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Woo hoo, you are moving! It does not look like you are going to be turning right soon. North Atlantic route?
Hi Timothy. We are indeed underway bound for Savannah Georgia where we expect to be for a week or so. After that, we’ll head up to Rhode Island and our current thinking is to go directly from Rhode Island to Cork Ireland once the weather looks favorable.
The RI to Ireland route is a little over two weeks non-stop? Full bladders and plenty of peanuts?
It’ll be closer to 3 weeks at nearly 3,000 nautical miles and, yes, we’ll need at least some deck fuel for that run. We almost always run all the bladders when we use any since more fuel is option value. Either more speed or more flexibility and arriving with fuel is fine too since it’s so much cheaper here and the boat is more stable with some fuel in the tanks. More likely than not, we’ll use it and just run a bit quicker.
Enjoyed your new article in Passagemaker Magazine. Nice cover picture with Chatterbox Falls.
Hey thanks John. The location of the cover shot is Cascade Falls in Prince William Sound Alaska. It does look a lot like Chatterbox Falls but we have never seen Chatterbox without a bzillion other boats except in the winter.
Got it! You do have to be careful of camera angle when in P.L. Inlet and all the way North until past Desolation Sound. Within our Salish Sea cruising lomits Homfray Channel & Toba Inlets have been wonderfully free of boat crowds. Enjoy Savannah!
You have an incredible cruising area. One trick we have used when going to busy areas like Predeaux Haven is to go in the winter. It’s like a trip back in time. We have been alone in both Predeaux Haven and Princess Louisa in the winter. Arguably it was even more beautiful with snow covered peaks surrounding us.
The TimeZero screenshot had Bermuda and the Azores as possible waypoints but what were the other waypoints? SE of Newfoundland?
The yellow lines near Newfoundland are the ice pack extent in May of 2016 using the International Ice Patrol (https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=IIPHome) iceberg charts. The most current chart is at http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=iipCharts&Current.
The other waypoints are mostly from Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising routes and are for avoiding hazards or picking up favorable conditions. The one closest to New York is to clear Nantucket Shoals and the one south of Newfoundland is to clear the Grand Banks. The two just east of Nova Scotia and south of the horizontal yellow line are for ice avoidance. If we were departing from Nova Scotia with no ice, we could continue from the Nova Scotia waypoint to the Grand Banks waypoint. Otherwise we should proceed to waypoint below the yellow line before turning eastward.
The waypoint about 350 miles north of the Azores is from Cornell’s Ocean Atlas and is for avoiding low pressure systems coming off Nova Scotia. Cornell’s recommendation there is stay south of 45N until east of 30W. And the waypoint 350 miles northeast of Bermuda is for getting as quickly into the prevailing winds as possible on a departure from Bermuda to Northern Europe.
And that yellow bar down by Florida is the Hurricane restriction line for our boat insurance. We’re not covered for named storms south of that line between July 1st and October 31st.
As cars clearly are an interest for you and you are visiting the UK, you might be tempted to visit the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It is near Chichester in the south of England. It runs from Thursday 22 June to Sunday 24 June. It is essential to pre-book. Their website will give you an idea of what wil be there. It is impossible to cover it all in a single day – even three days would be a stretch.
That looks like fun. Particularly the hill climb with everything from F1 on down competing. We’ll probably be way north during that time of year but thanks for the pointer.
A visit is definitely one for the bucket list of any car fan. All entries are, I believe, by invitation only. They cover all eras from the earliest to the latest – including concepts. Apart from the F1 cars, the rest are very accessible and you often get the chance to talk to owners, drivers and mechanics.
Back in the 70s, if you bought the “expensive” full weekend Super Ticket at the Canadian Grand Prix for $25, it included a garage pass. You could walk around talk to Formula 1 drivers and mechanics. I loved it. Goodwood sounds like fun.
I am hoping a large provisioning post is coming soon 🙂 🙂
We are in pretty good shape on provisioning right now. We need to take on some groceries soon but don’t want to stock up too much due to restrictions in bringing meat products into the UK. We’ll probably pick up some groceries while here. Then head up to Savannah and spend some time there. Then we’ll do a run up to Boston and pickup what we need for the cross Atlantic run.
Daytona should be covered in bikers now.
Absolutely right! Estimates have the bike population temporarily up to 500,000 during this years Daytona Bike Week.
You need to come up with a way to comment on the recent highlights posts.
That 7 marine stuff is so hot. Not that I could ever afford it lol. The sprint cars are something I would love to see live, maybe one day.
Enjoying your journey.
Seven Marine is crazy expensive but I love the idea of using a high performance automotive engine that is sold in higher-than-marine quantities as the source of teh primary power plant. On the sprint cars, if you are interested in seeing them, the World of Outlaws tour has a stop in Canandaigua New York which isn’t far from Toronto.
Sounds like you had a busy day. Do you have to fly to VA or are you going to start planning the next leg?
We’re working on the next leg and exploring different jumping off points for a cross Atlantic run and exploring different routes to Ireland. The North Atlantic can be difficult from a weather perspective and the shorter crossing distances available further north are restricted by the ice flows brought down by the Labrador current in the spring and early summer.
So you may cruise back up the East Coast and then cut across? No Azores in Dirona’s future? It looks to be a shorter overall trip cruising up the coast and I am sure fuel will be a non-issue going that way.
That’s the current thinking although a run to the Azores and north is still in consideration as well. The run north and across is the more likely right now but we’re still working through options.
I just saw some video of the Azores in not so pleasant weather two days ago. Pretty rough waters and surge. Once you start going that way you are committed? Going North you could pick your final crossing window. Will you be using the bladders again?
Regardless of the destination we end up chosing, we probably will run fuel bladders to maximize our speed and give us as much option value as possible.
Be sure to check out Kinsale in Southern Ireland
Great spot with a nice harbor etc
Kinsale looks beautiful. We’re really looking forward to getting across the Atlantic. We wish we could cross earlier in the year and get the new adventure started.
Edinburgh — we weren’t nuts about the Tattoo, but we loved the Fringe Festival. We are now sailing out of Bali en route to Singapore, but we are letting someone else do the provisioning and the navigating.
Hey Karen! Sailing out of Bali sounds pretty good. I’ve not been in Singapore for many years and I was only there for a short work related visit but I liked it. Try not to let the 24×7 watch schedule where you out on the way to Singapore :-).
The FBP looks an extremely well thought out series of boats from a quick look at their website. Are you tempted? I imagine there are capacity limitations at the buider and long delivery times – I think I read it is a five year wait for the smallest version.
The FPB is a super interesting design. Definitely a departure from the industry on most dimensions and some of the design points are impressively good. I really enjoyed the visit and you can’t spend time with Steve Dashew without learning. It was a super interesting day.
I understand your concern with the lead times on new boats — that’s the reality when looking at any successful builder. But there are currently 5 FPBs in the brokerage market and available without build delay. When we contracted to have Dirona built it was two years ahead of delivery mostly because we were not in a rush at the time. Dirona was actually built in only 10 months.
I’ve been watching setsail.com for almost two years. Very interesting on how they are built. Been watching mvdirona.com for just over a year. I love your eye for the sights and your a geek at heart like me. Really liked the article on your router modifications. Between this blog and the Dashews its been fun reading, watching and dreaming.
Greetings from Ruskin – That new Amazon building is a monstor
What do you think about their argument that speed helps safety in being able to get away from weather?
There is no question that the less time you spend at sea, the safer the trip. 1 week trips have good weather visibility, 2 week trips will have poor weather when you leave, 3 week trips are a complete game of statistics. Less consecutive time at sea is a very good thing.
The second form of safety that comes from speed is routing around bad weather or out running it. I’m a bit more skeptical of the effectiveness of this defense mechanism in small boats but it is still a positive factor. Weather systems are reported to average 20 kts. The closer a boat can get to this speed, the more effective the “run from weather defense” can be. At our current ocean crossing speeds of 6.75 to 7.75 kts, this technique isn’t very effective. At 10 kts it would work much better. And, if it were possible to get close to 15 kts, the technique would be come very effective.
The short answer is, yes, I believe that speed adds safety at sea. I wouldn’t want to give up strength to gain speed but, with equally well built boats being compared, speed is safer.
Nordhavn, a FBP, imported beer and friends. We are all jealous. Just add some race cars and a few quad core processors and I would be in heaven! 😉
100% agree Timothy. On the race car front, we’ve been at Daytona International Speedway the last 3 days and we’ll be there today for the 500. Lot’s of fun.
Tiffany and I really liked the Ranger R-31 CB but at $300K (boat show special) we decided to stick with the original longer term Nordhavn 40/43 plan. Great looking boat and some really nice features would make for a easy to handle boat!
The Rangers are incredible in their space utilization and the attention to detail. They look like very good inland and coastal cruisers but they will never cross oceans and can’t take a fraction of the weather that a N40 or N43 could take.
Regarding: “The tan grocery bags are Earthtote Reusable Bags from reuseit.com”
You also find big bags in two sizes at “IKEA” the Swedish furniture store (for example in Seattle).
In Germany you have to pay 0,50 € for each.
Thanks for the Ikea tote bag tip Horst.
In Daytona for the 500 I assume?
Yes your right Steve. We’re spending the next 4 days at the speedway with the Daytona 500 on Sunday. Last weekend we went to Velusia Speedway Park to see the opening races of the World of Outlaws Sprint car series. 900 hp in 1,400 lb cars racing on a dirt track. Awesome!
Tomorrow we’ll be at Daytona Speedway to watch the Twin 125s (now called the Can Am Dual). These two races set the starting positions for Sundays race.
I was reading about the Great TV Repair of 2017. I was going to install one on the Quo Vadimus and now I’m happy I didn’t. I don’t have your patience, hour three would have started with the sound of a sawzall firing up.
What did you do as far as cable management to make sure it does not happen again? Once you had it apart was there a way to create access ports to get into it if you have to again?
If I have a tough situation like I did with TV lift, my goals is to come up with a solution so it doesn’t happen again. In this case I need two things: 1) a solution so the wire doesn’t get tangled up in the gears again, and 2) some means of servicing the lift when it gets stuck since it’s certain it’ll eventually happen again perhaps due to some other problem.
On avoiding the wire getting run over again by the gear set, I’ve shortened the wire and use a bungy to keep tension on it towards the center of the TV away from the gears. I think that one is well solved. Where I don’t have a good answer is how to make the system mroe servicable if it fails or jams up again in the down position. The recommendation from the manufacturer is to take a sawzall to the TV base/motor assembly and cut off the gears. Once that is done, the assembly can be removed and replaced. This will work in most cases but its a $2,000 solution. And, if the system fails in the very bottom position, I can’t see a way to cut the gears out. If that happens, the only solution I can come up with is 1) break the TV to get access to the bolts behind the TV or spend a day doing what I did of making special tools to remove the bolts without damaging the TV. I suppose it would aloso be possible to drill into the teak work with a hole saw but I would rather break up the TV than cut up the permanently installed teak work.
If I were intsalling one in the future, I wuold make sure that there is a provision for service without unreasonable difficulty.
You have a lot more patience than I do. Once up I would have removed the top teak, cut a set of holes in the top of the TV box for future access and then used velcro to put the teak back on top.
I hear you Timothy but pulling the top off the box only gets you access to the box that surrounds the TV. You certainly can drill through it which will get you to the TV. But, without the TV out (or broken up), the 8 screws holding the TV box to the lift platform aren’t commming out. With patience or without it don’t see a solution that doesn’t get those 8 screws out and, if the TV is in, they are not accessable from above.
Will the TV fit out the bottom of the cabinet if it was stuck in the down position (perhaps with the doors removed)? How much room do you have the mount in the back? My TV mount has two strings you can pull the will tilt the TV down to access behind the TV which would allow enough room to either unscrew the TV, unscrew the lift, or whatever you need to do. I know they also make quick release VESA mounts but I have only seen them for monitors, not large TVS, and I’m not sure how you would access the tab to release the TV.
Thanks for the ideas Drew. Unfortunately, the TV is far larger than the forward opening so it’s not comming out the front and its not possible to unscrew the TV in the down position. With modifications to the top, it might be possible to use your idea of using a quick release mount. On this model, the top cover would need to be removable as would the top of the TV box. Then it would be necessary to release the TV and lift out the top.
A variant of that approach that I like is to make the decorative top removable and then put in 6 holes in the top of the TV box to allow the 6 of the 8 screws that old the TV box in to be removed. If I only use those 6 and not the 2 under the TV, I think it probably would be possible to release the assembly using this approach. Good idea.
After a couple of beverages: I would take the teak top off, then cut the top off the tv box at the butt joints. Screw 1″ square dowels on each inside of the box of wood (and maybe a couple on the back) so the cut out top would sit back level. I would then remount the cut top with a couple counter sunk screws into each dowel. Then velcro the teak top back on the top of the box covering the hole and the “whole mess” I would have made out of the TV box. 🙂
I think that would nail it. If I used 6 screws instead of 8 to hold the TV box on to the base (two are directly under the TV screen), then I think the approach you outline would work well. The only part I’m not sure about is the 2 scews under the TV but I’m about 90% they would be accessible from above through holes in the top of the box. Nice solution.
I’m just amazed in a Nordhavn, that the “thing” is manufactured in such a way as to require the destruction of something to fix the other thing. Notwithstanding your legendary resourcefulness, trying to do it in a seaway a thousand miles from anywhere means I guess you don’t have TV until you get somewhere else. 🙁
I largely agree — equipment installations should be designed for service. If we were to build another boat, I would ensure we had a good solution for the TV lift. The ideas below from Drew and Timothy would be ways to get my existing desig more servicable.
Because space in boats is at such a premium and boat purchases are usually made on the basis of what was “stuffed in” rather on whether or not it’s actually servicable. As a consequence, many manufacturers end up “building in” equipment. After 8,500 hours, rounding the world, and fixing just about everything that needed fixing myself, I would say that Nordhavn does pretty well by this measure when compared to other manufacturers. There will always be service tasks when you wonder how any human being can possibly service the item and these situations are super annoying but, from my perspective, there haven’t been that many on Dirona.
Cautionary note: I have found that bungee cords under constant tension loose their elasticity and become weak, thus losing their ‘pull’.
Maybe another entry into the maintenance schedule “check TV bungee’!
Yes, bungees do fail and so would need to be checked. I ended up shortening up the coiled cable that runs from the bottom of the TV up to the TV base where the motor is housed. This coiled cable is now pulled a bit more as it approaches the top and the coil takes up the slack as the TV goes down. This puts slightly more load on the cable and there is risk that the coil will not continue to be able to take up all the slack as the TV lowers years from now. But it looks like it’s working fairly well and the load on the coiled cable seems very small. It is likely a long term solution.
Can you repair the mother board?
PS Now in NZ not missing Niagara Falls winter at all!
I’ll bet you are enjoying being down in New Zealand. What a great country. Hope you get a chance to visit Fiordland.
The motherboard is technically repairable but, from my perspective, with a new board at $160, it’s not ecnomically efficient to service it.
It is interesting (but normal for you two) that you keep mobo spares. It is hard to find “new” boards like the DH77DF. Those 1155 boards support my favorite Core i7 processors and they can still hold their own after all these years. I see the fan was already on the other board. Did your flight spare already have a CPU installed?
Good eye Timothy. The board is indeed a DH77DB and the processor is a I7 3770S running at 3.1Ghz with 16GB of memory. Because the parts are fairly inexpensive and the computer is a very mission critical componnent controlling operations like generator auto-start and electrical load shedding, we have all the spares for the entire system on board. We keep them in original shipping boxes and in plastic bags so the humidity doesn’t get them. In the picture, I’ve installed a new CPU but not the memory and I’m reattaching all the cables. The CPU didn’t need changing but I swapped in the spare while changing the board and kept the old CPU as the spare.
When I ordered all the original parts, I ordered two of everything but accidentally got three motherboards. So, even though the DH77DF is no longer in production and we have had one failure, we still have 1 spare of everything including the mobo.
Welcome to Daytona Beach – your arrival brought back great memories. My mother-in-law lived in the condo’s that pass to port on your way into Halifax Harbor. Great view looking north and south on ICW. Spent many a day watching boats come and go. That was 25 years ago. Hope it is still as nice as it was then.
It is a great area but, for an ocean going trawler, there’s not much water here. Last night we saw 6’7″ and we draw 6’7″ :-). Can’t beat the scenary and the weather though.
Yes – running the ditch in FL can be “interesting”. I always feel like I’m in deep water when I see 10′ on the gauge.
Is the Great Loop completely doable with the N52? I know you have the hinged mast, but I thought the draft was too deep on the N52.
What sort of issues have you had so far, if any?
The great loop has a low bridge in Chicago that limits air draft to 19’1″. Dirona’s stack can be folded down but to do that requires a crane and every wire that runs up the stack has to have a service loop in it to allow the bend. I’m sure some don’t at this point but, technically, with a bunch of work, Dirona could slip under the bridge and technically could do the Great Loop.
The only issues so far has been thin water. We haven’t touched bottom on the ICW but have gotten close several times. If you look closely at the track, you’ll likely see we have gone back and forth looking for deeper water before continuing at a few locations. But, other than thin water and needing to time some of the bridges that only open on schedule, no issues on the ICW.
Halifax Harbor looks like a sweet spot to dock for a few days. Nothing to see but municipal buildings around there? Do you at least get a view of the smaller planes in approach? Surrounded by coastal cruisers?
Yup, we are surrounded by coastal cruisers in a very nice marina. A bit thin on water but that’s the norm in Florida. We are here for the World of Outlaws dirt track sprint car racing at Volusia and the Dayton 500. We also plan to head down to the Miami Boat show while we are here.
You continue to bring back memories James – started my “FL Career” right across from the speedway’s main entrance at GE Simulation & Control Systems – visual systems for flight simulators and US Navy ship controls. (No longer there) Big benefit of that location, spending lunch hours watching NASCAR drivers dial-in their unpainted cars in the weeks leading up to the races…for free. Could literally stand right by the fence at the finish line. Amazing view. The twin qualifier races are always exciting.
BTW – if you are going to continuing south on the ICW, there is a gentleman on activeCaptain who goes by the handle Bob423. He’s in a 42′ Beneteau sailboat who does extensive exploration and writing about what he finds along the way. Here is his blog – http://fleetwing.blogspot.com/
” Cruising Tips” on the left side could be of interest including downloadable tracks from his trip south this year. He weather Hurricane Matthew at St James Marina, NC so his data is very recent.
It sounds like you Daytona Beach job was an ideal work location. Access to the beach, great weather, and walking distance to Daytona International Raceway. Kind of cool.
Thanks for the tip for going further south on the ICW. Our current plans are to head north again after Daytona Beach. On this trip, we’ll probably run offshore and head to somewhere in the Boston to Newfoundland area. We’re not sure exactly where at this point, wherever it is, that will be our jumping off point to head to Northern Europe.
Are you going to be able to check out Cochise while you are there? Curious as to your thoughts on the FPB brand. I believe the Dashew’s are around Ft.Lauderdale.
Yes, we do plan to visit Cochise while here. After spending a really educational day at Circa Marina, the yard in New Zealand where FPBs are built, we’re looking forward to seeing the finished product.
I saw Bill’s post on his blog about the trip; looks like you had a great day on the water (for a FPB) to check her out. The only concern I think I would have on the design would be when piloting in the flybridge helm with a low angle sun; was there a lot of glare coming off the solar panels? You probably didn’t encounter the condition but I wonder if it was mentioned. I know a lot of the design characteristics you are enthusiastic about on Dirona runs in contrast on Steve’s boats (single & wing vs. twins, wet vs. dry exhaust, etc.) so I’m curious to hear if anything in your mind has changed.
Have fun this weekend; looks like Daytona is heating up to be quite the spectacle!
It’s great to see Bill Paralatore back writing. He created Passagemaker Magazine and is now publishing a boating related blog: https://www.followingseas.media/blog/.
Drew, you are right that we have a single engine rather than a twins and dry exhaust rather than wet but I’m not stuck on either. In fact, on larger boats, I’m hard over in preferring twins. On smaller boats like Dirona, I still would really prefer twin engines but their our some negatives. Twins take more space. On larger boats, who cares? But in smaller boats, you need to give up some fuel tank space to go with twins and twins are just a tiny, tiny amount less efficient. The net is in smaller boats like Dirona where there are space constraints, I prefer a single engine to get more range. On larger boats with ample fuel supplies, I would always chose twins. I’m not sure where the line is but likely up around 60 to 65 would have us able to get the range we want with the advantages of twin engines and that would be the direction we would go. But, as much as I like twins, I won’t give up range to squeeze in another engine. We much prefer twin engines if they can be had without range penalty.
The wet exhaust vs dry stack conversation is much more complex. Both have advantages and disadvantages and I’m comfortable with the disadvantages of either. We would be perfectly happy with either. If forced to make that decision again for Dirona and there was no difference in cost between the two, I might slightly lean towards wet but its a very slight leaning and it wouldn’t impact a buying decision for us.
The FPB was really fun. We were out in 25 to 30 kts of wind and the boat was dry and comfortable. We’ll write up the experience in a blog but a short summary of what I found most notable was: 1) speed. The boat is comfortable well over 10 kts and we were often up over 13kts, 2) tracking. Steve left me on the helm while he took pictures entering the Fort Lauderdale channel and it took almost no helm input to keep Cochise running mid channel, 3) comfort at sea. We were out in medium chop and the boat was stable even when left in neutral and just allowed to drift and find it’s own place in the swell as we ate lunch. It’s a surprisingly stable platform.
Steve Dashew has little respect for design Dogma. He loves to challenge long held industry beliefs, he’s never afraid to abandon “what has always been done” when there is a better solution possible, and he’s always exploring what works and what doesn’t. Time on one of his boats is always educational. It was a super fun day.
I noticed you said Dirona draws 6’7″. The Nordhavn website says the 52 draws 5’11”. Does Dirona have a different hull configuration? (or is it just all the extra electronics weighing it down ;))
We live on Dirona and have no house or storage box so there is no question Dirona is carrying a lot. We also have a massive number of spares further increasing our load. Our anchor is on the high side of average and we carry a 100′ more chain than standard and all of it is slightly heavier. Thereis no question, we are on the high side of average and it wouldn’t surprise me if we were the heaviest of the entire 47/52 series.
However, even with all those caveats, given that we weight more than 110,000 lbs, I suspect the 90,000 lbs and 5′ 11″ draft spec for the N52 is optimistic.
Florida, woo hoo! Are you on a mooring in St. Augustine? There was a loaded 40′ Nordhavn named Chinatsu Tiffany and I got to see last March. This 55′ in Brunswick must have been the next their next boat!
We are on anchor in a nice little spot with a great view of town. We’ll probably head in tomorrow to explore a bit.
I just got the last nagging issue fixed on my open source router project so I’m in good spirts. The last issue was completely unrelated to the router — the nav computer NIC was dropping massive numbers of packets when under load. Changed it and all is rock solid and throughput is excellent. We now have a Netgear R7000 running DD-WRT serving the boat. In this configuration we have 3 WAN ports so WiFi, Cell, and the KVH V7 satelite connection are always there and always available. We have a mobile app that allows switching between any of the three and we’ll later implement automatic fail-over between them.
I am always so impressed that you and Jennifer can do so much of your own software and hardware customization and upgrades. From NMEA to networking to communications you always have the latest and most robust systems and equipment on a personal yacht. I hope someday you write a book on preparation and provisioning for powerboat ocean crossings and include a bunch of chapters on all that you do.
Thanks Timothy. After writing one book (https://www.amazon.com/Waggoner-Cruising-Guides-Secret-Coast/dp/0935727299) our conclusion is books just aren’t the best approach to communicate broadly these days. We now end investing deeply in the blog and pretty much all we write will end up there. We still feel just as passionately about sharing what we have seen and learned but the web site seems like the most effective way of doing it. More people read the web site than will end up seeing The Secret Coast.
Good news about the open source router.
Couple of questions:
(1) What is an “NIC”?
(2) What happens when you are away from the boat and there is no cellphone connection, either at the boat or at your location? One of the reasons I am hoping to use Iridium is the global coverage. With a fixed satphone on the boat and a portable one in my pocket I am hoping that I will always get the message if the boat shouts for help. Of course there are costs involved in having two satphones but it still looks like the best option for us. Even in the UK we have found ourselves at anchor with no cellphone connection on the boat, and when we go hiking we are often outside cell coverage. Does my approach make sense to you?
