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I wonder if you could offer your thoughts on power plant choice for Dirona (and by extension, her ancestor N47’s). Dirona has the 265 HP Deere engine which is clearly not the standard build for the N52 at least at that time. The 47’s and early 52’s seem to have gotten basically the same 165 HP as the much smaller N43; perhaps by now the 52’s are built with the more powerful engine but I don’t know. In any case I’ve heard it said that the 47’s seem underpowered and while I have no first hand experience, this does not surprise me and certainly does not bode well for a 52 with that power level. As a future Nordhavn owner thinking about 43, 47, maybe 52, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic – and of course if there is something you’ve written already please point me to it.
Thank you for everything you’ve contributed to this community.
That’s a great question and it’s one we spent considerable time on. This is a write up of our thinking on engines for the 52 and why we decided to go with a 266 hp engine rather than the 163 that was standard at the time: http://mvdirona.com/2009/09/engine-brand-choice/
The quick summary is the 163 HP engine that was standard at the time is intermittent duty so you can’t run 24×7 at that power level. The Deere 6068AFM75 is rated at 231 hp continuous and 266 hp for no more than 16 hours out of each 24. We chose to run using no more than 231 hp and, at that output, it can run like that 24×7 for the life of the engine.
The good news is the 6068AFM75 is now standard equipment on the Nordhavn 52. For geographies that require Tier III power plants, they will be using the 6068AFM85 which is the Tier III version of that engine. The ratings are the same but the Tier III fuel economy is not quite as good as the 6068AFM75.
If you are buying a new boat, you’ll get the same rating we are using. If you are buying a brokerage N52, most of them will be equipped with the 163 hp lugger. We prefer to have something north of 200 hp with a continuous rating but the 163hp engine will work fine and is what what of the N52s on the market will be using.
We were in the U.K. for the Millenium and had the same experience that you had during the holiday. Whereas in North America the holidays are seen as a time to make money over there many businesses treat it as a holiday and are closed.
I wasn’t going to bother you while you are in the yard but I see you are still blogging and replying to comments so here goes. I looked up the ThinkVision L1900p monitors you use in the Pilot House and their brightness is rated at only 250 cd/m2 (nits). Have you found that sufficient even in the tropics? We are fitting a new nav system to our N40 at the moment and I wanted to use monitors with at least 350 cd/m2 brightness, but I can’t find any which have the ratio and resolution I want (16:9, 1920 x 1080).
Hi Michael. The Lenovo brightness has never been a problem for us during the day. At night they won’t turn down sufficiently so you will need a dark filter for them. We posted what we did and I can find it for you if you don’t find it (I’m on mobile now).
James -wow, that was quick – a reply in 8 minutes!
And that’s great news for me, I have been driving myself nuts trying to find small high brightness monitors.
Concerning shading, I remember reading about your physical shades, but I looked for another solution and have installed a utility called Display Fusion to dim all 3 of our new monitors running under Windows Extended desktop (with the principal monitor duplicated to the flybridge). I’m sure you know there are lots of ways of dimming the principal monitor in a Windows-based system but it’s hard to dim the extended desktop monitors using software. Display Fusion doesn’t actually dim the monitors. Instead it interposes a shade or mask over the display to create (I think) exactly the same effect that your plastic shades produce. It’s working well at home, if you are interested I’ll let you know whether it works on our boat.
We’re on the taxi way in Paris CDG heading back to North America for the weekend so will drop off soon but, yes, I am interested in your success with your dimming solution once you have some use time with it. Thanks.
By the way, I just realized we are close to your homestomping grounds Michael. Feel free to drop by in Southampton once we are back in the water or while we are in London.
By the way, I just realized we are close to your home stomping grounds Michael. Feel free to drop by in Southampton once we are back in the water or while we are in London.
You might be able to get better quality capacitors for your engine room fans from this place https://www.mouser.co.uk/Passive-Components/Capacitors/_/N-5g7r/. Cricklewood Electronics have a good supply of discretes and deliver very quickly https://www.cricklewoodelectronics.com/Motor-Capacitors-450VAC-Polypropylene-with-Stud-and-6.3mm-Terminals.html
Maplins is a national electronics retailer which has branches on the highstreet and, there’s a branch in Southampton. They do click and collect from the store.
These suppliers are mainly Europe based but I do have a link for over the pond is you want it.
“Black ears,” I spent ages looking amongst those parcels thinking Jennifer had treated herself to a pair of those fashionable ear warmers that hipster types wear 😀
Yes, totally true. Most of our parcels have black ears or long black tails soon after arriving onto the boat.
What service do you do on the keel cooler?
Questioned prompted by a heater core blockage in my daughter’s van – a similar closed loop system. Cured by flushing with CLR for 3 hours and then refill with new coolant
For this trip, we don’t have much planned for the keel cooler. Every 5 years, the coolant is replaced in the engine with a good quality premix diesel coolant. When in the yard the growth is cleaned off the cooler. In our case, we “break the rules, and keep our cooler bottom painted. Our theory is the insulation qualities of paint are less than the insulation provided by marine growth. It seems to work.
You guys need to get to https://ennios.co.uk. Pretty close to you and just what to need after a hard day under Dirona!
Thanks for the advice Declan.
I have similar Kiddie detectors as the ones you have but mine have built in carbon monoxide detectors as well as smoke. You may want to check because I think they had a recall on them. They were designed to go off once they expired and those are the ones that were recalled. The replacements also go off once they expire but you can silence the alarm until you can get new ones.
Ignore my message above; that’s not what the recall was about. I looked it up and found it here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/inmar-adx-files/N130217/Kidde+End+of+Life+Recall+CPSC+Press+Release+Nov+10+2016.pdf
After looking up my exact model on Kidde’s web page I found this:
End of Life Signal-Ten years after initial power, the unit will “chirp” twice every 30 seconds to indicate the need to immediately replace the alarm.
Yes, that is what these are doing but they only went just over 7 years rather than 10. Thanks for checking on the recall Drew.
Good luck today. I cannot wait to see pictures!
We’ll were out of the water, and blocked in place ready for the work to begin. I usually take the thruster props off but they have been installed with a lot of red Loctite and aren’t coming out. I suspect they are going to require some heat, some patience, and a lot of skill. Overall the bottom looks great. Everything is in good shape. The Prop Speed is so good I feel like it’s almost a waste to replace it but we will. I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning both props and and removing all the zincs. Zincs need a change but none are good. The engine alignment from when I changed the engine mounts a year and half back is so good the prop will keep turning after you spin it.
Overall everything looks unusually good. The work done at Cracker Boy in Florida appears to have been excellent.
I’ll be feeling better when I see the prop shaft out. Hopefully it’s in good condition. Another big job for this yard visit is replacing the muffler. It’ll be nice to see that work coming together as well. We’re also taking the rudder down to inspect the lower bearings but, other than that, mostly routine work that needs to be done well but isn’t really complex or risky. We’ll take lots of pictures and get them up as fast as we can.
Tried to find the file on pulling very very stubborn thruster impellers off MV Rover (N62) in 2003. (Multiple computer upgrades etc. making it hard to find!)
Basically I fabricated a puller using the retaining bolt holes to hold the carrier and then another bolt pushing on the thruster shaft (after removing the ‘nose cone’. With the thruster under tensiuon a small amount of heat finally popped them free.
Hope this helps
Yes, I have the correct puller and, with that puller, the props just pop off. These ones are really on there.
Thanks for the suggestion Rod.
I am sure the bottom looks great as you are never anywhere long enough to accumulate growth 🙂 Where are you staying while you do the work?
We’re staying in downtown Southampton while the work gets done. It’s working out fairly well.
Can you tell me how you do the live updates to Google maps? Is there a separate transponder with auto update or do you manaually transfer the track from the chart plotter.. tks
There are two chart plotter systems. One for the boat and one for personal tracks when we head out for trips off the boat.
The boat tracks come from the larger automation system that does many things including power load shedding, recording all data, alerting, alarming, generator auto-start, weather fuel levels, and tracking. It takes all data off the NMEA2000 bus and stores in a relational database every 5 seconds. This data includes location and other data that is part of the track system (location, weather, and fuel levels).
The personal tracks come from an Android packaged called My Tracks. Originally supported by Google but they open sourced and removed support. We picked up the open source code and built our own version but any fitness app will do fine. We hand transfer the tracks so no tricks there.
Actually, using fresh water to clear out the salt and other minerals from ocean water doesn’t seem crazy at all to me. I did it more times than I can remember during my time in the U.S. Navy.
Yeah, your right Steve but it sure does feel crazy to have the shore power plug soaking in the galley sink 🙂
Rinsing with 95% ethanol after the water would allow faster drying and ensure any minerals in the water do not dry on your rinsed items
Good suggestion Rod. I often use brake cleaner because it’s fast and effective but alcohol is a good suggestion to get water out of nooks and crannies. Thanks,
About 8 years ago I really started noticing I was replacing more start and run capacitors that I had in the 20 or so prior years. Coupled with the fact capacitors were the one part that has gotten significantly cheaper over the years I started investigating.
It turns out when I first got into my trade, manufacturers would do a test lot on every production run. They would run them at 110% of rating and if any failed pull the entire run. Since I was unable to find any manufacturer that still followed that process, that is probably large one factor where cost is concerned.
Another is the removal of PCB’s as a coolant, the methods employed today while safer for everyone, are simply not as effective. Combined with lack of testing, I believe the mystery solved at least to my satisfaction.
I would suggest you order extra capacitors as spares, the new ones are probably not going to last as long. I have found capacitors reading low out of the box, it is simply cheaper for them to replace under warranty than bring back testing.
I’ll bet you are right Steve and production quality issues are a common problem. Another factor is temperature — capacitors fail early at higher temperatures.
I would love to find a higher quality part and would happily spend more for it. If anyone knows of a high quality source for CBB66 capacitors (small square units) rated at 2.5uF, 250V I’m interested.
That is an odd voltage for a motor capacitor. Normally I would expect to see 370V or 440V and the CBB66 is only a class rather than a specific shape. As you know a capacitor will only store so much and the voltage rating is what the capacitor can be exposed to.
The biggest problem is finding one that is compatible with the existing method of mounting. I carry rolls of perforated metal strap to deal with 99% of the issues I run across.
A 2.5uf 370/440 capacitor might be a solution if you can mount it. If I had a picture of how the capacitor was mounted I might come up with something.
Never mind, I looked at the picture of you testing and saw what I needed to see.
Steve, I have enough space inside the fan hub where the capacitor is tucked away for a larger capacitor but, sticking with the same form factor, what would you think of this one: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dimart-2-5uF-Conditioner-Motor-Capacitor/dp/B00PFAXBY2/ref=sr_1_fkmr2_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1515161236&sr=8-3-fkmr2&keywords=cbb61+2.5uF+250v
It’s at 450V capacitor rather than 250V but they are both 2.5uF. It seems like higher voltage just means better insulation in the capacitor. Do you know of any reasons not to use a 450V capacitor in a 120V application that was previously using a 250V capacitor? This one is rated for up to 158F (70C) so is fairly good on the temperature front as well. The one that is installed by the factory doesn’t appear to even have a temperature specification and I suspect that’s what is leading to the somewhat short operating life.
That actually might solve your issue with short lifespan. No there is no reason you cannot use a higher voltage capacitor it’s the 2.5uf that is the issue. The capacitor is still only going to have a storage capacity of 2.5uf which will be at 120V since that is what is being applied, it’s simply capable of being exposed to a higher voltage due to it’s insulation.
That is a Films capacitor and they are notoriously sensitive to heat, probably anything with a high enough temperature rating on it would also be an option, if you find for some reason that won’t fit.
Thanks for checking that out Steve. I’m going to try the 2.5uF, 450V unit. I can’t quite get it delivered in time so we’ll probably not make the order until we’re in London but all my fans are operational so we’re in good shape until then.
That increased galvanic corrosion could simply be caused by the increased salinity of the sea water and its temperature, or stray electrical current whilst on shore power.
You’re currently sailing in cooler seas which may be the reason for the increased life of the anodes?
To be honest, I wouldn’t worry about it! As trying to find stray electrical current is a very costly endeavor and you might as well invite a priest on board to carry out an exorcism.
Happy New Year
Your theory seems reasonable Paul. I’m enjoying the longer run between anode changes although, with all the practice I’ve had, I can do a pair of anodes in 5 min.
Actually it might be simpler. I put a larger heat exchanger back in 2014 (http://mvdirona.com/Trips/Australia2014/Australia2.html?bleat=6%2F26%2F2014%3A+Heat+exchanger+complete) and I had forgotten the new cooler has 33% more zinc. That might be a big part of the difference.
It would be interesting to compare pH change of the coolant over time and also compare these numbers to fresh coolant. pH test strips are inexpensive.
Another thought would be to use distilled water to dilute new coolant, assuming that is what you do.
Hi Rod. The hydraulic heat exchanger uses sea water as a cooling medium. It’s an oil to water heat exchanger so there isn’t a falling PH as you might have in some closed cooling circuits. It’s just sea water flowing through this unit and I don’t have much influence over sea water acidification although it does appear to actually be happening.
Are you not just travelling in cooler seas?
Possibly the cause but during the first 2 years of the boats life it was in the Seattle area and it just burned through Hydraulic cooler zincs then. But it was bonded at that time. I’ve since debonded it and it might be the case that debonded and cold water is the cause of the improvement. It seemed that it has just slowly gotten better for a long time but it is far from a scientific observation and your explanation on water temp is the best theory so far. Thanks,
It seems that the life was way shorter than would be imagined. I was thinking salinity variance too but that just doesn’t seem right. Could there be some other small electrical problem What have other owners had to say?
It could have been stray current from nearby boats. For sure that was an issue in Seattle when the heat exchanger was bonded. All zincs where failing quite quickly back then whereas they now seem to last forever. The other big change is the cooler water mentioned by Paul and Declan. Now that the heat exchanger is isolated from the boat bonding system, stray current doesn’t seem like a possibility. Whatever the cause, I’m happy with the current zinc longevity.
Just saw 85.3knoks off Portland Bill. Glad to see you are tucked up safely. It’s a good marina; I spent a few days there this summer.
The marina is good and very strong but, wow, the winds are incredible. We saw gusts to 72 kts last night. The worse we have ever seen in a marina. The storm we saw in Richards Bay South Africa (http://mvdirona.com/2015/11/a-brush-with-disaster/) was very similar but the peak wind speeds were less than this one. We always tie the boat off super tight and it’s now so loose that 2 of the fenders have blown up onto the walkway. The power is out in our area probably caused by our power cord being hammered by waves and so full of salt water that the super sensitive dockside RCD system has tripped. The wind is still never under 30 kts and often up over 50 kts and it’s been like that or worse since the big gusts around 3am. The waves are so big in the relatively sheltered marina surrounded by breakwaters that the docks have a wave pattern in them with the dock hinges creaking back and forth. It’s time like this that I really like our 1″ dock lines.
Portland got a mention on the national news this morning due to the high wind speeds there. Its really well protected there so hard to imagine those big pontoons moving like that. Are you in the “U” shaped area just past the fuel dock? Have you spotted the Mulberry Harbour there?
We are on T-doc, the same float as the fuel dock in Portland marina. On shelter, it’s a pretty flat area and there doesn’t seem to be much between us and the winds whistling across the English Channel.
We might have time to stop in Mulberry Harbour after our yard work in Southampton. Thanks for suggesting it.
Jennifer points out that the “Mulberry Harbour” you mentioned is likely not the harbour near Southampton but, instead, a temporary portable harbor. Cool, I hadn’t heard of them before.
We might have seen one between Portland Marina and the commercial docks but I’m not 100% sure.
Hi james and jenifer, i live in bodmin (cornwall) so if you guys need another ride whilst your here give me a shout and im sure i can sort you out!
Hope your enjoying cornwall (its nicer in the summer, honest!)
All the best
Very kind of you to offer Chris. We actually got underway at 10:17pm last night and we’re about 3 hours out of Portland at this point making excellent time at 9.7 kts. The engine is performing beautifully with no fault codes. The Injector change we just did seems to have fully addressed that issue.
Thanks again for the offer of a ride. Much appreciated.
Dear James and Jennifer,
Happy new year.
I have just read the first half of your book and article on generators, thank you for both.
This has me thinking of suggestions for less traveled ports:
Dover. This port is the most formal on the south coast. It is often overlooked because it is still a busy ferry terminal. This does not take away its history or charm.
Boston. I noticed you traveled to Plymouth and stood at the Mayflower embarkation point. Boston was the first pick up on the Mayflower’s route. My grandmother’s friend Nelly used to tell me her ansesters joined the Mayflower at Boston. I will state the church’s in Boston are spectacular. Arrangements will have to be made with the “Port of Boston” if you choose to undertake this trip. Boston is a full drying port unless you can dock in the commercial port or access the grand sluice to the inand-waterways. I can confirm you will not reach or pass the grand sluice due to height restrictions.
I hope this helps. You have certainly enlightened me of the BC coastline. I shall make plans to visit BC and our Canadian relatives.
Robert and Julie
Thanks for the information Robert and Julie and Happy New Year.
This is not a real good meter, but it’s not bad and relatively inexpensive for what it does.
And a megohm meter works a lot better for finding current leaks than a multimeter. A megger will tell you before it goes bad, a multimeter only finds it after it is.
And what I mean by “not a real good meter” is it’s not something I would carry for everyday use. I have a rather expensive FLUKE for that.
Super interesting. My Fluke multi-meter is a pretty good general meter that did find 3 megaohms on on the shore power lead I tested in Kinsale Ireland but a megaohmeter looks useful and I’ll definitely get one. Amazon has the one you referenced (up to 100 megaohms) for $85 or I can get a low end Fluke 1503 (2,000 megaohms for $468 or a Fluke 1507 (10,000 megaohms) for $539. Given that modern shore power RCDs will trip at often as little as 30 milliamps, being able to find super small current leaks would be very valuable. I lean towards getting a Fluke but let me know if you don’t agree. Thanks for yet another great Steve Coleman tip!
I like FLUKE products so I would recommend them to anyone. It’s all a matter of how you plan on using them and for most people the 85 dollar one would work however, you are going off a light rather than an actual reading.
I myself would buy the 1507 however the 1503 would do anything you would ever need it for on Dirona.
I just placed an order on Amazon for a 1507. My thinking is modern residual current sensors are super trigger happy these days. Often down at 30mA or even below. Even the smallest current leak can be very frustrating to deal with. I’m going to get the 1507 and use it to keep an eye on all my conductors and systems. I decided not to get the NIST certified version :-).
Thanks again for the help and if you are ever anywhere even hinting at close to Dirona, you have to drop by. You’ve had a lot of influence on our systems over the years.
I do appreciate the offer and yes if looks like I am ever going to be anywhere close, I will try to contact you and make it happen. I’d love to meet you two (three I do like cats, have three of my own) and tour Dirona.
I think you’ll like the FLUKE 1507 even though it’s more capable than you need. On the 1503, anything above 2000 megaohm’s simply reads infinite. But if it actually started out at say 5000 megaohm’s (just a random value) and started dropping with the 1507, you would see it much quicker and hopefully long before it is a problem.
Various items have various “safe values” the best advise I can give on that is, benchmark something when you know it’s good and look for a continuing change in subsequent testing.
Makes sense Steve. We are currently in a massive storm where the winds are constantly over 30 kts and often up over 50 with gusts as high as 72 kts (83 mph, 133 kph). Two of our fenders have blown up on deck and the waves rolling over the dock are sufficiently big that the shore power is down probably due to salt water in our shore power plug causing the dockside RCD to trip. Now that many marinas are starting to go with super sensitive RCDs, the ability to chase down very small current leaks and failing insulation is becoming pretty important.
We’re warm and inside with the generator running when needed but when the winds go down, I’ll try to get the shore power back operational but at this point there is so much salt water flying around it’s probably pointless to try to get it back operational.
Hi James, I’ve also considered installing a 3rd bilge pump like the Rule 3700 in Dirona. My question is how did you route the plumping? Did you install a new through hull or simply tie into an existing deck drain?
Thanks, Keith Olaisen N47-23 Acqua Dolce
Oops, never mind, I just scrolled down a little further and saw all of the pictures and how you very cleverly used the manual bilge pump pickup.
Thanks for taking the time to document your many experiences. I’ve really enjoyed following your many travels and hope to see you someday in some corner of the planet.
Happy New Year to both you and Jennifer !
Thanks Keith. I hope your new pump goes in well. It’s a snug place to work but, once installed, it’s a nice place for the pump and it really works well.
I have followed you for many years as I live in Vancouver B.C. and am a long time subscriber to Pacific Yachting. I see that you dropped off Spitfire with Deborah Lefroy whose name popped right out at me as my name is Peter Lefroy and all Lefroys are related somehow! I love reading your blog and look forward to each installment arriving on my computer.
Debra took excellent care of Spitfire while we are were back in the US. That worked out super well. Glad you are enjoying the blog — we’re having a great trip but we do miss our annual Christmas stop in Vancouver. It’s a great city and after a month in the wilds, all the restaurants of Granville Island are really fun.
Good evening and Merry Christmas to you from Brittany ! What a nice trip and what a beautiful boat ! Many thanks for sharing with us your great adventure and all those pictures.
Thanks to you and the Nordhavn community, I have now only one goal in my life : to buy one of this fantastic boat.
I highly recommend you to visit my former working area, the Channel Islands and Saint-Malo and my living place, the Golfe du Morbihan (preferably during spring or summer period as Brittany is quite famous for her heavy rains… ^^ )
Wishing you a bon voyage, enjoy Europe !
We will be spending a few weeks in Southampton for boat yard work then to London for a few weeks. The plan from there is to go to Amsterdam and then north for Norway. We’ll have to make your recommended stops on the trip back south. Thanks for passing on the suggestions.
Dear James and Jennifer,
Hope you had a great Christmas and are looking forward to New Year,
Our patch if from the Humber to Cornwall so I thought I would make some notes for you.
Fowey has a RLNI pontoon which you can use in the evening.
You can fit in Queen Anne’s Battery Plymouth.
The Spa at Dart Marina is great.
Salcombe is lovely.
Our favourite restaurant is the Carb House Cafe between Portland and Weymouth.
I alway see if I can lunch stop at Lulworth Cove.
Yarmouth is a must. The Royal Solent Yacht club is welcoming. If the boats are in the water you can often get a crew racing their gaff rig boats.
All the best
Robert and Julie
Thanks for the advice on the area. We appreciate local insight.
We are currently booked to have the boat lifted out of the water on January 8th and I’ve currently got the injectors out of the main engine waiting on parts so we may not have a lot of time between here and Southampton but we’ll see how it plays out. Thanks!
Merry Christmas from sunny Southern California! We hope you three have a great holiday and a safe New Year.
Tim, Tiffany and Apollo
Merry Christmas and all the best in 2018.
We hope you have had a splendid Christmas Day, best wish for the coming year Mike & Trish
Thanks Mike and all the best to both of you in 2018.
With your eventual plans to come back to Seattle do you know how you’ll get here? Top, bottom or middle(Panama canal)
We haven’t made plans yet. We’re really enjoying the nomadic lifestyle and it’s hard to know when we’ll get tired of it and where we will go when we do. Our short term plans are Southampton, London, Amsterdamn, and then cruising Norway for the summer.
I know James, the mind boggles at the science behind it. One of my friends sent it to me, his son is a scientist. Quite an interesting website, too!
The Worlds smallest christmas card http://www.npl.co.uk/educate-explore/christmas-2017/?utm_source=XmasCard&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=xmascard2017
Merry Xmas folks
Can’t beat that for efficiency and minimizing waste 🙂
Jennifer and James:
Merry Xmas from snowy and cold Niagara Falls, Ontario.
All the best for 2018 with all of your adventures.
Signed: An Avid Reader!!
I read your amazing account of boat monitoring at 36,000 feet.
And for the next trick: Start the main engine, retract the automatic dock lines, back the boat out, set up a dock-to-dock autoroute, and have the boat meet you at the other side of the pond. 🙂
We actually can start the main engine from 36,000′ but we haven’t yet solved the remainder of your challenge 🙂
The solution isn’t electronic, it’s called ADC -“A delivery crew”. Sometimes simple is best.
You’re right that a delivery crew is certainly an option. My thinking is those conditions should be perfectly safe and not a problem. Whether it’s a delivery crew or me, I want the boat as safe as possible. Even if I elected to pay others to do the ocean crossings, I wouldn’t want to send them out without fixing the issues I outlined here.
Sorry to upset you. I was referring to Michael and Francis’ comment not trying to insult your skills or site.
Sorry to misinterpret your comment as reason not to do correct these issues Walt.
Hello, James and Jennifer – long time, no contact. A year after our planned departure from the US, we’re still here, but feeling like we’re almost ready to go – planning for end of January. (Some family issues, then a little Irma damage, which is being repaired now.)
Anyway – on our To Do List is to embed a map of our travels in our blog site, like on Dirona’s. I think I recall you do that with an abandoned Google project that Jennifer modified. I wonder if that code is available somewhere for others to use? Thanks!
Hey Brian, good to hear from you and sorry to hear you took some Irma damage. WWe use is a mess of mostly custom software but the system you are describing sounds like what we use to track ourselves on trips without the boat. These are the routes we use around town. These are made using a the open source version of Google My Tracks. We initially started using it when it was a standard Google product but they eventually discontinued it and took it down from Play Store. There is an open source version of it that we use but there are also several private builds of this software up on Google Play Store with advertising and other ways to monetize. There are also many other fitness tracker systems for IOS and and Android with many similar characteristics that would probably server you fine. The latest open source version seems to be posted here: https://github.com/justin66/MyTracks.
The main boat tracking system is a tiny part of much larger system we wrote to track all data on Dirona. We monitor the NMEA2000 bus and a few other data sources and store all navigation, weather, power system, fuel levels, depth, etc. data every 5 seconds in an on board relational database. A tiny subset of that database is uploaded are AWS web site and we run a hacked version of WordPress on the site. This data is used by our custom control systems to start and stop the generator when needed, to shed power load prior to allowing the power source to be overloaded, and to send alerts and warnings in email and to display on our PH display systems. All that software is custom and highly tied to the specific configuration of Dirona without effort to make portable or commercialize. We’ve been offered opportunities to commercial those parts of the system but it’s just too much work and I think my day job pays better :-). Maretron is able to do almost everything we do and it’s a battle tested system with excellent support.
But, you were asking about the personal tracks and, yes, that software is available up at: https://github.com/justin66/MyTracks but I would be tempted to find a similar app with support unless you enjoy doing Android App builds.
Thanks, as always, for that thorough and thoughtful reply, James. I’m not particularly interested in learning to build Android apps (even from someone else’s source code), so I’ll look for something a little easier. Happy holidays to you, Jennifer, and Spitfire!
Yeah, probably the right call Brian :-).
Hope you are enjoying Falmouth. Brings back fond memories for working on the RFA Argus refit down there. I think you are currently looking at her. Remarkable ship build by H&W Belfast as the Commander Bezant, then when to the Falklands and subsequently concerted to aviation training and PCRS (Primary casualty receiving ship).
Have you been up to the Chain Locker yet? They used to do a great Irish Music session on a Thursday night.
Naturally! We arrived and went directly to the Chain Locker for lunch. Falmouth is a pretty cool place, it looks like we better eat out often with this amazing variety of restaurants.
We are beside the Argus. I didn’t know it’s yet another product of H&W Belfast. We really enjoyed our time in Belfast and the H&W cranes Samson and Goliath are a big part of the Belfast skyline. The H&W built Titanic and the museum and other related displays are also a super interesting part of visiting Belfast.
