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General questions & comments
  1. Matt says:

    Hey James! Going back and looking at the Google map updates/tracks. How are you automating your Google map updates? It appears that there are routine updates to maps and you’ve done a great job at separating out voyages. I just went through and read the updates and corresponding data for your Indian Ocean crossing.

    • We have a substantial control system that has evolved over the last couple decades on two boats. It started when the second or third NMEA 0183 multiplexer failed. I wrote one to replace the failed unit in software. Then since I was seeing all the data, I stored it in a database. Then I wrote software to display some of the content. Then we added alerts, alarm, email and eventually added external control and monitoring. Jennifer wrote code to push some of the data up to mvdirona.com where it’s display in Google maps.

      The system in it’s current form pulls data from many sources including NMEA 2000, digital inputs over ethernet, analog inputs over ethernet, and web scrapping over internet. Every data point on the entire boat is stored every 5 seconds in a MariaDB database. Alarms, alerts, reporting, etc. all run off this database as well as software that pushes a subset of the data up to mvdirona.com where it is displayed there as well.

  2. Jamie says:

    I don’t have a question or very meaningful comment, I just wanted to share its so exciting as part of my morning ritual of clicking through my favorite sites and seeing Dirona on the move!

    • Hey, that’s great to hear. It’s been a nice little 3 day run. We expect to arrive in this evening and we will have covered around 490 nautical mile (900 km) run. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. loved your video to Antwerp , did the same in the 70’s! I was trying to find where you might have posted about what I think is a change of plans to go to the Isle of Giga again . are you looking for somewhere safe to be for a while , and if so why there? cheers warren

  4. Beth says:

    Just watched you leaving Portland Harbour, looks a little choppy out there for my liking – I’m up at The Nothe Fort – safe onward journey

    • Yes, you are right. It is a bit rough out here but we expect that it’ll settle down over the next few hours and, as soon as we turn west, we’ll be heading down wind so should be fairly comfortable. All the best.

      • Mick Taylor says:

        I live overlooking Lyme Bay and have been tracking you online. Unfortunately you were out of range of my telescope. It’s been a bit of a rough night with the sea crashing against the wall and shaking the house a bit so I guess it’s been an up and down night for you guys. I see you will soon be rounding Lands End. Have a safe journey.

        • Thanks for the comment and sorry you missed us. As you said, it was pretty lumpy out there and we were 20 nautical miles off shore at that point so the combination of distance and often being hidden by waves were in your way. We’ll make the turn northward at Lands End in about 3 hours. All the best.

  5. Gregg Testa says:

    Hello from Sedona Arizona
    When Jennifer goes grocery shopping what’s her procedure for washing leafy greens to kill bacteria.

    Gregg Testa

    • In places such as the South Pacific, we soak all produce in a mild bleach solution, followed by a freshwater rinse, before bringing them inside the boat to kill any insects.

      In cooler climates, when buying from locations in countries with high food storage standards, then we just take the standard recommend approach of bringing them on board and washing them thoroughly in fresh water before consumption.

      Jennifer

  6. Tony Rice says:

    Hi Guys,
    I see you are passing pretty close to Hastings.
    Why don’t you pop in for a quick cuppa?
    I even have a few Jaffa Cakes left. Oh no! I seem to have eaten those. Oh well!
    Have a great trip.
    Where are you on your way too?

    • Looks like we passed you in Hastings last night Tony. We’re just approaching the Isle of Wight now in wonderful weather. If conditions stay as good as they are, we’ll head to Portland Harbour this evening. We’ll probably go spend some time in Scotland or that is our current thinking.

      • Tony Rice says:

        Portland Harbour? Mmm. A little far for me to pop over for a visit from Hastings.
        Maybe I can swing a visit to Scotland and see you folks there. Unlikely, but who knows. :)
        Enjoy!!

