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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.
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.
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.
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+Kinsaleemail@example.com,-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 at 1,800 RPM, the wing won’t stall. It just produces less hydraulic pressure.
Where I ended up is a stable system that will produce full output with the wing at 2,600 and pretty high output with the wing at 2,400 and less and less output as the wing engine RPM is dropped. I mostly just run it at 2,600 on the logic that its rated to run at those power levels non-continuously and our needs never run even remotely close to an hour.
Your wing will be very happy for it’s entire life at 2,000 RPM. Mine works much harder but is still comfortably within the manufacturer usage specifications.
Have you investigated Kymeta for satellite connectivity? Still in trials, but looks like high speed global satellite coverage for much less cost than mini-VSAT.
Yes, I have seen Kymeta and it’s good to see another competitor entering the KU-band Mini-VSAT market. There are a couple of big trends currently happening in the satellite world that are really helpful to customers:
1) low cost commercial satellite launch systems are emerging fast and competition is increasing. It’s going to be MUCH cheaper to deploy a constellation of satellites. I expect we’ll see a large number of Low Earth Orbiting startups able to jump in to compete with Iridium and Globalstar. LEO systems have to do frequent satellite handoffs as satellites orbiting the earth every 90 min come into view and leave it. This is exactly the same thing that happens on a freeway when you are making a cell phone call. 20 years ago, call drops were common. These days cell handoff is far better and call quality is pretty good even during handoff events. I expect that LEO systems will get better quickly but right now, when using Iridium for business calls that might last 30 to 60 minutes, the experience isn’t great and drops are common.
The space launch systems required to lift bigger, heavier satellites up above LEO systems to run geo-synchronous is still more expensive but I expect these prices will fall there as well as more competition emerges and there is more lift capacity available.
Leo systems are getting less expensive quickly, quality is improving, and GEO-synchronous system costs are falling as well but much less quickly.
2) The second big innovation in satellite communications are companies like KVH are innovating and producing ever smaller and less expensive Mini-VSAT systems. Smaller antennas allow them to be used on smaller vehicles at much lower cost than the more than 1 meter antennas that used to be the norm. As less expensive on-premise equipment becomes available, more customer buy, volumes go up, and prices drop yet again.
KVH is also buying large packages of bandwidth world wide and making it available at more reasonable cost to end customer. The combination that KVH has brought to market of lower cost, smaller antennas, world-wide coverage, and more affordable bandwidth is causing a rapid growth in Mini-VSAT usage in Marine, RV, and aircraft markets.
Whenever a business finds a successful equation that customers like, and KVH has clearly found that equation in Mini-VSAT, they experience rapid growth and competitors always enter the market. Kaymeta is the first major competitor I have seen in this market segment that doing their own antennas and reselling KU-band bandwidth at favorable pricing.
Kaymeta appears to be using a phased array mobile station as a way to reduce antenna cost, steer it more quickly, and reduce profile. KVH has been using similar technology in one of their recreational vehicle antennas. I think both companies are onto a great idea that could offer another very large step function in antenna cost reduction.
The satellite world is a complex one where the massive cost of a satellite constellation and the relatively small initial market can yield financial short falls. Both Iridium and Globalstar have had to file for banckruptcy protection in the past. What KVH and Kaymeta are doing is innovative. They are buying large blocks of traffic from existing constellation owners and focusing their innovation on station cost and the rest of the service offering. Essentially they are satellite-less satellite service providers in the same way that most modern semi-conductor producers are FAB-less. It’s a good model. The downside is they are still having to pay significant markup to the satellite constellation owners but the good thing is they are not carrying the massive debt required by a satellite communications plant.
It’s still very early days for Kaymeta. At this point, they have only invited a limited number of customers into the service but early pricing appears quite good. They appear to be bringing some interesting innovations to the KU-band Mini-VSAT market and there is no question that competition is good for the pace of innovation and good for customers.
As KVH, Kaymeta, and others grow the KU-band market, I look forward to one of these player growing their customer base to the point where they can own their own satellite capacity. The combination of lower cost satellite lift systems and applying the same level innovation to the satellite side that has been dropping cost on mobile antennas has the potential to produce another step function in sate communications cost reduction.
0835 and 13.6 Knots heading 148 degrees?
We are now coming around to the north and slowing as we leave the powerful river current. It was great enjoying the “free” speed but the current against the swell was a bit rough. It nice and smooth now.
Ahh, see you are headed back to Morehead City.
That is close to the fastest speed that Dirona has made right?
Yes, this is the longest run we have done at anywhere close to these speeds. It’s mostly the Gulf Stream driving us north but we’re also running fairly hard at the same time. It’s a good test of all the systems that we can run 24×7 at 2200 RPM (~200hp) and no vibration and the ER is running under 30F deltaT even with high power draws at the same time. All good to see.
We can’t quite make it by Tuesday night so we’ll slow it down and cruise in slowly for a Wednesday morning arrival in Newport.
No vibration, all the time spent with the motor mounts and alignment of course! Hey, AIS shows you are pretty much all alone out there right now. Four footers on your starboard beam?
Hi Timothy. The wind as moved around to be right on our stern and the swell is pretty small. It’s dark here now but I would guess only a couple of feet. We are definitely all alone out here at this point.
We’re running to arrive at 9:00am in Newport on Wednesday.
Just chugging along with a gentle breeze and the seas on your starboard stern quarter?
Yup, nice and gentle out here right now. Winds are currently 15 kts and conditions are good. We’ve past a few fish boats out working and have seen a few of the large metal RADAR reflecting markers that the fisherman in this area use on large offshore pots. We are currently 94 miles out of Newport and we expect the frequency of trap sittings will go up as we get closer to shore. We’ll need to be careful. Other than that, all good on Dirona.
Are we there yet? Shaft cutters get any action or were you able to avoid all the pots?
We avoided the pots — there weren’t that many — but it was rough last night. 25 kts with gust beyond directly on the bow. We were pitching more than 20 degrees and, even with the stabilizers, still rolling more than 10 degrees. I’m looking forward to arriving. We expect to at the Marina just before lunch.
Are you wedged in between mega-yachts or do you have some breathing room?
I believe the norm at this marina is essentially as you said Timothy. Lots of mega-yachts. But this time of year, there are none. We actually are here prior to the Marina officially opening so we are the only boat in the entire marina. The marina crew is in the process of putting the docks back in the water and re-installing power and water on the docks. It was very nice of them to make a spot for us close enough to shore that we can plug in. There won’t be water available anywhere near the docks for a couple of weeks but it’s fun to be the only boat in the Marina.
We were the second last boat in this Marina last year and we’re the first one here to open the 2017 boating season.
Yes, Timothy, I think you are right that the normal state here during the season is “lots of megayachts” but we’re currently the only boat in the marina. Technically, the Marina isn’t yet open. The crew is in the process of reinstalling the docks and re-running power and water. The docks are in but no power and water. They put us in a location where our power cord can reach a shore side socket which is a good thing since it’s only 38F here. There will be no water for anywhere close to the dock for the next couple of weeks. There’s a new WiFi system going in so no WiFi either but it is fun to be the only boat in the Marina. We were one of the last boats here before the end of the season last year and we are the first boat here to open the season in 2017
One of the best stern shots of Dirona. She looks so good by herself there. Sucks about the wifi and hookups but a week early is still a nice offering from the marina.
Newport is a great place with many restaurants. It’s surprisingly cold here down in the mid 30s in the morning but we are enjoying the change.
From looking at the strainer, I’d be wondering what the inside of the heat exchangers looked like.
Since you two are heading to Europe if you make to Germany (although I understand it’s big in the UK) you might be interested in checking out this product.
I don’t claim to understand how it could possibly work but I’ve seen it on cooling towers for various applications and it seems to work just fine. At least for a couple of years, it’s fairly new to this area, or at least I never saw one until a couple years ago and there really aren’t any older applications around to judge that I’ve seen.
I have no idea of the cost as they came specified on those jobs I’ve seen them on and have never individually bought or seen a broken down equipment price where they were included.
Your question on the condition of the heat exchangers is a good one Steve. Most boaters I know have regular bottom cleanings that include cleaning the through hull openings, they clean the raw water strainers frequently, and annually run chemical through the system to clean it out. Even with these procedures, we often hear about plugged systems. On ours we clean the strainers when then get dirty and have never done anything else. We check for growth at the intakes when the boat is lifted but have never found any. We haven’t ever flushed the system with any flush products. I periodically check for outlet flow and it continues to look good but, other than that, I’m don’t have any other way to check system condition other than to pull a hose and have a look.
I bought a new basket last year and it would not fit in the strainer. I had to cut the top with aviation snips and fold the handle over on itself 🙂
I actually thought I could think of something however, everything I thought of was either to expensive, time consuming, or something wouldn’t do myself unless I suspected a problem.
If I was looking for something quick and easy to indicate a possible problem I’d probably take a Delta T across the indoor coil while in the heating mode but I’d have to know the capacity, airflow and temperature of the inlet water for it to be a indicator.
A Delta T across the evaporator in the cooling mode outside 18-22 (Dry Bulb) degrees F would probably make me dive deeper into the system.
Neither method will tell you if your system is performing at it’s maximum efficiency however, it’s fast, easy and can indicate it’s time to look harder, especially once you’ve seen a benchmark.
I’m a big fan of preventative maintenance when it saves time or reduces equipment failure rates but, on this topic, it’s hard to know how often the HVAC cooling system needs to be cleaned. I’m convinced that many owners end up doing far more HVAC cooling system service work than needed. The challenge is knowing when service is time well spent. Your idea of using deltaTs on the system sounds like a good one but, without a baseline it’s hard to know what’s good and what isn’t.
On HVAC cooling system cleaning and raw water impeller replacement, I’ve adopted the policy of replacing or cleaning when needed on the logic that replacing or cleaning more often doesn’t make the system better or reduce costs or time investments and insufficient of either won’t reduce the system lifetime.
I do agree there are people out there that spend to much time or money on HVAC maintenance, however most generally it’s been my experience that on a properly installed unit, the power supplied, or lack of necessary maintenance is usually what kills a system.
Equipment will handle 50/60 HZ just fine, it will also handle plus or minus 10% on voltage. What it can’t handle is a phase imbalance of over 1%. That is most likely not going to be an issue on Dirona.
While I was contemplating the number of ways insufficient maintenance can shorten the life of a HVAC system I realized there one a fairly easy test that would possibly interest you.
If any of your units are drawing more than 80% of nameplate data, there is most likely a problem developing.
That’s a good idea Steve. The units are in difficult to get to places but I could fairly easily put a clamp ammeter on the power line and see what they are drawing. What I’ve been doing so far is fairly primitive in that I clean the air filters when they get dirty, clean the raw water strainer when it collects a load of growth, and generally not much else.
