Archive For The “Technical” Category

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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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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Steering Pump Shipment

Steering Pump Shipment

In May of this year, while cruising Arctic Norway, we ordered two new Accu-Steer HPU 200-24 steering pumps from Emerald Harbour Marine in Seattle after our Accu-Steer HPU212 steering pump developed serious bearing noise. This actually was our secondary pump that we’d switched to when the primary started leaking. Both pumps were still fully-operational, but…

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TV Lift Problems

TV Lift Problems

We have an Inca TV Lift on Dirona and we’re generally very happy with it. The lift is powerful, so it doesn’t get stuck when friction on the slide surfaces increases over time, as it invariably does. It’s built from heavy parts, so it keeps working even in the high vibration environment of a boat….

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Black Water Level Sensor Take Four

Black Water Level Sensor Take Four

Reliable black water levels make the boat easier to operate and lower costs by reducing the number of pump-outs required.  We have sufficient black water tankage to go for two weeks in normal use and, with some care, we can go much more than a month between pump outs. However, when using inaccurate level sensors,…

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13.2 kW Alternators and Beyond

13.2 kW Alternators and Beyond

On Dirona, we aim to always run the boat using a single power source. When we are plugged into shore, we aim to drive the entire boat off of shore-side power and never run the generator. This may sound easy, but in Europe you frequently won’t find more than a 16A shore power service and…

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Updating the Maintenance Log

Updating the Maintenance Log

A few years back we posted the Excel-based spreadsheet we wrote for our maintenance log, along with instructions on how to use it. The spreadsheet has continued to serve us well, and still is our main tool for managing maintenance items. While it’s fairly easy to add new maintenance items for a given piece of…

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Forward Spotlight Upgrade

Forward Spotlight Upgrade

Most fish boats run both deck lights and forward lights. They use the deck lights for working at night and the forward-facing lights to see further in front of the boat better. Our experience from operating around commercial fishing vessels at night is their forward-facing spotlights can be seen from great distances. We sometimes find…

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John Deere 6068 at 10,000 Hours

John Deere 6068 at 10,000 Hours

It’s hard to believe, but our “new” John Deere 6068AFM75 is now nearly 9 years old, has been around the world, and has now clocked up over 10,000 engine hours: Hours: 10075.1 Nautical miles traveled: 69,187 Fuel burn: 59,257.4 gallons Load factor: 44.2% Longest ocean crossing: 3,689 nautical miles (St. Helena to Barbados) Over the…

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Fuel Quality Differences

Fuel Quality Differences

When considering fuel quality, we’ve always thought first about water, rust, and other impurities in the fuel. Knowing we intended to travel the world and expecting poor quality fuel in the many less-developed countries we would visit, we left Seattle with 48 primary filters on board. What we have learned is that fuel quality is…

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