  7. Jan Legein says:

    Dear James and Jennifer,

    Welcome in Antwerp!!
    Along the pier in Willemsdok you will find MY Monara (www.monara.be), we have been following you for the last two years, have become addict to Maretron through James’ inspiring technical blog, and I live in Antwerp.
    If there is anything that we can do to introduce you to our beautiful city, please shout!
    I would love to invite you for diner in our Antwerp Yacht club this Saturday, if you are available.
    We want to take Monara around the world in 2021, are preparing here as good as we can, but would love to “pick your brain” on all the practicalities of cruising around the globe.
    I’ll be on Monara tomorrow, from 09.00 to 17.00, please pop in for a coffee!

    Kind regards,
    Jan Legein

    • We would love to have had a chance to meet you — it’s fun meeting people all over the world and we often learn about new things to see or do in the area from residents like yourselves. But, we have decided to leave Antwerp this morning so won’t be able to do it. Hopefully our paths will cross again in the near future.

  8. Griff says:

    Hi! It is great to hear about your adventures aboard Dirona. It is great to see how adventurous your cat Spitfire is. My question is about where you decided to feed (probably not so difficult) and place the cat pan (more difficult). Thanks for the insights as we plan for our future boating adventures (dreams at this point).
    Best Regards, Griff

    • Spitfire’s food and water bowls are kept in the day head across from the Galley They are in front of the washer and dryer and the toilet is in the other end of the small room. It’s an easy place to check and refill his bowls and it doesn’t get much in the way there. The cat box is down in the guest stateroom. We used to keep it in the GSR shower with the door open but as he got older, he decided he didn’t like it there so it’s now on the floor of the GSR. If someone visits, it moves into the MSR. We find the Tidy Cat system to be super easy to manage on a boat: https://mvdirona.com/2010/06/cruising-with-cats/.

  9. Steve M says:

    James and Jennifer

    We’ve been following you for years and appreciate your contribution to the cruising community. Understanding your background in IT I’m curious about your thoughts on the use of VPN while cruising? We connect to the internet via WiFi when available, otherwise via cell hotspot. Our interest in VPN is from the security prospective not anonymity. We have had great results using VPN while land-based, however while mobile is yet to be tested.

    • Steve M says:

      I should have included that we are thinking a router based VPN would best suit us versus device based VPN. We have 10+ connected devices with likely 3-4 actively being used at any given time.

      • Makes sense. We use ExpressVPN and they are natively supported by most routers so just going to a router-based VPN solution would make a lot of sense. In our case, we use an open source router solution DD-WRT. Even DD-WRT supports EXpressVPN well, so that still isn’t a blocker for us using full router based VPN. But we run our router in a multi-WAN configuration where the router has 4 WAN connections and the Router automatically chooses the least expensive configuration: 1) WiFi, 2) Cellular, 3) V7hts satellite unlimited mode, and 4) V7hts satellite metered account mode. In this multi-WAN configuration, it’s much more complex to get a VPN working. I also have several dedicated encrypted channels running out of the router to allow external to the boat access. And there are static IPs to support another incoming channel.

        We love the router and the overall configuration but it would make running full router VPN more complex. It clearly can still be done but, the more I thought about it, the more I was concerned that the VPN would yeild some weird fault modes and make it more difficult to know why something wasn’t working. And, there are times when I need different VPNs from different devices for different purposes. Also you don’t want to use the VPN 24×7 on the sat system since the VPN has constant heartbeats consuming metered data even when no customer data is flowing.

        Where we ended up is install ExpressVPN on 3 android phones, 1 FireTV, and 3 Windows systems. A single ExpresVPN license can be install on all 7 systems (or as many as you have) as long as you don’t use it on more than 5 at the same time. It seems to work pretty well. In fact, I really like having per device control but there is risk that we forget to connect to the VPN and run some traffic unprotected. Other than that, the setup is pretty nice and is working fairly well. And, it’s super clear when the VPN has a problem and when there is some other connectivity problem — in my opinion, tying it all together can make it hard to figure out what’s causing a communications problem. There are pros and cons to both but I slightly favor a per-device VPN.

