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Hi, James and Jennifer
I hope you are enjoying the summer.
Embarrassingly, I have just discovered the ‘Egret’ blog and their epic voyages. Coming across, and thoroughly enjoying the post below, have you considered cruising to Brazil in the future and destinations such as Parque
Nacional Marinho dos Abrolhos?
I ask this question selfishly as we will thoroughly take advantage of your blog guiding the way across the world.
All the best,
November 4, 2006
The past 24 hours had a few treats and a weather surprise. After the boys did their research they found enough space in the freezer for one more fish. Out went the baits then yes, ho hum, another 20lb dolphin…again! The boys had to stop fishing…again. The Egret crew had fresh dolphin for dinner…again. Tough duty folks. Later in the afternoon we saw a whale leap out of the water five times, tail and all. BIG splash. That is big stuff for the Florida and Colorado folks. While we are talking about swimming critters, we are approaching one of the best fishing areas in the world. The area is the Vitoria – Trindade Seamount Chain. We will do a separate short story on this area.
Egret also hit another milestone with 4600 trouble free engine hours 2 hours before the anchorage. Egret’s little Lugger has never missed a beat, EVER. She has the original injectors with all running exhaust manifold temps within a few degrees of each other. Perfect!!!! (a cold or cooler cylinder means an improper spray pattern = less combustion = time to change the injector.)
We didn’t mention previously that after putting a rebuild kit into the watermaker high pressure pump and upgrading the hose that blew once again we can make water at will. From a 500 lb. burst pressure hose we have upgraded to an 8000 lb. burst pressure hose (now standard from Matrix). All is well again with that issue.
With the relatively short 600nm or so jaunt to Rio (600nm trek seems like child’s play these days after the twenty day crossing) we left in good weather and a surmised promise of trade wind seas. We copy OMNI Bob, Egret’s weather router, on our Voyage of Egret writings. Bob taught us another lesson. What we thought and reality are sometimes different. Egret was sailing into a nasty low coming of the coast further south. Bob took the imitative and sent the weather forecast copied below. With this sage advise Egret is taking the smart approach and will hide out in Mary’s choice of the Arquipelago Dos Abrolhos. This is a national park and a large diving location off the coast of Brazil surrounded by reefs. No matter where the wind shifts there is an excellent anchorage. As the low moves off the coast we will again head south. Our next planned stop is the island group ninety or so miles south of Rio.
In six to eight weeks the weather and seas associated with this low may be acceptable but as of now we have the time to relax and enjoy the park what every contributor to the cruising guide gave 5 stars. We will delay this Voyage of Egret to give you the exact lat-lon location of the anchorage so you may zoom down and see the anchorage and surrounding small islands/reefs on the Google Earth feature displayed on this website.
Scott and Mary are epic cruisers and even better photographers. Their time in South America did sound great and we do hope to get there ourselves.
Shields Date Garden In 1951 he opened the Romance Theater and titled this presentation, “The Romance and Sex Life of the Date”
80225 US Hwy 111
Indio, CA 92201
longest running romance/ sex movie
That looks like a fun visit. Thanks for the pointer Don.
Hi J & J. Greetings again from the UK. Interesting little article on a boat that’s recently arrived on your shores and built by your friends at Metal Shark. Hope it’s of interest. https://www.bairdmaritime.com/work-boat-world/small-craft-world/search-and-rescue/vessel-review-zenith-response-craft-for-washington-state-fire-and-rescue-unit/
Metal Shark packed an impressive load of equipment on that very capable boat. I love the aggressive, prismatic lines of the newer Metal Shark boats. They look aggressive, tough, and modern. The styling is particularly well suited to military and law enforcement but it works well in other applications as well. Thanks for passing on that article Doug.
Dear James, I’m researching programs for systems monitoring, and the one you had on Dirona, was so impressive. As I recall, you designed it, correct? Is there anything out on the market that even comes close? Thank you!
That’s correct what we did was a purpose built solution based upon mostly Maretron (https://maretron.com/) sensors and N2kview (https://www.maretron.com/products/N2KView.php) at the core. Maretron produces commercial equipment that can economically produce systems similar to what we built. There are now other entrants in this market like Yacht Devices (https://www.yachtd.com/) that we have heard are quite good but most of our experience is with Maretron. There are also a large number of quite expensive solutions aimed at the commercial shipping and super yacht markets but Maretron and related producers like Yacht Devices produce a far more affordable solution.
Thank you very much!
Hi James and Jennifer,
Thanks so much for all you guys have shared, especially about Maretron. I keep going back to your posts again and again. I’m working at getting everything working on our network on Mobius. I have a couple of questions concerning licensing N2K View and networking, as well as power management with all the computers and displays.
We have a fly bridge, so 2 helms and 2 computers. With both on the same network, I can get each one to recognize our one N2K license key in the IPG-100 located at the lower helm, but only one computer can use the license at one time. We generally only use one helm so I thought this would work, but I’m having lots of difficulty switching and getting things to come online properly after a shutdown. There have been times when neither computer can find any gateway, even to open N2K Analyzer. I also have a USB-100 at the upper helm, and I am considering whether I should buy another license for that helm or buy a DSM display for the engine room, or both. I don’t think the license extends to those DSM displays, so each one would require a separate license if I understand that correctly.
In addition, Wayne prefers to shut down all the computers when we are docked or at anchor, for power management and saving the life of the devices. At the moment, we don’t have everything working, so there’s not as much monitoring going on as there will be once I sort out several issues. I’ve not been successful at bringing our Victron info into N2K – we have too many devices, and it introduced an instancing nightmare, so we are still using the Victron interface for all things in that dept. And tanks and bilge pumps both have ongoing issues. I’m still experimenting with the order in which to turn on everything, including radar and the engine (the Actisense EMU-1 that brings the Gardner engine data onto N2K is supposed to get its power from the engine ignition) so that the network runs properly.
I know you had multiple Maretron displays, including some of the DSM series around Dirona showing your Maretron data. Did you need to have separate N2K View licenses for each one? Did you keep all computers on all the time, or did you designate a DSM or one computer to remain running the N2K View software?
I would appreciate any insight you can offer on the licensing situation and how you dealt with the difference in network management in the different states of anchored/docked and underway. Thanks.
DSMs don’t require a license so you can add them at will and have as many as you want. We run one version of N2kview on the nav computer and since we want to always have monitoring on, we never shut the nav computer off. When we first installed our system we used a USB100 on the nav computer since the IPG100 hadn’t been released yet. It worked fine and, when the IPG100 was released, we moved to using it. Again no problem. When the nav computer boots up, it finds the IPG100 and the installed license without problem. In our configuration we had only 1 N2kview license but we had the Maretron data always displayed in the Salon, PH, and MSR. The way we did this is we repeated the nav computer screen in the MSR and Salon so we only actually had one version of N2kview running but, I’m sure it would work fine to have more than one as you do but only if you have sufficient licenses to support them all.
We prefer to have monitoring on all the time so most devices and sensors are always on but the main engine would, of course, join and exit the network as it started and stopped. That also works fine but you need to make sure that you have no instancing conflicts. I recommend starting all devices and then bringing up N2kanalyzer and ask it to look for instance conflicts. Keep changing device configuration until all instances are unique and N2kanalyzer reports no errors. Then scan through each device to ensure that the data displayed is correct. Once you have done that, the system should work well.
I also recommend that you get an N2kmeter and ensure the network has zero errors per second and stays at 0 errors for at least 10 min. If you see any issues, chase them. If you get the physical network rock solid and without errors with N2kmeter and the logical network rock solid and without errors using N2kanalyzer, you’ll get good results.
In your current configuration with more copies of N2kview than you have licenses, it will not work. If you ensure that only one version is running at a time, it should would but this isn’t a configuration that we have run and my preference would be to have licenses for however many copies of N2kview you run so the license isn’t being moved around mostly because license checking seems a bit fragile. We would see our only copy of N2kview fail a license check roughly once in every 20 to 30 reboots. Restarting n2kview corrected this but it did rarely happen.
DSMs require no license — you only need a license copy for each n2kview running on a PC.
Good luck with your N2kview system. If you get the physical network to zero errors using N2kmeter and the logical network to zero errors with N2kanalyzer, your system will be stable and won’t require attention.
Hi James and Jennifer
We have a N63. Our house batteries are 8D and are 7+ years old and near end of life. We had to replace our genset start battery 1 month ago. We have considered going with lithium and had ocean planet energy design a system. The other option is to replace what we have. We would like to add a 240 V 60hz inverter like you did so we can run AC off house batteries. What are your thoughts on these options?
The decision between Li-ion and AGM is getting more complex. If we were doing a new build, we would probably go with Li-ion. They last longer, require less space, and can be charged/discharged at high rates. On retrofit, most we talk to have elected to move to Li-ion but each time we looked at a battery bank replacement, we ended up concluding that AGM was an easier and more cost effective solution. The three main factors keeping us on AGM where:
1) Inertia. The most cost effective solutions aren’t available in an 8D form factor and needing to change the battery hold down and containment system is friction and needing to change the battery management systems to manage Li-ion chemistry needs adds a bit more.
2) Cost. We get great pricing on AGM. So, good it’s hard to cost effectively use anything else.
3) Safety. Almost a non-issue. AGM isn’t much different from LFP in safety but we view AGM failure modes and potential outcomes as just a bit better than LFP. With enough care on application design, the two chemistries can be made very similar in safety but the system needs to be well designed in the case of LFP whereas an AGM system is less demanding.
For us, it mostly boiled down to cost and ease of change. We could get AGM really inexpensively and just needed to pay two people for a portion of a day to change them. AGM was just easier and cheaper so we stuck with it but, on a new build, we would go LFP.
On the inverter, good decision. We really liked being able to run the entire boat on inverters. In South Africa and Sweden we found dock voltages down in the 195V range and having the boat running on nice, stable 240V while the chargers managed the poor quality power worked out really well. It’s great to be able to run all electrical equipment on the boat while underway without starting the generator — it’ll all run fine powered by the 9kw of alternators on the main engine. And, for short draws, just running off the batteries works fine. We view inverters behind all equipment as a great design rule and wouldn’t repeat the design if we were to do it again.
Hello Jennifer and James,
We hope that you are both well and enjoying you time ashore.
We are finally going to be flying over to the UK in early July to begin life on our N60.
I wonder if we could ask a couple of questions regarding shipment of our personal items to the UK as cargo and the import taxes involved?
I am sorry that I am not very knowledgeable about the details regarding these shipments but this is our very first experience.
Flying from Toronto, taking a lot of luggage gets expensive quickly. For example, an extra 30 kg bag costs $425 if it goes with us a checked baggage. Multiple bags/boxes sent on the same flight as cargo qualify a 100 kg limit for the same cost!! However, the cargo has to be processed by a broker and does not have any personal exemption allowance like baggage does.
I have read some information on your site that is very helpful. For example, the wait for the parts that you had shipped to Stornoway while the duties and taxes were being paid.
Do you have any guidance on declaring a “value for customs purchases only” on our used clothing and minor electrical items like our toaster, blender etc?
We are moving our well used sailing jackets, floating safety suits,boots etc.
The electrical items are used for the most part and are single items rather than a shipment of multiple similar items. Ie one toaster, one blender, etc. We need to bring them over as the boat has a North American electrical system. As you are well aware, these cannot be purchased in the UK and have no resale value there or value of any sort to anyone in the UK.
I believe that we are going to have to simply pay 20% VAT plus duty on the purchase cost of these items, despite almost all of them being well used already, but any advice that you can offer based on your experience would be greatly appreciated.
BTW – Our two Golden Retrievers are also coming with us but we have that complex process worked out already !!
Thank you very much for your assistance
All the best
Stuart and Liz
N60 MV Bluenose
Stuart & Liz,
Congratulations on the big move. The N60 is a fantastic boat.
The options available will depend upon how long the goods will be in the UK. It may also make a difference if you will become a UK resident and where the boat is registered. If you are moving to the UK, most counties usually let you bring in personal items w/o duty, so you might investigate that.
We’ve use two different import processes: Transit accompanying document (TAD) and Temporary Import (TI).
TAD is a for parts that are “in transit” and just moving through the UK on their way somewhere else and Temporary Admission is a more general process for goods that will be temporarily imported for a period of time ranging from 6-24 months. We used TAD for our generator parts and Temporary Admission for other goods.