That’s the approach we take: keep the boat connected rather than trying to have the boat monitoring system connected on a dedicated system. Our connction choices are WiFi, Cell, or Satelite. The plan works as long as the satelite system you are using can provide general IP connectivity just as you get with WiFi. This is what we get form our KVH V7 mini-VSAT system. Our Iridium system doesn’t provide general IP connectivity and instead provides a restricted, very low speed link where only their special email system can connected. This won’t easily work for your application but any system that allows systems on your network to send email will work fine in your application.
You were asking about Iridium. We don’t have a fixed mounted iridium system which might offer direct ethernet connectivity but the base station based Iridium systems might. You need something where you can set up the system and leave the boat with it staying connected and your boat lan on the internet and able to send email. Easy to do with WiFi, Cellular, and our V7 sat system.
A NIC is a Network Interface Card. This is what computers use to connect to ethernet or Wifi. A better name is a network controller since the network interace card is seldom a PCIe plugged add-in card these days. It’s usually just components on the computer motherboard. The computers attachment to the boat network wheether wired or wireless if often called a NIC.
I see you rode the GA/FL border for a bit. Submarines across the way?
Yes, you can see the buildings of Kings Bay Submarine base from where we are anchored. We took the tender over there and took some pictures but the light was poor and Navy security maintains a fairly wide exclusion zone so the general public can’t get much closer than the ICW channel that passes the base. We would love to see a big Boomer escorted in or out but there have been no movements during our stay in the area. However, we did go the Submarine Museum in nearby St. Marys.
I have never had a USCG inspection while underway. Did they call you on the radio as they approached and tell you to continue at the same speed? I assume they had no issues with Dirona.
It’s the only time we have been boarded while underway. Once before we were inspected in the Seattle area at anchor. The only other boarding was in Australia and it was again at anchor.
In this case they radioed us and asked when we were last boarded and send they wanted to put a crew on board. I asked if they wanted us to pull off the channel and they said they would just do it where we were in the channel and underway. As you can see from the video they managed to do this without even touching our boat.
As you guessed Timothy, no issues were found.
Does your camera when looking backwards give a “mirror” view?
That was rather confusing as it looked like they were running up your port side and yet they appeared to board on your starboard. Same thing on the pickup.
Yeah, I thought the same thing about the video transitions Steven. The reason the camera is set up as a mirror view is for boat operation. We could reverse the view when editing the movie but then the on-screen time stamps are reversed as well since they are put on by the camera.
I’m not 100% sure that the mirrored view really is the best view for docking. It seemed slightly more intuitive when I installed the camera but not fundamentally better. I’ll try changing the camera to non-mirrored and see how that works from the helm. It actually might be the better choice.
I would be curios if you like the normal camera view for docking. I added a regular HD camera when I did the engine cameras and the electronics upgrade. I have only backed in once so far and my brain was ok processing the view. The reverse image cameras from Raytheon and Garmin are $400-$500 on Amazon and a lower resolution but with a small 10″ monitor ( https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8601/30420668626_3c321c2cbe_h.jpg ) it probably would not be much a difference. Does Dirona have full res cameras and does it matter?
Yes, these are 4 megapixel cameras so the available resolution is pretty good. They can be configured to show standard view or mirror view so changing that is easy. In my initial testing, the mirror imaged seemed more intuitive but I’ve switched back to standard for a while and we’ll see how I like it.
I haven’t had the cameras long enough to be able to recommend them but the resolution is great and they are fairly inexpensive at only $75: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B010LH48F4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I am very excited to see your post about the new Netgear router which can connect via WiFi, Cell, or Satellite. Do you think the same hardwear and software would enable connection via Iridium instead of mini Vsat if a suitable interface with Iridium is available? As you may have noticed from the Owners Group there are some owners who are wondering if a boat monitoring system can be built which uses Iridium when that is the only connection available.
Our approach to alarming and reporting of alarms via email is exaclty the one you are contemplating. Peter Hayden mentioned the same things: rather than buying an alarming systems that needs a dedicated connection, why not just use the connection already on the boat? That is exactly what we do. Before leaving the boat for an extended period, we make sure the boat is well connected so we get any and all alerts.
That approach works fine and requires no special hardware. The downside is you have to remember to do it and it takes time.
We would like to make it super easy to switch connections and potentially even automating the switching of connections. The platform we are experimenting with is a Netgear R7000 router running an open source protocol stack called DD-WRT with custom routing in support of mulitple concurrent external (WAN) connections. This configuration does allow quick manual switching of external connectivity and it would support Iridium as well as it supports our WiFi, Cell, and KVH mini-VSAT.
The good news is that the approach we are working with does indeed achieve those goals. The downside is there are connection drops every few hours and faults when network taffic levels are high. However, it works so well in achieving our multi-WAN goals that we are willing to put up with some other issues. And the more we like it, the more we invest in finding solutions to the stability issues or at least better understanding them. It’s a work in progress.
This is excellent – if you are willing to share your thoughts as you make progress I’m sure there will be many who want to follow your lead. I am going to concentrate on two things. First, I want to follow the Pendana II experiment from the Owners Group using Z-Wave for sensors, WiFi matrix, and controller. My motive here is that I don’t want to pull wires through our 12 year old boat. I’d rather replace small batteries in sensors once or twice a year. I already do that with our smoke and CO alarms. Then I need to find the right Iridium interface. Our boat already has an Iridium antenna. The reason I want to use Iridium is cost, and there will be others with the same motive, but there will be some who will prefer Iridium because they want guaranteed global coverage for remote monitoring. Just to make it clear, I am not in this for business. I just want to find something that works for our boat and I’m happy to share if I succeed. BTW the Pendana II system uses a Peplink router but he sounds less than happy about it. Let’s hope your Netgear+DD-WRT combination can be made to work reliably.
The folks from Technomadia (http://www.technomadia.com/) have a very detailed site about this sort of thing; here is the link https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/. The are currently testing mobile routers which would use mobile WiFi (or MiFi as they call it) when available, then switch to various cell phone providers (since they are RV focused (although they are boat shopping now)) but I don’t see why it couldn’t interface with any type or mini-VSAT or whatever with an Ethernet cord. Just thought you might be interested in their research into mobile routers and cell boosting antennas. I just started reading through their site so I am still learning a lot.
Thanks Drew. You are right that what they have done with their commercial product is a good part of what I want. What I’m trying to do is essentially what the the developers of the product you reference have done. Peplink is another leader that does much the same things (and a lot more). Arguably I should just use a commercial product but I’ve gotten interested in figuring this one out.
Unfortunately, I’m learning that one of the reasons these mulit-way commercial products are so expensive is it requires a fair amount of understanding and work to get it all figured out. I’ve not given up yet but have to admit that what I have built really isn’t (yet) a great solution.
Communication question: Do you use an Internationa; SIM card for your mobile phone? If so which one?
Hi Rod. We’ve never come across an International SIM deal that is as inexpensive and fast as getting a local SIM. Most have data more expensive than local. Some only work at 2G. The upside of international SIMs is you don’t have to go in and get a SIM but, in all locations we have been, that’s just 5 or 10 min and that’s has been our approach so far. I’m told that you can’t get a SIM in some countries in Europe without a local address. The only place where we have seen that restriction was Australia and they were OK with us using the Marina.
In the countries we have visited thus far, using local SIMs has been the better choice. We’ll learn about Europe next year.
Are you about ready to make the Georgia run?
The weather is looking good to leave tomorrow early morning (1/25) and that’s the current plan.
It looks like a 100 mile trip down there. 14 hours total maybe with the current against you?
The route we plan is 89 nm. We figure we should be able to average 7 kts. Some sections are shallow with shifty shoals so we’ll need to be careful and slow through those sections but 7 kts seems reasonable. Figure about 13 hours. We would like to get in before nightfall so we’ll need to use very early, run a bit faster, or both.
I forgot to set GE back to nm. I should caught that 😉 I look forward to seeing you on the move again. I hope you, Jennifer and Spitfire are doing well. More submarine visits in your future?
I have not immediate plans for submarine visits but we always take every opportunity we can get. However, while down in Daytona, we hope to catch up with Michael who was responsible for me gettig the opportunity to spend some time on the USS California.
We should be underway just shortly past 5am tomorrow.
It looks like you got an earlier start than expected? Safe travels in the final leg!
Yes, we decided to leave early to have some time to pick up a load of fuel when we arrive. We’re down to 340 gallons at this point having not filled since we arrived back into the US back in September. It’s amazing how long a tank can last.
We set the alarm for 3:50 this morning and, hard to believe, but we were underway at 3:59 🙂
Great move on leaving earlier than planned. It looks like you are just about there. Safe docking at the Landing and for a clean full fueling for Dirona!
We got into the marina at 3:30 and finished fueling at 5pm so it worked out well. Nothing says “flexibility” better than 1,750 gallons of diesel.
Well, I hope you are in a good spot the bad stuff seems to be all over you two right now.
You’re so right Steven. We have seen several massive electrical storms and seen wind gusts to 31. We have a nice tucked away anchorage in Hilton Head NC that is working out great. Our plan is to do the 1 day trip to Brunswick GA in the gap between this weather system and the next.
James, a friend recently turned me on to your site, and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your adventures around the world. Charleston is an amazing place, and I hope you enjoyed your recent time there. As you make your way south, I thought I would suggest my favorite place in all of the country, Cumberland Island, Georgia. You may have seen it already, but if not, I can’t suggest it enough. The King’s Bay naval submarine base is right across the intracoastal as well.
Happy traveling and thank you for sharing pictures and information from your journey.
Thanks for the tip on Cumberland Island and King’s Bay Spence.
That section of the dock sure did get crowded. I guess it is to be expected since that area is still good for boating even in the winter. However I did not expect to see it so crowed all the time.
Yes, the marina is super busy and there are boats comming and going all the time. Just a bit further north, the season was over but here in Charleston there is a lot of activity.
Glad to see you two are enjoying Charleston.
I have to ask as I’ve been wondering about it for sometime. I’ve read a lot about putting exhaust socks on for various reasons (all of which make perfect sense), but I’ve always wondered why people didn’t simply install a rain cap?
I’m sure there is a reason, I just can’t figure out what it is. They seem to work well for construction equipment, over the road truckers and we even had them (just bigger) inside the exhaust stack on my ship during my Navy time.
Is there an advantage I don’t grasp with a sock you have to put on and take off over something that’s automatic? I’ve used the “flappers” and even a tin can with a rock on farm equipment all my life and never had a problem with water rusting an exhaust.
Obviously you’d want something better looking than a tin can but some of the automatic rain caps are rather nice looking and well made.
I share your curiosity on the topic and, like you, I’m super interested in simple solutions that can be automated. In asking boat builders, why not just put a flap on the exhuast as used in construction equipment, I’m told the noise of the flap touching down at lower engine speeds. If you go to a construction site and watch equipeent that is near idle, you’ll see the exhaust flap is way low and bouncing off the pipe in a distictive clacking/dinging noise. Boats spend a lot of their time at low engine speeds so this is reported to be a problem.
A secondary concern is binding up due to weather and lack of use on a recretional boat. I find myself thinking that the issue of noise and binding up can be solved using thoughtfull engineering and modern composits. For example, a carbon fiber flap would be quiet.
Another approach that is far from perfect but still fairly effective is to angle the pipe out and cut the end such that rain has to be considerably off verticle to go down the pipe. Some will dribble around and this is dealt with by putting 3 cuts in the bottom of the pipe right near the opening so any that does make into the pipe, still leak out. This technique is deployed on Dirona and seems to work fairly well.
My focus then swung around to “is it really needed?” The fact that fisheran and commercial boats use tin cans suggests that it is worth doing but I just did nothing for 4 years and it never accumulated measurable water at the drain and rarely sooted the decks. We’ve seen torential rains and not found anything measureable in the pipe but it’s clear that, in worst case conditions, it would fill the exhuast so we have started to cover the end of the exhaust when the boat sits for a while.
I’m naturally curious so I’ve experimeneted a lot with when it soots and when it doesn’t. Sometimes, when covered, it still drops some soot. Usually when covered, it does not. If run hard for 10 to 30 seconds before stopping and then covered, it almost never leaves any soot. When just covered but not run hard, it’s improved by seems more likely to sooting.
My conclusions: 1) enigineering a flapper that is not annoying would take some work and experimentation but it certainly looks like a solvable problem (sooting is just not a bad enough problem for me to go after it at this point), 2) running hard before stopping to clear the pipes makes a big difference, 3) avoiding rain or condensation in the pipe, makes a very big difference, and 4) there is risk that a monsoon could fill the engine (unlikely given exhaust opening design but the downside is sufficient large that it’s probably worth covering the exhuast).
I have to admit I never thought about the noise when the engine is at idle, and yes I have known them to stick in the open position on equipment that doesn’t get used much.
Soot when burning fossil fuels is always a byproduct of inefficient combustion so your practice of running up the engines is going to deal with that whereas a rain cap or sock will have no effect on that particular problem.
Anyway thanks for the answer.
I can always find your boat by those gray sat domes now. 🙂
You went on anchor for awhile. Can you elaborate on what was up?
I see you are right. Even though we have moved further down the dock, we are still visible in the marina web cam.
We didn’t head out to anchor. Just did a quick loop from the head of the dock to the new position further down. We were scheduled to leave the middle of last week but we are enjoying it here and requested to stay longer and the location for the remainder of our stay is down the dock a ways.
I’ve been scouring your blog to try and see what Dirona’s flybridge instrumentation looks like. I found a reference to a Maretron DSM250 monitor (http://mvdirona.com/2016/09/maretron-n2kview-on-dirona/) but nothing else seems to have been mentioned. I know you use Maxsea a lot for planning and also for displaying ARPA targets (http://mvdirona.com/trips/boston2016/boston1.html?bleat=6%2F12%2F2016%3A+ARPA) and I wonder whether you have a VDU on the flybridge that repeats the Maxsea information, or do you have a flybridge plotter that can switch to a Maxsea view? My reason for asking is that we have to refit our N40 instruments this year and I’m finding it hard to decide what to put on the flybridge.
Hi Michael. Down below in the PH, we run a navigation computer with 2 19″ displays with Maxsea and Furuno MFDBB also with 2 19″ displays. We also have 2 pilots and 2 VHF radios.
Our equipment in the flybridge can be seen here: http://mvdirona.com/blog/content/binary/Dirona_Flybridge_Helm_IMG_3464.web.jpg.
We have a Furuno MFD8 to display the Furuno Chart plotter and RADAR data. We have the DSM250 to show the Maretron NMEA2000 data but we now mostly use an Android system running n2kview and display the same screen up top as we have down below. Up top we have 1 VHF radio and a remote for one of the radios down below so we have two VHFs up top as well. There is a remote head for the autopilot as well and it can control whichever pilot we are currently using. We sometimes use an Android device displaying Google Earth (if there are no charts) or Navionics charts (augmenting the CMAP charts we also use) up top as well.
Generally we only use the flybridge helm for 1) when entering dangerous waters such as uncharted reefs where the visibility from higher up gives a better view into the water, 2) in beautiful areas when we’re sightseeing near to shore such as in Alaska along the glaciers, and 3) on really nice days where we just want to enjoy being outside or even a meal underway up top.
Thanks James. I didn’t know that Furuno Chart Plotters could output their screen displays to non-Furuno screens. That’s not something the Furuno dealer is likely to suggest! But the message seems to be that you can access all your data from the flybridge one way or another, just not in quite the same way as you do in the Pilot House. I guess the DSM250 can only show a fraction of what’s on the 19″ Maretron “Under Way” display your regular readers are familiar with.
Right. The DSM250 can only show 4 data points so it’s only a tiny subset of the data shown on the other display. But I have Android devices running Maretron N2kview that show all the data that is down below and I often just bring this up to be able to show all the same data. We still use and like the Maretron DSM displays. I use a DSM150 to show the 4 tank levels in the engine room when for use when I tranfer fuel. I have a DSM250 on the aft helm and another at the PH. And we have a DSM150 showing inverter and generator draw and some warning lights in the galley.
The Furuno MFDBB is a black box version of the Furuno MFD that displays on standard screens. In our case I have 2 19″ displays showing the Furuno data. For screens we use Lenovo 19″ displays. Up top on the FB we use an MFD8 to display the data directly on a built in Furuno display.
We repeat any one of the 4 screens in the pilot house (2 displaying nav pc data and 2 displaying Furuno MFDBB data) down to the Salon and to the MSR. This allows us to have access to all the PH data in the salon or MSR. Normally this display is repeating the N2kview screen but sometimes it’ll be on chart plotter or RADAR.
Looks like snow coming your way. I was looking back at past posts, most of the voyage has been in nice to exceedingly hot weather. You had some cold days in Baltimore. Is this the first real snow you’ll have on Dirona?
Yes, we have seen snow on Dirona in the past. This one is from back in 2012 and you can see a cat on a nearby boat out exploring the layer of snow: http://mvdirona.com/2012/01/more-snow-and-freezing-rain/
The snow predicted for later today will be the first we have seen on Dirona since 2012.
Hope you made out OK, I see that the weather got really cold there. Love the tour of Charleston that you’ve been on. We were there 18 months ago and had a great time. I’m guessing the Bay Street Biergarten is different in January, when we were there the courtyard was full of people playing games.
We managed to get the Beirgarten while it was stil warm so we ate outside and every table was in use. You wouldn’t do that today though :-).
The original Yorktown was actually sunk during the “Battle of Midway”
This Yorktown in Charleston is safe from sinking. The water line goes up and down as the tide comes in and out which strongly suggests that it’s actually on the bottom at least on lower tides :-).
Well, from your personal tracking I’d say you two cram a lot of sightseeing in on your visits to various towns.
I do hope it’s not really that accurate though, if it is you either walk a lot on the freeway, or drive a lot on the sidewalks. 🙂
Steven, we try hard to walk on the sidewalks and drive on the freeway rather than the opposite but, hey, when in Rome, do as the Romans :-).
The track you were looking at does actually have an explaination. It’s us riding our bikes all over town. The freeway bridge has a 1 lane protected area for pedestrians and bikers so it’s not as dangerous as it looks. Our routes throughout the parks and town were a combination of city streets and walking/riding paths.
Nice shots of the Market Pavilion, which we enjoyed too. Although I was a bit anxious about falling into the pool after a couple of their delicious cocktails.
Yes, totally. We loved the view and ambiance from the Pavillion Bar on top of the Market Pavilion. We felt kind of lucky to even find it. As we were riding our bikes into the downtown area I just happened to look up and notice the roof top resteraunt. Jen’s instant answer was “that’s where I’m going!” We had a great time.
Took a screenshot from the webcam at the dock. Was way bigger then the snapshot you get from that camera.
Hope the new year brings you many more great stories to share.
Keep Floating!! 🙂
Forgot to add the link. ;(
Looks great! Thanks Tim.
What better way to bring in the New Year than cruising! Fantastic. Have a great 2017 James Jennifer and Spitfire and thanks again for letting us share in the journey.
Happy New Year Jamie! We’re not on the dock in Charleston South Carolina and looking forward to starting 2017 exploring the area.
James and Jennifer
Best wishes for 2017 and may you contnue to have calm seas and warm(er) weather!
Looking at the photo of the Maretron display: Why the discepancy of the non-operating wing engine temp, 94.7F and the engine room temp of 91.4F?
Thanks Rod and best wishes for you in 2017 as well. You were asking why the Wing engine is 95F whereas the engine room is only 91F. The snapshot you are looking at was taken at 7:54AM and we left the anchorage at 5:20 this morning. When leaving the wing engine was running to drive the hydraulics to run the anchor windlass. Technically the hydraulics can be run on either the wing or main engines but, when docking, undocking, or lifting/dropping anchor we use the wing engine since the main engine is usually idling under these conditions and won’t be moving enough hydraulic oil for full power hydraulic operation. Running the wing ensures it’s well excercised and tested daily so we know it’ll be there when we need it and, even using it this frequently, we still only put 75 to 150 hours on the wing engine each year so it doesn’t change oil change frequency.
The reason the wing is still warmer than the ER is it was hard at work 2 1/2 hours earlier and was still cooling down. Normally the wing engine is actually a bit colder than the engine room since I measure ER temp right over the main engine at the hottest part of the engine room whereas the wing is right at the air inflow point and it’s usually a few degrees cooler than the rest of the ER.
That was a strong weather system you sat out! We hit it on an eastbound flight from Nassau to London overnight Thursday/Friday – the turbulence was so bad at one stage that the cabin crew had to strap in. Not the worst I’ve known but very bumpy with lots of wind shear.
I don’t doubt it was rough flying over top of that storm system. Even down here at sea level we were seeing gusts to 38 kts. Even though there is close to no fetch in the anchorage, at one point there were 2′ waves rolling through. Big enough that we decided we needed to pick up the tender.
It’s amazing that 12 hours later, we’re out in open water with 10 kts of wind and only a foot or so of swell.
As we get closer to the New Year where did you think you be when the ball falls?
This might be it Timothy: Cape Lookout North Carolina. Current weather reports has the wind kicking up so we’ll likely stay here for a while. Our next destination is Charlestown SC and we plan to start heading there once the weather system works it’s way through. The current report suggests we might be here on New Year eve.
What a cool route you took down there. Some places look only a couple hundred feet wide! Last time you were there you were really active with the tender. Any side trips planned since you will be there a few days?
Yes, the route south was a lot of fun. It’s affectionately known as “the ditch” and it’s both narrow and shallow. We really enjoy river runs and the intercoastal waterway is a lot like a river with lots of changes of scenery and many population centers. I think in the primary season, we probably wouldn’t enjoy all the crowds but it’s great in the off season.
We draw 6’7″ and the ICW is fairly shallow south of here. With care, we could still do it but the combination of having a higher density of bridges that have to be waited on, more traffic, and less depth will probably lead to us heading offshore for the run to Charleston SC.
We probably will do some tender trips while we are here but the weather might not be ideal for it with much of our stay here will be as a weather system traverses the area with winds up around 35 kts at the highest.
Dear Jennifer, James and Spitfire,
Have a lovely Christmas and New Year. Thanks as ever for the wonderful blog. I’m loving the youtube videos of the ICW. Warm regards, Kate
Merry Christmas Kate. I hope you are having a great southern hemisphere summer and using your boat frequently. We’re in much cooler weather but having fun working our way south along the US eastern seaboard.
Congratulations on Tom Slingsby, a Gosford local from your area, having just won the 2016 Sydney Hobart race. Last night, we were “watching” the race and cheering for Perpetual Loyal on a mobile application that showed real time boat position, wind conditions, and boat speeds. Early in the day, Perpetual Loyal was more than 38 minutes behind the leader Wild Oats XI but they had better than halfed the gap by Monday night (where we are) and we were enjoying watching the ebb and flow of the race. It was super close and Perpetual Loyal was running slightly faster and continuing to close on Wild Oats.
I thought there was a problem with the application through which we were viewing the race when the Wild Oats boat Icon turned black and the boat reversed course. 10.8 kts heading away from Hobart. From Twitter, someone said that Wild Oats had withdrawn and later it was announced to be a hydraulic problem with the swing keel ended their race. Perpetual Loyal kept the lead and won the race.
Happy Christmas, may your feasts be a full table of delights and your New Year have flat seas, calm winds and no repairs!
Thanks Foster! We’re enjoying a nice sunny Christmas day anchored in the Alligator River North Carolina. Happy holidays to you as well.
James and Jennifer
Best wishes for the holiday season and 2017
As you know I always enjoy your interactive blog – best on the web – and especially the maintenance and tech issues.
Have a great cruise south to the warmth.
Maybe someday our paths will cross
Thanks for the holiday wishes Rod. We’ve had a great year on the eastern seaboard and we’re starting to plan next year thinking about some more time on the east coast followed by an Atlantic crossing when the weather gets better.
Happy Hoidays to you as well.
Off the Pamlico Sound as you pass Hobucken, if you turn up Bay River there is a nice small town called Vandemere and a good achorage in that area.
Thanks for the suggestion Steve. We might stop there on the way south.
Woops. Great Bridge was the Revolutionary War not Civil War. Expect you’ve gotten other comments on that. Such a minor point on your outstanding contribution to our understanding Geography, History and Current Culture!
Thanks for pointing that out John. We’ve got that fixed.
Happy Holidays to you and Lucy!
Thanks and same to you two too! Did you go see some “blimps” ?? Sometime I will have to tell you the story of their Kuwait experience (from my perspective).
John, I’m amazed you knew that the blimp manufacturer TCOM was in this area but that is exactly what led to us towards this anchorage. We are anchored right in front of the giant TCOM hanger and yesterday where were flying what looked like a small serveilance blimp. As we anchored, they pulled it back to the ground and then later the massive hangler doors opened and the blimp was moved inside. They aren’t doing tours during the holiday season but we did go to shore and walk around some parts of the perimeter of the facility.