    • I use a VPN to get secure resources at work and we use ExpressVPN around the boat quite frequently. When doing financial work, we hook up but don’t stay connected all the time although it works well enough that there is no reason why we couldn’t stay connected.

      • Steve McCreary says:

        James – Thanks for this insight, your comments regarding per-device VPN are thought provoking, I’ll consider this further. I also wasn’t aware ExpressVPN was a multi-device license, however now understand that it is so this becomes a viable cost effective provider. The Apple TV and NAS drives were what was driving me towards a router based solution, however I see that ExpressVPN is able to be run-on these, I’ll review the security aspect of that further.

        We run a 2 WAN set-up (Cell + WiFi) with a Wi-Fi Ranger antenna and router to manage the WAN selection.

        Thanks again and safe travels.

        Steve McCreary
        MV Last Laugh
        DeFever 52 Offshore Cruiser
        Now lying Hilton Head Island, SC, USA

      • Speaking of connectivity, what are you using for LTE access? We’re using a Wireng gigamimo-lite antenna (and just upgrading to a gigamimo-5G) with a cradlepoint router, but I’m not super happy with either right now. I just can’t find a better answer.

        • We just use cell phones with their connectivity shared out with the boat. If any of our cell phones are close to the boat, it uses them for connectivity. If no cell phones are near, then it uses the KVH V7hts satellite link. So the boat is always connected automatically and, overall it’s a pretty slick system.

          The only improvement we wanted to make was to install a cellular range extender. We’ve read lots of good things about them and WeBoost (https://www.amazon.com/weBoost-MultiRoom-470144-Booster-Carriers/dp/B07VG9ZZMV) was well reviewed so we gave it a try over 6 months and really couldn’t measure the difference in connectivity. The phones do well up to 10 to 20 miles off shore and the WeBoost extender didn’t change that so we stopped using it.

          • Gotcha! Yeah I’m wondering if we’ll end up with that simple of a setup as well. Many times, the current antenna arrangement is slower than simply tethering to our phones. However, some other times, it’s much faster. So, we’re still trying to figure out the pattern. Apple has been putting slightly more money into antenna design than WirEng, but it still seems like a 3’x3’x2′ antenna setup should clearly outshine the iPhone antenna under all circumstances… But if it doesn’t, then it might be time to just dual-sim our cell phones with the unlimited SIM cards we use and call it a day…

            I read about your KVH setup back when we started planning our great loop trip, but with Starlink on the horizon, I struggled to drop 70k on an antenna + thousands per month for unlimited low-speed service. In your shoes, over the past few years, you had no other choice, so it totally makes sense, though. :)

            Cheers guys! Keep up the fun. Maybe someday we’ll be on the same worldwide adventure as you.

            • The simple setup I described works fairly well. I hear you on Starlink pricing and agree it sounds apealing but suspect they are still a year away from an production constellatoin and it might be more. The KVH V7hts antenna isn’t as expensive as you might think. It’s $25k for the antenna and $1,000 a month will get you 5G with $300/G if you go over. I don’t know the details but I know they have some plans where they put the antenna on the boat for free and you just pay monthly.

              I wouldn’t call what we have “cheap” but it’s pretty nice to always be connected. Hope we do end up in the same city sometime.

              • Aha. I think I was looking at the V11 stuff, but it looks like V7 can do 3Mbit, which is fine for out-of-cell-contact always-in-touch. Do you have an intelligent caching proxy layer on your boat to help assist with large builds? I worry about doing things like Kubernetes development, where, for example, docker image building does a really poor job out of the box of caching intermediate data pulls, so you end up burning tons of bandwidth redownloading the same images repeatedly.

                With coronavirus keeping everything closed for who knows how many months, we might need to just do a second great loop after this to catch all the things that are closed the first time around, putting us into Starlink constellation opening day range… Then maybe we feel better about switching to a slow speed trawler and going more worldly. :)

                • Doing team based software development over the sat link would be challenging. The only acceptable solution would probably be to do a full clone locally and only work on areas of the code where nobody else is making changes. If you absolutely have to do just run business as usual in a team development environment, I suspect you’ll blow through 5+ gig a day but the best way to figure it out would be to instrument your router or client system to measure all bits sent and received for a day and get a read on exactly what an average day looks like for you.