Dear James and Jenifer
I Notice you are heading past lizard point into the Falmouth. I was there three years ago with my wife Julie. That stretch of coast line has several tidal races starting at lizard point. These are not to be underestimated. I have been in the lizard race on a calm day and the swells were quite impressive. I mis-timed Sawanage race in 2014 and was hit by a sigular 4 meter wave. It took us from 8kts to 22.6Kts, we were a thirty two foot surf board. My Julie has not quite forgiven me yet. Nothing you can’t handle but you should note them as navigational hazards.
The history of these races are interesting, the English used them to there advantage whilst attacking the Spanish armada.
We droped down to Mylor as Falmouth can be quite noisy with machinery from larger vessels.
We appreciate the warning to get the tides right. We played it carefully with routing and timing and ended up having an enjoyable last day of our run. The first evening was fairly rough with winds steady 25 and gusts to 30 but even that was fine. When making longer runs in the winter, it’s almost impossible to completely avoid a bit of weather. Overall, it was a good run and we’re an hour out of Falmouth now.
Hi James and Jennifer,
Hope you are having a fantastic time in here in Dublin.
I seen you got some to visit some of the great places here in Dublin including City Hall.
Did you manage to go inside and see the ceiling. I got married there and the pictures were amazing.
Hope you enjoy the rest of your time here.
We are having a great time Ken. We did indeed see the city hall ceiling. A great venue for a marriage.
We’ve really enjoyed our time in Dublin and stayed longer than we originally expected. We expect to get under way later this evening for Falmouth. If the weather cooperates, we’ll head there directly.
Maybe I missed it, can you mention how you got the anchor chain untangled ?
We opened the chain locker hatch, powered the chain up and out until a chain knot rose to the deck, and then I untangled it by hand. Then powered more out and repeated the process. I’ve seen it before with a knot but never with so many. We only untangled 1/2 the chain on board so there will be more to do when I get a chance. It’s not difficult or even all that time consuming and it’s fairly rare but we appear to have really tangled it all up this time.
I’ve just been studying your new 3700 Rule bilge pump installation because we are about to do the same job on our N40. I proved at the last lift-out that the Jabsco pump shifts less water than our washing machine pump. And, as you know, those Jabscos have a history of failures. Like you we intend to go out through the same skin fitting (thru-hull) as the Edson hand pump. I’ve looked very carefully at your blog and I just can’t work out how you have joined the Rule outlet to the Edson hose. Is there a “Tee” or a “Y” fitting somewhere? And does the Rule pump send its output through the body of the Edson, or does the water by-pass the Edson? Sorry if this is indeed a dumb question.
Hi Michael. I feel guilty for not posting this article already. I wrote 90% of it 3 weeks back but work has been busy and I haven’t had the time to finish it off and get it posted. I will do that this week for sure.
The approach I took was to have the manual bilge pump and the 3700 in series rather than in parallel. Essentially the 3700 replaces the pickup for the manual pump and pumps inline through the manual pump. The manual pump draws through the 3700 pump. I’ve filled the bilge and the manual pump output is indistinguishable from the test prior to installing the 3700. The bilge was again filled and the 3700 output is about 3x and perhaps 4x the output of the Jabsco pump. It’s a simple design that seems to work fairly effectively and is fairly easy to install. It would be “easy”except the access to the lower bilge in our boat is very limited below the prop shaft and 5 through hulls. The pump can’t be dropped in through all that mechanical gear so it needs to be assembled in place like a ship in a bottle. That required some patience but, otherwise, the job actually was easy.
I’ll get that article with more detail and the other changes I put in place in response to “Alarms at 1:15am” posted as soon as possible.
Thanks for replying. Do not feel guilty. I have no idea how you manage to hold down a demanding job, cruise, tour, maintain Dirona, AND keep the rest of us entertained. No doubt Jennifer does a lot to make it all possible.
Pumps: That’s what we’ll do then. My friend Steve has installed a “Y” on his N40, downstream of his Edson, to achieve a similar end result. But if the Rule will pump straight through the Edson it simplifies the installation.
I’m going to put a video on Youtube to show how the Jabsco pumps less than our washing machine.
I finally got motivated and did the final review and cleanup on what we did in response to the “Alarms at 1:15am” article. Hopefully it’ll make some of the details more clear: http://mvdirona.com/2017/12/alarms-at-115am-follow-up/.
Bearing in mind I’ve only seen pictures of these pumps, have you considered long term effect on the diaphragm and valves in the Edson pump or, if the diaphragm failed? Would that negate the installation of the new pump?
Good question Steve. My analysis suggests the Edson shouldn’t be a problem. The Edson is a big chamber with a large rubber diaphragm over the top and a one way flapper valve on the inlet and the outlet. If the valves fail, we should be able to just pump through them without impact. Of course the manual valve would not work at that point. If the diaphragm failed, it might leak and not be effective as a manual pump but I would expect the leaks would be minor compared to the flow and the Rule 3700 would still be pumping well.
Unless the leaks were spraying on something that would cause problems. But if that would be the case, you could easily devise something to divert it. A sheet of rubber, modified plastic bucket etc.
My thinking is if I test annually I should catch leaks well before they get that serious and, as you said, we could wrap a towel around it to prevent spray in an emergency if it started leaking badly.
Hello again, did you ever get your RIB sorted out? The only reason I ask is, I was having a crack with one of my family members the other night and among other things, we discussed RIB’s and punctures etc.
Our family member has a RIB (safety boat) which was retubed by http://www.menaimarine.biz/. They’re located on the shores of the Menai Straits in Victoria Dock, Caernarfon, Wales. They custom build RIB’s as well should you be feeling flush 😀
Thanks Paul. We elected to get another AB VST12 with a 50hp outboard but it turned out there were none in the UK and an order couldn’t be reliably delivered before we left the country. Our current boat is hanging in there fine so we ordered one from the AB dealer in the Netherlands and will pick it up as we pass through Amsterdam.
I see you’re both enjoying Dublin, as do we. The Spire is known locally as the “Stiletto in the Ghetto” or the “Stiffy on the Liffey.” It replaces Nelson’s Pillar which was blown up in 1966 by Irish Republicans. The architect was Ian Ritchie. I like its elegant, slender movement which given its dimensions being 3m in diameter at the base and 120m high is quite an achievement.
It’s an imposing structure and I agree it’s both elegant and striking.
Is it jusy my computer or have your most recent photos of York diisappeared from your site?
PS Awaiting the Alarms at 1:30am update with great interest
The pictures all look good on the computers around here and under a couple of browsers. Recommend restarting your browser and seeing if that clears the issue.
You are 100% right on the Alarms at 1:15am post mortem. The article is written and it just needs an edit pass before posting. Work’s been busy with our annual re:Invent conference in Las Vegas but I’ll get the article up soon. Thanks for the reminder.
As you suggested, here I am on your blog. 🙂 Our new KK50 will have a similar exterior, what are the size (D x L) of your Prostock Marine fenders and how long are your fender lines? Thank you in advance for your wisdom! 🙂
Jackie in Seattle
Our initial fenders were Aere Inflatable fenders and they were a disaster. Aere uses a thick and very durable material to build their fenders but they simply don’t hold air. Some leaked from day one but all leaked within two months. Having seen ProStock Marine fenders starting to take over the super yacht trade, we decided to move to them. They use a slightly less heavy duty material but the welded seams are absolutely perfect. They hold air well and we have abused the heck out of ours taking fuel from a steel barge in a 3′ to 4′ swell and up against concrete docks in 40 kts. They just take the wear and abuse without problem. After three years of heavy use, we have yet to see an issue. ProStock Marine makes a great product.
We have 6 of the 18×42 and 2 of the 24×42 sizes and we have sized the fender lines to match the boat where the right side hangs from the walkway rail and the left side hang from further up on the boat deck.
That is really helpful! Those are the same size fenders that are being recommended for our boat and having your positive review gives me more confidence.
Any other guidance you can provide on fender line length? KK is planning on supplying us with 30 foot lines for each of the fenders, I think that is too long.
We have ours in two lengths. The short ones are around 10′ and the long ones for the non-walkway side around 20′. 30′ is certainly too long but, hey, if long fender lines are the only mistake made in your new boat build you are perhaps the luckiest people in the world :-).
Long fender lines can be shortened so I wouldn’t worry about it. You’ll know what is right when you get the boat.
Thanks for your patience with our questions. When you are under way on short voyages do you deflate and put them away? If not, what do you do them? Would you say they are easy to store? Do you use the pump they sell?
We don’t usually bother for a short trip but, if we are planning to dock for a couple of days, we take them down since they are really big and take up most of the boat deck when not stowed away deflated. The trick to fast inflation/deflation is to use a shop vacuum. Amazingly effective and fast and useful for multiple purposes.
Since you were asking about the Prostock Marine fenders, after three years of flawless performance and fairly heavy use we woke up Sunday morning to find two fenders having leaked down. Two failing at the same time seems super unlikely but both have fabric leaks about an 1/2″ from the valves. It was right around freezing with a 30 kt wind onto the dock that night. I suspect the problem was related to the cold but clearly the material needs to be able to work without failure in cold weather.
I reported the problem to Prostock that morning and, it’s been a couple of days now and they haven’t gotten back to us.
Bummer on your 2 failures. Keep us posted on how this is handled by the company. I am confused that you say if you are going to dock for a couple days that you would put them away, wouldn’t you leave them hanging on the side of your boat in that case? Or did you mean if you are anchoring for a couple days?
Given you had two failed fenders and a 30 knot wind, did you boat sustain any damage as a result?
If not returning to the dock for a couple of days we deflate and stow the fenders.
There was no boat damage from the fender failure. We had 4 fenders down that side of the boat and the outer two kept the boat undamaged. Yes, I will post here on how Prostock Marine handles the failures.
Hi James, Jennifer – – is it feasible to fill these fenders with Nitrogen? I am wondering if humidity causes breaches, air gap, while using Nitrogen could eliminate that possibility, but it also might be problematic carrying bottle(s) of Nitrogen on board….?
Any word yet from Prostock Marine? That’s a long time to go without two very important fenders…
Friday Prostock Marine asked for some pictures to better understand the failure. I’ll follow up here on how they elected to deal with the situation as soon as I hear back from them.
Alway’s impressed with your blog. Keep’s us dreaming!. I’ve got a few system’s questions. With the time on your electronics-radar,sounder,radio’s etc how much longer before you think you’ll need to replace? With the hour’s on your engine and generator what’s your guess on how many more hours before they’ll need major work. Did Nordhavn design way’s you could remove without using a chainsaw? With all the real world use you get are any of the manufactor’s making improvement’s/changes for all going forward or are the thing’s you’ve been doing unique to your cruiseing needs? Thank’s!
Lots of good questions Robert. We know have more than 9,400 main engine hours so, as you said, the hours are mounting and our “new” boat is probably heading to the top 10% of the Nordhavn fleet. We know of quite a few boats with more hours but I suspect most haven’t as many. So far the engine/transmission have never been open. We recently started getting a 1347.7 ECU trouble code indicating actual high pressure rail pressure is different from called for fuel pressure. It looks like an injector problem so I’ll change the set soon and hopefully that problem will be solved. Assuming, I’m right on that problem, changing injectors after 9,000 hours seems pretty reasonable to me. I’m hoping we can get 15,000 out of the engine before the head needs to come off and 20,000 before the lower end needs attention. I know of engines with 15,000 that have never been open and show no signs of needing it so all indications are that this engine will continue to do well.
You asked if the engine could come out of boat without a chainsaw. Yes, absolutely. It was a focus item from me during build since we expect to run up the hours and, even for those that don’t, you can get unlucky. The main engine can be lifted out through a large Salon hatch designed for engine and transmission service. Nordhavn intends it to be big enough and I’ve looked at it pretty carefully and believe the hatch will be sufficient if needed. Hopefully it’ll not be any time soon.
On electronics, we are using Furuno NavNet3d that we have had in use on the boat for nearly 8 years. It was long ago superseded with the newer TZ system but we’re still very happy with the current navigation eqiupment and don’t intend to replace it. The only fault we have seen so far is the MFDBB had a graphics card failure while we were in the Indian Ocean. I ended installing a temporary card that was very similar (http://mvdirona.com/2015/10/thank-you-plug-n-play/) and then later I bought a used MFDBB from someone who was upgrading to a new system so we now have a full MFDBB in spares on Dirona. We expect to run this system for another 2 to 4 years and, at this point, have no complaints with it. Furuno has done a good job and we still like this system.
Nordhavn continues to improve their boats all the time. I’m sure the odd idea comes from our experience and they have the experience of more than 500 other owners to draw on as well. Every time I’m on a new Nordhavn, I see subtle (and sometimes fairly dramatic) improvements. One area where we have contributed a bit is in power systems and Nordhavn now has an optional design available that has many of the advantages of what we ended up doing: http://mvdirona.com/2014/08/a-more-flexible-power-system-for-dirona/. I really like new design done by Mike Teleria at Nordhavn.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your various musings on your recent posts. Regarding Liverpool Cathedral. This place probably gets more tourist visitors than actual Sunday parishioners!
However, saying that, a guilty pleasure of mine is visiting these kinds of places when on a jolly.
As to the architecture of the place, which is seriously beautiful on an immense scale and, if one thinks about it, stone is probably the oldest building material used by mankind. Some of this stonework can be reproduced in the modern world, whereas some is clearly no longer possible or at least feasible.
Just up the road from me, there stands some skeletal sandstone ruins of an 11th century Cistercian Abbey with enough stonework left on a scale that is difficult to grasp. Given the tools used it’s difficult to comprehend! I’m always left saying to myself, how the hell did they do it?
Briefly touching on the Manchester Science museum. Technology wise we’re living in exciting times, what with those little Raspberry Pi’s that you use, and the device I’m writing this on, which is an android phone, either of these miniature gadgets have probably got more computing power than that Baby computer Jennifer’s Father built. I should probably get one of those Pi gadgets just so I can clue myself up, but the programming of the thing makes my eyes glaze over, and at the end of the day, I’ve no real use for it other than educating myself 🙂
Cheerio for now…
I totally agree with you on these old stone structures. Absolutely amazing. In North America, “old” is 200 years. This is a completely different perspective.
On the Raspberry Pi, it’s remarkably simple. Like you, I didn’t really intend to use it. I just bought one to learn a bit but it was so easy to program that I ended up finding many uses for it. And, after awhile, I ended up deciding to get a 2nd and then later, put in a third. Embedded programming used to required deep low level programming skills, cross compilers, cross debuggers, and it was slow going. The Pi is a basically a full computer running Linux with lots of memory and storage resources. It essentially requires very little skill to get things going. Most of the software I have running on mine is written in PHP with just a bit of C++ for a performance sensitive module.
I picked up a Pi when I was in Darwin Australia via Amazon from the US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01C6Q2GSY/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1. I played with it a bit on the Indian Ocean crossing and was soon reading digital input state — checking to see if a device is on or off. Then I got it doing digital output — the ability to turn devices on and off. On that trip, I had an electronics failure of the Watch Commander. It’s a simple device that makes sure that the person on the helm is awake and requires that you touch a button every 10 min. I built a new one using the Pi and, before the Indian Ocean crossing was done the Pi had gone from toy to part of the boat control systems and it expanded from there. On the boat I now use them for around 30 channels of digital input, about 12 channels of digital input, and around 10 channels of temperature using a DHT-22 (https://www.amazon.com/Diymore-Digital-Temperature-Humidity-Replace/dp/B01IT2E4ZW/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1511701777&sr=1-2-spons&keywords=dht22&psc=1). Just the latter functionality of reading temperatures is pretty useful. In the near future, I’ll blog the details with example code of what I use the Pis for and show how it’s done.
with your PI you can aso run the Viltron Venus CCGX software which they made open source
Cool, I hadn’t noticed that Victron had open sourced some of their control software. For those interested in reading more on the Victron open source projects, it’s here: https://www.victronenergy.com/live/open_source:start.
On Dirona, we use a Victron 240v inverter and what I notice about it was, when compared to other gear we have on the boat, it easily delivers it’s spec of 6kw and it’ll even deliver 7kw for very short periods of time without cutting out. Where many charger/inverter suppliers put in limiters, cut-outs, or de-rate with temperature, Victron goes for a design with sufficient engineering safety margin that it actually can meet the spec in less than ideal circumstances and, if pushed beyond, they don’t shut down unless the they need too. My Mastervolt equipment sometimes derates or limits at annoying times. For example, the chargers run on 240V but, world voltages are far from stable and they range from 208 to 240v nominal with big deviations caused by grid load or other factors. I want the chargers putting out whatever the hardware will support but Mastervolt derates starting at 195V and output falls off fast below that voltage level. Like many adjustments on the Mastervolt gear, it isn’t user adjustable or configurable.
It’s really cool to see Victron open sourcing some of their control software and actually helping customers be able to integrate their systems with other types of equipment. The more I see of Victron, the more I like them. Thanks for sending this along Jan-Kees.
As a fan of the Americas Cup I think you will be interested in the AC 75 foiling monohull concept which has just been announced. It is shown here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rx2qG_YMrDs
For some bizarre reason the Namib gecko, which lifts alternate feet off the hot sand to keep cool, came to mind when I saw the video. That said it looks as though the proposed design will present a great design and sailing challenge.
I was really disappointed to see the high speed foiling cats not being used going forward but some are already speculating that this new AC75 may be even faster. I’m still slightly skeptical on the speed point but it is definitely a wild looking boat. I read an article quoting Tom Slingsby as really liking the design. The real test of the design is how many competitive teams emerge. I really wish that America’s Cup was annually or perhaps every 2 years. 4 years between events is a long, long time.
Hello again, glad to read that the gaiter worked out ok. My wife and I have quite an eclectic taste in music and have never really heard any of the BRMC’s music. It’s funny what a name of a band can conjure up in one’s mind, as we had it down as heavy metal headbangers music so never gave it a listen!
That opinion has now changed, as Beat The Devil’s Tattoo, Spread Your Love, Little Thing Gone Wild (which is what our six-year-old grandson is currently bouncing around to as I type) sounds fantastic on our home HI-FI. A Spotify list has now been created!
If you like Blues music check out the American musician Seasick Steve – he makes his own instruments, too!
Love it and it’s funny you should say that Paul but, for years, I thought the same about Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and more or less ignored them. I knew of the band but hadn’t listened to any of their music. It was Jennifer that eventually gave them a serious listen and they have become favorites of ours as well.
Thanks for the pointer to Seasick Steve. Will give him a listen.
Thanks for the acknowlegdement re gaitor for power cord!
Any progress on the lifeline??:)
I’ve got a blog entry ready to go with an update on all the changes that we put in places as a result of “Alarms at 1:15am”. We’ve made a lot of changes and I like the results but we’ve not done anything on coming up with some sort of Jackline system. Thanks for the reminder.
What about lifelines between your mooring cleats in the cockpit?
Sure, absolutely. There are lots of options and that’s a good one Rod. Our first line of defense is to not go outside in storms. However, if we ever need to again, we will ensure we are attached to the boat.
Thank you both for letting us tag along on your wonderful adventures on beautiful Dirona. We have enjoyed every article and picture. Although the adventures we have in our 1974 Tollycraft Makara are a bit more modest and limited to the greater Puget Sound area, I think all who choose to cast off lines and watch the world unfold with a gentle or sometimes not so gentle swell underfoot, share many of the same life changing moments one can only experience on the water. Wishing you safe passages and look forward to sharing future adventures with you and Dirona.
We agree. Boats are both a constant pleasure and a constant education. Thanks for the note.
I lik to think you calmly repair things on board, under way with the calm of the film “Jaws” Captain Quint (Robert Shaw), “we need a bigger boat”, upon actually seeing the shark finally. Your handy work, getting that pump in is impressive but Yoda rules apply in boats, “there is no try, only do”. Safe travels to you all!
Re locks check out Caen Hill Locks. I think you will be impressed. They are inland and not navigable by Dirona!
The Caen Hill locks look great: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caen_Hill_Locks#/media/File:Caen.hill.locks.in.devizes.arp.jpg. A continuous flight of 16 hand operated locks covering 237′.
Dirona has been up to 738′ above sea level in the Columbia/Snake River system but (thankfully) those weren’t hand operated: http://mvdirona.com/category/destinations/north-america-pacific-coast/columbia-river/
I assume you will be making your way along the south coast stopping near Portsmouth/Isle of Wight. If so inclined you could, with a driver, take in Salisbury/Old Sarum, Stonehenge and possibly these locks as well. They are near Devizes in Wiltshire. That could be too much of a stretch in one day. If so you could possibly add them to a visit to the ancient stone circle at Avebury, the White Horse Hill and the Ridgeway on a second day. All are north of Stonehenge. That said there is plenty to see in and around Portsmouth too.
We will be in the Portsmouth/Isle of Wight area in early January. We’ll be getting some boat work done in South Hampton and then we’ll spend 6 + weeks in London. Your suggestions are within reach of both. Thanks for passing on the recommendations.
HI james and jennifer i see your in Belfast now and i was wondering if you had any plans to nip across the North channel to the Isle of man ?
I’ve been following you since you were in New Zealand and am amazed what the pair of you have done and your Nordhaven must of been through .
i live in Douglas which is to capital of the island we do have a 24 hour stay afloat Harbour if your coming
and if you are and need any help or advise about douglas you can e mail back and will be happy to help.
yours sincerely Steve
We are thinking through ways to visit the Isle of Man. We plan to visit Liverpool immediately after Belfast so won’t have time on the way by. But will have some time in Liverpool so might just take the ferry over for a day. Another approach will be to stop off the at the Isle of Man before heading to Dublin. We’ll be in Dublin for a while so we might take a ferry from there to visit the Isle of Man. Still working on options but I think there is a good chance we’ll do the trip. Thanks for the offer of advice.
Hi James, thank you for your videos and site. Can you tell me how effective your kvh7 satellite is for Internet? I am going to be working from our boat and curious to other’s experiences. Best, April
Our KVH V7-ip (http://www.kvh.com/Commercial-and-OEM/Maritime-Systems/Communications/mini-VSAT-Broadband/TracPhone-V7IP-with-ICM.aspx) has been instrumental in making this trip possible. Without reasonably priced, high-bandwidth communications, there is no way I could work and the trip would have to be deferred until after retirement. We love the equipment and the world-wide service plans. We originally used the fixed price plans available many years ago. We reluctantly moved to one of the Open Plans (http://www.kvh.com/Satellite-and-Content-Services/Satellite-Communications-Service/mini-VSAT-Broadband-Airtime-Plans/Open-Plans-Standard.aspx) and eventually concluded the Open Plans were better. The fixed plans had difficult to throttling that was functional but a bit difficult to work with whereas the open plans are always high performing. We currently use the OP5k which includes 5G per month bu these plans are available in 2G, 5G, 10G all the way up to 150G per month. We might be better off with our consumption rates when we are in remote locations with the OP10k plan but the overage costs for both are reasonable so we don’t bother changing back and forth.
The only negative is the polar regions are not covered and there are some large uncovered areas where commercial shipping traffic is sparse: South Atlantic (Central and North Atlantic is fine), South Indian Ocean, and the Southern Pacific region. It’s been a couple of years since we were in one of these “blind spots” — these aren’t common. The next one we expect to find is next summer in Norway where some of the Fjords will likely not have connectivity due to the lower elevation angles to geosynchronous satellites and the heights of the nearby mountain ranges.
Overall, it’s a great system. It’s not inexpensive but, for those still working and needing constant connection and good bandwidth, it’s an excellent option. In fact, we have become so dependent on the system that, if I was to retire today, we would stay with the same plan. We really like 24×7 connectivity and it makes the trip more enjoyable for us both.
There is more information on our satellite connectivity at: http://mvdirona.com/2015/08/communications-at-sea/. It dates back to 2015 and so we should probably update the article but it still does a pretty good job of covering the options that we investigated. Aboard Dirona, we use WiFi when it is available, the terrestrial cellular radio, and use a KVH V7-ip as our primary satellite system. As backup satellite systems we use Inmarsat BGAN and Iridium but these latter two are only used when outside of the KVH Mini-VSAT satellite footprint or during a system outage. It’s been 2 years since we have used either but we test them annually.
I’ve never sailed on a river or canal so I’ve never experienced the Bank Effect. I have heard about your experience of the water appearing to be lower and flowing faster past the boat. In the instance I heard about the boat ran aground, almost as if the boat was sucked down and had to be towed off. Probably down to hydrodynamics, like boat shape or a combination of different variables of speed and displacement?
Yes, hydrodynamics. The water is being displaced by the hull passing through it and it has to pass by the boat. With the bank near, the water being displaced by the bow and trying to go between the hull and the shore will push the bow away from that near shore. At the stern, the water rushing past the hull needs to fill the space left behind by the boat passing through the water. Because the hull is near to the shore there is resistance to the water freely flowing back into the void left by the hull underway. This causes a low pressure area develops at the stern that pulls the stern towards the near shore.
Dear James & Jen
I hope you are both well. I have in attached my wind speed reference at the bottom of this message. The telematory from Dirona showed winds of 122.8kts. The record for the UK at sea level is 123kts. Watching you boat is more nerve racking that the latest Hollywood film.
I have been up several times in the night to check on your position.
I would love to cruise around Scotland but will need a bigger boat. My wife and I generally don’t go out if the wind is above force 3.
Fortunately, the telemetry from Dirona was incorrect. We rebooted the weather instrument and removed the erroneous data from the website yesterday. It is windy with winds running in the 30 kts range with gusts to 40 kts but not beyond.
I am glad to hear. Have a great day.
Last few days, post Ophelia, a relief it passed has been great reading….thought the “EE” acronym was “time to be an electronic engineer”, and the nice lunch break at the Castle Tavern for me would be followed by “Nap Time”, after seeing those lovely pints! Entrance to Inverness like is beautiful! Safe travels….!
Truly magnificent photography an historical treasure !
Are you planning to see more of Europe? Like the Netherlands
Yes, absolutely. WE plan to go to Norway next year and on the way north will stop in Amsterdam for a while. Likely in the April time frame. Looking forward to it.
Hi James & Jennifer,
If you are in the Amsterdam area around April, check out the Keurkenhof gardens – they are absolutely magnificent when the tulips are out. Also the bulb fields all around are a fantastic sight, and the smell of the Hyacinths is almost overwelmingly strong.
Our plan is to be in Amsterdam in early April so that suggestion will likely work out very well. We’re looking forward to it. Thanks for the recommendation Rob.
A little maritime history !
Great set of data and, of course, this is why recreational SCUBA diving is such a big industry in the Orkney Island area. There are a lot of ships (and other debris) on the bottom.
You should be glad all your anchor snagged was a chain and not a torpedo!
Very true, capturing unexploded ordnance would be far worse that our just hooking onto a massive chain.
I’m guessing if it had of been ordnance when you got down there you and Jennifer would likely be scraping your second anchor at that point?
Quite possibly we would have had to give up both achors. I’m fairly stubborn and might have found a way to free at least one up without getting close but we probably would have to give up both anchors (we have a third on board).
If you enjoy maps like I do, then you may enjoy this interactive wind map of the world. Wind speeds are in real time, too!
It’s 88km/h where I am at the moment.
The North Atlantic looks incredibly bad right now. Nice visualization.
Hi from Chile, nice videos…thanks
Whats the crane brand you use to download the dinghy?
The crane is a Steelhead ES1100. The ES1100 is actually an ES1500 with a longer boom (16′ reach) which requires it be derated from 1,500 lbs to 1,100 lbs.
Hi, you have heard About hurricane Ophelia? looks as it Will pass northen Scotland!
Yes, we saw that. The current predicted track shouldn’t bring unsafe weather our way but it is gusty today.
yeah Ex-Hurricane Ophelia made her landfall this morning here in Ireland. good thing she’s downgraded to storm Ophelia when she reach Northwest Scotland tonight…
Three fatalities and a lot of destruction reported since land fall. We hope the worst is over for Ireland and the cleanup will be swift. It’s an unusually sever storm.
Plockton/Loch Duibh…before your time, but this was the setting for the great Hamish MacBeth series with Robbie Carlyle. We spent our time there scouting the shooting locations. Great to see it again!