“Way back when” the TCOM account for DoD was run out of my organization. Both to U.S. interested parties (like the border patrol) and for FMS (Foreign Military Sales)… Like Kuwait. Perhaps, since their website mentions the events in Kuwait they’ll talk about it during a tour. If not, it would be good discussing over a beer when you get back to the NW.
Their web site talks vaguely about their role in the Kuwait invasion by Iraq. We can sit down over a good NW IPA and talk about it… all good stuff and will only take about 10-15 minutes but I can drag a good story out for a few pints.
Sounds good John — we’ll go for the long version 🙂
Hello again James,
Thinking of your article on St Helena, I thought this article would be of interest to you – Apparently too much wind shear means that commercial flights will be limited (at best):
I’m surprised the wind shear is serious enough that they don’t think they can schedule regular passenger runs. It seems it should be possible to instrument the airport to detect unsafe conditions and fly when it is safe. Continuing on that theme, most tropical weather systems run in diurnal cycles. I would expect early evening and morning to be quite safe.
My guess is the politicians are getting excited before the technologist have really thought through the issue. I’ll be surprised if the situation is as bad as currently described.
The article isn’t very clear (unfortunately a common problem with non-technical writers in technical subjects). From some other articles I read on the issue, it sounds like specific problems are expected with the 737-800 that was bought to replace the mail ship, so it may be plane specific and there may have been a contract requirement to not have limited hours; I suspect something will get worked out eventually.
I’ll bet you are correct and a workable solution will be found.
Got a few pics of the old mail ship this summer flying flags in London. She was tied up alongside the HMS Belfast.
Cool — thanks for sending Jamie. The last time we saw the St. Helena we were anchored off the island the ships gets it’s named from getting ready for our run to Barbados. Apparently they continue to have windshear problems at the new Airport on St. Helena so the ship may yet have to return to it’s old service.
Whats your sail plan? I drove down to St Michaels to see you (closer to me than Baltimore). You left early according to the dock master. Looks like you are doing Reedville. Will you do up the Potomac (highly recommended) or go to Norfolk (also highly recommended!)
Yes, we sailed at 6:50am this morning. Sorry to miss you. Sometimes we are in town for a day and sometimes a month. The only way to be sure is to let us know you are planning to drop by.
We are heading to Norfolk right now and expect to be there late tomorrow. Likely we’ll be in town for 5 nights so, if you are in the area, let us know.
Top Rack Marina just south of you has the best price on fuel.Plus a free slip if eat at the restaurant. Are you heading down the ICW?
We’re in Waterside Marina on the city side of the river and it’s pretty nice. There are about 100 resteraunts in the 5 block region and the view over to the General Dynamics ship yard across river is interesting. And sunrises down river are impressive. So far, we’re loving Norfolk.
Today we’re going to visit the battleship Wisconsin with it’s 9 massive 16″ guns. We’ll spend 5 nights here and then get underway for a slow run down the intercoastal waterway. We normally hate waiting for bridges and don’t love narrow spots but the waterway looks like a trip we need to do at least once.
Apologize if I am not responding to the ‘exact’ thread … either too tired or too incompetent to get to the right ‘topic’. My question is related to your 12/5 post re Time Zero Professional. I am currently in the “build phase” (another manufacturer — KKY) but have an extensive (cannot overemphasize ‘extensive’ here) electronics package. Major systems / subsystems are Furuno. I know you run Furuno and you use Time Zero. Any regrets? Any shortcomings? I guess the alternative system is Rose Point but Time Zero integrates (?) seamlessly with Fururno so hard to go elsewhere. I would appreciate your insights and experience.
We went with TimeZero to get the two way integration with Furuno. The major selling point is that you can buy a single copy of chart data and use it on both Furuno black boxes and TimeZero. We’ve liked TimeZero over the years and just recently upgraded to TZ Pro V3 and have been really impressed. They have done an excellet job. We’re we doing it again, we would probably make the same decision.
I was there Tuesday and it was raining and cold. I see there is more to come. How is Dirona on the runoff lately? No leaks and a clean bilge?
Yeah, it is getting chilly. Two days in a row we have woken up to 30F. It’s nice and warm on the boat and we’re caught up on all maintanence. The bilge has been dry for months and all is running well. It’s time to back cruising! This morning, we’ll get underway again.
I see you have made a couple stops after leaving Baltimore. Are you going to continue to connect the dots going South or do a long haul out of the cold?
We’re set up fairly well for winter boating so we don’t mind the cold that much. In fact, it’s fun to visit places like Annapolis that are busy in the summer but are easy to visit in the winter. Our current plan is to work our way south slowly.
Interesting presentations at the re:Invent conference. Should we now conclude that your time at sea not only provides the necessary escape from the office to think up new ideas but that MV Dirona itself serves its purpose as a handy test bed for some of them (such as IoT software)?
There are deffinite pros and cons to working remotely. There are times when it’s a bit more difficult to make a point or get something started. But, there are many upsides as well. My perspective might be more independent than it used to be. Interfacing with multiple CANbus networks, storing all the boat sensor information in realational database, programming a Raspberry PI for digital I/O were all projects to improve the boat but, as you point out, all those projects help at work as well. I’ve always said that (nearly) every life experience can help at work and some of those are pretty good examples.
Nice presentation at re:Invent, James. Pretty incredible stuff.
Fran and I are within 60 days of leaving the US for an as-yet undetermined period – 3 to 5 years seems about right. Since you’ve been there and done that – what have you done about medical insurance? We’ve looked into several options, all of which have some limitations. Would love to know what you decided on.
Wow, only 60 days until you start the big trip! Exciting.
Because I kept working we ended up not tackling the medical insurance problem. We’ll eventually have to find a good medical insurance solution but haven’t done it yet.
Brian – we are just starting to study this for ourselves in retirement. I have worked and lived outside the US several times and have always used our insurance in some of the remotest parts of the world. The key to seeing a “western” trained doctor (which are surprisingly everywhere) is to present the provider a well accepted insurer. No proof of good coverage and they will be looking for cash, or you may not even be allowed service. I suggest looking at some of the websites tailored to expatriates living aboard to seek information. I keep coming back to CIGNA Global Gold, its pricey, but most of the world recognizes the card when its pulled from your wallet.
After the warmth of Las Vegas are you seeking warmer locales soon?
Watched your speech – great presentation !
We haven’t yet enough time around Baltimore but, you are right Rod, it is starting to feel like it’s time to start heading south.
James just watched both your presentations at RE:Invent. Very nicely done and very informative! I was looking for the announcement of Chef Automate on AWS (I work for Chef) and found your talks first. I’ve followed the blog here since you and Jennifer where in Australia so it was fun to see you shine on another front. Also kinda funny to me I’ve been reading all your boating adventures and until now not run into anything on the professional front nor understood just what you do.
Anyway wanted to drop a line to say hi and keep up the awesome work on both fronts!
Chef is a remarkable company doing great work. I remember meeting with Adam and Jesse back before they founded the company and a few times after that when it was a small team. I love what you folks have produced and it was good to see the announcment of Chef Automoate on AWS at re:Invent. Well done!
Strange as it may seem, on vacation to DC and a quick tour of surrounding areas several years back, I think I took as many pictures of probably just as many totally FUBAR electric service and branch installations as I did of the normal tourist items.
While it’s hard to tell for sure, at least that doesn’t look like line voltage.
It’s hard to believe what some folks will actually do when in a rush. In our last house, I was roto tilling the garden and our phone went out. How can anyone run the phone wire “burried” a couple of inches?
I later learned that the entire block lost their phone service that day. Shhhh!
Two quick questions
1. When changing the O ring on the rear thruster did you have to bleed the system? If so how?
2. Hot Water sytsem: When using the furnace for hot water to heat with is there a circulating pump?
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!
Hi Rod. Surprisingly, the hydraulic system operates under so much pressure that it self bleeds. You can open the system, do service, and when you close it up, it just works. The operating pressure is 3,800 PSI and, at these pressures, it seems to self bleed and it happens so quickly I can’t see any difference in performance in the first few seconds vs minutes or hours later or the previous day. It’s nice not to have to worry about bleeding the system.
The furnace system is composed of a boiler, a circulation pump, and fan units spread througout the boat. The system can be run with or without the boiler with a manual switch to choose the mode. I just switch off the manual switch when underway. I’m told that, even without the manual switch, the engine heats the system sufficiently that the boiler will not turn on when operating in this mode. The primary reason we have a manual switch is we plug the boiler exhuast when under way on longer trips to avoid rough seas flooding the boiler.
Happy Thanksgiving (belated) to you three! Two weeks of turkey sandwiches for sure. I noticed in the N76 sunrise picture how tall the pylons were at the marina. That time was mid-tide so is there that much of a range there?
Happy Thanksgiving Timothy. You are right the piling extend considerably beyond the tidal range. The tidal range in this area is quite small. Over the course of this month, it’s only 2′. However, you really want the pilings WAY above normal tidal range. During a large storm or hurricane, storm surge can lift the dock off the pilings and many Florida marinas have encountered this failure mode. When it happens, most of the boats in the marina end up destroyed. Very high pilings is a sign of a thoughtfully built marina and, if we have a choice, we like the pilings absolutely towering above.
Isabelle came through the Baltimore area when I lived there in 2003 – the surge where I was was 7 feet above normal high tide (20 miles north of Baltimore), so the tall pylons would have made a difference then.
What heating and heat distribution are you using onboard. I assume the reverse cycle AC are inadequate when temperatures are as low as now. I have this question being Danish/Scandinavian with intended sailing all-year (as long as ice permits) and as most of the Nordhavns are specified for higher temperatures than what we have I wonder if you have separate burner and distribution via air or heated water distributed to the individual sections onboard.
Thanks for the updates on maintenance – gives a wonderful insight!
The 5 reverse cycle HVAC systems seem to work down to around 40F. Some report they heat well down below that water temperature but we’ve not had the occaision to try it. The way we operate is essentially three modes: 1) on the hook we operate using an 85k BTU diesel boiler delivery hydronic heat througout the boat, 2) under way we use the hydronic system on waste main engine heat and the boiler doesn’t run, and 3) when at the dock and plugged in we run on the 5 electric HVAC systems ranging from 10k BTU up to 16k BTUs. These units are reverse cycle heating and cooling systems from MarineAir.
We are fairly well equipped for high lattitude cruising and have woken up some mornings with the water surface frozen around us but we stay warm and comfortable.
Thanks for your immediate reply, James.
Which make of diesel boiler/hydronic system are yours? Does it have separate distribution channels or is it using that from the HVAC reverse cycle.
Thks beforehand / Erik
Did you install the boiler after delivery of the boat or was it preinstalled??
The 5 HVAC systems and ducting where installed at the yard. The boiler was installed and commisioned by by Emerald Harbor Marine in seattle immediately after deivery of the boat.
The boiler is an Olympic 85k BTU boiler distributed by Sure Marine in Seattle. This heats water which is circulated to each fan unit that blows warm air into each room. The HVAC system are integral compressor, fan, condensor, and evaporator units produced by Marine air. These blow hot or cold air into each room where they are installed. Neither system has any shared components or systems with the other.
Thks again James, much appreciate your information.
Must do a circumnavigation and include Seattle for an installation…..
Keep warm and enjoy your voyage onwards.
Also thks for your input a couple of months ago on the Maretron monitoring systems.
Looking at the photo of the steering arm set up the arm is above the spherical bearing thus, as you suspect, dropping metal dust from the bolt onto the bearing. Maybe reversing this set up could eliminate such wear in future boats
Back to the present!
It is difficult to see if there is any lubricant on the spherical bearing – if there is this will accelerate the wear of the bushing
In abrasive plants where loose abrasive grain abounds we always ran conveyor rollers with no lubricant at all. It sounds counter intuitive however bearing life was much better with no lubricant.
Just a thought
Rod, I like your suggestion to reverse it and would have done so if there was space. Not being able to do that, took the following steps: 1) slight interference between the arm and the bolt to prevent movement between bolt and steering arm, and 2) a tight washer between the steering arm and the spherical bearing.
I did have lubrication on the old assembly but this one is done up dry as you recommended. Thanks for passing on what you haver learned from operating machinery in highly abrasive environments.
Dirona looks like new again! Our boats will never meet but seeing that 2004 390 Sea Ray along side her is what I would expect. It looks like a late 90’s Sea Ray 400 on the other side too. The 390 is chubby white boot but Dirona makes it look short.
It’s very nice to have the boat clean and shiny again. It’s particularly nice to lose the brown mustache we have been carrying of late.
I just wanted to say what a great photo of Spitfire you took in the “Hold the Boston” post.
Also, as you are from the Pacific Northwest, have you heard about Stephen Roberts? He has ridden across the united states ~3 times on varying custom recumbent trikes, as well building assorted other boats and gadgets.
We haven’t come across the travels of Stephen Roberts. Thanks for pointing out a fellow Pacific Northwest Traveller.
Glad to see Dirona got a nice detail. Sorry to go a little off-topic on your wonderful blog, but can anyone ID that lovely boat with the teak rail on Land and Sea’s Home page?
Those faux plank lines on the hull make me believe it is a Grand Banks Aluetian. I’m not sure which model. A long time ago I moved a 1970 GB that was being sold in Florida and it was wooden. I told the broker that the wooden boat looked the same as a newer fiberglass version of the same model. Not sure of the veracity of his story, but he said that in the 70’s GB switched from wood to fiberglass and didn’t tell the dealers and that is why they the plank look.
Hi Jamie, I’m with the detailing company that worked on Dirona this week. The boat on our website is a 2012 55′ Fleming.
Thanks for chiming in Tom. I am a small business owner and can relate to having that good shot on page 1 – is a must – and that is a GREAT one. Flemming 55 huh. Just spent a little bit looking at them on line. Very nice boats. Oh no! Now Nordhaven 52 has some competition on my short list 🙂 I still think a certain Nordhavn 52 has the best owner blog out there, though 🙂 (weekly follower since NZ)
Looks like you had a chilly morning in Baltimore. Heat pumps work well in warm water making heat that you are in, but not in cold water. What system do you have for being in cold water?
The reverse cycle air conditioning system seems to have no trouble heating the boat down to water temperatures below 40F. Current, it’s chilly in Baltimore but the water temperature is actualy fairly warm at 61F in this fairly shallow 20′ spot in the inner harbor.
Our approach to heating is to use the the 5 HVAC systems each sized between 10k and 16k BTU when at the dock or on generator power and, when not, to use our 85k BTU diesel boiler which can keep the boat toasty warm at any outside temperature we have seen. We have woken in the morning in northern BC with a sheet of ice having formed around the boat but it’s still nice and comfortable inside.
I don’t know what units Dirona has however most heat pumps produced today (or for the last several years) work just fine down to -20F. Being water source, unless they plan to do a trip to the polar regions, I would think they’d work just fine even without auxillary heat.
I would guess the only real necessity for the fuel oil boiler on Dirona would be to cut the house battery or generator load as far as the heating cycle goes.
The advantage of the diesel boiler is it doesn’t require the generator to be running to heat. When underway, the system is heated by waste heat from the main engine without generator operation. When at anchor, the diesel boiler provides the heat again with no generator operation. At the dock with shore power, the boiler isn’t used and we run exclusively on the electric HVAC system.
Interesting enough, it was either yesterday or the day before I had a passing thought concerning what type of filter I would use instead of those washables those units seem to use.
I never did think of anything but it really wasn’t a priority for me to expend much thought on the subject.
Here is a good evaporator coil cleaner:
But if all you are dealing with is dust and “dust bunnies” you could get some copper tube, drill holes in it to allow it to reach those narrow areas and use compressed air from your air compressor. A wet towel thrown over everything traps the flying dust rather well.
The C & D Canal video states it is private so cannot be viewed. 🙁
We’ve fixed that Tim. Thanks for letting us know.
Not to be too picky but the MG Winfield Scott is a U.S. Army tug not a Navy.
Thanks for a Awesome Blog, I love the pictures with captions.
Please let me know if you are coming to D.C., I would love to come down and see you all.
Thanks for the correction–we’ve fixed that. And glad you’re enjoying the blog.
We’ll be in Baltimore for another 3 weeks or so, then plan to work south through Chesapeake Bay. Not sure if/when we’ll get to DC, but would be great to meet you if we do.
Watching the canal video got me wondering, were either of you hand steering or does the auto pilot track well enough to do most of the work?
We went through the canal on autopilot in nav mode steering a previously plotted course. Two or three times through the canal we made manual course adjustments to keep the boat a bit further than the plotted course from shore but, 99% of the time, it was auto-steering.
Our normal approach is only hand steer in close quarters like marinas, passing under bridges, entering locks, or with boats in close proximity and the system spends 99% of the time running on the auto pilot in auto or nav modes. When hand steering, we are using a follow-up lever that essentially just coammnads the auto-pilot to put the rudder at the specific position requested. The follow-up lever is a nice way of hand steering without having to swing the wheel 7 times lock-to-lock. Our wheel is really just there for equipment failures and, in the life of the boat, I think I have only used the wheel 3 or 4 times and never more than a couple of minutes at a time.
I’ve noticed some boats forgo the helm wheel altogether and simply use a follow up lever.
Is your helm wheel tied by hydraulics to your rudder where you could possibly bypass the steering pumps and use brute strength to turn the wheel and thus the rudder or is that pretty much of a bypass and use the “emergency tiller” situation?
As far as equipment failure, auto pilot or charting software would be the only things I can think of for a steering casualty where a helm wheel would do any good.
We had steering failures in the Navy from time to time almost always caused by over zealous helmsmen that where trying to go to either left or right full rudder as quick as possible which if they didn’t reverse the helm quick enough the rams could go all the way in which didn’t leave enough oil on the surface area of the ram to drive it. Then it was get out the chain falls and pull it over enough to get fluid back into the ram to operate.
Additionally the ship I was on was old enough that brute strength would be able to turn the rudder through the hydraulics from the “emergency after steering station” after the pumps were bypassed which thankfully we only did for a short time during drills. One guy on the port and one guy on the starboard chain fall was much quicker and easier but I guess you have to practice everything.
Personally I guess I’m so outdated in my thinking I wouldn’t consider not having a helm wheel but does it really on something like Dirona, serve any purpose that a follow up lever wouldn’t be good for?
Steve, you were asking about the manual steering wheel and if it served any purpose the follow up lever couldn’t do. No, the wheel is just there for redundancy and the follow-up lever is what we normally use in close quarters. The wheel is only there for auto-pilot, control system, or steering pump failure. It is almost never used but I wouldn’t eliminate the wheel. It has been used briefly and having that backup was important at the time.
For background, the wheel is a manual steering pump and it’ll turn the rudder the same whether the auto-pilot or steering pump is running or not. It is a bit heavy but only a bit since it is geared to be 7 turns lock-to-lock to maintain a good mechanical advantage.
Big night tonight. I would imagine that folks are tailgating already over by the stadium. Should be big crowds at Harborplace and the surrounding area before and after the game. You do know who owns that big yacht just north of you?
Yeah, this evening is the Raven’s against the Browns and it’s going to be great for us to be back in an NFL stadium.
Good obsservation on the boat behind us. It is “Winning Drive” owned by the Steve Bisciotti who also happens to own the Ravens. Winning Drive is moved up from Anappolis for Ravens home games.
Happy Belated Birthday Jennifer
You must have felt at home in Salem with your witch related themes from several years.
Hope you and James had a great day.
Always glad to see the boat running!!
Thanks Tim. I loved Salem–it was great to attend a real Halloween celebration after four years away. And I’m a major fireworks fan, so that made the event even better.
Welcome to Baltimore, Hon’s!
Thanks Dave. We’re right down and it looks like a great spot. Nice looking city!
Be careful in downtown Baltimore. It is much different from the other cities you have visited as you have circumnavigated the world.
Thanks for the warning. If there are specific areas to avoid or ones that you feel are safer let us know. We genarlly try to be careful but local knowledge is always appreciated.
I believe the area around the marina is kinda safe. Be careful after dark. The inner harbor is find during the day.
As an aside, if you come 30 miles south to Annapolis you might get a slip at the Annapolis yacht club or you can tie up in ego alley and pay the dockmaster.
Thanks for the advice Johnson. We’ll take care.
We did look into Annapolis, but the moorage prices were over four times that of Baltimore. And as nice as Annapolis is, there’s more to see and do in downtown Baltimore. We’ve got Ravens tickets for Thursday night, and we’re going to visit the aquarium, the maritime museum and maybe the science center. We’ve got an excellent slip right downtown and last night we walked over to Harbor Place and had a great meal with a view to our marina across the harbor. We’re loving Baltimore so far.
Can you put some prices on your moorage prices please?
We hope to bring our N47 across the pond in a couple of years and will hopefully meander up the east coast in similar manner to yourselves once the Admiral gets her Grandma fix in Florida! I think the moorage fees are considerably higher than what I am used to in Europe, but it would be good to have an idea of just how much! I hear of $10/foot and other exciting amounts!
The US East Coast is, by far, the most expensive moorage we have seen anywhere. I’m sure there are places all over the world that are worse but this is the highest we have come across. Rates on season runs from $2/ft through $6/ft. We have managed to find some less expensive spots partly because we are usually off season and sometimes we just find better value. The marinas that everyone uses are more expensive than the others. Some of the “others” are actually nicer. For example, in Florida we stayed at Soverel Harbor. It’s a better location than many of the more commonly referenced locations and there are restaurants, a shopping mall, grocery stores all a short walk away and yet it was only $2,50/ft on season and $2.00/ft off.
There is also an incredible diversity of rates in the off season where many want the summer rate even when they are empty while others offer excellent rates. In Belfast we were paying just over $1.43/ft while all else in the area was around $2/ft. In Baltimore, we are at $0.50/ft off season and it’s only a bit over $1/ft on season.
Some locations are negotiable especially for longer stays while others won’t budge. It’s worth shopping around. Most locations have far better weekly or monthly rates. I’ve even known people to take a yearly Moorage lease and then only use it for a few months — it just ended up being cheaper.
50′ appears to be magic cut-off where rates are far higher above. In some locations 49′ is half the price per foot of 51′. At 47, you will slip under that line.
Thanks James. Expensive indeed, but obviously worth doing your homework!
Looking forward to doing it, thanks for sharing everything with us all.
Baltimore has a bad reputation, some of it deserved, but much of it not. From what I’ve read about Cape Town, Baltimore seems pretty good so just do your thing. I live just outside the city but I travel through it often, and I am safe, even in the bad areas.
I’ve followed your blog for a year or so, I can’t even remember how I found it. I dont own a boat, but I want to now. I’d love to buy you a beer while your in town.
Thanks Dave. It’s funny but last night we were saying the same thing you did. It is a bit like Cape Town where the core is very tourist friendly and there are few security problems. I suspect both cities have issues even there but reasonable care seems to keep them rare. Away from the well patrolled high tourist area at the inner harbor, risk seems to go up in both cities.
Buy us a beer? That’s a rare one for us to refuse :-). Sure! I’m going through a busy time at work so am more busy than usual during the day but a before dinner visit on most days works well on our end. Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll figure out something that fits for you as well.
Are you all settled in and at anchor? Did Dirona do well on this leg?
Yes, we were anchored last night in the Sassafras River. Arrived just before sunset and got to enjoy the sunset from the Cockpit without almost no wind. It was fun watching the aircraft traffic heading into the Baltomore and surrounding airports. There were times when we could see 15 flights in the small section of sky we could see.
Dirona did well on the run south. No issues. The winds were 5 to 10 kts more than we were expecting so it was a bit rougher than we prefer but no big deal. We got underway this morning at 5:45 and are running at 9.5 kts at only 160 hp with very favorable currents. We will arrive into Baltimore in time for lunch.
The weather looks perfect there. You have a nice slip with a view?
The weather is GREAT. I’m hard at work but the view is wonderful downtown and it’s so nice that the pilot house door is wide open. I’m looking forward to a nice relaxing evening at one of the local restaraunts. The Inner Harbor is really working out well.
It looks like you are in a double slip. Neighbors cool? I do not know what a Rusty Scupper is but I hope it has cold beer!
See you are underway. Your location brings back memories of cruising the Vineyard, Newport, Block Island and the sound. Then I look at the calendar and think I would head for Cape May, the Delaware river and the C & D canal.
It’s funny you should say that Andy but you just outlined exactly our plan: Cape May, the Delaware river and the C & D canal. We’ll stop off in Newport RI for a few days to visit KVH and tour the area a bit but, as soon as the weather cooperates, we’ll be back underway for Cape May.
