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General questions & comments
  1. ken says:

    Hi James and Jennifer,

    Hope you are having a fantastic time in here in Dublin.

    I seen you got some to visit some of the great places here in Dublin including City Hall.

    Did you manage to go inside and see the ceiling. I got married there and the pictures were amazing.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of your time here.

    Ken

    • We are having a great time Ken. We did indeed see the city hall ceiling. A great venue for a marriage.

      We’ve really enjoyed our time in Dublin and stayed longer than we originally expected. We expect to get under way later this evening for Falmouth. If the weather cooperates, we’ll head there directly.

  2. Michael & Frances, N40 Coracle says:

    I’ve just been studying your new 3700 Rule bilge pump installation because we are about to do the same job on our N40. I proved at the last lift-out that the Jabsco pump shifts less water than our washing machine pump. And, as you know, those Jabscos have a history of failures. Like you we intend to go out through the same skin fitting (thru-hull) as the Edson hand pump. I’ve looked very carefully at your blog and I just can’t work out how you have joined the Rule outlet to the Edson hose. Is there a “Tee” or a “Y” fitting somewhere? And does the Rule pump send its output through the body of the Edson, or does the water by-pass the Edson? Sorry if this is indeed a dumb question.

    • Hi Michael. I feel guilty for not posting this article already. I wrote 90% of it 3 weeks back but work has been busy and I haven’t had the time to finish it off and get it posted. I will do that this week for sure.

      The approach I took was to have the manual bilge pump and the 3700 in series rather than in parallel. Essentially the 3700 replaces the pickup for the manual pump and pumps inline through the manual pump. The manual pump draws through the 3700 pump. I’ve filled the bilge and the manual pump output is indistinguishable from the test prior to installing the 3700. The bilge was again filled and the 3700 output is about 3x and perhaps 4x the output of the Jabsco pump. It’s a simple design that seems to work fairly effectively and is fairly easy to install. It would be “easy”except the access to the lower bilge in our boat is very limited below the prop shaft and 5 through hulls. The pump can’t be dropped in through all that mechanical gear so it needs to be assembled in place like a ship in a bottle. That required some patience but, otherwise, the job actually was easy.

      I’ll get that article with more detail and the other changes I put in place in response to “Alarms at 1:15am” posted as soon as possible.

      • Michael & Frances, N40 Coracle says:

        James,

        Thanks for replying. Do not feel guilty. I have no idea how you manage to hold down a demanding job, cruise, tour, maintain Dirona, AND keep the rest of us entertained. No doubt Jennifer does a lot to make it all possible.

        Pumps: That’s what we’ll do then. My friend Steve has installed a “Y” on his N40, downstream of his Edson, to achieve a similar end result. But if the Rule will pump straight through the Edson it simplifies the installation.

        I’m going to put a video on Youtube to show how the Jabsco pumps less than our washing machine.

  3. Paul Wood says:

    Hello again, did you ever get your RIB sorted out? The only reason I ask is, I was having a crack with one of my family members the other night and among other things, we discussed RIB’s and punctures etc.

    Our family member has a RIB (safety boat) which was retubed by http://www.menaimarine.biz/. They’re located on the shores of the Menai Straits in Victoria Dock, Caernarfon, Wales. They custom build RIB’s as well should you be feeling flush 😀

    • Thanks Paul. We elected to get another AB VST12 with a 50hp outboard but it turned out there were none in the UK and an order couldn’t be reliably delivered before we left the country. Our current boat is hanging in there fine so we ordered one from the AB dealer in the Netherlands and will pick it up as we pass through Amsterdam.

  4. Paul Wood says:

    I see you’re both enjoying Dublin, as do we. The Spire is known locally as the “Stiletto in the Ghetto” or the “Stiffy on the Liffey.” It replaces Nelson’s Pillar which was blown up in 1966 by Irish Republicans. The architect was Ian Ritchie. I like its elegant, slender movement which given its dimensions being 3m in diameter at the base and 120m high is quite an achievement.

