Archive For The “Technical” Category

Windlass Maintenance

Windlass Maintenance

Our Maxwell 3500 windlass has performed flawlessly for us in a decade of use across thousands of anchorages around the world. To keep it that way, we disassemble and grease the top end every twelve months and change the oil every two years. Both were due recently. In taking the windlass apart, we found far…

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Steering System Maintenance

Steering System Maintenance

Here we step through the steering system on the Nordhavn 52, showing some of the wear points and the changes we have made to minimize these issues. Finally, we show the removal and replacement of the hydraulic steering rod end. This is the part that transfers force between the hydraulic cylinder and the steering arm….

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Replacing Lugger/Northern Lights PTO Clutch

Replacing Lugger/Northern Lights PTO Clutch

Many small Lugger marine engines and Northern Lights generators are equipped with a power takeoff (PTO) unit that can be used to drive accessories. Hydraulic pumps are a common use case for this PTO. These PTOs are equipped with electric clutches to allow them to be powered or unpowered at will. This is convenient, but…

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Oil Tanker Tour

Oil Tanker Tour

It’s getting increasingly difficult for the general public to see the details behind large commercial ships and even harder to tour chemical and oil tankers. Partly the crews are busy at work and partly there are safety and security concerns, but the net result is limited ability to see the details behind how these advanced…

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Northern Lights 12kW Generator Overheating

Northern Lights 12kW Generator Overheating

Over the last few months the generator running temperature has been slowly increasing. We were still below the 205F cut-off level, and the generator continued to run fine, but something clearly wasn’t right. The generator normally runs in the 192F to 193F range at full load and I have a warning set at 195 that…

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Aland Maritime Safety Center

Aland Maritime Safety Center

In the 26th edition of our Technology Series, we visit the Maritime Safety Center in Aland to see their facility and to learn more about the STCW (the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping) courses they offer. The Maritime Safety Center offers the wide variety of courses required by professional mariners to…

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Amsterdam Projects

Amsterdam Projects

Besides being a great place to call home, City Marina IJDok in Amsterdam also was convenient to complete a number of boat projects including replacing the Jabsco 34600-0010 bilge pump with Whale Gulper 320 High Capacity bilge pump, installing a new steering pump, and adding shorepower soft start. Some of the gear and supplies we…

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Hot Spots

Hot Spots

Years ago I was working in the lazarette on a hot day when I glanced up and saw a red LED illuminated on the DC panel. Normally, the Mastervolt DC distribution units have only green LEDs. I could still see the green LEDs on as usual but we also had a red light. I stopped…

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Warning Lights

Warning Lights

We love generator auto-start. It ensures a kicked-out power plug or power failure doesn’t take $6,000 worth of batteries through a deep discharge cycle and put thousands of dollars in frozen foods at risk. If a two-hour tender trip stretches out to the entire day, auto-start prevents damage to the battery bank. And auto-start avoid…

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It’s a Head-Banger

It’s a Head-Banger

This is the story of those little metal tabs hanging down in the engine room of our boat, why they are there, how much they hurt when your head makes contact with them (and it will), and what we did about it. One of the things you almost never fully learn until you have owned…

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Deck Fuel and Vessel Stability

Deck Fuel and Vessel Stability

This post discusses the reasons a boat owner might choose to carry deck fuel and the impact of deck fuel on the vessel’s stability. We start by explaining why a boat’s “real ocean” range is actually far less than the ranges advertised, and sometimes even less than the ranges carefully measured by owners. Then we…

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AIS For Our Tender

AIS For Our Tender

The Marine Automatic Identification System is a simple yet effective means of reducing the risk of collision at sea.  These systems work on a reserved VHF frequency and each boat using the system has an AIS transceiver on board that transmits the vessel’s position, speed, and course, and other data including the vessel size and…

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Steelhead Wireless Remote

Steelhead Wireless Remote

We’ve had three pendants fail on our Steelhead Marine crane over the last 9 years. The proportional switch proximity sensor is very fragile but there are other failure points as well. These pendants cost just under $1000 each, so we really needed a longer lasting and more economical solution. Steelhead does sell a remote-control for this crane,…

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Collision at Sea: USS Fitzgerald

Collision at Sea: USS Fitzgerald

At 1:30:34 AM on Jun 17, 2017 the USS Fitzgerald and the container ship ACX Crystal came together just south of Yokosuka Japan. The ACX Crystal is a 730’ modern containership built in 2008 and capable of carrying 2,858 TEU of containers at a 23-knot service speed. The Fitzgerald is a $1.8B US Navy Arleigh Burke-Class…

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Soft Start

Soft Start

Isolating shore power from on-board electrical systems is important to avoid excess corrosion and, even more importantly, to avoid risk of shock in and around the boat. Two common approaches to isolation are galvanic isolators and isolation transformers. Isolation transformers have many advantages and often are installed in Nordhavns, but have one potential downside though:…

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River Bar Crossings

River Bar Crossings

River bar crossings require great care and in some conditions they simply can’t be safely crossed. Earlier this week, the crew of the commercial fishing vessel Mary B requested help from the US Coast Guard in a night crossing of the Yaquina Bay bar at Newport, Oregon. Sea conditions were reported to be 14 to…

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