Yay Delaware River / C & D canal, my cruising waters.! I’ll watch for you to sail by, but if you need some local info, drop me a note.
We expect to leave after a morning appointment today so should be underway around lunch time. If the weather cooperates, we’ll head directly to the Cap May and Delaware River area.
Tonight we get the extra hour. Tomorrow it will start getting dark after 5 p.m.
I don’t know how much that control board for your HVAC system runs but if you like to tinker and wanted to replace that compressor relay you could probably end up with a spare for more of an investment in time than money.
Greenwich Electronics was bought out by American Zettler but their relay cross reference shows a match.
Yes, that is the relay. To save this board I would have to replace 2 of the 3 relays on the board but that would likely work.
My theory on what killed these relays was operating the HVAC system on 50hz. The manufacture said it would work fine but the compressor really labored when commming on and I suspect they draw more current when operating in 50hz. I eventually decided it was simply not a good idea to operate the HVAC system on 50 hz and the manufacturer now says the configuration is unsupported so they appear to have arrived at the same conclusion.
When we went to the new power system design, we stopped operating any loads other than chargers on 50 hz. There are many advantages to the new power system design but one of them is the HVAC system now only needs to operate at 60hz: http://mvdirona.com/2014/08/a-more-flexible-power-system-for-dirona/
I kept the failed control board so I could change the relays if I get motivated. I have one more spare control board on the boat so I probably won’t invest the time to fix this one unless I see another fault. Thanks for finding the relay manufacturer.
You are exactly right although almost every motor I see today is rated 50/60 hz, however, if they are equipped with start or run capacitors they are sized on the basis of 60 hz.
So unless you have a soft start VFD motor on a drive, they are going to draw a higher amperage on start. And in the case of a refrigeration compressor anytime the expansion device opens allowing more liquid through changing the load.
That is one thing I never liked about the Nordhavn specs was they used 50 hz equipment but since it’s doubtful I’ll ever own one the point is moot. But if I happen to hit the lottery or (even less likely) convince the wife to let me sell everything and move us on a boat I’d have 60 hz equipment and find away to supply it similar to what you’ve done.
That’s what we did: sold the house, sold the car, got rid of all personal effects that wouldn’t fit on the boat and went cruising.
The HVAC system would run on both 50 or 60 hz but I’m much happier only running it on the design frequency for the system. The only equipment we currently run on different frequency than the original design is our 240V, 50Hz Australia patio heater. 1800 watts of outdoor comfort. It’s perfectly happy running on any frequency.
Anything is possible I suppose.
She was dead set against motorcycles and yet she’s got her own Road King and hangs in there for my normal 15,000 mile yearly average.
15k miles per year is pretty substantial on a motorcycle. Proves, as you said, anything is possible.
I suppose it depends on how you look at it. I know many that ride much more than that however, I know many multiples of that number who ride a lot less. A friend of mine bought a two year old modified street glide after the owner who not to mention any names, happens to be the recently departed head football coach of MU, which was 2 years old and had less than 2000 miles on it.
Since they aren’t used as a primary means of transportation, I have a company service truck for work, and the wife drives her car to work since there really isn’t any place “safe” to park hers during the day, I suppose that means when we do ride them it’s simply for the pleasure derived from the journey.
Looking at it that way yes, 15K a year is a good amount. But then again, you two didn’t get Dirona to keep her tied up to a pier and I’ve never been one to want a piece of machinery tying up space in my garage that I never use.
I agree. Lack of use is a great way to make a boat expensive. They still need maintenance when not used so, if you are only using it 4 weeks a year, it gets ridiculously pricey per hour. Having less and using it more seems to be the best equation.
Looking at the photo of your “stack socket” I’m somewhat confused (I know that’s easy to do).
Other than the green insulation on one wire, it looks to be a common two wire romex without ground. The box a common cut-in with ears and I can’t see enough of the receptacle to tell about it’s configuration.
That isn’t being used for 120 volt service is it?
I believe it is 120V service based on the shape of the outlet (I am assuming it is a GFCI). When I zoom in on the photo, I can just barely make out a white wire between the black and green wires.
I do believe you are right. I had to download the photo to zoom in enough to see it but with 3 wires it makes sense that it could be a GFIC.
Yes, it is a GFIC socket. All 120V outlets whether inside or out are GFIC protected.
James – A few comments on your stack socket work. Loose conductors are always a concern and can lead to hot joints, failures and fire; I suspect you know this. A very important wiring practice that is commonly overlooked is proper strain relief. Cable strain relief should be as close as possible to the wire termination point, ideally at the entry to the socket box and secondary within close proximity to the box. This is even more important if the conductor is solid as there would be little flexibility (hence strain on termination) versus the preferred multi-strand conductor.
Regarding multi-strand versus solid conductor my professional industrial experience is multi-strand is a preferred conductor too solid in mobile equipment applications (boat would qualify). I can’t see from the photo which is the case in your application. If your application is solid conductor I would suggest just a bit of extra care in preventative maintenance with strain relief and periodic checking tightness of conductors.
Also happy to hear you use CFCI. Individuals performing wiring should understand the wiring practices and placement of GFCI type outlets in the overall circuit layout, mistakes can be made which renders the GFCI feature inoperable. I tend to use CFGI breakers for the entire circuit, although costlier.
Thanks for the wiring advice Steve. These are now all torqued down and properly supported.
Years ago we had a loose connection on our 24V DC bus bar at the DC panel. I noticed it because it glowed orange when the inverter was active. Rather than the 15A connection we have at the stack socket, the DC bus bar connection can flow up to 500A and when I saw it glowing would have been around 300 to 400A. I now torque these connections every year. So far, I’ve never seen one change so I may eventually back off the annual torque but a loose connection on the main DC bus bar could become a big problem in a hurry.
Correct, it’s a 120V outlet. Three problems with the installation: 1) the gasket was positioned such that it didn’t seal at the top and ran water in, 2) the foam core of the stack was not sealed off from water intrusion, and 3) the screw connector for the white wire had vibrated loose.
It’s a good thing you are limber and not the least bit claustrophobic. Otherwise they’d have been cutting another access hole in that stack.
You are so right Seven. I actually did end up getting so far into the stack on one side that I couldn’t get back out. The effort it took to push back expanded my chest and wedged me completely. I was deffiniely contemplating new access hatches at that point.
Of interest to boaters is the explosion to remove Ripple Rock, just north of Campbell River BC. Ripple Rock was a fearsome navigational hazard before the explosion destroyed and removed the tops of the rock just 10 feet below the surface
Ripple Rock, British Columbia, Canada
On 5 April 1958 an underwater mountain was levelled by the explosion of 1375 tonnes of Nitramex2H, an ammonium nitrate-based explosive. This was one of the largest non-nuclear planned explosions on record, and the subject of the first CBC live broadcast coast-to-coast.
We have boated north of Campbell River past the remains of Ripple Rock many times over the years. Wonderful area and, yes, that explosion was another massive one in terms of power. The impact of the explosion was very concentrated due to being under water and, of course, there was no loss of life.
Oh glad to see you stopped in New Castle at the Wentworth. You two will love downtown Portsmouth. Try the cellar at the Dolphin Striker on Bow Street for some good music.
There is a king sized weather system comming through so we’ll likely stay in this great location for a week or so. The barometer has fallen 1.5 mb an hour for 48 hours straight. I expect this one will come in big when it arrives.
Thanks for the entertainment trip. We’re looking forward to spending some time in Portsmouth.
Hello – World Travelers. If you go up to Biddeford please take the time to look up their former mayor Wallace Nutting (General, USA Retired). He was my boss – several ranks removed, so to speak, when I was stationed at USREDCOM in Florida. General Nutting was one of the last US Army Cavalry Officers who really knew what cavalry was. He certainly gave this Marine a lot of help (and credit).
It sounds like General Nutting was a real role model. It’s always fun people to meet folks that have been successful and contributed so much to others during their working lives. I’m lucky enough to have had a few of that kind of person to work as well.
We’re currently about an hour drive south of Biddeford in Portsmout and feeling good to be tucked away in here. The barometer has fallen 1.5 mb per hour for 48 hours straight so we will deffinitely see some weather
How do you like the aft camera? The images look very clear! The first rear camera I put on was ok but I just Amazon’d the Raymarine CAM50 so I could use the reverse image feature. You have a video switch/splitter connected to a DVR?
Yes, we are happy with the aft facing camera so far but the real test is how long it lasts in the difficult marine environment. The approch we took is to use our Synology Disk Station DS416 which we run as a RAID6 disk array for all of our data and backups. We run Synology Surveilence Station that runs on the Synology with no charge for the first two cameras. It stores 7 days of camera feed so we can go back and get anything we want later.
The Synology Surveilence Station supports any ONVIF compliant camera. We are using Reolink RLC-410 which are only $75 on Amazon. So far they are working out super well. If they fail early, we can move to any other commodity IP camera but these are rated at IP66 so there is a good chance they will have a respectable lifetime.
Hello James and Jennifer! I haven’t posted for some time – been really busy getting our boat ready to leave FL for the Caribbean, and one of the things we want to replace is the Bruce anchors (or at least one of them) that came on the boat. I’ve looked here on the blog for specifics about your anchor(s), but as you can imagine, searching for “anchor” isn’t all that useful! Have you ever written an article / post about the main anchor you chose for Dirona? Thanks a bunch!
Brian (and Fran says “Hi!”)
Hi Brian and Fran. Glad to here you are making good progress on your boat. For anchor, on our previous boat which was 30,000 lbs, we used a 30 kg (66lb) Bruce with 200′ of chain and 350′ of rope rode. The Bruce performed well and we really liked it.
For our current boat, we thought about using the Bruce but the reports on Rocna’s were so good that we went with a Rocna. Dirona is 110,000 lbs and we use a 70 kg (154lb) Rocna with 500′ of 7/16′ rode. The Rocna even better than the Bruce. Where it really excels is in fast setting.
Both the Bruce and the Rocna have one weakness and that is soft, light silt deep weed. The Rocna is better in both conditions but still has the same issuse. In weed, it will usually cut through and dig in but in realy heavy weed, it can fail to cut through. This has happened only in Tasmania region so it’s pretty rare. The other possible weakness is in very light river silt — this condition has shown up on the Bruce but we have not yet seen it on the Rocna. In this condition, the lack of surface area won’t hold in super light silt.
The solution for both these conditions is an anchor with a sharp end and very high surface area. We use the largest Guardian I can handle by hand and use it in a tandem anchor configuration. About 20′ of chain between the Fortress and Rocna where we are really anchoring on the Fortress and using the Rocna as a kellet. In 8,300 hours, the Rocna has only failed to set a handful of times but, when it does, the high surface area Fortress always hold. They are excellent complements to the Rocna.
Excellent info, as always! Three follow-up questions:
1. “500′ of 7/16 rode” – your rode is all chain, or some chain and some rope, as you say you had on your previous boat?
2. How much of your rode have you ever needed? We have 200′ of chain, but that’s it. As we cruise around the Caribbean, I don’t know that we’ll need more than that – but I suppose we might anchor in more than 30′ from time to time. I want to have enough, but not go crazy.
3. Do you (or anyone else reading this) have any experience, or 2nd hand knowledge, of the effectiveness of the various delta / plow / spade styles, given the same weight as the Rocna? Some of them demo very convincingly, but I was in software – I know the difference between a demo and real life!
We like the flexibility of lots of rode so we are on the high side of what most people use with 550′ on the last boat at 500′ on this one. But, in my opinion, 200′ is way low. You really need at least 300′ and we like having more.
We have 500′ of 7/16 chain on Dirona but, as I said, that is on the high side of what most people would use. We have used all the rode several times. Twice we anchored off Reid Glcier in Alaska which is 146′ and we used all of our rode. Once up in Prince William sound, we put it all out as well. But, we have only had more than 400′ out rarely and are only out past 300′ a few times per year.
We have used a Bruce in the past and like the Rocna more. Many Nordhavn’t come delivered with a CQR and the owners replace them with Rocnas. That’s perhpas the most convincing comparason of Rocna to others that I’ve come across.
What is the maxium rode we could have every used? I don’t know that there is any limit. Large commercial going boats often have 10 shots or more out. That’s 900′. Admittedly, they anchor in deeper water than most recreational boats but I like the freedom that comes with lots of rode We carry 500′ but if you offered us more, we would probably take it. Admittedly, the requency of use that we get for the last 100′ after 400′ is light but we like the option value of being able to anchor in deeper water.
OK, then… looks like we need to add 150′ of 7/16th SS chain to our shopping list! Thanks for the info, as always.
I ended up with 7/16″ by asking for “bigger” than what comes standard on the 47 which is 3/8″ chain. I actually was intending to get 1/2″ but ended up with 7/16″. There is nothing wrong with 7/16″ but, if you do go that route, be aware it’s not as a common a size as 3/8″ and 1/2″. I also noticed you were going with stainless steel chain. Generally, galvanized steel is stronger and far less expensive so is a more common choice. The only downside of galvanized chain is it will eventually need to be regalvanized. On our prevous boat, we galanized at 3 years that application lasted until we sold the boat (7 years). On the current boat, we galvanized at 2 years and, after 4 years, it’s getting close to needing to be done agan.
On Dirona we are using 500′ of galvanized 7/16″ high test chain.
You just installed brakets for your boat. Would you please take a moment and explain the proper way to drill into fiberglass and what you use to anchor the brakets or any brackets into fiberglass on Dirona
The right way to install screws into cored structures is to drill larger or dig out the core and then seal with epoxy, let it dry, and then re-drill and screw into the sealed epoxy structure. The absolute minimum is to drill and screw with 5200 but the warning that goes with that approach is there is a good chance it’ll eventually leak and need rebedding.
Jen, good luck on the surgery. Seems like forever ago but eight months went by fast!
If I ever buy a new boat it would a have a “Wire Highway” down both sides of the boat. I fortunately do not have wires above the ceiling panels like Dirona but having extras prerun would have saved me a lot of time. Heck, even a PVC tube down each side of the boat with junctions would be great. I would say four different colored Cat6 wires, NMEA 2000 with Ts every 2m, three BNCs and a dozen 14 gauge wires down each side would be enough. Right now I itch from cutting new access plates in the side decks!
If I were to do it again, I would not run most of the large conductors that flow throug a boat but instead use small, multi-conductor control cables signalling relays to close higher current connectors close the source. On this approach we could remove 100s if not 1000s of pounds of copper from Dirona.
With NMEA2000, you’ll find you really don’t need that many Tees. We have only 9 locations for Tees: stack, brow, upper dash, lower dash, near the tanks, 2 locations in the ER and 1 in the Laz and it work pretty well.
I agree that large PVC conduits would make life much easier when pulling new wires. Just having ample space would really help. Every wire duct in Dirona is running close to capacity and that makes subsequent pulls more of a challenge. I suppose that we are pretty close to having done all the pulls we need at this point but more capacity is always nice.
Thanks Timothy. It has been a long time since the initial break. I’ve mostly been ignoring the pin and not letting it get in the way of doing things. But it is a little irksome and I’m looking forward to getting it out. Arranging the surgery is also a bit of a hassle when we’re moving so much, and it will be good to have this behind us.
Congrats Jennifer on getting your pin out! That must feel great!
All the best –
Greg and Lisa
Thanks Greg & Lisa. It’s wonderful to have that pin out. The surgery went super-well and I’ve had hardly any post-operative symptoms–no pain and only a little swelling.
Jennifer, congratulations on a successful surgery! Our thoughts were always with you!
James, I do all of my own wiring on my boats (and old cars) and tend to only use relays for large draw items like amps, AC, headlights and fans. I really like the Bosch relays by the way. Mostly though, I wire basic (but clean and tidy) and route how “Blue Sea” recommends by running large power wires to a switch panel (or fuse panel) and then switched wires to the device. I thought about runs of RVV wire to power relays but it decided to just run it simple. My wiring and NMEA is simple compared to the Dirona nervous system. I have six Ts and a power T up top, two by the AC panel and then two down in the engine bay for the fuel sensors. I will add a few more for Fusion Remotes and eventually a gps screen like Dirona in the bedroom. I do not monitor the network or anything complex like you do but I do read you and Jennifer’s programming and software comments over and over again so someday I may understand it! 🙂
Our bus ducts are all full so running new wires is getting to be more of a challenge. If we were to do it again, we would probaby run signal wires and do remote switching rather than the bring the conductor all the way up to the pilot house and then all the way back down to the device being switched.
In the process of changing engine mounts how is the engine ‘supported’ when a mount is removed?
For the front mounts, I put a hydraulic bottle jack under each corner of the engine and changed one mount at a time. On the left rear, it proved impossible to get even this fairly small little jack under the engine, so took a different approach on the rear mounts. For these, I lowered the mount I wanted to change away from the engine leaving it supported by the other three. That approach worked remarkably well.
Once changed I restored the engine to the same location measured using calipers and then loosened the prop shaft and used feeler guages to measure the angle of the engine to the prop shaft. I put it to within 0.001″ of aligned and it’s now noticably smoother than it has even been when we are under way.
Did you happen to take pictures not necessarily of the process, but what you were aligning? I’ve done a fair amount of millwright work over the decades and I’m always interested in seeing what other people are aligning.
We will post the details but the short answer is we unbolt the flange that connects the main engine and transmission assembly to the prop shaft. These two flanges are flat on the inner faces and the bolts run directly through them and pull the shaft up tignt to the transmission output shaft. Using a feeler guage I measure the clearance at the top of this flange and the three other quandrants. The goal is to get the difference between the readings to less than 0.001″ per inch of prop diameter. I use a higher tolerance and aim for no more than 0.001″ overall. The adjustments are made by moving the four engine mount heights up and down or shifting the engine and transmission assembly side-to-side with a goal of getting the engine assembly nearly exactly in the same alignment as the prop shaft. Once that has been achieved, the bolts holding the transmission output shaft to prop shaft are re-secured and the engine mounts are all tighted up with lock nuts installed and the job is done.
I will be interested in your blog
I can understand the vertical alignment, but the side to side is more difficult, especially when I look at the photos of the new engine mounts
Rod, the amount of motion is remarkably small when it comes to side-to-side. The mount basis are slotted to allow some minor side to side motion and remarkably small movements have a massive impact. Just shifting the front of the engine over 1/32″ of an inch has a fairly substantial impact on the alignment of the shaft coupling. The biggest challenge ends up being finding a way to move the 2,000 lb engine and transmission assembly over but trying to minimize the amount that it moves. It takes a fairly large amount of force to shift the engine at all and then, once it moves, it almost always moves too much.
When adjusting height, it’s far easier using the mount studs effectively as screw jacks. But, as the alighnment gets close I was adjusting as little as a 1/2 of a nut flat (1/16th of a turn). Small movements make a big difference. We’ll get some more pictures and a bit more on the process posted.
I generally do final location on heavy objects with bars however when I get something weighing a ton or more I find adjustments, like you’ve mentioned are somewhat difficult mostly because of the “jerk” after applying enough pressure to pick it up and creep it sideways.
If the object can slide which for me since it’s usually on concrete or steel isn’t a problem, I’ve had good results using hydraulic bottle jacks with wooden cribbing to distribute the weight over the surface of what I’m pushing against, when making minute horizontal adjustments.
A 2X6 under a small jack wouldn’t concern me a bit pushing against the fiberglass or cored bulkheads of Dirona, cast iron or steel sliding on fiberglass is something I’d have to think about though. But you aren’t moving it much and from the pictures I’ve seen, the dynamic load of the metal engine mounts sitting on fiberglass don’t seem to bother it any.
Thanks for the suggestion to use a bottle jack Steve. We do have a hydraulic jack on board but it’s hard to find clearance for even a small bottle jack between the stringers and engine so I end up using a large pry bar to gently shift the engine/transmission assembly over when needed. It’s the composite engine mount base sliding on fiberglass so friction is minimal.
Hello Jennifer and James, and welcome to Penobscot Bay
This may be the wrong place to ask, but I’m wondering if I could visit Dirona and interview you about the electronics you’re using. I could come to Belfast most any time, but perhaps you’ll be stopping in Camden where I live?
Regards, Ben Ellison ( ben @ panbo.com )
That sounds like fun Ben. We are looking forward to meeting you. I’ll contact you on the visit timing.
James – I read in your “Low Tide” piece this morning how you learned of the lowest tide level from queries of the Maretron data you capture and store in a database. I’ve read in some of your earlier pieces that you do this, however I’ve not read any particular details of how this is done. Is capturing and logging this data within the realm of capability of the regular user? I’m not seeking lots of detail, just opinion of accessibility of these types of tools to the regular user. Thanks!
When we implemented the support to log all NMEA 2000 data in a database, there were no comercial products doing this so we had to hand code it which, for many people, is probably more work that it’s worth.
We love support to log everything and there are now commercially available optiont that make doing this easy. Maretron has the VDR100 which is an excellent implementation with good support: http://www.maretron.com/products/vdr100.php. Having all the data frequenly comes in handy and it’s now pretty easy to do.
I see that the standard engine for the N52 is now the John Deere 6068AFM75 266HP
This I believe is a different engine from the original specs.
Did you have any input into N’s decision to use the larger engine?
Perhaps a bit of influence but the decision to move to the same engine we use came from the Tier III emission requirements. The Lugger isn’t Tier III certified so Nordhavn had to move to a different engine. The Deere has the advantage of being the same block and basic foot print and it’s well understood since it was used on Dirona. Before reading your comment, I didn’t know they had gone with the M2 engine rated at 266 hp rather than going with the M1 rated at 231 HP given These are externally identical engines so eitehr can be used interchangably. The decision to go M2 might be partly influenced by the results of using this engine in Dirona being good.
The 6068AFM75 M2 engine used in Dirona is a tier II power plant. I suspect the standard engine on the N52 is probably the Tier III 6068AFM85. The tier II engine remains available, but for those applicaitons requiring Tier III, Deere has the 6068AFM85. Largely the same engine with the same HP ratings but the Tier III engine gives up quite a bit in fuel economy over the Tier II engine.
Hello – I can confirm the current N52 power plant specification is the Deere 6060AFM85 as per Nordhavn specifications dated 26Jan2016 which I received from them just last week. As James indicates it is compliant with U.S. EPA Marine Tier III emissions regulations & International Maritime Organization (IMO) Tier II emissions regulations. While the specification does not indicate M2 designation, the listed bhp suggests that it is.
My wife and I are currently evaluating N47-52-55 for our future and weighing the virtues of new versus previously owned. Obviously the N52 is the only one of the three available new. From you experience James I’m sure you are happy with your power plant selection, however assuming you have been on an N52 with the original smaller plant, would you share your thoughts of performance differential? This would be helpful in our studies. I’ve read some of your easier papers on this topic and found them quite informative.
With displacement boats of similar hull designs, it really comes down to hp per 1,000 lbs displacement. Here’s an article that shows this metric for various Nordhavns: http://mvdirona.com/2009/09/engine-brand-choice/
Here’s the key data from that article:
• N40: 3.30 (50,000 lb @ 165 HP)
• N43: 2.75 (60,000 lb @ 165 HP)
• N43: 1.75 (60,000 lb @ 105 HP original engine)
• N46: 1.75 (60,000 lb FD @ 105 HP)
• N47: 1.94 (85,000 lb FD @ 165 HP)
• N50: 3.75 (80,000 lb FD @ 300 HP)
• N55: 2.66 (124,500 lb FD @ 330 HP)
• N57: 2.66 (122,000 lb FD @ 325 HP)
• N62: 2.19 (155,000 lb FD @ 340 HP)
Dirona is speced to be 90,000 lbs and it has 266 hps so the ratio is 2.95. Just about all boats are heavier the the manufacturer spec when in use but, to keep the data comparable, I stuck with the manufacturer specified displacement. We never operate the engine above it’s max continuous rating of 231 hp so, using that hp figure, it comes in at 2.6 which is pretty much identical to the 55 and 57.
I suppose we might use the full 266hp if we grounded the boat or in especially unusual circumstances but 231 seems pretty good. We particularily like being able to run at 231hp 24×7 for as long as we like.
Hello James & Jennifer
I know you have not been back in tropical waters of late but can you give any kind of update or information about how well the keep coolers are doing at this point in time? Have you checked to see if any growth/buildup has occurred? Maybe too soon to answer this but does it appear that painting the coolers along with the bottom may be the way to go for those pondering this? Also it seems at least that even upgrading to a larger cooler then speced may give positive results as well?
It’s so cool up this far north that we haven’t really given the cooling systems a good test. The engine room cooling system is delivering a reliable 30F deltaT and, when running slowly without much power draw, we have seen it drop down to as low as 22F deltaT. I’ve gone down to the engine room at times and found it to be barely warm.
