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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.
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.
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.
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.
James and Jennifer:
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.
Thanks for the advice Johnson. We’ll take care.
We did look into Annapolis, but the moorage prices were over four times that of Baltimore. And as nice as Annapolis is, there’s more to see and do in downtown Baltimore. We’ve got Ravens tickets for Thursday night, and we’re going to visit the aquarium, the maritime museum and maybe the science center. We’ve got an excellent slip right downtown and last night we walked over to Harbor Place and had a great meal with a view to our marina across the harbor. We’re loving Baltimore so far.
Can you put some prices on your moorage prices please?
We hope to bring our N47 across the pond in a couple of years and will hopefully meander up the east coast in similar manner to yourselves once the Admiral gets her Grandma fix in Florida! I think the moorage fees are considerably higher than what I am used to in Europe, but it would be good to have an idea of just how much! I hear of $10/foot and other exciting amounts!
The US East Coast is, by far, the most expensive moorage we have seen anywhere. I’m sure there are places all over the world that are worse but this is the highest we have come across. Rates on season runs from $2/ft through $6/ft. We have managed to find some less expensive spots partly because we are usually off season and sometimes we just find better value. The marinas that everyone uses are more expensive than the others. Some of the “others” are actually nicer. For example, in Florida we stayed at Soverel Harbor. It’s a better location than many of the more commonly referenced locations and there are restaurants, a shopping mall, grocery stores all a short walk away and yet it was only $2,50/ft on season and $2.00/ft off.
There is also an incredible diversity of rates in the off season where many want the summer rate even when they are empty while others offer excellent rates. In Belfast we were paying just over $1.43/ft while all else in the area was around $2/ft. In Baltimore, we are at $0.50/ft off season and it’s only a bit over $1/ft on season.
Some locations are negotiable especially for longer stays while others won’t budge. It’s worth shopping around. Most locations have far better weekly or monthly rates. I’ve even known people to take a yearly Moorage lease and then only use it for a few months — it just ended up being cheaper.
50′ appears to be magic cut-off where rates are far higher above. In some locations 49′ is half the price per foot of 51′. At 47, you will slip under that line.
Thanks James. Expensive indeed, but obviously worth doing your homework!
Looking forward to doing it, thanks for sharing everything with us all.
Baltimore has a bad reputation, some of it deserved, but much of it not. From what I’ve read about Cape Town, Baltimore seems pretty good so just do your thing. I live just outside the city but I travel through it often, and I am safe, even in the bad areas.
I’ve followed your blog for a year or so, I can’t even remember how I found it. I dont own a boat, but I want to now. I’d love to buy you a beer while your in town.
Thanks Dave. It’s funny but last night we were saying the same thing you did. It is a bit like Cape Town where the core is very tourist friendly and there are few security problems. I suspect both cities have issues even there but reasonable care seems to keep them rare. Away from the well patrolled high tourist area at the inner harbor, risk seems to go up in both cities.
Buy us a beer? That’s a rare one for us to refuse :-). Sure! I’m going through a busy time at work so am more busy than usual during the day but a before dinner visit on most days works well on our end. Drop me a note at email@example.com and we’ll figure out something that fits for you as well.
Are you all settled in and at anchor? Did Dirona do well on this leg?
Yes, we were anchored last night in the Sassafras River. Arrived just before sunset and got to enjoy the sunset from the Cockpit without almost no wind. It was fun watching the aircraft traffic heading into the Baltomore and surrounding airports. There were times when we could see 15 flights in the small section of sky we could see.
Dirona did well on the run south. No issues. The winds were 5 to 10 kts more than we were expecting so it was a bit rougher than we prefer but no big deal. We got underway this morning at 5:45 and are running at 9.5 kts at only 160 hp with very favorable currents. We will arrive into Baltimore in time for lunch.
The weather looks perfect there. You have a nice slip with a view?
The weather is GREAT. I’m hard at work but the view is wonderful downtown and it’s so nice that the pilot house door is wide open. I’m looking forward to a nice relaxing evening at one of the local restaraunts. The Inner Harbor is really working out well.
It looks like you are in a double slip. Neighbors cool? I do not know what a Rusty Scupper is but I hope it has cold beer!
See you are underway. Your location brings back memories of cruising the Vineyard, Newport, Block Island and the sound. Then I look at the calendar and think I would head for Cape May, the Delaware river and the C & D canal.
It’s funny you should say that Andy but you just outlined exactly our plan: Cape May, the Delaware river and the C & D canal. We’ll stop off in Newport RI for a few days to visit KVH and tour the area a bit but, as soon as the weather cooperates, we’ll be back underway for Cape May.
Yay Delaware River / C & D canal, my cruising waters.! I’ll watch for you to sail by, but if you need some local info, drop me a note.
We expect to leave after a morning appointment today so should be underway around lunch time. If the weather cooperates, we’ll head directly to the Cap May and Delaware River area.
Tonight we get the extra hour. Tomorrow it will start getting dark after 5 p.m.
I don’t know how much that control board for your HVAC system runs but if you like to tinker and wanted to replace that compressor relay you could probably end up with a spare for more of an investment in time than money.
Greenwich Electronics was bought out by American Zettler but their relay cross reference shows a match.
Yes, that is the relay. To save this board I would have to replace 2 of the 3 relays on the board but that would likely work.
My theory on what killed these relays was operating the HVAC system on 50hz. The manufacture said it would work fine but the compressor really labored when commming on and I suspect they draw more current when operating in 50hz. I eventually decided it was simply not a good idea to operate the HVAC system on 50 hz and the manufacturer now says the configuration is unsupported so they appear to have arrived at the same conclusion.
When we went to the new power system design, we stopped operating any loads other than chargers on 50 hz. There are many advantages to the new power system design but one of them is the HVAC system now only needs to operate at 60hz: http://mvdirona.com/2014/08/a-more-flexible-power-system-for-dirona/
I kept the failed control board so I could change the relays if I get motivated. I have one more spare control board on the boat so I probably won’t invest the time to fix this one unless I see another fault. Thanks for finding the relay manufacturer.
You are exactly right although almost every motor I see today is rated 50/60 hz, however, if they are equipped with start or run capacitors they are sized on the basis of 60 hz.
So unless you have a soft start VFD motor on a drive, they are going to draw a higher amperage on start. And in the case of a refrigeration compressor anytime the expansion device opens allowing more liquid through changing the load.
That is one thing I never liked about the Nordhavn specs was they used 50 hz equipment but since it’s doubtful I’ll ever own one the point is moot. But if I happen to hit the lottery or (even less likely) convince the wife to let me sell everything and move us on a boat I’d have 60 hz equipment and find away to supply it similar to what you’ve done.
That’s what we did: sold the house, sold the car, got rid of all personal effects that wouldn’t fit on the boat and went cruising.
The HVAC system would run on both 50 or 60 hz but I’m much happier only running it on the design frequency for the system. The only equipment we currently run on different frequency than the original design is our 240V, 50Hz Australia patio heater. 1800 watts of outdoor comfort. It’s perfectly happy running on any frequency.
Anything is possible I suppose.
She was dead set against motorcycles and yet she’s got her own Road King and hangs in there for my normal 15,000 mile yearly average.
15k miles per year is pretty substantial on a motorcycle. Proves, as you said, anything is possible.
I suppose it depends on how you look at it. I know many that ride much more than that however, I know many multiples of that number who ride a lot less. A friend of mine bought a two year old modified street glide after the owner who not to mention any names, happens to be the recently departed head football coach of MU, which was 2 years old and had less than 2000 miles on it.
Since they aren’t used as a primary means of transportation, I have a company service truck for work, and the wife drives her car to work since there really isn’t any place “safe” to park hers during the day, I suppose that means when we do ride them it’s simply for the pleasure derived from the journey.
Looking at it that way yes, 15K a year is a good amount. But then again, you two didn’t get Dirona to keep her tied up to a pier and I’ve never been one to want a piece of machinery tying up space in my garage that I never use.
I agree. Lack of use is a great way to make a boat expensive. They still need maintenance when not used so, if you are only using it 4 weeks a year, it gets ridiculously pricey per hour. Having less and using it more seems to be the best equation.
Looking at the photo of your “stack socket” I’m somewhat confused (I know that’s easy to do).
Other than the green insulation on one wire, it looks to be a common two wire romex without ground. The box a common cut-in with ears and I can’t see enough of the receptacle to tell about it’s configuration.
That isn’t being used for 120 volt service is it?
I believe it is 120V service based on the shape of the outlet (I am assuming it is a GFCI). When I zoom in on the photo, I can just barely make out a white wire between the black and green wires.
I do believe you are right. I had to download the photo to zoom in enough to see it but with 3 wires it makes sense that it could be a GFIC.
Yes, it is a GFIC socket. All 120V outlets whether inside or out are GFIC protected.
James – A few comments on your stack socket work. Loose conductors are always a concern and can lead to hot joints, failures and fire; I suspect you know this. A very important wiring practice that is commonly overlooked is proper strain relief. Cable strain relief should be as close as possible to the wire termination point, ideally at the entry to the socket box and secondary within close proximity to the box. This is even more important if the conductor is solid as there would be little flexibility (hence strain on termination) versus the preferred multi-strand conductor.
Regarding multi-strand versus solid conductor my professional industrial experience is multi-strand is a preferred conductor too solid in mobile equipment applications (boat would qualify). I can’t see from the photo which is the case in your application. If your application is solid conductor I would suggest just a bit of extra care in preventative maintenance with strain relief and periodic checking tightness of conductors.
Also happy to hear you use CFCI. Individuals performing wiring should understand the wiring practices and placement of GFCI type outlets in the overall circuit layout, mistakes can be made which renders the GFCI feature inoperable. I tend to use CFGI breakers for the entire circuit, although costlier.
Thanks for the wiring advice Steve. These are now all torqued down and properly supported.
Years ago we had a loose connection on our 24V DC bus bar at the DC panel. I noticed it because it glowed orange when the inverter was active. Rather than the 15A connection we have at the stack socket, the DC bus bar connection can flow up to 500A and when I saw it glowing would have been around 300 to 400A. I now torque these connections every year. So far, I’ve never seen one change so I may eventually back off the annual torque but a loose connection on the main DC bus bar could become a big problem in a hurry.
Correct, it’s a 120V outlet. Three problems with the installation: 1) the gasket was positioned such that it didn’t seal at the top and ran water in, 2) the foam core of the stack was not sealed off from water intrusion, and 3) the screw connector for the white wire had vibrated loose.
It’s a good thing you are limber and not the least bit claustrophobic. Otherwise they’d have been cutting another access hole in that stack.