There really is no need to do anything else unless a problem begins to develop. Since this all started over my wondering what the condition of the condensers were, really the first indication you’d see of a problem there, is increased load on the compressor.
Once you have the nameplate data of your units, you could simply add the blower and compressor RLA and test at any easy access.
If you are showing more than 80% of the sum total, then it’s a matter of is it the blower, the compressor, a run capacitor for either, a pitted contacts or lack of efficient heat transfer due to a dirty condenser.
From the size of that strainer I’d bet that they all share a common inlet so unless you started seeing increased load on all your units I’d guess it was local to whatever unit you where testing at the time and probably not a condenser heat transfer issue.
But you’d know to keep an eye on it until you found out what it actually was.
Otherwise, no sense doing much of anything if you don’t suspect a problem. I clean a lot of condensers during the year but I don’t do it simply because I like dragging out the hoses, chemicals or pump and getting wet.
Sorry Steve, I didn’t mean to imply that condenser cleaning was a waste of time. I’m sure it’s worth doing and likely improves efficiency. I’m really just admitting we have used the heck out of them with me only cleaning the air filter and the strainer for the last 7 years. They seem to be doing fine but it’s possible that a good clean of the raw water system will help. Most folks I know take off the inlet hose, pump concentrated cleaners through, let it sit, and then bring the system back on line.
As you guessed it’s a shared inlet, strainer and pump system with the 5 HVAC units spread throughout the boat and each with it’s only outlet.
I took it that you really had no good way of checking the condition of the heat exchangers other than pulling the hoses and looking, which seems to me like unnecssary work if you aren’t suspecting a problem.
At first I couldn’t think of a way either until I got to thinking of how poor heat transfer effects a system and why I do many of the initial tests I perform when I walk up to a system.
Many like that 80% of nameplate by themselves don’t really tell you much, but they will indicate a necessity to dive deeper and IMHO is almost perfect for checking heat exchanger condition without pulling the hose.
It’s of course absolutely useless if the system is low on refrigerant however, you’d probably notice a lack of cooling. or my case I’d see a Delta T across a coil I didn’t like.
I’m not a big fan of chemically cleaning a heat exchanger unless it’s necessary. With Air Cooled condensers, most have a coating that it is detrimental to remove. In the case of water source equipment, in order to really clean a heat exchanger, you have to get to bare metal or you are wasting time and money. Any chemical strong enough to get to bare metal is also going to be strong enough to etch or remove soft metal. My normal “chemical” of choice is 10% muriatic acid which, over the years I’ve come up with a fairly simple plastic bucket with lid and acid pump system to contain the smell, fumes and splash hazards. It has the advantage of when done, either a couple boxes of baking soda or enough water and all you have is an inert nasty looking liquid I can flush down a toilet if necessary. It isn’t something I’d just pour in and let sit. I pump it through until it quits foaming which is an means it’s finding nothing to react with then neutralize before placing the equipment back on line.
I didn’t mean to indicate the heat exchangers on Dirona had to be cleaned. I was just trying to think of a fast easy way to see if cleaning might be something to think about.
Anyway, it looks like you are getting into position for a “Jump across the pond”, good luck and I look forward to reading about it.
Woo hoo, you are moving! It does not look like you are going to be turning right soon. North Atlantic route?
Hi Timothy. We are indeed underway bound for Savannah Georgia where we expect to be for a week or so. After that, we’ll head up to Rhode Island and our current thinking is to go directly from Rhode Island to Cork Ireland once the weather looks favorable.
The RI to Ireland route is a little over two weeks non-stop? Full bladders and plenty of peanuts?
It’ll be closer to 3 weeks at nearly 3,000 nautical miles and, yes, we’ll need at least some deck fuel for that run. We almost always run all the bladders when we use any since more fuel is option value. Either more speed or more flexibility and arriving with fuel is fine too since it’s so much cheaper here and the boat is more stable with some fuel in the tanks. More likely than not, we’ll use it and just run a bit quicker.
Enjoyed your new article in Passagemaker Magazine. Nice cover picture with Chatterbox Falls.
Hey thanks John. The location of the cover shot is Cascade Falls in Prince William Sound Alaska. It does look a lot like Chatterbox Falls but we have never seen Chatterbox without a bzillion other boats except in the winter.
Got it! You do have to be careful of camera angle when in P.L. Inlet and all the way North until past Desolation Sound. Within our Salish Sea cruising lomits Homfray Channel & Toba Inlets have been wonderfully free of boat crowds. Enjoy Savannah!
You have an incredible cruising area. One trick we have used when going to busy areas like Predeaux Haven is to go in the winter. It’s like a trip back in time. We have been alone in both Predeaux Haven and Princess Louisa in the winter. Arguably it was even more beautiful with snow covered peaks surrounding us.
The TimeZero screenshot had Bermuda and the Azores as possible waypoints but what were the other waypoints? SE of Newfoundland?
The yellow lines near Newfoundland are the ice pack extent in May of 2016 using the International Ice Patrol (https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=IIPHome) iceberg charts. The most current chart is at http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=iipCharts&Current.
The other waypoints are mostly from Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising routes and are for avoiding hazards or picking up favorable conditions. The one closest to New York is to clear Nantucket Shoals and the one south of Newfoundland is to clear the Grand Banks. The two just east of Nova Scotia and south of the horizontal yellow line are for ice avoidance. If we were departing from Nova Scotia with no ice, we could continue from the Nova Scotia waypoint to the Grand Banks waypoint. Otherwise we should proceed to waypoint below the yellow line before turning eastward.
The waypoint about 350 miles north of the Azores is from Cornell’s Ocean Atlas and is for avoiding low pressure systems coming off Nova Scotia. Cornell’s recommendation there is stay south of 45N until east of 30W. And the waypoint 350 miles northeast of Bermuda is for getting as quickly into the prevailing winds as possible on a departure from Bermuda to Northern Europe.
And that yellow bar down by Florida is the Hurricane restriction line for our boat insurance. We’re not covered for named storms south of that line between July 1st and October 31st.
I did not realize that a straight shot was not an option. I am excited to hear more about the route planning!
Dirona’s range with deck fuel in average conditions is out at 4,000 nautical miles so 3,000 should be comfortable. But it is a long haul. The biggest concern on this trip is weather and, when you are out there for extended periods, you can chose to go at the statistically right time of year but there is really no weather report that can help. You can get a much shorter trip by leaving from further north but then one has to wait for the ice to clear. When leaving earlier, the challenge is a longer run due to ice further north and less favorable weather earlier in the year. Going even 30 days early just about guarantees some unfavorable weather on the extended run.
Hello Jennifer and James,
Have been following your journey since South Africa and have enjoyed it immensely. I live on Cape Breton Island and unfortunately just missed you at Baddeck. I see you are heading to Cork and thought you might find it interesting to visit Safe haven Marine. They are a speciality boat builder primarily focused on pilot craft. I own a 42′ Interceptor model that we used in charter fishing in NS but she now serves as my personal boat. Have a safe trip across the pond and hope to see you in the future.
The Safe Haven website shows incredible shots of their boats pounding through breaking surf. Really nice photo work and they obviously are making an incredibly tough boat. We would love to visit Safe Haven while we are in Cork. Thanks for pointing them out Marc.
As cars clearly are an interest for you and you are visiting the UK, you might be tempted to visit the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It is near Chichester in the south of England. It runs from Thursday 22 June to Sunday 24 June. It is essential to pre-book. Their website will give you an idea of what wil be there. It is impossible to cover it all in a single day – even three days would be a stretch.
That looks like fun. Particularly the hill climb with everything from F1 on down competing. We’ll probably be way north during that time of year but thanks for the pointer.
A visit is definitely one for the bucket list of any car fan. All entries are, I believe, by invitation only. They cover all eras from the earliest to the latest – including concepts. Apart from the F1 cars, the rest are very accessible and you often get the chance to talk to owners, drivers and mechanics.
Back in the 70s, if you bought the “expensive” full weekend Super Ticket at the Canadian Grand Prix for $25, it included a garage pass. You could walk around talk to Formula 1 drivers and mechanics. I loved it. Goodwood sounds like fun.
I am hoping a large provisioning post is coming soon 🙂 🙂
We are in pretty good shape on provisioning right now. We need to take on some groceries soon but don’t want to stock up too much due to restrictions in bringing meat products into the UK. We’ll probably pick up some groceries while here. Then head up to Savannah and spend some time there. Then we’ll do a run up to Boston and pickup what we need for the cross Atlantic run.
Daytona should be covered in bikers now.
Absolutely right! Estimates have the bike population temporarily up to 500,000 during this years Daytona Bike Week.
You need to come up with a way to comment on the recent highlights posts.
That 7 marine stuff is so hot. Not that I could ever afford it lol. The sprint cars are something I would love to see live, maybe one day.
Enjoying your journey.
Seven Marine is crazy expensive but I love the idea of using a high performance automotive engine that is sold in higher-than-marine quantities as the source of teh primary power plant. On the sprint cars, if you are interested in seeing them, the World of Outlaws tour has a stop in Canandaigua New York which isn’t far from Toronto.
Sounds like you had a busy day. Do you have to fly to VA or are you going to start planning the next leg?
We’re working on the next leg and exploring different jumping off points for a cross Atlantic run and exploring different routes to Ireland. The North Atlantic can be difficult from a weather perspective and the shorter crossing distances available further north are restricted by the ice flows brought down by the Labrador current in the spring and early summer.
So you may cruise back up the East Coast and then cut across? No Azores in Dirona’s future? It looks to be a shorter overall trip cruising up the coast and I am sure fuel will be a non-issue going that way.
That’s the current thinking although a run to the Azores and north is still in consideration as well. The run north and across is the more likely right now but we’re still working through options.
I just saw some video of the Azores in not so pleasant weather two days ago. Pretty rough waters and surge. Once you start going that way you are committed? Going North you could pick your final crossing window. Will you be using the bladders again?
Regardless of the destination we end up chosing, we probably will run fuel bladders to maximize our speed and give us as much option value as possible.
Be sure to check out Kinsale in Southern Ireland
Great spot with a nice harbor etc
Kinsale looks beautiful. We’re really looking forward to getting across the Atlantic. We wish we could cross earlier in the year and get the new adventure started.
Edinburgh — we weren’t nuts about the Tattoo, but we loved the Fringe Festival. We are now sailing out of Bali en route to Singapore, but we are letting someone else do the provisioning and the navigating.
Hey Karen! Sailing out of Bali sounds pretty good. I’ve not been in Singapore for many years and I was only there for a short work related visit but I liked it. Try not to let the 24×7 watch schedule where you out on the way to Singapore :-).