In anything but bringing stuff through as checked bags, you are going to need the help of a broker to use these procedures. This will typically cost around GBP 400 pounds for import/export. You can temporarily import goods through the airport as checked bags with a value of up to around GBP 10,000 (I believe) implicitly by using “Declaration by Conduct” and this won’t require a broker to export.
If you don’t want to get a broker involved, you might bring any high-value items in your checked luggage and use Declaration by Conduct. Then bring the rest in as cargo and pay the duty etc.
If you have a lot of high-value items and you have the time, you could consider sea freight, but that would take several weeks to get the shipment. You’d probably end up spending around $1,200-$1,500 USD for the shipment including brokerage fees. You might also look into air freight with someone like UPS. They do have customs people that can handle the import side of things for a moderate fee, but you’d need still need a broker for the export. That would probably be around GBP 250 for just the export.
And if you don’t have one, recommend getting a ship’s stamp when handling this sort of process. It makes things look more official. We just had a stamp made with the boat’s name, our web site and email address.
Some more information on temporary import is at:
You might also try calling UK customs hotline for guidance–they might have some other ideas/suggestions. We did that in first trying to understand the TI process and they were quite helpful.
Happy to help with more info if you need it. Good luck!
Thank you so much for taking the time to provide so much incredibly useful detail !!!
I am sorry to have taken so long to reply and thank you but thought that initially checking with the National Temporary Admission Service at HMRC to ask them about the current process of Temporary Admission/Import for personal goods might help me to select any further questions before bothering you. The NTAS folks were very helpful in extending the TA of our boat that became necessary due to Covid, but they do take some time to respond. I’ve had no response to date.
We are going to be maintaining our Canadian residency for the upcoming years, so the TOR process is unavailable to us.
I did contact the HMRC UK Customs helpline, who felt that the situation was unique enough that we should contact NTAS
Thank you so much once again. All the best
Stuart and Liz
Good luck with it all–exciting times for you both!
It sounds like TA might be the right approach and perhaps you could leave for Ireland and come back if you wanted to stay longer in the UK? The dogs can move easily between the two countries with proper documentation (but only from Ireland into the UK on board a private boat).
And again, happy to help if you have any more questions.
Miss your high seas stories but enjoy your landlubber adventures just the same…
As the NHL season comes to a close I know from your many photos that the Kraken are gaining favor as your “home” team. I hope you enjoyed the energizer bunny from Tampa Bay Yanni Gourd. HE is just a joy to watch and was such a big piece of two Stanley Cup Championships. Hard to see him go in the expansion draft but a great piece for the Kracken to build around going forward. If you haven’t done so, take a look at his background. Came out of nowhere to earn a spot and then excel for the Lightning.
GO BOLTS until the Sabres make the playoffs again!
Watching him now, it’s seems impossible that he would go undrafted. He’s a joy to watch. I wonder what made the difference for Yanni. Was it better couching, better players to learn from, or were there other factors that lead to him refining his game later than most.
Darn good questions and the only one I can answer is the Lightning Organization knows how to develop talent and someone saw this little water bug flying all over the ice and said “we can craft him into a champion”.
I love this and other examples of undrafted players rising to the top of the game. This phenomena is highly visible in sports but I suspect it happens in all human endeavors. It’s a great life lesson that many of us can achieve far more than we do if we keep digging and working to be better and it also shows that being in the right environment with good training and other great practitioners can make a massive difference.
10-4 on that good buddy!
The shipwreck shown beached in Jersey Harbour, Fortune Bay, Newfoundland, from your Newfoundlan 2016 trip is not the SS “Home” but a fishing trawler the “Rupert Brand II”. It was beached and abandoned there back in the 60’s. The SS “Home” wreck is in the same area and is laying on it’s side. Here’s two pics of the SS Home taken in the 80’s:
Thanks for the correction and the additional detail Michael.
Fleming is known for continuous production improvements. Did/does Nordhavn read yours-and others blogs with the changes/updates/improvements that you all make in your travels? Would think there are lots of updates that would benefit follow on buyers. Do the electronics and equipment manufacturers do the same? Your travels in all sea and climate conditions make for a lot of real world experience.
Norhavn’s definitely evolve as the design moves forward. If you take an early member of a boat line and compare to the same model boat 10 years later, these two boats will differ greatly. I’m not sure Nordhavn actually read blogs to get ideas but future owners do and it’s the requests of future owners that help evolve the fleet going forward combined with things Nordhavn learns and changes independently.
Thanks for they reply. It’s customer service 101 to listen and learn from your customers. Will ask you though of all the updates you made what % were applicable the the “general boater” and what % were made for you and Jennifer and Dirona to enhance your particular needs and cruising style.
I agree with you that successful companies listen to their customers and are constantly evolving their products. On you’re question of which of our changes were fairly unique to us and which were applicable in general, it’s a hard question to answer. Boaters have such a diverse set of interests it’s hard to refer to them as a single group. The power system in Dirona is of pretty general utility. It’s able to run all equipment on inverters, can plug into any frequency, 120V or 240V, and any amperage from 50 down to 2x 8A circuits. Nordhavn now offers a very similar system. Other choices like fuel bladders tend to be useful only to those crossing oceans and, even then, only if you need to or want to cross a segment more than 2,500 nautical miles. For sure, this is a minority use case and, in larger Nordhavn’s they have even more range so the bladders really only have value to small boat owners who cross unusually large segments. Generator autostart is remarkably useful and is becoming an increasingly common option. I think the forward spotlight and the massive side flood lights are super useful when near land in non-developed areas where there shore has no light. It seems like a generally useful choice but it’s not that common at this point. The large 4-screen glass cockpit in Dirona was quite unusual back in 2010 when it was installed but it’s become pretty much normal these days. We really like having both a 32 kt high speed tender for long trips and a small easy to carry power tender with a 2.3hp for shore landings. Larger boats have always done this and it’s getting to be a more common choice on smaller boats. We loved having a SCUBA compressor on board and that a pretty common choice as well.
The best way to figure out what options that will add value for you is to look at what others are deploying on similar boats, learn why they did it, and then you can figure out if it’s worth it for your planned usage. Our strategy was to try to get everything right but not to afraid of changing something if we were happy with the design or wanted to make improvements.
Do you and Jennifer plan on attending the Nordhavn owners rendezvous this year? Seems like you’re both enjoying your land life. Lynn and I are enjoying the boat so much, coming up on 1 year and it still seems like we’re still working on getting the boat commissioned. It is a never-ending project for sure. Mexico has been incredible, and we are headed north to the sea of Cortez for the summer before heading through the canal to the Caribbean and east coast and Europe. We have your travels to give us so many ideas for Europe. Cheers
It would be fun to attend the Nordhavn Owners Rendezvous. We always missed this event because we were out adventuring and not in the North America area but, now that we have time to attend, we no longer own a Nordhavn so can’t be there.
Glad you had another great trip to the Olympic Peninsula. And happy you had an opportunity to stop at Barhop. Great shots up at Hurricane Ridge. Add a drive up to Deer Park in the summer and maybe a drive or hike up Mt. Walker near Quilcene.
Barhop was fun — we had a great window seat.
Thanks for the summer destinations recommendations John. As Arnold says, we’ll be back!
“overreaching government restrictions”
A bit disappointed…
Nice sunset on the 2/13/22 thank you for sharing
Thanks for the feedback James. In this case a foggy early part of the day left just enough moisture in the air to make for a wonderful sunset.
Want to buy a Nordhavn and any thoughts on new or used? I’m considering a 47, 475, 52.
I am in touch with Dana Point and see the various brokers on youtube.
Nordhavns are strong boats built with good components so they last well. Our boat was used heavily and in 12 years had 12,600 main engine hours but, even a well used boat like Dirona, isn’t close to end of life. We purchased our last two boats new but used boats are a great option.
You may be interested in the hybrid diesel engine which will be installed in an over 100 year old boat being rebuilt at Port Townsend. The boat is called Tally Ho! and the history of its rebuild can be found on the Sampson Boat Co YouTube channel. This link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4UMMQFgmVI
shows the unboxing and description of the engine from about 14 minutes into the video. I have found the whole series a fascinating and revealing description of how traditional wooden sailing boats are built. This rebuild has only been possible because of the enthusiasm and skills of Leo, the boat builder with the help of some very skilled shipwrights, volunteers and financial supporters.
Thanks for passing along that interesting project.
Read about recent delivery of new Nordhavn N68 “Tanglewood” in the Yacht Forums web site that sounded like it was designed and built for you. It was second Nordhavn of the owner, who was said to be “well known” in the Nordhavn community and “extremely knowledgeable about engineering and electrical systems.” That sounds suspiciously like James and Jennifer Hamilton!
If it was not built for you, you might be able to inspect it — from the photos it looks like it is in Seattle or somewhere Pacific Northwest.
We know the owners of Tanglewood well and they are both serious boaters that make very thoughtful decisions. We would love to have any boat they have configured.
We visited Tanglewood last summer and it’s everything you’ve read about. It’s really a well thought through, well equipped boat, and it looks the part. It’s a wonderful boat and it’ll influence the Nordhavn 68s that follow.
Welcome to our part of the world! Lucy & i retired to Sequim and just love the North Olympic Peninsula. If/when you come back through stop at the Peninsula Taproom for a good pint. Also Barhop Brewing in P.A. pizza is great.
Congratulations on retiring to Sequim — it’s a beautiful area — and thanks for the recommendations.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Mystic, I suppose the last time was sometime in 1979. It’s an interesting concept and I suppose well worth the attempt.
Unfortunately, the envelope is rather small when a successful crew rescue from a sunken submarine is possible. The Mcann diving bells which the ship I was on was equipped with were rated down to 950′ which since they were developed well before WW2 was well below the survival depth of that era of submarine.
I suppose in an actual rescue if the divers going with it were willing, we’d have more than likely pushed that to 1100 feet if the submarine had enough downhaul cable to release with the buoy. I never knew how much cable they had and, it was relatively a moot point anyway since during the cold war the last thing they wanted was for a buoy to come loose on accident and mark their position. I observed two cases on 688 submarines where a metal strap had been welded over the buoy preventing it’s release. No buoy, no possible rescue other than lifting the entire submarine.
Mystic didn’t increase depth significantly while creating an entirely different set of conditions where mating with a downed submarine was even more difficult.
The simple fact is the 688’s were built with HY80 good for about 1282 feet if nothing else other than the hull failed. The SeaWolf class used HY100 taking them to about 1602. I don’t know what the Virgina Class is built using.
On submarines the escape hatch is known as the “Mom’s hatch” in reference to Mom thinking her child had a way out. Being on a Submarine Rescue/Salvage ship, we always considered “Submarine Rescue” an Oxymoron.
Not that we wouldn’t have done everything we could, even if it meant putting sat. divers down to cut a buoy lose. It’s just that the difficulties necessary to overcome working even an intact wreck at depth are vast.
A lot of technology came out of the DSRV project but I suspect it’s greater contribution was as a source of money for other projects that were classified above top secret.
I’ve been 600′ below the surface on the USS California but haven’t yet had the pleasure of getting aboard a 688. I would love to see one of the boomers up close. While Jennifer and I were looking at the Mystic we were talking about the challenge of finding a submarine, transporting the Mystic, lowering it to the sub and successfully docking, and then recovering the crew. It seems like a near impossible task but it’s still a credit to the Navy that they did what they could to be fully prepared. What’s even more impressive is the Navy did the one thing that really does work, they haven’t needed to rescue a submarine crew since the early 60s. It’s an impressive record.
Thanks for the additional data points Steve.
Training is extensive for submariners, and you won’t last long if your performance or attitude is bad that’s for sure. There are so many things that are possible to happen to a submarine they train until reaction is instinctive. The simple fact of moving through the water has dangers if something happens to the hydraulics and the planes lock in a dive position.
Having said that, nuclear submarines in the U.S. Navy have a very good safety record when they aren’t running into seamounts or crashing into Soviet Submarines or surfacing under cruise boats. I believe the last successful rescue of a downed submarine was in 1939. The U.S. did lose a diesel electric after WW2 due to battery issues, but they were on the surface and pulled off by another submarine before it sank.