You are so right Seven. I actually did end up getting so far into the stack on one side that I couldn’t get back out. The effort it took to push back expanded my chest and wedged me completely. I was deffiniely contemplating new access hatches at that point.
Of interest to boaters is the explosion to remove Ripple Rock, just north of Campbell River BC. Ripple Rock was a fearsome navigational hazard before the explosion destroyed and removed the tops of the rock just 10 feet below the surface
Ripple Rock, British Columbia, Canada
On 5 April 1958 an underwater mountain was levelled by the explosion of 1375 tonnes of Nitramex2H, an ammonium nitrate-based explosive. This was one of the largest non-nuclear planned explosions on record, and the subject of the first CBC live broadcast coast-to-coast.
We have boated north of Campbell River past the remains of Ripple Rock many times over the years. Wonderful area and, yes, that explosion was another massive one in terms of power. The impact of the explosion was very concentrated due to being under water and, of course, there was no loss of life.
Oh glad to see you stopped in New Castle at the Wentworth. You two will love downtown Portsmouth. Try the cellar at the Dolphin Striker on Bow Street for some good music.
There is a king sized weather system comming through so we’ll likely stay in this great location for a week or so. The barometer has fallen 1.5 mb an hour for 48 hours straight. I expect this one will come in big when it arrives.
Thanks for the entertainment trip. We’re looking forward to spending some time in Portsmouth.
Hello – World Travelers. If you go up to Biddeford please take the time to look up their former mayor Wallace Nutting (General, USA Retired). He was my boss – several ranks removed, so to speak, when I was stationed at USREDCOM in Florida. General Nutting was one of the last US Army Cavalry Officers who really knew what cavalry was. He certainly gave this Marine a lot of help (and credit).
It sounds like General Nutting was a real role model. It’s always fun people to meet folks that have been successful and contributed so much to others during their working lives. I’m lucky enough to have had a few of that kind of person to work as well.
We’re currently about an hour drive south of Biddeford in Portsmout and feeling good to be tucked away in here. The barometer has fallen 1.5 mb per hour for 48 hours straight so we will deffinitely see some weather
How do you like the aft camera? The images look very clear! The first rear camera I put on was ok but I just Amazon’d the Raymarine CAM50 so I could use the reverse image feature. You have a video switch/splitter connected to a DVR?
Yes, we are happy with the aft facing camera so far but the real test is how long it lasts in the difficult marine environment. The approch we took is to use our Synology Disk Station DS416 which we run as a RAID6 disk array for all of our data and backups. We run Synology Surveilence Station that runs on the Synology with no charge for the first two cameras. It stores 7 days of camera feed so we can go back and get anything we want later.
The Synology Surveilence Station supports any ONVIF compliant camera. We are using Reolink RLC-410 which are only $75 on Amazon. So far they are working out super well. If they fail early, we can move to any other commodity IP camera but these are rated at IP66 so there is a good chance they will have a respectable lifetime.
Hello James and Jennifer! I haven’t posted for some time – been really busy getting our boat ready to leave FL for the Caribbean, and one of the things we want to replace is the Bruce anchors (or at least one of them) that came on the boat. I’ve looked here on the blog for specifics about your anchor(s), but as you can imagine, searching for “anchor” isn’t all that useful! Have you ever written an article / post about the main anchor you chose for Dirona? Thanks a bunch!
Brian (and Fran says “Hi!”)
Hi Brian and Fran. Glad to here you are making good progress on your boat. For anchor, on our previous boat which was 30,000 lbs, we used a 30 kg (66lb) Bruce with 200′ of chain and 350′ of rope rode. The Bruce performed well and we really liked it.
For our current boat, we thought about using the Bruce but the reports on Rocna’s were so good that we went with a Rocna. Dirona is 110,000 lbs and we use a 70 kg (154lb) Rocna with 500′ of 7/16′ rode. The Rocna even better than the Bruce. Where it really excels is in fast setting.
Both the Bruce and the Rocna have one weakness and that is soft, light silt deep weed. The Rocna is better in both conditions but still has the same issuse. In weed, it will usually cut through and dig in but in realy heavy weed, it can fail to cut through. This has happened only in Tasmania region so it’s pretty rare. The other possible weakness is in very light river silt — this condition has shown up on the Bruce but we have not yet seen it on the Rocna. In this condition, the lack of surface area won’t hold in super light silt.
The solution for both these conditions is an anchor with a sharp end and very high surface area. We use the largest Guardian I can handle by hand and use it in a tandem anchor configuration. About 20′ of chain between the Fortress and Rocna where we are really anchoring on the Fortress and using the Rocna as a kellet. In 8,300 hours, the Rocna has only failed to set a handful of times but, when it does, the high surface area Fortress always hold. They are excellent complements to the Rocna.
Excellent info, as always! Three follow-up questions:
1. “500′ of 7/16 rode” – your rode is all chain, or some chain and some rope, as you say you had on your previous boat?
2. How much of your rode have you ever needed? We have 200′ of chain, but that’s it. As we cruise around the Caribbean, I don’t know that we’ll need more than that – but I suppose we might anchor in more than 30′ from time to time. I want to have enough, but not go crazy.
3. Do you (or anyone else reading this) have any experience, or 2nd hand knowledge, of the effectiveness of the various delta / plow / spade styles, given the same weight as the Rocna? Some of them demo very convincingly, but I was in software – I know the difference between a demo and real life!
We like the flexibility of lots of rode so we are on the high side of what most people use with 550′ on the last boat at 500′ on this one. But, in my opinion, 200′ is way low. You really need at least 300′ and we like having more.
We have 500′ of 7/16 chain on Dirona but, as I said, that is on the high side of what most people would use. We have used all the rode several times. Twice we anchored off Reid Glcier in Alaska which is 146′ and we used all of our rode. Once up in Prince William sound, we put it all out as well. But, we have only had more than 400′ out rarely and are only out past 300′ a few times per year.
We have used a Bruce in the past and like the Rocna more. Many Nordhavn’t come delivered with a CQR and the owners replace them with Rocnas. That’s perhpas the most convincing comparason of Rocna to others that I’ve come across.
What is the maxium rode we could have every used? I don’t know that there is any limit. Large commercial going boats often have 10 shots or more out. That’s 900′. Admittedly, they anchor in deeper water than most recreational boats but I like the freedom that comes with lots of rode We carry 500′ but if you offered us more, we would probably take it. Admittedly, the requency of use that we get for the last 100′ after 400′ is light but we like the option value of being able to anchor in deeper water.
OK, then… looks like we need to add 150′ of 7/16th SS chain to our shopping list! Thanks for the info, as always.
I ended up with 7/16″ by asking for “bigger” than what comes standard on the 47 which is 3/8″ chain. I actually was intending to get 1/2″ but ended up with 7/16″. There is nothing wrong with 7/16″ but, if you do go that route, be aware it’s not as a common a size as 3/8″ and 1/2″. I also noticed you were going with stainless steel chain. Generally, galvanized steel is stronger and far less expensive so is a more common choice. The only downside of galvanized chain is it will eventually need to be regalvanized. On our prevous boat, we galanized at 3 years that application lasted until we sold the boat (7 years). On the current boat, we galvanized at 2 years and, after 4 years, it’s getting close to needing to be done agan.
On Dirona we are using 500′ of galvanized 7/16″ high test chain.
You just installed brakets for your boat. Would you please take a moment and explain the proper way to drill into fiberglass and what you use to anchor the brakets or any brackets into fiberglass on Dirona
The right way to install screws into cored structures is to drill larger or dig out the core and then seal with epoxy, let it dry, and then re-drill and screw into the sealed epoxy structure. The absolute minimum is to drill and screw with 5200 but the warning that goes with that approach is there is a good chance it’ll eventually leak and need rebedding.
Jen, good luck on the surgery. Seems like forever ago but eight months went by fast!
If I ever buy a new boat it would a have a “Wire Highway” down both sides of the boat. I fortunately do not have wires above the ceiling panels like Dirona but having extras prerun would have saved me a lot of time. Heck, even a PVC tube down each side of the boat with junctions would be great. I would say four different colored Cat6 wires, NMEA 2000 with Ts every 2m, three BNCs and a dozen 14 gauge wires down each side would be enough. Right now I itch from cutting new access plates in the side decks!
If I were to do it again, I would not run most of the large conductors that flow throug a boat but instead use small, multi-conductor control cables signalling relays to close higher current connectors close the source. On this approach we could remove 100s if not 1000s of pounds of copper from Dirona.
With NMEA2000, you’ll find you really don’t need that many Tees. We have only 9 locations for Tees: stack, brow, upper dash, lower dash, near the tanks, 2 locations in the ER and 1 in the Laz and it work pretty well.
I agree that large PVC conduits would make life much easier when pulling new wires. Just having ample space would really help. Every wire duct in Dirona is running close to capacity and that makes subsequent pulls more of a challenge. I suppose that we are pretty close to having done all the pulls we need at this point but more capacity is always nice.
Thanks Timothy. It has been a long time since the initial break. I’ve mostly been ignoring the pin and not letting it get in the way of doing things. But it is a little irksome and I’m looking forward to getting it out. Arranging the surgery is also a bit of a hassle when we’re moving so much, and it will be good to have this behind us.
Congrats Jennifer on getting your pin out! That must feel great!
All the best –
Greg and Lisa
Thanks Greg & Lisa. It’s wonderful to have that pin out. The surgery went super-well and I’ve had hardly any post-operative symptoms–no pain and only a little swelling.
Jennifer, congratulations on a successful surgery! Our thoughts were always with you!
James, I do all of my own wiring on my boats (and old cars) and tend to only use relays for large draw items like amps, AC, headlights and fans. I really like the Bosch relays by the way. Mostly though, I wire basic (but clean and tidy) and route how “Blue Sea” recommends by running large power wires to a switch panel (or fuse panel) and then switched wires to the device. I thought about runs of RVV wire to power relays but it decided to just run it simple. My wiring and NMEA is simple compared to the Dirona nervous system. I have six Ts and a power T up top, two by the AC panel and then two down in the engine bay for the fuel sensors. I will add a few more for Fusion Remotes and eventually a gps screen like Dirona in the bedroom. I do not monitor the network or anything complex like you do but I do read you and Jennifer’s programming and software comments over and over again so someday I may understand it! 🙂
Our bus ducts are all full so running new wires is getting to be more of a challenge. If we were to do it again, we would probaby run signal wires and do remote switching rather than the bring the conductor all the way up to the pilot house and then all the way back down to the device being switched.