The FBP looks an extremely well thought out series of boats from a quick look at their website. Are you tempted? I imagine there are capacity limitations at the buider and long delivery times – I think I read it is a five year wait for the smallest version.
The FPB is a super interesting design. Definitely a departure from the industry on most dimensions and some of the design points are impressively good. I really enjoyed the visit and you can’t spend time with Steve Dashew without learning. It was a super interesting day.
I understand your concern with the lead times on new boats — that’s the reality when looking at any successful builder. But there are currently 5 FPBs in the brokerage market and available without build delay. When we contracted to have Dirona built it was two years ahead of delivery mostly because we were not in a rush at the time. Dirona was actually built in only 10 months.
I’ve been watching setsail.com for almost two years. Very interesting on how they are built. Been watching mvdirona.com for just over a year. I love your eye for the sights and your a geek at heart like me. Really liked the article on your router modifications. Between this blog and the Dashews its been fun reading, watching and dreaming.
Greetings from Ruskin – That new Amazon building is a monstor
What do you think about their argument that speed helps safety in being able to get away from weather?
There is no question that the less time you spend at sea, the safer the trip. 1 week trips have good weather visibility, 2 week trips will have poor weather when you leave, 3 week trips are a complete game of statistics. Less consecutive time at sea is a very good thing.
The second form of safety that comes from speed is routing around bad weather or out running it. I’m a bit more skeptical of the effectiveness of this defense mechanism in small boats but it is still a positive factor. Weather systems are reported to average 20 kts. The closer a boat can get to this speed, the more effective the “run from weather defense” can be. At our current ocean crossing speeds of 6.75 to 7.75 kts, this technique isn’t very effective. At 10 kts it would work much better. And, if it were possible to get close to 15 kts, the technique would be come very effective.
The short answer is, yes, I believe that speed adds safety at sea. I wouldn’t want to give up strength to gain speed but, with equally well built boats being compared, speed is safer.
Nordhavn, a FBP, imported beer and friends. We are all jealous. Just add some race cars and a few quad core processors and I would be in heaven! 😉
100% agree Timothy. On the race car front, we’ve been at Daytona International Speedway the last 3 days and we’ll be there today for the 500. Lot’s of fun.
Tiffany and I really liked the Ranger R-31 CB but at $300K (boat show special) we decided to stick with the original longer term Nordhavn 40/43 plan. Great looking boat and some really nice features would make for a easy to handle boat!
The Rangers are incredible in their space utilization and the attention to detail. They look like very good inland and coastal cruisers but they will never cross oceans and can’t take a fraction of the weather that a N40 or N43 could take.
Regarding: “The tan grocery bags are Earthtote Reusable Bags from reuseit.com”
You also find big bags in two sizes at “IKEA” the Swedish furniture store (for example in Seattle).
In Germany you have to pay 0,50 € for each.
Thanks for the Ikea tote bag tip Horst.
In Daytona for the 500 I assume?
Yes your right Steve. We’re spending the next 4 days at the speedway with the Daytona 500 on Sunday. Last weekend we went to Velusia Speedway Park to see the opening races of the World of Outlaws Sprint car series. 900 hp in 1,400 lb cars racing on a dirt track. Awesome!
Tomorrow we’ll be at Daytona Speedway to watch the Twin 125s (now called the Can Am Dual). These two races set the starting positions for Sundays race.
I was reading about the Great TV Repair of 2017. I was going to install one on the Quo Vadimus and now I’m happy I didn’t. I don’t have your patience, hour three would have started with the sound of a sawzall firing up.
What did you do as far as cable management to make sure it does not happen again? Once you had it apart was there a way to create access ports to get into it if you have to again?
If I have a tough situation like I did with TV lift, my goals is to come up with a solution so it doesn’t happen again. In this case I need two things: 1) a solution so the wire doesn’t get tangled up in the gears again, and 2) some means of servicing the lift when it gets stuck since it’s certain it’ll eventually happen again perhaps due to some other problem.
On avoiding the wire getting run over again by the gear set, I’ve shortened the wire and use a bungy to keep tension on it towards the center of the TV away from the gears. I think that one is well solved. Where I don’t have a good answer is how to make the system mroe servicable if it fails or jams up again in the down position. The recommendation from the manufacturer is to take a sawzall to the TV base/motor assembly and cut off the gears. Once that is done, the assembly can be removed and replaced. This will work in most cases but its a $2,000 solution. And, if the system fails in the very bottom position, I can’t see a way to cut the gears out. If that happens, the only solution I can come up with is 1) break the TV to get access to the bolts behind the TV or spend a day doing what I did of making special tools to remove the bolts without damaging the TV. I suppose it would aloso be possible to drill into the teak work with a hole saw but I would rather break up the TV than cut up the permanently installed teak work.
If I were intsalling one in the future, I wuold make sure that there is a provision for service without unreasonable difficulty.
You have a lot more patience than I do. Once up I would have removed the top teak, cut a set of holes in the top of the TV box for future access and then used velcro to put the teak back on top.
I hear you Timothy but pulling the top off the box only gets you access to the box that surrounds the TV. You certainly can drill through it which will get you to the TV. But, without the TV out (or broken up), the 8 screws holding the TV box to the lift platform aren’t commming out. With patience or without it don’t see a solution that doesn’t get those 8 screws out and, if the TV is in, they are not accessable from above.
Will the TV fit out the bottom of the cabinet if it was stuck in the down position (perhaps with the doors removed)? How much room do you have the mount in the back? My TV mount has two strings you can pull the will tilt the TV down to access behind the TV which would allow enough room to either unscrew the TV, unscrew the lift, or whatever you need to do. I know they also make quick release VESA mounts but I have only seen them for monitors, not large TVS, and I’m not sure how you would access the tab to release the TV.
Thanks for the ideas Drew. Unfortunately, the TV is far larger than the forward opening so it’s not comming out the front and its not possible to unscrew the TV in the down position. With modifications to the top, it might be possible to use your idea of using a quick release mount. On this model, the top cover would need to be removable as would the top of the TV box. Then it would be necessary to release the TV and lift out the top.
A variant of that approach that I like is to make the decorative top removable and then put in 6 holes in the top of the TV box to allow the 6 of the 8 screws that old the TV box in to be removed. If I only use those 6 and not the 2 under the TV, I think it probably would be possible to release the assembly using this approach. Good idea.
After a couple of beverages: I would take the teak top off, then cut the top off the tv box at the butt joints. Screw 1″ square dowels on each inside of the box of wood (and maybe a couple on the back) so the cut out top would sit back level. I would then remount the cut top with a couple counter sunk screws into each dowel. Then velcro the teak top back on the top of the box covering the hole and the “whole mess” I would have made out of the TV box. 🙂
I think that would nail it. If I used 6 screws instead of 8 to hold the TV box on to the base (two are directly under the TV screen), then I think the approach you outline would work well. The only part I’m not sure about is the 2 scews under the TV but I’m about 90% they would be accessible from above through holes in the top of the box. Nice solution.
I’m just amazed in a Nordhavn, that the “thing” is manufactured in such a way as to require the destruction of something to fix the other thing. Notwithstanding your legendary resourcefulness, trying to do it in a seaway a thousand miles from anywhere means I guess you don’t have TV until you get somewhere else. 🙁
I largely agree — equipment installations should be designed for service. If we were to build another boat, I would ensure we had a good solution for the TV lift. The ideas below from Drew and Timothy would be ways to get my existing desig more servicable.
Because space in boats is at such a premium and boat purchases are usually made on the basis of what was “stuffed in” rather on whether or not it’s actually servicable. As a consequence, many manufacturers end up “building in” equipment. After 8,500 hours, rounding the world, and fixing just about everything that needed fixing myself, I would say that Nordhavn does pretty well by this measure when compared to other manufacturers. There will always be service tasks when you wonder how any human being can possibly service the item and these situations are super annoying but, from my perspective, there haven’t been that many on Dirona.
Cautionary note: I have found that bungee cords under constant tension loose their elasticity and become weak, thus losing their ‘pull’.
Maybe another entry into the maintenance schedule “check TV bungee’!
Yes, bungees do fail and so would need to be checked. I ended up shortening up the coiled cable that runs from the bottom of the TV up to the TV base where the motor is housed. This coiled cable is now pulled a bit more as it approaches the top and the coil takes up the slack as the TV goes down. This puts slightly more load on the cable and there is risk that the coil will not continue to be able to take up all the slack as the TV lowers years from now. But it looks like it’s working fairly well and the load on the coiled cable seems very small. It is likely a long term solution.
Can you repair the mother board?
PS Now in NZ not missing Niagara Falls winter at all!
I’ll bet you are enjoying being down in New Zealand. What a great country. Hope you get a chance to visit Fiordland.
The motherboard is technically repairable but, from my perspective, with a new board at $160, it’s not ecnomically efficient to service it.
It is interesting (but normal for you two) that you keep mobo spares. It is hard to find “new” boards like the DH77DF. Those 1155 boards support my favorite Core i7 processors and they can still hold their own after all these years. I see the fan was already on the other board. Did your flight spare already have a CPU installed?
Good eye Timothy. The board is indeed a DH77DB and the processor is a I7 3770S running at 3.1Ghz with 16GB of memory. Because the parts are fairly inexpensive and the computer is a very mission critical componnent controlling operations like generator auto-start and electrical load shedding, we have all the spares for the entire system on board. We keep them in original shipping boxes and in plastic bags so the humidity doesn’t get them. In the picture, I’ve installed a new CPU but not the memory and I’m reattaching all the cables. The CPU didn’t need changing but I swapped in the spare while changing the board and kept the old CPU as the spare.
When I ordered all the original parts, I ordered two of everything but accidentally got three motherboards. So, even though the DH77DF is no longer in production and we have had one failure, we still have 1 spare of everything including the mobo.
Welcome to Daytona Beach – your arrival brought back great memories. My mother-in-law lived in the condo’s that pass to port on your way into Halifax Harbor. Great view looking north and south on ICW. Spent many a day watching boats come and go. That was 25 years ago. Hope it is still as nice as it was then.
It is a great area but, for an ocean going trawler, there’s not much water here. Last night we saw 6’7″ and we draw 6’7″ :-). Can’t beat the scenary and the weather though.
Yes – running the ditch in FL can be “interesting”. I always feel like I’m in deep water when I see 10′ on the gauge.
Is the Great Loop completely doable with the N52? I know you have the hinged mast, but I thought the draft was too deep on the N52.
What sort of issues have you had so far, if any?