Most escapes from sunken submarines have been “free assents” from the submarine through the escape or as I mentioned above “Mom’s Hatch”. If I remember correctly one of those was from the U.S.S. Tang after she was sunk by one of her own torpedoes in 180′ of water using Momsen Lungs. And while I am sure there would have been other possibilities for rescue during WW2, we still don’t know even today where all of those are. And while it would have been possible to rescue the rest of the crew on the Tang, they were in the yellow sea and war operations would have prevented positioning of equipment.
The two nuclear submarine we lost during the cold war (Thresher & Scorpion), sank in water deep enough there was nothing to rescue long before they hit bottom.
Admiral Rickover controlled nuclear power in the U.S. Navy at the time. If you wanted a reactor for a vessel either surface or sub-surface, you had to go to him. What he gave you determined how the ship was designed and in the case of U.S. submarines had a negative impact in some areas. One of those areas was not safety, he was a fanatic about that.
Thanks for the additional details Steve.
Did you install soft starts on your reverse cycle heat/ac units? I’ve been able to get all of my 240v appliances working on my Victron 5KW Inverter (which is supposedly rated to intermittently go to 10KW). But the reverse cycle compressor overloads it every time when it tries to start up. I’m curious if you had to do anything special to yours to get them working on the inverter.
Hey Alec. We were perfectly willing to install soft starts but didn’t need to. For 240V loads, we had two Victron Phoenix 3000 120V inverters running coupled into a split phase configuration delivering 6kW at 240V. These Victrons are absolute tanks and had no trouble starting even the 16,000 BTU Dometic in the pilot house. In fact, it could even start and run the Bauer Junior SCUBA compressor which has in rush currents up over 9kW for very short periods.
Interesting; for a few reasons I went with the combo Victron inverter/charger, which it seems isn’t as beefy as the single purpose units you installed. I already installed a soft start on our water maker which is working great. Off to research the Dometic soft starts, thanks for the info!
Certainly soft starts are easier on the inverters so probably not a bad choice to install anyway. Another thing to keep in mind is the limiting factor on most inverters is usually thermal. Some have “safety” circuitry that shut them down early but thermal overload is the usual limiter and it can happen super fast. Our Mastervolt 4kW 120V inverter should be able to deliver 33A but, on hot days, it was shutting down at 26A and it never could reliably deliver more than 29A.
The Mastervolt cooling design is a poor one mostly focused on not allowing water to enter the system. I re-engineered the cooling system to convection cool up from the bottom and straight out the top and put high volume muffin fans on the top. I added a circuit to turn the muffin fans at 15A or above and the system could then deliver 33A all day long and go burst above that for short periods. The system was completely different with the cooling design change. More detail: https://mvdirona.com/2016/02/hot-rodding-the-mastervolt-inverter/.
You might take a look at the cooling in the area of the inverter. An easy test it so put a temporary high volume fan cooling the case and see if that improves the in rush current it can deliver.
Yeah I’ll give that a try. These units have ‘overload’ and ‘overheat’ indicators; the failure mode for these has been ‘overload’. As you say it’s easy to test though, I’ll give it a shot.
we take delivery of the first N51 in Istanbul later this year and given the time of year are interested in travelling up the Danube and Rhine to Amsterdam. James Leishman suggested contacting you to see if you can point us in the right direction to assert ain if this is possible in a boat the size of the N51.
looking forward to hearing back from you.
Mark and Fiona
Congratulations and, wow, that sounds like an amazing trip. We loved the European river and canal trips we have done but Dirona’s water draft at 6′ 7″ isn’t a good match for many of the possible trips and the air draft of 30′ further closes off many of these trips. Dirona is a wonderful, go anywhere in the world boat, but it’s big for many of the rivers and canals.
The 51 draft of just under 5′ will open more opportunities for exploration. The air draft isn’t published on the Nordhavn site but I’m guessing around 22′ feet from the pictures. This would be on the high side but you might be able to ask the yard to design radar arch power down facility and get down into the 18′ to 19′ range. That could make a big difference. Many of the commercial river boats go so far as to have hydraulic bridges where the entire bridge can be retracted down to clear low bridges and they raised back up to the normal height to offer good visibility.
We researched the trip you were describing and a few that were similar but the air draft disqualified us from many before the research got into the details. Here’s some reports on the Rhine and Danube: https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f121/bridge-learance-on-rhine-main-and-danube-rivers-196399.html.
We found the Dutch Barge Association (https://barges.org/) and the British Cruising Association (https://www.theca.org.uk/) to be excellent resources with lots of experience on European waterways.
We’ve been giving some thought to returning to Europe and taking a 41 or a 51 on some of the same trips you plan. It sounds like a lot of fun.
I was changing the oil cooler zinc and the gearbox oil on our ZF transmission this weekend, and it got me wondering: With a dry exhaust engine how did you cool the oil in your transmission?
Good question. There are different approaches to this but a common one and what was done on Dirona was to use the engine coolant. This has the upside of actually heating the transmission oil when it’s cold and helps it get up to 180F to 200F fairly quickly. Then it holds the trans temp down near 200F when under load. Our transmission is wildly over-speced for the torque of our engine — it’s a ZF 305-2 being driven by only 266 HP — so it never gets over the engine temperature.
Makes sense; figured it either had to be that or a separate keel cooler. The separate keel cooler seemed unlikely since it would be more complex and then require another pump and coolant reservoir. Thanks!
I wish you all the best and want to thank you for sharing your experiences with me. It’s been very interesting, I’ve learned a lot both technical and social of beeing on the water and I understand the magnitude of sharing your experience. Personally I’m planning to head out on blue water in a couple of years. I look forward for you continued posts.
I wish you both all the best and James good luck with the job
Greetings and a happy new year from Stavanger Norway.
Thanks Sig and best of luck on your cruising plans. You’ll be starting from one of the premier cruising areas in the world.
Happy new year James and Jennifer
Thanks and happy new year to you as well.
Out of curiosity; how often did you change the oil in your main engine transmission? I’ve heard a bunch of different perspectives and am curious about yours.
On most intervals throughout the boat, I just use the manufacturers recommendations and we change our ZF 305-2 Transmission oil and filter every 2 years or 2,500 hours. Many I know choose to only change the filter every second time since a healthy transmission will have near perfect oil on every change.
merry christmas James and Jennifer
Thanks and merry Christmas to you as well.
James and Jennifer;
It is a hard habit to break after ten years, What habit you ask? Logging on every day to check your progress and adventures! Thank you for the very informative blog – I am still amazed at your discipline to maintain such a detailed blog plus hundreds of annotated photos. Thank you!!
May you have a great holiday in your new home and enjoy a different pace of life.
All the best for the New Year!
PS I am continuing to enjoy your land based posts!
Your right about the different pace of life. We loved the 11 years on the boat and the 9 years cruising the world but it was always busy. As much as we enjoyed it, slowing down a bit has also been nice. We’ll return to adventuring but, as you guessed, we’re enjoying the current lifestyle and pace.
Thinking about the blue hull for Ship Faced, it seems that yellow and other colors is common in Australia quite often. I’ve always been concerned about more than a light tint on a haul considering bleaching and harder to repair the gel coat. There is a new 68 being commissioned in Dana Point with what I would call a gun metal grey hull, a beautiful boat inside and out, I think the name is “Dragon”. The 68 is a really appealing boat, I suppose it is still a reasonable couple boat but right on the edge.
We agree the 68 is an incredible boat and we would love one. It’s more space than we expect to need but it’s a boat we would really enjoy. For us a 60 or a 625 (if we could get in a twin engine configuration) look like strong options for us.
In thinking through what a couple can handle, our thinking is that our 52 was pretty easy to handle and I was able to single hand it in a pinch. With two people on board where one is on a wing station or a remote control and the other is at the other end of the boat, we think we could handle Nordhavn’s up into and perhaps beyond the 80′ range without help.
Hi James, loved following your adventures. Was wondering why after all your success with a single main and wing configuration would you opt for twins in a 60 or 625. Regarding the 68 would your preference be a forward or aft pilothouse version, just curious as we go back and forth.
You’re right Eric, our single main and wing configuration worked super well through 12,600 hours of operation on Dirona. Our 40hp wing was slightly undersized for the boat and we would have preferred 50 to 60 HP but the larger boats have nicely sized wing engine making that a non-issue in the common case. If a great used boat came on market and it was single-engine, we wouldn’t hesitate to go that way.
Our preference for twin engines in the larger boats is liking the backup engine being highly capable of moving the boat. With 150+ hp rather than 40 to 70 HPs, near full cruise speed is possible by just pushing the operating member of a twin engine configuration harder. With twin engines, both engines are constantly being tested but they share a single fuel source which is a disadvantage over the Nordhavn wing design with it’s own fuel tank (fuel problems are amongst the most common marine diesel issues). With identical twin engines you can switch parts between them and have a single spares pool for each. However, in Dirona our Wing and Gen were in a single spares pool so perhaps that isn’t a big difference by that measure. Generally, the wing engines are light weight, parent bore diesels built to a somewhat lower standard than the sleeved main engines used on Nordhanvn’s from suppliers like John Deere, Lugger, Scania, etc.). Because wing engines are smaller and often need to meet less strict emission regulations they can be mechanically injected engines and many prefer the simplicity of these engines as the final defense against failure. For example, a mechanically injected wing engine is highly likely to still run after a lightening strike.
The factors go back and forth for a long time and, in many ways it’s a personal choice and, although we do prefer twins, it’s not that strong a preference and wouldn’t prevent us from accepting a well equipped N60 or N68 with a single engine.
You were asking about what boats we would be interested in the 60′ range. We’ve been on N60s and N68s and really like both. The N68 is a lot more boat than we need but it’s hard to argue that “need” is what is driving boat purchases — we would love to have either. We’ve not been on the 63 or the 625 so don’t have a strong view there but have read the specs carefully on the N625 and think it looks very good even though it’s a single main design (so far).
In many ways
Thanks for the response. When I first started deep diving into Nordhavn wasn’t completely sold on single and wing concept but over time came to appreciate the design more so was a little surprised to see you mention twins. Earlier in my career was an executive with the largest turbocharger manufacturer globally, had responsibility for majority of turbos used by Cat, Deere, Detroit/MTU and also their marine charge air coolers so have lots of prior real world experience particularly with the high hp seawater cooled units, have seen plenty of failed units which makes one appreciate more how Nordhavn designs for reliability and true long range cruising.
In a few years we’ll be in the market for a new 60/625 or used 68, love the 68,probably don’t need that much boat but every 60 we have been on over the years just haven’t found a stateroom layout that we love, family size dictates 3 true double staterooms and some overflow.
Eric said: “Earlier in my career was an executive with the largest turbocharger manufacturer globally, had responsibility for majority of turbos used by Cat, Deere, Detroit/MTU and also their marine charge air coolers so have lots of prior real world experience particularly with the high hp seawater cooled units, have seen plenty of failed units.” Interesting background and one where you will spend most of your time on the failure cases rather than the 1,000s that don’t fail. I worked for 6+ years as an aeromechanic where I too focused on the failure cases. Even in my current role, my focus is on fault modes and eliminating them.
All those years of focusing on faults modes and how to mitigate them cause me to like twin engine configurations but there is no question in my mind that the wing engine is a very nicely engineered solution and it does meet the safety standards of Jennifer and I.
Did you ever figure out why your pet cruise ship has been doing laps from San Francisco to Seattle for the past 2 months.
Hey Alec. The Ovation of the Seas normally cruises the Seattle to Alaska run during the summer and does Australia during the Northern Hemisphere winter. Australia isn’t allowing cruise ship entry so it’s winter season was canceled.
It appears they are planning to kill time here in the Seattle area until the Alaska cruise ship season re-opens. They come to Seattle’s Pier 66 every 2 to 4 weeks to provision, spend most of their time outside of the Puget Sound Pilot Zone sailing between Port Angeles and offshore. They once left the area and went south to San Francisco, where they looped for a few days before returning to the Puget Sound area.
It seems impossible to me that there is no way to monetize the nearly $1B vessel during this long waiting period. I think the challenge they face is, as a Bahamian flagged vessel, the Jones act prevents them from doing short cruises to US destinations and Canada won’t allow them to enter. It’s a challenging problem but, if I worked at Royal Caribbean, I would be working hard to find some way of monetizing that ship for the 6 months period. $1B is a vast amount of non-performing capital and it also continues to need crew, service, and fuel during the period.