  5. Rod Sumner says:

    James
    Is it jusy my computer or have your most recent photos of York diisappeared from your site?
    PS Awaiting the Alarms at 1:30am update with great interest

    • The pictures all look good on the computers around here and under a couple of browsers. Recommend restarting your browser and seeing if that clears the issue.

      You are 100% right on the Alarms at 1:15am post mortem. The article is written and it just needs an edit pass before posting. Work’s been busy with our annual re:Invent conference in Las Vegas but I’ll get the article up soon. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Jackie says:

    Hi James,
    As you suggested, here I am on your blog. 🙂 Our new KK50 will have a similar exterior, what are the size (D x L) of your Prostock Marine fenders and how long are your fender lines? Thank you in advance for your wisdom! 🙂
    Jackie in Seattle

    • Our initial fenders were Aere Inflatable fenders and they were a disaster. Aere uses a thick and very durable material to build their fenders but they simply don’t hold air. Some leaked from day one but all leaked within two months. Having seen ProStock Marine fenders starting to take over the super yacht trade, we decided to move to them. They use a slightly less heavy duty material but the welded seams are absolutely perfect. They hold air well and we have abused the heck out of ours taking fuel from a steel barge in a 3′ to 4′ swell and up against concrete docks in 40 kts. They just take the wear and abuse without problem. After three years of heavy use, we have yet to see an issue. ProStock Marine makes a great product.

      We have 6 of the 18×42 and 2 of the 24×42 sizes and we have sized the fender lines to match the boat where the right side hangs from the walkway rail and the left side hang from further up on the boat deck.

      • Jackie says:

        Hi James,

        That is really helpful! Those are the same size fenders that are being recommended for our boat and having your positive review gives me more confidence.

        Any other guidance you can provide on fender line length? KK is planning on supplying us with 30 foot lines for each of the fenders, I think that is too long.

        Jackie

        • We have ours in two lengths. The short ones are around 10′ and the long ones for the non-walkway side around 20′. 30′ is certainly too long but, hey, if long fender lines are the only mistake made in your new boat build you are perhaps the luckiest people in the world :-).

          Long fender lines can be shortened so I wouldn’t worry about it. You’ll know what is right when you get the boat.

          • Jackie says:

            Hi James,
            Thanks for your patience with our questions. When you are under way on short voyages do you deflate and put them away? If not, what do you do them? Would you say they are easy to store? Do you use the pump they sell?
            Jackie

            • We don’t usually bother for a short trip but, if we are planning to dock for a couple of days, we take them down since they are really big and take up most of the boat deck when not stowed away deflated. The trick to fast inflation/deflation is to use a shop vacuum. Amazingly effective and fast and useful for multiple purposes.

              Since you were asking about the Prostock Marine fenders, after three years of flawless performance and fairly heavy use we woke up Sunday morning to find two fenders having leaked down. Two failing at the same time seems super unlikely but both have fabric leaks about an 1/2″ from the valves. It was right around freezing with a 30 kt wind onto the dock that night. I suspect the problem was related to the cold but clearly the material needs to be able to work without failure in cold weather.

              I reported the problem to Prostock that morning and, it’s been a couple of days now and they haven’t gotten back to us.

              • Jackie says:

                Hi James,
                Bummer on your 2 failures. Keep us posted on how this is handled by the company. I am confused that you say if you are going to dock for a couple days that you would put them away, wouldn’t you leave them hanging on the side of your boat in that case? Or did you mean if you are anchoring for a couple days?

                Given you had two failed fenders and a 30 knot wind, did you boat sustain any damage as a result?

                Jackie

                • If not returning to the dock for a couple of days we deflate and stow the fenders.

                  There was no boat damage from the fender failure. We had 4 fenders down that side of the boat and the outer two kept the boat undamaged. Yes, I will post here on how Prostock Marine handles the failures.

              • Gary says:

                Hi James, Jennifer – – is it feasible to fill these fenders with Nitrogen? I am wondering if humidity causes breaches, air gap, while using Nitrogen could eliminate that possibility, but it also might be problematic carrying bottle(s) of Nitrogen on board….?