  10. Peter Fawkes says:

    James/Jennifer – I have just come across your trip blog of the Dampier to Rodrigues trip in 2015.
    While I appreciate it was a few years ago, but was there a reason why you did not go via the Cocos/Keeling Islands? I understand that the overall trip would have been further but it would have allowed for a break in the journey with a stopover on dry land.

    • Peter,

      You’re right, Cocos Keeling is the common stopping point when crossing the Indian Ocean from Darwin. There are lots of upsides to doing it, and we gave it considerable thought. The standard route is either by running the 2,000 miles directly from Darwin, or by running 500 miles south to Broome and then 1,500 miles to Cocos Keeling. Rodrigues is then 2,000 miles from Cocos Keeling.

      We were covering basically the same distance, but in a 1,000-mile leg from Darwin to Dampier and then a 3,000-mile leg to Rodrigues. The reason we did this was partly for experience in covering longer distances, but also because fueling in Cocos Keeling would be incredibly expensive. Diesel was $2/liter in Cocos Keeling compared to $1.48/L in Dampier. (And in Dampier we could get GST and fuel excise tax rebates that brought the effective price down to about $1.10/L). Also, we couldn’t reach the fuel dock in Cocos Keeling due to shallow water, so we’d need to be supplied via barge. The cost of hiring the barge would make the effective price about $5/L or nearly $20 per gallon. When you’re taking on many thousands of liters, that can really add up. :)

      Jennifer

  11. Robbie S. says:

    I found your YouTube videos which led me here. I grew up in the PNW and love anything maritime – well anything with an engine and sails or wheels really. What a great adventure! I look forward to seeing more. Looks like I have a lot of reading to do to catch up!

  12. Rob says:

    Hi James and Jennifer, Here Rob. Wonderful trip and website! We are also living on a boat 365×24 in the Netherlands. Idea: Sailing on the Rhine and Danube to Instanbul where you enter the Mediterranean. All this provided that the Dirona is not too high. Greetings, Rob

    • We would love to do that inland river trip but Dirona is an Ocean boat and draws 2.1m of water and has an air draft of 9.1m. We get to enjoy some inland water ways like the run from Amsterdam to Antwerp but there many where there either isn’t enough water or enough air clearance or both. No complaints though — 10 years later we continue really have fun with the boat.

  13. Hello Jennifer and James,
    Welcome in Antwerp!
    I’ve been following you since the publishing in “Motorboot”.
    Antwerp is a nice city, I hope you will enjoy your stay.
    We also love boating very much.
    Best Regards
    Ania & Henk

  14. Leigh says:

    Simple coolant change question. I have an M844. When draining the coolant are you draining solely from the block drain on the service side of the gen? The manual also says to disconnect the coolant hose on the under side of the heat exchanger/manifold. What do you do? Cheers.

    • I drain only out of the drain on the oil filter side of the block which appears to be low enough to get most of it. The drain on the other (heat exchanger) side looks higher. You could try the house after a full drain to see if you get materially more by taking the hose off. I go with the drain only.

      • Leigh says:

        Thanks for prompt reply. I’ll stick to the same engine block drain that you use but will have to flush a bit longer next time to get clearer flush returns. Enjoy your web page and all the varied posts, topics, video etc. My wife and our two girls (9,12) have lived aboard full time for the past five years on Bella our 65 ft MV classic Bill Garden pilot house cruiser. While not set up for passage making we do enjoy exploring the BC coast from our home port in Ganges Salt Spring Island. We can very much relate to the challenge of keeping all the systems operational 365. Cheers.

      • Greg Moore says:

        Hi James-

        Great to see you underway again – I really enjoy watching your adventures from afar.