Oh right, forgot about the implications of the Jones Act here but that makes perfect sense. Agree with your hypothesis.
They continue cruise the area and are currently at the Oregon/California border heading south but I’ll bet they return to Seattle in a couple of weeks.
Not clear WHY Dirona’s unloaded there.
You may not believe it but Dirona is for sale. We made our usual summer trip to Seattle where I spend a month in person each year in July. On the way across the country, we decided we would like to get an apartment and have a home base in Seattle. We figured we would head out to the east coast every couple of months to use the boat. We did the trip once and it just didn’t seem to fit. I’m pretty busy at work and found the trip out to the east coast as just more work rather than a fun trip so we decided to the sell the boat. Just leaving it to go down hill and not be used didn’t seem like a good option to us.
The plan is to do at least 12 to 24 months in Seattle and then get out and then start the next adventure. Perhaps a new boat or some other mode of travel but, for the short term, we’ll be doing an “urban adventure” in Seattle.
Strange time… just saw on motorboat&yachting that Piers du Pré from Guernsey just sold his fleming 55 after 18 years…. he’s lost…. his fleming was sold in one week…
My father is 77 and starts to think of selling and now you!
Not the same reasons but it must be a strange feeling not having a boat waiting for you somewhere…
Good luck for your next step..
Right now boats are selling quickly so that may be the push to make more people consider selling at similar times. For us, the decision was driven but wanting to spend the next couple of years mostly in Seattle. So far we’re enjoying the lifestyle downtown but there is no question that we’ll eventually want to return to travelling and boat traveling continues to have a real appeal for us.
I will be curious how much you will sell dirona to know if a nordhavn full options and updates but with 25000h keep the market price compared with a more classic one with 5000h.do you think its a main consideration for a future buyer ? Good day, here its 8pm..
Yes, decade old Nordhavn’s often sell at very similar to initial purchase prices. In fact, I’ve spoken to N46 owners where even 20 years later, the boats still sell for much the same price. Higher hours deffinitely play a part with some buyers but many Nordhavn purchasers know the boats well and really understand mechanical equipment expectations. For those that know, 5,000 hours vs 12,500 hours where we end up being viewed is not that different. They know that the engines statistically run to double those hours without issue and it’s a rare boat indeed that can wind up those hours. But, for some buyers, 12,500 hours raises some additional questions.
My summary is high hours will reducing the interested buyer list somewhat but, for experienced Nordhavn buyers it’s not a huge factor especially if the boat is well maintained and in good condition.
Happy thanksgiving James and Jennifer
Thanks and all the best to you as well James.
your most welcome and thank you
Kind of made me laugh on the garbage disposal. Without a doubt you are a very intelligent person. On the disposal I thought isn’t that something every person has experienced? You added humanity to yourself. Glad you are having so much enjoyment in your return to land based living. btw, I shared the exercise with Lynn as she is an exercise nut and she really appreciated your post.
I guess I’m proof that not everyone has encountered a garbage disposal jamming and knows they can free it up with an Allen key wrench :-). Somehow we’ve managed to have a disposal for 11 years and never needed to rotate the drive motor to free it up. There is no question that it was quick and effective.
Hello M/V Dirona crew. Thought you might be interested that we met a few new Nordhavn owners at the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat show. One couple just recently received theirs and we met another that placed an order at the show. We also met four future Maritimo owners all specing their new boats with our new line of Scania US EPA Tier 3 Recreational engines. I believe three owners will be getting the M55 with twin 900hp DI13 and one will be the M64 with twin 1,150 hp DI16. All destined for the USA for the first time. Also, I am leaving the marine engine market to lead our industrial engine efforts in North America. My successor is Dave Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any questions for us. I have enjoyed following your blog through the years and wish we could have caught up when you were in San Antonio. I know Dave is scheduled to attend the Pacifica Marine Expo in Seattle Nov 18- 20 if you have some interest in the workboat show. Booth 1431 at Lumen Field Event Center. All the best!, Al
Good hearing from you Alberto and all the best in your new industrial engines role at Scania. We probably will drop by Pacific Marine Expo and, if we do, we will drop by and say hi to Dave Hughes.
James and Jennifer, I have a deep respect for all you have done on the boat and maintaining a blog while doing so. It just feels like task after task getting the boat ready and at night reading operational manuals, building logs and departure checklists, safety, maintenance, etc. I will say it brings purpose to life for sure. After having overnight guests on the boat recently that in itself brings a complete set of additional circumstances as everyone is eager to help often creating havoc while docking, etc. Lynn and I have a routine just the two of us that works well and add in additional persons can easily break your routine, lol. So many lessons learned. We’ve decided to not be overly gracious with invitations, especially while sailing.
I know what you mean about it often being easier to land the boat without “help” than with it. We try to go nice and slow and not appear to be in a rush or in need of help. For the most part people are happy to offer but mostly seem fine with us just saying “we’ll be fine.”
All the best in your adventures on your new boat. You’ll soon be past the steep part of the learning curve.
Roasting pan comment made me think about the boat. You are right, a new kitchen is a daunting task as is the whole boat. The first 3 days or so I was completely overwhelmed. Now that we are close it’s fun now. btw, picked up the non contact voltage tester and the rangefinder, both seemed like good ideas. Gonna try heat shrink for the circuit breakers.
Having the breakers marked makes the system WAY easier to manage and it’s super easy to always have everything in the proper setting for all boat operating modes. As you know, we often get up early and are underway before 5am. We aim to be underway in 10 to 12 min from waking up and, to do that without mistake, the boat has to be super simple to operate.
Some years ago you provided me the a copy of the best boat maintenance spreadsheet which I have used on my boat since. I have recently downsized from a cat to a smaller monohull and reset the spreadsheet. Unfortunately the colour rendition has disappeared. Would you mind if I sent you the spreadsheet so you can check the formula for me.
The easiest solution is to download a fresh copy of the spreadsheet and make 1 change at a time ensuring everything keeps working as you customize it for your new boat.
The spreadsheet can be found at https://mvdirona.com/2018/11/updating-the-maintenance-log/
James, I think I remember a post where you had employed colored markers on the circuit breakers (on the circuit panel) on Dirona. If so where did you source those? By the way, took delivery on Lyra. Great first trip, so happy. Trip was perfect in that at about 3am off watch the stabilizers failed and awoke to crashing sounds with everything moving around in cabinets, etc. and alarms from the helm. As Nordhavn was with us at the helm with Lynn I quickly got up and spent the next 3 hours diagnosing the entire hydraulic system. Determined the LP side solenoid was not opening and after swapping the working HP side, restored the stabilizers. It eventually failed also. Well turned out someone at ABT had shipped the unit to the factory with 12VDC solenoids so they were overheating after about 10 hrs of time. ABT shipped a pair to Ensenada and it was a 5 minute fix! Anyway, so glad it happened, allowed me to really dive into the hydraulic system, granted at 3am with 5-7′ seas off the beam wasn’t ideal.
Those insidious problems (12v part used in a 12v application) can be hard to track down. Good job in finding it. Just the normal teething pains of a new boat and they all be behind you soon.
Sorry to not see this question earlier Eric. We just use small cable ties of different colors.
Thanks for bring us along on your adventures! When your adventures continue will you look at Nordhavn again or go with another builder?
We remain pretty big Nordhavn fans and it’s absolutely amazing the amount of adventure and fun per dollar that boat has delivered so we’ll definitely be highly predisposed to another Nordhavn. We knew the original owners of N60 Jupiter and really liked the choices they made. We have several friends with N68s and they are simply incredible boats. We also have a friend building the first N71 and that project is looking very interesting as well. It’s super hard to predict where we will end up 12 to 24 months out.
I think if you want a new 60 – 70 foot Nordhavn in 12 to 24 months, you may have to place an order tomorrow, if not yesterday … :-)
Yes, you are right. Nordhavn sales are on fire right now. They have a good product at a time when people are really valuing freedom and flexibility. It’s a good time to be in the RV or boat business and the good players are really doing well.
I‘ve worked in the leisure marine business for nearly 40 years, with my own companies. Being 68 now, I have sold my companies, nothing left, and I am happy I did this at the (for me) right time. However, people actively working in this field today, have a good business development potential, better than what I had. But that‘s fine. All the best, Christian
I’m far from an expert on the leisure marine industry but it looks challenging. It seems like a cyclical industry and one where it’s easy to get over-extended and not be able to ride through a few years of less vigorous sales. Some operators have the discipline to operate successfully for many years but it seems like there are always a large number of new businesses arriving and others failing out.
Yes, correct. My way to handle this was, after 20 years of having been a company owner in the leisure marine business, to start a new activity – with a line of my own brand, super yacht sun awning products. Super yacht in this case meaning 200 feet plus boats. Textile awnings, up to (my largest) 440 square metres of area, on deck 7 of a 154m boat, approved to be used in 120 knots of apparent wind. In other words: hurricane proof. Including a supporting structure of 220 mm diameter high gloss mirror polished stainless steal tubes, more than 100m running length of tube, for this single project. Good business. Very demanding, but successful. I sold it when I turned 62. Plenty of time now for my – different world – 47 foot LOA personal boat … :-)
I’m now the same age you were when you retired. I’m still enjoying work but I’ll eventually join you in retirement.
Your project on a 154M boat sounds like a big one. But, I guess, pretty much anything you do at that scale is going to be big and challenging. That’s a pretty massive boat.
The interesting thing with that job was that the awning was kind of dome shaped, with the centre about 750mm higher than the outer shape. That made it behave like an aeroplane wing. If exposed to 120 knots of wind, it would create a lift force of about 40 metric tons, I don’t remember the exact figures. Anyway, it was a real challenge to design an awning structure, but also to get the ship structure, to accept this kind of lifting force. Nice job. I loved this business. One out of about 20 in the past years. But being retired now is also a good development …
… one of about 20 JOBS in the past years ,,,
That does sound like both an unusual project and an engineering challenge. A structure that large will produce a vast amount of lift in even light winds so I don’t doubt that making it able to operate without damage through a hurricane was an interesting engineering project.
Christian, try 36 months+ btw there is a really well thought out interior new 68′ here now. Makes you think… But, larger than the N60 things get much more tricky for marinas, etc. We just built a N60 and at least with my wife and I it is the perfect boat all around. A boat is a work in progress always, and you always see things you would do different. We took a simple approach inside with just a few changes and I spent most of my time carefully considering mechanical side. Right now I am in the trying to break in systems with varied loads, etc and hopefully exposing issues before we do our first passage.
Fun times Eric. Your N60 sounds very close to fully ready for unrestricted cruising. Congratulations.
James and Jenn:
We were tied up along side you In Seattle on our navy blue Tartan 3400 sailboat when you departed Seattle and had an interesting chat about your upcoming “trip.”.What a trip and what tremendous blog you provided. Even though we are sailors we have followed it for all these years. Well done and all the best in your future endeavors!
It was a bigger trip than we could have possibly expected and it’s fun to get your note from someone like yourselves who essentially saw both ends of trip and saw the blog along the way. Thanks for virtually joining us on this adventure and thanks for the feedback on the blog.
Welcome back to Seattle and congratulations on your new role. I’ve been enjoying your posts for many years. It is inspiring. The PNW has amazing culture even if it has just started to open up again. Hope to see you out and about exploring. Cheers!
It’s great hearing from you Edmund. It’s been a long time. Thanks for the welcome back to Seattle. Jen and I are both really enjoying being back.
Just noticed you are selling Dirona. Good luck with your future endeavors. Lynn and I are aboard N6081 Lyra as I write. Getting a boat ready is not to be underestimated. Wow! I am a little overwhelmed!
Great news that your N60 is getting close to cruise ready. It was 12 years ago that Dirona was at that point and we remember it well. It feels a bit daunting but the best cure for that is to get out and use it. You’ll both find and fix the remaining rough edges and gain confidence with the boat.
Our plan is to spend a couple of years in Seattle on our urban adventure before heading out to do more world travelling. All the best on your adventures with Lyra.
Beautiful sunset over bainbridge island
Thanks James. The weather in Seattle has been really good over the last couple of months. It’s been great.
Thanks for many years of the best boating blog on Youtube. I will miss Dirona.
Best wishes on your new job.
Thanks for your kind words. We’ll miss Dirona as well but, so far, we’re enjoying our urban adventure in downtown Seattle.