  7. Robert Ekolls says:

    Alway’s impressed with your blog. Keep’s us dreaming!. I’ve got a few system’s questions. With the time on your electronics-radar,sounder,radio’s etc how much longer before you think you’ll need to replace? With the hour’s on your engine and generator what’s your guess on how many more hours before they’ll need major work. Did Nordhavn design way’s you could remove without using a chainsaw? With all the real world use you get are any of the manufactor’s making improvement’s/changes for all going forward or are the thing’s you’ve been doing unique to your cruiseing needs? Thank’s!

    • Lots of good questions Robert. We know have more than 9,400 main engine hours so, as you said, the hours are mounting and our “new” boat is probably heading to the top 10% of the Nordhavn fleet. We know of quite a few boats with more hours but I suspect most haven’t as many. So far the engine/transmission have never been open. We recently started getting a 1347.7 ECU trouble code indicating actual high pressure rail pressure is different from called for fuel pressure. It looks like an injector problem so I’ll change the set soon and hopefully that problem will be solved. Assuming, I’m right on that problem, changing injectors after 9,000 hours seems pretty reasonable to me. I’m hoping we can get 15,000 out of the engine before the head needs to come off and 20,000 before the lower end needs attention. I know of engines with 15,000 that have never been open and show no signs of needing it so all indications are that this engine will continue to do well.

      You asked if the engine could come out of boat without a chainsaw. Yes, absolutely. It was a focus item from me during build since we expect to run up the hours and, even for those that don’t, you can get unlucky. The main engine can be lifted out through a large Salon hatch designed for engine and transmission service. Nordhavn intends it to be big enough and I’ve looked at it pretty carefully and believe the hatch will be sufficient if needed. Hopefully it’ll not be any time soon.

      On electronics, we are using Furuno NavNet3d that we have had in use on the boat for nearly 8 years. It was long ago superseded with the newer TZ system but we’re still very happy with the current navigation eqiupment and don’t intend to replace it. The only fault we have seen so far is the MFDBB had a graphics card failure while we were in the Indian Ocean. I ended installing a temporary card that was very similar (http://mvdirona.com/2015/10/thank-you-plug-n-play/) and then later I bought a used MFDBB from someone who was upgrading to a new system so we now have a full MFDBB in spares on Dirona. We expect to run this system for another 2 to 4 years and, at this point, have no complaints with it. Furuno has done a good job and we still like this system.

      Nordhavn continues to improve their boats all the time. I’m sure the odd idea comes from our experience and they have the experience of more than 500 other owners to draw on as well. Every time I’m on a new Nordhavn, I see subtle (and sometimes fairly dramatic) improvements. One area where we have contributed a bit is in power systems and Nordhavn now has an optional design available that has many of the advantages of what we ended up doing: http://mvdirona.com/2014/08/a-more-flexible-power-system-for-dirona/. I really like new design done by Mike Teleria at Nordhavn.

  8. Paul Wood says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your various musings on your recent posts. Regarding Liverpool Cathedral. This place probably gets more tourist visitors than actual Sunday parishioners!
    However, saying that, a guilty pleasure of mine is visiting these kinds of places when on a jolly.
    As to the architecture of the place, which is seriously beautiful on an immense scale and, if one thinks about it, stone is probably the oldest building material used by mankind. Some of this stonework can be reproduced in the modern world, whereas some is clearly no longer possible or at least feasible. 
    Just up the road from me, there stands some skeletal sandstone ruins of an 11th century Cistercian Abbey with enough stonework left on a scale that is difficult to grasp. Given the tools used it’s difficult to comprehend! I’m always left saying to myself, how the hell did they do it?