The great loop has a low bridge in Chicago that limits air draft to 19’1″. Dirona’s stack can be folded down but to do that requires a crane and every wire that runs up the stack has to have a service loop in it to allow the bend. I’m sure some don’t at this point but, technically, with a bunch of work, Dirona could slip under the bridge and technically could do the Great Loop.
The only issues so far has been thin water. We haven’t touched bottom on the ICW but have gotten close several times. If you look closely at the track, you’ll likely see we have gone back and forth looking for deeper water before continuing at a few locations. But, other than thin water and needing to time some of the bridges that only open on schedule, no issues on the ICW.
Halifax Harbor looks like a sweet spot to dock for a few days. Nothing to see but municipal buildings around there? Do you at least get a view of the smaller planes in approach? Surrounded by coastal cruisers?
Yup, we are surrounded by coastal cruisers in a very nice marina. A bit thin on water but that’s the norm in Florida. We are here for the World of Outlaws dirt track sprint car racing at Volusia and the Dayton 500. We also plan to head down to the Miami Boat show while we are here.
You continue to bring back memories James – started my “FL Career” right across from the speedway’s main entrance at GE Simulation & Control Systems – visual systems for flight simulators and US Navy ship controls. (No longer there) Big benefit of that location, spending lunch hours watching NASCAR drivers dial-in their unpainted cars in the weeks leading up to the races…for free. Could literally stand right by the fence at the finish line. Amazing view. The twin qualifier races are always exciting.
BTW – if you are going to continuing south on the ICW, there is a gentleman on activeCaptain who goes by the handle Bob423. He’s in a 42′ Beneteau sailboat who does extensive exploration and writing about what he finds along the way. Here is his blog – http://fleetwing.blogspot.com/
” Cruising Tips” on the left side could be of interest including downloadable tracks from his trip south this year. He weather Hurricane Matthew at St James Marina, NC so his data is very recent.
It sounds like you Daytona Beach job was an ideal work location. Access to the beach, great weather, and walking distance to Daytona International Raceway. Kind of cool.
Thanks for the tip for going further south on the ICW. Our current plans are to head north again after Daytona Beach. On this trip, we’ll probably run offshore and head to somewhere in the Boston to Newfoundland area. We’re not sure exactly where at this point, wherever it is, that will be our jumping off point to head to Northern Europe.
Are you going to be able to check out Cochise while you are there? Curious as to your thoughts on the FPB brand. I believe the Dashew’s are around Ft.Lauderdale.
Yes, we do plan to visit Cochise while here. After spending a really educational day at Circa Marina, the yard in New Zealand where FPBs are built, we’re looking forward to seeing the finished product.
I saw Bill’s post on his blog about the trip; looks like you had a great day on the water (for a FPB) to check her out. The only concern I think I would have on the design would be when piloting in the flybridge helm with a low angle sun; was there a lot of glare coming off the solar panels? You probably didn’t encounter the condition but I wonder if it was mentioned. I know a lot of the design characteristics you are enthusiastic about on Dirona runs in contrast on Steve’s boats (single & wing vs. twins, wet vs. dry exhaust, etc.) so I’m curious to hear if anything in your mind has changed.
Have fun this weekend; looks like Daytona is heating up to be quite the spectacle!
It’s great to see Bill Paralatore back writing. He created Passagemaker Magazine and is now publishing a boating related blog: https://www.followingseas.media/blog/.
Drew, you are right that we have a single engine rather than a twins and dry exhaust rather than wet but I’m not stuck on either. In fact, on larger boats, I’m hard over in preferring twins. On smaller boats like Dirona, I still would really prefer twin engines but their our some negatives. Twins take more space. On larger boats, who cares? But in smaller boats, you need to give up some fuel tank space to go with twins and twins are just a tiny, tiny amount less efficient. The net is in smaller boats like Dirona where there are space constraints, I prefer a single engine to get more range. On larger boats with ample fuel supplies, I would always chose twins. I’m not sure where the line is but likely up around 60 to 65 would have us able to get the range we want with the advantages of twin engines and that would be the direction we would go. But, as much as I like twins, I won’t give up range to squeeze in another engine. We much prefer twin engines if they can be had without range penalty.
The wet exhaust vs dry stack conversation is much more complex. Both have advantages and disadvantages and I’m comfortable with the disadvantages of either. We would be perfectly happy with either. If forced to make that decision again for Dirona and there was no difference in cost between the two, I might slightly lean towards wet but its a very slight leaning and it wouldn’t impact a buying decision for us.
The FPB was really fun. We were out in 25 to 30 kts of wind and the boat was dry and comfortable. We’ll write up the experience in a blog but a short summary of what I found most notable was: 1) speed. The boat is comfortable well over 10 kts and we were often up over 13kts, 2) tracking. Steve left me on the helm while he took pictures entering the Fort Lauderdale channel and it took almost no helm input to keep Cochise running mid channel, 3) comfort at sea. We were out in medium chop and the boat was stable even when left in neutral and just allowed to drift and find it’s own place in the swell as we ate lunch. It’s a surprisingly stable platform.
Steve Dashew has little respect for design Dogma. He loves to challenge long held industry beliefs, he’s never afraid to abandon “what has always been done” when there is a better solution possible, and he’s always exploring what works and what doesn’t. Time on one of his boats is always educational. It was a super fun day.
I noticed you said Dirona draws 6’7″. The Nordhavn website says the 52 draws 5’11”. Does Dirona have a different hull configuration? (or is it just all the extra electronics weighing it down ;))
We live on Dirona and have no house or storage box so there is no question Dirona is carrying a lot. We also have a massive number of spares further increasing our load. Our anchor is on the high side of average and we carry a 100′ more chain than standard and all of it is slightly heavier. Thereis no question, we are on the high side of average and it wouldn’t surprise me if we were the heaviest of the entire 47/52 series.
However, even with all those caveats, given that we weight more than 110,000 lbs, I suspect the 90,000 lbs and 5′ 11″ draft spec for the N52 is optimistic.
Florida, woo hoo! Are you on a mooring in St. Augustine? There was a loaded 40′ Nordhavn named Chinatsu Tiffany and I got to see last March. This 55′ in Brunswick must have been the next their next boat!
We are on anchor in a nice little spot with a great view of town. We’ll probably head in tomorrow to explore a bit.
I just got the last nagging issue fixed on my open source router project so I’m in good spirts. The last issue was completely unrelated to the router — the nav computer NIC was dropping massive numbers of packets when under load. Changed it and all is rock solid and throughput is excellent. We now have a Netgear R7000 running DD-WRT serving the boat. In this configuration we have 3 WAN ports so WiFi, Cell, and the KVH V7 satelite connection are always there and always available. We have a mobile app that allows switching between any of the three and we’ll later implement automatic fail-over between them.
I am always so impressed that you and Jennifer can do so much of your own software and hardware customization and upgrades. From NMEA to networking to communications you always have the latest and most robust systems and equipment on a personal yacht. I hope someday you write a book on preparation and provisioning for powerboat ocean crossings and include a bunch of chapters on all that you do.
Thanks Timothy. After writing one book (https://www.amazon.com/Waggoner-Cruising-Guides-Secret-Coast/dp/0935727299) our conclusion is books just aren’t the best approach to communicate broadly these days. We now end investing deeply in the blog and pretty much all we write will end up there. We still feel just as passionately about sharing what we have seen and learned but the web site seems like the most effective way of doing it. More people read the web site than will end up seeing The Secret Coast.
Good news about the open source router.
Couple of questions:
(1) What is an “NIC”?
(2) What happens when you are away from the boat and there is no cellphone connection, either at the boat or at your location? One of the reasons I am hoping to use Iridium is the global coverage. With a fixed satphone on the boat and a portable one in my pocket I am hoping that I will always get the message if the boat shouts for help. Of course there are costs involved in having two satphones but it still looks like the best option for us. Even in the UK we have found ourselves at anchor with no cellphone connection on the boat, and when we go hiking we are often outside cell coverage. Does my approach make sense to you?
That’s the approach we take: keep the boat connected rather than trying to have the boat monitoring system connected on a dedicated system. Our connction choices are WiFi, Cell, or Satelite. The plan works as long as the satelite system you are using can provide general IP connectivity just as you get with WiFi. This is what we get form our KVH V7 mini-VSAT system. Our Iridium system doesn’t provide general IP connectivity and instead provides a restricted, very low speed link where only their special email system can connected. This won’t easily work for your application but any system that allows systems on your network to send email will work fine in your application.
You were asking about Iridium. We don’t have a fixed mounted iridium system which might offer direct ethernet connectivity but the base station based Iridium systems might. You need something where you can set up the system and leave the boat with it staying connected and your boat lan on the internet and able to send email. Easy to do with WiFi, Cellular, and our V7 sat system.
A NIC is a Network Interface Card. This is what computers use to connect to ethernet or Wifi. A better name is a network controller since the network interace card is seldom a PCIe plugged add-in card these days. It’s usually just components on the computer motherboard. The computers attachment to the boat network wheether wired or wireless if often called a NIC.
I see you rode the GA/FL border for a bit. Submarines across the way?
Yes, you can see the buildings of Kings Bay Submarine base from where we are anchored. We took the tender over there and took some pictures but the light was poor and Navy security maintains a fairly wide exclusion zone so the general public can’t get much closer than the ICW channel that passes the base. We would love to see a big Boomer escorted in or out but there have been no movements during our stay in the area. However, we did go the Submarine Museum in nearby St. Marys.
I have never had a USCG inspection while underway. Did they call you on the radio as they approached and tell you to continue at the same speed? I assume they had no issues with Dirona.
It’s the only time we have been boarded while underway. Once before we were inspected in the Seattle area at anchor. The only other boarding was in Australia and it was again at anchor.
In this case they radioed us and asked when we were last boarded and send they wanted to put a crew on board. I asked if they wanted us to pull off the channel and they said they would just do it where we were in the channel and underway. As you can see from the video they managed to do this without even touching our boat.
As you guessed Timothy, no issues were found.
Does your camera when looking backwards give a “mirror” view?
That was rather confusing as it looked like they were running up your port side and yet they appeared to board on your starboard. Same thing on the pickup.
Yeah, I thought the same thing about the video transitions Steven. The reason the camera is set up as a mirror view is for boat operation. We could reverse the view when editing the movie but then the on-screen time stamps are reversed as well since they are put on by the camera.
I’m not 100% sure that the mirrored view really is the best view for docking. It seemed slightly more intuitive when I installed the camera but not fundamentally better. I’ll try changing the camera to non-mirrored and see how that works from the helm. It actually might be the better choice.