The same is true of the keel cooler. When we left the yard in Florida we proved we could run sustained wide open throttle in warm water with cooling to spare. But we have been in cold water since — even here on the dock in only 8′, it’s 60F. We haven’t yet tested wide open throttle in warm water with keel cooler that hasn’t been recently cleaned.
The bottom paint we selected and applied in Florida is Pettit Vivid. It’s about 4 months since application and, since that time we have operated mostly in cold water and with the boat moving most of the time. Right now, the boat bottom could use a scrub by the look of it at the water line. I don’t know what it’s like further down but, if I was forced to make a call today, I would say the anti-fouling paint is doing OK but not as well as the Jotun Seaforce 30 we had applied in New Zealand 3 years back. We’ll know more when we next see warm water and it’s hard to know when that will be. Even though we have woken up to as cool as 45F, the boat is well heated and comfortable and we’re not feeling a super strong pull to warmer climates.
James. In the PNW, over the last decade, I have used both Vivid and Vivid Free. Have not been happy with either. Mostly growth on waterline. Switched to their Hydracoat, no success there. Petit repainted bottom at their expense. Currently using Petit Horizon, and find it acceptable. Painting was done by pros, so application was not an issue. My 2 cents. Enjoying your travels, thks.
Hmmm, that’s disappointing to hear. We’ll know more once we have scrubbed the bottom once and see how long that lasts but our early results and your experience suggests we may not get to our target 2 1/2 years between bottom paint applications.
The picture of the Amazon boxes is cute. It looks like you ordered another cat in the top box! It is provably one of the only things Amazon does not carry 😉 I know I would NOT be able to outfit our boat without Amazon. Replacement Whale and shower parts, a new helm seat, Perko and Southco latches, tinned wiring, hole saws, 3M sealant, dock lines, Garmin cables, Canbus data converter, LED lighting and ProMariner charger just to name more than a few.
How is your carpet still so clean?
Yes, same with us. Amazon Prime saves us a massive amount of time.
Thanks for pointing out that one box had a black tail. I hadn’t noticed it but not a total surprise. If anything new shows up on the boat, Spitfire has to immediately inspect it.
We are going to be in Bangor tomorrow night (Mon Oct 3). So close, so far.
The amazing Acadia National Park is only an hour away from Bangor and strongly recommended. And, if you do decide to go visit Acadia, we’re on the route to get to park or back. You should visit. We would love to buy you both dinner and catch up. Acadia is beautiful especially this time of year as the leaves are just starting to turn :-).
Yes, we have done Bar Harbor/Acadia. We are enroute from Nova Scotia to Vermont. Do you have Gord’s email?
Yes, if the Jacobs Consultancy address is still current, I have it. I’m at email@example.com.
As a mechanic I would have thought SnapOn would be your preferred brand of tools.
I guess for one or two times usage cheaper i.e. Chinese suffice!!!
Looking forward to your blog on changing engine mounts and engine/shaft alignment
I just love Snap-On and came very close to using them exclusively when I was an automotive mechanic. It makes a ton of sense to have the best when you using them all day 5 days a week. But, on Dirona, these tools will only get used a handful of times.
I need them on board to be able to keep the boat operational but I will likely use many of those tools only 2 or 3 times. Some perhaps never. So spending 5x to 10x more for professional tools doesn’t seem like good value.
Do you find that there is a mixture of SAE and metric nuts and bolts on Dirona and the choice between them when you start a job is trial and error.
We have a lot more metric than SAE but lots of both. For example, the ABT hydraulic fittings, connections, and anthing fabricated are SAE but the hydraulic componets are mostly metric. Knowing the country of origin of the part normally tells you what to expect so it’s not really a problem. All that is new for me is the size of some of the gear requires some unusually large wrenches and sockets and some of the torques are extraorginary. For example, the crankshaft nose bolt is torqued to 671 ft lbs. That is pushing suprisingly hard even with a 4′ long extension.
Technology is Grand! I’ve been watching your passage from Nova Scotia to Maine over the last day. When I understood where you were heading from the coordinates provided, I found the marina I suspected you were headed to. Their website had a webcam. Then understanding from all the data posted from your tracking posts it could be seen you’d be arriving sometime after 14h00. I opened the webcam shortly after 14h00 and there you were motoring into the marina. How cool!!
Cool. Web cams seem to popping up all over. We got pictures sent to us from Peggys Cove light house within 20 minutes of us passing.
From the web cam, you’ll know that we picked up a load of diesel. This is our first fueling since Boston. It’s great to be able to be out using the boat daily for 2 months, running the generator, or engine every day and still be able to go 2 months between fuelings. Admittedly, we were starting to get fairly low on fuel needing 1,490 gallons.
Cutting it rather close weren’t you James?
The specs for a 52 show 1740 as fuel capacity (which of course could be plus or minus).
I realize you were probably keeping an eye on where to zip in and take on fuel if needed but I also figure depending on how much you could throttle back my Road Glide would have gone farther on a tank than Dirona could with what she had left.
It’s a good thing you monitor things so close through that Marethon system, I’ve have been freaking out.
You are right that it gets uncomfortable when dropping down below 400 gallons but I remind myself that 400 gallons is nearly twice the fuel capacity of our first boat and is nearly 1/4 of the capacity of this one. It’s really not THAT low. And it’s important that we be confident in our systems and have many redundant checks on fuel levels since, when crossing oceans, we will routine aim to finish the trip with only 10% reserve which is 175 gallons remaining. At the end of this run we had 250 gallons left so it’s more than we would expect to have after a long run at sea.
We have 3 redundant checks: 1) the sight gauges on the side of the tanks showing fuel level, 2) the Maretron FPM100 fuel level sensors which are are primary measures, and 3) the engine ECU fuel consumed data point. Between them all, we have a lot of data and when we fill it’s normal that our measures be within 2 to 3% and its usually closer to 0.
Over time we have developed confidence in the system but I fully admit to there always being a chance we will get it wrong and it still has my attention when we are running at lower fuel levels. By the way, the savings in filling up in Maine rather than Nova Scotia was just over $3,000. Just this one trip paid for the cost of the fuel measuring sensors many times over.
I looked up average fuel costs between Nova Scotia and Maine so I knew there was a possible significant advantage to fueling in the U.S. additionally, I got to thinking I was off on my calculations and you had as much as twice the range I initially figured which running the coast meant as you say it wasn’t THAT low.
I simply tend to start considering fuel when I draw a tank down to 25%, and in the winter around here I keep things full.
It’s a big advantage when you know your tanks are clean and with your filtration system what you get is going to be good. And confidence in your measuring devices certainly helps.
Without your experience and confidence in Dirona’s systems, I’d have still been worried myself.
Even so, from your posts the experience would have more than outweighed any concerns. Sounds like it was an extremely good time.
I 100% agree. As the fuel levels drop below 1/4, we pay much more attention. There are times like when doign a long crossing when it needs to happen but you are right it can make one nervous. In this case it didn’t need to happen but fuel at half the price made it a fairly interesting option from my perspective.
By the way, I installed the manually resetable dryer over temperature switch that you recommended earlier today. It works like a champ and, if it ever does trigger due to vent plugging, it can be reset by removing the back panel on the wet locker and reaching in the pushing the reset button on the fuse. Nice solution — thanks for the recommendation.
Cool I’m glad it worked for you and, if you like Chinese food make sure you grab the chopsticks. They make real “wooden dowels” to reset those types of switches.
Slow going due to the current and head wind?
Our current slow progress is due to a couple of knot current against us and our wanting to fuel when we get in. Because the fuel dock only has 6′ of water at low tide, we need to arrive a bit later to have ample water. We are aiming for 2:30pm and setting speed to achieve that schedule.
We last fueled in Boston nearly 2 months and 290 engine hours back so we are running fairly light with 336 gallons left on board in all four tanks. We’re driving to schedule right now and aiming for the harbor entrance at 2:30 and the fuel dock shortly thereafter.
Very cool to be back in the US. Two months is a long time between fueling for Dirona. Filters changed quite a bit?
Yes we did change the main engine primary fuel filter while up in Canada. It was last changed 6 months ago back in Florida so it went 414 hrs. Normally primary fuel filters run a couple of diesel tank fills but it varies between a low of 180 hrs to a high of 1,000 hrs. I change primary filters when vacuum starts to rise past 5″ of mercury, 1 year, or a 1,000 hrs whichever comes first. With the number of hours we run, the primaries are almost always changed on vacuum rather than hours or time.
In our fuel system design, the primary filters do the vast majority of the work. The 10 micron secondary filter and the 2 micron tertiary filter are changed on time. All fuel has been filtered at least twice before getting to the two on engine fuel filters so they only see fairly clean fuel.
Have you ever opened up the 10 micron secondary filter to see how much debris it’s picked up? I’m going to assume they have vacuum gauges on them, do you see any changes? I have a similar fuel setup and don’t see any swing on the secondary and when I pull them apart I can’t see any crud. But then I only do about 1000 gallons a year through them.
For on-engine filtration, we have a 10 micron followed by a 2 micron. I’ve never opened up the 2 micron filters but the 10s are easy to see. They catch nothing visible but are stained black so they are catching asphaltenes and other small stuff.
The on-engine filters do not have vcacuum guages (and 3rd stage filter is after the low pressure fuel pump so won’t ever show vacuum). The only signal that these need changing other than time is an ECU code complaining about out of spec pressures. It’s never happened but we have all fuel filtered twice (25 micron and 2 micron) before the first of the two on-engine filters even see it.
Good evening Jennifer and James
This is Sebastien, we have met you today in Halifax with Yvan my father and brother Frederik. We have enjoy meeting you, and would like to thank you for taking time to talk with us today. Thank you also for signing the book. I have read completely. It is a wonderful book. We are looking forward to stay in touch with you. And seeing you again.
Thanks for the visit yesterday and for the beautiful pen. We are underway to Lunenburg this morning in a gentle swell but with heavy fog. If the fog clears, we’ll stop and have a look at Peggy’s Cove and, if it doesn’t, we’ll just head directly to Lunenburg.
All the best on your boating adventures and we hope our paths cross again in the future.
While in Lunenberg, you may want to stop by Knickles ( red building} and pick up scallops fresh if one of their boats are in or fresh fresh frozen for your ships freezer, both are excellent. Bring cash as credit cards are not accepted. There is /was a n68 in port.
Yes, when we arrived we had a 134′ Scalloper beside on one side and the Nordhavn on the other. Knickles is just one pier over. The Nordhavn left last night to be replaced by a sailboat that, interestingly, also shows Seattle as a home port. In front of the Scalloper beside us is the Paul Johansen, a boat we used to see frequently when achoring in the Seattle area. So, there are three Seattle boats on 2 side-by-side piers.
The retail store is on Montague St, to the right of your dock . I looked over your boat this am , it looks well found and is attractive..
Thanks Peter. Feel free to drop by if you find yourself with some timme while we are in area.
What device do you use to record your personal tracks? You obviously carry it on your hikes as well as while in the tender. Just curious.
For tracking on hikes and other trips without Dirona we use an Android cell phone running Google My Tracks (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/MyTracks). For some reaason, Google recently stopped supporting My Tracks and it’s no longer available for download from the Play store.There are a large number of fitness focused apps available and we tested quite a few after Google announced the termination of My Tracks. Surprisingly, even the commercial apps weren’t that great. We ended up starting from an earlier version of My Tracks that had been released as open source. We built and made some fixes to it and that’s what we are currently using to record the personal tracks.
It’s hard to tell much about the water from the picture however, there is a crane on a barge I’ve seen along the Missouri River that could easily reach that far with that caboose.
Or they could have set it with a helicopter.
I use to wonder the same thing as most of the small railroad towns we ride through seem to have a caboose sitting in the middle of nowhere.
One farmer told me he set his by dragging it with a 1948 8N Ford tractor.
For sure, there are many barge hosted cranes with sufficient reach to get there from the water but there isn’t sufficient depth for a barge near to shore in that area. The Helicopter solution can lift up to 20,000 lbs but I think a rail caboose is closer to double that at 25 tons. I don’t know of a helicopter with the lift capacity. I suspect the person you met that dragged the caboose in via tractor was probably closest to the solution employed here. I’m guessing hard work, creativity, and patience were a big part of the solution.
J & J:
I did many pub crawls around Auckland in my student days, many years ago.
However your world wide pub crawl cruise is one for the books.
That’s great Rod and you are surprisingly close to the mark. If we had to boil it all down to a single sentance, the entire trip goal might be well best described by “pubs and views.”
So far what are your top three brews?
Hopefully one is from NZ
Speaking of views did you hike to the top of Rangitoto Island while in AUuckland?
We absolutely climbed Rangitoto while we were in Auckland: http://mvdirona.com/Trips/NewZealand2013/NewZealand2.html
It’s a great hike and the views back to Auckland are impressive.
For favorite beer, Jennifer’s is Kilkenny’s which, unfortunately isn’t local to New Zealand. However, as a sign of a highly civilized country, New Zealand grocery stores do sell it.
I am curious as to how long you have been using the Maretron system on your boat?
Are these failures of the sensors expected or unexpected based on time used?
At least to me it seems you have had a rash of sensors going bad so just wondering if this is from wear and tear or something deeper.
Tim, I’m pretty sure there has only been one Maretron device issue over the last 6 months and that was a recently discovered DSM250 that started producing bus errors. The other data related problems were a loose connection in the NMEA2000 bus cusing spurious noise which was a simple fix not requiring device replacement. We also replaced a Northern Lights generator oil pressure sensor.
The Maretron components seem to be quite stable and we’re generally pretty happy with it.
A quick update. When I reported earlier that I had only had one Maretron device failure in the last 6 months, it looks like that one failure should actually zero. I took out the “faulty” DSM250 today that was producing all the bus errors and it tested out fine. The problem cause was a poorly fabricated field installable cable between the main bus and the DSM250 producing the errors.
That is two connection problems in the last 6 months. One a loose knurled connection between a Tee fitting and the power lower inserter and the other was this bad drop cable. Good news across the board.
In your photo you are showing the the hydrualic oil leak to a weeping O-ring repair. I notice there are 3 one gallon antifreeze or coolant containers… would it be a concern that perhaps where these gallon jugs are stored could be punctured from the surrounding sharp edges or hose connections. I ask because I am always on the look out for potential problems. ex: why is there coolant in the bilge pump
Yes, you are right Gregg. I have in the past had leaks of almost every stored liquid. Causes range from using excessively thin plastic containers, old containers where the plastic is getting more brittle, placing them on uneven surfaces where the point loads are excessive, and abrasion from nearby equipment interfering with vibration. It took a few faults in the first couple of years to find those places where things were right but it’s been pretty good for the last few years.
These decisions are a bit of a ballancing act in that it’s a small boat and we like to carry a lot of fluids and spares so we need to use spaces that are small and perhaps not ideal. Choosing good locations and using strong containers goes a long way to eliminating the problem but boats in rough water can take a real beating so there will be leaks. That’s why we keep the bilge dry. If there is a leak, we can see what it is right away and eliminiate the problem quickly.
This is also why we find super tiny hydraulic or other leaks that have not yet made a mess or caused any operational problem. Even trace residues are noticed so, for example, the last O-ring we replaced hadn’t leaked more than a couple of ounces before being detected and fixed.
When it comes to leaks, fixing early is cleaner, less likely to lead to equipment failures, and way less work to clean up.
Hi, is anybody else having difficulty viewing the map? I had access for the last week or so, however the last two days I keep getting a “Loading Map….” in-place of the map.
James and Jennifer we really enjoy your site, get technical as well as travel log. Keep up the great work!….and most important enjoy!
Thanks for letting us know Steve. We found an issue that showed up in specific browsers and just uploaded a fix. Could you please refresh the page and let us know if you still see the issue?
Thanks Jennifer, your fix was successful, I can now see the map again. Thanks!
Excellent. Glad to hear it Steve.
No pictures of Dirona and Theodore Tugboat?
Even better, here is live footage of Dirona between Theodore Tugboat and the HMCS Sackville, with CSS Acadia on the other side of Theodore: http://www.novascotiawebcams.com/en/webcams/museum-wharves/
Excellent parking spot. Saw it on Dreamers. Hope to see a few high-res pictures later. How are you getting up on the dock? Is there a lower not visible on the camera? Hope your shoulder is better!
You can’t see it from the camera view, but we’re tied off to a floating dock similar to Theodore, with a ramp up to the wharf that is not visible on the right of the shot.
It’s an awesome spot right downtown. We walked to the Historic Properties last night and had dinner along the waterfront while watching the ferries go back and forth to Dartmouth. Then we walked to the commercial port along the waterfront boardwalk, stopped in at a local brewpub and finished the evening on the flybridge. Halifax is a very cool city.
We’ll post some higher-res pictures soon. And my shoulder is doing well, thanks for asking. I still have the annoying pin to deal with, but no pain or nerve issues.
PS the formatting was lost!!
Thanks Rod. Both you and Steven have helped me better understand what exactly a #30 mesh is. I’m still thinking this one through so appreciate the additional data.
I looked at the specs for those strainers and the wire mesh screens are most likely standard mesh screens
Mesh Size (assuming square mesh) 30 40 50
Opening size (inch) 0.0234 0.0165 0.0117
Nominal wire diameter mm 0.39 0.29 0.45
% open area 30 31.40 20.35
Assuming you opted for 30 mesh, depending on the diameter of the wire used to weave the screen % open area changes
Wire Diameter % Open area
0.381 mm 30.1
0.191 mm 59.9
The strainer manufacturer should be able to give you the % open area
Hope this helps
PS I spent 40 years in the abrasive industry where screens are intrinsic to the abrasive grain sizing process
Sherewink looks a little shallow. Where ya’ going?
Yes, that was a very shallow passage and, at some points, the buoy placement and channel routing are very different from our charts. Now that we are out in open ocean, the wind is on the bow and the swell is bigger than expected so we will likely tuck in soon. Perhaps Port Howe.
Would make sense to add a strainer or coarse filter in-line after impellers so that when they do fail, it would be quicker and easier to find and remove the debris? Maybe just raw water impellers since they have a higher chance of obstructions which could cause impeller failure.
Good suggestion Andrew. Currently there is a “strainer” of sorts. They heat exchanger captures any impeller parts but, to open it up, requires draining the coolant out of the system. Having a strainer inline ahead of the heat exchanger would be a nice setup. Even nicer for the hydraulic system where the heat exchanger is far more difficult to access and clean. Because the heat exchanger in either case will be partially blocked by broken impeller fins, it’s important to invventory the impeller that is being removed and, if any parts are missing, to find and remove them.
If I can find any small in-line 3/4″ strainers that are robust (since this is a below the water line application), I’ll give it a try. Thanks!
Depends on what you mean by “Robust” James,
You could also search for Zurn Strainers.
Those look super strong but the screens look fine enough and small enough that I would worry about flow reduction since we don’t have 10s of PSI of water pressure helping us in this case. I like the idea though. This strainer is much courser screen so less likely to plug and it has much more surface area to cut down on the flow reduction: https://www.amazon.com/Female-Water-Strainer-stainless-screen/dp/B00BGBZC0K/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1441801204&sr=8-7&keywords=vacmotion
The dowside of this unit is it’s nylon ratehr than metal but nylon is fairly durable and used in some below the waterline through hull applications.
You know what you are trying to strain better than I do, if you’ve found something that will work go for it.
I just want to point out since you appear hesitant about using nylon, that you can get different screen options. The size of these strainers of course will always limit you on surface area however, how big do the impellor particles have to be before they are an issue? Is that all you are trying to catch?
Of course it would be nice to catch everything however, is a particle the size of a grain of sand really going to cause an issue especially since they appear to be something other than metal?
I randomly picked the spec sheet for one of the strainers. Scroll down and look at the screen options. The standard #20 (twenty strands per inch) is larger than a #50 (fifty strands per inch). There are also options for perforated cages.
If you where planning a hydronic system with hundreds if not thousands of feet of pipe and circulating pumps on a VFD, pressure drop across a particular fitting would be a consideration. On Dirona I can’t imagine you’d see a difference.
I’ve been wrong before though.
Forgot to include the link
Thanks Steven. I like the Watts parts because they are bronze rather than plastic. My only concern is the relatively small screen surface area on these units. These raw water pumps move large volumes of water but don’t produce much pressure so back pressure is a problem.
For this application more screen area would be helpful. And, as you guessed, I really only need to block debris down to 1/4″ or so so very course screens down around 10 strands per inch would be fine. The standard 20 strands would probably also be fine but I think I need fairly substantial screen surface area to avoid risk of plugging or back pressure causing the pump impeller to fail earlier.
Thanks as alwasy for your suggestions.
Well, if you have room for a scoop strainer and really want bronze take a look at these.
I don’t know if it would make much difference since the scoop is still made of some type of plastic. They are however intended for marine raw water applications.
What you’ve already picked seems to be just as good to me though.
I saw a lot in interesting stuff (to me anyway) in their catalog.
As always, very helpful Steven. I’m actually comming around to your original recommendation to use the Watts LF777 with a #20 screen. Apparently my earlier posting that these vane pumps are not able to produce much pressure was incorrect and they can do upwards of 40 PSI (from Bob Senter of Northern Lights). Still, even with the ability to produce pressure, back pressure is worth avoiding since it can lead to early impeller failure.
The more I think through the options and the more advice I get, the more I like the metal Watts for it’s vibration and heat stability and it’s ease of service. A #20 screen is all we need and it’s quite coarse so back pressure is less of a concern.
You also sent some other strainer possibilities including the Groco ARG strainer. That is what is on the intake to protect the pump. There are is one big strainer for each of HVAC, Generator, Wing Engine, Hydraulics, and water maker. All the other systems except the water maker need no further filtration. What we are contemplating here is putting a course strainer after the circulation pump on the gen, wing, and hydraulic system to catch failed pump impeller parts when one fails. All three of these systems use 3/4″ hoses so the 3/4″ Watts LF777 with a #20 strainer might just solve the problem. I leaning towards giving it a try. Thanks for the design help.
On the raw pump impeller did you replace the rubber o ring or clean it up and reuse also how would you clean up the mating surfaces? Would you use a fine scotch brite pad?
I usuall remove the O-ring, clean it, lube it with Silicon and while I do that I will have felt it all the way around. If I find any nicks or imperfections, I replace it. I usually clean the the face with fine emery cloth. Your suggestion of Scotch Bright pads is a far better solution.
This time I just slapped in another impeller and didn’t clean up the surface or even check the O-Ring since I just replaced the impeller 2 monnths ago and everthing has been recently cleaned and looks good.
James, Jennifer and Spitfire,
We are three weeks out from our N40 Due North trip leaving from Vancouver. Any destinations within a 100 miles or so you would recommend? We have six days total. Any advice would be appreciated!
There is a lot of really great cruising in that area. You could go North to Desolation sound but it’s tight in 6 days. Princess Luisa inlet is incredible but it’s a fair distance as well and it’ll be crowded and will require stern tieing. The Sunshine Coast is much nearer and very nice but I think the best trip for your timeframe is to cross the straight of Georgia which will give you some time in open water to get a feel for the boat. Then you have go through the Gabriolla passage. Anchor in Silva Bay — perhaps head in for dinner at the pub. You have to time the currents in Gabriolla passage. Another option is to go across to the Nanaimo and visit there and then head south down through Dodd Narrows. Again you need to time the current correctly.
Whichever passage you elect to cross, you are then in the Gulf Islands with an amazing variety of places to visit and anchor. Pick up a copy of the Wagonner Cruising guide to get a view of all the great locations. Some to look for: Montague Harbour, Prevost Island, Ganges Harbor, Thetus Island, Pirates Cove, and Silva Bay. You could spend months in that area and still be enjoying it. Have fun!
On the sunshine coast side are three good destinations – easy to reach – a) Pender Harbor (John Henry’s), b) Secret Cove and, c) Back Eddy Marina to walk over to Sechelt Rapids. This summer we took a brief side trip into Desolation but blew past the normal anchorages (and crowds) to visit the newly refurbished docks at Toba Inlet Marina. Wonderful cruising, no crowds and relatively close. Without going that far north we really do like Silva Bay. The anchorage has had derelicts cleaned out but anchoring is still tight during high season. We like Pages Resort for the new docks there and easy walk to the Pub. Gabriola Passage always seems much easier than Dodd Narrows. Less traffic and a clear shot (no blind corners).
James mentions Prevost Island – 4 different bays of varying natures. We like the solitude of Annette Cove there.
Thank you both. I just got the 2016 Cruising Guide as you recommended so I will have to read up on some locations! Rob mentioned the Gulf Islands and with only six days we will probably stay around there.