The portion of the train trip from Plockton to Kyle of Lochalsh is particularly pretty.
You are very nice couple..with a way to use your life who is perfecr!!!! Actually this is my dream but i’m still working here in Greece and i wait the day i stop. If you ever visit our waters let me know…I’ll be proud to meet you and yours best boat ever!
Best wishes guys!
Thanks for the invitation to Greece. I hope we do get there someday and, if you are ever near Dirona (http://mvdirona.com/maps, feel free to drop by and say hello!
How do you guys create your map/track?
We display the maps using modified WordPress blogging software with custom software driving Google maps. We collect the data on Dirona as a side effect of a far broader central control system that captures all NMEA2000 data on Dirona and acquires data from some other non-NMEA2000 connected devices as well. This data is stored in a relational data base and is used to the drive alerts, alarms, email notification of problems, generator autostart, power load shedding, and a variety of other tasks. A tiny subset of that data is uploaded to our website on Amazon Web Services for display.
The personal tracks that we create when off-boat walking, biking, Taxis, train or other forms of transit are created using a discontinued application called My Tracks. Google removed support for this app and no longer maintains it but they open sourced an earlier version of it. We took the earlier version and continue to use that app side loaded on whatever phone we happen to be carrying.
Are all your posts and website driven by WordPress? Do you recommend a hosting service? Btw my wife and I are in process of building a N60. Taking delivery in early spring 2019. Thanks for the site and maybe we will cross paths
Yes, the web site and posts are all done through WordPress running on Amazon Web Services (aws.amazon.com). There is some custom code used for the maps section where Google maps is embedded in word press and the boat position and track is shown but the rest is just standard WordPress. Generally, we’re quite happy with WordPress. It’s a nice solution.
We hope our paths do cross. If they do, drop by and say hi.
If you want to create trip tracks like James & Jennifer with GPS data logging. I use an app on my phone called Geotag Photos which is available on Android. It’s a user friendly solution which works very well for cameras that don’t have GPS technology built in. It records your trip as a GPX file which you can export and load into Google maps.
That sounds better than My Tracks even when My Tracks was supported. Good find.
Hi James & Jennifer. Long time reader/follower(fan!!) of your blog (I think I ended up here once, years ago when Ken Williams linked to one of your long South Pacific passages). I love (and am jealous!) of what you guys are doing, but am eternally grateful for how well you share it. I’m finally commenting after a few questions came to head…
Re: dinghy/tender replacement. I have noticed in some of your pics (dating back several years, too) the rust stains/leaks from the small bits of hardware on the current tender. While not mission critical, the staining and rusting of those parts isn’t ideal. I am sure it all boils down to the bottom line ($$) but my basic understanding of alloys is that most of this could be avoided (304 vs. 316). What is your take on the Tender OEMs “missing” in this arena? I even wonder if they offered it as an option/package for higher grade bits on these parts, what percent of buyers would opt-up? Seems to be a small price in the relative scheme of things for a long term improvement on cosmetics and durability.
Windshield wipers- how often do you use them? Do you replace the wipers on a schedule, or just keep spares (your parts inventory is beyond impressive. I love reading your blogs and seeing a part that you replaced and thinking “woah, how did they have *that* on hand?!?!”) and replace as necessary?
Solar- while I understand you are *big* power consumers, as the solar technology improves in cost, efficiency, and reliability, have you considered any size of array to supplement your power needs? Or is it not realistic with the size of your battery bank, high power use, etc?
A more broad question: Rewind a few years, you’re in Seattle, boat-less, ready to do this trip again, but with all the knowledge/experience you have at this point. On a high/macro level, what are some of the big changes/differences you would do if you could start again? Boat/plan/equipment/etc.
Thank you so much for everything you share on here, it’s incredible.
Lots of good questions Jake. Your first was on the tender noting that, as it aged, it developed rust stains and other cosmetic problems. It’s true, one of the sources of the rust were the locks I use on the lockers. They are not stainless and I just replace them after a couple of years but it would be better if I found a stainless part that was easy to lock/unlock. One component of the Honda motor has rusted badly and it leaves ugly streaks down the back of boat. Everything else around the Honda has no paint flaws and no rust. I’m not sure why they would have selected a ferrous metal for this one bracket. It was a poor choice. However, none of the rusty components have failed so it doesn’t appear to have impacted durability. Certainly it is a negative on the cosmetic side. Beyond that, there were parts of the tender that rusted that were stainless. Perhaps 304 vs 316 stainless steel as you suggest or it could just be age and weather. If you don’t polish stainless occasionally, it will “stain less” but it will not be without stain. The tender is often pretty muddy on the boat deck, the tubes are often marked with tar or other dirt from the large commercial docks we often tie to. Ideally we would carefully clean and polish the tender but we end up treating it like a working boat and we maintain it well but don’t wax and polish it. Perhaps we should — we do on Dirona.
We usually have two spare sets of windshield wipers on Dirona. We change them when needed and that is usually every 12 to at most 24 months. We use the wipers fairly frequently to get salt water off before it drys on and to clear rain. On our previous boat the wipers didn’t work well so we used Rain-X which works well. On this boat, I haven’t applied RainX in years and the wipers seem to get the job done. The windshield sprayers are a bit unusual in that they are plumbed into the boat pressure water systems so they never run out and never need filling.
As you guessed, it’s hard to add enough solar to make a material difference to our power consumption. We unapologetically run the boat like a small apartment with washer, dryer, entertainment, dishwasher, furnace, etc. We use a lot of power. But you are also right that some solar would help. Less so in the current cruising area in Scotland than in the South Pacific but I agree Solar would help. The only install locations we have available that don’t look super ugly would be to replace the bimini that covers the fly bridge with a frame supporting panels. We enjoy having the fly bridge able to go either open or covered with the bimini, don’t love adding more weight up high on the boat, and it hasn’t felt like a project we want to take on. If I had a great solution that looked good and knew it would contribute enough, we would add solar. It’s a project that hasn’t felt like good enough price/performance but we honestly haven’t really researched it out carefully.
We do have a lot of spares on board and what that buys us is the trip never gets redirected to wait for parts or service. We can just keep going but, for sure, there is a massive cost in all the spares and they all have to be inventoried and kept clean and dry so it’s a substantial investment. We love the freedom it buys us.
You asked what we would add to the boat if we were to start the trip again. Generally, they way the boat is now is pretty close to that point. For the most part, the changes can be made after the fact so, if we felt like we needed it, we just made the change since we intend to be using the boat for years and many thousands of hours. Each thing we found we needed, we added or changed as we learned more. Some of the major systems we knew we needed when we left but there were some we discovered later. Here’s a few of the changes that we think were were important that came since Seattle: 1) 240V inverter that can run any appliance on the boat and 9kw of alternator on the main engine essentially making the main engine our backup generator and the sole power producer when we are underway (http://mvdirona.com/2014/08/a-more-flexible-power-system-for-dirona/), 2) longer passerel (gang plank used for Med Mooring), and control systems auto-start the generator when needed, shed less important loads when power draws near maximum source power, we have alerts on potential system faults, we send email for some problems that need attention, and we display all this data using Maretron N2kview (much of the control systems have Maretron at the core). The power system changes covered in the article referenced above made a massive improvement to the boat and the power system changes and control system additions have been key to making the boat “just run itself” and help us run it safely without only two people on the boat. Simplicity of operation and fool proof is important to a lightly staffed boat. In fact, that’s an interesting point. For many folks, our system look complicated. We’re fine with complicated to install as long as it makes the boat simpler to run since that’s where we spend our time.
Things that we haven’t done but would have liked changing: 1) move from a 40hp wing to 50 to 70 hp, 2) move from 7 1/2 sq ft stabilizer fins to 9 sq ft, and 3) autostart for the main engine. The last one sounds silly but here’s what’s driving our interest in auto-start on the main. If the generator ever failed to start or shut off due to a system fault while we are not on the boat, the batteries will discharge. It turns out that a high power consuming boat like ours needs to run the generators 24×7 or have gen auto-start. You just can’t be on the boat to run the gen when the batteries need it so it’s best left to control systems. The 12kw Northern Lights generator has been rock solid for 5,000 hours but there will come a time when it can’t run for some reason. Our backup is the main engine that can produce 9kw of power generation. We want the control systems to be able to start the backup generator if the primary fails. The best answer is a second generator but it’s hard to find space for another generator so we use the main engine. It’s working out so well that we want the control systems to be able to start it if needed. The interest is driven by a battery bank being worth $6,000+ and the best way to prolong the life of the battery bank is to never deeply discharge them. We can add autostart to the main engine for under $1,000 so we will make that change. It won’t often be used since the main gen is so reliable but it’s good insurance.
If we built again, the boat wouldn’t change much from what we currently have. Solar power might be part of the new build, two gens, a larger wing would be nice but not vital and, in a larger boat, we would go with twin engines despite the tiny loss of operating efficiency.
I see here:
that Nordhavn have announced a new version with a stretched saloon and boat deck. Nordhavn say ” “We’re confident 52 buyers are going to love this change.”
Nice to see. It’s not a big change but, as much as we love the big cockpit, giving up a bit to get a bit more boat deck and interior is a great improvement. It’s a really good looking boat.
Hi James. Have followed the site for some time and regret not coming to say hi when I saw Dirona in the Hawkesbury Australia 12/2014. I’m still a sailor but working towards a trawler around 60ft in length. I’m interested in your comment that you’d go with twin engines in a larger boat. I’d appreciate your reasoning and at what length you would consider twin engines.
We loved the Hawksbury and Sydney region. Definitely one of the trips highlight areas.f
You were asking about twin engines. First, if we like twin engines why did we buy a single? To get twins into a small boat, you need to give up few to allow sufficient space for two engines and two engines are just a tiny amount less efficient. In a 52, we didn’t feel we had anything to give up. However, in a 60 to 63′ boat we would go twins on the argument that boats of that size can carry all the fuel needed for even quite long crossings and the tiny loss of efficiency isn’t really material. We really like the redundancy of twins, we like the handling of twins, and I like having two identical engines when working on why something isn’t working properly on one of the them. Generally, I prefer two small diesels to one large one just about every time unless the package is too small to have two without giving up fuel capacity and range.
On the handling front, a single with thrusters hasn’t been a problem so that factor is arguably a pretty small factor. Singles are used on boats all the way up to very large ocean crossing container ships mostly because it’s a bit more efficient. Here’s an article on us visiting the Hanjin Oslo container ship: http://mvdirona.com/2012/06/on-board-the-hanjin-oslo/. On the other side of that decision still up at the very large end of the boating spectrum, oil tankers care just as much about container ships about efficiency but I’ve noticed many new builds are going with twins for redundancy in an effort to reduce the risk of collision and potential spills.
An incredible journey and documentation to boot. With joys and challenges abound along the way. I am cautious for the next installment of you journey however. Although inland, do not let your guards down! Be vigilant! While many may dismiss the reality as folklore legend, there is a true monster that lies in the section ahead!
Humor asides, I encouragea Haggis as a means to calm yourselves. They are challenging to catch, but worth the effort 🙂
Thanks Jamie. We will keep an eye out for the Loch Ness monster. For calming, the Scots have a variety of recommendations but I’m not sure Haggis will be the option we take :-).
Loch Ness can feel quite spooky – especially when it is black and glassy smooth. We rented a boat for a trip for about a week from Inverness to Fort Augustus (up the locks) and return when our children were young many years ago. Back then, IIRC, there were not many places to moor a boat in Loch Ness itself.
It looks like things haven’t changed a lot since you were last here David. Still not many places to tie off or to anchor but, for this time of year, I’m pretty confident we’ll find lots of open space for Dirona. Really looking forward to it but, having just pulled into our slip in Inverness, wow, it’s pretty nice here as well. We have a really nice end tie with good shelter, a view of the entire bridge in front of us and the marina entrance behind us. We’re planning a train trip (Kyle of Lochalsh) scheduled for tomorrow and we’re heading out now for lunch.
Spent about a week in Inverness ourselves before we headed up the Lochs. Nice town good shopping friendly locals and a few good pubs. We had just come across the North Sea from Norway though, so the low prices were most welcomed.
Beautiful videos, as well as some outstanding photos and their reflections !! Are you set up for HF Radio Comms ?? Not sure where you guys are right now, where might your next trip be and when ? Keep up the good work and enjoy life as you are
Have you come across the Ofcom website or app for checking coverage. Might be useful for you while you are in UK waters. https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/advice/ofcom-checker
Thanks for the pointer to the UK government Ofcom communications site Declan.
Any thoughts on the Dashew’s ending production of their FPB boat series? It appears the three under construction will be the last three. My lottery ticket didn’t match up so I guess I won’t be getting one 🙂
Are you sure? I’ve not seen any announcements about stopping production on FPBs and there is nothing on their web site suggesting they are stopping.
Here is the link to the article they posted 9/29:
Amazing. Good for Steve and Linda to take some time off and enjoy cruising without the constant load of a full time job.
What is that large antenna on a hilltop on Eye Peninsula just outside Stornoway? It belongs to the National Air Traffic Services. Which means it’s an on-route navigational aid for aircraft – I think there used to be an RAF base up there, too.
Well done Paul. We’ll update the posting to reflect that. Thanks!
It is a VOR beacon, which stands for Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Beacon. It is indeed a navigational beacon which gives you a bearing to or from the beacon. Airways, which are motorways (or freeways!) in the sky are often aligned between VORs and in the old days before inertial navigation, then GPS navigation, you drove between VORs on a particular bearing. Now that aeroplanes are often cleared direct to points on the edge of overlapping sectors, VORs are becoming superfluous. However, Stornoway VOR is frequently still used by controllers as a waypoint which airliners are cleared to before commencing their oceanic crossing.
Thanks for the additional background on the VOR beacon Colin.
Just looked at the Maretron temp etc sensor. Given the cost I can easily relate to your peeved look when you did the swap!!
True. Although, overall, I’m pretty happy with the price/performance of Maretron equipment. They have really changed the market where, prior to them entering the market, high quality instrumentation was mostly just available super yachts (or “super” budgets).
Love your site especially the maintenance items
1, Where did you purchase the one way cockpit drains?
2. I have found Krylon Battery protector (#1307) to be superb at protecting connections such as your generator temp ground (image 8063) as well as battery terminals, etc. Available on Amazon too!!
3. Does your temperature sensor protude below the hull surface? If it does would it be ‘failure point’ if were struck by a large piece of debris?
1. Where did you purchase the one way cockpit drains?
[jrh]I used one of these from Amazon in each locker: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0019M5JQI/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
2. I have found Krylon Battery protector (#1307) to be superb at protecting connections such as your generator temp ground (image 8063) as well as battery terminals, etc. Available on Amazon too!!
3. Does your temperature sensor protrude below the hull surface? If it does would it be ‘failure point’ if were struck by a large piece of debris?
[jrh]The sensing wheel does protude slightly but the sounding and temperature sensing is flush with the through hull. If you are interested in more detail, here’s a picture of the business end of the transducer: https://www.amazon.com/Maretron-DST110-Depth-Temperature-Triducer/dp/B00PA3MFGE/ref=sr_1_2?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1506874265&sr=1-2&keywords=dst110
Regarding that water temperature sensor, you’re fitting. Does it go into a dry pocket or is it a case of snatching it with the risk of water entering the boat?
Oh, and that safety temperature blow off valve on the water heater is quite a common thing that fails on sealed system boilers. It’s a bread and butter job for engineers!
The depth sounder and temperature sensor are a single integrated unit in a just over 1″ diameter cylindrical shape that goes through a special through hull where the depth sounder has O-rings around it’s outer edge that seal with the through hull. This allows the depth sounder to be removed and a new one replaced while the boat is in the water. But that briefly leaves the boat with a just over 1″ diameter hole, 4′ 2″ below the water surface. Water comes in at an amazing pace during that operation if you aren’t quick.
The change of the water heater temperature and pressure relief valve is indeed an easy job. I would have done it already but it’s one of the few times we find ourselves without a spare. Once I get the spare, I’ll make the change quickly.
Looking at your pictures of your T&P relief valve, it looks like they had the outlet of the valve bushed down from 3/4 to whatever the hose barb fitting happens to be.
I hope I am wrong and those are just random parts laying there however If that was actually the case, while you can obviously do it, it’s against every code ever written on the subject.
I’d be more than happy to provide you with links on the correct installation if necessary and can even provide many examples of the reasons for those codes.
Um, sure, probably just random parts that happened to get into the picture :-).
Yes, that is the way the boat was built. It’s only a 20 gallon hot water tank and I suspect that the system as built would relieve pressure before explosive failure even with the reducers but I also have no doubt that building codes would disallow such an approach. This particular hose is carrying the flow directly to the main bilge to avoid a mess in the laz but, in truth, since this valve should never pass water when operating properly, it would be a lot easier to find the source of the water and the failure if just vented directly into the Laz.
Thanks as always Steven.
Well, failures are rare and generally they do require some “operator input”, in other words “someone knew about it and screwed up”. These days most of the problems you read about with water heater explosions are fuel related.
It takes quite a few things to go wrong but if they do the results are horrible. Since Hydronic systems are part of what I do I always found this one to be the worse since they knew there was something wrong and even called someone that was suppose to be a “technician”. If I remember right the guy was actually a janitor for the school system.
Due to the size of your heater, you already run it hotter than what is considered normal for domestic hot water and rely on mixing valves to temper it for use.
Obviously there is more to the equation than simply the size of a discharge pipe on a relief valve and, I suppose most people consider me “alarmist” but I’ve got 43 years of considering the “what if”.
The “what if” of 20 gallons of water being heated to flash on a tank failure converts to 32,000 cubic foot of steam. Quite frankly I would expect a failure in one of your PEX lines long before that could ever happen along with a multiple other clues I suspect you’d investigate including the fact that it’s a T&P and if it was operating correctly, water temp should have it in full dump anyway.
One thing I’d really like you to consider before I shut up and leave you alone is, during a thermostat failure a properly operating T&P will go into full dump at it’s temperature set point with little to no warning. If you do decide to simply vent it to the Laz, think about what would happen if you were crawling by or working on something nearby when it happened.
You are right that the system runs hotter than normal. Our is adjusted to maintain 135F under electrical power. There is also a engine coolant loop inside to allow the water heater to be heated by waste engine heat as well so, under some circumstances when running the engine for a long period of time without using hot water, the temperature can be as high as 180F (5 to 10F less than the engine).
The systems as described as all the usual safety systems and protections and has operated without issues for nearly 8 years. I have additional safety systems above and beyond the normal ones. I find it useful to have a temperatures sensor on the tank to indicate low temp so I know if it’s getting low on capacity and isn’t ready for another shower or washing machine load. When it hits 115F I show a yellow indicator light and when it hits 105F, I show a red indicator light. Since I have a temp sensor on the tank, I can also detect a fault by checking for less than 120F for 8 hours consecuatively. In this condition, I show a large yellow full boat check light. Since I have the sensor, I can add one more safety factor. If the temp ever goes above 185F, we show a large red full boat check light and send email to both of us.
The system also has the water heater under control system software control used to implement load shedding. The control systems know if we are on shore power, generator, or are running off inverter withe engine generated power. Since the control systems knows the power source, the capacity of that power source, and the boats current power draw, we can shed the water heater load by shutting it off as we get close to maximum power source capacity. This means we don’t have to manage loads on the boat and just operate it as an apartment. If we over draw, the least important appliances starting with the water heater are shut down for a few seconds until the power draw peak is past.
It’s a really nice system that allows us to run more load that we have supply and not worry about managing the power loads. We have it on both the 120V and 240V systems so we don’t have to worry that one of us might use the hair dryer at the same time someone else is using the microwave. Everything just works.
The 240V load shedding system also prevents the easy mistake of leaving the water heater on when there is no power source and we’re running off batteries. It just shuts off the water heater when we have no external power. If the main engine is running, we have 9kw. If the gen is running, we have 12kw. And, if we have the common 16A@240V shore power connection common in Europe, we have 3.8kw. If there is no power source and are running on battery, we don’t ever turn on water heater. It’ll run automatically when the generator is started automatically when the batteries need to be charged.
The load shed system allows us to implement one additional safety system for the water heater. If the water temperature ever exceed 160F due to engine operation or a faulty hot water heater thermostat, we shut down the water heater electrical heat. This means we have an additional, redundant thermostatic safety device on the water heater and if it ever gets over 160F, the water heater is forced off. Summarizing the system. We have the standard water heater thermostat shutting off at 135F. We have a second thermostat with a safety setting that shuts down at 160F. We have a large red indicator light and we send email if the system ever exceeds 185F.
Like you, I believe that the plastic hoses and fittings in our system would likely let go and release pressure prior to the T&P relief valve. So, in a way, we actually have redundancy on the T&P valve as well.
I hope you don’t mind me referring back to your multiple tiers of protection against water. We had a sad event with an open timber boat we owned. She was left open to the elements and protected by a Rule 2000 bilge pump with an electronic level control switch, this arrangement proved to be very reliable. Power was not a problem as she was moored on shore power. Unfortunately Sod’s law came into play. Our pump discharge hose came off the skin fitting which caused the discharge water to cycle back into the boat. We had heavy rain and as the boat started to sit lower in the water the external water level started to come up to the hull planks that were not as tight because they were constantly dry, this increased the rate of water ingress. We received a call from a neighbour questioning if our boat was sinking. By the time we arrived with a petrol salvage pump we had about an inch of freeboard left. Very stressed we set up the pump and tried to get it running, heavy pump and hoses, we struggled to get it started, and guess what, it lost its prime and we needed to start the priming process again. It started with suction as the level topped, we only saved the boat because the pump was so powerful and the mooring ropes were supporting the boat, it could not have been closer, within 10 minutes she was empty and safe.
Apart from the obvious lesson re the onboard pump and lack of backup we also learnt that a pump which needs priming can be a problem particularly in a high stress situation. On our current boat we have a comprehensive 24v double pump arrangement with independent skin fittings but our last resort is a 240v hd pump moving 600 lt/min, it can be run on shore power or through our on board 240v network which is supplied by an inverter, had an auto pump switch, can run dry, and is a 1/4 weight of a petrol alternative. I’m not sure if the head would allow it to be a fire pump, but I can deploy it a lot quicker. You might consider packing one, they do not take up much space. I am getting the feeling that you enjoy ‘kit’ so I’ve attached a link to a web site that you might like to browse, when I do I feel a bit like a kid in a sweet shop.
Thanks for sharing your near sinking story Mike. We have come to much the same conclusion you did that yet another pump is at least part of the right solution.
We have done or have parts on order to do the following:
*Hydraulic bilge pump secondary control switch in the engine room so it can be run from the pilot house or engine room
*Install a 3,700 GPH Rule 3700 with float switch in the main bilge with bilge pump indicator (we were originally aiming to use a Rule 4000 but space makes the 3700 look like an easier choice).
*Warn via red dash indicator light and email if any bilge pump cycles more than 3 times in 60 min.
*Install small boat transom auto-drainage system in the aft cockpit cabinets that allows water to run out but not rush in
*Install a higher collar to prevent down flooding at the Glendinning cord entrance into the Laz from the aft cockpit cabinets
*Install a third bilge high water level alarm
A bit more than half of that work is now done and we’re hoping to have the rest complete before end of year.
In regards to water seepage did Norhhavn route the anchor chain locker drainage threw side of bow or into the bilge? As bilge seepage of any kind would be super important!
The anchor locker is well engineered. It’s really large, has a person sized access hatch, and drains directly overboard.
Perhaps you might know the answer to the following situation: I have a Nordhavn 55 with a flopper stopper on one side. I would like to add a flopper stopper on the other side but I have heard that it won’t add much additional stabilization. I believe that you only have one but I thought you might have some data on stabilization with one vs two flopper stoppers deployed.
Currently in the south of France
It’s not an exact science but, from having operated on a single stabilizer at times and being able to compare the stabilization of a single stabilizer with using both, I have estimated a single fin to be about 70% as effective. A passive stabilizer isn’t going to perform exactly the same and I’ve never tried two flopper stoppers but your 70% number sounds like an excellent estimate. We rarely use our flopper stopper but, when we do, we just love it. It can transform an ugly experience into a perfectly workable anchorage. Super important for some locations.
My theory is that two floppers is exactly twice the work of a single flopper but much less than twice the gain so I’m not super motivated to install a second one. But, there certainly are swells that could overload a single flopper but two floppers would tame it. We just don’t see those conditions enough to feel motivated to try the second one.
You could probably borrow a flopper from another Nordhavn and try hanging it off your boat deck crane to see if it’s worth the cost of installing a second one and putting it out. You could just install a second one and only use it when you aren’t happy with the single flopper. You could also find a Nordhavn with two and ask to try it out with one and with two to see if the gains is worth it to you folks. I suspect one could be added without much cost — we thought about it but ended up concluding we just don’t see situations where the single hasn’t been adequate and our estimates of the additional positive impact of the second one match yours. It doesn’t feel worth it for our roll tolerance and the anchoring we have done so far.
Hows the culinary cuisine been over there reasonable? Listened to the real McCoy bag pipes yet?
Yes, we went the Edinburgh Tattoo so have seen literally 100s of excellent pipers all in one location. Fantastic. We loved Edinburgh, the Tattoo, and the natural beauty of Scotland. Particularly the outer Hebrides Islands and St. Kilda. The food is fine and I’m sure the best places are excellent but if I was listing the literally hundreds of reasons why you really, really should go visit Scotland, the food probably wouldn’t top the list. The natural beauty and amazing history is right up there for us.
Have you had to do many electronic hardware upgrades for your boat?
I’ve heard that Nordhavn focuses on quality equipment component installs during their boat builds.
Nordhavn does use good quality equipment but there isn’t a “standard” electronics configuration. Owners chose what they want and install it either before delivery when the boat is new or as an upgrade subsequent to delivery. We have done a lot of both on Dirona.
I have to watch more carefully! You are in Scapa Flow of WW I & II “fame.”
You are 100% right John. There is a lot of history here. Two days back we spent an afternoon in the Scapa Flow Museum. Super interesting. We are currently anchored beside a Churchill Barrier — the causeways used to block some entrances to Scapa Flow to secure the anchorage against German U-boat attack.
You mentioned awhile back about the extension of Dirona’s crane is in need of repair, could you elaborate?
Their are two issues with the crane extension. The first is that many service operations including replacing the lift rope require removing the extension and the 4 fastners that connect the extension hydraulic ram to the extension have corroded in place (stainless steel in aluminum). I’ll need to drill these out and tap new holes to allow some service operations. The second issue is the extension friction surface to the boom is wearing and probably needs to be cleaned up and lubricated. I say “probably” since, without being able to remove the extension, it’s hard to tell the extent of the wear between the boom and the extension.
My current thinking is I will need to drill out the old fastners and tap holes for new ones. Once that is done, I can remove the extension and investigate the second problem.
I noticed your new wire strippers and crimpers were in use during the “Glendenning Repair”. You’ve told me about the crimpers but how do you like the wire strippers?
Another thing that might, from the picture anyway that could be of interest is this:
They work better when you are dealing with terminal strips (especially recessed) or anything with a ferrous metal screw. They stick better than an alligator clip many times.
I really like the strippers as well. Precise and sharp just makes all jobs go a bit faster. Good tools are worth their cost. Thanks for recommending them Steve.
I’ll also try a couple magnetic jumper cables on my next Amazon purchase.
Just looking over those island countries of : Ireland,UK,Scotland & surrounding neighbors brings back memories of London,Whales,France,Germany in the early 70’s – beautiful rolling countryside as I recall. You’ve picked a good area! Now anxious to revisit. Say what’s been their current criteria for length of time foreign registered vessels can tour without being hassled by their officials?? Hows the cuisine been reasonable! Listened to the real McCoy bag pipes yet? Be well
Ireland allows visitor to stay in country for up to 90 days per visit. The UK allows 6 months per visit. The limits on the boats time in country are EU regulated. The boat is allowed to be in the EU for up to 18 months consecutively before taxation applies.