In the process of changing engine mounts how is the engine ‘supported’ when a mount is removed?
For the front mounts, I put a hydraulic bottle jack under each corner of the engine and changed one mount at a time. On the left rear, it proved impossible to get even this fairly small little jack under the engine, so took a different approach on the rear mounts. For these, I lowered the mount I wanted to change away from the engine leaving it supported by the other three. That approach worked remarkably well.
Once changed I restored the engine to the same location measured using calipers and then loosened the prop shaft and used feeler guages to measure the angle of the engine to the prop shaft. I put it to within 0.001″ of aligned and it’s now noticably smoother than it has even been when we are under way.
Did you happen to take pictures not necessarily of the process, but what you were aligning? I’ve done a fair amount of millwright work over the decades and I’m always interested in seeing what other people are aligning.
We will post the details but the short answer is we unbolt the flange that connects the main engine and transmission assembly to the prop shaft. These two flanges are flat on the inner faces and the bolts run directly through them and pull the shaft up tignt to the transmission output shaft. Using a feeler guage I measure the clearance at the top of this flange and the three other quandrants. The goal is to get the difference between the readings to less than 0.001″ per inch of prop diameter. I use a higher tolerance and aim for no more than 0.001″ overall. The adjustments are made by moving the four engine mount heights up and down or shifting the engine and transmission assembly side-to-side with a goal of getting the engine assembly nearly exactly in the same alignment as the prop shaft. Once that has been achieved, the bolts holding the transmission output shaft to prop shaft are re-secured and the engine mounts are all tighted up with lock nuts installed and the job is done.
I will be interested in your blog
I can understand the vertical alignment, but the side to side is more difficult, especially when I look at the photos of the new engine mounts
Rod, the amount of motion is remarkably small when it comes to side-to-side. The mount basis are slotted to allow some minor side to side motion and remarkably small movements have a massive impact. Just shifting the front of the engine over 1/32″ of an inch has a fairly substantial impact on the alignment of the shaft coupling. The biggest challenge ends up being finding a way to move the 2,000 lb engine and transmission assembly over but trying to minimize the amount that it moves. It takes a fairly large amount of force to shift the engine at all and then, once it moves, it almost always moves too much.
When adjusting height, it’s far easier using the mount studs effectively as screw jacks. But, as the alighnment gets close I was adjusting as little as a 1/2 of a nut flat (1/16th of a turn). Small movements make a big difference. We’ll get some more pictures and a bit more on the process posted.
I generally do final location on heavy objects with bars however when I get something weighing a ton or more I find adjustments, like you’ve mentioned are somewhat difficult mostly because of the “jerk” after applying enough pressure to pick it up and creep it sideways.
If the object can slide which for me since it’s usually on concrete or steel isn’t a problem, I’ve had good results using hydraulic bottle jacks with wooden cribbing to distribute the weight over the surface of what I’m pushing against, when making minute horizontal adjustments.
A 2X6 under a small jack wouldn’t concern me a bit pushing against the fiberglass or cored bulkheads of Dirona, cast iron or steel sliding on fiberglass is something I’d have to think about though. But you aren’t moving it much and from the pictures I’ve seen, the dynamic load of the metal engine mounts sitting on fiberglass don’t seem to bother it any.
Thanks for the suggestion to use a bottle jack Steve. We do have a hydraulic jack on board but it’s hard to find clearance for even a small bottle jack between the stringers and engine so I end up using a large pry bar to gently shift the engine/transmission assembly over when needed. It’s the composite engine mount base sliding on fiberglass so friction is minimal.
Hello Jennifer and James, and welcome to Penobscot Bay
This may be the wrong place to ask, but I’m wondering if I could visit Dirona and interview you about the electronics you’re using. I could come to Belfast most any time, but perhaps you’ll be stopping in Camden where I live?
Regards, Ben Ellison ( ben @ panbo.com )
That sounds like fun Ben. We are looking forward to meeting you. I’ll contact you on the visit timing.
James – I read in your “Low Tide” piece this morning how you learned of the lowest tide level from queries of the Maretron data you capture and store in a database. I’ve read in some of your earlier pieces that you do this, however I’ve not read any particular details of how this is done. Is capturing and logging this data within the realm of capability of the regular user? I’m not seeking lots of detail, just opinion of accessibility of these types of tools to the regular user. Thanks!
When we implemented the support to log all NMEA 2000 data in a database, there were no comercial products doing this so we had to hand code it which, for many people, is probably more work that it’s worth.
We love support to log everything and there are now commercially available optiont that make doing this easy. Maretron has the VDR100 which is an excellent implementation with good support: http://www.maretron.com/products/vdr100.php. Having all the data frequenly comes in handy and it’s now pretty easy to do.
I see that the standard engine for the N52 is now the John Deere 6068AFM75 266HP
This I believe is a different engine from the original specs.
Did you have any input into N’s decision to use the larger engine?
Perhaps a bit of influence but the decision to move to the same engine we use came from the Tier III emission requirements. The Lugger isn’t Tier III certified so Nordhavn had to move to a different engine. The Deere has the advantage of being the same block and basic foot print and it’s well understood since it was used on Dirona. Before reading your comment, I didn’t know they had gone with the M2 engine rated at 266 hp rather than going with the M1 rated at 231 HP given These are externally identical engines so eitehr can be used interchangably. The decision to go M2 might be partly influenced by the results of using this engine in Dirona being good.
The 6068AFM75 M2 engine used in Dirona is a tier II power plant. I suspect the standard engine on the N52 is probably the Tier III 6068AFM85. The tier II engine remains available, but for those applicaitons requiring Tier III, Deere has the 6068AFM85. Largely the same engine with the same HP ratings but the Tier III engine gives up quite a bit in fuel economy over the Tier II engine.
Hello – I can confirm the current N52 power plant specification is the Deere 6060AFM85 as per Nordhavn specifications dated 26Jan2016 which I received from them just last week. As James indicates it is compliant with U.S. EPA Marine Tier III emissions regulations & International Maritime Organization (IMO) Tier II emissions regulations. While the specification does not indicate M2 designation, the listed bhp suggests that it is.
My wife and I are currently evaluating N47-52-55 for our future and weighing the virtues of new versus previously owned. Obviously the N52 is the only one of the three available new. From you experience James I’m sure you are happy with your power plant selection, however assuming you have been on an N52 with the original smaller plant, would you share your thoughts of performance differential? This would be helpful in our studies. I’ve read some of your easier papers on this topic and found them quite informative.
With displacement boats of similar hull designs, it really comes down to hp per 1,000 lbs displacement. Here’s an article that shows this metric for various Nordhavns: http://mvdirona.com/2009/09/engine-brand-choice/
Here’s the key data from that article:
• N40: 3.30 (50,000 lb @ 165 HP)
• N43: 2.75 (60,000 lb @ 165 HP)
• N43: 1.75 (60,000 lb @ 105 HP original engine)
• N46: 1.75 (60,000 lb FD @ 105 HP)
• N47: 1.94 (85,000 lb FD @ 165 HP)
• N50: 3.75 (80,000 lb FD @ 300 HP)
• N55: 2.66 (124,500 lb FD @ 330 HP)
• N57: 2.66 (122,000 lb FD @ 325 HP)
• N62: 2.19 (155,000 lb FD @ 340 HP)
Dirona is speced to be 90,000 lbs and it has 266 hps so the ratio is 2.95. Just about all boats are heavier the the manufacturer spec when in use but, to keep the data comparable, I stuck with the manufacturer specified displacement. We never operate the engine above it’s max continuous rating of 231 hp so, using that hp figure, it comes in at 2.6 which is pretty much identical to the 55 and 57.
I suppose we might use the full 266hp if we grounded the boat or in especially unusual circumstances but 231 seems pretty good. We particularily like being able to run at 231hp 24×7 for as long as we like.
Hello James & Jennifer
I know you have not been back in tropical waters of late but can you give any kind of update or information about how well the keep coolers are doing at this point in time? Have you checked to see if any growth/buildup has occurred? Maybe too soon to answer this but does it appear that painting the coolers along with the bottom may be the way to go for those pondering this? Also it seems at least that even upgrading to a larger cooler then speced may give positive results as well?
It’s so cool up this far north that we haven’t really given the cooling systems a good test. The engine room cooling system is delivering a reliable 30F deltaT and, when running slowly without much power draw, we have seen it drop down to as low as 22F deltaT. I’ve gone down to the engine room at times and found it to be barely warm.
The same is true of the keel cooler. When we left the yard in Florida we proved we could run sustained wide open throttle in warm water with cooling to spare. But we have been in cold water since — even here on the dock in only 8′, it’s 60F. We haven’t yet tested wide open throttle in warm water with keel cooler that hasn’t been recently cleaned.
The bottom paint we selected and applied in Florida is Pettit Vivid. It’s about 4 months since application and, since that time we have operated mostly in cold water and with the boat moving most of the time. Right now, the boat bottom could use a scrub by the look of it at the water line. I don’t know what it’s like further down but, if I was forced to make a call today, I would say the anti-fouling paint is doing OK but not as well as the Jotun Seaforce 30 we had applied in New Zealand 3 years back. We’ll know more when we next see warm water and it’s hard to know when that will be. Even though we have woken up to as cool as 45F, the boat is well heated and comfortable and we’re not feeling a super strong pull to warmer climates.
James. In the PNW, over the last decade, I have used both Vivid and Vivid Free. Have not been happy with either. Mostly growth on waterline. Switched to their Hydracoat, no success there. Petit repainted bottom at their expense. Currently using Petit Horizon, and find it acceptable. Painting was done by pros, so application was not an issue. My 2 cents. Enjoying your travels, thks.
Hmmm, that’s disappointing to hear. We’ll know more once we have scrubbed the bottom once and see how long that lasts but our early results and your experience suggests we may not get to our target 2 1/2 years between bottom paint applications.
The picture of the Amazon boxes is cute. It looks like you ordered another cat in the top box! It is provably one of the only things Amazon does not carry 😉 I know I would NOT be able to outfit our boat without Amazon. Replacement Whale and shower parts, a new helm seat, Perko and Southco latches, tinned wiring, hole saws, 3M sealant, dock lines, Garmin cables, Canbus data converter, LED lighting and ProMariner charger just to name more than a few.
How is your carpet still so clean?
Yes, same with us. Amazon Prime saves us a massive amount of time.
Thanks for pointing out that one box had a black tail. I hadn’t noticed it but not a total surprise. If anything new shows up on the boat, Spitfire has to immediately inspect it.
We are going to be in Bangor tomorrow night (Mon Oct 3). So close, so far.