Good plan Timothy. Have a great time in the Gulf Islands. It’ll be a good chance to enjoy one of the nicest cruising grounds in the world while learning about True North specifically and Nordhavn’s in general.
Another big Oops:
This is a video of damage the Carnival Vista did coming into an Italian port; it would have been horrendous if you were staying in the marina!
With some of the stays you have had in marinas near large ship traffic, it is fortunate you haven’t witnessed any major accidents.
I’ll check out the video when we are on cheaper connectivity but, yes, these events due happen periodically. My father worked for BC Ferries in Victoria so I used to hear about the odd mistake where reverse gear couldn’t be engaged or a captain came into the dock a bit hot. It’s amazing how fast even “small” accidents can run up into the millions of dollars. A friend had his boat totalled in British Columbia’s Horshoe Bay in an event that sounds similar to the Carnival Vista accident but the Vista is nearly 3 times the size and packs a far bigger punch.
It’s usually recreational boat operators that pose the biggest risk and there are more of them around small boat marinas — we have been lucky to avoid being on the recieving end of one of these mishaps.
James & Jennifer
I am still lurking around and watching your journey so felt compelled to give you a heads up(I know you really do not need it) on that low pressure system that could be coming your way soon. Check “Hermine” and its track. May want to find a hurricane hole pretty soon so you have someplace to duck into and wait this one out.
Love those Maretron shots!
Yes, thanks Tim. We have been watching it closely. The current prognosis is that it will disapate before reaching us this far north but we’ll watch it carefully.
Hi James and Jennifer,
Just felt I had to check in again with many grateful thanks for your brilliant travelogue on a part of the world I’d like to see but most likely won’t get to unless the Powerball comes up. 🙂
Keep on truckin’ and enjoying your journey.
BTW I thought aircraft electronics and hydraulics were tricky, much I have learnt from you.
Thanks for the feedback on the blog Gary. In some ways modern boats are comparable or even more complex than aircraft in that we have a 240V system, a 120V systems, a 24v system, a 12v systems, two sets of start batteries, a house battery bank, a fresh water systems, and grey water system, a black water system, a main engine, an auxilary engine, a generator, a high pressure hydraulic system, many bilge pumps, 2 RADARS, 2 depth sounders, a hydraulic Crane for the tender, the tender and all of it’s systems, washer/dryer, dishwasher, garbage compactor, a NMEA2000 bus throughout, and multiple computers. There is a lot of equipment and some issues are complex to chase down but, most of the actual fixes aren’t that difficult if you have the parts, tools, and technical documentation. Preparation is key.
Hi James and Jennifer, any chance your going to travel to Toronto? If you do, I would love to get together.
We lived in Toronto for a decade and would love to anchor off Ontario place and visit Toronto but it’s not looking like we’ll have time to get into Lake Ontario on this trip. If we could pass through the Erie Canal on the way back out we would do it but we can’t make it through the canal.
Interesting to hear of the engine mount deterioration.
Did you measure the 1/4″ lift requiremet from the thickness difference between the old and new mounts or did you have the height above the stringer recorded (I would not be at all surprised if you had!)?
Once again your recent maintenance news never ceases to amaze me with your on board ‘spare parts warehouse’!
The measurement trick was just a quick and dirty way to get the engine alignment close to the original alignment without having to disconnect the prop shaft and do it right. What I did is measure the rear mount isolator height since they haven’t failed and the isolation material is still at the original height. I then set the front mount height to be the same. It’s a primitive solution to an application where thousanths of an inch are critical but it was a quick fix that kept us moving and the vibration went from fairly bad to not noticable.
This solution is temporary but it will hold us for a while. However, we clearly need to do something soon since the plastic isolation material in the front mounts is simply crumbling away to a pile of dust. 6 1/2 years is very early for an engine mount failure and I’m used to seeing mounts fail slowly over months to years rather than days.
In the picture labeled alignment, there is what looks like a swege-loc fitting or it may simply be a regular compression that has a copper line running from it.
It looks like copper dust around the fitting and from the picture that copper line looks like it could be rubbing.
Might be something to check on your next engine room visit.
I saw that as well and it is a critical compoent. That’s an pressure oil line toaking oil up to the power take off gears. That PTO is used by trucks to run the air pump for breaks and other air accessories. The PTO not used on Dirona but the oil line is still there. Before I noticed it, it had worn a small mark into the mount. I gently bent the oil line away from the mount and then when I did my quick and dirty alignment, the engine is up nearly a 1/4″ at the front and this moves the oil line away as well. With the slight bend I put in the pipe, it can no longer touch even on mount failure. This line breaking could cause engine failure due to lack of engine oil pressure or it could cause fire due to oil spraying around hot metal parts.
That’s an important one. Thanks for reading the picture carefully Steve.
It’s always hard to tell something like that from a picture but, I see a lot of copper rubbing against something so the indicators always draw my attention rather quick.
Glad you caught it before it became serious.
Yes, I’ll bet that working in the HVAC industry you get very sensitive to any evidence of rubbing copper lines. Thanks for noticing the rubbing oil line.
Living in the tropics we continually run into this problem with a lot of the “indestructible plastics” turning to powder overnight. Even the really super tough poly bushes for 4wd vehicles turn to powder almost overnight. This also happens to stored items. Foam air filters will crumble to powder after a couple of years even if still in the manufacturers original packing. So far we haven’t figured out a way to prevent this from happening but tend to do early replacement of these materials “just in case”. Old fashioned rubber wears but doesn’t fail in this way though.
Safe trip for you three. Slow and steady I see. Light traffic too?
Yes, exactly Timothy. We have good weather and light traffic. We saw three container ships in the 20 nautical mile radius around the boat, was passed by the Sydney to Newfoundland ferry and then had to divert slightly to avoid the path of the ferry running the opposite direction on the same route.
The boat is set up to arrive at the channel that forms the northern entrance to Bras D’Or Lake at 8am this morning. That’s 1:15 hour before the current swings from ebb to flood. We have read the max current is 4.5kts and, with opposing wind and current, the waves can build up substantially. We expect a south wind as we arrive so will start with the tail end of the ebb and pay a bit of fuel to work against it but avoid the wind against current of the flood. Because we are driving to a relaxed arrival schedule, we only needed to average 5.8 kts and are currently running 5.9 kts at 1.8 nautical miles per gallon. We last filled the fuel tanks in Boston more than a month back and we still have 889 gallons left — just about exactly 50% of our internal tank fuel load — after having cover a lot of ground.
It takes a lot of planing taking Dirona to all of your hidden locations. I am hoping to learn about it when we are on Due North next month. It seems to be very intimidating.
Having most of the spares we need is really not challenging at all Timothy. It takes some thought, some research, and some discussion with the manufacturer to figure out what spares to carry and which to only ship when needed. Then it takes some work ordering them all. Finally, they need to be stored in sealed containers safe from vibrration and environmental damage. And, you neeed to have an inventory of what you have and where it all is. It’s a ton of work but just requires requires attention to detail and follow-through but it really isn’t very difficult.
One detail that is easy to miss, is what tools are needed to change the part? For example, having a spare starter won’t help if a special tool is required to change it.
We sometimes don’t have the ideal tools or don’t have a particular part and, when that happens, we have to improvise and that can be both challenging and time consuming. So far, we have always found a way to keep things running and have not had to divert the trip or delay it for service.
We try very hard to make service something that is never done in an emergency under time pressure and to have the parts and tools to always be able to continue the trip without diversion or delay.
Sorry James, I was referring to the tides, depth and current when I made the intimidating comment. You always plan for those in great detail. With the news about N4748 the importance of a safe, navigable route was again brought to everyone’s attention. Here in Southern California the coast is made for large ships so when leaving Long Beach I never have to worry about tides or bars, and only worry about the mechanical. With the Vancouver trip coming up I hope to get some Dirona-type experience on coves, anchoring and tidal considerations. We have not chose our itinerary yet, other than leaving from Vancouver, so with a six day charter we should be able to find some good place to go.
Sorry for the mis-read on that one Timothy. Yes, tides and currents are a big issue. In the Kimberley region of Australia they have the second largest tides in the world with more than 30′ of range. You technically could actually anchor in 40′ of water and end up on ground if you weren’t careful. We are currently in a very small exchange area but the nearby Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world wit a range of more than 50′ making it a truely challenging area to anchor unless you are willing to have the boat lie on the bottom at low tide as the locals do.
You also mentioned current. Our previous boat had much higher HP to displacement and twin engines so we could force our way against currents as high as 6 kts and still have enough control left to manage wirlpools and overfalls. With our current boat, we have less power and a lot more boat in the water so we need to be careful of currents. If the flow is laminar we can carefully work our way through fairly currents. In working our way up the Columbia River, we saw some places where we could only get up to 1.5 kts with wide open throttle (should be 9.5 kts at that power level). On the way down river, we exceeded 15 kts at one point. Where there are whirlpools and overfalls and there there are strong cross currents we need to be super careful and generally try to avoid much more than 3 kts in these conditions.
I am very happy with my 6′ of Long Beach tide although Vancouver is 14′ or more this time of year. I have a lot to learn!
Hello James and Jennifer,
The answer is probably obvious, but seeing the obvious isn’t something I’m known for.
Quite a few years ago I read a blog posting where you wrote about stern tying in BC, so this question came to mind.
Finding anchorages doesn’t seem to be a problem for you in NFLD. But, depths seem to be a bit of a issue, so I’m wondering if stern tying is an option there. It seems like many of the anchoring situations that arise in NFLD are quite similar to the inlets in BC.
Or, do the walls of the inlets you’ve been to just drop straight into the depths?
Yes, Newfoundland has a lot in common with British Columbia anchorages and stern tieing is a great way to make narrow anchorages, anchorages that quickly ledges off into deep water work, or very busy anchorages work. We do stern tie with Dirona but not frequently. I think the last time might have been Teakern Arm BC.
Stern tieing is very much an option but there are a few reasons why we no longer do it very frequently: 1) Dirona is 110,000 lbs so the stern tie has to be very solid both in attachment and in line strength, 2) Dirona has a lot of above water draft and, if the stern tie had it sideways to the winds and the winds were strong, the side forces would be incredibly high, and 3) we have been finding good anchorages without stern tieing and generally stern tieing is more work. But we are equipped to do it and it’s one of the tools we have at our disposal to make an otherwise difficult anchorage work.
Looks like your blog is now popular enough for a spam filter!
No, nothing new on the comment spam front Andrew. It’s a constant war. I have automated tools that remove the vast majority of it and then what you see show up I have to remove by hand. So far the blog has had 4,544 spam comments but only 2,215 non-spam. They are slightly ahead :-).
I saw this article recently and thought of you guys, having seen the vessels involved recently in Boston:
After videoing how close those boats need to operate when docking and undocking, it’s super interesting to see this report. Thanks for pointing it out. I’ll write up a short blog entry on it.
After you taped off the engine with protective plastic preparing to paint the engine torsional damper how did you paint it ? Did you turn the engine over ? manually ? and how did you get the inside of the engine torsional damper painted. The quality of the paint job looks very good.
I used Rustoleum white spray paint on the Torsional Damper. It ended up being difficult to really do a super good job on since it’s surrounded by black parts, the drive belt, and other parts that are best not painted. The inside of the tamper proved impossible to paint without heavily coating the belt and or pulley. I could probably have removed the belt but it didn’t seem worth it and the net result is that the inside of the damper is not painted but it’s also not visible. I turned the engine over using an 1 1/4″ socket on the crank shaft front pulley.
A couple of questions if I may:
1 Do you know who owns the land in Newfoundland? Is it private or public? It looks very rugged and seemingly only supports small fishing communities. Can anyone build a hut like those you have seen in the remore locations?
2 Are moose protected from hunting? Indeed do they even make good eating? In New Zealand wild deer were/are hunted for their meat and the venison was judged to taste better than farmed venison because of their different diet – rather as wild salmon taste different from farmed salmon.
Over 90% of the land in Newfoundland is owned by the province. Residents who wish to build a remote cabin on Crown lands need to apply for a “remote recreational cottage” license from the provincial government and if approved are granted a five-year renewable lease. Non-residents cannot hold these licenses.
Moose are hunted for food and sport in Newfoundland. Moose meat is an important food staple in the traditional diet across the province, and has become an important ingredient in a number of traditional Newfoundland dishes. Residents obtain a license through an annual big-game lottery and non-residents can obtain a license through one of the province’s outfitting companies.
Thanks for that reply. I will be interested to get your verdict on moose meat if you get the chance to try it. That, it seems, could take a while as your itinerary is way off the tourist trail and the choice of restaurants so far appears to be zilch.
I have had the pleasure of moose steaks at my brother’s place in Alaska. What we had were thick steaks on the BBQ. Real good (but not tender beef).
Yes, definitely a lack of restaurants in this area. So unless Spitfire switches from fishing to big game, we’ll not likely be tasting moose any time soon.
Hi James.. I see you run Lenovo monitors in your pilot house . Do you also run Lenovo PC’s for your Nav computer? Andy on, N62 Infinity, wants to upgrade the computer running his Nobeltec and I am recommending Lenovo brand with solid state drives. I am in IT business and Lenonvo/IBM is my brand of choice.
What has your experience been?
I chose the Lenovo monitors because they were very small framed (mostly screen), relatively thin, and good value. I bought spares but haven’t yet used any. Generally Lenovo quality appears to be very good.
The Nav PC is a custom built unit where I focused on very small case size since I don’t have much space in the install location, low power since it’s on 24×7, low fan noise (since it’s on 24×7). Another factor in a custom built computer is we are very dependent upon that unit and need it running. So, I have every part on hand from CPU through memory and disks — only the case does have a spare tucked away somewhere on the boat. The primary disk is an SSD like the Lenovo you are recommending for Andy. Lenovo makes good gear.
Nobeltec recommends a dedicated video card but am trying to stay away from this as is a high failure item.
Do you run a video card or just use the onboard motherboard graphics? I guess if the video card failed the onboard would work. Or as you say he could get a spare video card as they are only about $100.
The new Lenovo Tiny would fit the bill as small, no fans, SSD, and an external power brick like a laptop. 50% less power than a PC too.
That’s a nice looking system and it’s smaller than what we are currently using. We don’t use a separate video card and just run off the motherboard supplied graphics support.
You have enough beautiful pictures to make your own 2017 calendar on this destination!
Yes, it’s true that Newfoundland has been incredible. The amazing thing is we have not seen a single recreational cruiser the entire time and it’s been almost a week since we have seen anybody at all. With the busy US east coast so near, Newfoundland should have 100s of boats. The weather is great in August and the scenery is world class.
Yes, you pretty much have the whole inlet to yourselves! http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/centerx:-56/centery:48/zoom:7
Yes, world class natural beauty and just about nobody in the entire area. It’s amazing what a lightly discovered gem Newfoundland is.
It’s all fantastic. I am surprised you haven’t seen a moose yet. Until then, you can’t really say you have been to NFLD.
Wow, just after reading your posting, we were sitting around the dinner table saying, “we just aren’t going to see a moose.” Sure, they may be shy but we have been up on the highest points in the area where we can see for miles in all directions with unbroken hills rolling off to the limits we can see and yet, no Moose. If we can’t see any under those circumstances, I’m convinced they simply aren’t here. It really looks like there is a good chance we will leave Newfoundland without having seen a Moose.
As we are sitting outside in the cockpit I’m laying out this argument that Moose just must not be in this area, Jennifer yells “Moose!” and dives for the binoculars. It’s true. Way up on the top of the cliffs looming straight above us there are clearly a set of massive horns in outline back lit against the late evening sky. I went for the camera and we have now documented evidence of a very large and mature Moose sighting and our visit to Newfoundland is now official. He spent quite a while looking down on us so, if there is any credit for mutual sightings, we got that too :-).
Later today we’ll post the picture of what might be the only Moose left in Southern Newfoundland.
They are just like that. We didn’t see any on our entire drive up the Northern Peninsula, and I was really disappointed. Then, when we got to our B&B, there were three of them hanging out under the clothesline in the backyard.
Moose: “I bet I am not going to see a Nordhavn this year…
… look, a N52 down there!!! Is that a cat on deck?”
You know, I suspect you might be right. The moose spent quite while stairing down on us from his perch nearly 1,000′ above.
That 65X zoom on your SX60 is amazing!
Yes, the Canon SX60 is a respectable camera and an amazing value at $400. When we started boating back in 1999 we spent a long time deciding between a prosumer camera that we expected to replace every 2 years or a high end SLR. We were and are convinced that boating pictures are very dependent on long lenses (you often aren’t close enough) and on image stabilization (poor light conditions or long lenses).
We spent a long time thinking through the options but the SLR options with long, good quality, lenses and auto-focus were astronomically expensive. We have destroyed three cameras over the 17 year period. One started producing E19s (error code) while shooting pictures in mixture of rain and snow in northern BC — everything was soaked for hours in a row. Another got hit by a unusual wave while jennifer was taking a shot forward. One was lost to a small tender flipping in good sized waves where we both where pushing our luck and ended up in the water. Having less expensive cameras means we use them in the rain, in the snow, in high risk situations, and it’s always around my neck. Sometimes bashing against cliffs as we climb down but it’s there and available. It’s not heart breaking if it fails and we have a spare on board since the trip is worth more than the camera.
What we gave up in the early days was lightening fast focus, faster operation in general, and a bit of crispness in some shots. As time goes on, the prosumer cameras get faster and these differences get smaller and less material and we are pretty happy with the choice we made to go with prosumers cameras.
James and Jennifer:
Welcome back to Canada.
I see you have broken out the cooler weather gear – hopefully you won’t need the next warmer iteration of clothing.
1. Always impressed by the range of spare parts you have on hand – for example a spare fog horn. How do you decide whcih parts to carry?
2. Looking forward to the write up on the harmonic balancer replacement
That’s a great question Rod. You can’t carry every possible part so the game is how close can you come to carrying every part we need. We do fairly well. In 8,100 hours of crusing on this boat and 4,100 hours on the previous boat, we have never had to wait in port for parts, divert destination, or head back early.
We chose parts based upon a combination of factors: 1) manufacturers recommendations, 2) listening on the cruising forms to what breaks, 3) opinion on what looks strong and what looks like it might break, 4) nearly 20 years experience, and 5) ballancing out risk of fault, do we have some backup or would it be catastrophic (were there is no backup plan, we tend to have more spares).
The for horn as an example, is the same we have had on two boats and we know they are only good for to 3 years if getting hammered by ocean waves.
The harmonic ballancer replacement was an adventure. The part ordered came in wrong. The next part that was ordered came in wrong again. There were no parts available so it was looking like we were going to have to put the old one back on when the good folks at Deere managed to have one made and expressed shipped. It’s got more than 100 hours on it now and seems to be working well.
Your arrival in Newfoundland reminded me of Captain Cook’s remarkable survey of the coastline, harbours and hydrograhy back in the 1760s, following the Treaty of Paris 1763. The first islands he surveyed were St Peirre and Miquelon, because it was agreed the French could keep them provided they were not fortified and Pitt wanted an accurate map. He went on to survey the whole 6000 mile coastline of Newfoundland and its waters, sealing his reputation as a great hydrographer. Furthermore, in August 1776, when surveying the Burgeo islands he knew there was to be an eclipse of the sun and completed an observation of the eclipse which was later reported at the Royal Society in London. This was to lead him to being commisssioned by the RS to observe the transit of Venus in Tahiti in later years and to his epic round the world voyages and exploration of the Pacific, including numerous Pacific islands, New Zealand and, of course, Australia.
Before this he was also one of principal surveyors of the St Lawrence river, which helped Wolfe win his famous victory. It was thiis work that brought him to the attention of the Admiralty as a man of “genius and capacity”. It will interesting to learn if his pioneering work is still acknowledged in Newfoundland.
David, thanks for the background on Cook’s contributions in Newfoundland. Having rounded the world, we have been amazed at how many different places where we found references to Cook and his contributions to world exploration, navigation, and even, as you mentioned, astronomy. We have collected a large number of pictures of plaques commemorating Cooks contribution in all over the world.
Unfortunately, in Newfoundland, it appears that Cooks charts are still in use and, as good as he was, GPS does make a difference :-). Charts here are frequently out of registration by 100s of yards and lack detail in many areas but the natural beauty is incredible. Newfoundland is a cruising gem.
I think we are all pleased that technology has moved on over the past 250 years! Perhaps for the local fishermen his charts are still good enough?
Out of curiosity I rechecked his biography, by Richard Hough, who records that his equipment consisted of a “theodolite…drawing instruments…two or three azimuth compasses…and a number of pendants of any colour to put as signals on different points for taking the angles as the survey goes on”. It is thought he would have used a sextant as well, which he would already possess. Some of the measurements were probably made from the mast head (according to a A Treatise of Maritime Surveying published a few years later). He had one assistant. I think Cook deserves a bit of slack as the pioneer 🙂
Cook’s charts are good but the area could definitely use a survey using technology from this century. However, from a natural beauty perspective, Newfoundland is hard to beat. It’s an gem.
Newman’s not only dominated the south coast fishery, but also started the lucrative port trade–wine from Portugal would be brought over on the fishing ships and cellared in NFLD. You can buy a bottle with your name on the label at the main liquor store in St Johns.
Newmans was doing both seafood and spirits? They almost had all the food groups covered! 🙂
We have this cool anchorage today anchored at a water fall. Second time in two days with a waterfall. Today we climbed up to the highest point of land in the area and had lunch with a 360 degree view of the area. We’re loving Newfoundland.
Here’s the best part. The port was aged in rum barrels, brought up from the Caribbean after unloading a cargo of salted cod. Maybe a model the Amazon marketing department should look at?
If I get to live in Newfoundland while we execute on that plan, I’m all in! Third anchorage in 3 days with a waterfall. The steady stream of natural beauty is starting to get monotonous 🙂
It must be difficult not to become desensitized to natural beauty. When traveling by one type of vehicle only, a couple of hours takes the magic away for us, regardless of the initial shock.
Never for us. Partly because we travel in pretty diverse areas ranging from atols in the pacific, way north in Prince William Sound, up the Columbia and Snake river system to Idaho, Hawaii, Palmyra, Fiordland, Tasmania, Australia Kimberley region, Capetown, Caribbean Islands, and Newfoundland. All very different and all pretty amazing. Newfoundland alone is a pretty amazing destination and I suspect we could go quite a few months before we lost our current wide eyed amazement.
I think the flag you have identified as French in the Gaultois picture may actually be the flag of Newfound pre-Confederation (1949). It still gets a lot of use.
Good catch Karen–thank you for pointing out my error. Having just now done more reading on Newfoundland flag history than I ever anticipated, that is the Newfoundland Tricolor, an unofficial flag popular in Newfoundland since the early 1900s. I could be wrong, but as near as I can tell the Newfoundland pre-Confederation flag was the Union Jack.
Glad to see it has smoothed out! It must be beautiful scenery.
We are still too far out to see anything but water but we’re absolutely looking forward to it. We expect to be arriving mid-afternoon. It’s been more than 6 months since we last anchored. This is perhaps the longest we have gone without anchoring in our more than 16 years of boating.
Was the first cove too crowded?
The inner cove has steeper more attractive hillsides and is a nice anchorage. And, as you guessed, the outer cove has 15 or 20 houses. The current anchhorage is very picturesque.
Just dropped the tender down and finished breakfast so we’ll plan to head out to explore.
That wreck is an awesome backdrop for an anchorage. Very jealous!
You know Tim it’s kind of funny. I was thinking the wrecked ship was kind of “in the way” of the scenery when we first arrived. But, as it turns out, you are 100% right. It’s a great backdrop to dinner and drinks on the aft deck. We are loving Newfoundland — this is exactly our type of cruising.
Happy Belated Birthday James. May you have another year full of adventure and smooth waters!
Thanks Timonthy. A pretty hard to beat birthday anchored in front of a waterfall on a wonderful suny day hiking up 500′ above the anchorage. Newfoundland is a very cool destination.
Hi James –
Glad to see you’re having a good leg out of Boston. I looked closer at your systems display in the most recent picture and had a question – why are you showing a 0.7 Amp discharge on your house battery? Was there just a short term hi draw at the moment of the screen capture? I also noticed that the Main Start Alt seems to be up to temperature indicating its producing current but the Main Alt looks like it’s at ambient engine room temp? I can’t imagine there isn’t a logical reason for all of the above.
Hi Greg. You are right. It’s been a wonderful smooth run out of Boston. We checked into Canada at Lockport Nova Scotia this morning and are back underway to Newfoundland. There is a weather system not far off shore in this area so we are starting to pitch a bit. Not extreme at all but not nearly as nice as the run up from Boston.