    Briefly touching on the Manchester Science museum. Technology wise we’re living in exciting times, what with those little Raspberry Pi’s that you use, and the device I’m writing this on, which is an android phone, either of these miniature gadgets have probably got more computing power than that Baby computer Jennifer’s Father built. I should probably get one of those Pi gadgets just so I can clue myself up, but the programming of the thing makes my eyes glaze over, and at the end of the day, I’ve no real use for it other than educating myself 🙂

    Cheerio for now…

    • I totally agree with you on these old stone structures. Absolutely amazing. In North America, “old” is 200 years. This is a completely different perspective.

      On the Raspberry Pi, it’s remarkably simple. Like you, I didn’t really intend to use it. I just bought one to learn a bit but it was so easy to program that I ended up finding many uses for it. And, after awhile, I ended up deciding to get a 2nd and then later, put in a third. Embedded programming used to required deep low level programming skills, cross compilers, cross debuggers, and it was slow going. The Pi is a basically a full computer running Linux with lots of memory and storage resources. It essentially requires very little skill to get things going. Most of the software I have running on mine is written in PHP with just a bit of C++ for a performance sensitive module.

      I picked up a Pi when I was in Darwin Australia via Amazon from the US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01C6Q2GSY/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1. I played with it a bit on the Indian Ocean crossing and was soon reading digital input state — checking to see if a device is on or off. Then I got it doing digital output — the ability to turn devices on and off. On that trip, I had an electronics failure of the Watch Commander. It’s a simple device that makes sure that the person on the helm is awake and requires that you touch a button every 10 min. I built a new one using the Pi and, before the Indian Ocean crossing was done the Pi had gone from toy to part of the boat control systems and it expanded from there. On the boat I now use them for around 30 channels of digital input, about 12 channels of digital input, and around 10 channels of temperature using a DHT-22 (https://www.amazon.com/Diymore-Digital-Temperature-Humidity-Replace/dp/B01IT2E4ZW/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1511701777&sr=1-2-spons&keywords=dht22&psc=1). Just the latter functionality of reading temperatures is pretty useful. In the near future, I’ll blog the details with example code of what I use the Pis for and show how it’s done.

      • Jan-Kees says:

        with your PI you can aso run the Viltron Venus CCGX software which they made open source

        • Cool, I hadn’t noticed that Victron had open sourced some of their control software. For those interested in reading more on the Victron open source projects, it’s here: https://www.victronenergy.com/live/open_source:start.

          On Dirona, we use a Victron 240v inverter and what I notice about it was, when compared to other gear we have on the boat, it easily delivers it’s spec of 6kw and it’ll even deliver 7kw for very short periods of time without cutting out. Where many charger/inverter suppliers put in limiters, cut-outs, or de-rate with temperature, Victron goes for a design with sufficient engineering safety margin that it actually can meet the spec in less than ideal circumstances and, if pushed beyond, they don’t shut down unless the they need too. My Mastervolt equipment sometimes derates or limits at annoying times. For example, the chargers run on 240V but, world voltages are far from stable and they range from 208 to 240v nominal with big deviations caused by grid load or other factors. I want the chargers putting out whatever the hardware will support but Mastervolt derates starting at 195V and output falls off fast below that voltage level. Like many adjustments on the Mastervolt gear, it isn’t user adjustable or configurable.

          It’s really cool to see Victron open sourcing some of their control software and actually helping customers be able to integrate their systems with other types of equipment. The more I see of Victron, the more I like them. Thanks for sending this along Jan-Kees.

  9. David Andrews says:

    As a fan of the Americas Cup I think you will be interested in the AC 75 foiling monohull concept which has just been announced. It is shown here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rx2qG_YMrDs

    For some bizarre reason the Namib gecko, which lifts alternate feet off the hot sand to keep cool, came to mind when I saw the video. That said it looks as though the proposed design will present a great design and sailing challenge.

    • I was really disappointed to see the high speed foiling cats not being used going forward but some are already speculating that this new AC75 may be even faster. I’m still slightly skeptical on the speed point but it is definitely a wild looking boat. I read an article quoting Tom Slingsby as really liking the design. The real test of the design is how many competitive teams emerge. I really wish that America’s Cup was annually or perhaps every 2 years. 4 years between events is a long, long time.