The amazing Acadia National Park is only an hour away from Bangor and strongly recommended. And, if you do decide to go visit Acadia, we’re on the route to get to park or back. You should visit. We would love to buy you both dinner and catch up. Acadia is beautiful especially this time of year as the leaves are just starting to turn :-).
Yes, we have done Bar Harbor/Acadia. We are enroute from Nova Scotia to Vermont. Do you have Gord’s email?
Yes, if the Jacobs Consultancy address is still current, I have it. I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a mechanic I would have thought SnapOn would be your preferred brand of tools.
I guess for one or two times usage cheaper i.e. Chinese suffice!!!
Looking forward to your blog on changing engine mounts and engine/shaft alignment
I just love Snap-On and came very close to using them exclusively when I was an automotive mechanic. It makes a ton of sense to have the best when you using them all day 5 days a week. But, on Dirona, these tools will only get used a handful of times.
I need them on board to be able to keep the boat operational but I will likely use many of those tools only 2 or 3 times. Some perhaps never. So spending 5x to 10x more for professional tools doesn’t seem like good value.
Do you find that there is a mixture of SAE and metric nuts and bolts on Dirona and the choice between them when you start a job is trial and error.
We have a lot more metric than SAE but lots of both. For example, the ABT hydraulic fittings, connections, and anthing fabricated are SAE but the hydraulic componets are mostly metric. Knowing the country of origin of the part normally tells you what to expect so it’s not really a problem. All that is new for me is the size of some of the gear requires some unusually large wrenches and sockets and some of the torques are extraorginary. For example, the crankshaft nose bolt is torqued to 671 ft lbs. That is pushing suprisingly hard even with a 4′ long extension.
Technology is Grand! I’ve been watching your passage from Nova Scotia to Maine over the last day. When I understood where you were heading from the coordinates provided, I found the marina I suspected you were headed to. Their website had a webcam. Then understanding from all the data posted from your tracking posts it could be seen you’d be arriving sometime after 14h00. I opened the webcam shortly after 14h00 and there you were motoring into the marina. How cool!!
Cool. Web cams seem to popping up all over. We got pictures sent to us from Peggys Cove light house within 20 minutes of us passing.
From the web cam, you’ll know that we picked up a load of diesel. This is our first fueling since Boston. It’s great to be able to be out using the boat daily for 2 months, running the generator, or engine every day and still be able to go 2 months between fuelings. Admittedly, we were starting to get fairly low on fuel needing 1,490 gallons.
Cutting it rather close weren’t you James?
The specs for a 52 show 1740 as fuel capacity (which of course could be plus or minus).
I realize you were probably keeping an eye on where to zip in and take on fuel if needed but I also figure depending on how much you could throttle back my Road Glide would have gone farther on a tank than Dirona could with what she had left.
It’s a good thing you monitor things so close through that Marethon system, I’ve have been freaking out.
You are right that it gets uncomfortable when dropping down below 400 gallons but I remind myself that 400 gallons is nearly twice the fuel capacity of our first boat and is nearly 1/4 of the capacity of this one. It’s really not THAT low. And it’s important that we be confident in our systems and have many redundant checks on fuel levels since, when crossing oceans, we will routine aim to finish the trip with only 10% reserve which is 175 gallons remaining. At the end of this run we had 250 gallons left so it’s more than we would expect to have after a long run at sea.
We have 3 redundant checks: 1) the sight gauges on the side of the tanks showing fuel level, 2) the Maretron FPM100 fuel level sensors which are are primary measures, and 3) the engine ECU fuel consumed data point. Between them all, we have a lot of data and when we fill it’s normal that our measures be within 2 to 3% and its usually closer to 0.
Over time we have developed confidence in the system but I fully admit to there always being a chance we will get it wrong and it still has my attention when we are running at lower fuel levels. By the way, the savings in filling up in Maine rather than Nova Scotia was just over $3,000. Just this one trip paid for the cost of the fuel measuring sensors many times over.
I looked up average fuel costs between Nova Scotia and Maine so I knew there was a possible significant advantage to fueling in the U.S. additionally, I got to thinking I was off on my calculations and you had as much as twice the range I initially figured which running the coast meant as you say it wasn’t THAT low.
I simply tend to start considering fuel when I draw a tank down to 25%, and in the winter around here I keep things full.
It’s a big advantage when you know your tanks are clean and with your filtration system what you get is going to be good. And confidence in your measuring devices certainly helps.
Without your experience and confidence in Dirona’s systems, I’d have still been worried myself.
Even so, from your posts the experience would have more than outweighed any concerns. Sounds like it was an extremely good time.
I 100% agree. As the fuel levels drop below 1/4, we pay much more attention. There are times like when doign a long crossing when it needs to happen but you are right it can make one nervous. In this case it didn’t need to happen but fuel at half the price made it a fairly interesting option from my perspective.
By the way, I installed the manually resetable dryer over temperature switch that you recommended earlier today. It works like a champ and, if it ever does trigger due to vent plugging, it can be reset by removing the back panel on the wet locker and reaching in the pushing the reset button on the fuse. Nice solution — thanks for the recommendation.
Cool I’m glad it worked for you and, if you like Chinese food make sure you grab the chopsticks. They make real “wooden dowels” to reset those types of switches.
Slow going due to the current and head wind?
Our current slow progress is due to a couple of knot current against us and our wanting to fuel when we get in. Because the fuel dock only has 6′ of water at low tide, we need to arrive a bit later to have ample water. We are aiming for 2:30pm and setting speed to achieve that schedule.
We last fueled in Boston nearly 2 months and 290 engine hours back so we are running fairly light with 336 gallons left on board in all four tanks. We’re driving to schedule right now and aiming for the harbor entrance at 2:30 and the fuel dock shortly thereafter.
Very cool to be back in the US. Two months is a long time between fueling for Dirona. Filters changed quite a bit?
Yes we did change the main engine primary fuel filter while up in Canada. It was last changed 6 months ago back in Florida so it went 414 hrs. Normally primary fuel filters run a couple of diesel tank fills but it varies between a low of 180 hrs to a high of 1,000 hrs. I change primary filters when vacuum starts to rise past 5″ of mercury, 1 year, or a 1,000 hrs whichever comes first. With the number of hours we run, the primaries are almost always changed on vacuum rather than hours or time.
In our fuel system design, the primary filters do the vast majority of the work. The 10 micron secondary filter and the 2 micron tertiary filter are changed on time. All fuel has been filtered at least twice before getting to the two on engine fuel filters so they only see fairly clean fuel.
Have you ever opened up the 10 micron secondary filter to see how much debris it’s picked up? I’m going to assume they have vacuum gauges on them, do you see any changes? I have a similar fuel setup and don’t see any swing on the secondary and when I pull them apart I can’t see any crud. But then I only do about 1000 gallons a year through them.
For on-engine filtration, we have a 10 micron followed by a 2 micron. I’ve never opened up the 2 micron filters but the 10s are easy to see. They catch nothing visible but are stained black so they are catching asphaltenes and other small stuff.
The on-engine filters do not have vcacuum guages (and 3rd stage filter is after the low pressure fuel pump so won’t ever show vacuum). The only signal that these need changing other than time is an ECU code complaining about out of spec pressures. It’s never happened but we have all fuel filtered twice (25 micron and 2 micron) before the first of the two on-engine filters even see it.
Good evening Jennifer and James
This is Sebastien, we have met you today in Halifax with Yvan my father and brother Frederik. We have enjoy meeting you, and would like to thank you for taking time to talk with us today. Thank you also for signing the book. I have read completely. It is a wonderful book. We are looking forward to stay in touch with you. And seeing you again.
Thanks for the visit yesterday and for the beautiful pen. We are underway to Lunenburg this morning in a gentle swell but with heavy fog. If the fog clears, we’ll stop and have a look at Peggy’s Cove and, if it doesn’t, we’ll just head directly to Lunenburg.
All the best on your boating adventures and we hope our paths cross again in the future.
While in Lunenberg, you may want to stop by Knickles ( red building} and pick up scallops fresh if one of their boats are in or fresh fresh frozen for your ships freezer, both are excellent. Bring cash as credit cards are not accepted. There is /was a n68 in port.
Yes, when we arrived we had a 134′ Scalloper beside on one side and the Nordhavn on the other. Knickles is just one pier over. The Nordhavn left last night to be replaced by a sailboat that, interestingly, also shows Seattle as a home port. In front of the Scalloper beside us is the Paul Johansen, a boat we used to see frequently when achoring in the Seattle area. So, there are three Seattle boats on 2 side-by-side piers.
The retail store is on Montague St, to the right of your dock . I looked over your boat this am , it looks well found and is attractive..
Thanks Peter. Feel free to drop by if you find yourself with some timme while we are in area.
What device do you use to record your personal tracks? You obviously carry it on your hikes as well as while in the tender. Just curious.
For tracking on hikes and other trips without Dirona we use an Android cell phone running Google My Tracks (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/MyTracks). For some reaason, Google recently stopped supporting My Tracks and it’s no longer available for download from the Play store.There are a large number of fitness focused apps available and we tested quite a few after Google announced the termination of My Tracks. Surprisingly, even the commercial apps weren’t that great. We ended up starting from an earlier version of My Tracks that had been released as open source. We built and made some fixes to it and that’s what we are currently using to record the personal tracks.
It’s hard to tell much about the water from the picture however, there is a crane on a barge I’ve seen along the Missouri River that could easily reach that far with that caboose.
Or they could have set it with a helicopter.
I use to wonder the same thing as most of the small railroad towns we ride through seem to have a caboose sitting in the middle of nowhere.
One farmer told me he set his by dragging it with a 1948 8N Ford tractor.
For sure, there are many barge hosted cranes with sufficient reach to get there from the water but there isn’t sufficient depth for a barge near to shore in that area. The Helicopter solution can lift up to 20,000 lbs but I think a rail caboose is closer to double that at 25 tons. I don’t know of a helicopter with the lift capacity. I suspect the person you met that dragged the caboose in via tractor was probably closest to the solution employed here. I’m guessing hard work, creativity, and patience were a big part of the solution.
J & J:
I did many pub crawls around Auckland in my student days, many years ago.
However your world wide pub crawl cruise is one for the books.
That’s great Rod and you are surprisingly close to the mark. If we had to boil it all down to a single sentance, the entire trip goal might be well best described by “pubs and views.”
So far what are your top three brews?
Hopefully one is from NZ
Speaking of views did you hike to the top of Rangitoto Island while in AUuckland?