I would be curios if you like the normal camera view for docking. I added a regular HD camera when I did the engine cameras and the electronics upgrade. I have only backed in once so far and my brain was ok processing the view. The reverse image cameras from Raytheon and Garmin are $400-$500 on Amazon and a lower resolution but with a small 10″ monitor ( https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8601/30420668626_3c321c2cbe_h.jpg ) it probably would not be much a difference. Does Dirona have full res cameras and does it matter?
Yes, these are 4 megapixel cameras so the available resolution is pretty good. They can be configured to show standard view or mirror view so changing that is easy. In my initial testing, the mirror imaged seemed more intuitive but I’ve switched back to standard for a while and we’ll see how I like it.
I haven’t had the cameras long enough to be able to recommend them but the resolution is great and they are fairly inexpensive at only $75: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B010LH48F4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I am very excited to see your post about the new Netgear router which can connect via WiFi, Cell, or Satellite. Do you think the same hardwear and software would enable connection via Iridium instead of mini Vsat if a suitable interface with Iridium is available? As you may have noticed from the Owners Group there are some owners who are wondering if a boat monitoring system can be built which uses Iridium when that is the only connection available.
Our approach to alarming and reporting of alarms via email is exaclty the one you are contemplating. Peter Hayden mentioned the same things: rather than buying an alarming systems that needs a dedicated connection, why not just use the connection already on the boat? That is exactly what we do. Before leaving the boat for an extended period, we make sure the boat is well connected so we get any and all alerts.
That approach works fine and requires no special hardware. The downside is you have to remember to do it and it takes time.
We would like to make it super easy to switch connections and potentially even automating the switching of connections. The platform we are experimenting with is a Netgear R7000 router running an open source protocol stack called DD-WRT with custom routing in support of mulitple concurrent external (WAN) connections. This configuration does allow quick manual switching of external connectivity and it would support Iridium as well as it supports our WiFi, Cell, and KVH mini-VSAT.
The good news is that the approach we are working with does indeed achieve those goals. The downside is there are connection drops every few hours and faults when network taffic levels are high. However, it works so well in achieving our multi-WAN goals that we are willing to put up with some other issues. And the more we like it, the more we invest in finding solutions to the stability issues or at least better understanding them. It’s a work in progress.
This is excellent – if you are willing to share your thoughts as you make progress I’m sure there will be many who want to follow your lead. I am going to concentrate on two things. First, I want to follow the Pendana II experiment from the Owners Group using Z-Wave for sensors, WiFi matrix, and controller. My motive here is that I don’t want to pull wires through our 12 year old boat. I’d rather replace small batteries in sensors once or twice a year. I already do that with our smoke and CO alarms. Then I need to find the right Iridium interface. Our boat already has an Iridium antenna. The reason I want to use Iridium is cost, and there will be others with the same motive, but there will be some who will prefer Iridium because they want guaranteed global coverage for remote monitoring. Just to make it clear, I am not in this for business. I just want to find something that works for our boat and I’m happy to share if I succeed. BTW the Pendana II system uses a Peplink router but he sounds less than happy about it. Let’s hope your Netgear+DD-WRT combination can be made to work reliably.
The folks from Technomadia (http://www.technomadia.com/) have a very detailed site about this sort of thing; here is the link https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/. The are currently testing mobile routers which would use mobile WiFi (or MiFi as they call it) when available, then switch to various cell phone providers (since they are RV focused (although they are boat shopping now)) but I don’t see why it couldn’t interface with any type or mini-VSAT or whatever with an Ethernet cord. Just thought you might be interested in their research into mobile routers and cell boosting antennas. I just started reading through their site so I am still learning a lot.
Thanks Drew. You are right that what they have done with their commercial product is a good part of what I want. What I’m trying to do is essentially what the the developers of the product you reference have done. Peplink is another leader that does much the same things (and a lot more). Arguably I should just use a commercial product but I’ve gotten interested in figuring this one out.
Unfortunately, I’m learning that one of the reasons these mulit-way commercial products are so expensive is it requires a fair amount of understanding and work to get it all figured out. I’ve not given up yet but have to admit that what I have built really isn’t (yet) a great solution.
Communication question: Do you use an Internationa; SIM card for your mobile phone? If so which one?
Hi Rod. We’ve never come across an International SIM deal that is as inexpensive and fast as getting a local SIM. Most have data more expensive than local. Some only work at 2G. The upside of international SIMs is you don’t have to go in and get a SIM but, in all locations we have been, that’s just 5 or 10 min and that’s has been our approach so far. I’m told that you can’t get a SIM in some countries in Europe without a local address. The only place where we have seen that restriction was Australia and they were OK with us using the Marina.
In the countries we have visited thus far, using local SIMs has been the better choice. We’ll learn about Europe next year.
Are you about ready to make the Georgia run?
The weather is looking good to leave tomorrow early morning (1/25) and that’s the current plan.
It looks like a 100 mile trip down there. 14 hours total maybe with the current against you?
The route we plan is 89 nm. We figure we should be able to average 7 kts. Some sections are shallow with shifty shoals so we’ll need to be careful and slow through those sections but 7 kts seems reasonable. Figure about 13 hours. We would like to get in before nightfall so we’ll need to use very early, run a bit faster, or both.
I forgot to set GE back to nm. I should caught that 😉 I look forward to seeing you on the move again. I hope you, Jennifer and Spitfire are doing well. More submarine visits in your future?
I have not immediate plans for submarine visits but we always take every opportunity we can get. However, while down in Daytona, we hope to catch up with Michael who was responsible for me gettig the opportunity to spend some time on the USS California.
We should be underway just shortly past 5am tomorrow.
It looks like you got an earlier start than expected? Safe travels in the final leg!
Yes, we decided to leave early to have some time to pick up a load of fuel when we arrive. We’re down to 340 gallons at this point having not filled since we arrived back into the US back in September. It’s amazing how long a tank can last.
We set the alarm for 3:50 this morning and, hard to believe, but we were underway at 3:59 🙂
Great move on leaving earlier than planned. It looks like you are just about there. Safe docking at the Landing and for a clean full fueling for Dirona!
We got into the marina at 3:30 and finished fueling at 5pm so it worked out well. Nothing says “flexibility” better than 1,750 gallons of diesel.
Well, I hope you are in a good spot the bad stuff seems to be all over you two right now.
You’re so right Steven. We have seen several massive electrical storms and seen wind gusts to 31. We have a nice tucked away anchorage in Hilton Head NC that is working out great. Our plan is to do the 1 day trip to Brunswick GA in the gap between this weather system and the next.
James, a friend recently turned me on to your site, and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your adventures around the world. Charleston is an amazing place, and I hope you enjoyed your recent time there. As you make your way south, I thought I would suggest my favorite place in all of the country, Cumberland Island, Georgia. You may have seen it already, but if not, I can’t suggest it enough. The King’s Bay naval submarine base is right across the intracoastal as well.
Happy traveling and thank you for sharing pictures and information from your journey.
Thanks for the tip on Cumberland Island and King’s Bay Spence.
That section of the dock sure did get crowded. I guess it is to be expected since that area is still good for boating even in the winter. However I did not expect to see it so crowed all the time.
Yes, the marina is super busy and there are boats comming and going all the time. Just a bit further north, the season was over but here in Charleston there is a lot of activity.
Glad to see you two are enjoying Charleston.
I have to ask as I’ve been wondering about it for sometime. I’ve read a lot about putting exhaust socks on for various reasons (all of which make perfect sense), but I’ve always wondered why people didn’t simply install a rain cap?
I’m sure there is a reason, I just can’t figure out what it is. They seem to work well for construction equipment, over the road truckers and we even had them (just bigger) inside the exhaust stack on my ship during my Navy time.
Is there an advantage I don’t grasp with a sock you have to put on and take off over something that’s automatic? I’ve used the “flappers” and even a tin can with a rock on farm equipment all my life and never had a problem with water rusting an exhaust.
Obviously you’d want something better looking than a tin can but some of the automatic rain caps are rather nice looking and well made.
I share your curiosity on the topic and, like you, I’m super interested in simple solutions that can be automated. In asking boat builders, why not just put a flap on the exhuast as used in construction equipment, I’m told the noise of the flap touching down at lower engine speeds. If you go to a construction site and watch equipeent that is near idle, you’ll see the exhaust flap is way low and bouncing off the pipe in a distictive clacking/dinging noise. Boats spend a lot of their time at low engine speeds so this is reported to be a problem.
A secondary concern is binding up due to weather and lack of use on a recretional boat. I find myself thinking that the issue of noise and binding up can be solved using thoughtfull engineering and modern composits. For example, a carbon fiber flap would be quiet.
Another approach that is far from perfect but still fairly effective is to angle the pipe out and cut the end such that rain has to be considerably off verticle to go down the pipe. Some will dribble around and this is dealt with by putting 3 cuts in the bottom of the pipe right near the opening so any that does make into the pipe, still leak out. This technique is deployed on Dirona and seems to work fairly well.
My focus then swung around to “is it really needed?” The fact that fisheran and commercial boats use tin cans suggests that it is worth doing but I just did nothing for 4 years and it never accumulated measurable water at the drain and rarely sooted the decks. We’ve seen torential rains and not found anything measureable in the pipe but it’s clear that, in worst case conditions, it would fill the exhuast so we have started to cover the end of the exhaust when the boat sits for a while.
I’m naturally curious so I’ve experimeneted a lot with when it soots and when it doesn’t. Sometimes, when covered, it still drops some soot. Usually when covered, it does not. If run hard for 10 to 30 seconds before stopping and then covered, it almost never leaves any soot. When just covered but not run hard, it’s improved by seems more likely to sooting.
My conclusions: 1) enigineering a flapper that is not annoying would take some work and experimentation but it certainly looks like a solvable problem (sooting is just not a bad enough problem for me to go after it at this point), 2) running hard before stopping to clear the pipes makes a big difference, 3) avoiding rain or condensation in the pipe, makes a very big difference, and 4) there is risk that a monsoon could fill the engine (unlikely given exhaust opening design but the downside is sufficient large that it’s probably worth covering the exhuast).
I have to admit I never thought about the noise when the engine is at idle, and yes I have known them to stick in the open position on equipment that doesn’t get used much.
Soot when burning fossil fuels is always a byproduct of inefficient combustion so your practice of running up the engines is going to deal with that whereas a rain cap or sock will have no effect on that particular problem.
Anyway thanks for the answer.
I can always find your boat by those gray sat domes now. 🙂
You went on anchor for awhile. Can you elaborate on what was up?
I see you are right. Even though we have moved further down the dock, we are still visible in the marina web cam.
We didn’t head out to anchor. Just did a quick loop from the head of the dock to the new position further down. We were scheduled to leave the middle of last week but we are enjoying it here and requested to stay longer and the location for the remainder of our stay is down the dock a ways.