  10. Paul Wood says:

    Hello again, glad to read that the gaiter worked out ok. My wife and I have quite an eclectic taste in music and have never really heard any of the BRMC’s music. It’s funny what a name of a band can conjure up in one’s mind, as we had it down as heavy metal headbangers music so never gave it a listen!
    That opinion has now changed, as Beat The Devil’s Tattoo, Spread Your Love, Little Thing Gone Wild (which is what our six-year-old grandson is currently bouncing around to as I type) sounds fantastic on our home HI-FI. A Spotify list has now been created!

    If you like Blues music check out the American musician Seasick Steve – he makes his own instruments, too!

    • Love it and it’s funny you should say that Paul but, for years, I thought the same about Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and more or less ignored them. I knew of the band but hadn’t listened to any of their music. It was Jennifer that eventually gave them a serious listen and they have become favorites of ours as well.

      Thanks for the pointer to Seasick Steve. Will give him a listen.

  11. Rod Sumner says:

    James:

    Thanks for the acknowlegdement re gaitor for power cord!
    Any progress on the lifeline??:)

    • I’ve got a blog entry ready to go with an update on all the changes that we put in places as a result of “Alarms at 1:15am”. We’ve made a lot of changes and I like the results but we’ve not done anything on coming up with some sort of Jackline system. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Jeff & Cynthia Case says:

    Thank you both for letting us tag along on your wonderful adventures on beautiful Dirona. We have enjoyed every article and picture. Although the adventures we have in our 1974 Tollycraft Makara are a bit more modest and limited to the greater Puget Sound area, I think all who choose to cast off lines and watch the world unfold with a gentle or sometimes not so gentle swell underfoot, share many of the same life changing moments one can only experience on the water. Wishing you safe passages and look forward to sharing future adventures with you and Dirona.

    • We agree. Boats are both a constant pleasure and a constant education. Thanks for the note.

      • Gary says:

        I lik to think you calmly repair things on board, under way with the calm of the film “Jaws” Captain Quint (Robert Shaw), “we need a bigger boat”, upon actually seeing the shark finally. Your handy work, getting that pump in is impressive but Yoda rules apply in boats, “there is no try, only do”. Safe travels to you all!

  13. David Andrews says:

    Re locks check out Caen Hill Locks. I think you will be impressed. They are inland and not navigable by Dirona!

  14. steve says:

    HI james and jennifer i see your in Belfast now and i was wondering if you had any plans to nip across the North channel to the Isle of man ?
    I’ve been following you since you were in New Zealand and am amazed what the pair of you have done and your Nordhaven must of been through .
    i live in Douglas which is to capital of the island we do have a 24 hour stay afloat Harbour if your coming
    and if you are and need any help or advise about douglas you can e mail back and will be happy to help.
    yours sincerely Steve

    • We are thinking through ways to visit the Isle of Man. We plan to visit Liverpool immediately after Belfast so won’t have time on the way by. But will have some time in Liverpool so might just take the ferry over for a day. Another approach will be to stop off the at the Isle of Man before heading to Dublin. We’ll be in Dublin for a while so we might take a ferry from there to visit the Isle of Man. Still working on options but I think there is a good chance we’ll do the trip. Thanks for the offer of advice.

  15. April Hannon says:

    Hi James, thank you for your videos and site. Can you tell me how effective your kvh7 satellite is for Internet? I am going to be working from our boat and curious to other’s experiences. Best, April

    • Our KVH V7-ip (http://www.kvh.com/Commercial-and-OEM/Maritime-Systems/Communications/mini-VSAT-Broadband/TracPhone-V7IP-with-ICM.aspx) has been instrumental in making this trip possible. Without reasonably priced, high-bandwidth communications, there is no way I could work and the trip would have to be deferred until after retirement. We love the equipment and the world-wide service plans. We originally used the fixed price plans available many years ago. We reluctantly moved to one of the Open Plans (http://www.kvh.com/Satellite-and-Content-Services/Satellite-Communications-Service/mini-VSAT-Broadband-Airtime-Plans/Open-Plans-Standard.aspx) and eventually concluded the Open Plans were better. The fixed plans had difficult to throttling that was functional but a bit difficult to work with whereas the open plans are always high performing. We currently use the OP5k which includes 5G per month bu these plans are available in 2G, 5G, 10G all the way up to 150G per month. We might be better off with our consumption rates when we are in remote locations with the OP10k plan but the overage costs for both are reasonable so we don’t bother changing back and forth.