        As we are working to get N4709 up to date with deferred maintenance, this coolant question raised another related question I thought I’d run by you. I need to change the coolant on our main L668T. It seems pretty straightforward to drain the block, but have you come up with a good system to get the coolant out of the keel cooler? I’ve been told that a wet vac on one of the coolant lines to the keel cooler can be used but I can’t figure out how to do it without putting a fair amount of coolant in the bilge. Once drained, would you flush it further or does re-filling it dilute the old residual coolant enough? Any issues with air locks?

        Looking forward to seeing your Med adventures – have you figured out a rough itinerary?

        Thanks –

        Greg

        • I’m a big fan of wet vacs and have one in the engine room always handy and used frequently. When we changed our coolant we dropped down the heat exchanger so didn’t have to do it but, if I did, I would use a combination of wet vac and repeated freshwater rinses and wet vac cleans.

          Our only firm fixed calendar point in the Mediterranean so far is Genoa at the start of July. We’re already having a really enjoyable cruise down through the inland canals of the Netherlands. It’s looking like it’s going to be another action packed year.

          • Greg Moore says:

            Thanks James – I have a wet vac, and it sounds like this will be a good use for it. My only concern about the fresh water rinses is the generation of more coolant contaminated water to dispose of.

            Genoa should be fantastic. Are you going to winter over somewhere next year or will you be able to cruise through the winter?

            Greg

            • We’ve only planned as far forward as Genoa in July. I suspect rather than to take 3 or 4 months off at a single location we’ll take a month here and a month there along the way but we’ll need more experience in the Med before we make final plans.

  15. Richard Maddox says:

    I am also considering a 60 which has a hard top with enough room for 7 panels. How does your 27 kWhrs per day convert to DC amperage removed from the battery bank? Our previous boat could easily generate 300+ amps per day (12 volt) in Florida and the Bahamas. I guess the simple question is how many DC amps (24 volts) per day would the inverter pull from the battery bank in order to maintain the Sub Zero and perhaps the additional freezer.

    I like the idea of the autostart as well and would incorporate one in to the system. I would hope that with the reduced amperage draw of just those two appliances and 7 solar panels the autostart would be the last line of defense, only used in cloudy situations.

    Your thoughts?

    • The 60 is a great boat — we really like the single deck MSR and living quarters.

      We wouldn’t run a cruising yacht without auto-start. It frees you up from needing to think about the generator, avoids mistakes that can hurt expensive battery banks, and gives you the freedom to stay away for a couple of days when you thought it was only going to be a few hours.

      For consumption measures, we are on the high-side since we always have the boat live and operable. For example, the satellite system draws more power than the Sub Zero and it’s almost always on. We always have lights on around the boat. The video cameras and storage systems are always running. We have a large fridge and an additional freezer and they are both always on. The Nav computer is always on. Our 27kWhr per day is an average draw of 46A @ 24V which is crazy high. I would think that most boats would be down around 30A @ 24V and some, even fairly electronic boats, probably get down close to 20A @ 24V.

      But 20A is still way above the 12.5A/hour you expect to be able to average with the Solar panels. Getting the draw down to that level would require that you turn off almost everything except the fridge. For our tastes, needing to shut the boat down before heading out is just too much hassle so we would probably just use the solar panels as a bridge to reduce generator run time.

    • Chris Barber says:

      Richard, James is on the money here. There’s just not enough room on these boats to put enough PV to run the boat, unless (maybe) you gave up the entire aft upper deck and dinghy storage area. I don’t really know, that’s just an exaggerated guess. If you can tell us the specs on the 7 panels you can fit on the 60’s hard top I’ll go through the math with you (I gotta return the favor to James on the customer support effort!). As a starting point, your previous boat produced roughly 3600 watt-hours (normalizing to 12V) on a good day according to your statement. All other things being equal, it would still be 3600 w-h on a 24 system. We don’t know how many or what type of panels you had to do this so it’s impossible to translate this into what might be possible on a N60 until we know more.
      Chris

  16. Bob Grauer says:

    James you like a great number of adjustable wrench users are use not only the adj. wrench but also the end wrenches wrong, sorry. Please watch this you tube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=latrFJ7uFiM that willshow you what you are doing wrong. My father used to holler at me if I use a wrench in this manner. Please take my criticism as constructive criticism. Your way can break the wrench when you need it most not to mention hurting your self.