To us followers, this clearly is the “worst day” of the Dirona log, the day of the sale for most of us! But, we all understand and have enjoyed the escape and collaboration with you all and each other on this trip who this the journey of a lifetime is just that, the journey.
To most of us, learning how to get fuel, air or “life” filters delivered to anyplace, anytime is one thing BUT lifting the engine head of the spare generator is completely beyond my intellectual tool kit in terms of patience and fortitude….I tip my hat to all of readers, contributors and you both for relentless positivity. Jeff Bezos or any of us could do no better, than having you both along for any epic journey!
Hi Gary. You have been following the blog for quite a while. Thanks for coming along with us and thanks for the comment. It was an amazing adventure but, you are right, there was also a gentle sprinkling of challenges along the way. On the more difficult challenges we worked together and found, if we worked together, approached the problem systematically, and had patience, they are all solvable. Even the generator engine overhaul, which felt big at the time, was really only $2000 in parts and a day of work for Jennifer and I. A tiny price to pay for 11 years of amazing experiences. We feel super lucky.
I receive your email update every week and always envy your life style. Today, having received your latest email I am in a slight state of shock, and actually feel quite disappointed that you have decided to sell MV Dirona. Completely non of my business, but strangely I feel quite sad!!
Best wishes in the future. Dave
We are excited about starting the next adventure but we we’ll also really miss Dirona as well. What a lifestyle and what an adventure it has been. However, we fully expect that we’ll be back boating after a couple of years on our Seattle Urban Adventure.
I feel like a toast to Dirona and the end of your adventures in her, and to all your future adventures are in order. You two have been exemplary teachers in different ways in that I have appreciated being a student to learn what I could along the way. Cheers!!!
well said james alexander the mechanical videos by James Hamilton are better then the mechanical course’s I took in collage/university
Thanks for the feedback on the mechanical videos. Much appreciated.
Thanks for the kind feedback. A big part of the trip has been passing along some of the adventure and what we have learned. We both appreciate your comments.
I knew it! The new job comes with golden handcuffs. Ah, well I really enjoyed following your adventures on Dirona. I saw her at the dock in Charleston and then she was gone. Now I know why. Best of luck to you both.
Nah, no gold and no cuffs on this decision. Just a super interesting set of things to work on. From our perspective, our next couple of years in Seattle is just all part of the adventure. We’re looking forward to it and to whatever we decide to follow it with.
Thanks for the feedback on the blog Bruce.
HI James, with regards to our earlier discussions. I‘d like to give a final comment about my alternator / regulator upgrades for my Sabre 42 Hardtop Express, and its twin Yanmar engines (2x 12V/235A Electromaax alternators, 2x J10 serpentine belts, and 2x Balmar MC614 regulators, plus Balmar Centerfielder II). I am absolutely happy and very impressed with the result. On the anchor for 24 hrs, if I then start the engines, 75 minutes of running the engines at 1400 rpm brings my batteries from 55% back to 100% charge level. Amazing. Running the engines at about 1400 – 1500 rpm gives me near 300A positive charging current. That is at Balmars lowest possible „belt load manager“ level – I could probably increase this by more than 50%, if I set the Balmar regulators to a higher level – but I don‘t need to do that. No temperature problems at all – neither with the batteries, nor with the alternators. Absolutely a game changer. I hardly need to run my 11kW generator anymore, I now just start it for cooking and oven usage – or in case I rest at anchor for multiple days without starting the engines.
The only challenge I had was to align the belts properly, so they don‘t show fluttering / vibration problems. Although I requested manufacturer support, I received zero help from Electromaax. That actually gave me severe problems, but I could sort them out myself. The way out was to design and install additional belt pulleys, so the belt span distances were reduced.
Not sure whether this still is of interest after your 180 degree life change within a few days, but I thought I‘d post this, others may be interested. Anyway, good luck and success for your „new life“ without boats – Best Regards, Christian
Nice work on a big project. It sounds like your results have been excellent. You now have a “spare” 5.5kW generator always available whenever you are underway. It’s a great configuration and the very similar configuration we run has worked very well for the last 8 or 9 years. Thanks for the follow-up posting.
Welcome to our backyard. We’re on the inland side of Peanut Island when you came through the inlet.
Going to be here for a while? Couldn’t quite tell. Is Dirona here or are you visiting on another yacht?
bill and ellen domb
M/Y Activated Eau
Peanut islands looks like a wonderful spot. We have boated past your home but we weren’t on Dirona on this trip past. That was Jay Flaherty and Crew of Yacht Tech bringing Dirona to their offices in Florida. We’re out in Seattle right now.
Jennifer and James: Have been putting of this post for a while:
1. Congratulations on your new position. It looks very challenging so you should thrive
2. I have always been impressed with your posting of photos, along with detailed notes. Your discipline to do this is remarkable!
3. The latest photo at Sam’s Tavern shows a wistful looking Jennifer – is she missing Dirona? :)
Needless to say I have enjoyed your blog for many years. Hopefully it will continue in some form.
Best wishes and many thanks
PS What do I replace my morning Dirona ‘fix’ with?
Thanks Rodney from both Jennifer and I. You have been a long term partner on our around-the-world cruise and it’s always good to hear from you. We expect we’ll continue to blog but the adventure will be a smaller one for the next year or so.
We just passed you, near Hilton Head, on our way up to Charleston.
#MYLiberty (Beneteau Antares 13.8)
Cool. It was indeed Dirona but it was the Yacht Tech team rather than us at the helm. They are bringing Dirona down to Florida. Thanks for saying hi!
Using towels as padding to sleep on reminds me of my younger days. All I used for a motorcycle road trip was a sleeping bag and a canvas (then later plastic) tarp.
Fast forward 40 years and It seems the drought conditions throughout most of the country has made the ground simply to hard for my tastes these days :)
Yeah, us too Steve. Now having tried it both ways, Jen and I are pretty much aligned in thinking that having a bed is a worth while investment :-).
Hello Jennifer and James.
Congratulation on James’ new job, and thank you for sharing your fantastic journey. I know everything has an end, but I will miss your weekly post from Dirona very much.
A little teaser: Dirona has not been around the World. You miss to bring her back to San Fransisco, to complete the circumnavigation. I would love, if you completed your job :). Thank you anyway for all you have given.
Greetings from Denmark
It’s been a great trip. Thanks for coming along with us.
Congratulations on your new job James thank you for sharing your adventures with us
Congratulations on your new job! Thank you for sharing your adventures with us. I’m sad about the boat, but I am happy for you both. I wish you the best in this new part of your life. Who knows, maybe your next adventure will be exploring space? Do you know anyone who may have a rocker ship? 😂 JK I wish you both all the best!!!
We’ve enjoyed our adventure so far and are looking forward to this next chapter. Not knowing what is next is actually kind of fun.
Thanks for a wonderful journey. Congratulations on your promotion though the boat is sad news for us. I hope you got Spitfire’s approval.
Best wishes for the future and I hope you keep posting.
It’s been a great trip but it’s fun to be back in Seattle. Spitfire is loving the new apartment– More room to tear around — so not a problem there.
Congrats on the promotion! I hope you can still find time to cruise…maybe even back to the West Coast? Hope you three are doing well.
On the boat, we’re wrestling around with what to do with it. I’m pretty busy at work and we don’t think we’ll have a chance to use the boat much for the next year or two. Selling it might be the right answer.
It has been an amazing adventure and I appreciate you letting me follow you and interact along the way. What happens with Dirona is meant to be and life will find a way. Maybe trade her in for a new 41 and stay within site of land like the rest of us :-)
We do like the N41. It looks like an excellent canal and inland boat but still with off shore capabilities when needed.
Congratulations on the new job! We passed through Charleston northbound (homeport Norfolk, VA) a week before you got there. Sorry to have missed you as we have been following you since New Zealand. You have truly been an inspiration. I am sure you have considered shipping your boat to Vancouver, BC. Thanks for sharing your adventures.
I love your DironaMaintenanceSchedule.xlsx – it serves to alert you based upon hours or months that an item is due for service. But as you state on your blog, once you DO the service you record the service information elsewhere. Do you have an example of the excel spreadsheet you use for recording the actual work.\ I am think it would include: service date, location, what was done, maybe a link to the receipt. i would love to have something that I would be able to give to the new owners when I sell my boat down the road someday.
Thank you–we’re glad it’s working for you. On our previous boat, we tracked and recorded maintenance items in the ship’s log. The current boat has many more systems with varying service intervals, so we created the spreadsheet to automate notification of service work needed, but still recorded the actual work done in the ship’s log. We had considered updating the spreadsheet to track historical work done, but in the end decided to move to a database model that provides both notifications and a record of the work items done.
It looks like a fun trip but I think you may be getting tired or forgot where you’ve been.
2. South Carolina
9. New Mexico
Without going back through your posts, didn’t you hit Utah (12?) At any rate only two more to go :)
Yes–we did miss Utah on that list. Thanks for catching that Steven.
Hello James, my name is Stephen York from Massachusetts. I just watched (for the second time) your video on checking the accessories pullies on the main engine. One thing you did not mention was a small alternator for charging the starting batteries for the main engine. Is there actually one on the engine, or does the starter use the house batteries for starting? I also like the duel 4.5Kw alternators for running everything while underway.
The way it is set up is one alternator charges the start batteries and one charges the house bank. When underway, the normal operation is to connect the house and start charging circuits and run as one large charging circuit but they will fail to individual systems. That allows us to use two alternators to drive the house but also allows the system to fail to two independent alternators or for the operator to switch to that mode of operation.
Thank you James the explanation. It sounds like a great system.
I hope you are enjoying Reno! Thank you for posting about the travel router! I had never thought of that solution. When I am at my home marina I have Wi-Fi (SSID Sweet Freedom) and my five on-board Echos and sub connect to the network to play sound throughout the boat. While over at Catalina our club has Wi-Fi but I did not want to reconnect all of my Echo devices to a different network. An iPhone is easy to change but all of the Echos would be a pain. With this router it seems that if I connect to our club Wi-Fi and then rename the router SSID “Sweet Freedom” my devices can connect without changing their configuration. I ordered it last night so I should be blasting Pat Metheny at the island in a few weeks!
That’s exactly our use case. It’s a hassle to connect the FireTV and all other devices to a new hot spot each time we go anywhere so we leave them always hooked up to the router and just hook it up to whatever internet source we want to use. You’ll love it.
Hi Jennifer, James and Spitfire,
Sorry it has been so long between messages. I’m just catching up on your epic road trip. What an amazing route. It’s looks like my friend Spitfire is having a very nice time! I see the the Australians can be relied upon to keep liquor stocked in Cedar City, Utah :-). Kate
Spitfire enjoyed the trip and did very well during his month on the road. We’re now enjoying hanging out in downtown Seattle. Let us know if you fly through Seattle. It would be great to catch up with you.
Just browsing the waterfront of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Google today and noticed a familiar image on a street view from September of 2016. https://goo.gl/maps/UgZd1rdbYxMovZY58. You are probably already aware of this, but just in case.
Thanks for pointing it out Andrew–we weren’t aware of it. That brings back great memories of our time in Halifax.
Glad that you enjoyed your time here. The door is always open…..
Really admire the blog and YouTube videos you’ve been aggregating here over the years. Apologize if this is obvious and has been covered (couldn’t easily find the info through search), but wondering what technology you’re using to accomplish the GPS logging / data overlay on maps? I’m looking to accomplish similar and seeking a system which will complete the task automatically without me having to think about it.
All the best,
Thanks for the feedback on the blog.
Dirona tracks are produced by custom software that is primarily used for other purposes — the tracks produced are just a side effect of a broader system. This software takes all data off boat-wide NMEA2000 data communications bus and stores it in a database every 5 seconds. This data includes all data from all the main engine, wing engine, generator, all electrical systems, all navigation systems, the electrical systems, and many other discrete devices in the boat. The data in the database data is used by other custom software systems to track historical changes, alert on problems, set indicator lights, send warning email, auto-start the generator when the battery discharge, shed power load when starting to reach the limits of the current boat power source, etc. A tiny part of this data is auto-uploaded to the web site to show the track on the map at http://mvdirona.com/maps using a combination of google maps and custom code shown inside WordPress (the blog software).
I’ve heard that Garmin Inreach is a very good solution that is pretty easy to use.