I’ve been scouring your blog to try and see what Dirona’s flybridge instrumentation looks like. I found a reference to a Maretron DSM250 monitor (http://mvdirona.com/2016/09/maretron-n2kview-on-dirona/) but nothing else seems to have been mentioned. I know you use Maxsea a lot for planning and also for displaying ARPA targets (http://mvdirona.com/trips/boston2016/boston1.html?bleat=6%2F12%2F2016%3A+ARPA) and I wonder whether you have a VDU on the flybridge that repeats the Maxsea information, or do you have a flybridge plotter that can switch to a Maxsea view? My reason for asking is that we have to refit our N40 instruments this year and I’m finding it hard to decide what to put on the flybridge.
Hi Michael. Down below in the PH, we run a navigation computer with 2 19″ displays with Maxsea and Furuno MFDBB also with 2 19″ displays. We also have 2 pilots and 2 VHF radios.
Our equipment in the flybridge can be seen here: http://mvdirona.com/blog/content/binary/Dirona_Flybridge_Helm_IMG_3464.web.jpg.
We have a Furuno MFD8 to display the Furuno Chart plotter and RADAR data. We have the DSM250 to show the Maretron NMEA2000 data but we now mostly use an Android system running n2kview and display the same screen up top as we have down below. Up top we have 1 VHF radio and a remote for one of the radios down below so we have two VHFs up top as well. There is a remote head for the autopilot as well and it can control whichever pilot we are currently using. We sometimes use an Android device displaying Google Earth (if there are no charts) or Navionics charts (augmenting the CMAP charts we also use) up top as well.
Generally we only use the flybridge helm for 1) when entering dangerous waters such as uncharted reefs where the visibility from higher up gives a better view into the water, 2) in beautiful areas when we’re sightseeing near to shore such as in Alaska along the glaciers, and 3) on really nice days where we just want to enjoy being outside or even a meal underway up top.
Thanks James. I didn’t know that Furuno Chart Plotters could output their screen displays to non-Furuno screens. That’s not something the Furuno dealer is likely to suggest! But the message seems to be that you can access all your data from the flybridge one way or another, just not in quite the same way as you do in the Pilot House. I guess the DSM250 can only show a fraction of what’s on the 19″ Maretron “Under Way” display your regular readers are familiar with.
Right. The DSM250 can only show 4 data points so it’s only a tiny subset of the data shown on the other display. But I have Android devices running Maretron N2kview that show all the data that is down below and I often just bring this up to be able to show all the same data. We still use and like the Maretron DSM displays. I use a DSM150 to show the 4 tank levels in the engine room when for use when I tranfer fuel. I have a DSM250 on the aft helm and another at the PH. And we have a DSM150 showing inverter and generator draw and some warning lights in the galley.
The Furuno MFDBB is a black box version of the Furuno MFD that displays on standard screens. In our case I have 2 19″ displays showing the Furuno data. For screens we use Lenovo 19″ displays. Up top on the FB we use an MFD8 to display the data directly on a built in Furuno display.
We repeat any one of the 4 screens in the pilot house (2 displaying nav pc data and 2 displaying Furuno MFDBB data) down to the Salon and to the MSR. This allows us to have access to all the PH data in the salon or MSR. Normally this display is repeating the N2kview screen but sometimes it’ll be on chart plotter or RADAR.
Looks like snow coming your way. I was looking back at past posts, most of the voyage has been in nice to exceedingly hot weather. You had some cold days in Baltimore. Is this the first real snow you’ll have on Dirona?
Yes, we have seen snow on Dirona in the past. This one is from back in 2012 and you can see a cat on a nearby boat out exploring the layer of snow: http://mvdirona.com/2012/01/more-snow-and-freezing-rain/
The snow predicted for later today will be the first we have seen on Dirona since 2012.
Hope you made out OK, I see that the weather got really cold there. Love the tour of Charleston that you’ve been on. We were there 18 months ago and had a great time. I’m guessing the Bay Street Biergarten is different in January, when we were there the courtyard was full of people playing games.
We managed to get the Beirgarten while it was stil warm so we ate outside and every table was in use. You wouldn’t do that today though :-).
The original Yorktown was actually sunk during the “Battle of Midway”
This Yorktown in Charleston is safe from sinking. The water line goes up and down as the tide comes in and out which strongly suggests that it’s actually on the bottom at least on lower tides :-).
Well, from your personal tracking I’d say you two cram a lot of sightseeing in on your visits to various towns.
I do hope it’s not really that accurate though, if it is you either walk a lot on the freeway, or drive a lot on the sidewalks. 🙂
Steven, we try hard to walk on the sidewalks and drive on the freeway rather than the opposite but, hey, when in Rome, do as the Romans :-).
The track you were looking at does actually have an explaination. It’s us riding our bikes all over town. The freeway bridge has a 1 lane protected area for pedestrians and bikers so it’s not as dangerous as it looks. Our routes throughout the parks and town were a combination of city streets and walking/riding paths.
Nice shots of the Market Pavilion, which we enjoyed too. Although I was a bit anxious about falling into the pool after a couple of their delicious cocktails.
Yes, totally. We loved the view and ambiance from the Pavillion Bar on top of the Market Pavilion. We felt kind of lucky to even find it. As we were riding our bikes into the downtown area I just happened to look up and notice the roof top resteraunt. Jen’s instant answer was “that’s where I’m going!” We had a great time.
Took a screenshot from the webcam at the dock. Was way bigger then the snapshot you get from that camera.
Hope the new year brings you many more great stories to share.
Keep Floating!! 🙂
Forgot to add the link. ;(
Looks great! Thanks Tim.
What better way to bring in the New Year than cruising! Fantastic. Have a great 2017 James Jennifer and Spitfire and thanks again for letting us share in the journey.
Happy New Year Jamie! We’re not on the dock in Charleston South Carolina and looking forward to starting 2017 exploring the area.
James and Jennifer
Best wishes for 2017 and may you contnue to have calm seas and warm(er) weather!
Looking at the photo of the Maretron display: Why the discepancy of the non-operating wing engine temp, 94.7F and the engine room temp of 91.4F?
Thanks Rod and best wishes for you in 2017 as well. You were asking why the Wing engine is 95F whereas the engine room is only 91F. The snapshot you are looking at was taken at 7:54AM and we left the anchorage at 5:20 this morning. When leaving the wing engine was running to drive the hydraulics to run the anchor windlass. Technically the hydraulics can be run on either the wing or main engines but, when docking, undocking, or lifting/dropping anchor we use the wing engine since the main engine is usually idling under these conditions and won’t be moving enough hydraulic oil for full power hydraulic operation. Running the wing ensures it’s well excercised and tested daily so we know it’ll be there when we need it and, even using it this frequently, we still only put 75 to 150 hours on the wing engine each year so it doesn’t change oil change frequency.
The reason the wing is still warmer than the ER is it was hard at work 2 1/2 hours earlier and was still cooling down. Normally the wing engine is actually a bit colder than the engine room since I measure ER temp right over the main engine at the hottest part of the engine room whereas the wing is right at the air inflow point and it’s usually a few degrees cooler than the rest of the ER.
That was a strong weather system you sat out! We hit it on an eastbound flight from Nassau to London overnight Thursday/Friday – the turbulence was so bad at one stage that the cabin crew had to strap in. Not the worst I’ve known but very bumpy with lots of wind shear.
I don’t doubt it was rough flying over top of that storm system. Even down here at sea level we were seeing gusts to 38 kts. Even though there is close to no fetch in the anchorage, at one point there were 2′ waves rolling through. Big enough that we decided we needed to pick up the tender.
It’s amazing that 12 hours later, we’re out in open water with 10 kts of wind and only a foot or so of swell.
As we get closer to the New Year where did you think you be when the ball falls?
This might be it Timothy: Cape Lookout North Carolina. Current weather reports has the wind kicking up so we’ll likely stay here for a while. Our next destination is Charlestown SC and we plan to start heading there once the weather system works it’s way through. The current report suggests we might be here on New Year eve.
What a cool route you took down there. Some places look only a couple hundred feet wide! Last time you were there you were really active with the tender. Any side trips planned since you will be there a few days?
Yes, the route south was a lot of fun. It’s affectionately known as “the ditch” and it’s both narrow and shallow. We really enjoy river runs and the intercoastal waterway is a lot like a river with lots of changes of scenery and many population centers. I think in the primary season, we probably wouldn’t enjoy all the crowds but it’s great in the off season.
We draw 6’7″ and the ICW is fairly shallow south of here. With care, we could still do it but the combination of having a higher density of bridges that have to be waited on, more traffic, and less depth will probably lead to us heading offshore for the run to Charleston SC.
We probably will do some tender trips while we are here but the weather might not be ideal for it with much of our stay here will be as a weather system traverses the area with winds up around 35 kts at the highest.
Dear Jennifer, James and Spitfire,
Have a lovely Christmas and New Year. Thanks as ever for the wonderful blog. I’m loving the youtube videos of the ICW. Warm regards, Kate
Merry Christmas Kate. I hope you are having a great southern hemisphere summer and using your boat frequently. We’re in much cooler weather but having fun working our way south along the US eastern seaboard.
Congratulations on Tom Slingsby, a Gosford local from your area, having just won the 2016 Sydney Hobart race. Last night, we were “watching” the race and cheering for Perpetual Loyal on a mobile application that showed real time boat position, wind conditions, and boat speeds. Early in the day, Perpetual Loyal was more than 38 minutes behind the leader Wild Oats XI but they had better than halfed the gap by Monday night (where we are) and we were enjoying watching the ebb and flow of the race. It was super close and Perpetual Loyal was running slightly faster and continuing to close on Wild Oats.
I thought there was a problem with the application through which we were viewing the race when the Wild Oats boat Icon turned black and the boat reversed course. 10.8 kts heading away from Hobart. From Twitter, someone said that Wild Oats had withdrawn and later it was announced to be a hydraulic problem with the swing keel ended their race. Perpetual Loyal kept the lead and won the race.
Happy Christmas, may your feasts be a full table of delights and your New Year have flat seas, calm winds and no repairs!
Thanks Foster! We’re enjoying a nice sunny Christmas day anchored in the Alligator River North Carolina. Happy holidays to you as well.
James and Jennifer
Best wishes for the holiday season and 2017
As you know I always enjoy your interactive blog – best on the web – and especially the maintenance and tech issues.
Have a great cruise south to the warmth.
Maybe someday our paths will cross
Thanks for the holiday wishes Rod. We’ve had a great year on the eastern seaboard and we’re starting to plan next year thinking about some more time on the east coast followed by an Atlantic crossing when the weather gets better.
Happy Hoidays to you as well.