    • You’ve had your father explain the use of adjustable wrenches to you. I’ve had the same. I’m also a licensed professional auto-mechanic so you can imagine I’ve had automotive trade teachers explain this too me many times. I’ve done a 9,000 hour apprenticeship so, yes, I’e had this explained to me by many seasoned and highly skilled professionals. We post to our blog (https://mvdirona.com/) and put videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/mvdirona/featured) up describing our trip and showing some of the service work we have done in our years rounding the world. Literally dozens of folks like yourself have jumped in to save us from injury and explained how adjust wrenches could or should be used. I’ve had a lot of advice on this topic.

      But even with all that good advice, I still don’t religiously follow the “adjustable wrench rules” that are otherwise so popular. As a professional auto-mechanic, I had a 5′ high tool box with thousands of dollars in tools and yet not a single adjustable wrench. When you have 2 cubic meters of tools, you almost always have the right tool and it would be silly to accept the bulk and weaknesses of adjustable wrench. But, on a small boat, it’s not practical to have anywhere close to 2 cubic meters worth of tools and, ironically, there are a great many fasteners much larger than any found in an automotive application. Even more tools are needed on a boat. There just isn’t space for all the right tools so adjustable ends up being the only practical solution. Boats also often have a shortage of space and adjustable wrenches are bigger and more bulky so it’s often the case that the adjustable wrench can’t use used in the “right” way and the only way to move a nut is to sift it first a bit using one side of the wrench and then turn it over and use the other side. That’s why all wrenches have about a 15 degree offset on the end — it allows progress when the clearance is tight but that does require using the wrench in both directions in violation of popular advice.

      Having used adjustable wrenches “incorrectly” for literally decades, I’ll observe they are far stronger than conventional wisdom allows and I’ve got a great many jobs done that wouldn’t have been possible following all the rules. And, I’ve never had an adjustable wrench fail. They are far more reliable than conventional wisdom but I do agree they are worth avoiding and, if they must be used, they should be used with care.

  17. Max says:

    A quick thank you for having your “Prince William Sound” presentation available on-line. We returned to North America from Micronesia via the Aleutians and were debating in which region of Alaska we would transition from “delivery mode” to “cruising mode” for a few weeks. Your presentation led us to deciding to spend our slack time in PWS vice the busier SE Alaska and the whole family thoroughly enjoyed it (http://sv-fluenta.blogspot.com/2020/01/more-ice-yale-glacier-and-watersports.html).

    Even as a sailboat guy I follow the technical aspects of your blog as I enjoy reading how well you two overcome the technical challenges of cruising.

    Thanks again,

    Max
    SV Fluenta
    Presently Sidney, BC

  18. Alec Peterson says:

    What sensor did you use to publish the domestic hot water temperature on your NMEA2000 network? I love the idea of having that information available centrally to know when I would need to fire up the generator.

    • We use the “Ring Temperature Probe” Maretron Part# TR3K connected up to a TMP100 (https://www.maretron.com/products/tmp100.php). I clamped the metal end of the temp probe onto the brass outlet port on the water heater right up against the heater pressure tank. The tight mechanical connection of a hose clamp gives excellent conduction and gives an accurate read on hot water tank temperature.

      • Alec Peterson says:

        Perfect thanks. Ordered some ambient temp sensors too, that will be very helpful.