Thanks for the quick and detailed reply. This gives me a few angles to run with. With as long as you’ve been at this, sending all of that data every 5 seconds must have accumulated quite a mass of information!
Yes, ever 5 seconds going back for some data points to 2012 and most for at least 6 years is pretty big but not as big as I would guess. Many of the data points are just 0 or 1 binary data points so the full thing is only 10s of gigabytes. Big but not as big I would have predicted.
Hello J and J,
Curious how you accurately mark your anchor location while setting an anchor watch alarm. I keep meaning to set the alarm with an iPhone app, while on the foredeck as the anchor drops, but get busy and of course remember when the anchor is 100 or more feet away. Just did it in Blind Bay…
We set an anchor watch religiously for 8 years but we never had any detectable anchor movement so, over the last 12 or 13 years, we haven’t been setting it. But, we do like to know exactly where the anchor is since knowing that makes it much easier to raise anchor without excessively loading the windlass. It’s especially nice to know exactly where the anchor is when lifting anchor in the dark or heavy winds. So we always set anchor position and they way we do it is is figure out where we want the anchor to be set before arriving in the anchorage and instead of putting the mark where we drop the anchor, we drop the anchor where the mark is. On this model, we never forget and always have the correct mark. If the anchorage is busy and we need to shift the mark, we do that and then drop on the mark.
Using the model above, we always know where the anchor is and could easily set an anchor alarm. But we find that in order to give enough movement to allow for periodic GPS error and avoid false alarms, we end up with land frequently being inside the alarm radius, which makes the alarm less useful. And we want to be able to anchor and leave the boat without worry so we set anchor carefully and use a lot of rode. That way we can set and forget and don’t have to be on the boat to respond to anchor drag alarms and don’t have to worry about false alarms.
It’s always possible that we’ll experience an drag situation where an alarm could have saved us but it hasn’t happened in nearly 25 years. Because we don’t set an anchor alarm, we don’t get false alarms. And, we never dragged and, even though we have seen winds as high 70 kts at anchor, we’ve never had to get up and stand watch. Having a large anchor, very well set, with abundant rode is our approach and, so far, it’s done well in what I would guess to be 1,000s of uses.
James & Jennifer,
Leaving Cape Town, South Africa, which route did you take back to the US? Did South America factor into the route at all? If so, where did you stop, and what was the service and harbor/marina approach and entry communication like? Did you make use of St. Helena on the way over to either South America or the Caribbean, and what was your experience there in terms of service and communication?
We went from Cape Town to Saint Helena and then to Barbados with no stops in between. We don’t yet have expereince boating in South America. No issues with communications anywhere in South Africa, Barbados, or St. Helena.
You’re running your Maretron system on their integrated screen/processor/N2KView product, right? I’m running mine on Windows and my event counters and runtime counters reset to zero when I restart N2KView. I cannot believe this is by-design behavior. Yours don’t do this, do they?
We run N2kView on our Windows navigation computer. We do use min and max readings (and they do reset on restart) but we don’t use event counters. I suspect they do reset as well. We do have event counters for things like bilge pump cycles but implemented them before Maretron did in N2kView we handle them in custom code.
I wish I had known you were in San Antonio. Scania USA is based in San Antonio. I would have enjoyed inviting y’all out for dinner at one of our favorite spots in exchange for some of your stories. Safe traveling.
That would have been great! We’ll check in to see if you are available on our next pass through.
I am a big fan of your page for a long time. I am an experienced sailor and I decided that it’s time to buy a Nordhavn trawler and cruise full time with my wife, two children and some guests occasionally.
Based on your huge experience, could I have your opinion on what would be a better purchase?
Both are in the same price tag and I like both layouts. I am not sure which one has the most comfortable ride on rough seas. I don’t know if Detroit Series 60 is comparable with the John Deere, also if it is an issue or not, that the first has 7.000 Hours.
Will Stabilizers perform better in an N63 due to smaller beams and weight?
The 64 is bigger boat and they sold more 64s so there is a bigger market for the 64/68 series but they both are nice boats, from the same design team with the same design intent. I personally slightly prefer Deere to the Series 60 but the 60 was very broadly used in over-the-highway applications and is a fine engine. 7k hours won’t be an issue. The boats are more similar than they are different. Both, like all boats and even new boats, will require some work once you get them. It’s invariably the case that you’ll want to change somethings and will find some issues after purchase. But they are both solid boats and our expereince with Nordhavn’s is they are remarkably cost effective even when using them heavily. They are both reliable boats. I would visit both and make the decision on the basis of which you end up liking best and which seems to offer the best value.
You may have already seen these but in case you haven’t, the Yacht Tech Inc YouTube channel has in-depth reviews of both the 63 and 64. Both videos are upwards of an hour long and are extremely interesting.
I had to laugh at your picture of a toilet sign. Some things really do need to be said even though almost everyone with average intelligence would think someone is being funny.
The sad part is, after decades of working on public buildings the simple fact is the people those signs are made for, aren’t going to heed them anyway.
We have to admit we have been in some public washrooms where more instructions appear to have been needed :-).
Are you stuck in Reno, in a casino, playing keno?
Anything would be possible with us but, no, we’re now out enjoying Fort Bragg California. We’re heading north to Crescent City later today.
James Tropical storm Danny coming ashore tonight in South Carolina. Do you have someone to check lines and bumpers on Dirona ?
No, we don’t have anyone checking in on Dirona but all instrumentation shows good and the video shows all is still were it should be. Thanks for letting us know.
That “bomber” picture certainly looks like a C-130 ; and welcome back to Washington.
Thanks John. We’re currently in Reno Nevada but will be back in Washington in another week. Looking forward to it.
I’ve been following your travels for years. Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. I do have one question though: 80 MPH in Texas? Was that with or against the current?
Well, now that you mention it, with the current we might have been pushing 85 MPH :-).
in early spring we had a discussion about alternator and serpentine belt drive upgrade. As said at that time, I installed 2x Electromaax 12V / 235A alternators and 2 sets of serpentine belt drives, in combination with external Balmar MC-614 regulators and a Centerfielder II. The systems work great. Very happy I did this, although it was a lot of work. I saw that you have a Dayco spring loaded tensioner in your accessories belt system. I would like to install two of these, too. I have J10 belts, that stands for 10 PJ type ribs, 23.4mm wide. I am struggling a bit which tensioner model to choose. Do you happen to know the product reference of your Dayco tensioner? I expect your belt to be very similar to mine, so knowing what tensioner you used might help me. Many thanks! And have a good drive to Seattle, that’s a long trip, really!
Best regards, Christian
Good to hear it’s all running well. The tensioner is a Deere part and it’s been running since new. Dayco might be able to tell you which part number they sell to Deere.
Thanks for the info, James. I had thought this was a custom made system. It is a bit difficult to decide on what to do, as 1) none of the manufacturers publish load values for their spring tensioners, 2) the belt pre-tension instructions which Balmar, the belt manufacturer, and Electromaax give, differ by factor 5, and, 3) I have some belt fluttering above 1700/2000 engine rpm. Maybe I continue with fixed idler pulleys to begin with – until I know what the final belt pre-tension is going to be. The manual BBU Balmar tensioners I have in the system now work perfectly all right. Spring loaded tensioners do not really make sense if the belt tension might turn out as 20% of what was said, or, the other way, as 5 times what was said. I found out that your Deere engine has a 8 rib PK type belt, whereas I now have 10 rib PJ ones, so I cannot compare that 1:1 anyway. Thanks for your help, and have a good land trip!
Edit: just looked at the figures again, recmmendations vary by factor 4. Not much a difference though, if you want to base a decision about what to do on this …
I’m using the same tensioner that Deere delivered in their 6068AFM75 single alternator engine. The engine was modified prior to delivery Cascade Engine Center to have two alternators both of which are 190A@24V. I believe the belt size and tensioner were not modified when adding the second alternator.
Our engine does show a fair degree of bounce in the tensioner during normal operation. I didn’t look at it closely when new so don’t know if it’s gotten worse or if this is as delivered. It’s possible it’s the same, it’s possible that the spring tension has faded over the last 12 years, and it’s possible that it should have a bit more tension on this application. Typical belt life is 5,000 to 6,000 hours so the system seems to be working fairly well but I would prefer not to see as much bounce or flutter on the tensioner.
Don’t know what the experts experience is there, but I read comments that suggested to replace the tensioner together with the belt. That may be a good idea or not, can’t say … – the comments came from the agricultural world.
I’ve been thinking about doing that since the tensioner bounce appears bigger than I remember. Thanks for passing on that recommendation.
Didn’t you report recently that your new belt failed after a relatively short time? Maybe the tensioner is a more likely reason for that than the time gone by since you bought the belt? Just a thought …
It’s possible the tensioner has gotten worse and is the issue and with 11,000 it would probably be a good decision to just change it. The history here is I got 3 belts including the one on the engine when the engine was delivered. They are all the same brand, size, and construction. They are all the same age but I replaced the first two after 5k to 6k hours and the third was destroyed in 100s of hours. I put a used belt back on with something like 6k hours on it. It’s run another 100 hours since then without showing any material wear.
Indications are that the failure was a manufacturing belt with the belt. The longer the used belt lasts on there, the more convinced I am that it was a belt issue but I’ll not want to run this experiment to full term since a belt failure can lead to fairly substantial problems. I’ll change the belt soon and probably will change the tensioner as a precaution.
Agreed. Good analysis.
My feeling is that 5000 to 6000 hours is fairly good. If a car belt requires replacement at say 150 thousand km, at the speed that my car reports as average speed, that would equal about 2500 hours.
While you’re gone do you have anyone physically checking your boat or are you relying on your monitoring system?.
Mostly just the monitoring systems and lots of video cameras. We’ll post an update to the web site to show some of the data we use. And, if an issue comes up like a shore power failure, we’ll get email (and the gen will start if the batteries get down to 55%).
James and Jennifer:
A very belated welcome back ‘home’ after a great Atlantic Crossing. Congratulations!
Now the guessing game can begin as to your ‘course’ to Seattle, West to LA and then to Seattle? Enjoy the ‘calm seas’!
We just arrived into San Antonio Tx and we’re staying at a hotel on the Riverwalk. Should be fun and we expect to stay an extra day. Yesterday we enjoyed a long day in New Orleans. Hot but as much fun as usual.
So far our “anchor” has been holding well each evening and we haven’t had much swell :-).
Road trip for another 3,000 mile “crossing”? Are you going 24/7 like on the latest trip or are you going to take in the sights? Do you ever do anything small? :-)
We’ll take the long way on this “crossing” so it’ll be a lot longer than 3,000 miles and we will also be taking the relaxing route and stopping every night :-). We’re currently in New Orleans.
Hello, and glad you guys are safe and enjoying the States.
As we are looking for a boat ourselves, we have found it particularly difficult to even get a quote for insurance for the boat we are interested in.
Even if we supply the particulars of the boat; the seamanship/boat handling courses; and the intent of acquiring a Yaghtmasters certification, we do not get a response or any folowup regarding the cost.
Without trying to be intrusive and off-color with the understanding you do sail a boat that, is globally sailing would you care to share your boat insurance provider?
We would appreciate any contacts that you may provide us with, as we have no response from agents, or most do not insure boats with a length larger than 20 FT.
Your input, contacts, and direction would be greatly appreciated and be kept confidential.
Sure, we’re happy to help. We use and remain happy with the Jackline Policy from the Gowrie Group: https://www.gowrie.com/Marine-Insurance/JacklineProgram.aspx.
Contact information for Jackline:
*Online Quote Request: Use code = Jackline
*Download and complete PDF Form: Submit completed forms to email@example.com or 410.827.3758 (fax)
It looks like you’re happy to be back in the “Land of quick Amazon deliveries”. I hope everyone is doing well especially Spitfire. As the owner of two sixteen-year-old cats and one fourteen-year-old which are more like family than pets, it’s concerning when they start showing their age.
Looking at your exhaust leak and assuming the bolts were torqued properly at the start, I would suspect it was “gasket creep” causing the bolts to loosen. That will happen at some point no matter what you do however, the initial assembly along with materials used, can make the difference in years if not decades.
The start of this article explains it better than I can: https://www.complianceonline.com/images/supportpages/500648/sample_ProcessUtilitiesPlant.pdf
When I assemble a steam flange, I use an anti-seize compound such as “copper coat” on the threads more, for the people that have to service it at some point (could be me) than anything. It is at that point considered a lubricated thread which requires a different torque spec. for the desired pre-load.