Couldn’t help noticing how extensive your voyages are with support to a very important subject matter! Have any of your voyages ever been sponsored with interest to correspondence/marketing kick backs?
Surely – fuel,maintenance,repairs,satellite service along with other related criteria couldn’t be that cheap! Especially the repetitive ones. There seems to be many wannabe hopefuls that evidently aren’t doing enough research before embarking on a sailing adventure that may not go according to expectations! James – any words of wisdom for those people that desire a life without pollution!
Before much longer there’ll be enough boats floating out there a person could walk across the ocean without getting his feet wet!
Kind a like vehicular congestion do to over production – not to mention all those imports that we so conveniently allow into this country. Human error,greed & selfishness only adds to the one well known product WASTE! Be well
Greg said “Before much longer there’ll be enough boats floating out there a person could walk across the ocean without getting his feet wet!”
I understand why you might think that but, the world is really, really big. We sometimes go weeks without seeing another boat when at sea. There really aren’t many boat in absolute terms.
You asked how one could live without pollution. It’s pretty hard to not depend upon transporting anything using engines, capturing and recycling all waste products, etc. It would be challenging for a person to produce absolutely zero waste and not use any non-renewable resources. Possible to be sure but I would think removing 1% of the cars on the road or improving automotive emissions by even small margins would be a higher leverage and more impactful project.
I read that you had a Yacht Controller system installed on Dirona when you commissioned Her. I am interested in this system and would appreciate your comments on it since you have had one for a few years. Is it safe, reliable, and useful. Generally how do you like it?
I do like it and I use it frequently. Whenever we dock going forward, we use the remote. Basically, I use it as a substitute for a bridge wing station that just won’t fit on Dirona. It’s perhaps a bit expensive for what it does but I use it frequently and it’s never needed service so I can’t complain too much.
Only two issues I’ve noticed: 1) range is bounded and so care needs to be take to not step out of range, and 2) the proportional control system is not well engineered so I didn’t end up using it. The standard system has only off/on but it works fine and I don’t find that a problem.
I use a hard wired helm at the stern for backing situations and use the Yacht Commander for everything else. It’s particularly nice when single handing.
How many times did you need to check into Ireland/Scotland/ & What where your procedures? Is your boat registered in U.S.? Did the citizens favor the cruiser/tourist trade? Where most of their anchor/moorings accommodating! if so in what ways? Did you fly a supplemental flag during your visit to those countries? Were the accommodations researched & made in advance or /random select anchorages? Was the appropriate fuel readily available at those chosen marinas? What was their mark up!
The boat is registered in the US. You asked how many times we checked into Ireland/Scotland. We checked into Ireland once in Kinsale on arrival. We checked into the UK at Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland. Once checked into the UK, Scotland is covered so there have been no further customs and immigration procedures since then and won’t be another until we go to Dublin where we will need to again check into Ireland. When entering another country we fly the Orange Q flag and a courtesy flag for the country we are checking into. Once checked in, the Q flag comes down but the courtesy flags stays up until we leave the country again.
Obtaining fuel has never been a problem world wide. Fuel is available at enough locations we have no problems and quality has always been good. Price range between amazingly low in the $2/gallon range in South Africa, the US, and Ireland to a high of something close to $7/gallon in St. Helena. We sometimes fuel at Marine fuel docks, sometimes have trucks deliver bulk fuel directly to the boat, and sometimes have had a barge come out to Dirona to fuel us. Perhaps our most unusual fueling is in an open ocean swell off the coast of St. Helena from a large fuel barge. Having big fenders came in handy that day.
When we go to a Marina, we book in advance. When anchoring, we just go where is a good location that isn’t in use. We usually have cruising guides for the countries we are visiting to help us find good locations that are worth visiting.
World-wide have found local residents of countries we visit friendly, engaging, and often interested in the boat and the trip.
Hi James and Jennifer
Glad to hear you have a bit of calm water after the past few weeks of wind. This really is a poor summer, even by our standards. I had high hopes for September but temps are now well below average with night frost even appearing in the forecasts. After a poor July / August, we sometimes get what we call an “Indian Summer” which is fine weather in September, but it’s not going to happen this year. Anyway, I can see from the blog that you guys are having a great time regardless of the weather.
I couldn’t help notice your very impressive 29-gallon portable gas tank, I remember seeing those in US boating catalogs but we could never buy one in the UK. A lot of guys running sports boats and ribs here would kill for one of those because petrol is virtually unavailable dockside in most of the UK except for a few large marinas, where it is sold at a hefty markup.
The reason we cant get them in the UK is that the law prevents you from storing more than 60 lts in any container, but it talks about 30lt max for a demountable boat tank. I don’t imagine you will have any trouble up in Scotland but the authorities and rules at pumps in England are likely to be enforced a lot more strictly. I attach the relevant document for your information.
Many fuel stations in UK towns limit plastic containers to 5lts ( 1 imp gallon! )
There have been a few fires in UK marinas this summer so if you are docked in England you might want to keep that big boy out of sight!
Have fun and thanks again for the blog.
By international agreement, most countries will allow foreign flagged vessels to operate as long as they are in compliance with the rules of their country of origin. If anyone is uncomfortable filling our tender fuel container, we would be happy to limit the fill to 30 liters. Thanks for the note of caution Robin.
How is return trip so far? It looks a slow and little bouncy but with a tail wind. Dirona running well?
Hi Timothy. Conditions are incredibly good. Near flat water and we’re loping along at only 1600 RPM (about 95 hp) but running along at 7.0 kts. The wind is bouncing around between 3 and 5 kts. The sun just set and it was a beautiful, bright orange orb slowly settling into the sea behind us. It’s a very nice night. We’ll arrive in the Orkney Island group tomorrow morning.
An amazing weather window, are you planning to stay in Longhope?
Do you travel regardless of the weather, if time is not a constraint are there conditions that would cause you to wait?
You are 100% right Mike. The weather has been amazing and, around this area, currents can run upwards of 8 kts so it’s super important that we avoid wind against current and we’ll also not be able to make much headway against currents that fast. On the way here, it was dead flat with a strong current behind us and we were doing 13.5 kts at only 1500 RPM.
We don’t intentionally travel in poor weather. We tend to explore an area and time our trips between areas to periods where the weather at least reasonable. And, where current are strong, we’ll try to optimize for them as well but it’s the weather that we watch most closely.
We are now on anchor just off Longhope and we’re planning to takes our bikes in and do a peddle around the island.
Is your frig/freezer system set up to run on 12 or 24 volts as opposed to 120 v. shore power? Thanks
The fridge runs on 120V 60hz. Like most US houses, we have both 240VAC for large appliances like ovens and dryers and a 120V system for lower draw appliances. On the direct current side, most of the boat runs on 24VDC but there is also a small 12VDC system for gear not available in 24V.
Your maps are very effective, what does each of the colour tracks represent? How do you record the different types and publish them?
Mike, there are two basic type of tracks we show: 1) tracks made by Dirona, and 2) personal tracks which might be boat, airplane, train, walking, bicycle, bus, taxis or any other form of transit other than Dirona. Dirona tracks are organized into groups of tracks we call trips. These are the set of trips that involve our exploring a specific area. These tracks left by Dirona are blue for the selected set which is the most recent unless you navigate somewhere else and red for all the remainder. Just scale the maps site out to show the entire world and you’ll see lots of red tracks and of which can be selected.
Personal track have the most recent track shown in green and older tracks in turquoise. If you hover the cursor over any personal track, it’ll turn yellow so you can see it separate from the rest.
Dirona tracks are produced by custom software that is primarily used for other purposes — the tracks produced are just a side effect of a broader system. This software takes all data off boat-wide NMEA2000 data communications bus and stores it in a database every 5 seconds. This data includes all data from all the main engine, wing engine, generator, all electrical systems, all navigation systems, the electrical systems, and many other discrete devices in the boat. The data in the database data is used by other custom software systems to track historical changes, alert on problems, set indicator lights, send warning email, auto-start the generator when the battery discharge, shed power load when starting to reach the limits of the current boat power source, etc. A tiny part of this data is auto-uploaded to the web site to show the track on the map at http://mvdirona.com/maps using a combination of google maps and custom code shown inside WordPress (the blog software).
The personal tracks are produced by a really nice little program that ran on Android phones called “My Tracks” — unfortunately Google stopped supporting this app and it’s no longer available from the Google Playstore. But we got lucky anb found they had open sourced an earlier version of My Tracks so we did a private build which we side loaded so we now have our own version of My Tracks that we continue to use.
Does your system back up navigation references to a portable drive should there be a natural disaster black out???? Lets hope an asteroid doesn’t clobber earth & screw up our compasses! Or worse yet the heavens give us the finger. Live long!
Yes. Everything on the boat is stored locally on RAID6 which can operate through two disk failures without data loss. All of that data is also backed up to Amazon Web Services S3 where it is stored in multiple independent data centers. It’ll take a big asteroid before we start loosing data 🙂
Is raid6 portable & compatible with all or most OS systems?
Have you yet sailed over any areas where your currently cruising that have effected compass readings?
The central file store used on Dirona is a Synology 416 running RAID6. It can be read by both Windows and Linux systems and we have many of both on board. All on board systems backup to this central file store.
There are many areas marked on the charts as having a magnetic disturbance — these seem fairly common. Our primary heading indicator is a Furuno SC-30 satelite compass. This device computes position, heading, and speed using time differentials between two different GPS receivers.We use the system for it’s increased position accuracy over simple GPS. It also makes the boat more or less immune to magnetic disturbances and their impact on compasses.
The backup to the SC-30 are multiple discrete electronic compasses and multiple redundant GPSs. There is a standard magnetic compass on board as a tool of last resort and, of course, it would be impacted by local magnetic disturbances.
Hows the Internet access where your at ?? Or do you rely solely on satellite?? Any challenges with reception such as mountainous regions??
Have you done any fishing in those areas if so whats your favorite catch? Do those general jurisdictions require fishing permits??
It depends where we are. Ireland is very well connected via cellular so something close to 3/4 of the data we moved while in Ireland was over cell networks. In Scotland, cell coverage is less common especially in the Outer Hebrides Island. We currently have cellular connectivity but most of the time we have been on satelite only so we are running a very big bill this month.
We are big users of KVH Mini VSAT: http://www.kvh.com/Leisure/Marine-Systems/Phone-and-Internet/mini-VSAT-Broadband.aspx.
TracPhone V11-Ip & bundle systems are impressive ! Considering
Knowing what you know now about your current dinghy what modifications would you be looking for in your next purchase of a new dinghy
It’s funny you should ask that. Our current tender was delivered in early summery 1999 and it now has just under 600 hours on it. I’m starting to think about replacement. All three compartments have just started to leak and it looks like the fabric is sufficiently worn that it is just seeping air everywhere. It’s still solid and I can easily get another year out of it but, depending on pricing, we may replace it soon. When we do replace it, we’ll go with AB Alumina 12 ALX. The only mods we like on our tenders are: 1) locking storage areas, 2) battery meter so it’s super clear if the battery is on and what level it is at, 3) depth sounder, 4) trim tabs, and 5) off engine canister type fuel filter.
Our current tender is powered by a Honda 40. The Alumina 12 ALX has a max engine size of 30 hp so we’ll probably go with a Yamaha 30 outboard.
Gauges, impeller, bilge pump, oil and an anode. At least your seals were sleeping and did not need to be replaced.
Yeah. Overall the boat has been pretty stable of late. We’re caught up on all the small jobs but have a few big jobs that we will want to get to but arent’t really urgent: 1) needs a full wax, 2) will need a bottom paint before next summer, 3) main engine injector change and rocker arm carrier gasket change, 4) crane extension has siezed fasterners that need to be drilled out, and 5) there are early signs that the house bank batteries are on their last 6 months or so. All the small issues are caught up. The boat doesn’t take that much work but, when it’s us doing all the service, there are always some items pending.
I can’t tell from the picture if there is any magnesium left on that anode or it’s simply calcium but, even if there is it had done about all it was going to do for you.
Having been in there almost 8 years that’s actually a pretty good run but I’d recommend checking it again about the 3-4 year mark. Ideally you don’t want any of the steel rod that holds the magnesium on showing.
I’ve seen worse .
Maybe it’s just me but, I seem to read a lot about impellor failures on Dirona while equipment is in use. I know at one point you’d mentioned finding some type of strainer to catch the parts.
Does there seem to be either a time or hour failure rate that would indicate a possible maintenance schedule or is it fairly random and the cost and effort be more than any gain?.
It’s a great question. Generally the industry recommends annual changes. I had a look at the failure rate and some last 2 1/2 years and some last less than a week. Since the distribution periods are so widely seperated and some have very long lives, I think it’s more economic to let them go until near failure. I have temp sensors set low to set a warning light and send email when the temp starts to climb and a impeller is probably starting to fail.
We have 3 identical Jabsco pumps so statisticaly there will be a fault every 6 to 9 months: 1) wing engine cooling, 2) generator cooling, and 3) hydralic and main engine fuel cooling.
My analsys says that if it’s disruptive to have them fail, then change them every 6 to 12 months. If it’s not really a disruption and the focus is on economics, then they are best replaced when they start to fail.That’s where we ended up.
Couldn’t help noticing your articles mentioning e-mail alerts numerous times ! Which alert module/program are you currently implementing that would route an
alert to your e-mail as well as to a bright light or sound alert from a discrepancy with the electronics, security breaches, excessive bilge water levels, overheats, fires, drift & etc. ??
I’m currently using custom software for most alerts but Maretron N2kview does this super well and can alert with lights, email, SMS, and audible alarms. N2kview also supports conditional alerts so you can set an audible alarm on low oil pressure but only if the engine is actually running.
It’s pretty ugly and should have been changed 3 years back but, hey, better now than a year fro now :-). Thanks for recommending we have a look.
Unfortunately, while in there I noticed the T&P valve is has started leaking so it’s next on the service list. I had noticed small amounts of freshwater in the bilge over the last 3 to 4 days and it appears that it’s from the water heater.
People rarely do especially on residential domestic hot water but, pressure relief valves should be tested annually and replaced every 5 years.
Watts recommends an inspection every 3 years which IMHO is redundant if they are tested annually and replaced at 5 years.
Thanks for the reference to the Watts information page on T&P valves. It’s a useful read.
This valve appears to have calcified sealing surfaces probably due to passing water for some time. Perhaps the valve has gotten weaker with time. The water is heated to 180F to 185F when underway for a long time by the engine cooling loop. This might lead to small expansion discharges that over time which eventually calcify the T&P sealing surfaces. I’ve got a new valve on order.
Euro style water heaters are fast becoming a favorite heats only water used energy efficient, compact, light weight, valve regulated heat exchange
plumb 120/vdc available! Happy moments!
The ‘Big Wheel” instantly reminded me of the Peterborogh Lift Lock on the Trent Severn Waterway in Onatrio Canada.
With admittedly lower lift this lock, opened in 1904, is an excellent example of an ‘ elegant low tech’ solution to a large lift distance. I believe the lock operated for over 80 years before requiring major maintenace. Great experience to ‘ride’ in!
Pretty cool Rod. We did cruise parts of the Trent Severn 30 years ago and would love to return but with only 22′ of air draft and 5′ of water draft, we’ll need a different boat for that trip.
You are unlucky with the weather in Scotland. If you have internet access and are looking for Dirona based entertainment, check out the Goodwood Reviival races for historic racing cars (1920s-1960s) which are being live streamed now and through the weekend.
We are in Storoway and planning to explore the area today. But the Barometer has fallen hard to 977mb yesterday and it’s still sitting around 983mb right now. The wind is currently around 2 kts but we certainly have some bad weather coming. Likely later today. We’ll enjoy it while we can today and perhaps tomorrow will check out the Goodwood Revival races. Thanks David.
I should have added they are on YouTube and show repeats including highlights. Its a fun event with a mix of amateurs and pros, expensive machinery and a few spectacular spins (triple 360 degree Jaguar E Type) and expensive crashes (a Ferrari was pranged yesterday).
GREAT! We watched the shootout (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQi_ANn46vk&t=44s). Single car on the track at one time from a standing start. They run them in reverse order of speed so the second half is most of the newest and best cars being driven well. Impressive to see the tiny Subuaru WRX beat some of the worlds most expensive supercars. Fun to watch.
Now this is a crossing: http://www.canoekayak.com/news/70-year-old-kayaker-crosses-ocean-keeps-going/
Yeah, those and similar stories are a constant reminder that, if we found the last crossing hard, it wasn’t THAT hard :-).
Good luck tonight. Hope you can set the alarm and get some sleep.
Yup, there probably is some level of wind that we can’t sleep through but I guess it must be more than 60 kts. We have a fair degree of confidence in our 154 lb Rocna, we have 5:1 scope out, and we are running heavy chain so we sleep soundly. Dirona being fairly heavy at 55 tons helps as well. It moves around in the heavy winds but it a nice slow and lazy movement that is easy to sleep through. We sleep great.
Where do you store the poles for the floppers?
We have only 1 pole on Dirona. That’s a common configuration but Nordhavn has built many boats with flopper stoppers on both sides. The flopper on Dirona uses just a single stand off pole that rotates 90 degrees aft when not in use and clips onto the hull more or less disappearing into the lines of the boat. We keep the lines for it in the brow storage area over the pilot house and in front of the fly bridge.
I really enjoyed the canal pictures and comments. Was there a current in the canal? Did you have to use thrusters at all or was it easy to navigate?
There is no current in the canal and it’s easy to navigate other than the bank effect occiasionaly pulling the stern over. Thrusters are helpful when navigating in the small turning basins at each end where moored boats don’t allow a straight run into the lock. The last turn at the Crinin end is tight enough that a gentle bit of bow thruster helps keep the boat central. I also noticed that a light touch of the thruster would quickly break the bank effect when it begins to suck the boat over — at these speeds the rudder doesn’t have much water passing over it and the thrusters are particularly effective.
Just read through your stuff whilst on holiday here in Mallorca. My boat is moored at the marina in Greenock you visited and I was amused to see where you had sailed from.. Good luck sailing the dream !
We’re having a ball in general and really enjoyed our time in your Marina. Being near a train station makes longer trips easy and allows a quick and easy run into Glasgow.
I thought you guys were back at Greenock for a moment, there is another ‘expedition’ style boat in the marina – looks like the same make as yours!
Cool. What’s the boat name?
It says Rockland on the rear and reg in Fowey.
You’re right, that boat you saw in Greenock is almost identical to Dirona. Rockland is a Nordhavn 47 built just 4 years earlier than Dirona.
Three boats all from the same yard visit james watt in a matter of months!!
I agree Stephen. There are getting to be a lot of Nordhavn’s out there and an unusually large number of Nordhavn’s actually cruise and go interesting places. I’m always amazed how many we see in our travels.
Hi James and Jennifer – love the site! Thanks for all you do. While you’re in Edinburgh, the National Library has a great photographic exhibit of Shackelton’s famous Antarctic expedition with original photo plates from Frank Hurley. Worth seeing if you have time!
Thanks for the tip Jay. Ages ago I read Caroline Alexander’s The Endurance, featuring Frank Hurley’s photographs of the expedition. The story itself is incredible and Hurley’s astonishing pictures really brought it to life.
Hi James & Jennifer, Looks like you are heading up the Sound of Mull, assuming you turn north at the end past Ardnamurchan point do try and have a look at the Small Isles ( Muck, Eigg, Rum, and Canna ) Canna in particular is stunningly beautiful with a good anchorage on a transit between the two churches. Looking SE from here you get a great view of Rum. Really enjoying reading about your adventures, as we cruised the west and north coast in 2014 & 2015.
Hope you get good weather to enjoy to the max ( not great eat today I think ! )
S/Y ‘Norman James’
Rob, thanks for the recommendation. We’re likely going to head southwest from Loch Spelve to Iona Island area, and then out to the south end of the Hebrides and work north from there, so we’ll miss the Small Isles. But if we do end up in that area, we’ll be sure to check them out.
Just passed you in Loch Spelve as I drove home, lovely looking boat.
Enjoy your travels
It’s a nice area to call home Bob. We’re tucked away in here on 100 meters of anchor rode with enjoying watching the storm roll through. We saw winds to 38 kts last night. We’ll likely stay another day to let the low pressure system pass through and then head north. Thanks for saying hi.
Hope you enjoyed Canna. If you are going up the inside of the outer Hebrides from Castlebay, there is a nice ( very new ) marina in Lochboisdale. The post van does a bus service and we took it up to the airport, the minibus goes up the Atlantic side of the island stopping at every post box but the return is almost non stop. If I remember rightly, the return journey was only £3.50 each and was great fun, listening to all the locals speaking Gaelic – quite musical!. A bit further north, Stornaway is very friendly, as is Stromness in the Orkneys. Enjoy!
Rob, we did enjoy Canna–it was quite beautiful. We’re underway for Lock Skipport now and after a few “town days” in Castle Bay likely will skip Lock Boisdale. But thanks very much for the tip. We had a great time at Barra Island–we rode the bikes around the island and watched a plane land on their beach airstrip. Most unusual.
Rob, we did end up visiting the Small Isles and currently are anchored at Canna. And you’re right, the scenery is spectacular. Thanks again for the recommendation!
215 year old canal with 15 locks and 7 bridges in under 10 miles sounds awesome. You will be sitting close to the 2.2m limit? You get to do your locking? I cannot wait to see the video of this trip!
The speed limit is 4 kts rather than 4 km so it slow but not as bad as 2.2 MPH. Even the widest parts are pretty close so going 4 kts doesn’t really feel rediculously slow. Dirona runs 4 kts at about 1025 to 1050 RPM so we’re just loping along and enjoying the scenary.
Yesterday we went through 4 locks with help on three of them. When operating alone with only the two of us, it’s busy. I keep the boat where it needs to be with the engine and thruster controls and adjust the lines and Jennifer closes gates, releases the water, and open the gates in front. Since all controls are hand driven and hand powered, it’s a bit of work. I walked up and opened the second set of lock gates while we were waiting in the first lock and the gates require a strong back to push open. When they get open at 8:30am this morning, we’ll get started on today’s adventure. Dirona feels quite big in here.
Sorry, I meant the draft limit of 2.2M. I know you are close and it is freshwater so Dirona sits a little lower.
I am a fan of the Broom river cruisers over there. Are there many in the canal?
The Canal isn’t that busy right now and most boats are sailing craft so we definitely haven’t seen that many Broom River boats. However, ,I’m not sure I know the distinguishing characteristics well enough to know when I have seen one :-).
Yes, 100%, the Canal is quite shallow. We often see depths in the 8′ range and occasionally in the 7′ range. We’re currently against the dock at the Crinan end so it appears we have managed to stay off the bottom for the entire trip but you are right, the Canal is not very deep.
Hi James and Jennifer!
Fascinated looking at your canal transit. Looks like quite a challenge! I’m curious about how Dirona handles at 4 kts – do you feel like you have adequate steerage? It looks like the canal is not only narrow, but isn’t exactly straight. Are you having to use the thrusters? I don’t recall but do you need to run a generator full time to have hydraulics for the thrusters?
Dirona is perfectly happy at 3 to 4 kts but handling was still a surprisingly noticable issue on the last day in the Canal. I’ve read of “bank effect” in the past — this is the tendency for ship sterns to be pulled towards the nearest bank. This effect is important for Canal Pilots to keep an eye on when operating in narrow waterways. I’ve never felt the effect before and assumed it only applied to large ships in narrow channels. But, the water displaced by Dirona is a large percentage of the Crinan Canal and it leads to weird handling at times. If you drift 2 to 3 feet over towards one bank, the stern will pull towards it and the bow will veer off heading the boat over to the opposite bank. The lower the speed the less the impact of this effect but, even as low as the 4 kt speed limit in the canal, we felt a pronounced bank effect that I have never before experienced. I initially thought we had a steering problem but it was just the bank effect where the bow tends to push off the bank and the stern tends to “suck” towards it.
Another interesting (and related) anomaly when operating in narrow canals is the water was rushing so fast from bow to stern that it would drop by 6 to 8″ near the PH door. What appears to be happening is the passage of the boat through still water requires the water in front of the boat to get to the stern but, since the boat fills much of the canal, we build up a several inch high plug in front of the boat and the water rushes from the bow to the stern of the boat far faster than we are actually travelling.
Thank-you! That is interesting. I’m guessing that Bernoulli was having his way with the canal water as you passed and since there was a ‘constriction’ in the canal (Dirona), the water had to accelerate around it to maintain equilibrium. I’d never heard of ‘bank effect’ before – thanks for the great explanation!
Yes, good point Greg. I think the bank effect is just a specialization of the Bernoulli principal. I was surprised at what a strong effect could be felt if you get too close to one bank or the other.
James and Jennifer:
Just curious. Why did you name your cat Spitfire?
Good question on Spitfire. He was actually named by a Seattle Vet on his first visit. He was running around the examination room and, overall, massively energetic. The Vet commented “he’s a little Spitfire isn’t he?” The name stuck and 14 years later, he’s still a little Spitfire.
Ah! And I always thought it was because he was purring like a RR Merlin 16 cyl engine! 😉
Beautiful cat, my 10 year old black female cat Mokka is a big Spitfire fan and follows his adventures attentively watching the screen on my lap!
Her favorite picture is from Wellington NZ where spit was hoping to catch a seagull!
Spitfire definitely does purr up a storm. On catching Seagulls, he’s a bit optimistic. They are bigger and meaner than he is. And Spitfire carries 4 loud bells on his collar since our previous cat Gremlin did successfully catch a baby rabbit. We would really prefer that he let them live so the bell policy was put in place. Spitfire carries the bells due to behavior a generation before him.
Good to hear that the Rathlin island visit worked out OK for you. I believe you sail North next but if you can fit it in your itinerary I suggest you consider North Wales especially Snowdonia and the fine medieval castles there. Conwy castle (and its walled town) and Canaervon castle are well worth a visit. There are others too if you are gluttons for punishment, including Beaumaris and Harlech castles. The Portmeirion hotel, village and estate will probably be unlike anything else you have visited – it is south of the two castles. You would need to rent a car to get around the area.
You are right we are heading north from here to explore the west coast of Scotland and the Hebrides. We will head around Scotland to the north but will take the Caledonian Canal back to the Scottish west coast before we head back south. We plan to stop in the Isle of Man and Dublin and are still investigating other stops along the way. Thanks for passing along the tip Snowdonia and other possible stops.
I forgot to add that the Ffestiniog light railway runs from Portmadoc (near Portmeirion) to an old slate mine. If you like trains I expect you will Welsh narrow guage railways. Worth checking out. Waterford, south of Dublin, might be worth checking out too.
We’ll likely cross over from Ireland to the UK before we get to Waterford but Portmadoc and Snowdonia look like good potential stops for us. Thanks David.
Did I miss the picture of you two standing in front of a East Hamilton Street sign?
Until you asked, I hadn’t realized that we are actually moored at East Hamilton St. Thanks for pointing it out.
Hello again – I am in the last stages of making an anchor buoy + trip line and realised that I haven’t noticed your “Wilson” (http://mvdirona.com/technicalarticles/WilsonAnchorBuoy.htm) in any recent pictures of Dirona at anchor. Have you stopped using an anchor buoy?
We mostly use Wilson when anchoring in high anchor loss risk areas. These are area where logging or other activity has left spirals of steel cables or other debris on the bottom and snagging is a significant possibility. It’s also helpful in crowded anchorages to help others avoid tangling with your anchor and rode. Generally, we view an anchor buoy as a good idea but it’s more work to deploy so it’s a risk/benefit decision. For many years, especially when boating in British Columbia, we used it every time we anchored but, of late, we’ve been spoiled by locations where the risk of anchor loss is low.