        • We find having temperatures sensors with alarms all over the boat is really useful. Some examples from our boat (some humidity sensors aren’t operative):

          Temp & Humidity: 02/14 07:58 (02/14 06:58)
          Outside 47.1F 77.3% 1013mb 0.0kts
          Water 46.4F
          MSR 63.0F 52.0%
          Pilot House 73.0F 47.0%
          Salon 65.0F 52.0%
          Furnace 56.9F
          Water Heater 120.4F
          Engine Room 63.2F
          House Bank 63.5F
          Start Bank 60.8F
          Autopilot 1 59.6F
          Autopilot 2 60.9F
          Lazarette 62.9F
          Laz Freezer -12.8F
          Entertainment 89.0F 25.0%
          120V Inverter 77.0F 25.0%
          240V Inverter 1 67.0F 55.0%
          240V Inverter 2 68.0F 74.0%
          Engine Intake 58.0F 60.0%
          ER Intake 61.0F 1.0%
          ER Outlet 62.0F 100.0%
          Stack Shroud 61.0F 66.0%
          Stack Fan 60.0F 46.0%
          Fuel 55.8F

          • Alec Peterson says:

            Wow, that is an impressive set of temperature data. Especially given your power setup the inverter ones seem particularly relevant.

            I saw that picture you took of the melted transmission at the boat show, and it got me thinking: Is there value monitoring the transmission temperature? Aside from checking the oil level regularly I’m not sure how else I’d get ahead of a failure like that. Wondering if you think that would be a useful leading indicator.

            • Yes, measuring temperature of the transmission is worth a lot. In fact, if you monitor transmission temperature and frequently check the fluid (level and looking for water or other impurities in the oil), you will detect most problems before failure and, on many problems, have lots of warning. Monitoring transmission temperatures is definitely worth doing.

  19. Chris Barber says:

    Hi James,

    Can you tell us what you’re using for the big floodlights up on the stack – the side- and aft-facing ones. As-built, or new led ones or what?
    And also your hydraulic bilge pump so I can go find one for my boat.
    Thanks
    Chris

    • For the hydraulic bilge pump, it’s a Pacer and they make both hydraulic and electric versions of the same pump. Hydraulic is a nice solution for a hydraulic boat but, when retrofitting the electric version might be an easier install. Both use the same pump and can move the same volume of water. Here’s an electric pump from Pacer:

      https://www.absolutewaterpumps.com/pacer-close-coupled-centrifugal-self-priming-pump-se2elc2-0c-electric-single-phase-2-hp-2-fnpt-110-gpm?fee=2&fep=7869&matchtype=&network=g&device=c&adposition=1o2&keyword=&gclid=Cj0KCQiA7OnxBRCNARIsAIW53B9P6i4Bgre93TLsh53IHb08XiRgQSanhYj2LrfVnL9G8m5ZTv4ttwYaAh8-EALw_wcB

      The side floodlights are super bright, 150W LEDs (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008XGT27U/). They are real beasts and the design point for them is to augment GPS, charts, and RADAR when entering tight quarters at night. These lights are setup to not illuminuate the boat so there is no back scatter but they really light up the surrounding area for a few hundred feet. It’s an added visual check to help stay away from the rocks. We also have a Flir but find visual checks with bright lights even more effective.

      The back lights are to illuminate the boat decks and swim platform for working at night. The most common use is lifting the tender at night.

      • Chris Barber says:

        Great, thank you. Nice lights, bummer they’re not on Prime but still look very cost-attractive in a three-pack. Clicking that one now. The thing about the electric-vs-hydraulic on the pump is that if the boat’s full of water, the engine and hydraulics may be the only thing still working. You’ve got the big hydraulic pumps on Dirona but my 47 has the small pump on the main for the stabilizers, and will get another similar or identical pump on the wing. I’m hoping that this will deliver the capacity needed by that bilge pump in the hydraulic version. I’ll take a look at the specs and see; maybe convince my hydraulics guy to put a bigger pump on the wing, or be able to use both engines to drive the bilge. We’ll see; plenty of time to make this decision.

        • Your right that that water pump is a high volume hydraulic consumer. You could put a bigger hydraulic pump on the main. Variable output pumps back off and produce less volume when needed so a larger pump barely changes the parasitic load when not moving large volumes of oil but makes available large volumes when called upon.