      The only negative is the polar regions are not covered and there are some large uncovered areas where commercial shipping traffic is sparse: South Atlantic (Central and North Atlantic is fine), South Indian Ocean, and the Southern Pacific region. It’s been a couple of years since we were in one of these “blind spots” — these aren’t common. The next one we expect to find is next summer in Norway where some of the Fjords will likely not have connectivity due to the lower elevation angles to geosynchronous satellites and the heights of the nearby mountain ranges.

      Overall, it’s a great system. It’s not inexpensive but, for those still working and needing constant connection and good bandwidth, it’s an excellent option. In fact, we have become so dependent on the system that, if I was to retire today, we would stay with the same plan. We really like 24×7 connectivity and it makes the trip more enjoyable for us both.

      • There is more information on our satellite connectivity at: http://mvdirona.com/2015/08/communications-at-sea/. It dates back to 2015 and so we should probably update the article but it still does a pretty good job of covering the options that we investigated. Aboard Dirona, we use WiFi when it is available, the terrestrial cellular radio, and use a KVH V7-ip as our primary satellite system. As backup satellite systems we use Inmarsat BGAN and Iridium but these latter two are only used when outside of the KVH Mini-VSAT satellite footprint or during a system outage. It’s been 2 years since we have used either but we test them annually.

  16. Paul Wood says:

    I’ve never sailed on a river or canal so I’ve never experienced the Bank Effect. I have heard about your experience of the water appearing to be lower and flowing faster past the boat. In the instance I heard about the boat ran aground, almost as if the boat was sucked down and had to be towed off. Probably down to hydrodynamics, like boat shape or a combination of different variables of speed and displacement?

    • Yes, hydrodynamics. The water is being displaced by the hull passing through it and it has to pass by the boat. With the bank near, the water being displaced by the bow and trying to go between the hull and the shore will push the bow away from that near shore. At the stern, the water rushing past the hull needs to fill the space left behind by the boat passing through the water. Because the hull is near to the shore there is resistance to the water freely flowing back into the void left by the hull underway. This causes a low pressure area develops at the stern that pulls the stern towards the near shore.

  17. Dear James & Jen
    I hope you are both well. I have in attached my wind speed reference at the bottom of this message. The telematory from Dirona showed winds of 122.8kts. The record for the UK at sea level is 123kts. Watching you boat is more nerve racking that the latest Hollywood film.
    I have been up several times in the night to check on your position.
    I would love to cruise around Scotland but will need a bigger boat. My wife and I generally don’t go out if the wind is above force 3.

    Rgs
    Robert

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_weather_records

  18. Gary says:

    Last few days, post Ophelia, a relief it passed has been great reading….thought the “EE” acronym was “time to be an electronic engineer”, and the nice lunch break at the Castle Tavern for me would be followed by “Nap Time”, after seeing those lovely pints! Entrance to Inverness like is beautiful! Safe travels….!

  19. Greg says:

    10.202017
    Hi James
    Truly magnificent photography an historical treasure !

  20. Lukas says:

    Are you planning to see more of Europe? Like the Netherlands

    • Yes, absolutely. WE plan to go to Norway next year and on the way north will stop in Amsterdam for a while. Likely in the April time frame. Looking forward to it.

      • Rob Heath says:

        Hi James & Jennifer,
        If you are in the Amsterdam area around April, check out the Keurkenhof gardens – they are absolutely magnificent when the tulips are out. Also the bulb fields all around are a fantastic sight, and the smell of the Hyacinths is almost overwelmingly strong.
        Regards
        Rob

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