I suspect that it’s gasket creep as you said. In this case, we have a steel weldment connected to thin stainless steel flex joint. The rates of expansion and contraction between those two is going to be fairly great. The gasket will wear and, eventually, the joint will open up. The gaskets I put in there are top quality, rated at over 1100F (engine runs 780F at full rated output), with a steel inset. They look good to me and should be good for another 5 to 10 years and perhaps more. Since the gasket quality looks pretty good, we’ll get a read on my install quality :-).
Welcome back James and Jennifer. Michelle and I are about to move aboard a boat on the east coast, VA. We look forward to catching up again in the near future to chat about your adventures.
Wow, that’s great to hear. What boat did you guys buy?
James, it is a 1998 Defever 44 OC setup for the Great American Loop. Doing sea trial and survey in 10 days, so I will be on the east coast shortly for this, then the move mid July. Will catch up soon.
That’s fantastic. Congratulations to you both on nearly closing on a loop-capable boat. There’s a lot of territory you’ll be able to cover with that boat.
Welcome home. Thank you for sharing so much in you interesting, educational and all around enjoyable videos.
Thanks very much for the feedback on the blog and the YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/mvdirona).
Now that you have had some time to settle in and restock, have you been able to find time to track down the source of the exhaust leak and the belt issue?
Yes, the exhaust leak is actually from two connections that have opened up over the years with the bolts apparently just backing off and the gaskets failing as a consequence.
We took off all the insulating cladding a few days back and found the lower flange of the wrinkle belly (flex coupling) is leaking and the next flange below that one is also very loose and leaking even more. In both cases the nuts and bolts below the exhaust cladding appear to have backed off and those two flanges have started to leak. I’ve got some gaskets on order and they should be there today. I’ll re-install the exhaust parts and properly torque them.
The exhaust cladding is getting a bit tired from years of use so we may drop off the two warn pieces to see if we can get new ones made at Ballard Insulation since they did the original parts. The hard part of this job is cleaning up the light coating of soot all over all the engines and flat surfaces in the engine room. It’s a bit of a mess and some of it has been ground into the floor of the Engine Room so it’ll take some work to get everything clean again but it’s all solvable without much complexity. Just some work.
It sounds like a three beer job and $500 worth of cladding. The belt was just storage degradation?
I suspect the cladding budget might be a bit more but we’ll know when we get to Seattle. For sure, you are in the right ball park. Steven Coleman below diagnosed the exhaust problem as likely gasket creep and, given how long it lasted and the failure mode, I think that explanation makes a lot of sense.
On the failed belt, age is the likely answer since they are 12 years old but I suspect it’s a manufacturing problem rather than materials age. Here’s the argument: When the engine was supplied it came with the installed belt and 2 more so we have 3 belts all of the same age and manufacture. The first two belts lasted for 5,000 to 6,000 hours each and still were serviceable when replaced. The third belt failed in under 500 hours and, on it’s failure, I went back to one of the 5,000+ hour belts. The re-installed high hour belt is showing no signs of wear and continues to do fine in the just under 100 hours it has done. Given that belts are all the same age, I suspect the failed belt was a manufacture problem but I’ll keep a close eye on it for the next hundred hours or so.
I apologize if this has been covered before, but do you have a GitHub (or similar) for the code you written over time? We recently purchased a 57 and would love to get the nmea data flowing in to a database. I thought before I reinvent the wheel I would see if you are sharing your code anywhere.
Great project. It’s super useful to have access to historical data when investigating problems and the database makes it easy to write reporting and alerting functions as well. Our system has evolved over the years and is specific to this boat electrical and electronics architectures but the good news is Kees Verruijt has written a wonderful interface to the NMEA2000 systems called CANboat. It is on Github (https://github.com/canboat/canboat) and that is what we are using. Kees has written a nice clean system that is very reliable.
4 years ago strapped to a dialysis chair I found your site and followed your progress around northern europe. Your adventures relieved the tedium of dialysis every second day and made the whole ordeal a bit more pleasant. At 60 plus years I don’t even like boats anymore but in my minds eye I calculated your fuel consumption, followed your repairs, searched the shortest routes, and planned in my head all aspects of a circumnavigation, so thank you, your trip kept me a little sane. I got my transplant 3 years ago in august. All is well
What a wonderful note to send our way. Thanks for taking the time and congratulations to you to have the kidney transplant successfully behind you.
I am grateful, thank you for sharing
Thanks for the feedback Gregg.
Thanks very much. It’s great to be back. Amazon is now delivering to us by the truck load! It’s been way too long without Amazon Prime access :-).
Welcome Back!!! What are your cruising plans for this summer? I have really enjoyed following your adventures. Looking forward to the next chapter.
The first jobs for yesterday were getting vaccination, getting Spitfire to the Vet, and taking the largest Amazon delivery every. Today I’ll investigate an exhaust leak that has sooted our down engine room and see what will be required to correct that issue. And we may go out and get cell phone SIMs as well. I’ve not been physically at work for 18 months so need to spend some serious Seattle time. Aside from that, the adventure should continue to the North. We’re thinking about possibly visiting Greenland next summer and we want to visit the Great Lakes so there should be lots to do.
What an incredible accomplishment with this most recent Atlantic crossing. Do you take a break from boating for dry land or continue on the adventure?
I’ve not physically been back at work in Seattle for 18 months so will be spending lots time there the remainder of this year. Aside from that, the adventure will continue northward.
Welcome home well done! Make sure to load up on Vitamin D3 before your second jab. Get some rest
We were somewhat more tired than usual last evening probably as a consequence of the shot and my arm feels a bit sore this morning but, otherwise, no noticeable impact. Thanks for the vitamin recommendation prior to the second shot.
Welcome home Dirona, another Atlantic crossing scratched off the list :)
Thanks Steve! It’s great to be back. We arrived at 11 and were vaccinated 2 hours later.
Welcome home..followed you across the Atlantic . ..followed you al l over the place..?
Well done!. Third Atlantic crossing. Marvellous.
Thanks you both and especially thank you for the welcome to Europe you gave us when we arrived, Reeds was great and it was thoughtful to give it to us. It was also fun catching up with you while we were in London.
Thanks! It’s great to be back.
is the way the belt failed normal hows the jounery going
No, that belt doesn’t even have a 1,000 hours on it and they normally last several thousand. It was in unusually poor shape. I think it might be a manufacturing defect given that the belt that is on there is now is the same manufacturer purchased at the same time and it has thousands of hours on it. I’ll check the mechanical again very carefully but my current theory is it was a defective belt.
Overall, the trip was great. We got in this morning at 11am and have already got vaccinations.
thank you for the information the belt looked like it was on the edge of a pulley in the it could be a manufacturing defect and thats good to hear you’ve arrived at charleston and had your vaccinations
sorry typing error thank you for the information. the belt looked like it’s been on the edge of a pulley looking at the way it’s damaged or it could be a manufacturing defect and as fellow boat owner its good to hear you’ve arrived at charleston and had your vaccinations
Thanks for the comment. Yes, the belt does look like it wasn’t running in the correct path but it was aligned and central in all pulles.
Glad to see you made it safely. 25′ waves at a 7 second period makes for an uncomfortable ride and some occasional ‘sugar scooping’ of water over the anchor roller?
with regard to your belt issues. The IMO (International Maritime Organisation) mandates the change out off all rubber goods in lifeboats every 5 years. that includes all engine hoses, belts, hydrostatic release diaphragms and i’m constantly changing the ‘O’ rings in the breathing air system regulators. you can imagine that being in what is effectively a ‘sealed container’ in all sorts of weather conditions takes its toll on ‘perishable’ goods.
we actually store rubber goods in an air conditioned space. (not on our N57, but my other job)
Big waves on short frequency are never great and this was rough. Fortunately, we diverted far enough south to avoid the larger ways more central to the weather system so we were able to avoid seeing anything as big as 25′. But, it was far from smooth.
There is no question that rubber breaks down with age. But, it seems like there is something more going on in this case. When we purchased the boat, we got 2 spare drive belts at the same time so we had three all the same age including the 1 on the engine. The first two went more than 5,000 hours each and they were both replaced looking great with little wear. The third one was ribboned in less than 500 hours and I put one of the used belts (purchased at the same time) back on. The high hour belt that is back on the boat is looking good. There is no question that rubber does age over time and 12 years is excessive but, the failed belt appears that it might have something wrong with it.
I had to read your belt posts twice, I guess I was speed reading the first go and got to the end and thought “WTF no spare belt?” (I should know better)
Anyway 12 years in storage is a rather long time. This hasn’t changed much over the years as you can tell from the pictures, but it has been updated.
Browning has one two but I couldn’t find an easy link and didn’t want to read their entire website.
I agree with you but the two used belts and the one that just failed are all the same age and the used ones have done nearly 6,000 hours each and yet this one didn’t make it 1,000. I suspect it’s a manufacturing defect or there is some issue with an idler or tensioner that I haven’t yet found.
Possibly but, (granted a photo isn’t the best thing to troubleshoot from), since it didn’t “walk”, split in a linear fashion, and I can see no scuffing on the backside, I would suspect material failure caused by age, temperature or any number of things storage related.
Due to the linear failure/ cut (?) I suppose it’s possible a pulley/sheave (not sure what you’d call it on an engine drive) has worn enough to allow the belt to ride deep enough to cut it.
You’ve seen enough belts I’m sure you’ll figure it out but the major of the reason I sent that link is if for some reason you are stumped (I’ve been there once or twice over the years) , if you go through the report at the end of the article, It will tell you.
Wonderful detail. Thanks for sending it. From the article, the two most probable explanations are 1) belt age, and 2) backside idler problem.
James: If my memory serves me correctly there was a discussion to utilize a mechanic’s stethoscope to check (listen) to all of the pulley bearings, etc. on this critical belt system. Would this procedure help in this case?
95 miles to go and I see you are slowing for your 8 am arrival time. It looks like a balmy night with a gentle swell to push you along. Jennifer should see the glow of the lights of the city just after midnight. Is the old belt holding up or showing signs of the same wear? Shelf life exceeded of the “new” belt?
You are moving really fast now! Trying to hit 9 knots :-) Welcome back to the US!
We were basically pushing it at full output. We were slowed a bit by the gulf stream with 20 kts of wind so were pushing to catch up since we have vaccination appointments today.
It should have been really nice but the combination of 20 kts of wind and the gulf stream did kick things up quite a bit and we running very slowly crabbing across the gulf stream so ended up delayed by a couple of hours. It’s great to be back.
The old belt is looking great so I suspect we either have a manufacturing defect or excess age. Given that all the belt that is on there now is the same age and it’s done several thousand hours, I suspect we had a manufacturing defect. However, I’ll check all the mechanical systems very carefully to ensure there isn’t some other problem shortening the belt life. I’m pretty sure it’s all fine.
James and Jennifer: With the constant head wind can you actually smell land, not just figuratively? :) :)
It is starting to feel close. We’re hard at work yesterday and today making appointments, ordering things we need since we haven’t been in the US for 18 months, and planning the next month. It is starting to feel like land is near. Only 292 miles to go!
James: Did all of the steps taken to prevent water entering the bilge through the shore power cable system work as planned? I think this was your worst weather since your crossing to Ireland
Good point Rod. This has been the most weather we’ve seen for a while. The boats been nice and dry and has more or less just shrugged off the weather without issue. The bilge is bone dry just the way we like it.
It’s amazing how little stress the weather brings when all systems are running as designed and there is nothing to worry about. It’s all much easier!
James and Jennifer: Great to see the sea state is more settled! With the very understandable laser focus on fuel economy, fuel reserves, etc. how are the engine rpm’s adjusted when, for example, “driving to the lights”? Given Dirona’s very high degree of automation/monitoring is it safe to assume that engine speed is adjusted automatically? If so how often do you ‘intervene’ manually. As you know I have been following your blog for years and I cannot recall this topic ever being covered. Safe sailing to SC!
I agree. It’s great to have more settled weather! The drive-to-the-lights system shows green in the -5% to +5% range around the currently computed required fuel economy. Providing a range means that the engine RPM seldom needs to be adjusted. And, since the range is fairly narrow, it’s still quite accurate. Rod, you’ll be disappointed to learn that the connection between the drive-to-the-lights system and the main engine is only via a human :-).