You were asking why are we showing a negative charge rate? When the batteries are fully charged it shows negative about 1/2 the time and positive about 1/2 the time. It just moves back and forth around 0 as load go up and get ahead of the alternator regulators, the draw goes negative. As loads fall and again get ahead of the regulators, the charge rate goes positive. What you saw in that screen capture is pretty typical.
The other question is why is the main start alternator running at around 200F whereas the main alternator is down around 120F. Under heavy loads, they both run hard and will show temperatures up in the 250F range. When loping along with light loads, sometimes one will catch the load and sometimes the other. It doesn’t make much difference — either alternator is happy to drive these light loads and, if the load go up, they both will be there going hard. And, if either fails, the other will take over transparently.
The swing on the ammeter is pretty wide as the system is configured. I have seen draws of up to -300A when running short duration heavy loads without a power sourse. And, when charging flat out, it’ll push up to +300A. There is a good reason those battery cables are so fat.
It’s nice to be only 2 1/2 days out of Newfoundland. We’re looking forward to spending some time back in the wilds.
Just as I thought – a completely logical explanation! Is there a cpu like a Balmar managing the alternators? Are they both rated to the same amperage? Was the generator running at the time? Seems like low draw on the alternators for as high a current as the inverters were delivering.
Enjoy the wilds! I’m envious. Spent a couple nights in the San Juans last week – hoping to get out again soon. Walked the docks in Anacortes today and saw another 52 along with a 47 from Kiel and a 55 plus a couple 40’s, a 46 and even a 35. Almost a Nordhavn rendezvous!
You know, in absolute numbers, there really aren’t that many Nordhavn’s in the world but we seem to see them absolutely everywhere.
The regulators are, as you said, effectively small CPUs that watch voltage and adjust charge rate to a programmable curve depending upon charge stage and voltage. We use Balmar 624 regulators on Dirona and used 612 on our previous boat.
You were asking if the generator was on. No, we produce 9KW from the main engine so never need to run the generator when underway. We can run the dryer, the oven, and the A/C units off the main engine. At the dock, we run on shore power whether 50hz or 60hz and never run the generator even when plugged into very low capacity shore power. We are fairly heavy power consumers — we run the boat like a small condominium — so the generator runs 3 times a day when we are at anchor so it does get used fairly heavily. The generator has 4,297 hours in 6 1/2 years.
We’re two days out of Newfoundland expecting to arrive on the afternoon of the 5th.
You are heading to our second favourite province…we will follow your progress. (Well, I will–Gord is spending a lot of his time in Macau.
Hi Karen. Good hearing from you. We loved Nova Scotia when we were there probably 25 years ago. A friend from St. John’s sent us a few pictures from the area when we were in Cape Town and both Jen and I said “we have to go.” Newfoundland looks exactly like our kind of place and it sounds like it ranks fairly high for you as well. Our plan is to arrive tomorrow and do a lap around the island clockwise enjoying the highlights as we go. After Newfoundland, we’ll likely return to Nova Scotia for a while before heading south to Maine.
Glad to see you two underway again.
I was looking at your O-ring and couldn’t really tell much from the picture however, it looked like either chemical or thermal breakdown.
Sounds like you are carrying a lot of spares, I was just wondering if you are carrying spares of the right type.
We’ve touched on the subject of engine room and Laz. temps previously and there may be nothing to be done but here is a useful troubleshooting tool for O-Rings
The failed O-ring was part of the original install from the hydraulic system manufacturer. It’s been operating now for nearly 7 years and this particular system operates at a fairly high 3,800 PSI. The hydraulic system hase never had oil over 150F but I don’t like it even up that high so a few years back I put a bigger heat exchanger on the system. Since that time It’s never run over 125F.
This failure appears to have been caused by a loose O-ring boss fitting allowing the O-ring to partially squeeze out and tear. The O-ring doesn’t feel hardened at all and before taking it apart you could see a bit of the O-ring had been forced out allowing a dribble at that connection. My diagnosis is insufficiently tight in this case.
Nice MacGyver move to create a working substitute cap! 🙂
On the pic “Leak Source” there is a gauge in the upper right hand corner. It looks like it is half full of water with some standing condensation. I took a screen shot of it so you will know which one I was talking about…..
Is this something normal for whatever that gauge is watching or part of the saltwater leak?
Looking forward to see your adventures in Newfoundland as that will be one of my destinations one day as well.
Tim, good observation to notice the liquid in the hydraulic pressure sensor guage. I agree it looks a bit unusual but it’s actually just a liquid filled guage. Liquid filled guages have some advantages over dry guages. The liquid dampens guage motion where there are pulsations or rapid changes in pressure, they lubricate the interior of the guage, and they prevent condensation or frost from obscuring the guage face. Neither of the latter is likely in our engine room. I think the chief benefit is the dampening of sudden pressure changes.
Okay vacation over and the boats on the move…HOORAY!!!!
I arrived back at the boat yesterday from 3 weeks back in Seattle and we’re ready to go. Full diesel, full gas, full water, and a full fridge. We will be clearing in to Lockport Nova Scotia — they are on holiday Monday and don’t start Tuesday until 8:45am so we’ll lope along at 6.2 kts for an arrival at customs opening time. After that, we’ll be back underway for Newfoundland.
It’s nice to be back underway.
Hi James, I would like to ask you if you could provide me (us) with an overview of your Maretron system on Dirona. As a fellow Maretron user I am interested in your configuration such as is N2K running on a Black Box or PC, how far have you gone into digital switching for DC and AC circuits, and do you rely on the alerts system for monitoring critical events?
Being located in Darwin, Australia which as you are aware is a relatively remote location I struggle for technical support and there seems to be no real support on the web either. Have you done any formal training or learnt as you went along? I have been having a few issues along the way, I am on my fourth fuel flow sensor (I run 4 sensors on twin engines) as they just stop working and my WSO100 failed after a few weeks. Unfortunately my engines do not report any data so I need to collect it via engine interfaces.
I am aware that you get into some pretty advanced programming that would be out of my league to reproduce but I do like the idea of virtual devices such as DCR100 so I could create buttons to show the status of tasks to be done, much like pre take off or landing checklists on an aircraft. Do you think that type of thing would be possible for a local programmer if I was able to time them a few basic instructions?
Thanks for your time and I enjoy reading about your travels.
That’s a good idea Greg. We’ll post a run down on the NMEA2000 installation on Dirona in a future blog. The short run down is the system has an IPG100 at it’s core, there are around 50 sensors spread throughout the boat, and I monitor it all with N2kview running on the Windows navigation computer.
I don’t have direct experience with the fuel flow sensors but do have and like the WSO100 and the DCR100 you were asking about. Both seem accurate and haven’t been maintenance intensive. As you know we have a lot of Maretron equiment installed on Dirona and we’re pretty depenedent upon it. Generally, we’re fairly big Maretron fans. Good price/performance and N2kview does a great job of displaying the data clearly.
Hi James and Jennifer
This is Steve and Jenny from NZ. We have been following your blog for some time now. We are currently in Florida looking at buying a Nordhavn. We are planning on coming up to Boston and would like to catchup with you guys if it works for you?
Steve and Jenny, it sounds like you are very close to becomming Nordhavn owners. Congratulations.
We’re currently in Seattle and will be here until end of month. We haven’t made final plans but our current thinking is that once we get back to Boston, we’ll get underway and will cruise offshore to Newfoundland. Then we’ll work our way slowly south enjoying coastal cruising and exploring. On those plans, we may not overlap in Boston but we will be returning south along the eastern seaboard and we hope our paths cross sometime over the course of the this year.
$2.15 for diesel is a good price on the water.
Yes, $2,15/gal is excellent given that we had to pay nearly $7/gallon earlier this year in isolated St. Helena. If buying in volume, just under $2.00/gallon is possible in the Boston area. Overall, fuel prices are unusually good right now.
Are you going to wait until just before you leave next month to fill up?
Yes, that’s the plan. We’ll fuel up and head for Canada in early August.
6202 Bonne Vie was right after Saumlaki and had the first bustle. I think the bustle made the 62 look complete. I bet they do not worry about the dark colored hull 😉 I pass by Seahorse every other weekend and can never get enough of them. I am jealous you come across so many Nordhavns!
Hope Jen is completely healed and Spitfire is doing well.
I agree the Nordhavn 62 is an incredibly attractive boat.
Jennifer’s shoulder is healing surprisingly slowly so the pin is still there and will likely have to stay in until the fall. But, all is working well and no evidence of the nerve problems remain.
Hi James, Great meeting you and Jennifer.
I was the gent who pulled up in the Charlestown Marina in BOS in the 20′ bow rider, who somewhat surprisingly asked if you were an Amazon Exec.
I never actually introduced myself. I’m RobertSiciliano.com Welcome to our great city! Pleasure hearing about your wondrous life journey! Thanks for sharing!
It was good meeting you and your friends yesterday Robert. We continue to love Boston and we’re having a great stay in your fine city.
While you are in Bean Town.
Check out the No Name restaurant. Great seafood. It is at the pier just past the World Trade Center.
Also the Computer Museum & Children Museum, both are next to the Boston Tea Party Museum. I have yet to get back to Boston since they finished the Big Dig.
Say “Hi” to Old Ironsides for me as you go past her.
We end up walking past old Ironsides every day or so on walks downtown, to the ferry terminal, or to the restaurants in the area. Thanks for the recommendation to check out No Name at the World Trade Center.
I watched on TV a beautiful fireworks display on the Charles River. Did you see it live?
Absolutely! It was probably less exciting to be here on the 4th of July than when we were anchored in Sydney for their iconic New Years display but it was close. It’s very cool to be Boston for the 4th and the display was impressive
I noticed that Jupiter went with the “squared” modern look, similar to the Coastal Pilot. Very nice. Twins and a jacuzzi too. How did the stairway to the pilot house work out?
Yes, I love the look of the square port lights. Jupiter is a really well executed design.
The staircase works great. Gives a full beam wheelhouse and additionally a full shower up stairs. It was funny to see my boat almost built and then see the 59 come along with a very similar interior that I had chosen. In the end, we all copied Eleana from back a few years.
As always impressive write ups on maintenance. I bet 99% of people would live with the oil leaks and not track down the cause
1. What is the instrument you are using to measure the pressure?
2. Assume that replacing the air sep filter is now on your regular maintenace schedule on a more frequent basis?
3. Do you have engine oil analysis performed? Regularly?
Keep enjoying Boston. I have always liked the city – when I frequented the city the ‘Big Dig’ i.e. I95 was the construction that interfered with everything!
The instrument used to measure the crankcase pressure is a manometer. You can easily construct one out of a U-tube, calibrated in inches, and partially filled with water. We chose to buy an electronic manometer since they are fairly inexpensive and easy to use. In a past career as a mechanic, I used manometers to adjust multi-carburetor systems on exotic cars so I kind of like them. This is what we bought to use on Dirona: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N3PPZZY/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1.
You asked if we will replace the Airsep filter on a regular basis. To my knowledge, there is no Deere recommended replacement period or, if there is, I haven’t been able to find it. I’m not sure what replacement period I would use. I think I’ll just check crankcase pressure every 6 months and watch for it to start to ramp up and replace on pressure increase. It’s a clean and quick test.
Oil analysis is another of these issues where most people I talk to really believe in it and do send oil out for analysis on every change. I have quite a bit of experience with oil analysis and find it interesting. When we raced cars, we were sponsored by Quaker State and they supplied oil and weekly oil analysis for us. One season, we were pushing the engine too hard and blew up 7 engines in an 11 race season but most years we had pretty good longevity. Oil analysis didn’t help us avoid any of these failures but there are possible engine failures we didn’t see where oil analysis might chave helped.
Working on exotic cars, some customers chose to get regular oil analysis since some of their cars are old, rare, and difficult to service. Frequently customers would get into a panic about a slight increase of some substance in there engines. This led to lots of money spent on diagnosis, nothing found, and the problem self corrected. I didn’t get a chance to see oil analysis save any customer money but it did seem to cause some lost sleep.
In the marine world, we have operated 2 Cummins engines for 4,100 hours and the current Deere engine for 8,000 hours. That’s 16,200 hours without any fault. I could have done oil analysis the entire time. Arguably it doesn’t hurt but I’m not sure the trouble and false alarms are worth it.
I have many friends that do oil analysis on their marine engines and there are far more stories about readings that raise concern but were later determine to be “fine” or not directly actionable than there are about oil analysis results that saved an engine.
In the boat brokerage business, I’ve heard about oil analysis ending up scuttling a sale where there is no other evidence of engine problem. On these its hard to know if the problem was real or not but, based upon the other experience above, I suspect that many if not most were not.
Overall, oil analysis is data and more data is almost always good. I have a fair amount of experience with engine failures that were not predicted by oil analysis and over 16,000 hours without problems that oil analysis would have helped with. So, I’m personally not 100% convinced that the hassle to reward ratio makes oil analysis worth doing. The only debate is whether the time and hassle of oil analysis is best spent on oil analysis or some other preventative maintenance. I lean towards the latter. There is always more you can be doing on some other dimension. Clearly it is possible that next week, we may suffer an engine fault that oil analysis might have helped with but, in 16,200 marine main engine hours, we haven’t yet seen a fault where it would have saved the engine. I suspect there are other additional preventative maintenance steps I can take that have more positive impact.
Based upon the lone reference to the oil analysis firm Blackstone, I’m guessing Steven Coleman wishes we would give oil analysis a try. I can see some of the value of oil analysis and if running extended oil change periods using bypass filtration or related technology. But, on Dirona, we just change the oil on the manufacturer’s recommended time and keep going. Oil is easy to get around the world whereas sending oil back to the US from remote areas is both hassle and cost.
No James, I just thought that FAQ was humorous. If you read far enough you got the straight scoop on which oil to use from people that test oil.
I have mixed thoughts on both oil analysis and vibration analysis. From what I’ve seen, there are both advantages and disadvantages.
Generally it is my opinion that unless you already have or suspect a failure oil analysis is not really going to tell you much. As an example suppose your test comes back with a higher than normal lead content.
What that means is you had a particle wipe the surface of a bearing. The situation has already occurred and the bearing surface is marred. If the next several tests show lead decreasing then whatever wiped the surface is gone, and more likely than not you have a bearing that has been wiped, but is probably not going to cause problems.
Either way whatever damage is going to be done, is already done.
Now if you are an over the road trucker running pure synthetics, and want to gain the longevity benefit of that product you have to do an analysis to know when to change your oil. They look for additive breakdown and at a certain point, it’s time to change.
A friend of mine runs synthetics in his trucks and while the amount of cash it takes to change the engine oil with synthetics would “choke a mule”, he averages 100,000 miles between oil changes. That’s a big consideration when you have to keep your equipment moving to make a living.
If you are going to establish a maintenance interval like you have, I really see no need for performing an oil analysis unless you suspect a problem and want to know if it’s something you need to deal with. Since you need to see multiple tests, if it is catastrophic, you’ll know long before you’ll get those test results.
When it comes to vibration analysis, if you have a benchmark test on a machine you KNOW is within specifications, the frequency of any change can pretty much pin point where the problem is at.
On the other hand, I saw a vibration analysis done for the first time on a centrifugal chiller that was inconclusive when I could have told them from inside my service truck, that the high speed shaft bearing was getting ready to “grenade“.
I believe there are times and reasons for both however, for the most part I still believe you gain as much if not more, by a good scheduled maintenance program.
Really the only test I would recommend for you is, from time to time maybe yearly or every two years, maybe even longer is a Saybolt viscosity test on a sample of oil you’ve changed.
Face it, with 8000 hours if there was any defects with the Deere they’d have already reared their ugly head. Since I seriously doubt anything is going to break the only thing left to deal with is normal wear and tear.
Fuel dilution of your oil will show up probably before anything else indicates it’s time for an overhaul.
I agree that, well before 8,000 hours, the manufacturer defect problems will have worked their way out and the engine is likely to continue to operate well until wear out. I’m still super careful around some components of the engine where part failure can lead to internal engine problems. The accessory drive system is a good example of an area where low costs parts that really have nothing to do with the engine condition can still end things early. if a drive pulley fails, the coolant pumps stops turning and there is risk of rapid spot over-temperature damaging parts (e.g. cracking a head) before engine over-heat is signaled. In my opinion, avoiding over-temperature problems on a diesel is one of the best ways to have the engine live a very long and productive life. Once every 6 to 9 months, I take the belt off and check belt and bearing conditions on both alternators, all the idlers, and the water pump.
Keeping the outside-the-engine rotating equipment in good condition is a good way to ensure that the main engine runs until it wears out. We are currently due for a torsional damper change. On most Deere 6068s, these are normally changed every 4,500 hours. But, on our 6068AFM75 rather than using a rubber isolated vibration damper, they use a silicon torsional damper. The upside is the change interval is 8,000 hours but the downside is that it’s a $500 part. We ordered one early last week from the local dealer and, in discussion with Cascade, the Deere distributor that originally supplied our engine, they let us know that the front pulley on our engine has been recommended for replacement by Deere and it can be changed at no cost. Impressive service. This morning R.A. Mitchel a local Deere dealer will come to the boat and change the front pulley and damper without cost. Deere continues to impress me overall and I’m super impressed with the service quality from Cascade Engine.
I’ll post pictures of the damper and accessory drive pulley change operation.
Another potential issue that can end things early are turbo failures. These can lead to metal part injestion. A remanufactured turbo is only $1,700 so I keep an eye on it and, if it shows signs of bearing wear, compressor or turbine blade contact with the housing, or other operational problem, I’ll change it.
Valve train is another low cost area where faults can lead to engines needing to be opened up early. I adjust the valves on our 6068 every 2,000 hours and do it as a two step process where I first measure the clearance and then set it to spec. If, prior to adjusting them, I find an excessively wide or narrow clearance, I’ll dig deeper. So far, they always measure just about exactly the same as the last time I set them so there is no evidence of valve train wear at 8,000 hours.
I agree, and consider everything you’ve mentioned as good scheduled maintenance.
Ancillary equipment failure can always change things but, it seems you’ve got all that under control and I would expect the Deere will be operating up until you finally decide it might be time for an overhaul.
I read, heard, dreamed (can’t really remember) that those engines run 20,000 plus hours with no major issues. Who knows how long they last if someone is taking care of them.
When I was in the Navy we had one of our D399 Cats fail around the 23,000 mark however, when we looked back over it’s history it had been dropped from approximately 6′ onto a concrete pier during installation.
As far as I know the other three were still in operating condition up until they decommissioned the ship and cut her up for scrap 31 years later..
Well I suppose they all were, we of course did replace the entire engine assembly on failure.
That was an evolution you’d probably find interesting. Obviously it the bare block was larger than any point of access. That is one advantage to a steel hull and superstructure. You can pretty much cut and repair any hole you need relatively easy.
On Dirona, I made sure the engine can actually be removed since we can’t just cut a hole in the side as you pointed out is common on steel boats. It wouldn’t be easy but there are hatches in the floor and support beams that come out revealing a opening large enough to lift out the Deere. But, it wouldn’t be easy so I hope this engine last forever.
In generator applications, I’ve heard of some 6068s over 30,000 hours and, in propolsion, I’ve heard of many in the mid-20,000 range. I’m banking on 15,000 and hoping for more than 20,000 hours before the bottom end needs to be opened up.
What factors do you consider when ‘keeping an eye on’ the Turbo?
More specfically how do you monitor the three issues you mention?
Rod asked what to look for on the turbo. The turbo is such an important part of the engine that any issue there tends to show up in overall engine problems. I look for black smoke under load, lack of boost, lower than normal boost at a given power level, or overall reduction in engine power at a given RPM are all signs to dig in deeper.
When digging deeper, check for excess turbo bearing play or any evidence of compressor or exhaust blades touching the housing. Another sign of possible trouble is excess crank case pressure under load (leaking turbo bearing oil seals allow turbor boost to pressurize the crankcase). Other issues to check for are the obvious leaks of coolant or oil outside of the turbo or white smoke from coolant leaks into the turbo or unexplained loss of coolant.
I read the Blackstone FAQ this morning. Interestingly, the mobile version of their website doesnt display the FAQ. Many companies chose to show a different and usualy far less usable web site to mobile customers.
The FAQ is an amusing read. Your example of an over-the-road trucker extending changes out to 100k miles is an interesting one. Everytime I contemplate the choice of pushing expensive synthetic oils out to longer change intervals via oil analysis and bypass filters, I find it a hard path to chose for a single engine operator. If I had a fleet, putting one engine at risk and carefully measuring the result would be worth doing. But without only one main engine in our “fleet,” it doesn’t feel like it’s worth the risk.
I’m not a fan of synthetics mostly for their ability to suck up and retain moisture from the humidity of ambient air.
I’d be the first to tell you “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”.
Looks like you took a short boat trip. There has to be a god story. 🙂 Unless of course you map went crazy and had you walking out in the Atlantic. 😉
Any luck spotting whales?
Frank nailed the reason for the boat trip. We were out whale watching and we hit the jackpot. 7 to 10 Humpbacks playing at the surface in a couple of groups with a juvenile. If we ever catch up from all the adventuring we have been doing, we’ll get some pitctures up. It was a very cool trip.
They should add a sign on the lock that tells boaters not to go through sideways… 🙂
Sounds like you’re having a good time in Boston. I am curious- did you use any particular tools or data sources to stay in the fastest part of the Gulf Stream to speed up your trip north? Or did you just travel along a route that it typically follows?
While I can’t speak for MV Dirona, here is a video Kathy Clark posted on Shear Madness on how they plotted their trip from FL to RI to maximize the Gulf Stream.
Alan, we used the NOAA models at http://www.opc.ncep.noaa.gov/newNCOM/NCOM_GulfStream_currents.shtml to predict where the current was strongest. We tried to stay in the current until around the Chesapeake area and then ran straight to Rhode Island Sound.
I didn’t realize the Gulf Stream was on the order of fifty miles wide at the surface.
The Gulf Stream gets wider as it tracks north and heads further offshore. I think it’s a bit narrower in the sections we have traversed thus far. In the southern parts it’s fairly narrow but amazingly powerful. On our trip into Florida were aiming to arrive at Palm Beach at 7am and ended up running well over 7 kts at only 900 RPM. The boat sounded like a sailboat. Close to dead quite with just the sound of the hull cutting through the water.
Ok interesting. Thanks to both for the links!
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. 🙂
When the domes were white (prior to New Zealand), they stood out even more. Painting them grays seems to cause them to fade somewhat into the background.
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?
Good memory Timothy. We did see Flat Earth in Astoria, but I don’t believe they were on board at the time, so we didn’t meet.
Jennifer & James – I am pretty sure the N60 is Chopin (as in the musician). I compared the script on the back of the boat with Chopin’s signature and they are very similar. Love the Aquarium shots!
Good sleuth work John. That most definitely is the name. Thanks!
What is J cleaning the ss with? Looks like wet ‘n’ dry, but I’m sure not!
Jennifer is using Flitz metal polish and is happy with the the results and efficiency of getting them. On Amazon:
Love Flitz metal cleaner, it does a good job, I’ve seen it take some neglected metal and return it almost to new condition. Very happy to see Jennifer is fully recovered enough to manage all the stainless!
Jennifer is close to the last surgical procedure where the pin will be removed and I suspect that will yeild a period of less mobility. But, we’ll both be glad to see that pin out of there.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Sold! I’ll pick up a pair on my next Amazon order. Thanks for the suggestion Steven
I have a very similar model. I use mine for non-insulated crimps and then follow up with heat shrink!
I have a lot of channel lock tools so I don’t doubt those are a good quality although I’ve not used or seen one. 99.9% of my crimps are on non-insulated which I heat shrink. I just like the “bond” of a non-insulated crimp.
Many times I’ll pull the insulator off before crimping and heat shrink it if that’s all I have available.
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.
Nice red moon coming up tonight!
We love sun rises and sunsets and, living on the water,we get the opportunity to see a lot of them. so far, we are loving Boston.
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
Exactly what we did and it appears to be dry as a bone several days latter. Dry and dusty is the way I like it.
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.
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.
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.
James I see you on the mooring. Call us if you are available. 6039696320
Excellent. Drop me an email and we’ll set up a time to visit (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Nice video of your canal transit. Thanks for posting.
Yes, thank you for posting the video! No traffic on a weekday? Was that a 42′ Krogen that Dirona passed? 🙂
It for sure is a Krogen. I thought perhaps a 48 Whaleback but I’m not sure (we passed it too quickly :-)).
It was a Krogen 44.
