Archive For The “Technical” Category

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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Non-Stop Adventure

Non-Stop Adventure

PassageMaker Magazine April, 2017: Non-Stop Adventure: 56,000 Miles at Sea…And Counting

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Route Planning

Route Planning

While in Florida earlier this year, we considered a variety of routes for our upcoming Atlantic passage. Some of the possibilities are shown in the screenshot above (click image for larger view). The waypoint east of South Carolina is Bermuda, and the one labeled Terceira Sao Miguel is the Azores. The other waypoints are mostly…

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Nothing Runs Like a Deere

Nothing Runs Like a Deere

Most John Deere engines are scheduled to have the vibration damper replaced at 5 years or 4,500 hours. However, our Deere 6068AFM75 uses a viscous coupling with an 8,000-hour replacement interval so we went nearly 7 years before needing to make a change. We crossed 8,000 hours as we headed into Boston early last year,…

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FPB 781 Cochise

FPB 781 Cochise

We are interested in all ocean-going power boats, but right near the top of the pack is the FPB series from Steve and Linda Dashew.  We’ve seen many FPBs over the years as we completed our around-the-world run and the first things that jumps out is they are unfinished aluminum. When we were in New Zealand…

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Crane Maintenance

Crane Maintenance

In Newport we found a washer on deck below the crane and concluded we likely had a critical crane issue, so stopped using it until we understood the problem. We later found a bolt on deck as we arrived into Baltimore. It was pretty clear that something was coming apart in the crane. James took…

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On Board a Canadian Scalloper

On Board a Canadian Scalloper

While we were in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, the crew of a 134-ft scalloper in port for maintenance work gave us a tour of their factory ship. (We were asked not to include boat, crew and company names.) The ship was built in 1997, but is well-maintained and is equipped with the latest scallop auto-shucking equipment….

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Replacing Engine Mounts: Take Two

Replacing Engine Mounts: Take Two

As we completed our previous attempt at changing the engine mounts, we still had two major issues. The first was the front mount material seemed thicker than what originally was on the boat, and the second issue was we couldn’t jack the engine up far enough to remove the old rear mounts. We spoke with the…

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Replacing Engine Mounts: Take One

Replacing Engine Mounts: Take One

In Boston we noticed that our forward engine mounts were starting to deteriorate. We purchased replacements but expected the current ones to last for months yet. While in Newfoundland, they suddenly started deteriorating badly and over two weeks the isolation material just crumbled away in a pile around the mount. One morning we picked up…

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Maretron N2KView on Dirona

Maretron N2KView on Dirona

When we go to sea in Dirona there are usually only two people on the boat. That means automation and reliability are super important to us, and we want early warning of problems or unusual conditions. Maretron N2kView is a good-value display system that has worked very well for us and allowed us to incrementally expand what…

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Boston Tour Boat Crash

Boston Tour Boat Crash

When there’s no room for error, even a small mechanical failure can make for a very bad day. In this case, one of the four main engines on Boston Harbor Cruises’ Regency remained in forward gear coming into Long Wharf and, with only seconds to figure out what was wrong and take action, time ran…

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Dryer Thermal Fuse

Dryer Thermal Fuse

Earlier this week our dryer stopped producing heat en route to Rencounter Bay, Newfoundland. The drum would tumble, but there was no heat. Once we’d anchored, we rigged a clothesline in the engine room to take advantage of the heat to dry the large load of clothes while we investigated the failure. We opened up…

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Oil Analysis

Oil Analysis

Oil analysis is one of these practices where many people I know find it valuable and send their oil out for analysis on every oil change. We don’t on Dirona not because we don’t believe in it but more from a perspective that the hassle/cost-to-value equation isn’t sufficiently compelling for our usage. When I raced…

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Crankcase Pressure

Crankcase Pressure

Our main engine now has more than 8,000 hours, so increased oil leaks are more or less expected. But up until recently it has leaked almost nothing and the change to leaking more happened quite quickly, so we decided to dig deeper. Oil seepage can be caused by loosening bolts, tired/old gaskets and seals, and…

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