We are finally using our Anchor buoy (Wilson: http://mvdirona.com/TechnicalArticles/WilsonAnchorBuoy.htm) again. We’re currently anchored off of Longhope in the Orkney Island group and the cruising guide says this area is known to have a foul bottom. It’s the first time we have used Wilson for a long time but it was as easy to deploy as usual.
Also, as you know, the tides and currents are big in this area so we’re making good use of Reeds Almanac. Thanks again for your contribution to our fun trip through Ireland and the UK.
Quite the journey James, glad you got to visit Glencoe one of my top 2 or 3 places in Scotland. I seem to remember you posting that you had tickets to the Edinburgh Tattoo, hope you enjoy it I know of no other event like it and the setting is spectacular to say the least.
Hey Euan, your 100% right about the Edinburgh Tattoo. We just got back from a couple of days in Edinburgh. It’s a great city and the Tattoo was excellent. We had a really good time and stopped off at the Falkirk Wheel on the way back to our boat in Glasgow.
We really enjoyed the Festivals last summer…I would go back in a minute, especially as we now have the hang of navigating and ticket buying.
Hey Karen. Edinburg was a ball. Massively busy but still lots of fun. We’re we to go there again with more time flexibility we would probably go less close to the center of the tourist season. But, in some ways, the massive crowds were part of the vibe. The combination of the Tattoo and the Festivals absolutely fills the city.
We just did a few weeks back in Seattle and, this morning, got back underway in the boat for some time in the Crinan Canal, the Hebrides, the Orkney’s, and the Caledonian Canal.
I’ve just been introduced to to your very informative Web site and have found it to be a wealth of information! Thanks you for all your hard work! I am about to purchase my first yacht, (either a Nordhavn 55 or a 60. Not quite sure which yet as I intend to do much of the same type of exploration you have. I in tend to first explore the Mediterranean and Black Sea before going down the East Africa coast then a cross to Madagascar from beira in Mozambique. After exploring Madagascar for a month or two I’ll be heading to Reunion then the reverse of your journey. Do you have any suggestions in terms of which yacht between the two 55 /60 (myself, my GF and for longer stretches 1 crew member) and particularly regarding the reverse journey from Reunion across that part of the ocean. I’ve been told it can be rather rough!
Your advice would be much appreciated when you find some free time.
Sounds like a really fun trip. As you know power boats can got whatever direction their owners wish. However, heading into weather can end up a bit slow, consumes more fuel, and the pitching can get annoying. With either boat you have the range to make the trip you describe but you might enjoying heading in the opposite direction.
Another thing to keep in mind it’s a long way between South African and Australia with some real gems between but they are all a long way apart so you will end up with a lot consecutive sea miles on that trip. If you go through the Panama Canal and the South Pacific, you have a higher density of fun stops. But, one of best features of a small boat is you can do whatever you want and having covered much of the area you plan to cover, we know you will have fun on either possible routing.
The 55 and the 60 are very similar boats coming out of the same molds. The 60 has a bit more waterline length, more storage in the Laz, more space on the boat deck, and a much larger cockpit. We love spending time outside in the cockpit so the space of the 60 is super attractive. If we were making the decision again today, we would likely go with the 60.
A little late, but the fender boards that are Schedule 80 pipe look great, I’m currently dragging around 2×12′ and they are a pain. But we have a favorite marina that they really help at.
Can you post some more about the diameter, lengths, and if you stack 2 or 3 or how that works. I have a place to put them since they will be so much smaller.
We are using 4″ diameter schedule 80 PVC. We have 4 each 5′ long. We store them standing up in the anchor locker strapped to the bulkhead. When we use them, we attach a fender line to the bottom of the fender, knot the line to hold the fender board in the middle of the fender and then feed the line through the top of the fender. This forms a integrated unit of two fenders with the fender board on the outside stretched between the the two fenders.
Super, I wasn’t sure if you were trying to make wide ones to help with the load supports. In my case two 4″x5′ sections of pipe will be easy to store and deal with than my existing wood. Thanks for the tip!
Hi Jennifer and James,
I am following your blog form a while now and really appreciate your writing in full detail. Very interesting and also very helpfull!
What I didn’t find and what would be a “need to know” thing for our future plans of boating is what costs with mooring you had cruising the world. At least in Europe’s hot spot harbours they are charging a lot for this size of a boat.
An article about that would be great!
Enjoy your time in Europe and greetings from Germany,
Moorage ranges from incredibly cheap to super expensive. Sydney Australia over Christmas was $300/night before power. The busy season in Newport RI and Boston can run $5 to $6/ft. Florida was very inexpensive at just over $0.50/ft at the monthly rate. Off season rates are usually less and often negotiable.
Good idea for the fender boards. Tried the same thing several years ago but found that a 52 ton trawler leaning up against them on a dock in a storm snapped them like tooth picks. Back to wooden boards – 2×6 size.
I was wondering about that, Sch 80 PVC is rather tough under certain conditions but it crushes fairly easy.
Good work on finding the collapse pressure of schedule 80 PVC Steve. 350 pounds per square inch isn’t that bad but reading that, I would likely go with 3″ and get 500 lbs per square inch (giving up some torsional stiffness). With 4 of these, we can also use pairs of them to increase the surface area against the dock.
Hi James &a Jennifer,
Living vicariously through your travels as we await our trawler to be commissioned this September. Reviewing your most recent posts, we have two questions …
1. Agree 100% with your Sch 80 PVC fender boards. Noted the holes. How have you configured? How do you deploy? I was thinking of short line simply looped around whip line on each fender but could not tell how you deployed on Dirona.
2. Linda (wife) loves your cockpit table and chairs (Jennifer at lunch). Would you mind providing manufacturer?
Gary &a Linda
Gary & Linda,
Congrats on your trawler purchase–hope all goes well with that.
For the fender boards, we followed the design at “https://www.tropicalboating.com/2010/12/making-your-own-fender-boards-in-2-easy-steps”
Our teak furniture is by Westminster teak. We stripped all the furniture and the caprail, sealed it with Mar-X-Ite, then applied Cetol Marine Light and Cetol Marine Gloss. This lasts a good two years, even in the tropical sun. See “http://mvdirona.com/Trips/southafrica2015/SouthAfrica3b.html?bleat=12%2F5%2F2015%3A+Sanding” and “http://mvdirona.com/Trips/NewZealand2013/Northland.html?bleat=12%2F9%2F2013%3A+Painting” for more info.
Sitting out the storm has a silver lining in that it gives you time to see where leaks and puddles develop. Strainers, lines and grates are always fun to clean 🙂 It is always interesting to see what crap from the factory fell into the bilge and at some point years later has worked its way down to the pump intake. I hope the three of you are doing well and having some wonderful beverages while you clean!
It’s amazing how much debris is found when sloshing water around for a while in rough seas. Seeing that really emphasizes the importance of high volume pumps that can pump through a bit of debris. We just took delivery of 185 lbs of Amazon Prime so now have the parts we think we need for the new bilge pump installation. It’s a super tight location so it’ll be work to get it installed the way we want it but having the parts is step one.
We just replaced a bilge pump and a float switch and I did all the wiring before on the galley counter. I left a big service loop and then just tied it above so I only needed to make two connections in the hold. Your bilge pump wiring runs all the way to the bridge? Did I read that you moved another switch point to the engine room?
Love me some Prime. I am amazed at how many of my boat parts I can get from Amazon. I hope they make a Marine category someday and move the parts out of sporting goods!
My plan is to do pretty much the same thing you did where I will wire up the pump and float switch and attach plumbing on the bench and then lower the assembly into the bilge and finish the install of the assembly. For bilge pump off/on detection and cycle counts, I’ll use the raspberry Pi that I installed some weeks back and there is a junction box near the bilge pump that leads back to the Pi.
Re America’s Cup the elimination rounds were, I thought, more interesting than the final itself with some close racing. The Red Bull series in 45 ft boats was also fun to watch, but that was regatta rather than match racing. Much of it is available on YouTube; the best was a very close race between NZ and Artemis when the lead changed hands some eight or nine times.
NZ has just announced the first of the rules for the next series, to be held in Aukland. These include that each boat should be built in the country of each challenger (without defining what proportion – perhaps just the hull(s)), and that the crews should be citizens of the challenger. Apparently there was only one US citizen in the Oracle USA team! Other rules are expected to be announced in September.
It is true that Team Oracle is about as close as you can get to “Team Australia” given where many of the crew were born. But, as long as dual citizenship is allowed, team Oracle will be fine in the next America’s cup even with the proposed new rules.
What would be really cool is if Australia fielded a team. It’s a country full of great sailors and it would really be good to see them with an America’s cup team. While New Zealand is working on changes, one that would be nice to see is annual racing. I’m OK with waiting 4 years between Olympic events but the America’s cup really needs to be run more frequently.
Five of the competing teams in this year’s America’s cup had agreed a framework agreement for an event every two years with series events in between and the aim to reduce the cost per team to c$35-40 million. NZ did not sign up to this. As the winners they now call the shots; among other things saying the next event will be in 2021 (vs 2019 per the framework agreement). It remains to be seen what else they will specify and how many countries are likely to stick around to compete. It is evident, as the experience of the French and GB teams showed, that it is very difficult if not impossible to get up to speed in a single campaign.
I would have loved to see critical mass to have emerged behind this effort: “Five of the competing teams in this year’s America’s cup had agreed a framework agreement for an event every two years with series events in between and the aim to reduce the cost per team to c$35-40 million.”
Yes, it looked as though it had the makings of a viable format both in design and presentation. Some, like Martin Whitmarsh (ex McClaren F1 MD and now MD of Land Rover BAR) made an explicit comparison with the way F1 motor racing operates in which the participating teams agree the basic specs and develop from there.
Hi James, Welcome to the UK. Just a quick note that we are here to help with anything Nordhavn and or cruising related.
My mobile number is: +44 (0)7793 582905.
All very best
Thanks for the welcome comment Neil. We’re looking forward to exploring Scotland and we hope to be down in London early next year. Hope to meet up with you and the Nordhavn Europe team while we are in the area. All the best!
I’m glad to see pictures of our lifeboats popping up here. Your are in Lifeboat Country while coastal cruising in the the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man and you’ll see many RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) boats of all shapes and sizes providing cover right around our coasts. All crews and support staff are volunteers except that the big boats usually have a salaried full-time mechanic. The RNLI receives no government funding whatsoever – its money comes from members (including Frances and me!) and legacies. And they don’t charge for salvage. If they tow you to safety it’s all part of the free service. I know this sounds like an advertisement, but we absolutely love our RNLI. Frances’s son in law and his father were lifeboat crew members at Rosslare.
Michael & Frances, thanks for the background information on the RNLI service. Impressive that it can all be volunteer and self-funded–those are really nice boats. Its a beautiful coastline but the weather is far from forgiving. Life saving services are important world-wide but particularly important in this area.
What was your impression of St Helena in the South Atlantic? It is on my bucket list. Hopefully will get there before RMS St Helena is taken out of service?
Colin J Ely
Better hurry Colin. The RMS St. Helena was due to be out of service and scrapped prior to now. It’s life is temporarily extended by the the wind sheer problems at the new airport that was intended to replace the mail ship. I find it hard to believe that they can’t ever use the airport — I could see some conditions being insufficiently safe but last reports has the airport not being used under any conditions. I suspect it will go into at least limited use in the near future and the RMS St. Helena will be taken out of use.
We really enjoyed St. Helena. Walked everywhere we could get to (http://mvdirona.com/cache/TravelDigests/Trips/atlanticocean2016/atlanticocean2_TravelDigest.html) and then scheduled a tour with No Limits Travel and Tours (http://islandimages.co.sh/our-tours/) to get to the rest of the island that we hadn’t yet seen. We enjoyed our visit.
As you like bird watching, you may wish to include Rathlin Island on your itinerary (if it is not already on it). It is a special conservation area and home to thousands of sea birds including common guillemots, kittiwakes, puffins and razor bills. You will need your bicycles to get around or hire a local minibus – it is about 8 miles long in the shape of a boot, off the NE corner. It is just off Northern Ireland. The Giants Causeway is not too far away (on the main island) and it too is well worth a visit.
Hi David. Thanks for the travel advice. We did visit Giants Causeway yesterday and had an amazing visit. We also got to Dunluce Castle, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and the Grianan of Aileach fort. Today we are picking up a load of fuel at 9:30 and we’ll plan to get underway as soon as we have enough water to float Dirona at the marina entrance. We have been talking to the Marina at Rathlin Island and will stop there if schedules line up and they have a spot for us. Thanks for sending along the travel tips.
While travelling around the British Isles you might find it useful to download the Met Office app onto your phone. This will give you useful local weather forecasts, including rainfall, surface pressure and weather warning alerts. I have found it very accurate, especially in predicting when rain will arrive. The latest version has a nice feature which gives an hourly prediction for the area you select on the map, zooming in or out.
PS I hope Rathlin Is lives up to its billing!
Raithlin was an excellent stop. We rode our bikes to the bird center, all three lighthouses, and stopped off at McCueigs bar for a late lunch. The bird packed cliffs of Raithlin Island are incredible.
Thanks for the tip on the Met mobile application.
yr.no is a weather forecasting system that works in most places on this planet. It has particularly good wind/current direction maps around the North Sea. https://www.yr.no/kart/#lat=58.96221&lon=4.61297&zoom=6&laga=vind&baseid=PunktNorgePolar%3A23%2F181&proj=3575
Thanks for the weather tip Sverre. We will be in the North Sea area for quite a while so this will come in handy.
You are really spoiling us with amazing pics and now drone video! Ireland looks so beautiful, I had no idea. I for one am inspired to work harder today to get ‘out there’ one day, even if on a smaller scale!
You are 100% right Jamie. Ireland is a world class cruising destination and very much worth a visit even without a boat.
James, welcome to the wild west!
Hopefully, the weather in Donegal is being kind to you so you can make the most of these long summer nights. I spotted your boat in Baltimore and we seem to have managed to find our way into one of your photographs. We live in Ireland and love both Cork and Donegal, last year we spent some time on Friday Harbour WA and felt very at home so I am sure you are settling in well. West is best!
Thanks for the blog, you have gained another avid follower.
ps the gate code was 1234 going in and coming out !
Hey Robin thanks for the comment. We used to visit Friday Harbor frequently and loved boating in the San Juan islands and north into British Columbia’s Gulf Islands. We even wrote a cruising guide on the less traveled areas of western BC: http://mvdirona.com/WaggonerSecretCoast/.
We are loving Ireland and especially the Wild Atlantic Way. Incredible views, great walks, great biking, lots of history, and a pub to visit in even the smallest towns. We are really enjoying the boating here. The west coast of Ireland is a world class destination.
P.S. Both Jennifer and I tried various combinations of 1234 with reset before, not before, etc. and climbing the fence ended up being the more expedient solution 🙂
So Sorry we can’t fix the weather for you guys, but this summer is turning out like most here in the Uk and Ireland. I am following your blog with interest and you are about to enter into a fantastic cruising area when you leave Crinan. One spot I can highly recommend as an anchorage as you head north is Plockton, stunning views and very good food ashore in several pubs. There are so many bays and anchorages to be explored but not all have pubs with good food within dinghy distance!
Hope the weather improves soon, thanks for the wonderful resource.
It’s true that it has rained most days but it’s usually short and it’s actually been sunny most days as well. On some days it might alternate back and forth multiple times. We got a bit unlucky in that the day where we did most of the locks through the canal was solid rain the entire day ranging from a light sprinkle to a torrential down pour. Even in the pouring rain we still had fun working the locks. We won’t have gotten as many pictures that really do justice to the incredible beauty of the Crinan Canal but I’ll bet we still got a few good ones.
In fact the wind and rain may have made some aspects of the trip more interesting. We haven’t looked at the video we recorded yet but I’ll bet the two of maneuvering the boat and operating the locks in the pouring rain in winds as strong as 30 kts probably is interesting and potentially more interesting for the wind and rain. It turns out operating the manual locks with a two person crew is a busy operation.
We would have preferred a sunny but we ended up at a tiny secluded dock along the side of one of the most beautiful parts of the Canal and some friends came by to welcome us to Scotland. We ended up having an incredibly fun day and really enjoyed the canal.
Cant wait to see your pics of the cliffs of mother from the water! beautiful spot. Looks like you all are having fun…and thanks for the posts!
I’ve seen you mention passing ships a number of times; have you heard about the collision of the destroyer Fitzgerald and the container ship Crystal?
Early reports indicate neither ship saw each other and that the Crystal, at least, was on autopilot with nobody at the helm: http://freebeacon.com/national-security/freighter-autopilot-hit-us-destroyer/
Yes, I did see the news on that tragic event. Seven lost their lives.
Early reports don’t look great for either ship. The container ship was operating in busy waters and needs someone keeping watch. We don’t know for sure that they didn’t but “missing” an entire destroyer would be unusual. The destroyer certainly had a fully maned bridge. I can’t figure out why they would let any ship friendly, commercial, or otherwise anywhere near the when operating in open ocean.
That was terribly sad! There’s got to be a lot of that story missing!! will be interesting to hear more if and when it comes out.
Just listened to one of your interviews where you mentioned being in Richards Bay and Cape Town. Pity we didn’t know as we could have met up and shown you around South Africa.next time you come to this side of the world, let me know. Regards Allan
We had a great time in South Africa. It’s a long way to get there from any direction but it’s an exciting destination and, with the pirate activity in Somalia, South Africa is now very close to a required stop when rounding the world.
Would love for you to stop by Findhorn Bay, some 30 miles east of Inverness/Caledonian Canal. I can take you for a ride onto the whiskey trail in the Spey Valley. Speaking of ‘spirit’, also spiritual centre Findhorn Foundation. I’ve crossed the North Sea to Norway some 7 times, if you need any hint on that.
Thanks for the invitation Sverre. We will certainly be in your area and do plan to transit the Caledonian Canal. Don’t know if we will be heading into Findhorn Bay but your invitation sounds really good so we’ll do it if we can. We hope our paths do end up crossing. It would be great to meet you and your offer of the tour sounds excellent.
Well you two (+spitfire) are slowly making your way around the coast and sounds like you’re having a ball.
I did get to thinking, mostly due to all of this week so far appears to be dealing with related issues, when was the last time you checked or changed the anode on your hot water heater?
I can’t find where I read it but I seem to remember you have a Torrid marine water heater though and those aren’t really cheap.
Most of the commercial domestic water heating systems and tanks I’ve been dealing with this week are going to run more in the 10K plus range and none are over 9 years old (failure to replace anodes is not a manufacturers defect).
That’s a good point Steve. It took a while to run down part numbers but it looks like we have a Torrid MV-20 and it appears that unit uses the TA12 magnesium anode. I’ll pick up a couple when we are in Seattle in July. Thanks for the reminder.
Since you guys are using so many Raspberry Pi’s, I thought I’d point you in the way of the Chip (https://www.getchip.com/pages/chip). They’re sometimes a PITA to buy because they keep going out of stock, but they’re a $9 ARM SBC similar to the pi but with built-in Wifi/Bluetooth and built in storage. They also have a lot more GPIO capability than the Pi. I used one in an IOT one-off device and it worked great for me.
The Chip looks good. Great price, acceptable GPIO, nice they include headers, and it has great I/O with WiFi, Ethernet, and Bluetooth. But, as you said, hard to get get. They are currently not shipping. We only use two Raspberry Pis on Dirona with one in the PH and one at the back of the boat to minimize I/O wire runs. The downside is they are more expensive but they have many GPIO pins so the actual cost per incremental GPIO pin is fairly low and there is a good community of users.
If Chip comes back into availability I might try one just to learn more about it. Thanks for pointing it out to me.
A similar option within the Raspberry Pi ecosystem is the Raspberry Pi Zero W, unlike the original Pi Zero it is actually available. (SOC from the 1st gen, Wlan & Bluetooth from the 3rd gen.)
The Raspberry world has a definite advantage when it comes to support. The others tend to be cheaper with more performance and IO but lack of support is a constant complaint.
Now if there would be a Pi with POE…
Thanks Chasm. The Pi Zero W looks pretty good. I wish it had direct Ethernet and PoE would be even better but this coupled with a 24v to 5v power supply looks pretty interesting. I put one on order. Thanks,
Crookhave! O’Sullivan’s is the place! (-:
It looks like you may be right Jacques O’Vuye. We were enjoying sunset on the aft deck under the patio heater but could see that O’Sullivan’s was very busy. Lunch or dinner tonight for sure.
Interesting little pirouette. Can hardly wait to find out what that was about.
^ +1 and this hopefully is a sign the high pressure problem has been resolved!
I wish the engine alarming problem were solved Jamie! The good news is that rather than alarming all the time, the engine is now performing well at all RPM and under all loads except, ironically, raising and lowering anchor. When at idle running the hydraulics it alarms frequently but we didn’t see any problems today even trying to provoke the engine to alarm at all RPM and loads from idle to WOT.
The good news is that the engine problem has gone from very serious to mildly annoying. The bad news is that we are no closer to understanding it, it most definitely isn’t fixed, and it will return at some inconvenient point in the future. It has just stopped happening as frequently so we will still need to get it figured out. My guess is I’ll need to change the injectors. With 9,162 hours on the main engine, needing new injectors wouldn’t really be that unreasonable. What’s annoying is that it’s not possible to say for certain what the problem is.
We did two laps around the famous Fastnet Rock. Fastnet is most famous as the rounding point for the famous Fastnet Ocean Sailing Race (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fastnet_Race). Fastnet rock and the lighthouse on Fastnet Rock is super famous. Years ago I read Fastnet Force 10 (https://www.amazon.com/Fastnet-Force-10-Deadliest-History-ebook/dp/B007HXKY86/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1497613708&sr=1-1&keywords=fastnet) about the 1979 Fastnet race described by Wikipeida as:
“A severe storm during the 1979 race resulted in the deaths of eighteen people (fifteen competing yachtsmen and three rescuers) and the involvement of some 4,000 others in what became the largest ever rescue operation in peace-time. This led to a major overhaul of the rules and the equipment required for the competition. Several books have since been written about the 1979 race, which remains notorious in the yachting world for its loss of life.In the 1979 race, “15 sailors died, five boats sank, and at least 75 boats flipped upside down.”
We have a video of the two laps around Fastnet and we’ll get it posted soon. You’ll like it John.
I remember the event!! Look forward to the video. Locally, I have been watching – again – the R2AK event. Always exciting.
Aha, laps around Fastnet. Makes perfect sense. When zooming in on googlemaps we get “sorry we have no imagery here’ – too bad as it looks only a tile or two off where they do have imagery. Perhaps a google employee might see about adding this famous rock to their outstanding mapping service. In consideration of where they are located. Haha. 🙂
We’ll get a video of the lap around Fastnet rock up sometime this week.
Great anchorage! Jump in the tender and accross to Bushes in Baltimore.
I’ve got a few projects I need to get wrapped up so it probably won’t happen but we like your plan Declan!
Quite a bit of projects all seemed to happen at once. Glad it was a short trip and they did not surface a week earlier! I hope the three of you are doing well. It looks a little chilly for me but probably just like the PNW that you both like!
It is a bit weird to have 3 problems in one short trip. The main engine issue is particularly concerning in that we still don’t have a solution for that one. We changed all the fuel filters without improving it at all. Next thing I’ll try is replacing the high pressure pump suction control valve since I have a spare, it’s fairly easy, and the engine manual says points there as the next step in troubleshooting. It’s been a bit windy but it’s currently 57 with light wind so, with our patio heater, we’ll be comfortable out enjoying the early evening on our aft deck.
Do you have a spare pump?
No, no spare on the hydraulic bilge pump Steve but we do have a 9,000 gph Honda trash pump ready to go behind the hydraulic pump if there is a failure.
Sorry, I meant a spare fuel pump. Filters are done, I would assume they pointed you to check values on the sensor if they are starting to recommend parts replacement. I figured if that “suction control valve” doesn’t do it the fuel pump would be probably be next in line.
But of course JD probably recommended a JD mechanic after the filters 🙂
The Cascade Engine team, the Deere distributor that supplied the engine, has super good service, is very responsive, and always willing to answer questions. Surprisingly, they really understand that marine engines are used in secluded places and they don’t just say “get an authorized Deere mechanic.” My only complaint is that Deere should make the mechanical diagnostic harness and software (Service Advisor) to world cruising and fleet owners. I suspect they do make it available to fleet owners but haven’t been able to arrange permanent access to it for use on Dirona. Not having this data makes diagnostics more of a hit and miss proposition, can lead to wasted time, and overall can be a bit frustrating. I wish Deere would reconsider there position at least for world cruising boats that need to be self sufficient.
Next in line after the SCV, is checking for air the fuel, and then I would probably go to changing the injectors but I may get some advice on easier diagnostic steps I can take before that.
Kind of expensive but is this what you are looking for?
There is a link in that blog to where you can buy it. The comments at the bottom indicate it is good for marine engines.
I see the problem, it’s not the tool it’s the fully functional software.
You nailed it on both points Steve. That is the required hardware and, without the Deere diagnostic software, the hardware is not worth much. Deere licenses Service Adviser for 3 months at a time and I’m always working on convincing them that on boats that roam far from Deere skills, they need to allow the operators to have access to this software. At this point, I’ve not been sufficiently convincing.
Access to service diagnostic software will greatly influence my recommendations and buying decisions.
Can you put a manual gauge on the fuel rail to rule out the pressure sensor?
Hi Jamie. The pressures are in the range of 20,000 PSI so sealing properly would require great care and the gauge would need to be properly rated. And I’m not sure where I would put it with all fuel system openings already in use. What we know from the 1347.7 code is the actual common rail fuel pressure is at least 750PSI different from called from actual. With special hardware and software, all parameters can be read by a John Deere authorized mechanic. The right answer is having access to this diagnostic system and, in the future, if a manufacturer was willing to grant me access to this diagnostic software, it would influence my purchasing decision and subsequent recommendations greatly.
At times in the past, I have had access to this diagnostic software but I haven’t been able to arrange to have permanent access so don’t have access to the massive amount of data that this software makes available including high pressure rail actual and called for pressure.
Declan, thanks for the tip. We went to Bushes in Baltimore yesterday and had a great lunch outside enjoying the warm weather and the view out over the harbour.
I fished out of Baltimore briefly on the Lovon (I believe she is still there) in a former life, before moving to the Uk and getting involved with data centres among other things.. Can i ask your thoughs on a battery monitoring system for my Grand Banks? After reading your blog i am thinking Rasp PI, small touch screen at the helm and sms/email alerts. In return i will recommend the best pubs on any european coast 😉
That’s a deal Declan! Your advice has been excellent so far.
For battery monitoring, there is a lot you can do. On our original boat we had a simple battery monitoring system from our inverter supplier. At the time we were using a Heart Interface Link 2000 and their entry level system that does just about as much was the Link 10. Heart Interface has since been purchased by Xantrex but the Link 10 lives on as the Xantrex Link Pro available from Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Xantrex-84-2031-00-Link-Battery-Monitor/dp/B001E4DX0U
On Dirona, we have multiple battery banks and wanted to be able to alarm, send email, and show all relevant parameters. We decided to use Maretron N2kview as the display and the Maretron DCM100 as the sensor. We’re very happy with that system.
More recently we have implemented more than 20 channels of digital input (sensing device off/on state) using a Raspberry PI. It’s super simple and inexpensive where less than $50 buys a Pi and that plus a $5 relay for channel works well. We have since implemented 12 channels of digital output (ability to turn external devices off and on). A bit more complicated but not much and again, it’s cheap and reliable. I just added a second Pi to since I’m running out of input and output pins and then implemented 8 channels of temperature and humidity using the $6 DHT-22 sensor also available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/HiLetgo-Digital-Temperature-Humidity-Replace/dp/B01DA3C452/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497623928&sr=8-1&keywords=dht-22.