It was a blur…
Here’s a photo: http://mvdirona.com/trips/boston2016/boston1.html?bleat=6%2F16%2F2016%3A+Guinness
and I thought the only thing a Nordhavn could pass was a fuel dock…:-)
But, when we stop, we REALLY stop :-).
Hi Jennifer: Guinness is a 1983 KK 42, hull number 41.
Thanks for rounding up that data Jim.
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.
I am not familiar with East Coast waters. Can you cut through the canal or do you have to go around?
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.
You making good speed through the CCC. I hope you can post some video!
On the urging of you and Tim Kaine, we did shoot some video entering the canal and we’ll get that up today or tomorrow.
I just love how you overtook that boat on the right. 😉
Full speed Mr. Scott!! Nice video
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.
75 miles off the coast with a slight tail wind and mixed chop?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
In regards to the water leak. Not sure if you mentioned if it was fresh or salt water? If you did I missed it. If fresh then maybe our recent rains have left a deposit of water in your boat and it is working it’s way to the bilge. Just a thought that occurred and that I would pass it on.
I think you are on the right track Tim and it is freshwater. My theory: when the boat was in the yard for 10 days it was stored at an angle different from the one it floats on and water accumulated where it would never be normally and built up at a location that it can only seep out from slowly. But, where is it coming from? Still a mystery under investigation. The good news is the boat is absolutely dry right now and everything is running well. I’m still thinking through the anomalous leak source. Thanks for you ideas.
Glad to hear that it has stopped. Rain does have a way of entering places we would never think of. You mentioned the boat was at a different angle on land and that triggered a thought that it could have been from A/C unit too. If you had been running the a/c that water could have backed up and been sitting somewhere till the boat was floating again. My bet is still on the rain with a/c a close second if it had been running.
The AC units are a good bet but I checked all 5 and they are all draining correctly and without leaks. Rain is possible as well although, for it to be rain, there needs to be an external leak so, if that is the explaination, I’ll need to chase it down.
My current theory is water in the engine room used to clean up from the keel cooler job ended up flowing to an unusual place since the boat was at a different blocked in the yard at different angle than it normally sits. Then it flowed out over 3+ days. Strange that so much water could build up somewhere but that’s my current speculation.
If it leaks again can you use the water tester to see if it is rain water or watermaker water?
Assuming you mean the total desolved solids meter,it can discern the difference between sea water and freshwater but it won’t see the difference between rain water and water maker water. The water maker hasn’t been on for months other than to flush so I’m pretty sure it’s not the water maker. My current theory is build up from cleaning the engine room in the yard after the keel cooler change.
I see you are on the move north. Will you be coming up the Chesapeake Bay?
We’re currently heading to Cape Lookout near Jacksonville to enjoy a couple of days at anchor. It’s been way too long. After that and when we get a good weather window, we’ll run straight to Boston where we will spend a couple of months — I need to spend most of the month of July at work in Seattle. After that, we’ll get underway for Main with a plan to slowly work our way back down the coast and enjoy many of the better stops.
The motivation for the direct run north and the slow run heading south is we hate covering the same area twice. We’re really looking forward to Maine and this plan should give us a relaxing run exploring south. For sure, the Chesapeak will be a big part of our return run. There is enough to see and do in the Cheseapeak area that we might make it one of our longer stops this year.
Hi James and Jennifer. I can’t believe you are heading to Boston. My wife and I live in the Seaport section of Boston and would love to take you two to dinner when you arrive. We love following your journey, and hope to head to sea when my wife retires from the Coast Guard. Be in touch if it sounds good to you two.
We absolutely are heading to Boston. First we’ll stop and enjoy some time at anchor later today but, in a couple of days, we’ll be back underway and Boston is the target destination. We’re happy to show you around Dirona. Feel free to contact us when we are in the boston area (email@example.com). We expect to be there for about 6 weeks.
Great we look forward to meeting you and Jennifer.
I don’t think there is a better place in the US than Boston for the 4th of July festivities. With your new-found Navy connections, I was going to suggest to see if you could get a ride on the annual turnaround sail of the USS Constitution, but I just checked their web site and the Constitution is in dry dock. I’d still visit the Constitution and along with the Freedom Trail and Bunker Hill monument.
James – Did you manage to fix your water temperature issue while you were on land, or is the 97 degrees accurate now?
Nice to see you back on the water!
I did “fix” the water temperature problem by switching to a backup sensor long before heading into the yard. It appears the backup sensor may have done the same things. Frustrating but I’ll have a look at it over the next couple of days and see if I can get the water tempertature back to reliable.
Where is your water temperature sensor in relation to your new keel cooler?
The depth sounder (and integrated temp probe) is a foot in front of the keel cooler. I just went down and put in a replacement depth sounder and the new one reads 84.5F which is what I got from a bucket dip with a mechanical temperature probe stuck in it.
The 1.5″ hole in the hull 4.5″ down below the water line brings in prodigous quantities of water even when switching sounders quickly. It’s a reminder of how fast a boat can go down and the importance of super high capacity bilge pumps.
It looks like the current temp sensor just failed. Looking at it closely there is no sign of mistreatment from the recent boat yard visit. It appears to have just stopped working. That’s the second failure in 6 years so arguably a bit high but not completely outside of the bounds of reasonableness.
Friday night in NC? Safe travels and smooth seas!
Something must be wrong: Speed: 13.1 knots top speed today? That bottom cleaning really made your hull smooth 😉
No, the 13.1 kts in a 52′ trawler is actually real. The speed is a combination of the Gulf Stream pushing combined with us running at wide open throttle to test the new keel cooler. 100% success. When running at max continuos engine rating (231hp @ 2300RPM), the cooling systems is running a steady 187F in these warm Floridian waters. At wide open throttle, it tops out at 196F. This is absolutely wonderful.
I took a bit of a chance and confounded the experiment by both putting in a new keel cooler and, at the same time, conducting a cooling system experiment at the same time. It’s common knowledge that keel coolers should not be painted. The manufacturers correctly believe a coat of paint slightly reduces cooling capacity. This seems believable to me. But, a coat of marine growth is going to reduce cooling even more. The more I thought about this, the more convinced I became of two things: 1) the negative impact of bottom paint will be slight, and 2) the positive impact of avoiding marine growth especially in hard to clear areas of the keel cooler.
So I decided to experiment and try painting the cooler. It’s hard to measure the impact of paint since I expanded the cooler by about 20% at the same time. But I can say that the new cooler has no trouble cooling the engine even with the paint. So, that means I can now paint the cooler and not waste time cleaning the cooler all the time. Less maintenance and better cooling is a great equation.
The 13.1 kts you saw was us running at high power levels testing the cooler. It was a very successful change. It’s great to no longer have limits in warm water and I’m pretty sure I won’t need to clean the cooler very frequently partly because it’s painted with metal anti-fouling paint and partly because the cooler has more margin of safety and will be able to continue cooling the engine as needed even giving up some capacity to marine growth.
It is great news that the AF paint and new keel cooler worked out to such a low temperature. It is like our old lives where an upgrade to a “4-core” would lower the heat on the bigger hotter engines. Now slow down from blur speed and try to get the nm/gal back over 2 😉
The current makes the miledge pretty good as well. We’re currently doing 9.6 kts at 120hp but we’re still getting 1.69 nm/gal which is impressively good. Currents make a massive difference and it’s why negative currents can be so frustrating when trying to push the range to the limit.
Is this a shakedown run or are you on the move?
Your plot projection just popped up so that answers my question. Have a safe passage. 🙂
It’s GREAT to be back underway. Nice, gentle swell and the Gulf Stream is powering us northward.
You should go visit Peanut Island. That was a hideout for JFK whenever he stayed in Florida. In case of nuclear attack. 🙂
We haven’t been to Peanut Island yet but it’s amazing how many small boats are there over the weekend. We get their music from where we are and it looks like everyone is having fun. Its super easy for us to drop our tender in the water and zip over. We should do it.
J & J
The boat looks like new
A testamnet to all of your TLC
PS Guess I overestimated your main’s hours a tad!
With your main engine hours within a whisker of 8000 did the harminic balancer make it on to last week’s to do list?
PS I calculate yr hours at~7950
Your Dirona main engine hour estimation is fairly close: we’re currently at 7,890 hours. We probably should be planning to change the harmonic balancer sometime in the near future but we don’t even have one on hand and it’ll take a pin to lock the crank in position, a large socket for the forward bolt, and a puller as well as the new balancer to complete the job.
Note your comment about real bacon bits. Costco sells then in 20 oz bags for about $10. I freeze them and before use will saute a handful to make them crisper. I have read your blog from mid your Atlanta crossing. Enjoy it immensely .
There are real Bacon Bits and there are Bacon Flavored (Imitation) Bits.
Both of which can be purchased via Amazon.com.
Just in case anyone does any shopping there. 😉
Patrick and Tim, thanks for the thoughts but it’s not the ordering that is difficult. It’s the delivery. Amazon delivery in Vanuatu is, well, kind of slow and expensive and it’s a long drive to the closest Costco :-).
Keel cooler Part 2
Did you upgrade the cooler because your original was spec’d for the standard N52 engine and not your larger engine?
That’s a good question Rod. It’s been the subject of much debate. The original 47/52 had a cooler sized for a 163 hp Lugger engine. When Dirona was built with a John Deere 6068AFM75 M2 at 266hp, a larger cooler was installed. The numbers say the cooler is big enough with room to spare but like many formulas used to guide engineers, it seems to be more guidance than a hard and fast rule.
I’ve noticed that most trawlers are unable to run full throttle in warm sea water due to lack of heat rejection. I suspect coolers are sized for fresh engines with fresh anti-freeze, clean bottoms, and clean coolers. Very quickly that condition passes and the boat begins to operate in the real world. All boats get heavier and dirtier and the water flow around complex hull forms is seldom is stable as a designer might like. Most trawlers would do well to have more engineering margin designed into their keel cooler sizes.
Because the cooler on Dirona had to come off anyway to correct the water leak, we took the opportunity to replace the cooler and go with the largest cooler that can be fitted in the current location. It should add some more cooling headroom.
It would be interesting to see the exact comparison of the old cooler to the new one but the old cooler wasn’t 100% clean (although you can see in the pictures it was pretty good) and I elected to paint the new cooler. Painting coolers will reduce their effectiveness over a clean, unpainted cooler. But, out here in the real world, I’ve never seen a “clean, unpainted cooler” — they grow insulating marine life forms at a healthy pace. Our goal with Dirona is we are fully willing to invest in changing or improving engineering designs and do frequently but we really want a boat that “just works”, doesn’t require much maintenance, and has ample engineering headroom on all key components.
Thank you for your detailed and insightful reply.
How much bigger is the new cooler compared to the original (theorectically of course!)?
It’s about 20% bigger than the original keel cooler Rod.
Looking closely at the photos of the new keel cooler the inlet and outlet nipples do not appear to be threaded. The old cooler photo shows a large nut on one of the nipples, implying it was threaded. Also looking at Fenstrun’s web site the installation instructions always show a threaded nipple with spacers, flange washers, gaskets etc.
Is your new cooler just retained with the 4 stud bolts (with spacers to ‘stand off’ the cooler), with the in and out nipples just epoxied in place with 3M 5200?
IF so, given the strength of 5200 will a future removal of the cooler be a challenge?
A green grounding wire is shown in one photo. Assume cooler is hooked into the central bonding system because of the wire in the hoses?
Photo(s) of inside the hull would be a great help in understanding the cooler’s installation
Must be great to be floating and relaxing(?) again!
The new cooler is identical in attachment to the original with 4 studs and 2 large threaded pipe nipples so no change there. It was sealed with a Sikofex like substance that appears to have not solidified or perhaps it solidified and later returned to a liquid. Improper sealant or failed sealant was the cause of the leak.
You asked about the grounding system. All underwater metalic components are ground wire connected as well as being indepdently zinced. I believe this is an ABYC requirement.
The new cooler is held on with 3M Life-Calk. This isn’t quite as permanent as 5200 but given that the old cooler with failed sealant was just about impossible to remove, I’m sure taking this one back out would be very difficult and time consuming. I hope to never do it but, should it need to happen like everything in boating, it will be possible but very difficult.
Keel cooler packed and ready to ship? What is the core charge on cooler run these days? 🙂
I haven’t yet seen the final accounting but, for sure, it’s not inexpensive equipment.
First night back in the water. It’s soooooo nice to be back on Dirona.
Congratulations on 10 days of productivity! Pictures of her back in the water? Pictures of the thru-hull of the cooler now that it is done?
It is nice be back floating, on the boat, and with the air conditioning. Yesterfday we clean up the Engine room, Laz, cockpit, and swim platform from the yard work. It was really dirty but is not back to normal.
We’ll get some pictures of the the completed work today.
Following along with interest, if not comprehension. You know can’t find Bacon Bits in other parts of the world because they aren’t really food, right?
It’s true that there are some parts of the world that haven’t yet learned to appreciate US culinary innovation. And, by the way, deep dow below all those chemicals there is a soy bean base product :-).
Somewhat off topic but, if you are not already aware, you may be interested in this Forbes article:
Another OT snippet following your tour of St Helena. It seems the new runway has a local difficulty in the form of acute wind shear as planes come into land. According to one of the three pilots who has actually landed there it is unpredictable and dangerous. This is extremely bad news for the inhabitants as the supply ship they currently depend on is about to reach the end of its service life.
You can find analyst opinion on both sides of the Amazon value predictions. I’m sure opinions both ways have merit and are based upon facts. For those of us that work there, we don’t pay much attention to the stock market and just stay focused on improving the services believing the rest follows from that.
The world has a few other airports with difficult wind shear like Denver in the US. My guess is St. Helena will learn to predict when it’s dangerous and when it’s managable and continue to use the airport perhaps with some weather constraints. Thanks for the news from past destinations — St. Helena was a fun stop.
Hello James, it’s really amazing at how interesting I find it to read about the details of your haul out. Which is the lead in for my question.
In the picture of the guy prepping the wing engine prop, just to his left is a protrusion from the hull which looks like it’s covered in blue tape.
What is that?
Ah I see it in a later picture, appears to be a stud for a zinc.
Exactly! All the zinc attachments need a good ground so get taped off.
We’re now ready to go. Today I’ll clean up the boat and we’ll be in the water this afternoon. Hopefullly no leaks or problems and we’ll be ready to go.
Since your out of the water are you going to replace the seals on the propeller shaft and rudder shaft or is it a job you can do anytime?
Not planning to repack rudder and prop shafts on this trip to the yard. We use a Packless Shaft Seal on our main prop. It’s a stainless steel collar that is sealed to the shaft with an O-ring and spins with the shaft and a carbor seal pushed up against it by a bellows. We inspect it frequently and expect to get around 10 years before parts replacement is called for. The rudder uses a conventional shaft seal but gets fairly low wear and there is no evidence that it needs repacking at this point.
Great to see the yard work photos
Been there and done that on thruster impellers on a N62 Had to craft my own puller and even then needed a small amount of heat to finally ‘pop’ the impellers off. Previous installer did not use any anti-seize lube What did you use?
I’ve done that as well Rod. I made the puller I used to remove them in New Zealand but now have a comercial puller. I grease the shaft on re-install but don’t do anything else to make them easy to remove.
Assuming thrusters are ‘low use’ items was the extensive work – changing oil, new seals – part of your routine PM or was there some indicator of the work being required?
No issues with the stabs or thrusters. It’s just required service every 6 years. And, yes you are right, it’s a pretty big job and it’s still not quite done. The stabilizer trunnion bearings were very difficult to remove and the lower bearing on the port side is still not budging. That’s potentially a big problem but Tony Fields of ABT is using his best tricks to get that bearing free.
Rather Tony than James is the good news!! keep us posted
The trunnion bearings were incredibly difficult to pull and Tony ended up fabricating a tool to pull them out. He found success so the works is now done. What a relief.
We need to clean up the boat, test all the equipment and make sure we have no water leaks, engine coolant leaks, or hydraulic leaks and everything is working. I think we are pretty close to done and, although it was only 10 days, it was a long, hot 10 days. Hopefully all will test out as expected.
I see the new stacked keel cooler. It looks like a very nice Fernstrum model. I look forward to seeing the temperature differential.
I’m muddying the water slightly be experimenting with painting the cooler. Technically coolers shouldn’t be painted to maximize heat transfer effectiveness but marine growth is even worse at heat transfer than paint so I’m experimenting with giving up some efficiency in return for less maintenance work.
After reading your post I was wondering if using a clear coat made for marine applications might be better then actual paint. I see a couple when Googled but without any first hand knowledge of them I am unaware if that would work better for what you are proposing. Anyway will be watching in anticipation to see how this pans out with the cooler.
I thought the natural antifouling capabilities of the copper-nickel mix would reduce the growth on the cooler. Was the original one on Dirona also a copper mix?
Correct. All bottom paints that have been used on Dirona have been copper based. The original bottom paint was Pettit Trinidad SR. The second application was Joton Seaforce 30 and we are now applying Pettit Vivid.
I meant the material choice of the cooler itself. I thought naturally it resists fouling.
The keel cooler seems able to grow marine life pretty fast and is a bear to clean. Fernstrum recommends frequent cleaning rather than painting due to the slight decrease in cooling system efficiency that comes from a coat of paint.
Never noticed until the lift pictures that you have dirona drawings on the bow. Very cool looking. Are they a decal or paint and how do you protect them from wear?
They are decals designed and applied by Margaux Graphics Gig Harbor Washington (Seattle area) http://margauxmarinegraphics.com. They are starting to show a bit of wear in a couple of places but I agree they really are standing up to the elements, cleaning, and waxing remarkably well.
the remarkable overall condition of the bottom of your boat is a testament to your maintenance practises. I am amazed at the condition of the zincs, hull fittings, props and stuff and bottom after 2.5 years, Joton should be using your pics as testimonials.
Apart from your obviously professional maintenance practises it demonstrates perhaps that boats are meant to be moving not hanging around and you guys have sure been moving around.
The ladder pics showing the stern view and the haul out showing the forward hull sure show the general hull configuration to advantage. I was surprised how “flat” is the runout to the stern. I was expecting more canoe like. But hey it works.
Thanks once again for the sharing.
I was expecting to bring up a bit of a mess since it’s been 2.5 years since we have been out of the water and especially since we have spent nearly 3 months not moving at all in Palm Beach but, overall, I agree the bottom looks surprisingly good.
I was just wondering how long Dirona was expected to be out of the water and if you could still live aboard or needed to get a hotel or short term apartment?
From the looks of that hull I’d say it was a testament that it’s doing it’s job.
A testament that the paint or coating is doing it’s job.
That’s Joton Seaforce 30 applied in New Zealand and it’s doing incredibly well. We are currently applying Pettit Vivid since Joton is not broadly available here in Florida and I’m skeptical that the US version of Joton Seaforce 30 is the same as the New Zealand paint formulation.
It’s a shame it’s not really available. I’m a firm believer if “something ain’t broke don’t try to fix it”.
Looking at all the M.S.D.S. and data sheets, it “should be” the same as what you got in Australia which, could be why it’s not readily available in the U.S.
For better or worse, the EPA governs a very large part of our lives here.
The technical sheets for it claim good anti-fouling up to 36 months, at 31, Dirona had 5 more to go.
I sincerely hope the new stuff works as well for you.
If a paint says it can last up to 36 months, I usually take that as strong evidence it couldn’t possibly last a day longer. It’s rare for manufacturers claims to even get close to real world use but, in this case, Jotun has been impressively good.
I’ll give Pettit Vivid a try and see how it does — if it doesn’t do as well, I’ll find a way to return to Jotun Seaforce 30.
Amazing to Dirona moving on land. Was the paint peeling on the port transom?
I thought that was just a section of paint that had worn through. But, on closer inspection, it previously undetected damage from the big storm in Richards Bay that broke up the docks: http://mvdirona.com/2015/11/a-brush-with-disaster/.
We had been asked to leave the Marina prior to the storm coming in. The Marina owners were concerned we were too heavy and their docks might break up. It’s super annoying to wait until we have no alternatives to let us know that the facility really isn’t strong enough for our boat. We considered just staying but eventually elected to leave and it was a good thing we did. In the link above, you’ll see the docks where we were collapsed and many boats where damaged. Even worse, post repairs, the docks broke up again only a month later.
We had nowhere to go and eventually anchored in the shipping channel and tied off to a wave break. This put us on the weather side of the wave break but it was the best we could find at short notice. I think the wear on the transom paint came from the biggest storm gusts pushing us back into the rubber bumper of the wave break.
In our location we saw winds of 52 kts and the more exposed port saw over 70 kts. To escape with only worm off bottom paint was pretty fortunate.
I can see on the picture that the wave break was just low enough to get under the swim platform and rub when Dirona bobbed around. You never know what you have until they pressure wash the crap off. Hopefully by now you have had some time to assess the repairs required and can get her back in the water soon! What are you doing with Spitfire while on the hard?
Did not see all of the pictures and update you posted. Wow, that is an amazing amount of work for the estimated 10 days!!!
It’s just through the paint and barrier coat so it’s an easy patch and doing them all (there are two at the bow water line as well) only took around an hour.
We expect it to be out of the water for about 10 days and, although we usually stay on the boat during yard work and are permitted to stay on the boat at Cracker Boy Boat Works, we decided to live better and are staying at a hotel for the duration of our stay in the yard.
Hey Tim H….Try this link…… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-QdDbZfB4c
@James & Jennifer….That bottom was pretty clean on that boat. Did you have the bottom washed prior to that lift out?
Amazingly it has not been painted for 2.5 years and was last cleaned in South Africa in December of last year and has been sitting in Palm Beach without cleaning or moving for 10 weeks. Impressive performance for the Joton Seaforce 30 bottom paint put on in New Zealand.
James — is the link you posted for your haul out correct?
Or is it an issue with the site?
I’ve tried it in FireFox and Chrome and they both ‘refuse’ to go to that site. Both say it is an insecure site.
Works for me. youtu.be is youtubes own link shorter-
Here is the long link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-QdDbZfB4c
The link looks good on all test systems Tim.
I have seen a few shuttles go up all from my yard on the Southwest coast of Florida. Granted it is not the same as being there when one goes up but pretty cool to see from 150 miles away. The last 10 to go up I faithfully watched on NASA TV from the point of the astronauts getting final suiting up in the gantry and then loaded into the shuttle. That was good stuff. I sit back and think now how cool it would be sitting out in the Atlantic on a Nordhavn with a front row seat. Nice photos and stories so thanks for that. 🙂
When I was young, I had models of Mercury and Gemini to play with and I watched every flight through the end of the Apollo program religiously. But, I have to admit that the shuttle, as amazing as it was, never felt like space exploration to me and I got bored and stopped watching.
In effect, the shuttle achieved it’s goal of being a Space Transportation System so some of the lack of excitement was intentional and perhaps a good thing.
Yes I remember sitting and watching the Apollo’s in the early 70’s(just a kid then 52 now), Skylab and even tuned in when the first shuttle was dropped from a Boeing for it’s first test flight. I think it is a mistake for NASA to be so bold as to think they can travel to Mars and build stuff. Seems it would be easier to practice that stuff on our very closer moon. I have been a rocket man for a long time though and spent most of my youth building model rockets from scratch(only ever bought 1 store rocket). I made all mine from trash around the house. I even carried that thrill into adult life and taught both my kids the art of flight. Doing that though taught them some math skills they would never had learned at such an early age and it showed as both excelled at math in their school years.
I don’t have a strong view but the argument for the trip to Mars is that space exploration is NASAs mission whereas space transport can now be done by private industry.
Another meaningful debate is when are autonomous robotics good enough that the risk and costs of manned exploration are no longer needed? Some argue that manned exploration is the only way to deal with unexpected contingincies. On this question, my take is the economoy of non-manned space flight will probably win out for long range exploration.
Jennifer & James – one of my favorite memories of “The Cape” was touring the original Redstone launch control facility – appropriately called a “block house.” It was/is incredibly small, technology free (from our modern perspective) and close to the actual launching pad. A simple walk away. Years ago I had the opportunity to view a shuttle launch from the VIP stands. You really can feel the power at liftoff!
I bet that was cool to see John. You were there back in the old days when the Fire Room, rather than being 3 miles away, was only 100s of yards. Unfortunately, I think block houses have probably all been taken down or at least I didn’t see any in our tour of the active launch platforms.
I love aerospace displays.
When I was a kid the aerospace museum in San Diego had a Mercury capsule which while I doubt it was “mission capable” it looked like it could have been for people to set in.
They didn’t seem all that crowed at the age of 9 or 10 but I doubt I could shoehorn myself into one now even without a suit.