils was 127.3 degrees F which is the worst situation I’ve seen in some time but 3 digit temps are not out of the ordinary here although it’s generally caused by building design and little thought as to where to place equipment. However the cooler/freezer cases in what I see are usually inside a conditioned space.

        Looking at that Danfoss which I assume being on Dirona is 12 or 24 VDC and remembering the cabinet is in the same space, I’m pretty impressed myself at what it’s able to do the more I think about it.

        • Space is tight in a boat so, believe it or not, our 22 gallon water heater is an upgrade over the standard 10 gallon tank. The way we are set up with the tank running on the hot side, we just about neer run out of hot water. BUt, had we gone with the standard tank, it certainly would have been a problem.

          You are right that the Danfoss is a 24V system. Glad it looks like it’s running well from your persective.

        • Steven Coleman says:

          While heat rejection is more a function of the condenser coil as long as the compressor has the ability to compress the gas, I don’t know of any coil manufacturer that even offers a design criteria above 110 degrees F ambient temperature.

          • Yes, like many things on a boat, the systems are pushed hard. In the case of Dirona, we have a laz cooling system installed by the manufacturer without our involvement. It’s a couple of squirel cage fans that really don’t move much air and I don’t see any difference between active cooling and not. I suspect there are just too many heat sources in the laz: sun on the back decks, hot water heater, 120V inverter, 240V inverter, hydraulic oil resevoir, diesel boiler, and steering system. The laz often runs around 100F and I’ve seen it frequently at upwards of 110F. It doesn’t seem to get much hotter than 110F under any circumstances but that is up there.

            • Steven Coleman says:

              Have you ever considered if there would be enough positive benefits to running some type of evaporative cooler?

              I obviously don’t know much about the equipment on Dirona but, if you already have supply and exhaust fans for the engine room and Laz. I wouldn’t think it would be that difficult to come up with something which wouldn’t require much space even if it was just something similar to the misting fans used at public events.

              • Steven Coleman says:

                I should have asked if you knew what the Relative Humidity in your engine room or Laz generally runs.

                Anything 40% R.H. and above yes, you might cool but you’ll probably won’t want the problems associated with trying it.

                • That’s brilliant Steven. Evap cooling would absolutely work. It would require a control system to monitor the relative humidity to keep us a LONG way from the dew point but, at those heat levels, avoiding dew point is fairly easy.

                  I do exactly this in data centers and good control systems are need but it is very effective. In this particular usage model, the challenge would be that the air comes in at ambient temp, gets cooled but higher humidity, passes over equipment that might rust, then warms up quickly. Once the air is heating, the relative humidity will plummet (same absolute humidity).

                  The challenge on this approach will be relative humidity management when combined with metal parts some of which aren’t very warm (and will condense and rust) and others that are very warm and won’t either condense nor rust. With more space, it would be easy to make this work very well. It’s a great idea for big boats. And, with enough invested in control systems, I think it could even work on Dirona.

                  The question is whether it’s worth the work to design the system. Since changing the keel cooler, the engine is running much cooler. Because the engine is the primary source of heat in the ER, small changes in engine temperature make a massive difference in the ER temperature. Right now the ER temps are so good I might not get around to designing the evap cooling system but I love the idea and I think it could be used to solve truly challenging ER cooling problems especially on larger boats. Thanks (again) for the good ideas.

  20. Rod Sumner says:

    J and J

    A real bummer about the leak

    Of the wall thought: Could the leak originate from water in the anchor locker?

    Home Depot gives away small packets of blue dye to test for water leaks from toilet tanks etc I guess food coloring would also work but more would be required. Just add to the possible source e.g. water tank and wait to see if the leaking water changes color

    No doubt you will keep us all posted

    Best of luck


    • Rod Sumner says:


      As I said a wild thought. Not at all surprised to hear about Nordhavn”s thoughtful design.

      The Home Depot dye is packed as a powder in small 2″ square sachets and I believe it is non toxic. Normally found on the shelf in the plumbing fixtures isle.


    • Anchor locker leaks and anything in the forward part of the guest stateroom should run down into the forward bilge that flows back through a 2″ PVC pipe to the main bilge. Nice design in that the 2″ pipe is a gigantic limber hole that won’t plug and runs straight down the keel to the main bilge so the forward bilge can’t hold any water. Because of this, we’re fairly confident that the leak isn’t forward of the entrance to the guest stateroom.

      The good news is that have something a bit less than 4 days, it has stopped and the bilge is back to dry. I suspect a large build up in the boat at a location that will only allow water to flow out of it slowly. It could have come from me washing the engine room a week back but, whatever the cause, I would like to eliminate the build up location so it can’t build up and drains back fast. This way I can chase down the source.

      Whatever the cause, the good news is that it stopped and we’re happy to be back to a dry bilge.

      I also thought of food color as a tracking mechanism but don’t have any on the boat. I didn’t know that Home Depot has blue dye for water leak testing. I’m thinking that might be a good addition to a boat. Especially for someone like me that likes to chase every drop of water on the belief that where there is some, there will eventually be more and persistent leaks hide new leaks.

      Thanks for the water leak dye idea. I’ll see if I can chase down a version of that we like. Ideally not a permanent die and not poisonous. I like the idea and think we could use something along these lines.

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