We absolutely climbed Rangitoto while we were in Auckland: http://mvdirona.com/Trips/NewZealand2013/NewZealand2.html
It’s a great hike and the views back to Auckland are impressive.
For favorite beer, Jennifer’s is Kilkenny’s which, unfortunately isn’t local to New Zealand. However, as a sign of a highly civilized country, New Zealand grocery stores do sell it.
I am curious as to how long you have been using the Maretron system on your boat?
Are these failures of the sensors expected or unexpected based on time used?
At least to me it seems you have had a rash of sensors going bad so just wondering if this is from wear and tear or something deeper.
Tim, I’m pretty sure there has only been one Maretron device issue over the last 6 months and that was a recently discovered DSM250 that started producing bus errors. The other data related problems were a loose connection in the NMEA2000 bus cusing spurious noise which was a simple fix not requiring device replacement. We also replaced a Northern Lights generator oil pressure sensor.
The Maretron components seem to be quite stable and we’re generally pretty happy with it.
A quick update. When I reported earlier that I had only had one Maretron device failure in the last 6 months, it looks like that one failure should actually zero. I took out the “faulty” DSM250 today that was producing all the bus errors and it tested out fine. The problem cause was a poorly fabricated field installable cable between the main bus and the DSM250 producing the errors.
That is two connection problems in the last 6 months. One a loose knurled connection between a Tee fitting and the power lower inserter and the other was this bad drop cable. Good news across the board.
In your photo you are showing the the hydrualic oil leak to a weeping O-ring repair. I notice there are 3 one gallon antifreeze or coolant containers… would it be a concern that perhaps where these gallon jugs are stored could be punctured from the surrounding sharp edges or hose connections. I ask because I am always on the look out for potential problems. ex: why is there coolant in the bilge pump
Yes, you are right Gregg. I have in the past had leaks of almost every stored liquid. Causes range from using excessively thin plastic containers, old containers where the plastic is getting more brittle, placing them on uneven surfaces where the point loads are excessive, and abrasion from nearby equipment interfering with vibration. It took a few faults in the first couple of years to find those places where things were right but it’s been pretty good for the last few years.
These decisions are a bit of a ballancing act in that it’s a small boat and we like to carry a lot of fluids and spares so we need to use spaces that are small and perhaps not ideal. Choosing good locations and using strong containers goes a long way to eliminating the problem but boats in rough water can take a real beating so there will be leaks. That’s why we keep the bilge dry. If there is a leak, we can see what it is right away and eliminiate the problem quickly.
This is also why we find super tiny hydraulic or other leaks that have not yet made a mess or caused any operational problem. Even trace residues are noticed so, for example, the last O-ring we replaced hadn’t leaked more than a couple of ounces before being detected and fixed.
When it comes to leaks, fixing early is cleaner, less likely to lead to equipment failures, and way less work to clean up.
Hi, is anybody else having difficulty viewing the map? I had access for the last week or so, however the last two days I keep getting a “Loading Map….” in-place of the map.
James and Jennifer we really enjoy your site, get technical as well as travel log. Keep up the great work!….and most important enjoy!
Thanks for letting us know Steve. We found an issue that showed up in specific browsers and just uploaded a fix. Could you please refresh the page and let us know if you still see the issue?
Thanks Jennifer, your fix was successful, I can now see the map again. Thanks!
Excellent. Glad to hear it Steve.
No pictures of Dirona and Theodore Tugboat?
Even better, here is live footage of Dirona between Theodore Tugboat and the HMCS Sackville, with CSS Acadia on the other side of Theodore: http://www.novascotiawebcams.com/en/webcams/museum-wharves/
Excellent parking spot. Saw it on Dreamers. Hope to see a few high-res pictures later. How are you getting up on the dock? Is there a lower not visible on the camera? Hope your shoulder is better!
You can’t see it from the camera view, but we’re tied off to a floating dock similar to Theodore, with a ramp up to the wharf that is not visible on the right of the shot.
It’s an awesome spot right downtown. We walked to the Historic Properties last night and had dinner along the waterfront while watching the ferries go back and forth to Dartmouth. Then we walked to the commercial port along the waterfront boardwalk, stopped in at a local brewpub and finished the evening on the flybridge. Halifax is a very cool city.
We’ll post some higher-res pictures soon. And my shoulder is doing well, thanks for asking. I still have the annoying pin to deal with, but no pain or nerve issues.
PS the formatting was lost!!
Thanks Rod. Both you and Steven have helped me better understand what exactly a #30 mesh is. I’m still thinking this one through so appreciate the additional data.
I looked at the specs for those strainers and the wire mesh screens are most likely standard mesh screens
Mesh Size (assuming square mesh) 30 40 50
Opening size (inch) 0.0234 0.0165 0.0117
Nominal wire diameter mm 0.39 0.29 0.45
% open area 30 31.40 20.35
Assuming you opted for 30 mesh, depending on the diameter of the wire used to weave the screen % open area changes
Wire Diameter % Open area
0.381 mm 30.1
0.191 mm 59.9
The strainer manufacturer should be able to give you the % open area
Hope this helps
PS I spent 40 years in the abrasive industry where screens are intrinsic to the abrasive grain sizing process
Sherewink looks a little shallow. Where ya’ going?
Yes, that was a very shallow passage and, at some points, the buoy placement and channel routing are very different from our charts. Now that we are out in open ocean, the wind is on the bow and the swell is bigger than expected so we will likely tuck in soon. Perhaps Port Howe.
Would make sense to add a strainer or coarse filter in-line after impellers so that when they do fail, it would be quicker and easier to find and remove the debris? Maybe just raw water impellers since they have a higher chance of obstructions which could cause impeller failure.
Good suggestion Andrew. Currently there is a “strainer” of sorts. They heat exchanger captures any impeller parts but, to open it up, requires draining the coolant out of the system. Having a strainer inline ahead of the heat exchanger would be a nice setup. Even nicer for the hydraulic system where the heat exchanger is far more difficult to access and clean. Because the heat exchanger in either case will be partially blocked by broken impeller fins, it’s important to invventory the impeller that is being removed and, if any parts are missing, to find and remove them.
If I can find any small in-line 3/4″ strainers that are robust (since this is a below the water line application), I’ll give it a try. Thanks!
Depends on what you mean by “Robust” James,
You could also search for Zurn Strainers.
Those look super strong but the screens look fine enough and small enough that I would worry about flow reduction since we don’t have 10s of PSI of water pressure helping us in this case. I like the idea though. This strainer is much courser screen so less likely to plug and it has much more surface area to cut down on the flow reduction: https://www.amazon.com/Female-Water-Strainer-stainless-screen/dp/B00BGBZC0K/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1441801204&sr=8-7&keywords=vacmotion
The dowside of this unit is it’s nylon ratehr than metal but nylon is fairly durable and used in some below the waterline through hull applications.
You know what you are trying to strain better than I do, if you’ve found something that will work go for it.
I just want to point out since you appear hesitant about using nylon, that you can get different screen options. The size of these strainers of course will always limit you on surface area however, how big do the impellor particles have to be before they are an issue? Is that all you are trying to catch?
Of course it would be nice to catch everything however, is a particle the size of a grain of sand really going to cause an issue especially since they appear to be something other than metal?
I randomly picked the spec sheet for one of the strainers. Scroll down and look at the screen options. The standard #20 (twenty strands per inch) is larger than a #50 (fifty strands per inch). There are also options for perforated cages.
If you where planning a hydronic system with hundreds if not thousands of feet of pipe and circulating pumps on a VFD, pressure drop across a particular fitting would be a consideration. On Dirona I can’t imagine you’d see a difference.
I’ve been wrong before though.
Forgot to include the link
Thanks Steven. I like the Watts parts because they are bronze rather than plastic. My only concern is the relatively small screen surface area on these units. These raw water pumps move large volumes of water but don’t produce much pressure so back pressure is a problem.
For this application more screen area would be helpful. And, as you guessed, I really only need to block debris down to 1/4″ or so so very course screens down around 10 strands per inch would be fine. The standard 20 strands would probably also be fine but I think I need fairly substantial screen surface area to avoid risk of plugging or back pressure causing the pump impeller to fail earlier.
Thanks as alwasy for your suggestions.
Well, if you have room for a scoop strainer and really want bronze take a look at these.
I don’t know if it would make much difference since the scoop is still made of some type of plastic. They are however intended for marine raw water applications.
What you’ve already picked seems to be just as good to me though.
I saw a lot in interesting stuff (to me anyway) in their catalog.
As always, very helpful Steven. I’m actually comming around to your original recommendation to use the Watts LF777 with a #20 screen. Apparently my earlier posting that these vane pumps are not able to produce much pressure was incorrect and they can do upwards of 40 PSI (from Bob Senter of Northern Lights). Still, even with the ability to produce pressure, back pressure is worth avoiding since it can lead to early impeller failure.
The more I think through the options and the more advice I get, the more I like the metal Watts for it’s vibration and heat stability and it’s ease of service. A #20 screen is all we need and it’s quite coarse so back pressure is less of a concern.
You also sent some other strainer possibilities including the Groco ARG strainer. That is what is on the intake to protect the pump. There are is one big strainer for each of HVAC, Generator, Wing Engine, Hydraulics, and water maker. All the other systems except the water maker need no further filtration. What we are contemplating here is putting a course strainer after the circulation pump on the gen, wing, and hydraulic system to catch failed pump impeller parts when one fails. All three of these systems use 3/4″ hoses so the 3/4″ Watts LF777 with a #20 strainer might just solve the problem. I leaning towards giving it a try. Thanks for the design help.
On the raw pump impeller did you replace the rubber o ring or clean it up and reuse also how would you clean up the mating surfaces? Would you use a fine scotch brite pad?
I usuall remove the O-ring, clean it, lube it with Silicon and while I do that I will have felt it all the way around. If I find any nicks or imperfections, I replace it. I usually clean the the face with fine emery cloth. Your suggestion of Scotch Bright pads is a far better solution.
This time I just slapped in another impeller and didn’t clean up the surface or even check the O-Ring since I just replaced the impeller 2 monnths ago and everthing has been recently cleaned and looks good.
James, Jennifer and Spitfire,
We are three weeks out from our N40 Due North trip leaving from Vancouver. Any destinations within a 100 miles or so you would recommend? We have six days total. Any advice would be appreciated!
There is a lot of really great cruising in that area. You could go North to Desolation sound but it’s tight in 6 days. Princess Luisa inlet is incredible but it’s a fair distance as well and it’ll be crowded and will require stern tieing. The Sunshine Coast is much nearer and very nice but I think the best trip for your timeframe is to cross the straight of Georgia which will give you some time in open water to get a feel for the boat. Then you have go through the Gabriolla passage. Anchor in Silva Bay — perhaps head in for dinner at the pub. You have to time the currents in Gabriolla passage. Another option is to go across to the Nanaimo and visit there and then head south down through Dodd Narrows. Again you need to time the current correctly.