For your project, if you wanted to use a Pi you would need to either implement analog input to sense voltage over a range from 0 to your max battery voltage or buy a sensor that produces digital output and read it directly from the Pi as I do using the DHT-22 temperatures sensors. I’ve not yet implemented voltage sensing with the Pi but it certainly can be done. One approach is to use an Arduino.
For simple battery monitoring I would go with something like the Xantrex battery monitor. It’ll tell you voltage, state of charge, etc. and there are 10s of these available with different features. By far the easiest approach. If you want a more elaborate monitoring systems that goes beyond battery management and includes other boat systems or you want alarms, lights, email and/or SMS on faults, I would go with the Maretron system. If you are a hobbiest, just like to do it yourself, or want to have complete control over the system, then using the Pi is a great approach. Very cheap, quite reliable, you can do anything with it, but it’s more work than the other solutions. After spending 4 hours implementing some feature or another I always joke that it really wouldn’t be worth it for 1 use but for 1,000s of customers it makes total sense. Unfortunately I only have 1 user (unless you count Jennifer and Spitfire) so the time investment doesn’t always make sense.
I would look hard at packaged battery monitors or a Maretron-based solution but any of the three approaches will work great.
James, comprehensive and excellent response as always.
I have a Heart Interface 1000 inverter so had looked at the Link 2000 or 2000R recently. Liked the Bluesea and Victron Energy products also. But like you, remote monitoring and alarms are important so I have read with great interest your Maretron articles. As impressive as it, i’m finding it hard to justify as getting the “data” from my 44 year old engines will require a bit of work! The are several NMEA to wifi boxes now on the market so i’m sure it could be done. I would like to monitor engine temperatures and pressures but at the moment batteries are my priority.
That got me onto the PI. Unfortunately i can’t code so feel it maybe a bit beyond me. As you said to another blog reader maybe I should start with a basic Maretron system and build on it.
Interestingly I have recently installed an excellent 4G router on board: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Computers-Accessories/Teltonika-RUT955-LTE-4G-Router/B017DAJIS4/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497885646&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=teltonika+955
It has a few digital and analogue inputs which can trigger SMS alerts so I have set a low voltage alarm for my house battery bank which gives some peace of mind at least.
Have you had the Mavic up in Ireland yet? I got one a few months back and love it but still havnt been brave enough to fly it off the boat.
Hope you are enjoying your trip up the west coast – its rare you get weather like this!
With the Maretron solution, no coding is required. All you need is a DCM100, an Maretron NF-NM4P-NF power inserter, and a DCM150 to get full alarming for your batteries. If you want to get SMS or email as well, replace the DCM150 with N2kview on a PC. Works well and is easy to install.
I really like the router you pointed out with digital inputs. It’s really smart of the company to include some digital input capability. Very useful for some applications and essentially free to add to the device.
We have flown two missions with the Mavic in Ireland. One over Brows Head to get a nice picture looking down on the signal tower and another in Crookhavn off the boat to get some shots of us in the anchorage. I continue to be impressed with it’s ease of flight and the quality of the pictures. Landing on the boat does require some care. On the last “carrier” landing it was blowing 15 kts, the boat was moving slightly in the anchorage and I dropped a leg off the table I was landing upon leading to my first minor crash. We took some nicks and marks on the props but nothing else and no need to change parts.
I am leaning towards Maretron using N2kview. It definitely seems to be the best sorted solution out there and the expense well justified.
Cant recommend the Teltonika highly enough. DIN rail mounting keeps things neat too. I think they are aimed at remote monitoring, wind farms etc, but work great on board.
Looking forward to seeing your Mavic pics, particularly the signal tower. They really are a remarkable machine.
Your plan with N2kview sounds like a good one Declan.
For our next stop, we’ll head to Velentia Island and then through Blasket Islands up to the Aran islands to anchor. Dingle looks great but, as much as we enjoy great towns, we’re ready for some more time in the wilds.
Or across to the hotel and the Jolly Roger on Sherkin. So jealous.
We were close to the Jolly Roger but the view from Islanders Rest drew us in for dinner and a Murphy’s. Both were good. It was fun to watch the weather system roll in. Baltimore Harbour gets surprisingly rough in what were fairly mild conditions. I’ll bet it can get exciting in there in a big storm.
How did they address the fuel spill. I know here it would be a major event and we would get fined.
Here it considerably less of a big deal than in many other countries and especially the US. It’ll get looked at and procedures will be put in place on the boat to reduce the probability of a repeat occurrence.
I am just emerging from a long list of projects I started as a freshman trawler owner. While working through our long list, mvdirona.com was always on my list to see if you had covered the subject matter. Very often I would find that you have covered the target subject and had thoroughly worked through pragmatic solutions. Your posts can take quite technical issues, annotating them into an easy to comprehend, informative and enjoyable read. I would hate to think the number of blunders I would have made if not for your assistance.
Recently I have time to read through more of your site that I still take in bite size pieces. Bite size, not because it is hard to comprehend but, because I invariably come across an article that highlights another issue on N5002 that should be addressed. Then I’m off to work through this new another task before returning to MVdirona.com to discover yet another shortcoming on our boat. I do not see an end in sight yet, as I have not yet trolled your entire site. Even when I do manage to make it through I am sure that on another read, I will find treasures that I missed first time around. My wife may not thank you but I certainly do!
Thank you for sharing.
Very kind of you to post that Mark. That’ll get me motivated enough to post some of the past work that is still in the queue. Thanks!
Re the Atlantic gales, the BBC reports than one competitor (age 71 or thereabouts) has been rescued by the liner Queen Mary II. Apparently his yacht was knocked horizontal at 2:00am, broken timber flew across his cabin shattering a porthole causing it to fill with sea water. It says he scuppered the yacht so it would not be a shipping hazard. Sounds like he was fortunate to be able to continue the rest of his trip in relative comfort.
More yachts in the OSTAR TWOSTAR race were affected by the storm:
TAMARIND – Suffered severe damage. Skipper well with no injuries. Rescued by Queen Mary en route to Halifax.
HAPPY – Dismasted. Both crew rescued by ocean going tug APL FORWARD. No injuries reported.
FURIA – Boat sunk. Crew resuced by survey vessel THOR MAGNA. No injuries reported.
HARMONII – Mainsail and track damage. Retired. Heading under engine for the Azores. Skipper ok, no injuries.
SUOMI KUDU – Mainsail problems. Retired. Heading back to UK. Skipper ok, no injuries
All other competitors safe but still experiencing a 10 – 15 metre swell, no injuries reported.
In the Bermuda 1-2 race SPADEFOOT was abandoned on June 5th after lifting keel damage. Skipper rescued by a competitor.
Brutal conditions. They are loosing a lot of boats. Glad they have avoided loss of life.
In a storm, if you lose a window you likely loose the boat. He’s lucky to have survived that outcome.
James and Jennifer:
Three cases of Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc is what I call a great resupply job! Also a very pleasant wine. Enjoy!
(PS. My wife and I visited all of the Marlborough vineyards in February)
We love the Marlborough region — great Souvignon Blanc and great cruising. A match made in heaven. The South Island of New Zealand is an incredible cruising area with Fiordland, Marlborough Sound, and Stewart Island. Light populated and beautiful scenery.
Back to the keel cooler as you know I am really watching on this one. Here is what I can decipher based on the screens you have posted in regards to tach and temp. I left off any water temp mingling in this since we do not know at what point you lost your temperature sensor when you were on the southern half of the world. I am also bundling the data I see from your passages across the Indian, S Africa to Helena and Helena to Barbados into one group versus your passage across to Ireland since it is your first very long passage since having your cooler painted.
For the 3 passages there was 19 entries that gave us an average of 183° temp on main engine. Of those you running high rpms during those first couple weeks in Sept which always had your temps in the high 190 to just over 200°.
For the Ireland run there were 21 entries I could use and that gave us an average of 184° temp on main engines.
Some things to point out though. You ran high rpms for that first week out. 1850 or better and one just over 2000. Only twice in all the pics do you ever cross the 190° mark. Before with the same rpm (although in warmer waters) you were always running in the upper 180’s to lower 190’s.
Now this could be because of the water temps or keel cooler or combo of both. This does show to me though that painting the keel cooler did not hurt its ability to do it’s job. So I guess the next thing to watch will be what kind of growth you get on it. Has it been worse or better then before it was painted?
The video was great too. Glad you posted that. 🙂
You are watching closely. Just some background, our thermostat starts to open at 180F and is not fully open until 190F.
Water temperature has a huge impact on the cooling capability of the keel cooler as does speed through the water so analyzing performance fully requires a fair amount of data. I agree that it appears to be performing well.
On bottom paint, we have a problem where the paint has suddenly become ineffective even though it’s only a year old. The bottom is starting to grow quite a bit. We’ll nurse it along for a while but we are going to need to find some time to lift the boat out for a bottom paint in the near future. I haven’t had a look at the keel cooler but suspect it’ll have some of the same issue.
You two have published a Cruising book. But having just read your recent posts on your first few days in Ireland, I am reminded how much you two like sampling various beers.
Therefore I think you two need to publish a book on “Beers of the (Cruising) World”.
Thanks for the pointer Tim H.
James, I see you’ve been playing with your Raspberry Pi lately – cool! Searching the General Comments, I find all kinds of low-level stuff, like how to get the voltage you need for multiple outputs – but I can’t find a simple list, or even a few examples, of the kinds of data you’re collecting, processing, and outputting with the Pi. Can you give just a few examples? I’ve got a handful of things I’d like to start monitoring on Smartini, but I’d sure like to know what your priorities have been. Thanks!
Sure, I’ll give a quick sketch here but, over the longer term, I’ll write up how I read digital inputs, how I send digital outputs, and how I read the temperature sensors. Here is what is currently processed:
i4=>Watch Commander on;
i17=>Acknowledge Alarms switch on
i22=>Watch Commander Reset Signaled;
i5=>Gray or Black Water Pump on
i26=Gen Autostart on
i25=Fuel Transfer Pump on
i24=bilge pump on
i12=Start Parallel Override on
i19=Fire Suppression system triggered
i13=EmergencyOverride (emergency disable all automation)
i3=N/C (not connected)
16=>Parallel Wing Gen Start Battery
7=>Inv120V fan on
21=>Shed Microwave load
18=>Shed ER fans
I’ll eventually get all docs on the details and with examples of how it was done.
Thanks for that, James. Can’t wait to see the write-up with some details!
Looks like you are having a wonderful time in Ireland.
You really sparked my interest in one of the fort pictures. Are those actual supports for above ground water tanks or tops to cisterns?
I just thought it was interesting a military installation would design something so important in such a vulnerable way.
I thought the same. The best way to shorten a siege is ensure the enemy runs out of water. I believe what we are looking at in the pictures you asked about is the foundation for above ground water tanks.
By the way, I’m loving the Klien crimpers you recommended. They work great!
I’m glad you like them but from the picture of your old ones I believed you would. It’s a rare day I don’t crimp a terminal on something and they make it much easier for me.
I’ve been crimping my brains out on a recent project to install 7 temperature sensors in the ER and Laz area. Lots of wire runs and terminations.
James or Steve – can you specify the Klein crimpers you’re talking about? I recently had to re-wire a fan in an awkward position, and getting the wires crimped was by far the worst part of the project.
These are simple, strong, and make reliable crimps quickly: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000936OTY/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Hello James and Jennifer, thank you for all the information, photographs and the oportunity you give us readers to live and dream all those adventures.
James, I used to have a 26′ walk around fishing boat with twin engines, the fishing grounds I used to go to were 52 nm offshore, the plan was always get up before sunrise, run, fish and get back on the same day, that was as far as I ever went in it, I thought it was so far that I installed two 1500 gph bilge pumps with its own discharge thru hulls each, one with an automatic floating switch and one just next to it at same level with a manual switch, I had changed and installed all brand new motors and all the boat’s wiring, light fixtures and electric switches when I bought it, I had most electric and electronics items connected to one engine with two batteries, the inside the cabin vhf (In case motors died and it was really nasty outside) and the direct switch pump to the other engine with one battery just in case, I have two questions, the first is, for the sake of safety, systems redundancy and knowing the cost of an extra bilge pump with all it components compared to every system you have installed in your wonderful boat, having had all those long ocean crossing plans, would it not had been a good idea to have that extra bilge pump in place, is it common in ocean crossing boats such as yours not to have that extra security?
The other question is, do you think the opening in the boat where all that water got thru was poorly designed by the boat builder not having had that problem before?
Thank you in advance.
Good questions Jorge. The boat has two automatic bilge pumps: 1) 600 gpm pump in the main bilge and 2) a high water bilge pump that is 3,700 gpm above that one. I think this design is good in principle but the second bilge pump should not be 3′ above the first mounted in a location where it can’t pickup lower. If this second pump was down in the main bilge, I think the design would be quite good. We could move the 2nd pump or install a third. We’ll go with the latter and have three pumps: 1) 600 gpm, 2) 6″ to 8″ higher 4,000 gpm, and 2) 2′ higher 3,700 gpm.
We also have the hydraulic bilge pump (manual off/on) that will move an absolutely amazing amount of water. We also have a Honda crash pump as a last resort and a Edson manual bilge pump. I think the overall number of pumps and volumes installed in Dirona is adequate. My only criticism of the design is the placement of the second automatic bilge pump 3′ above the lower bilge pump. With that corrected, the design seems pretty good to me.
You asked if the water ingress point was a design issue or something else. My take is there are three design issues: 1) 1″ hole into locker, 2) open louvers into locker, and 3) all water in the locker over 1″ (or less when boat heeled) will flow into the laz. An acceptable design needs to correct both #1 and #2 or could leave them in place and correct #3. I think addressing the first two is the easier design change and it feel urgent.
You asked why did this not happen at other times in this volume. The leak path has always been there and is a nuisance leak but it has never brought on dangerous amounts of water in the past. Because the leak path is from cockpit into the laz, when there is water in cockpit over a couple of inches, it flows in. What was different here is the sea conditions were worse than we have seen in the past so there was always water in the cockpit and we were carry fuel bladders which both takes up space in the cockpit (halves the capacity which doubles the depth), a smaller volume was closed off a the corner of the cockpit by the bladders where there is a scupper and a deck drain in that area but both often flow the other way so this small corner was often over a foot deep — without the bladders it would be closer to 3 to 6″. Finally, the bladders will settle the boat a couple of inches in the water.
Despite this issue not having been a problem in over 9,000 hours of ocean travel, I still feel like it’s a design problem that is mandatory to address in order to achieve adequate safety margin.
Congrats on the arrival even with a few hiccups on the way! I’m sure you’ll have a blast enjoying the Isle….planning a trip to Blarney? ( gifts await for the price of a kiss) not to mention the beautiful grounds. Thanks again for sharing the fun.
It’s great to be here Mark. We’re having a ton of fun and enjoying not having deadline or firm plans day to day. But, we’re always happy to hear ideas like the Blarney Stone suggestion. In fact, the reason we are in Kinsale rather than Cork was a suggestion from a blog reader. Thanks!
May be worth looking into three.co.uk for a sim deal. They have now extended coverage for worldwide calls as well as data.
In the past, every time I’ve looked at a all in “around the world” cellular deal, we find that it’s either slower, more expensive, or has considerable usage constraints over direct agreements with local carriers. We’ll have a look at the the three.co.uk offering. Thanks for the tip Tim.
Not sure if you are into whiskey James, if so, check out the Middleton distillery not too far from Cork centre.
We’ll probably be back in the area and, if we are, we’ll check it out. Thanks Chris.
Congrats on another successful crossing, I hope to be able to do a bit of cruising in my future. In the pic of you with the customs officials I noticed your HeatStrip radiant heater. How do you like it and what model did you go with? Any issues with corrosion? Seems like a great idea for those cool evenings.
Wow, good eye Greg. That is a Heatstrip radiant outdoor/patio heater (http://www.heatstrip.com.au/). It’s the 1800 watt 240V@50hz unit that gets sold into the domestic Australian market. Heatstrip makes units for most world markets but we are using the Australian version. I really like the Australian outdoor plugs and sockets so we installed one in the Laz for utility 240V and we installed one in cockpit for the heat strip. It’s a bit unusual to be running a 50hz appliance on 60hz power but that’s the configuration we are using.
It’s a fairly inexpensive heater and since we were planning to operate in conditions far harsher than most home or commercial installations, we bought 2 spares expecting it would last 18 months but we would love it so much that it would be worth the hassle of changing it. The Amazing thing is that it’s been on there since Brisbane Australia and it just simply always works. It builds up a gray salt residue on the heating surface but it continues to operate flawlessly.
We just love the heater and use it all the time. Last night after a great dinner at The Steakhouse in Kinsale, we enjoyed a glass of wine outside in cockpit under the Heatstrip. It was a great addition.
The big smile on your face with the customs officers speaks volumes.
Congrats to you and Jennifer on a succesful crossing
The check in procedure was as relaxed and efficient as any we have done. We’re really enjoying Ireland — it’s hard to believe we have only been here two days.
Congratulations to Jennifer and yourself on a successful crossing!!
Just returned from Palm Beach, looking at 47s and 50s. Hopefully Jinhee and I will be enjoying new shores with you soon.
Enjoy your time.
Hiya Don. It’s exciting to see you folks nearing boat ownership. We’re having fun in Ireland.
Congratulations on another successful crossing, albeit a challenging one. A well deserved rest is in order. I have followed your blog since you were traveling the BC Coast in the previous Dirona. You arrived in Ireland as we sat in Von Donop Inlet. To think this Coast was the beginning of your grand adventure. Enjoy.
We really enjoyed the BC coast. It remains a favorite of ours. We hope you are enjoying von Donop Inlet. We’ve been further away from home than Ireland but it still seems amazing to be here. We’re really enjoying ourselves here.
Congratulations James !!
I can see you entering the outer harbour Kinsale….very well done!!
Just passing Old Head of Kinsale now. A great sight just below the low hanging cloud cover. Only 5nm to go!
Welcome to Ireland!! (Martin Monteith here, if you remember we met you as you returned from round the world as you arrived at West Palm Beach last spring) I’ve been watching your progress across the Atlantic, wow! That was quite the boat ride! Glad you both have arrived safely, enjoy Ireland and hopefully you have some nice weather as it’s beautiful especially in nice weather. We emigrated to Canada from Nortern Ireland 28 years ago.
Hiya Martin. It’s been a while since West Palm. Our adventure has continued and the European chapter is just beginning. Kinsale is great!
As you know, we have crossed the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans and mostly had good trips. This last one across the North Atlantic had worse weather and several mechanical faults so it ended up being more challenging. For sure, the North Atlantic will be the North Atlantic but, if it’s just bad weather without compounding it with systems problems, it’s no big deal. We’ll make some changes to deal with the water ingress problem, we’ll add another automatic bilge pump to the main bilge, and we’ll get additional spares for the steering system.
Thanks for the note.
Looks like you can now bike to the Lidl store and get some nice snacks to replenish your supply! https://www.google.com/maps/place/Lidl+Kinsalefirstname.lastname@example.org,-8.5180065,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x5aff1daa5bfe28f9!8m2!3d51.7082091!4d-8.5180065
Looks good Ron. There is also a Super Value grocery store in the same area.
Today our plan is to head into Cork and see if we can get a local cell phone account.
should be easy to pick up prepaid sims from any of the carriers – €20 should get you unlimited calls and 5-15GB of data for a month
Perfect. We are heading to Cork. Thanks Colin.
Today is a holiday in Ireland (and most of Europe) …Not sure you’ll find an open store for a SIM card!
Thanks Jacques. That EU holiday doesn’t appear to be celebrated in Ireland.
Are you going to Dingle? We were awestruck by the beauty of that area a couple summers ago. All of Ireland is awesome. Enjoy!
Almost certainly yes, we will be going to the Dingle area on our trip up the west coast of Ireland.
What a journey!
Wonderful to follow you across the Atlantic. Now enjoy the warm hospitality of the ’emerald isle’!
Thanks Chris. It was only a 17 day crossing but it felt like a long one. It’s good to be here.
Congrats James / Jennifer and Spitfire, epic journey and suspense, as they say, anything can happen at and usually do.
But very well organised and executed, you both desire a good rest, I bet the stress on this one has caused more tiredness than anything.
Thanks Charles. We have done several ocean crossings and, in the past we have seen neither mechanical faults nor weather of this magnitude. We’ll plan several work items and rigging changes to avoid some of the mechanical issues that could have been avoided.
Hey James, Will be great to see your solutions to the avoid some the of the issues you had, I know you will come up with some well thought out ideas and resolutions. Stay well. Charles
Yes, most crossings we complete with things running more or less as expecited. This one suggests several changes. We’ll write them up, post them here, and plan to implement them before the next big trip.
Well you’ll be there by the next time I check in and for all my number crunching at the start, looks like you’ll hit your 300 gallons almost on the nose.
Good Job cutting right across like that is something most pleasure boaters (including the NAP) don’t do esp with just two people.
Hi Steve. Man, it’s exciting to watch day break with Ireland just popping into view as the sun slowly inches up over the horizon. We’re surrounded by working fish boats. The wind is very close to zero and the water is dead flat. Beautiful.
We are currently carrying 380 gallons with 26nm left to go. We’re carrying around 50 gallons more than targeted since we slowed down a couple of days ago to arrive in to Kinsale at 10am rather than closer to midnight. Slowing down saves a lot of fuel. At this speed, in these conditions we could go around 5,000 nm.
Welcome to European Waters – Fastnet to Fastnet.
Did you see Fastnet right around sunset?
We were close enough that Jennifer likely saw the light but we passed Fastnet at night in the fog. I suppose that is more or less “as it should be” when passing Fastnet. Perhaps we were missing a gale to complete the picture :-).
Irish waters : )
Here’s to Fastnet (pub, Newport RI) to Fastnet Rock! It was an adventure to be sure. Sometimes a bit bigger than we wanted. It’s great to be in Ireland.
Six footer mixed following seas and a low ahead of you? Eleven days with five more to go if you slow a little to keep it in front of you? Hope the three of you are doing well. Excited to see your progress each day.
As unexcited as we are to face yet another couple of days at 30 kts of wind with around 12′ of waves, we’ll probably not slow down to first let the system pass. The current plan is to continue at whatever speed the weather allows.
Haul cheek SSE for a day and then turn NW and take some quarter seas? Sure wish I was there to help! Hope all is well and that the donuts held out.
It would be a good day for a donut. We have a rough day expected tomorrow with 30 kts winds and 14′ seas on 7 seconds. We still have the badly worn bolt in the steering system and we are getting some metal dust build up underneath it. Everything looks right and I can’t see any movement that shouldn’t be there but we are still getting accelerated wear. I don’t want to take on the storm tomorrow without knowing things are exactly as the should be so we plan to shut the boat down today and let it drift while I change these parts for new ones while we drift.
I have the parts needed on hand so the only concern is how the boat will handle just drifting in a good sized swell while I make the change and have a look for any other possible problems.
The primary fuel filters were starting to show increased vacuum yesterday so I changed over to a new one yesterday. That’s the second time in this trip that I needed to change fuel filters. The first one when 73 hours and this second one went 174 hours. On the short side for both but not totally surprising given how rough it’s been. Rough conditions can stir up settled out debris in the fuel system and plug filters more quickly. We normally get 200 to 600 hours on a filter.
Once we get the steering work done today, we’ll be ready to take on the storm with all systems at 100%.
How is Jennifer handling the rough seas? I think I read she gets uncomfortable/seasick when the pitch is above 10 degrees? Does the new band work? Safe travels. Mike
Jen hasn’t been having seasickness problems over the last week so the band appears to be working well enough. When it’s this rough, it’s hard to get a good sleep though so we’re all a bit tired but generally doing well. The boat is running well and we continue to make good speed. It’ll be nice to be in more settled seas though.
Jeez, you are right in the center of it according to http://passageweather.com/ . Are there really 5M waves on your stern pushed by 30 knot winds like their charts show? I always think of me being there on Dirona, but not today. Good luck and hope you find time for some rest tonight.
Early in the day yesterday, those were the conditions and had been for quite a while. The winds started backing off yesterday around noon. The seas take much longer to settle but it’s already enough better that we are sleeping significantly better. I just got up and for the first time in days I feel great rather than lethargic and worn out. Looking at the most pitch and role over the last 15 min, pitch was 6 degrees and roll 10 degrees. Not smooth but much more comfortable.
A floating metronome, ugh. Glad you are through the thick of it. Hopefully you can stay at the edge of the system and get a couple days of rest before you arrive.
Super nice today. We are slowing down to arrive in Wednesday morning so we’re just loping along nice and easy. Only 256nm to go.
You beat my estimate by a day. I cannot wait to see some interesting pictures and see what the final tally was on spares and fixes.
According to AIS, at 200 nm from Cork, you passed by a fishing vessel and will pass to the South of a vehicle carrier named Onyx in about 8 hours. Very cool as you seem to be the only pleasure craft in open water North of the 45th parallel.
I think all those pleasure craft not above the 45th parallel may have a point :-).
Thanks for the traffic update. I expect it’ll get fairly busy as we approach Fastnet rock with both commercial shipping and fishing. We’re loping along at only 6.5 kts to allow us to arrive in the morning rather than around midnight. We’re targeting to arrive at the Marina at 10am tomorrow morning.
We would have been a day to perhaps even two days later with a more normal fuel load. But, on this trip, we have enough fuel for 4,000 nm but are only going 2,800. Even with poor conditions we have been making pretty good time.
I’ll give some thought to summary post but, at this point, the “used up” list would include: steering arm bolt, steering ram rod end, two fuel filters, a grey water pump valve, two vales for the main bilge pump is pretty close to the full list. Where we have some work ahead of us is in some of the design changes we will want to make. We want to add a high capacity bilge pump to the main bilge, we need to exclude water from the aft cockpit storage lockers, and I’m thinking of adding a third high water bilge alarm. We often finish ocean crossings with nothing to do but, after this one, we do have some bigger projects. We’ll add it all into the trip summary that we’ll post sometime this week.
Only 182nm to go!
You said that you have yet to see a rough enough sea to put Spitfire off his grub – even after the fun that had you a few days ago, does that still hold with the moggy (?) still busy gaining weight?
Spitfire adapts fast and he’s doing great. He definitely prefers flat seas to rough ones but, from his perspective, no preference is important enough to give up a meal :-). I’ll bet he isn’t an ounce under 15 lbs.
Maybe you could refer to that in the title of your autobiography, “The Cat With The Cast-Iron Stomach” ?
While you may have started out with some tough conditions it certainly looks great to end the trip. I have seen you over the years on Youtube and such but until this trip had not followed your travels. I would like to say thanks for a great blog and for taking the time even in the “tricky” times. Looking forward to the summary.
Thanks Kevin. It’s great to see Ireland slowly revealed below the fog bank as the sun rises this morning. Conditions are glass smooth, we’re creeping along at 6.1 kts, and watching the working fish boats hauling nets all around us.
Do you filter incoming fuel or only once it is in your tanks? When you fueled on 5/6 you didn’t say it was at the Newport Marina but I assume that’s where you got it. Since the marina was empty the entire time you were there, maybe no one has been using the fuel from there supply. In fact no one may have pulled any significant amount of fuel from their supply in 6 months. Just an (un)educated guess but the fuel you got from Newport may have been “old” and if the sediment all settled out and the pickup is right off the bottom of their supply tank, it may have been quite dirty too.
Whatever the reason I am sure you are glad you have your quad filter system in place so that no matter the quality, your JD is getting nice clean diesel.
Great question Drew. Yes, we picked up the fuel from the Newport Yachting Center. Prior to our purchase they had 7,000 gallons on hand and it’s highly probable that fuel has been there since sometime before the end of the season last year. So, you are right, it is old fuel. Their storage system is an excellent concrete above tank system and they have annual inspections etc. and the most recent one was done weeks before our purchase.