Off the Pamlico Sound as you pass Hobucken, if you turn up Bay River there is a nice small town called Vandemere and a good achorage in that area.
Thanks for the suggestion Steve. We might stop there on the way south.
Woops. Great Bridge was the Revolutionary War not Civil War. Expect you’ve gotten other comments on that. Such a minor point on your outstanding contribution to our understanding Geography, History and Current Culture!
Thanks for pointing that out John. We’ve got that fixed.
Happy Holidays to you and Lucy!
Thanks and same to you two too! Did you go see some “blimps” ?? Sometime I will have to tell you the story of their Kuwait experience (from my perspective).
John, I’m amazed you knew that the blimp manufacturer TCOM was in this area but that is exactly what led to us towards this anchorage. We are anchored right in front of the giant TCOM hanger and yesterday where were flying what looked like a small serveilance blimp. As we anchored, they pulled it back to the ground and then later the massive hangler doors opened and the blimp was moved inside. They aren’t doing tours during the holiday season but we did go to shore and walk around some parts of the perimeter of the facility.
“Way back when” the TCOM account for DoD was run out of my organization. Both to U.S. interested parties (like the border patrol) and for FMS (Foreign Military Sales)… Like Kuwait. Perhaps, since their website mentions the events in Kuwait they’ll talk about it during a tour. If not, it would be good discussing over a beer when you get back to the NW.
Their web site talks vaguely about their role in the Kuwait invasion by Iraq. We can sit down over a good NW IPA and talk about it… all good stuff and will only take about 10-15 minutes but I can drag a good story out for a few pints.
Sounds good John — we’ll go for the long version 🙂
Hello again James,
Thinking of your article on St Helena, I thought this article would be of interest to you – Apparently too much wind shear means that commercial flights will be limited (at best):
I’m surprised the wind shear is serious enough that they don’t think they can schedule regular passenger runs. It seems it should be possible to instrument the airport to detect unsafe conditions and fly when it is safe. Continuing on that theme, most tropical weather systems run in diurnal cycles. I would expect early evening and morning to be quite safe.
My guess is the politicians are getting excited before the technologist have really thought through the issue. I’ll be surprised if the situation is as bad as currently described.
The article isn’t very clear (unfortunately a common problem with non-technical writers in technical subjects). From some other articles I read on the issue, it sounds like specific problems are expected with the 737-800 that was bought to replace the mail ship, so it may be plane specific and there may have been a contract requirement to not have limited hours; I suspect something will get worked out eventually.
I’ll bet you are correct and a workable solution will be found.
Got a few pics of the old mail ship this summer flying flags in London. She was tied up alongside the HMS Belfast.
Cool — thanks for sending Jamie. The last time we saw the St. Helena we were anchored off the island the ships gets it’s named from getting ready for our run to Barbados. Apparently they continue to have windshear problems at the new Airport on St. Helena so the ship may yet have to return to it’s old service.
Whats your sail plan? I drove down to St Michaels to see you (closer to me than Baltimore). You left early according to the dock master. Looks like you are doing Reedville. Will you do up the Potomac (highly recommended) or go to Norfolk (also highly recommended!)
Yes, we sailed at 6:50am this morning. Sorry to miss you. Sometimes we are in town for a day and sometimes a month. The only way to be sure is to let us know you are planning to drop by.
We are heading to Norfolk right now and expect to be there late tomorrow. Likely we’ll be in town for 5 nights so, if you are in the area, let us know.
Top Rack Marina just south of you has the best price on fuel.Plus a free slip if eat at the restaurant. Are you heading down the ICW?
We’re in Waterside Marina on the city side of the river and it’s pretty nice. There are about 100 resteraunts in the 5 block region and the view over to the General Dynamics ship yard across river is interesting. And sunrises down river are impressive. So far, we’re loving Norfolk.
Today we’re going to visit the battleship Wisconsin with it’s 9 massive 16″ guns. We’ll spend 5 nights here and then get underway for a slow run down the intercoastal waterway. We normally hate waiting for bridges and don’t love narrow spots but the waterway looks like a trip we need to do at least once.
Apologize if I am not responding to the ‘exact’ thread … either too tired or too incompetent to get to the right ‘topic’. My question is related to your 12/5 post re Time Zero Professional. I am currently in the “build phase” (another manufacturer — KKY) but have an extensive (cannot overemphasize ‘extensive’ here) electronics package. Major systems / subsystems are Furuno. I know you run Furuno and you use Time Zero. Any regrets? Any shortcomings? I guess the alternative system is Rose Point but Time Zero integrates (?) seamlessly with Fururno so hard to go elsewhere. I would appreciate your insights and experience.
We went with TimeZero to get the two way integration with Furuno. The major selling point is that you can buy a single copy of chart data and use it on both Furuno black boxes and TimeZero. We’ve liked TimeZero over the years and just recently upgraded to TZ Pro V3 and have been really impressed. They have done an excellet job. We’re we doing it again, we would probably make the same decision.
I was there Tuesday and it was raining and cold. I see there is more to come. How is Dirona on the runoff lately? No leaks and a clean bilge?
Yeah, it is getting chilly. Two days in a row we have woken up to 30F. It’s nice and warm on the boat and we’re caught up on all maintanence. The bilge has been dry for months and all is running well. It’s time to back cruising! This morning, we’ll get underway again.
I see you have made a couple stops after leaving Baltimore. Are you going to continue to connect the dots going South or do a long haul out of the cold?
We’re set up fairly well for winter boating so we don’t mind the cold that much. In fact, it’s fun to visit places like Annapolis that are busy in the summer but are easy to visit in the winter. Our current plan is to work our way south slowly.
Interesting presentations at the re:Invent conference. Should we now conclude that your time at sea not only provides the necessary escape from the office to think up new ideas but that MV Dirona itself serves its purpose as a handy test bed for some of them (such as IoT software)?
There are deffinite pros and cons to working remotely. There are times when it’s a bit more difficult to make a point or get something started. But, there are many upsides as well. My perspective might be more independent than it used to be. Interfacing with multiple CANbus networks, storing all the boat sensor information in realational database, programming a Raspberry PI for digital I/O were all projects to improve the boat but, as you point out, all those projects help at work as well. I’ve always said that (nearly) every life experience can help at work and some of those are pretty good examples.
Nice presentation at re:Invent, James. Pretty incredible stuff.
Fran and I are within 60 days of leaving the US for an as-yet undetermined period – 3 to 5 years seems about right. Since you’ve been there and done that – what have you done about medical insurance? We’ve looked into several options, all of which have some limitations. Would love to know what you decided on.
Wow, only 60 days until you start the big trip! Exciting.
Because I kept working we ended up not tackling the medical insurance problem. We’ll eventually have to find a good medical insurance solution but haven’t done it yet.
Brian – we are just starting to study this for ourselves in retirement. I have worked and lived outside the US several times and have always used our insurance in some of the remotest parts of the world. The key to seeing a “western” trained doctor (which are surprisingly everywhere) is to present the provider a well accepted insurer. No proof of good coverage and they will be looking for cash, or you may not even be allowed service. I suggest looking at some of the websites tailored to expatriates living aboard to seek information. I keep coming back to CIGNA Global Gold, its pricey, but most of the world recognizes the card when its pulled from your wallet.
After the warmth of Las Vegas are you seeking warmer locales soon?
Watched your speech – great presentation !
We haven’t yet enough time around Baltimore but, you are right Rod, it is starting to feel like it’s time to start heading south.
James just watched both your presentations at RE:Invent. Very nicely done and very informative! I was looking for the announcement of Chef Automate on AWS (I work for Chef) and found your talks first. I’ve followed the blog here since you and Jennifer where in Australia so it was fun to see you shine on another front. Also kinda funny to me I’ve been reading all your boating adventures and until now not run into anything on the professional front nor understood just what you do.
Anyway wanted to drop a line to say hi and keep up the awesome work on both fronts!
Chef is a remarkable company doing great work. I remember meeting with Adam and Jesse back before they founded the company and a few times after that when it was a small team. I love what you folks have produced and it was good to see the announcment of Chef Automoate on AWS at re:Invent. Well done!
Strange as it may seem, on vacation to DC and a quick tour of surrounding areas several years back, I think I took as many pictures of probably just as many totally FUBAR electric service and branch installations as I did of the normal tourist items.
While it’s hard to tell for sure, at least that doesn’t look like line voltage.
It’s hard to believe what some folks will actually do when in a rush. In our last house, I was roto tilling the garden and our phone went out. How can anyone run the phone wire “burried” a couple of inches?
I later learned that the entire block lost their phone service that day. Shhhh!
Two quick questions
1. When changing the O ring on the rear thruster did you have to bleed the system? If so how?
2. Hot Water sytsem: When using the furnace for hot water to heat with is there a circulating pump?
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!
Hi Rod. Surprisingly, the hydraulic system operates under so much pressure that it self bleeds. You can open the system, do service, and when you close it up, it just works. The operating pressure is 3,800 PSI and, at these pressures, it seems to self bleed and it happens so quickly I can’t see any difference in performance in the first few seconds vs minutes or hours later or the previous day. It’s nice not to have to worry about bleeding the system.
The furnace system is composed of a boiler, a circulation pump, and fan units spread througout the boat. The system can be run with or without the boiler with a manual switch to choose the mode. I just switch off the manual switch when underway. I’m told that, even without the manual switch, the engine heats the system sufficiently that the boiler will not turn on when operating in this mode. The primary reason we have a manual switch is we plug the boiler exhuast when under way on longer trips to avoid rough seas flooding the boiler.
Happy Thanksgiving (belated) to you three! Two weeks of turkey sandwiches for sure. I noticed in the N76 sunrise picture how tall the pylons were at the marina. That time was mid-tide so is there that much of a range there?
Happy Thanksgiving Timothy. You are right the piling extend considerably beyond the tidal range. The tidal range in this area is quite small. Over the course of this month, it’s only 2′. However, you really want the pilings WAY above normal tidal range. During a large storm or hurricane, storm surge can lift the dock off the pilings and many Florida marinas have encountered this failure mode. When it happens, most of the boats in the marina end up destroyed. Very high pilings is a sign of a thoughtfully built marina and, if we have a choice, we like the pilings absolutely towering above.
Isabelle came through the Baltimore area when I lived there in 2003 – the surge where I was was 7 feet above normal high tide (20 miles north of Baltimore), so the tall pylons would have made a difference then.
What heating and heat distribution are you using onboard. I assume the reverse cycle AC are inadequate when temperatures are as low as now. I have this question being Danish/Scandinavian with intended sailing all-year (as long as ice permits) and as most of the Nordhavns are specified for higher temperatures than what we have I wonder if you have separate burner and distribution via air or heated water distributed to the individual sections onboard.