Whichever passage you elect to cross, you are then in the Gulf Islands with an amazing variety of places to visit and anchor. Pick up a copy of the Wagonner Cruising guide to get a view of all the great locations. Some to look for: Montague Harbour, Prevost Island, Ganges Harbor, Thetus Island, Pirates Cove, and Silva Bay. You could spend months in that area and still be enjoying it. Have fun!
On the sunshine coast side are three good destinations – easy to reach – a) Pender Harbor (John Henry’s), b) Secret Cove and, c) Back Eddy Marina to walk over to Sechelt Rapids. This summer we took a brief side trip into Desolation but blew past the normal anchorages (and crowds) to visit the newly refurbished docks at Toba Inlet Marina. Wonderful cruising, no crowds and relatively close. Without going that far north we really do like Silva Bay. The anchorage has had derelicts cleaned out but anchoring is still tight during high season. We like Pages Resort for the new docks there and easy walk to the Pub. Gabriola Passage always seems much easier than Dodd Narrows. Less traffic and a clear shot (no blind corners).
James mentions Prevost Island – 4 different bays of varying natures. We like the solitude of Annette Cove there.
Thank you both. I just got the 2016 Cruising Guide as you recommended so I will have to read up on some locations! Rob mentioned the Gulf Islands and with only six days we will probably stay around there.
Good plan Timothy. Have a great time in the Gulf Islands. It’ll be a good chance to enjoy one of the nicest cruising grounds in the world while learning about True North specifically and Nordhavn’s in general.
Another big Oops:
This is a video of damage the Carnival Vista did coming into an Italian port; it would have been horrendous if you were staying in the marina!
With some of the stays you have had in marinas near large ship traffic, it is fortunate you haven’t witnessed any major accidents.
I’ll check out the video when we are on cheaper connectivity but, yes, these events due happen periodically. My father worked for BC Ferries in Victoria so I used to hear about the odd mistake where reverse gear couldn’t be engaged or a captain came into the dock a bit hot. It’s amazing how fast even “small” accidents can run up into the millions of dollars. A friend had his boat totalled in British Columbia’s Horshoe Bay in an event that sounds similar to the Carnival Vista accident but the Vista is nearly 3 times the size and packs a far bigger punch.
It’s usually recreational boat operators that pose the biggest risk and there are more of them around small boat marinas — we have been lucky to avoid being on the recieving end of one of these mishaps.
James & Jennifer
I am still lurking around and watching your journey so felt compelled to give you a heads up(I know you really do not need it) on that low pressure system that could be coming your way soon. Check “Hermine” and its track. May want to find a hurricane hole pretty soon so you have someplace to duck into and wait this one out.
Love those Maretron shots!
Yes, thanks Tim. We have been watching it closely. The current prognosis is that it will disapate before reaching us this far north but we’ll watch it carefully.
Hi James and Jennifer,
Just felt I had to check in again with many grateful thanks for your brilliant travelogue on a part of the world I’d like to see but most likely won’t get to unless the Powerball comes up. 🙂
Keep on truckin’ and enjoying your journey.
BTW I thought aircraft electronics and hydraulics were tricky, much I have learnt from you.
Thanks for the feedback on the blog Gary. In some ways modern boats are comparable or even more complex than aircraft in that we have a 240V system, a 120V systems, a 24v system, a 12v systems, two sets of start batteries, a house battery bank, a fresh water systems, and grey water system, a black water system, a main engine, an auxilary engine, a generator, a high pressure hydraulic system, many bilge pumps, 2 RADARS, 2 depth sounders, a hydraulic Crane for the tender, the tender and all of it’s systems, washer/dryer, dishwasher, garbage compactor, a NMEA2000 bus throughout, and multiple computers. There is a lot of equipment and some issues are complex to chase down but, most of the actual fixes aren’t that difficult if you have the parts, tools, and technical documentation. Preparation is key.
Hi James and Jennifer, any chance your going to travel to Toronto? If you do, I would love to get together.
We lived in Toronto for a decade and would love to anchor off Ontario place and visit Toronto but it’s not looking like we’ll have time to get into Lake Ontario on this trip. If we could pass through the Erie Canal on the way back out we would do it but we can’t make it through the canal.
Interesting to hear of the engine mount deterioration.
Did you measure the 1/4″ lift requiremet from the thickness difference between the old and new mounts or did you have the height above the stringer recorded (I would not be at all surprised if you had!)?
Once again your recent maintenance news never ceases to amaze me with your on board ‘spare parts warehouse’!
The measurement trick was just a quick and dirty way to get the engine alignment close to the original alignment without having to disconnect the prop shaft and do it right. What I did is measure the rear mount isolator height since they haven’t failed and the isolation material is still at the original height. I then set the front mount height to be the same. It’s a primitive solution to an application where thousanths of an inch are critical but it was a quick fix that kept us moving and the vibration went from fairly bad to not noticable.
This solution is temporary but it will hold us for a while. However, we clearly need to do something soon since the plastic isolation material in the front mounts is simply crumbling away to a pile of dust. 6 1/2 years is very early for an engine mount failure and I’m used to seeing mounts fail slowly over months to years rather than days.
In the picture labeled alignment, there is what looks like a swege-loc fitting or it may simply be a regular compression that has a copper line running from it.
It looks like copper dust around the fitting and from the picture that copper line looks like it could be rubbing.
Might be something to check on your next engine room visit.
I saw that as well and it is a critical compoent. That’s an pressure oil line toaking oil up to the power take off gears. That PTO is used by trucks to run the air pump for breaks and other air accessories. The PTO not used on Dirona but the oil line is still there. Before I noticed it, it had worn a small mark into the mount. I gently bent the oil line away from the mount and then when I did my quick and dirty alignment, the engine is up nearly a 1/4″ at the front and this moves the oil line away as well. With the slight bend I put in the pipe, it can no longer touch even on mount failure. This line breaking could cause engine failure due to lack of engine oil pressure or it could cause fire due to oil spraying around hot metal parts.
That’s an important one. Thanks for reading the picture carefully Steve.
It’s always hard to tell something like that from a picture but, I see a lot of copper rubbing against something so the indicators always draw my attention rather quick.
Glad you caught it before it became serious.
Yes, I’ll bet that working in the HVAC industry you get very sensitive to any evidence of rubbing copper lines. Thanks for noticing the rubbing oil line.
Living in the tropics we continually run into this problem with a lot of the “indestructible plastics” turning to powder overnight. Even the really super tough poly bushes for 4wd vehicles turn to powder almost overnight. This also happens to stored items. Foam air filters will crumble to powder after a couple of years even if still in the manufacturers original packing. So far we haven’t figured out a way to prevent this from happening but tend to do early replacement of these materials “just in case”. Old fashioned rubber wears but doesn’t fail in this way though.
Safe trip for you three. Slow and steady I see. Light traffic too?
Yes, exactly Timothy. We have good weather and light traffic. We saw three container ships in the 20 nautical mile radius around the boat, was passed by the Sydney to Newfoundland ferry and then had to divert slightly to avoid the path of the ferry running the opposite direction on the same route.
The boat is set up to arrive at the channel that forms the northern entrance to Bras D’Or Lake at 8am this morning. That’s 1:15 hour before the current swings from ebb to flood. We have read the max current is 4.5kts and, with opposing wind and current, the waves can build up substantially. We expect a south wind as we arrive so will start with the tail end of the ebb and pay a bit of fuel to work against it but avoid the wind against current of the flood. Because we are driving to a relaxed arrival schedule, we only needed to average 5.8 kts and are currently running 5.9 kts at 1.8 nautical miles per gallon. We last filled the fuel tanks in Boston more than a month back and we still have 889 gallons left — just about exactly 50% of our internal tank fuel load — after having cover a lot of ground.
It takes a lot of planing taking Dirona to all of your hidden locations. I am hoping to learn about it when we are on Due North next month. It seems to be very intimidating.
Having most of the spares we need is really not challenging at all Timothy. It takes some thought, some research, and some discussion with the manufacturer to figure out what spares to carry and which to only ship when needed. Then it takes some work ordering them all. Finally, they need to be stored in sealed containers safe from vibrration and environmental damage. And, you neeed to have an inventory of what you have and where it all is. It’s a ton of work but just requires requires attention to detail and follow-through but it really isn’t very difficult.
One detail that is easy to miss, is what tools are needed to change the part? For example, having a spare starter won’t help if a special tool is required to change it.
We sometimes don’t have the ideal tools or don’t have a particular part and, when that happens, we have to improvise and that can be both challenging and time consuming. So far, we have always found a way to keep things running and have not had to divert the trip or delay it for service.
We try very hard to make service something that is never done in an emergency under time pressure and to have the parts and tools to always be able to continue the trip without diversion or delay.
Sorry James, I was referring to the tides, depth and current when I made the intimidating comment. You always plan for those in great detail. With the news about N4748 the importance of a safe, navigable route was again brought to everyone’s attention. Here in Southern California the coast is made for large ships so when leaving Long Beach I never have to worry about tides or bars, and only worry about the mechanical. With the Vancouver trip coming up I hope to get some Dirona-type experience on coves, anchoring and tidal considerations. We have not chose our itinerary yet, other than leaving from Vancouver, so with a six day charter we should be able to find some good place to go.
Sorry for the mis-read on that one Timothy. Yes, tides and currents are a big issue. In the Kimberley region of Australia they have the second largest tides in the world with more than 30′ of range. You technically could actually anchor in 40′ of water and end up on ground if you weren’t careful. We are currently in a very small exchange area but the nearby Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world wit a range of more than 50′ making it a truely challenging area to anchor unless you are willing to have the boat lie on the bottom at low tide as the locals do.
You also mentioned current. Our previous boat had much higher HP to displacement and twin engines so we could force our way against currents as high as 6 kts and still have enough control left to manage wirlpools and overfalls. With our current boat, we have less power and a lot more boat in the water so we need to be careful of currents. If the flow is laminar we can carefully work our way through fairly currents. In working our way up the Columbia River, we saw some places where we could only get up to 1.5 kts with wide open throttle (should be 9.5 kts at that power level). On the way down river, we exceeded 15 kts at one point. Where there are whirlpools and overfalls and there there are strong cross currents we need to be super careful and generally try to avoid much more than 3 kts in these conditions.