Your question brings up the generic question of how to get only great quality fuel delivered to the engine. One tactic is to filter the fuel using a Baha Filter on the way into the tanks. This is a common tactic with world cruising boats. The downside is that it slows fueling dramatically. At our fuel volumes it’s really not practical to fuel on the way in. It takes 1.5 to 3 hours to fuel us as it is. It might take more than a day with an external filter. It just doesn’t feel practical.
The second approach is avoidance. Only go to locations that sell massive volumes to commercial boats so you know the fuel good. This is a good tactic, doesn’t take any longer, and sometimes leads to actually getting better pricing. However, when in locations like Vanuatu, there is exactly one place to fuel. There is no choice and, for fuel volumes like we take, they don’t stock that much so they call a truck, the truck drops a load into the nearly empty tanks stirring up all the sediment and then we fuel. Pretty much the worst possible setup but there is no choice. So, as much as I like tis second approach of being selective about where you get your fuel, it also isn’t a general solution for Dirona.
Since we can’t prefilter and we can’t always be selective, that leaves us with the third tactic: expect some poor quality fuel and manage it. On this model, we worry less because instead of worry that we might get bad fuel, we more or less expect we’ll get some bad once in a while and design the system to deal with it.
Here’s what we do. All fuel being deliverd to Dirona goes into the two bulk side tanks of 835 gallons each or the on-deck fuel bladders when we are using them. When we tranfer the fuel from bladders below decks it passes through the 25 micron fuel transfer filter. Any fuel leaving are side tanks to go to the wing day tank or the supply tanks (where all engines but the wing get there fuel) also goes through the 25 micron transfer the filter. The Transfer filter is a large RACOR FBO-10 with truly massive filter area. It takes a lot of block that filter. In fact, I’ve never blocked that filter although I have purchased large amounts of rust, small amounts of water, and even some large cockroach-like bugs. The FBO-10 just catches it all.
By the time the fuel gets to the supply tank, it has passed through the FBO-10 25 micron bulk filter. From there the fuel passes through a Racor 900 2 micron filter then goes through the 10 micron on engine followed by a 2 micron on engine. So, all fuel gets filtered at least 4 times on the way to the Deere injectors. See this article for more detail on why we run only 2 micron primary filtration and other aspects of the fuel system design: http://mvdirona.com/2013/12/dirona-fuel-manifold/
If while operating we learn that we have a problem load of fuel, we can configure our fuel system to be able to run the engine off the supply tank while at the same time running all the fuel from each side tank through the transfer filter and back to the same side tank. This should allow us to recover fairly quickly if we do have a problem.
Given the frequency of fuel filter changes on the last two fills it’s possible that one of those two fuel loads might be slightly substandard or, perhaps more likely, after more than 7 years and 9,000 hours our tanks are starting to have build ups of asphaltenes and other fuel fall out and, when we hit rough water, this fuel fall out are starting to go back up into solution.
When we left for our around the world trip, we had 48 Racor 900 filters with us and, surprisingly, we used less than 10 on the trip. Most fuel world-wide is surprisingly good.
Fuel availability for extended boat cruising is fast becoming an inefficient hassle not mention outrages fuel costs. Many people now are opting for sailing boats & some without motors-for all their cruising needs.Which direction do you feel diesel & gas are going as fuel for power boat cruisers? Could this be an underlying reason people are cutting their cruising careers short @ selling their powerboats when an equal amount of effsort could secure alternate sources of green clean energy such as wind which is in the grasp of all serious cruisers. It seems that new Zealand & Australia are not very cruiser friendly when it comes to accommodating! Their version of
coast guard broads your boat feeds the unwary tourist a long line of B S
then steels your food & gives to their poor at the tourist expense. when I
sailed I did the research & avoided the haphazard results.Did a lot of anchoring as opposed 300.00 dollars plus for a slip! There has been remarkable high tech improvements in the solar & wind driven electric
energy,perpetual motion mechanics industry. Even compasses have improved. Enjoy the bounties of the sea !
Greetings from land locked London, Ontario 26C and sunny – I looked at your current location – 47° 41.09’N, 32° 37.98’W, almost directly in the middle of the Atlantic
– hopefully the weather is good for you guys, so be safe and have fun!
I know London Ontario well. I went to High School in Ottawa and Jennifer and I lived in Toronto for a decade. Conditions are good right now. We have the doors open and are just enjoying the good weather. Looks like we have some more lumpy water coming but I guess that’s the cost of wanting to cross a bit earlier in the year.
greetings from Furthur in the Philippines, just catching up on your blog. so glad you are having such great adventures. following your route, did you miss SE Asia? too bad.
Hope all goes well hope we cross paths someday.
Hey Brian. Good hearing from you. You’ve chosen a nice part of the world to live in. We wanted to tour Asia but to do that would have added another year to our trip around the world given the timing constraints when the Indian Ocean can be safely crossed. We wanted to spend some time on the East Coast of North America and then head to Northern Europe. It would not surprise me at all if we eventually ended up in the Pacific exploring the area that is captured you.
Have you thought about repositioning the bladders next time? Is there enough room to do so? and how many fuel filters spares have you gone through since the start of your journey from RI. I am glad your both safe.
Greg, the bladders take up volume in the cockpit so it takes less water to fill the cockpit and they block the free movement of water on deck which can also lead to greater water depth. Both those issues do matter but my primary focus is there is a 1″ hole from the cockpit to the inside of the boat and whether the bladders are on deck or not, a 1″ hole just sounds like something that needs to be addressed.
I certainly hope all is safe and well aboard the Dirona. I can’t help you with your journey but I will be in Cork at the end of June should you need any parts or supplies. I grew up there and spent my youth between the harbours of Crosshaven and Kinsale as well as the entire SW coast “One of the most beautiful coasts on the the planet”. I will be leaving Chicago last week of June if there is anything you need from the states or from Norhavn.
Please let me know and safe passage.
Thanks very much for your offer Kevin. If you were arriving earlier, I might ask for the overtons part recommended further back in this discussion: http://www.overtons.com/modperl/product/details.cgi?i=71746.
Hopefully, we will be off enjoying more of Ireland by the time you arrive. We’re really looking forward to it. Thanks for the offer to assist.
No worries, glad your sorted.
Should you want to avoid the usually busy village of Kinsale you can head out the road about a mile (lovely walk) towards Charles fort and you’ll come across an establishment called The Spaniard. A great melting pot since the 1700’s with good food and known for the impromptu evening music sessions. Also across the road is a little lane that takes you back down to the harbour opposite of where you will be moored. Again an area more laid back with locals and returning vacationers.
Best of luck with the remainder of your voyage.
That’s sounds really great Kevin. Looking forward to it — only 1,314 nm to go!
I’m glad you two are safe and like everyone else I’m waiting to hear what happened. The first thing I thought of was a problem with your aft mounted anchor but, I’ll just have to wait and see.
Flooding at sea is not a fun situation. About halfway through my tour in the Navy we came closer than many to losing the boat due to unnoticed flooding in the forward hold which was secured from inspection due to a storm and it was unsafe for the sounding and security watch to go out on the main deck for the only access to that compartment at the time (we later installed a interior hatch for access during rough weather).
We had 83 people to deal with it, two people in the middle of the Atlantic would have been stressful.
Steve, it sounds like you have been through a similar experience. Stressful to be sure regardless of the crew size.
All brushes with disasters usually have more than one mistake or problem. The core problem in this case is the locker has a 1 inch “drain” hole. This 1″ drain hole becomes a “fill” how when there is more than couple of inches of water on the cokcpit deck. Once water is in the locker, it’s flowing down below through the Glendinning shore power cord retraction hole. It’s amazing how much water a 1″ hole will pass.
Well, a unrestricted 1″ pipe at 6 ft/s (gravity) can flow up to 960 GPH. Looking at the pictures I’d say it could have the potiential to flow somewhere between 1/4 -1/3 that which is still a lot more water than I’d want to see.
As far as “puker factor” there is a big difference between two people and a crew who for the most part are still in their teens on a ship trained, drilled and tasked with the rescue or salvage of submarines. And it’s not to say you don’t do an excellent job with preperation but, I’d say we had just a little more in the way of equipment available.
If you can visualize three decks of the bow flooded back to the superstructure, I doubt it took us 45 mins to find the problem, fix the problem and de-water the forward hold.
It was a bad storm but what I always found strange was the bridge never noticing it was punching into the seas rather than trying to go up and over.
That is a nice looking ship and, having spent time on one US navy vessel at sea, I know the entire crew will have been super well trained.
What I found unnerving is how fast the bilge refilled. Even a fairly small leak can be a very big deal.
Respectfully James, I think the root cause of the water to the bilge situation is not the position of the Gendinning hole but the water getting into the locker in the first place. Sure, if the Gendinning hole is relocated higher up the sidewall as I think you or another mentioned in another thread then this could reduce or eliminate overflow to the bilge in lessor conditions than this passage. If the locker is full of water though, there is going to be overflow. That hatch needs some gasketing as it is leaking water like crazy. If Ireland has anything like a Home Depot store, you’ll probably find a nice selection of “weather strip gaskets (EPDM material is best) in various dimensions and profiles. For about 15-20 bucks in the US, you would have probably have enough weather strip for all the deck hatches at the cockpit. A general hardware store is a common place to locate weather strip products.
In addition, It is reasonable to assume that when carrying full fuel bladders, there is some deflection in the deck and hatch covers. I have no idea if this is significant to widen up the normal gap for water passage but it sure can’t help Gasketing well would if not eliminate then certainly slow water pass through when under the fuel bladder load
Rob, I generally agree with you that keeping water out of the locker is preferable to preventing water flowing below and my thinking is heading down that same path. when you say the locker door is “leaking like crazy” I suspect you may have missed my earlier description of the locker design. There is a 1″ diameter opening to the cockpit in the bottom of the locker to allow water to drain out. Of course, it’ll also allow a very large amount of water to flow in as well. Additionally, there are three full width vents across the front of the locker. The locker door weatherstrip looks pretty good but, between the louvers and the locker drain, massive amounts of water can easily enter. Certainly those two sources are the vast majority of the problem.
It’s a reasonable guess that the deck hatch covers could leak due to flexing with the fuel bladders on top but we don’t have a leak at that location and their is no evidence of the deck flexing. The door you are referring to does have a good quality weatherstrip. It did leak back when the boat was new but I put a new weatherstrip on in 2012 when in Hawaii. I’ll probably replace it again this year or next since this weatherstrip is often under more than a 6″ of water. But, at this point, no problems in that area.
Most of the problem isn’t leaking weather stripping but engineered openings (louvers and drains). Until these are closed, the rest really won’t matter. I do think the right answer is probably to close these two large water entrance points off.
Sounds like a little too much excitement! Glad you’re safe and solved the problem, I look forward to learning from it. Hope conditions smooth out soon and you have an uneventful remainder of your trip.
Thanks Sam. The conditions last night were even rougher but, with boat systems operating correctly, the 20’+ waves don’t really seem that threatening. We both slept well.
If we can pick up speed as the conditions improve, there is a good chance we can ride the blocking high all the way into Ireland. If can’t make enough speed we will get found by another low before the Irish coast. But, at this point, I think we will have the fuel to maintain the speed we need to stay in that slow moving high.
Glad all is well and look forward to the read. Just reading the brief trailer you posted has me buying a ticket.
I am sure at the time it was very nerve wracking but all of us will learn something from it. Glad you won the battle and all 4(boat too) of you are safe.
Thanks Tim. I’ll finish writing it up today and get it posted. Last night was, by far, the roughest conditions we have seen. More rough than when we were battling the water leak. Even though the wave are larger than we have ever seen on any trip, the boat is operating well and not leaking really rough water becomes annoying rather than being dangerous.
I know this isn’t your first “Rodeo” and you’re watching fuel burn constantly whereas I, only a couple times a day but you two sure are making me nervous.
It’s probably for the best I’ll never be anything but a “dreamer” because I’d either be trying to arrange someone to meet me, or seriously considering turning back.
I guess I’m not as much of an “explorer” as I’d like to think. I have to admit you’ve got me on the edge of my seat when I check in to see how you two are doing.
Amen to Steve! When I find you (I think) on AIS at MarineTraffic it appears that you have plenty of heavy shipping company too.
Sorry to fall off line for a couple of days. We have been battling the combined effects of bad weather and a mechanical problem Need to get through 1 more day of difficult weather starting tomorrow morning. Once we are through that and enjoying the blocking high on our way into Ireland, I’ll post more detail on conditions and what went wrong.
We’ll catch up and post more once we get back into better weather and get a bit more caught up on sleep.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you James & Jennifer. Godspeed……………Rob
Thanks very much Rob. We’re 100% back to normal and I had a great sleep last night. Forecast conditions over the next 24 hours are heavier than what we saw two nights but what we saw two nights back was worse that what was expected and it’s looking like this might not be as bad. Either way, no issues expected and there is a very nice blocking high pressure area that should give us very good conditions until we are close to Ireland.
I’ll write up what happened and hopefully get it posted sometime over the next 24 hours.
James. Just read about your water in the bilge issue in the middle of a major storm. If I understand the blogs well, you are now safe. My thoughts are with you. Hope you find the root cause of what happened, and that you soon reach the high pressure zone you are aiming towards. BE SAFE.
Thanks Marc. We are back to 100% operational. Current condition make walking around in the boat difficult with max roll out above 25 degrees and max pitch at 12 degrees. Winds running 25 to 35 with gusts to 40 kts. The weather models say expect around 12′ but many of these waves look to more than 20′ towering over our pilot house. all good on Dirona. I’ll write what happened in the storm a couple nights back.
We are thinking of you and looking forward to learning more about what happened. Please don’t trouble to reply, we are following the blog avidly.
Thanks Micheal. Last night was the roughest water we have ever been in. The weather was directly on the beam and we saw rolls from the largest waves up over 25 degrees. Some waves were up above 20′. The funny thing is we both have been sleeping well. As long as all systems are working correctly and they are again, the boat is pretty comfortable in rough seas. We’re looking forward to smoother water but, at this point the rough water is more of a nuisance that slows us down and makes moving around in the boat require more care.
Marine Traffic sometimes show a boat at the last location where it was picked up by one of their ground stations but our exactly location is always up at http://mvdirona.com/maps. We definitely have seen other ships but only a couple each day and, for big portions of the trip, there was nothing around at all.
Actually, (as a non-member) MarineTraffic shows you as a “pleasure craft” that has “position received via satellite. “
Cool. I thought MarineTraffic had hidden all that behind a paywall and I pretty much gave up on it. I’ll go back and give it a try again. I loved it in the early days.
We had one day where we were on the edge of our seat as well. In fact it felt a bit like a rodeo in here :-).
Had we not had a mechanical problem, the weather would likely be less of an issue. This first low is only slightly deeper than originally forecast — what attracted us to take this weather window is there is a blocking high developing over the North East Atlantic that should hold of the worse of the bad weather systems and the rough water at the start of the trip was forecast to be rough but nowhere even close to a safety issue. Sometime later today or early tomorrow, we’ll write up the adventure on our end.
On your fueling question, we left with more than 2,700 gallons which is a lot more than needed for this trip. There have been times when we burning hard to get in front of a passing low but we still expect to land in Ireland with 300 gallons of reserve fuel. Even with some high burn periods so far, we still only need to get 1.18 nm/gal which is easy. When we are tighter on fuel we often run at 1.5 and even far above. We’re good on fuel.
What kind of heavy weather preparations will you be making in light of the heavy weather forecasted?
Ahoy James & Jennifer –
My beautiful bride was not happy that you skipped by Portsmouth New Hampshire before initiating your Atlantic crossing. After the deluxe tour you gave me last fall, she was very much looking forward meeting you both.
Any possibility of turning around and returning to Portsmouth so she could take a quick tour of your fine vessel?
It should only take an hour or so and then you can continue East again. I’ll even buy you dinner at the Wentworth!
Should you selfishly decide to continue towards Europe, I will be forced to visit Tiffany’s (again) for another pale blue box to calm her nerves.
Bob said “Any possibility of turning around and returning to Portsmouth so she could take a quick tour of your fine vessel?”
Don’t tempt me :-). This trip has already had more “adventure” than any other previously done and while working on a problem we did have the boat turned 180 degrees to reduce the severity of the wave conditions while I worked outside. However, the plan is still to go to Ireland. You and your wife should come visit us there!
Good question Mike. On any trip that is longer than the accuracy period of a good forecast, we prepare for the worst. The anchor is secured by a large steel pin, the storm plates are on to protect the big salon windows, the deadlines are on protecting the smaller ports. Everything is secured. The dishes cupboards are back with foam, the interior furniture is locked down. All deck furniture is held down with trailer straps. All interior cupboards are latched down securely. Having done that before leaving on this trip, there isn’t much additional work we can do to prepare.
Could you show video of the rolling sea’s and have you see any other traffic?
We’re on a satellite connection so uploading video is expensive. It looks like we have a few days of difficult weather in our near future. We’ll try to take some video of that and other parts of the trip to give a view of what the trip was like. But we’ll likely not post the video until we are back to less expensive connectivity.
Lows, hose and tidal flows. The water finally looks nice but 50° days with winds make it a bit chilly!
Yes, it’s been really nice. Today we took the forward bladder down. 367 gallons down below and the bladder is all folded up and tucked away.
That massive system that we have been watching for days is now predicted to be slightly bigger with 30+ kts of wind and 20′ waves. We’re looking for options to miss the worst of it but it’s a big system so avoiding it entirely is possible. Heading way south doesn’t appear to help. Heading north actually would help but we don’t want to head up into the ice zone. The two options we are thinking through is go super slow for multiple days and avoid the center of the storm but it’ll be an unpleasant 3 or 4 days in big beam seas. The other option is to proceed on the current course and speed and then turn into the weather and spend a day super slow with the bow to the weather waiting for it to pass.
I am glad I do not have to make that decision! All thing being equal though, I would take a bad day with total control of the roll of the boat versus three days of nausea and the possibility of a freak wave. I am watching with great interest and anxiety.
Although I know the answer will be “Wherever he damn well wants!”, the question is where does Spitfire sleep when the going gets tough? Is it snuggled into the off watch on the floor of the MSR, or is it up in the wheelhouse as part of the Duty Watch? Keep safe, Colin N47 Albatross.
Spitfire doesn’t appear bothered by the rough water. He alternates between sleeping below when one of us is sleeping, sleeping on the pilot house settee or off watch birth, or sleeping in the salon at a location where he immediately see any feeding bowl location. Rarely, it gets rough enough that he’ll curl up in the master stateroom head sink. He can wedge in there tight and be completely stable. There a picture of him sleeping in the sink: http://mvdirona.com/cache/TravelDigests/Trips/atlanticocean2016/atlanticocean3_TravelDigest.html
You’re probably right Timothy although there is a point where the conditions are worth avoiding at even high cost. In our boat, I would do a lot to avoid 30′ waves and, if the forecast says 20′, there will be some at 30′. We try very hard to avoid dangerous weather but don’t worry as much about avoiding comfort weather.
Glad to hear you are safe and had everything you needed to handle the situation! Starboard laz at 2-3 gpm ingress? Deck drains, AC pumps and a few other thru-hull fittings are all in that area. There are also two below the waterline intakes just forward of that area. 10 hours is a long time to deal with water.
You’re right — 10 hours is a ridiculously long time. The boat is rolling 20 to 22 degrees, pitching 12 to 15, and some of the investigation was done outside at the transom standing in 8 to 12″ of water with waves rolling over the transom every 5 min or so putting a foot or so of water into the cockpit. Part way into this emergency I realized I was not thinking as clearly as needed to. I realized that I was sea sick. Not vomiting but not operating at normal mental acuity levels. After applying a Scopolamine patch, that good better. But in seas that rough, moving stores around to get access to the leak takes time and, if anything is not tied down, it quickly becomes a heavy projectile inside the boat.
I’m just glad we have two bilge alarms or we wouldn’t have noticed until it was too late. I’ve read of many fish boat losses where the helmsman starts to notice something not quite right. The boat feels lethargic and slow, they investigate quickly, but it’s too late and the boat capsizes within seconds. Getting to the problem early is absolute vital.
Course change to avoid fishing grounds?
Yesterday we were in water well over 75F and often pushing us along at a combined speed of over 8kts. Around 2:30am last night we started to lose it and the water temp fell from 75 to 61F. My guess based upon all the data we have is the we probably were north of the Gulf Stream. Since it’s such a massive boost to speed, we went to the south trying to find the warm, fast running water.
The water temp has crept up to 64F but is nowhere to the 75F we were seeing. Almost all references I have seen have the current running way south but we were in it yesterday. This note on the Grand Bank has the Gulf Stream even further north. I’m not if the Gulf Stream is north of us or South but the course diversion south was my best guess at where it might be.
Well I hope you find it soon, if I’m calculating it right you’ve got a 417.5 NM safety net at current rate of fuel consumption. I know that’s more than I seem to think but, I guess I subscribe to the old saying that “You only have to much fuel if you are on fire”.
I hope you two (three counting Spitfire) are enjoying the trip.
Yes, you are right on the fuel situation. We adjust our speed such that we arrive with the planned fuel reserve. For this trip, the reserve is set to 300 gallons which is only 360 nm at the current burn rate or up to 480 if we are conserving more.
We normally set speed purely on fuel economy but there are enough low pressure systems in the area that we are going along quickly until around Friday to get past the path of a low coming up the coast. The next weather system is a strong one coming down from Greenland with expected sustained winds in the 35 to 40 kt range with 18′ seas on only 8 seconds. Fairly ugly. I’ve not fully investigated the model but it looks like a good strategy might be to slow way down Friday morning and run dead slow over the weekend. We’ll still take some big conditions Saturday and Sunday but, by slowing down, we give the storm to start to subside somewhat before we get into the worst of it. If we do that, it’ll lengthen the trip a day or two but avoiding the worst of those conditions would seem to be prudent.
Grateful for your postings – follow your course daily.
Especially admire your Maretron screen-shots giving all the details.
Does the Maretron fuel meter include the content of the bladders – and am I right in assuming that you are drawing from the bladders from the initial start of the journey??
Keep knocking …. Best wishes.
Yes, the Maretron fuel reading is the full fuel load including the forward and aft fuel bladders.
It turns out that bladders are stable in two conditions. First when completely full and the second when fully emptied. In the middle, or even just slightly less than 100% full, the fuel sloshes around really hard. It’s more weight moving than I like and it’s hard on the bladders. When filled to the absolute top, they are almost a solid and nothing moves at all. Knowing that, we run off the below deck fuel until we are down around 450 gallons at which time, we pump the forward bladder down completely. We’ll do that tomorrow. Then we’ll run until we are around 700 gallons from the top on the main tanks. Then we’ll pump each aft tank down again in a single operation.
Tomorrow we will have the forward fuel bladder empty and it’s contents below decks. Five or six days later, we’ll pump the aft tanks below decks. We like to get the fuel load below decks as soon as possible.
Glad to see you are on the move with a May 25th arrival. It looks like some crappy beam seas early on before it levels out. Safe travels to the three of you!
Yup, crappy beam seas. Just like you said Timothy. It’s like you were here :-).
But it’s already somewhat better than it was when we left so no real complaints at this point. Only 2,730 nm left to go.
Thank you as always for your responses. Whenever you are on the move I check your path against Passage Weather, NOAA and NDBC. I am excited to follow you on your 18 day journey and to see all that the new sights have to offer!
Conditions are great right now from a weather perspective. We’re currently working against a very strong negative off shore tide but it’ll change soon. No surprise the tides are strong since we are just south of the Bay of Fundy where the largest tides in the world can be found with ranges as high as 53′.
Later in the trip we expect it to be rougher than it is now. First in the area due south of Greenland we expect 12′ waves on the forward port quarter and then later in the trip getting close to the extremes of the weather forecast, 15+’ is expected but on the stern. I hate wind on the bow so that first set will likely be the least pleasant of the two.
150 South of Nova Scotia with a starboard swell and a slow pace? You keeping your sanity?
In nice conditions, we can run like this forever without getting bored or frustrated. I always have things to do at work and projects on the boat or something I want to lear so it’s never boring. What really sucks at sea is rough conditions. You get tired, doing anything is a struggle, and it just sucks your strength, reduces fuel economy, and slows the boat.
The weather models continue to suggest that we’ll spend a week or two on this trip, getting bounced around.
Are you going to drain the bridge bladder today? Is the fuel consumption about where you thought you would be? PW shows 20 knot headwinds and a current against you? Jennifer and Spitfire doing well?
You might be better off with a course well south of the tail of the Grand Banks, stay away from the Labrador Current, much nicer to keep in the NA drift. Following you from Newfoundland.
Yes, good point. Yesterday we ran most of the day and part of the night in 70+F water so it certainly was the Gulf Stream but surprisingly far north. We were running over 8 kts for lots of the time. Further complicating things is the tidal currents heading into and out of the Bay Fundy are absolutely massive even 100s of miles out in the open ocean.
I appear to have lost the Gulf Stream with the water temperature having fallen down to 61F. We’re trending south looking over the last few hours but the water temp continues to fall. It may be we are searching south when it is actually north of us but that just seems too far north for the Gulf Stream. We’ll keep trending south to see if we can find it. It’s good for 1.5 kts or better if we can refind it
We were surveying on the tail of the Grand Bank in mid-April, temperature was between 2-3 Degrees C and extended about 50 nm southeast of the 500 m isobaths.
This shows the Gulf Stream heading over the Grand Banks and then over the Flemish Cap: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Banks_of_Newfoundland. We have to run south of the current ice line which will have us at least 20nm south of the southern tip of the shallows.
The reference above suggests the Gulf Stream will be north of us at that point but your comment implies we might be better even further south. If you know the approx lat and long where you believe the gulf stream is running on the basis of your recent survey could be helpful. Thanks for passing along the data.
That Wikipedia reference is not accurate the Labrador Current always flows around the tail of the Grand Bank heading to the west onto the Scotian Shelf and a branch flows to the east of Flemish Cap then clockwise around the Cap. The Labrador Current basically determines the southern extent of the iceberg limit. The Gulf Stream is always south of the 500 m depth contour off the southeast Grand Bank. I have seen it as close as 20 nm (last November 2016, temperature 23 deg. C). On April 13 2017 we surveyed south to lat 41 deg. 20 min long -48 deg. 40 min with a water depth of 3400 m and the surface to 1200 m depth temperature was still 0nly 3-4 deg. C. This suggested to me that the Gulf stream was still a bit further south. That said it can meander further north quite quickly and your planned track 20 nm south might pick it up.
If you click on the SST image in this link it will give you a better idea how the Gulf Stream loops north and south. As you mention you might be in one of these loops now. http://www.bio.gc.ca/science/newtech-technouvelles/sensing-teledetection/composites-en.php?comp=data&year=2017&month=3&day=1&data=data&group1-0=sst
Eugene, thanks very much for the advice on currents in the area. We really appreciate you taking the time to get us that data. Thanks very much.
Your only 289 miles out? Heavy head seas James?
Yes, weather on the bow for the early part of the trip. We are not terribly efficient into heavy winds and climbing large swell on the nose. Much of yesterday we were running in the Gulf Stream with speeds in the 7.5 to 8 kt range and water temperatures up over 70F. We appear to have lost the current and we’re now back down to 6.4 kts in moderate seas.
At what readings are the roll and pitch numbers you report indicative
of calm, moderate and rough seas?
That’s a good question Rod. We are currently seeing the trailing 60 min max roll and pitch at 10.7 degrees and 10.0 degrees respectively. I don’t have hard and fast numbers and it really depends upon the speed of both (especially pitch). Looking first at roll, much less than 6 or 7 degrees is very comfortable, More than 10 or 12 we chose to sleep on the floor, and more than 20 is getting really rough. Looking at pitch, the numbers are lower. Less than 5 degrees is comfortable. Much more than 8 or 9, we choose to sleep on the floor, and more than around 12 or 13 can be obnoxious. Pitch is super sensitive to frequency and even 10 degrees can be annoying in short seas.