Thanks for the updates on maintenance – gives a wonderful insight!
The 5 reverse cycle HVAC systems seem to work down to around 40F. Some report they heat well down below that water temperature but we’ve not had the occaision to try it. The way we operate is essentially three modes: 1) on the hook we operate using an 85k BTU diesel boiler delivery hydronic heat througout the boat, 2) under way we use the hydronic system on waste main engine heat and the boiler doesn’t run, and 3) when at the dock and plugged in we run on the 5 electric HVAC systems ranging from 10k BTU up to 16k BTUs. These units are reverse cycle heating and cooling systems from MarineAir.
We are fairly well equipped for high lattitude cruising and have woken up some mornings with the water surface frozen around us but we stay warm and comfortable.
Thanks for your immediate reply, James.
Which make of diesel boiler/hydronic system are yours? Does it have separate distribution channels or is it using that from the HVAC reverse cycle.
Thks beforehand / Erik
Did you install the boiler after delivery of the boat or was it preinstalled??
The 5 HVAC systems and ducting where installed at the yard. The boiler was installed and commisioned by by Emerald Harbor Marine in seattle immediately after deivery of the boat.
The boiler is an Olympic 85k BTU boiler distributed by Sure Marine in Seattle. This heats water which is circulated to each fan unit that blows warm air into each room. The HVAC system are integral compressor, fan, condensor, and evaporator units produced by Marine air. These blow hot or cold air into each room where they are installed. Neither system has any shared components or systems with the other.
Thks again James, much appreciate your information.
Must do a circumnavigation and include Seattle for an installation…..
Keep warm and enjoy your voyage onwards.
Also thks for your input a couple of months ago on the Maretron monitoring systems.
Looking at the photo of the steering arm set up the arm is above the spherical bearing thus, as you suspect, dropping metal dust from the bolt onto the bearing. Maybe reversing this set up could eliminate such wear in future boats
Back to the present!
It is difficult to see if there is any lubricant on the spherical bearing – if there is this will accelerate the wear of the bushing
In abrasive plants where loose abrasive grain abounds we always ran conveyor rollers with no lubricant at all. It sounds counter intuitive however bearing life was much better with no lubricant.
Just a thought
Rod, I like your suggestion to reverse it and would have done so if there was space. Not being able to do that, took the following steps: 1) slight interference between the arm and the bolt to prevent movement between bolt and steering arm, and 2) a tight washer between the steering arm and the spherical bearing.
I did have lubrication on the old assembly but this one is done up dry as you recommended. Thanks for passing on what you haver learned from operating machinery in highly abrasive environments.
Dirona looks like new again! Our boats will never meet but seeing that 2004 390 Sea Ray along side her is what I would expect. It looks like a late 90’s Sea Ray 400 on the other side too. The 390 is chubby white boot but Dirona makes it look short.
It’s very nice to have the boat clean and shiny again. It’s particularly nice to lose the brown mustache we have been carrying of late.
I just wanted to say what a great photo of Spitfire you took in the “Hold the Boston” post.
Also, as you are from the Pacific Northwest, have you heard about Stephen Roberts? He has ridden across the united states ~3 times on varying custom recumbent trikes, as well building assorted other boats and gadgets.
We haven’t come across the travels of Stephen Roberts. Thanks for pointing out a fellow Pacific Northwest Traveller.
Glad to see Dirona got a nice detail. Sorry to go a little off-topic on your wonderful blog, but can anyone ID that lovely boat with the teak rail on Land and Sea’s Home page?
Those faux plank lines on the hull make me believe it is a Grand Banks Aluetian. I’m not sure which model. A long time ago I moved a 1970 GB that was being sold in Florida and it was wooden. I told the broker that the wooden boat looked the same as a newer fiberglass version of the same model. Not sure of the veracity of his story, but he said that in the 70’s GB switched from wood to fiberglass and didn’t tell the dealers and that is why they the plank look.
Hi Jamie, I’m with the detailing company that worked on Dirona this week. The boat on our website is a 2012 55′ Fleming.
Thanks for chiming in Tom. I am a small business owner and can relate to having that good shot on page 1 – is a must – and that is a GREAT one. Flemming 55 huh. Just spent a little bit looking at them on line. Very nice boats. Oh no! Now Nordhaven 52 has some competition on my short list 🙂 I still think a certain Nordhavn 52 has the best owner blog out there, though 🙂 (weekly follower since NZ)
Looks like you had a chilly morning in Baltimore. Heat pumps work well in warm water making heat that you are in, but not in cold water. What system do you have for being in cold water?
The reverse cycle air conditioning system seems to have no trouble heating the boat down to water temperatures below 40F. Current, it’s chilly in Baltimore but the water temperature is actualy fairly warm at 61F in this fairly shallow 20′ spot in the inner harbor.
Our approach to heating is to use the the 5 HVAC systems each sized between 10k and 16k BTU when at the dock or on generator power and, when not, to use our 85k BTU diesel boiler which can keep the boat toasty warm at any outside temperature we have seen. We have woken in the morning in northern BC with a sheet of ice having formed around the boat but it’s still nice and comfortable inside.
I don’t know what units Dirona has however most heat pumps produced today (or for the last several years) work just fine down to -20F. Being water source, unless they plan to do a trip to the polar regions, I would think they’d work just fine even without auxillary heat.
I would guess the only real necessity for the fuel oil boiler on Dirona would be to cut the house battery or generator load as far as the heating cycle goes.
The advantage of the diesel boiler is it doesn’t require the generator to be running to heat. When underway, the system is heated by waste heat from the main engine without generator operation. When at anchor, the diesel boiler provides the heat again with no generator operation. At the dock with shore power, the boiler isn’t used and we run exclusively on the electric HVAC system.
Interesting enough, it was either yesterday or the day before I had a passing thought concerning what type of filter I would use instead of those washables those units seem to use.
I never did think of anything but it really wasn’t a priority for me to expend much thought on the subject.
Here is a good evaporator coil cleaner:
But if all you are dealing with is dust and “dust bunnies” you could get some copper tube, drill holes in it to allow it to reach those narrow areas and use compressed air from your air compressor. A wet towel thrown over everything traps the flying dust rather well.
The C & D Canal video states it is private so cannot be viewed. 🙁
We’ve fixed that Tim. Thanks for letting us know.
Not to be too picky but the MG Winfield Scott is a U.S. Army tug not a Navy.
Thanks for a Awesome Blog, I love the pictures with captions.
Please let me know if you are coming to D.C., I would love to come down and see you all.
Thanks for the correction–we’ve fixed that. And glad you’re enjoying the blog.
We’ll be in Baltimore for another 3 weeks or so, then plan to work south through Chesapeake Bay. Not sure if/when we’ll get to DC, but would be great to meet you if we do.
Watching the canal video got me wondering, were either of you hand steering or does the auto pilot track well enough to do most of the work?
We went through the canal on autopilot in nav mode steering a previously plotted course. Two or three times through the canal we made manual course adjustments to keep the boat a bit further than the plotted course from shore but, 99% of the time, it was auto-steering.
Our normal approach is only hand steer in close quarters like marinas, passing under bridges, entering locks, or with boats in close proximity and the system spends 99% of the time running on the auto pilot in auto or nav modes. When hand steering, we are using a follow-up lever that essentially just coammnads the auto-pilot to put the rudder at the specific position requested. The follow-up lever is a nice way of hand steering without having to swing the wheel 7 times lock-to-lock. Our wheel is really just there for equipment failures and, in the life of the boat, I think I have only used the wheel 3 or 4 times and never more than a couple of minutes at a time.
I’ve noticed some boats forgo the helm wheel altogether and simply use a follow up lever.
Is your helm wheel tied by hydraulics to your rudder where you could possibly bypass the steering pumps and use brute strength to turn the wheel and thus the rudder or is that pretty much of a bypass and use the “emergency tiller” situation?
As far as equipment failure, auto pilot or charting software would be the only things I can think of for a steering casualty where a helm wheel would do any good.
We had steering failures in the Navy from time to time almost always caused by over zealous helmsmen that where trying to go to either left or right full rudder as quick as possible which if they didn’t reverse the helm quick enough the rams could go all the way in which didn’t leave enough oil on the surface area of the ram to drive it. Then it was get out the chain falls and pull it over enough to get fluid back into the ram to operate.
Additionally the ship I was on was old enough that brute strength would be able to turn the rudder through the hydraulics from the “emergency after steering station” after the pumps were bypassed which thankfully we only did for a short time during drills. One guy on the port and one guy on the starboard chain fall was much quicker and easier but I guess you have to practice everything.
Personally I guess I’m so outdated in my thinking I wouldn’t consider not having a helm wheel but does it really on something like Dirona, serve any purpose that a follow up lever wouldn’t be good for?
Steve, you were asking about the manual steering wheel and if it served any purpose the follow up lever couldn’t do. No, the wheel is just there for redundancy and the follow-up lever is what we normally use in close quarters. The wheel is only there for auto-pilot, control system, or steering pump failure. It is almost never used but I wouldn’t eliminate the wheel. It has been used briefly and having that backup was important at the time.
For background, the wheel is a manual steering pump and it’ll turn the rudder the same whether the auto-pilot or steering pump is running or not. It is a bit heavy but only a bit since it is geared to be 7 turns lock-to-lock to maintain a good mechanical advantage.
Big night tonight. I would imagine that folks are tailgating already over by the stadium. Should be big crowds at Harborplace and the surrounding area before and after the game. You do know who owns that big yacht just north of you?
Yeah, this evening is the Raven’s against the Browns and it’s going to be great for us to be back in an NFL stadium.
Good obsservation on the boat behind us. It is “Winning Drive” owned by the Steve Bisciotti who also happens to own the Ravens. Winning Drive is moved up from Anappolis for Ravens home games.
Happy Belated Birthday Jennifer
You must have felt at home in Salem with your witch related themes from several years.
Hope you and James had a great day.
Always glad to see the boat running!!
Thanks Tim. I loved Salem–it was great to attend a real Halloween celebration after four years away. And I’m a major fireworks fan, so that made the event even better.
Welcome to Baltimore, Hon’s!
Thanks Dave. We’re right down and it looks like a great spot. Nice looking city!
Be careful in downtown Baltimore. It is much different from the other cities you have visited as you have circumnavigated the world.
Thanks for the warning. If there are specific areas to avoid or ones that you feel are safer let us know. We genarlly try to be careful but local knowledge is always appreciated.
I believe the area around the marina is kinda safe. Be careful after dark. The inner harbor is find during the day.
As an aside, if you come 30 miles south to Annapolis you might get a slip at the Annapolis yacht club or you can tie up in ego alley and pay the dockmaster.