I am very happy with my 6′ of Long Beach tide although Vancouver is 14′ or more this time of year. I have a lot to learn!
Hello James and Jennifer,
The answer is probably obvious, but seeing the obvious isn’t something I’m known for.
Quite a few years ago I read a blog posting where you wrote about stern tying in BC, so this question came to mind.
Finding anchorages doesn’t seem to be a problem for you in NFLD. But, depths seem to be a bit of a issue, so I’m wondering if stern tying is an option there. It seems like many of the anchoring situations that arise in NFLD are quite similar to the inlets in BC.
Or, do the walls of the inlets you’ve been to just drop straight into the depths?
Yes, Newfoundland has a lot in common with British Columbia anchorages and stern tieing is a great way to make narrow anchorages, anchorages that quickly ledges off into deep water work, or very busy anchorages work. We do stern tie with Dirona but not frequently. I think the last time might have been Teakern Arm BC.
Stern tieing is very much an option but there are a few reasons why we no longer do it very frequently: 1) Dirona is 110,000 lbs so the stern tie has to be very solid both in attachment and in line strength, 2) Dirona has a lot of above water draft and, if the stern tie had it sideways to the winds and the winds were strong, the side forces would be incredibly high, and 3) we have been finding good anchorages without stern tieing and generally stern tieing is more work. But we are equipped to do it and it’s one of the tools we have at our disposal to make an otherwise difficult anchorage work.
Looks like your blog is now popular enough for a spam filter!
No, nothing new on the comment spam front Andrew. It’s a constant war. I have automated tools that remove the vast majority of it and then what you see show up I have to remove by hand. So far the blog has had 4,544 spam comments but only 2,215 non-spam. They are slightly ahead :-).
I saw this article recently and thought of you guys, having seen the vessels involved recently in Boston:
After videoing how close those boats need to operate when docking and undocking, it’s super interesting to see this report. Thanks for pointing it out. I’ll write up a short blog entry on it.
After you taped off the engine with protective plastic preparing to paint the engine torsional damper how did you paint it ? Did you turn the engine over ? manually ? and how did you get the inside of the engine torsional damper painted. The quality of the paint job looks very good.
I used Rustoleum white spray paint on the Torsional Damper. It ended up being difficult to really do a super good job on since it’s surrounded by black parts, the drive belt, and other parts that are best not painted. The inside of the tamper proved impossible to paint without heavily coating the belt and or pulley. I could probably have removed the belt but it didn’t seem worth it and the net result is that the inside of the damper is not painted but it’s also not visible. I turned the engine over using an 1 1/4″ socket on the crank shaft front pulley.
A couple of questions if I may:
1 Do you know who owns the land in Newfoundland? Is it private or public? It looks very rugged and seemingly only supports small fishing communities. Can anyone build a hut like those you have seen in the remore locations?
2 Are moose protected from hunting? Indeed do they even make good eating? In New Zealand wild deer were/are hunted for their meat and the venison was judged to taste better than farmed venison because of their different diet – rather as wild salmon taste different from farmed salmon.
Over 90% of the land in Newfoundland is owned by the province. Residents who wish to build a remote cabin on Crown lands need to apply for a “remote recreational cottage” license from the provincial government and if approved are granted a five-year renewable lease. Non-residents cannot hold these licenses.
Moose are hunted for food and sport in Newfoundland. Moose meat is an important food staple in the traditional diet across the province, and has become an important ingredient in a number of traditional Newfoundland dishes. Residents obtain a license through an annual big-game lottery and non-residents can obtain a license through one of the province’s outfitting companies.
Thanks for that reply. I will be interested to get your verdict on moose meat if you get the chance to try it. That, it seems, could take a while as your itinerary is way off the tourist trail and the choice of restaurants so far appears to be zilch.
I have had the pleasure of moose steaks at my brother’s place in Alaska. What we had were thick steaks on the BBQ. Real good (but not tender beef).
Yes, definitely a lack of restaurants in this area. So unless Spitfire switches from fishing to big game, we’ll not likely be tasting moose any time soon.
Hi James.. I see you run Lenovo monitors in your pilot house . Do you also run Lenovo PC’s for your Nav computer? Andy on, N62 Infinity, wants to upgrade the computer running his Nobeltec and I am recommending Lenovo brand with solid state drives. I am in IT business and Lenonvo/IBM is my brand of choice.
What has your experience been?
I chose the Lenovo monitors because they were very small framed (mostly screen), relatively thin, and good value. I bought spares but haven’t yet used any. Generally Lenovo quality appears to be very good.
The Nav PC is a custom built unit where I focused on very small case size since I don’t have much space in the install location, low power since it’s on 24×7, low fan noise (since it’s on 24×7). Another factor in a custom built computer is we are very dependent upon that unit and need it running. So, I have every part on hand from CPU through memory and disks — only the case does have a spare tucked away somewhere on the boat. The primary disk is an SSD like the Lenovo you are recommending for Andy. Lenovo makes good gear.
Nobeltec recommends a dedicated video card but am trying to stay away from this as is a high failure item.
Do you run a video card or just use the onboard motherboard graphics? I guess if the video card failed the onboard would work. Or as you say he could get a spare video card as they are only about $100.
The new Lenovo Tiny would fit the bill as small, no fans, SSD, and an external power brick like a laptop. 50% less power than a PC too.
That’s a nice looking system and it’s smaller than what we are currently using. We don’t use a separate video card and just run off the motherboard supplied graphics support.
You have enough beautiful pictures to make your own 2017 calendar on this destination!
Yes, it’s true that Newfoundland has been incredible. The amazing thing is we have not seen a single recreational cruiser the entire time and it’s been almost a week since we have seen anybody at all. With the busy US east coast so near, Newfoundland should have 100s of boats. The weather is great in August and the scenery is world class.
Yes, you pretty much have the whole inlet to yourselves! http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/centerx:-56/centery:48/zoom:7
Yes, world class natural beauty and just about nobody in the entire area. It’s amazing what a lightly discovered gem Newfoundland is.
It’s all fantastic. I am surprised you haven’t seen a moose yet. Until then, you can’t really say you have been to NFLD.
Wow, just after reading your posting, we were sitting around the dinner table saying, “we just aren’t going to see a moose.” Sure, they may be shy but we have been up on the highest points in the area where we can see for miles in all directions with unbroken hills rolling off to the limits we can see and yet, no Moose. If we can’t see any under those circumstances, I’m convinced they simply aren’t here. It really looks like there is a good chance we will leave Newfoundland without having seen a Moose.
As we are sitting outside in the cockpit I’m laying out this argument that Moose just must not be in this area, Jennifer yells “Moose!” and dives for the binoculars. It’s true. Way up on the top of the cliffs looming straight above us there are clearly a set of massive horns in outline back lit against the late evening sky. I went for the camera and we have now documented evidence of a very large and mature Moose sighting and our visit to Newfoundland is now official. He spent quite a while looking down on us so, if there is any credit for mutual sightings, we got that too :-).
Later today we’ll post the picture of what might be the only Moose left in Southern Newfoundland.
They are just like that. We didn’t see any on our entire drive up the Northern Peninsula, and I was really disappointed. Then, when we got to our B&B, there were three of them hanging out under the clothesline in the backyard.
Moose: “I bet I am not going to see a Nordhavn this year…
… look, a N52 down there!!! Is that a cat on deck?”
You know, I suspect you might be right. The moose spent quite while stairing down on us from his perch nearly 1,000′ above.
That 65X zoom on your SX60 is amazing!
Yes, the Canon SX60 is a respectable camera and an amazing value at $400. When we started boating back in 1999 we spent a long time deciding between a prosumer camera that we expected to replace every 2 years or a high end SLR. We were and are convinced that boating pictures are very dependent on long lenses (you often aren’t close enough) and on image stabilization (poor light conditions or long lenses).
We spent a long time thinking through the options but the SLR options with long, good quality, lenses and auto-focus were astronomically expensive. We have destroyed three cameras over the 17 year period. One started producing E19s (error code) while shooting pictures in mixture of rain and snow in northern BC — everything was soaked for hours in a row. Another got hit by a unusual wave while jennifer was taking a shot forward. One was lost to a small tender flipping in good sized waves where we both where pushing our luck and ended up in the water. Having less expensive cameras means we use them in the rain, in the snow, in high risk situations, and it’s always around my neck. Sometimes bashing against cliffs as we climb down but it’s there and available. It’s not heart breaking if it fails and we have a spare on board since the trip is worth more than the camera.
What we gave up in the early days was lightening fast focus, faster operation in general, and a bit of crispness in some shots. As time goes on, the prosumer cameras get faster and these differences get smaller and less material and we are pretty happy with the choice we made to go with prosumers cameras.
Welcome back to Canada.
I see you have broken out the cooler weather gear – hopefully you won’t need the next warmer iteration of clothing.
1. Always impressed by the range of spare parts you have on hand – for example a spare fog horn. How do you decide whcih parts to carry?
2. Looking forward to the write up on the harmonic balancer replacement
That’s a great question Rod. You can’t carry every possible part so the game is how close can you come to carrying every part we need. We do fairly well. In 8,100 hours of crusing on this boat and 4,100 hours on the previous boat, we have never had to wait in port for parts, divert destination, or head back early.
We chose parts based upon a combination of factors: 1) manufacturers recommendations, 2) listening on the cruising forms to what breaks, 3) opinion on what looks strong and what looks like it might break, 4) nearly 20 years experience, and 5) ballancing out risk of fault, do we have some backup or would it be catastrophic (were there is no backup plan, we tend to have more spares).
The for horn as an example, is the same we have had on two boats and we know they are only good for to 3 years if getting hammered by ocean waves.
The harmonic ballancer replacement was an adventure. The part ordered came in wrong. The next part that was ordered came in wrong again. There were no parts available so it was looking like we were going to have to put the old one back on when the good folks at Deere managed to have one made and expressed shipped. It’s got more than 100 hours on it now and seems to be working well.
Your arrival in Newfoundland reminded me of Captain Cook’s remarkable survey of the coastline, harbours and hydrograhy back in the 1760s, following the Treaty of Paris 1763. The first islands he surveyed were St Peirre and Miquelon, because it was agreed the French could keep them provided they were not fortified and Pitt wanted an accurate map. He went on to survey the whole 6000 mile coastline of Newfoundland and its waters, sealing his reputation as a great hydrographer. Furthermore, in August 1776, when surveying the Burgeo islands he knew there was to be an eclipse of the sun and completed an observation of the eclipse which was later reported at the Royal Society in London. This was to lead him to being commisssioned by the RS to observe the transit of Venus in Tahiti in later years and to his epic round the world voyages and exploration of the Pacific, including numerous Pacific islands, New Zealand and, of course, Australia.