Sleeping on the floor sounds like it’s really rough but it turns out it just works well and we sleep better. In these conditions we could sleep quite easily on the bed but it turns out we sleep better wedged between the bulkhead and the bed. We find we sleep better when we move less so elect to take the floor around 10 degrees of roll.
Current conditions are a good example of the sensitivity to wave frequency. We are seeing 10 degrees of pitch and 10.8 degrees of roll but its actually not that rough with the reasonably long frequency. I suspect I would still chose to sleep on the floor if I was heading to bed now.
Early this morning it was surprisingly rough and, in those conditions, you have to be careful moving around the boat. It easy to slip or make a mistake and miss a hand hold. Both roll and pitch were more then but the wave frequency was shorter as well.
Thanks for the info, As you say wave frquency is a great determinator of calm or rough conditions. Would it be possible to monitor/report on the wave period with your system?
I’ll give it some thought Rod but I can’t think of a reliable data source for wave heights. I might be able to get it from the reading the rising and falling altitudes on the satellite compass but that requires us reading it far more frequently and I wonder if it would be accurate enough to be useful. Other than that, I can’t think of a source for wave period that we could use.
Great to see you and Jennifer (and Spitfire, of course!) back “on the road” again! Here’s hoping for calm seas and no mechanical surprises.
What’s the source of your pitch and roll data, James? Something built into the boat, or something you added? (I’m thinking an Arduino and a couple properly placed sensors might be all you need, but maybe it’s more complex than that.)
The pitch and roll data is from the Furuno SC30 sat compass. It delivers very precise location, heading, pitch, roll, yaw, and altitude. Of course we have (many) backup GPS and electronic compass as well in case of SC30 failure. Your solution would be about 100x less expensive 🙂
“Nothing smooths rough seas like a creme-filled donut.” Quote of the year!
Hope you have a good run across the pond. Looking forward to the next chapter – thanks for sharing this incredible journey!
Thanks Jamie! We knew we were heading out into fairly lumpy conditions this morning and there is a minor low that will brush against our track a few days out. BUt we like the high predicted to build over the North East atlantic over the next week. All indications point to bumpy but safe first part of the trip and we’re hoping the high helps stabilize the latter part of the trip.
Jennifer and James
Smooth (or relatively) seas for your Atlantic crossing.
With all of your systems go you will have an enjoyable trip.
As with all of your followers (groupies?) I await your updates with great anticipation
On this one Rod, we don’t expect an enjoyable trip. At least part of it will be in the 10′ to 15’range. We always aim for enjoyable and often find it but it’s hard to reliably get in the North Atlantic. Waiting for June might help but it can be tough to get across the Atlantic without some low pressure systems finding you. We like the current conditions because there are no dangerous lows and a large high pressure system is just starting to build in the North East Atlantic that should hold off future lows. The high pressure system is producing 10+ waves on our path and bigger further north but the models suggest our crossing will be lumpy but quite safe.
Thanks for the mini-lesson on the weather. As an inland boater, long term weather isn’t a big deal since there is always a port near by. I’ve watched your other long jumps and you seem to do most of the weather forecasts well.
Topic switch: The new stack outlet is now in a box outside the stack. That looks like something I’d shin smack on a regular basis. Is it tucked out of the way or is there a bigger first aid kit?
Topic switch: Your issues around the lift TV has convinced me to do an easier mount. I was pretty much convinced with the prior mess on the lift, but the controller issue sealed the deal. Thanks for saving me serious boat dollars.
Thanks Foster. This particular crossing we expect to be a bit rougher than usual but we generally like the weather we are heading out into. It’s predicted to be a bit rough not scary or dangerous.
You were asking about the stack plug and if it was in the route of nearby shins. Fortunately not, The closest route that runs ear the plug is the one from the fly bridge stairs to around the stack. The plug is far enough back that there is no interference with that diagonal route. I don’t expect it’ll be a problem. We also have the storm plates and some bulk marine board stacked just behind the plug so it’s not the furthest protruding element in that area.
The TV lift was surprisingly challenging. We solved the problem and didn’t need any parts but it took the best part of a day to get resolved. We like the lift but needing to spend a day to get it working again was annoying.
Looks like you will be leaving soon so good luck and enjoy the trip.
Will be following along as usual and hope you have time to grab some video with just the normal ambient sounds you all put up with. You may think that it would be boring but can say there are more then you think who would also love actual sound videos while underway. 🙂
It’s harder than you think to do video with good audio tracks in the wind. The reason why movie producers use boom mikes with exotic vibration insulated mics and cover the mics with “dead cats” (wind noise damper) is because cheap, poorly placed microphones without wind and vibration damping really produce a poor result. The ambient noise ends up loader and this noise ends up dominating the actual sounds. All you get is engine noise, wind noise, and clunks and thunks. The noise is way loader than it should be and it really doesn’t sound much like what we see being there.
However, you are not the first to make that request and so we’ll make sure we get some storm footage up with full ambient noises. There is a blocking high over the North Atlantic which generally is good news. The constant string of lows pounding through will be slowed. The 500mb charts so us operating in a nice, safe area. We don’t expect any unsafe weather but the high is actually strong enough to produce some large wave conditions so it’s a good news and bad news things. Rougher water than comfortable but no dangerous lows are expected. The good news is we’ll likely get some video that is at least interesting and we will try keeping the sound on even though it will suffer from the flaws I outlined above.
Thanks James and am aware of the bad sounds you can get but your Indian Ocean video turned out okay and one of my favorites for that ambient sounds. I am getting excited for you 3 and can’t wait to see that boat underway.
Ironically, we only get video on the better weather days. On the truly nasty ones, we’re tired, the boat is getting hammered, and we just don’t feel like shooting video. Really rough weather can be taxing. On this crossing we have a few permanently mounted cameras up off the water so we are much more likely to get interesting video.
The coastal low coming through Newport Rhode Island is fading but at one point last night we had gusts to 38kts. Right now it’s dropping prodigious amounts of rain but the winds are down below 15 and falling. It would be nice if the rain backed off a bit for the fueling today.
I know you always prepare for the worse but really hoping the weather just moves out of the way for you so you end up with way less then even expected.
I am sure I can speak for others when I say we will be watching, enjoying and for some strange reason even a little bit of concerned caution. Just another aspect of real time blogs.
I will also be watching those temps as I am still curious about the painting of the keel cooler and the performance you get from it. I know the waters will be colder but still should show some signs of something on a trip this long.
Hey Tim. We’ll post the full navigation instrumentation display occaisionaly so you can key an eye on the water and engine coolant temps and figure out how our painted keel cooler is doing. With nearly a year on the new setup, I’m getting more and more confident that painting is a win overall.
I expect we’ll leave late tonight or early tomorrow morning. At this point, the low pressure system heading northing isn’t moving that fast so tomorrow morning is the most likely exit time.
It seems like the lower route, while 12 hours longer, is the smoother route so far? How long before you commit?
South is definitely smoother. We won’t leave until Saturday night to Sunday morning so we won’t have to make a call for a another day and a 1/4. Even later than that it’s possible to starting heading more east than north so it’s possible to shift between the two routes depending upon conditions.
With all your communications sytems would it be prohibitively expensive to watch a 3 hour sports event (foor example) when in the mid Alantic?
PS Back from NZ and Australia trip so can more easily comment etc. Followed the website daily though
We have frequently watched NFL games over cell links but never on satellite. Our experience is a game will run roughly 1.5G and sometimes a bit more as long as you don’t crank the resolution too high. That’s under $14 these so easy to afford. On the satellite system, it would be roughly $300. So not completely crazy but quite a bit of money. It would be kind of cool to do a super bowl partly in the middle of the Atlantic and we probably would be willing to pay that for the Super Bowl or some other big game. We’ve not yet tried it but it’s a fun idea.
By the way, just to get a perspective how bad it can get, if we were using BGAN rather than Mini-VSAT, the full game bill would be just under $11,000. They don’t make games THAT big :-).
Hmmm. Super Bowl party in mid-Atlantic … in February….
Yeah, good point John. February in the mid-Atlantic probably wouldn’t be a party.
And, speaking of the Mid-Atlantic, it is looking like we might get underway for Kinsale Ireland this Sunday. We have really been enjoying Newport RI but are looking forward to starting to explore Ireland.
Thought of you last night when i watched this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08jprh0
We are planning a West coast cruise next year.
Wow, incredible photography and videography. Hopefully we’ll be underway this weekend and get a chance to see Ireland in person three weeks from now. Thanks for sending along that link Declan.
“Fair winds & following seas” seems somewhat inappropriate for a power yacht. Perhaps something like “best of Sargasso conditions” or simply “calm seas!”
Thanks John. Fair winds and following seas” actually still works fairly well for a power boat. You would think we would be immune but wind on the nose can take off a couple of knots and make for an unpleasant ride. Our run form Hawaii to Marquessas was one of those memorable runs where its not even close to unsafe but it wasn’t that much fun either. Following seas if not extreme can add speed. Our preference is calm conditions but following sea are a close second.
This morning we put in the furnace exhaust plug (prevents sea water getting into the boiler), installed the storm plates to protect the larger salon windows, and moved the SCUBA tanks to their below decks location making room for the fuel bladders.
That’s a fantastic weather prediction tool you have. Finding out now about 26′ seas – off the beam no less – is much better than figuring it out a week out! Have you compared the forecasts from a week ago to the actual conditions that have developed? I’d be curios to see how accurate they can forecast that far out.
Yes, we have been watching the North Atlantic weather closely for the last few months now interested in both the overall trends as things improve heading into summer and also the accuracy of the predictions when compared against actual. We’ve seen many exactly right and a few that were off by quite a bit — things tend to change quickly in the Atlantic. In the case we are showing, the prediction showed a smaller system but the wave heights and magnitude we would have seen had we been underway were almost exactly what the forecast predicted. Overall model accuracy appears to be quite good. The problem is that no model looks out reliably three weeks and it’s almost impossible to be out in the Atlantic for that long and not see a couple of lows. So, the goal ends up being one where we try to engineer things to minimize the severity of the weather encountered rather than really being able to avoid it entirely.
Long time reader,1st time commenting. With all the cruising you and other Nordhavn owners do how closely do you get followed by the various manufacter? Are they making production changes/enhancements based on your real world experience. Thanks for shareing your travels!
I’m sure some manufactures will see our web site once in a while and some of our designs do catch wider interest. For example, the power system changes we made (http://mvdirona.com/2014/08/a-more-flexible-power-system-for-dirona/) have caught the interest of many Nordhavn buyers. Mike Telleria at Nordhavn has produced a very nice design that employs many of the same techniques in an elegant approach. This is now available for new Nordhavn buyers and many other boats have employed some of the same or closely related ideas on boats already in use. Manufacturers likely see our web site occasionally. Perhaps he most amazing example of service I’ve seen was us posting a problem we were having and soon after getting an email from the Service Manager at Cascade Engine (Deere) with advice.
We get great legendary support from American Bow Thurster (TRAC), Nordhavn, Cascade Engine Center, Furuno USA, Lugger, Northern Lights, and KVH Industries (satellite). Emerald Harbor Marine commissioned the boat and electronics systems and they still are still super helpful in answering question and finding parts even though it’s been more than 7 years now. We frequently send ideas or suggestions to Maretron, KVH, Northern Lights, and Nordhavn. For most components on the boat, we have had neither ideas nor problems but we still are super impressed with how fast they answer questions. Village Marine (Watermakers), Steelhead (crane) and Maxwell Winches are good examples. Nordhavn (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hC490NTIJM) and John Deere (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qh5ZS85mgIM&t=4s) have done videos about some of our systems or the trip.
From your interest in the AC and foiling, you might to check out the preparations for this year’s competition. A local resident of Bermuda is posting some great shots on YouTube under the name MyislandhomeBDA. All six teams are now there practising hard.
29 days to the start of competition in the 35th America’s Cup! Really looking forward to the racing. These are the closest thing to Formula 1 race cars on the water. Thanks for sending the link David.
Laundry on land, paper plates and four minute showers at half flow? 15 gallons a day over the last two weeks is pretty miserly. It explains why the drain does not clog up as much 🙂
It’s about 1/2 of our normal water consumption but, if we stop running the dishwasher and don’t do laundry, it really doesn’t feel that restrictive.
I see the picture of you in the cockpit and Dirona sitting a little higher than normal? That was before making the water right? Do they offer dive and anode services at the marina this early?
Yes, good eye Timothy. The boat does raise noticably in the water as it drops fuel load. When the picture was taken we were down 1,100 gallons of fuel which is about 6,600 lbs and down 200 gallons of water which is about 1,600 lbs. In total, we are running 8,200 lbs light or a bit more than 4 tons. Roughly equivalent to 3 average passenger cars.
We won’t need a zinc change at this point but we do need a bottom clean so will get a diver under the boat before we leave.
I make Eaton/Aeroquip EZ-Clip/cage hoses for the AC units of my old cars. I love being able to make the exact hose size I want and with the right fitting. It is a little more expensive but being able to make a clean hose is worth it. Nice work on the stainless hose. How did you do the actual hose cut?
The route selection (reduction of options) takes you close to the Azores. Not gonna stop for sure?
I recently read about the affect of reduced water depth on freak/rogue wave height. The old 100 fathom rule was mentioned. It was interesting reading but made me want to stay away from any shallow water in open sea!
The Advantage of the Aeroquip hose is it looks great and it’s super strong. I remember one race we were in when the oil filter cartridge fell off and was hanging on Aeroquip hose while bouncing off the track. The hose took the abuse for the remainder of the race. The reason why I have a supply of it on the boat is our craine has many high pressure plastic hoses running from the Laz up to the boat deck and then out to the appropriate hydraulic cylinder inside the crane. Eventually one of these hoses will chafe through so I have aeroquip and fittings to replace a hose when that happens.
You are right the route selection does take us close to the Azores. In fact for the first week or so, there is no difference between the routing to Azores and Ireland since ther factors force us south off the great circle to the same location. Our intention is to chose a good weather window, get under way, and after being underway for a week, make the decision on Azores or Ireland on the basis of 1 more week of weather data.
Rogue waves, whether caused by sea mounts or other factors, are a concern. They are rare but likely fatal so it’s worth taking all reasonable precautions to avoid them.
Change of tack!
Spitfire in the UK may be a problem, so best forewarned. (Eire of course not in UK.)
The UK has rules about animals entering using only approved routes and carriers, some by air and some by commercial ferries. As far as I know, and I hope I am wrong, you will not be allowed to bring Spitfire in unless you comply. I know you have all the shots and paperwork, but maybe some research is required if not already done? The penalty is six months in quarantine which would be heartbreaking.
As I say, I hope I am wrong!
Missed you in Capetowm, so hopefully cross in Ireland or UK. I am in Lisbon at the moment but heading north for Dublin in August.
Colin N47 Albatross
Thanks for the warning regarding Spitfire. There actually is an approved way to bring a pet into Great Britain by private boat: enter from the Republic of Ireland. Pets from ROI do not have to enter GB on an approved route or on an authorized carrier; and there are no systematic compliance checks on ports of entry. And ROI allows pets to enter on private boats following the standard EU compliance process. Otherwise, you are correct. From any other country, a pet can only be brought into GB on an approved route and carrier.
Sorry we missed you in Cape Town and hope to see you somewhere in GB/ROI. We’ll be in Glasgow from July until mid-August, then plan to cruise the west and north Scottish coasts. We might end up in Dublin in November, but haven’t got firm plans yet.
Hi Jennifer, that’s a relief! To be honest, I hadn’t thought of EU, ROI, UK as that would be very useful for us as well. Sometimes, one cannot see the wood for the trees…….
Safe crossing when it comes; have you read the account of an Atlantic crossing on Dauntless, aKK42? Actually, his recent return to the Caribbean is equally informative and shows what can be achieved in an older boat with less experience than yourselves.
So happy you’ll soon be heading this way! Does your N. Scotland Cruise plans include the Caledonian canal (Loch Ness etc.) ?
If yes, that would be an ideal spot for a parallel ride : You on the water, me on my e-bike and meeting at locks, docks and the like.
Depending on approximate arrival date I may still be able to make it to Kinsale for your arrival, but Ferry connections between France and Cork are **not** plentiful (just once a week)
Hey Jacques! Yes, we do plan to head through the Caledonian Canal and through Loch Ness. We’re really looking forward to it. All that stands between us and the adventure in Ireland and Scotland is the infamous North Atlantic. Apparently our “ferries” aren’t running that frequently either :-).
Great. Indeed, the weather should cooperate first. Doesn’t look quite that rosy at this point though. We’re having average February conditions here in SW France, both on the coast and inland!
Yeah, it’s still tough out there. Haven’t seen a reasonable opportunity to cross yet this year. Hopefully soon.
Yes , same observations here. Mostly beam seas and “opportunities” to broach…Not a good picture right now.
Holding off until I see you guys reaching past the Azores ( or eventually stopping there! 😉 ) .
We’re still aiming for Ireland before end of the year Jacques 🙂
We crossed in June 2015 from Halifax NS to Crosshaven Ireland sailboat 19days. The ice was so bad that we had to drop down around the Tail of the Bank. FYI The Royal Cork Yacht Club(worlds oldest) was a great place to enter Ireland. The staff was very helpful. The west coast of Ireland is fantastic don’t miss Skellig Michael (last scene of latest Star Wars Movie) and the Arron Islands along with Inish Bonfin. Watch out for the occasional gale we sat for three days with 52knts highest gusts.
We are presently in Scotland for another season then on to Norway. Not live a board’s so we come home every year. Maybe we cross paths sometime.
Thanks for the tips. Your current trip closely parallel our plans. We are aiming to explore Ireland and Scotland and then proceed over to Norway just as you do.
This year the ice is already south of the southern end of the Grand Banks. Our plan is to do a longer trip and leave from Newport RI and head to cork. I suspect our trip will be roughly the same time period as yours. We would like to leave earlier than June to be able to enjoy some of the summer in Ireland and Scotland but the counter pressure is North Atlantic weather is much more settled in June. We’ll watch conditions and see how it plays out.
Hi James and Jennifer, If you will be cruising the NW of Scotland, the Clyde Cruising Club guides are excellent. I think that they are now published by Imray and come in several manageable volumes covering specific areas. Hope you have a good crossing of the pond, and look forward to reading about your adventures.
Rob Heath S/Y ‘Norman James’
Thanks for the cruising book tip Rob. As much as some cruisers say the journey is the destination, it’s hard for us to look forward to the North Atlantic. It’s the site of Ireland as we approach that we are yearning for.
I understand why you and Jenifer view this voyage with some trepidation, but have the two of you considered taking some crew with you . I know sailors are a self reliant bunch, but more eyeballs for the ice, big waves require hand steering, how rough weather tires our body because we use our muscles so much more holding on or moving about, and mal de mer which will also affect the crew, but hopefully not all.
Our strategy is to stay below the ice line as tracked by the International Ice Patrol. Rather than run risk and push through with all the precision required by that tactic, we’ll practice avoidance and run further to the south. That shouldn’t be a problem. We have seen rough water in the past and have never found conditions requiring hand steering. It’s impossible to completely eliminate all risks but we try to run with sufficient redundancy, parts, and training such that we will never have to hand steer. It is true that bad weather can be tiring but that’s not really a primary concern either. Our biggest concern is perhaps the least likely to be encountered, unexpected survival conditions. More people on the boat can help with tiring conditions or with situations requiring precision operation like running in ice. But, increasing crew size, is only modestly helpful in dealing with a survival storm. It is highly likely we will see two lows and highly unlikely we’ll see survival conditions but it’s the latter that concerns us.
Hey James – haven’t checked in for a while but, your burned outlet got my attention. In the house I built a few years ago, King County required AFCI breakers for all the bedrooms for just this sort of issue. I learned in the process that AFCI and GFCI breakers play nicely together and wonder if that’s another possible layer of safety.
Hey Shawn thanks for pointing this out. That looks like an excellent extra layer of safety — they are a bit expensive at $28 but it still seems totally worth it so I’ll replace them all on Dirona.
I just ordered 10 of them. Thanks for the comment.
I know you are getting excited about your trip across the “pond”.
As a reader living vicariously through your blog posts let me tell you that I, as well as everyone else who reads this I am sure, want to wish a safe and enjoyable voyage! I am very much looking forward to your trip to Europe and hope you have a splendid time. Thank you for sharing all of your adventures.
Thanks Drew. The challenge on this one will be timing. The best time to cross the North Atlantic is mid-summer but we would prefer to go earlier and spend some of the summer in Scotland and Ireland. We would like to be as early as possible but stay as safe as possible.
The GFI did not trip before it burnt? A Taymac cover and a whole bunch of 5200? Does that socket get used often?
It looks like the worst possible failure mode where some current flows between poles in the socket but not enough to trip the 15A breaker. 15A is a lot of power and can produce dangerous heating. It appears that it was leaking power between the poles for quite some time prior to the breaker opening. The lower 1/4 of the GFCI burned away and 2″ of the feed wires were burned. I removed the old burned up unit and removed the 5200 that sealed the square stack opening. Then removed foam core material, and used epoxy to seal up the stack core. I put a marine board plate over the hole and mounted to it an outdoor safe power box. It’s a 100% sealed up aluminum box with only two openings. One in front that is sealed by the outdoor certified socket cover and one in the back that is sealed by the power wire outdoor safe gland. I pulled a new wire replacing the damaged one. The power box is now externally mounted but it doesn’t look bad and it is weather safe.
I don’t know if the GFCI failed to open or did open but the socket still leaked current between the poles perhaps due to water intrusion. It’s a good thing that the breaker protected the circuit correctly. If that breaker had failed to open, then there is a 30A breaker “north” of the 15A but that would require twice the fault current to release.
Does Nordhavn do service bulletins 🙂 Having an outlet on the stack is convenient but that location is just asking for trouble. It looks like the pipe flange above it is causing the water to flow right into the original outlet and the stack is already a water “ramp” anyway. I like your solution as it moves the outlet from the stack water flow/pipe flange and will reduce the new cover exposure to just incidental splashes or rain contact. The Bell-Taymac plastic products are good quality and a nice price. I am not a fan of the metal stuff.
I think you just figured the whole thing out Timothy. The socket was well sealed against the elements from the outside and it was well insulated against water intrusion on the inside as well. I just went up to the boat deck and looked more closely at the exhaust cooling vent directly above the socket. The exhaust cooling vent is sealed on the outside but, on the inside, there is exposed foam core visible. The water is flowing down the inside of the stack when it’s really wet, entering the foam core of the stack at the exhaust cooling vent, and flowing down to the socket and literally filling it up. Since the socket was well sealed against water entering (or exiting), it just filled up.
When I replaced the socket I corrected the exposed foam core problem at the socket by cutting back the foam and filling the void with epoxy. Since it’s bad news to have water entering foam cores, I’ve now got another job ahead of me to remove the exhaust vent, cut back the foam, and epoxy fill the void to seal off the core. Then replace the fitting. Still, I’m glad we found the issue.
The socket was installed when the boat was being commissioned so that one isn’t a Nordhavn issue.
At least you can get to the problem area somewhat easily and it is not like chasing down an AC drain line inside the boat!
Yes, the exhaust cooling vent is easily accessable but I’m sure, like all projects, it’ll bring it’s own form of challenge. In this case, the challenge may be the generous application of 3M 5200 between the large flange and the stack.
Are there any other outdoor receptacles on the boat and if so, what did they look like? I like Timothy’s rationale and particularly like your moving the receptacle outside the stack and enclosing it in it’s own limited combustible box. Looking at the first picture you took when you discovered the failure, and not knowing much about marine receptacles, the cover didn’t look particularly sealed or sealable, almost resembled a domestic outdoor receptacle and receptacle box. Any receptacle can fail, and as you noticed, there was significant heating prior to the breaker tripping….thankfully there were no readily combustible materials in proximity! That said…how does the new box seal up when closed? the only reason i ask is i wonder about the ever present salty air and it sneaking it’s way in behind a worn weather strip?
Again, thanks for the detail and sharing the incident!
I’ve seen these electrical boxes partly buried in commercial gardens so they do appear to be quite water tight. There are only two openings at the front and the back. The back is a water tight electrical gland. The front is a large foam seal that also appears to perform well.
I suspect the old solution, although less robust than this one, actually was water tight as well. I think the box was sealed against water intrusion on both the outside of stack bulkhead and the outside of the stack bulkhead However, the hole through the stack bulkhead was not properly finished and exposed foam core was exposed. The same problem can be seen 6″ above where the stack exhaust cooling vent again has exposed core material.
It appears that water entering at the stack exhaust cooling vent is running into the electrical socket. Since the socket is well sealed, the water can’t run out and builds up inside the receptical leading to the fault. It’s a super interesting fault mode.
I’ve sealed the core properly at the socket using epoxy, will seal the core material at the exhaust cooling vent also with epoxy, I’ve closed off the hole where the socket was installed, and mounted a water proof electrical box with a single water proof gland at the electrical entry. There are no other electrical outlets outside of the boat.
I believe the new configuration will perform well.
Just to add some thoughts here….I know that anywhere near the coast and I mean right on the beach or water, there seems to be bad outlets(on outside of houses) due to salt intrusion no matter how little. So my thought is would it be better to delete outlets on the outside and just run a cord from somewhere close inside to supply power to whatever is going on.
For sure, it’s simple to just eliminate the socket but, just as a boat can be built to exclude water, so too can a power outlet. When I’m power washing outside, having the door held open by a power cord is annoying — I find the socket pretty useful. Timothy figure out the issue: the socket is well sealed so water can’t get in on the outside or inside of the stack but water was flowing down from above in the unsealed foam core and actually filling the socket up with water. The problem is two holes through the stack neither of which had the foam core sealed off correctly. Annoying but not that hard to fix.
I epoxied up the exposed core at the power outlet when I replaced the outlet. I’ll do the same at the exhaust cooling vent on the next nice day.
Doesn’t look like that will be a problem again.
FYI mostly because I just so happened to need it today for something similar, this is a product I use and keep on the truck for hard to deal with leaks. Comes in black also but doubt you’d have any interest in that.
I know it bonds to metal, wood styrofoam and plastics although I’ve never tried it on fiberglass.
I’m pretty confident the current approach will work well. Thanks for the pointer to the rubberized spray coating. Yet another possible solution to keep in mind when I face leak issues. Thanks for sending the link Steve.
James. I noticed your wing engine Rpm high set point is 1800 RPM
Like you we have a full Hydraulic package. I run the Wing at 2000 RPM while using Hydraulics. Am I over doing it?
No you are absolutely not over doing it. In fact, I run my wing at 2,600 RPM when I want full hydraulic thrust and 2,400 RPM otherwise. The standard 40hp wing engine can’t fully drive the hydraulic system at full output at less than 2,600 RPM. What’s happening is the thrusters if both in use at max output will draw 40hp and the wing cat full rated RPM can just barely produce 40 hp.The best possible solution would be to have a higher HP wing engine but that isn’t an option. It’s biggest one Nordhavn was comfortable installing.
What’s done is the hydraulic pressure (and therefore the thruster HP) is turned down such that the wing engine will not be stalled. At around 3,200 PSI, the wing is happy, won’t get stalled, and you only need to run it at 2,000 to 2,400 RPM.
It all works well as delivered but I wanted the thrusters to be able to put out their full 18hp rather than down around 14.5 HP. So I turned the system pressure up to 3,800 PSI which is the hydraulic system design pressure. At this pressure, the thrusters will produce 18hp which is fairly high. But it took me a while to get it to the point where the system would run stably at that output.
By transferring some hydraulic load to the main engine at idle the system can drive the thrusters easily at 3,800 PSI (18 hp) and the wing is not close to stalling. In this configuration, I get full hydraulic pressure output with the wing at 2,600 RPM and the main idling. At lower wing speeds, power falls off but even down