          • Chris Barber says:

            I just looked at the hydraulic version of the electric pump you linked above. says 500 pounds, 9 gpm. Surely even the smaller hydr pump used for the stabilizer system would drive this?
            https://www.absolutewaterpumps.com/pacer-self-priming-centrifugal-hydraulic-water-pump-se2el-hyc-hydraulic-driven-2-110-gpm-female-npt

            • I’ve got a 45cc Bosch Rexroth Pump on the wing and the main engines. What that means is that 45cc of oil is pumped on each RPM. Find out what your pump capacity is and then multiply it by RPM to find the max volume of oil you can move at that RPM. That’ll allow you to figure out if you can drive the Pacer crash pump.

              • Alec Peterson says:

                I’ve got a manual pump that connects to a manifold, allowing a connection to the four different bilge locations. Theoretically, could this pump be connected to a Y connector on the manual pump, allowing this pump to be used? Feels like it’s a viable way to avoid having to plumb another set of hoses to each of the bilges.

                • That’s very close to what we did as well. Most of our pumps have there own non-shared pickups and their own non-shared through-hull and that is the recommended approach. But, when we added the second Rule 3700, we put it into the manual bilge pump circuit. The Rule 3700 is in the main bilge and it pumps up the manual bilge pump, through the flapper valve in the manual pump, and out the manual bilge pump through-hull. This isn’t the recommended configuration but, when set up like this, the Rule 3700 still produces the same unrestricted output and the manual pump still operates as before. I’ve tested both and I’m happy with the configuration but I don’t view the manual pump as adding much safety with all the other pumps we have and I suspect we may someday just remove the manual pump entirely.

      • Chris Barber says:

        I just got my set of three flood lights. Holy cow these things are huge! Holly could barely lift the package to bring the thing in. My friend saw them, and said, “you will be seen from space”! Best comment of the year.

        Anyways, I wanted to ask how you have these wired: did you put a weather tight junction box in the stack and connect them all together there, or did you run per-lamp cabling all the way to inside the boat? Certainly current is not an issue with three or four of these at only 150W each on a single cable; really just a question of the amount of wire and where to interconnect them and relative convenience. I’ve never been inside that stack so I’m not sure how much room there is in there for cable management.

        Thanks
        Chris

        • They are big lights. We where in the middle of the options you mentioned. We want individual control of the three circuits so we went with one wire for each of: 1) forward spotlight, 2) side floods, and 3) boat deck floods.

          The only problem with those lights is the bracket is powder coated steel and it’ll rust. I have stainless steel brackets made to the same dimensions. Other than that, even in very high use in difficult conditions, you should get 5 to 7 years from those lights.

  20. Clay Mathews says:

    Thank’s for bringing all of us along on your adventures. You’re doing what a lot of us would like to, but will never take the plunge. A couple of questions. Based on your engine hours do you have a feel for when major engine work will be necesary? You’ve done a lot of changes/modifications on your boat. How many of them have you done for your specific needs vs what would help the “general” boater. Do you know how many of your-and other long distance cruisers mods have been incorperated on production boat’s?

    • We expect the engine will do double the hours it has on it now — it should easily reach 20k hours and many experts predict 30k. At this point (10,800 hours), it’s not a hint different from new with no oil burning or smoke. It still feels “new” and it really running well.

      Many of the mods we have put in make the boat easier to use by automating things. For example, rather than having to monitor the electrical load and be careful not to put on the microwave and the hair dryer at the same time, the system load sheds so that breakers don’t pop. Less essential loads are shut off allowing the boat to continue to operate without having to explicitly manage the load. These are more advanced systems that I believe will become “normal” in RVs and boats but it’ll be quite a while before that happens. Some other aspects of our designs, like the ability to run on dual shore power and easily use 50/60hz (https://mvdirona.com/2014/08/a-more-flexible-power-system-for-dirona/) is becoming more common and is optional on current Nordhavn builds. But all these items are for convenience and none are a prerequisite to really enjoying a boat or the trip.

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