Before this he was also one of principal surveyors of the St Lawrence river, which helped Wolfe win his famous victory. It was thiis work that brought him to the attention of the Admiralty as a man of “genius and capacity”. It will interesting to learn if his pioneering work is still acknowledged in Newfoundland.
David, thanks for the background on Cook’s contributions in Newfoundland. Having rounded the world, we have been amazed at how many different places where we found references to Cook and his contributions to world exploration, navigation, and even, as you mentioned, astronomy. We have collected a large number of pictures of plaques commemorating Cooks contribution in all over the world.
Unfortunately, in Newfoundland, it appears that Cooks charts are still in use and, as good as he was, GPS does make a difference :-). Charts here are frequently out of registration by 100s of yards and lack detail in many areas but the natural beauty is incredible. Newfoundland is a cruising gem.
I think we are all pleased that technology has moved on over the past 250 years! Perhaps for the local fishermen his charts are still good enough?
Out of curiosity I rechecked his biography, by Richard Hough, who records that his equipment consisted of a “theodolite…drawing instruments…two or three azimuth compasses…and a number of pendants of any colour to put as signals on different points for taking the angles as the survey goes on”. It is thought he would have used a sextant as well, which he would already possess. Some of the measurements were probably made from the mast head (according to a A Treatise of Maritime Surveying published a few years later). He had one assistant. I think Cook deserves a bit of slack as the pioneer 🙂
Cook’s charts are good but the area could definitely use a survey using technology from this century. However, from a natural beauty perspective, Newfoundland is hard to beat. It’s an gem.
Newman’s not only dominated the south coast fishery, but also started the lucrative port trade–wine from Portugal would be brought over on the fishing ships and cellared in NFLD. You can buy a bottle with your name on the label at the main liquor store in St Johns.
Newmans was doing both seafood and spirits? They almost had all the food groups covered! 🙂
We have this cool anchorage today anchored at a water fall. Second time in two days with a waterfall. Today we climbed up to the highest point of land in the area and had lunch with a 360 degree view of the area. We’re loving Newfoundland.
Here’s the best part. The port was aged in rum barrels, brought up from the Caribbean after unloading a cargo of salted cod. Maybe a model the Amazon marketing department should look at?
If I get to live in Newfoundland while we execute on that plan, I’m all in! Third anchorage in 3 days with a waterfall. The steady stream of natural beauty is starting to get monotonous 🙂
It must be difficult not to become desensitized to natural beauty. When traveling by one type of vehicle only, a couple of hours takes the magic away for us, regardless of the initial shock.
Never for us. Partly because we travel in pretty diverse areas ranging from atols in the pacific, way north in Prince William Sound, up the Columbia and Snake river system to Idaho, Hawaii, Palmyra, Fiordland, Tasmania, Australia Kimberley region, Capetown, Caribbean Islands, and Newfoundland. All very different and all pretty amazing. Newfoundland alone is a pretty amazing destination and I suspect we could go quite a few months before we lost our current wide eyed amazement.
I think the flag you have identified as French in the Gaultois picture may actually be the flag of Newfound pre-Confederation (1949). It still gets a lot of use.
Good catch Karen–thank you for pointing out my error. Having just now done more reading on Newfoundland flag history than I ever anticipated, that is the Newfoundland Tricolor, an unofficial flag popular in Newfoundland since the early 1900s. I could be wrong, but as near as I can tell the Newfoundland pre-Confederation flag was the Union Jack.
Glad to see it has smoothed out! It must be beautiful scenery.
We are still too far out to see anything but water but we’re absolutely looking forward to it. We expect to be arriving mid-afternoon. It’s been more than 6 months since we last anchored. This is perhaps the longest we have gone without anchoring in our more than 16 years of boating.
Was the first cove too crowded?
The inner cove has steeper more attractive hillsides and is a nice anchorage. And, as you guessed, the outer cove has 15 or 20 houses. The current anchhorage is very picturesque.
Just dropped the tender down and finished breakfast so we’ll plan to head out to explore.
That wreck is an awesome backdrop for an anchorage. Very jealous!
You know Tim it’s kind of funny. I was thinking the wrecked ship was kind of “in the way” of the scenery when we first arrived. But, as it turns out, you are 100% right. It’s a great backdrop to dinner and drinks on the aft deck. We are loving Newfoundland — this is exactly our type of cruising.
Happy Belated Birthday James. May you have another year full of adventure and smooth waters!
Thanks Timonthy. A pretty hard to beat birthday anchored in front of a waterfall on a wonderful suny day hiking up 500′ above the anchorage. Newfoundland is a very cool destination.
Hi James –
Glad to see you’re having a good leg out of Boston. I looked closer at your systems display in the most recent picture and had a question – why are you showing a 0.7 Amp discharge on your house battery? Was there just a short term hi draw at the moment of the screen capture? I also noticed that the Main Start Alt seems to be up to temperature indicating its producing current but the Main Alt looks like it’s at ambient engine room temp? I can’t imagine there isn’t a logical reason for all of the above.
Hi Greg. You are right. It’s been a wonderful smooth run out of Boston. We checked into Canada at Lockport Nova Scotia this morning and are back underway to Newfoundland. There is a weather system not far off shore in this area so we are starting to pitch a bit. Not extreme at all but not nearly as nice as the run up from Boston.
You were asking why are we showing a negative charge rate? When the batteries are fully charged it shows negative about 1/2 the time and positive about 1/2 the time. It just moves back and forth around 0 as load go up and get ahead of the alternator regulators, the draw goes negative. As loads fall and again get ahead of the regulators, the charge rate goes positive. What you saw in that screen capture is pretty typical.
The other question is why is the main start alternator running at around 200F whereas the main alternator is down around 120F. Under heavy loads, they both run hard and will show temperatures up in the 250F range. When loping along with light loads, sometimes one will catch the load and sometimes the other. It doesn’t make much difference — either alternator is happy to drive these light loads and, if the load go up, they both will be there going hard. And, if either fails, the other will take over transparently.
The swing on the ammeter is pretty wide as the system is configured. I have seen draws of up to -300A when running short duration heavy loads without a power sourse. And, when charging flat out, it’ll push up to +300A. There is a good reason those battery cables are so fat.
It’s nice to be only 2 1/2 days out of Newfoundland. We’re looking forward to spending some time back in the wilds.
Just as I thought – a completely logical explanation! Is there a cpu like a Balmar managing the alternators? Are they both rated to the same amperage? Was the generator running at the time? Seems like low draw on the alternators for as high a current as the inverters were delivering.
Enjoy the wilds! I’m envious. Spent a couple nights in the San Juans last week – hoping to get out again soon. Walked the docks in Anacortes today and saw another 52 along with a 47 from Kiel and a 55 plus a couple 40’s, a 46 and even a 35. Almost a Nordhavn rendezvous!
You know, in absolute numbers, there really aren’t that many Nordhavn’s in the world but we seem to see them absolutely everywhere.
The regulators are, as you said, effectively small CPUs that watch voltage and adjust charge rate to a programmable curve depending upon charge stage and voltage. We use Balmar 624 regulators on Dirona and used 612 on our previous boat.
You were asking if the generator was on. No, we produce 9KW from the main engine so never need to run the generator when underway. We can run the dryer, the oven, and the A/C units off the main engine. At the dock, we run on shore power whether 50hz or 60hz and never run the generator even when plugged into very low capacity shore power. We are fairly heavy power consumers — we run the boat like a small condominium — so the generator runs 3 times a day when we are at anchor so it does get used fairly heavily. The generator has 4,297 hours in 6 1/2 years.
We’re two days out of Newfoundland expecting to arrive on the afternoon of the 5th.
You are heading to our second favourite province…we will follow your progress. (Well, I will–Gord is spending a lot of his time in Macau.
Hi Karen. Good hearing from you. We loved Nova Scotia when we were there probably 25 years ago. A friend from St. John’s sent us a few pictures from the area when we were in Cape Town and both Jen and I said “we have to go.” Newfoundland looks exactly like our kind of place and it sounds like it ranks fairly high for you as well. Our plan is to arrive tomorrow and do a lap around the island clockwise enjoying the highlights as we go. After Newfoundland, we’ll likely return to Nova Scotia for a while before heading south to Maine.
Glad to see you two underway again.
I was looking at your O-ring and couldn’t really tell much from the picture however, it looked like either chemical or thermal breakdown.
Sounds like you are carrying a lot of spares, I was just wondering if you are carrying spares of the right type.
We’ve touched on the subject of engine room and Laz. temps previously and there may be nothing to be done but here is a useful troubleshooting tool for O-Rings
The failed O-ring was part of the original install from the hydraulic system manufacturer. It’s been operating now for nearly 7 years and this particular system operates at a fairly high 3,800 PSI. The hydraulic system hase never had oil over 150F but I don’t like it even up that high so a few years back I put a bigger heat exchanger on the system. Since that time It’s never run over 125F.
This failure appears to have been caused by a loose O-ring boss fitting allowing the O-ring to partially squeeze out and tear. The O-ring doesn’t feel hardened at all and before taking it apart you could see a bit of the O-ring had been forced out allowing a dribble at that connection. My diagnosis is insufficiently tight in this case.
Nice MacGyver move to create a working substitute cap! 🙂
On the pic “Leak Source” there is a gauge in the upper right hand corner. It looks like it is half full of water with some standing condensation. I took a screen shot of it so you will know which one I was talking about…..
Is this something normal for whatever that gauge is watching or part of the saltwater leak?
Looking forward to see your adventures in Newfoundland as that will be one of my destinations one day as well.
Tim, good observation to notice the liquid in the hydraulic pressure sensor guage. I agree it looks a bit unusual but it’s actually just a liquid filled guage. Liquid filled guages have some advantages over dry guages. The liquid dampens guage motion where there are pulsations or rapid changes in pressure, they lubricate the interior of the guage, and they prevent condensation or frost from obscuring the guage face. Neither of the latter is likely in our engine room. I think the chief benefit is the dampening of sudden pressure changes.
Okay vacation over and the boats on the move…HOORAY!!!!
I arrived back at the boat yesterday from 3 weeks back in Seattle and we’re ready to go. Full diesel, full gas, full water, and a full fridge. We will be clearing in to Lockport Nova Scotia — they are on holiday Monday and don’t start Tuesday until 8:45am so we’ll lope along at 6.2 kts for an arrival at customs opening time. After that, we’ll be back underway for Newfoundland.
It’s nice to be back underway.