Archive For The “Technical” Category

Diesel Engine Load Profile

Diesel Engine Load Profile

Electronic diesel engines track usage data to help engine manufacturers and service personal understand causes of different fault conditions and evaluate how well the engine is performing in that specific application. Generally this data isn’t available to end users but, if a service technician is on your boat, it’s worth asking for the engine load…

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Managing Spares

Managing Spares

Our goal has always been to never have a trip delayed or cut short due to equipment issues. We have achieved this in 13,500 hours of operation across two boats, by keeping the vessels in a high level of service, having redundancy in equipment, and carrying a large number of spares parts. Having the right…

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Dirona Around the World

Dirona Around the World

When we bought our first boat back in 1999, a coastal cruiser that we named Dirona, the salesperson asked how many hours a year we expected to put on. “Fifty, maybe a hundred” we replied. We both worked in busy software jobs in Seattle and weren’t expecting to be able to boat that frequently. We…

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ProStock: Nice Fender, No Warranty

ProStock: Nice Fender, No Warranty

Just under three years ago, we purchased a full set of ProStock Marine fenders. We like to be well-fendered so we ended up buying just over $2,000 worth of these fenders. In the intervening three years we have been super-impressed with them. They have been used in gales up against cement walls, when fueling from…

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Two Generators When You Only Have One

Two Generators When You Only Have One

The best way to have two generators is to actually install two generators. But two generators would be a tight fit in our engine room. Milt Baker proved on Nordhavn 4732 Bluewater that, with skill and forward thinking, you actually can fit two generators into a Nordhavn 47 or 52. It is a rare configuration. Most,…

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Alarms at 1:15am Follow up

Alarms at 1:15am Follow up

Six months ago I bolted awake at 1:15am to a shrieking high bilge water alarm while we were 50 miles south of the Grand Banks, in large seas, on passage from Newport, RI to Kinsale, Ireland. The quick summary is we got the problem resolved, but it took 11 hours, and we learned about a…

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Managing Fuel Quality

Managing Fuel Quality

When we left Seattle on our trip around the world, we were expecting fuel quality issues to be common and carried 48 Racor 900 fuel filters. Surprisingly, we used less than ten on the entire trip. Most of the fuel we got world-wide was surprisingly good. We did encounter some minor fuel quality issues, but…

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Preparing Dirona for the North Atlantic Crossing

Preparing Dirona for the North Atlantic Crossing

Below is a 24-minute narrated video preparing Dirona for the 2,801 nautical-mile North Atlantic transit from Newport, Rhode Island to Kinsale Ireland. We first show storm plate (clear window protection covers) installation at the dock using the tender as a working platform on the port side. Then we move the SCUBA tanks below and secure…

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Tender Replacement Time

Tender Replacement Time

Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RIBs) have many advantages. They don’t mark a boat’s hull when alongside, they have sufficient buoyancy to stay afloat when completely full of water, and they are sold in large enough quantities that pricing is competitive. They have lots of downsides as well and the demise of most inflatables is slow…

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A More Flexible Power System for Panacea

A More Flexible Power System for Panacea

In 2014 we published A More Flexible Power System for Dirona. This article ran in the April 2016 PassageMaker issue and aspects of this design have been offered as options on new Nordhavn builds. Since that article was published there has been considerable progress in lithium-ion battery technologies. All forms of Li-Ion battery technology offer…

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Big System Coming

Big System Coming

For quite some time now we have been watching a very large low in the weather models coming down from Greenland. The storm is currently predicted to bring 20′ waves on 10 second period, with 25 to 30 kt winds.  With 20′ waves nominal, there will be some that approach or exceed our 30′ mast…

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North Atlantic 500mb Forecast

North Atlantic 500mb Forecast

We plan on getting underway this weekend for Kinsale, Ireland. It’s a tiny bit early in the season but we have what looks to be a blocking high developing in the North Atlantic which will stall the steady stream of low-pressure systems that we’ve been watching for the past several months. Unfortunately the high is…

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Stack Socket Replacement

Stack Socket Replacement

A couple of days after we arrived into Newport, we found the breaker for the pilothouse 120V outlets had tripped. We investigated all the electronics plugged into the PH outlets but the breaker would still trip. We eventually unplugged everything and it still tripped so it had to be a bad breaker or a circuit…

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Departure Planning

Departure Planning

We’ve been studying the weather every day as we prepare for our Atlantic crossing from Newport, RI to Kinsale, Ireland. We use a variety of data sources, including NOAA surface analysis and 500MB forecasts. The sources we rely most heavily on are GRIB files containing data from computer-generated models such as NOAA GFS and WAVEWATCH…

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Fuel, Option Value, Speed, & Safety

Fuel, Option Value, Speed, & Safety

Boat range in ocean conditions is remarkably hard to predict but it’s just about guaranteed that your real range is far shorter than estimates or even careful measurement if it wasn’t done in real ocean conditions. Ocean swell slows boats remarkably. We had no idea how much impact this would have when we first got…

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Fighting Water Ingress

Fighting Water Ingress

Besides a fire at sea, few things are more frightening for an ocean-crossing vessel than uncontrolled, and potentially undetected, water ingress. Safety Digest, published by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) of the British Department of Transport (www.maib.gov.uk), often contains reports of small boats sinking in minutes. Many might have been saved had their captains…

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