You seem to have synthesized a number of metrics on your N2K bus (such as max pitch/roll over a time period, total of all of your fuel tanks, etc).
This behavior sounds functionally like “N2K Metric Math”. Did you have to assemble all of this software yourself, gluing together things like CANBoat with Python or something simlar? Or is there a package that streamlines the ability to compose a new N2K metric out of a few other parts? If not, feels like it might be an interesting summer open source project to take on…
Mostly, these NMEA2000 values are hand crafted. Overtime Maretron adds more of the common ones. For example, I think they do have total fuel but for many of them, they are synthesized. My take is that, for all but the important ones, it’s more work than is really justified to produce these synthesized PGNs. However, even though I claim it’s not worth the hassle, something like a 1/4 of the display in Dirona is synthesized data :-).
I do use CANboat on Dirona and it’s wonderful. Super well written. The CANboat author, Kees Verruijt, now recommends SignalK and I believe that’s mostly what Keese is currently using on his boat.
You both now have extensive experience in passage making as a couple, can you outline your current approach to watch keeping, thanks Peter
Our approach to 24×7 operation with a crew of 2 has evolved into an unusual approach but where it started was pretty conventional: 4 hours on, 4 hours off. We ran on that model for 2 years and it worked fine. But there were downsides. The biggest downside is we never saw each other. When you are running 4 hours on 4 hours off with a two person crew, your tired and there really isn’t time to talk so it feel sort of like you are alone on the boat. We really didn’t like that. A closely related problem is we’re always tired. Never dangerously so but just always quite tired. This isn’t ideal under any conditions but, in the few times we have run into mechanical problems, being tired removes some safety margin while you work issues. Overall, 4 on 4 off is conventional, functional, but neither enjoyable nor likely the safest solution for a 2 person crew.
Where we ended up is weird but it solved just about every problem we had with the previous shift schedule. Jennifer takes the helm from 10pm and runs all the way through to 5am. I take the helm from 5am all the way through to 10pm. Jennifer has by far the most difficult shift but it gets me 7 hours of sleep in a single session and I find that I’m just feel the same as a normal working day. If the boat needs some work, I’m always fresh and I can do it. For example, when underway in the South Atlantic on route to Barbados I changed the Stabilizer hydraulic actuator. It wasn’t a problem but it would have been challenging if operating 4 on, 4 off. This shift structure forces Jennifer to sleep in two shifts rather than 1 which would be far better. But, she can sleep as much as she wants on either side. She usually sleeps 6pm to 10pm and 5am until she wakes up. If she’s tired earlier she can start the first sleep cycle an hour or two earlier or extend the second sleep cycle longer. This is a hard shift for Jennifer as standing watch at night is far harder than during the day but she finds she isn’t tired on this schedule. For example, after 28 days at sea traveling 3,650 nautical miles from St. Helena to Barbados, we arrived in at 7am, tied off the boat and spent the day exploring. On this sleep schedule, we’re never running behind with sleep debt and the travel becomes more enjoyable rather than feeling like work. We get lunch and dinner together and spend afternoons together.
We love it but it’s unconventional and clearly not a shift cycle for everyone.
Have you considered installing check valves in your wing and generator wet exhaust to help reduce the risk of water being pushed back into the engines?
Hey Alex. Good suggestion. Yes, we flooded the wing engine in the Gulf of Alaska. We knew it when it happened so it was easy to clear it and change the oil a couple of times but that experience did convince us to install a check valve and it’s been remarkably effective even in quite difficult weather: https://mvdirona.com/2011/10/cruising-prince-william-sound/. I strongly recommend them for all wet exhaust boats.
Have you put one on your generator too? I recall you had theorized that the gas/water separator was enough but you figured that may have caused the valve deterioration that led to the head replacement you had to do last year.
I think it’s a better choice to put a check valve on the generator rather than a GenSep but, with the GenSep installed, there isn’t clearance on our boat for the check valve as well. The most secure solution would be to remove the GenSep and install a check valve but the GenSep really isn’t a bad choice. On our boat, it’s way up at the top of the salon settee seat back many feet above the water line. I think it would be truly challenging to drive water through that path back into the generator so I don’t worry about it much but, I agree, the check valve is the better solution.
In your ocean crossing(s) have you had any (close) encounters with drift that you had to jog around? Have you had any encounters with containers that have been lost from ships?
The world-wide annual lost container count is sharply higher this year but, no, we’ve never seen a floating containers. In our Pacific, Indian, and 3 Atlantic crossings we really haven’t seem much junk at all. We once saw a large floating dock segment that probably have done boat damage if we had hit it. We occasionally see floating plastic debris and frequently see fishing buoys. Neither is much risk to the boat but we give buoys a wide berth just in case there is rope still attached.
A container could sink the boat so that danger is real but, fortunately, they aren’t common. Floating nets and related debris from fishing operation are much lower risk but still can easily disable a boat by wrapping the props. We have had trouble with floating fishing debris a couple of times now one of which required a lengthy diving operation to clear the tangle from the machinery but these were both coastal occurrences — we haven’t yet had any problems in open ocean.
We once had a near miss with a Whale operating off shore of Alaska heading towards Sitka where a large Humpback breached only 30′ in front the boat while we were underway at 7 kts. We went to full astern were convinced that we had to had hit it given how close our bow got but we felt nothing. We think we got the speed off quickly enough and it’s fortunate in that the collision could easily have done both the boat and the whale damage.
Hi James and Jennifer,
When you have head seas do you sometimes fall off port or starboard for a better ride? If so, have you seen an increased VMG (velocity made good) or at the very least no lower VMG with a better ride by using this tactic?
In the past, we haven’t done big course changes to avoid weather so we haven’t bothered to track VMG. But, on this crossing our planned route took us directly in the first named storm of the year, Ana. We were mostly successful avoiding it by diverting 100s of miles to the south. But, the weather was rough during some of those periods and our boat speed was negatively impacted more than we have seen in the past.
We don’t currently display VMG but the combination of the experience above and having the America’s Cup Sail races this year, we think we should. The Furuno NN3DBB VMG doesn’t look right (reads 0.5 to 1.0 kts low to speed over ground when running directly at destination) and Maretron has Velocity to Waypoint but not direct. We agree with your suggestion to display VMG is a good one. Thanks Van.
Hi James, Jennifer,
Always follow your travels with interest. As y’all approach Charleston, I keep looking at fuel levels and distance remaining. If I use 1.2 NM/Gallon … I keep getting fuel reserve under 200 gallons on arrival. Am I screwing up this calculation? Any concerns given all the ‘dodges’ y’all have made to avoid weather on this trip with fuel remaining / fuel reserve?
There was a period of about a day where the conditions where particularly poor where we chose to consume fuel at a rate that would not allow us to make Charleston even with no fuel reserve. We have never done that before but the conditions were amazingly negative from a current, wind, and waves perspective that we elected to run harder then and run some fuel “debt” and then “pay back the debt” by running slower later. So, yes, during that period there were times when we technically wouldn’t have made it to the eastern seaboard.
The way we normally run is we take total fuel on board subtract out the fuel reserve and divide by distance remaining. So for example, we currently have 810 miles left and there is 922 gallons of fuel on board. Talking 810/(922-200) yields a nautical mile per gallon goals of 1.12. If we consume exactly 1.12 nautical miles per gallon, we’ll arrive at Charleston with 200 gallons on board.
We modify that slightly since we don’t like change speeds very frequently we aim for anywhere between 1.08 and 1.19 MPG and it all averages out over time and still will yield 200 gallons reserve on arrival. Since the above calculations are boring, the computation is done automatically and updated every few seconds by automation and we just don’t think about it. There are two lights on the right hand of the display we sometimes post that show +++faster+++ and —slower– and, unsurprisingly, if less than desired mileage it shows the slower light in orange and if we are achieving greater than needed MPG, the faster light is illuminated in orange. Right now we’re getting 1.13 MPG so both lights are green.
If the winds came up strongly on the bow or if we started seeing a heavy swell or negative currents, the fuel mileage we are getting at this RPM would decrease and, if we didn’t do anything, we again wouldn’t make Charleston. But, what would happen in this situation is the system would signal —slower— and we would slow down to the needed mileage. As a final example, if were routing to avoid weather and the weather prediction changed sufficiently to allow a more direct path, that would decrease the mileage we need to achieve so the +++faster+++ light would go orange.
As a final check, each morning the systems emails us a fuel economy report that we can check by hand and compare against the fuel level sight gauges in the engine room to ensure that a bad sensor or some other software fault can’t lead to us failing to reach land.
James, are you guys filtering all the fuel that goes into the supply/day tank? I seem to remember that was your practice?
Hey Van, good to hear from you. Yes, we have a large RACOR FBO-10 that any fuel transferred between any tanks on the boat has to pass through. We put a bulkhead fitting that is plumbed into this transfer circuit so transfering fuel from the bladders only requires opening a couple of valves and running the transfer pump. There is no need to be outside, there is no way for water to get into the fuel, and as you astutely pointed out, all fuel passes through a filter before moving from the bladders to the main tanks.
Fuel on the way to our engines will see many filtration passes. For example, the fuel in the bladders will pass through a 25 micron filter to get to the side tanks, then back through the 25 micron filter a second time to get to the supply tank, through a 2 micron primary, a 10 micron secondary, and a 2 micron final before getting to the main engine.
I’m glad to see Dirona is just chugging along and I would bet you’re about ready to make land and have a break. Since you’ve never mentioned it or, I missed it if you did, I assume you intend to bypass Bermuda?
Your PH unit photo reminded me of information I intended to offer some time ago and never got around to it.
I’ve never been a fan of washable RP filters used by themselves. Not only are there heath benefits to increased dust and pollen entrapment, the equipment benefits from it also.
When you can’t get away from those styles there is a filter coating product I can recommend and have used for decades.
If used you’ll notice a significant decrease in the cleaning frequency required but it does clean up with warm soapy water, Dawn dishwashing detergent works extremely well for that.
I meant to say “significant increase”
Here is more information on it. https://filterproducts.com/wp-content/uploads/research-products-super-filter-coat-adhesive-spec-sheet.pdf
Thanks for the suggestion Steven. We probably should do something since the stock filters are such junk and leak all over. One option is to go with an aftermarket design like this one if I can find one that fits:
Well, I’m not sure what a electostatic charged fiber is but, I suppose if you move dry enough air over any synthetic fiber you’ll get static electricity.
Other than that, the package does say custom sizes are available if you contact the dealer. If you can get one that fills the entire filter rack, the only real leak point would be the top where it slides in. A magnetic strip or tape would deal with that issue.
If custom filters are to expensive, you could possibly find and cut your own from a window unit filter. They usually have plastic ribs that if they are located right would keep the filter from being sucked in.
You could also simply get 1/4, 3/16 or 1/2 foam filter media and cut that to size but you’d have to make a wire support to prevent it from being sucked in. That generally comes in large enough rolls you could simply cut new rather than wash them. You could probably find something in a hardware store once you got back to the States as a back support.
The problem with that is foam isn’t a good filter either and you’d be back to needing some type of filter coating.
I just thought I’d mention it but it seems you are already considering the issue :)
I’ve had good results with a washable corrugated poly product from Permaton which fits nicely in the slot of the Dometic unit. Coincidently we’ll be at a Charleston City Marina same time as you, I’ll cut you a sample to try.
Wow, what are the odds that you would be in the same marina. It’s super nice of you to offer to let us try some of your filter material. Yes please and we’re looking forward to meeting you.
Good morning and I hope the three of you were able to get a little sleep over night. Are you out of the weather yet? It looks as if you still have 6-7 foot swells on your stern quarter and that you have really slowed down to deal with the movement. Hopefully the autopilot on Dirona is working well and that you did not take on too much water. At least the sun will be out today and you will get continually better weather as you pass to the South of Bermuda at noon on Friday. While passing Bermuda will you stop or push through? My thoughts are with you three as you do the amazing things we all wish we could experience.
Yes, yesterday was surprisingly rough but we still slept well. We just needed to be careful when moving around in the boat. We continue to have a fairly large swell rolling through today but it’s much more relaxing than yesterday and we expect it to keep going down and generally getting more comfortable. The slower pace is mostly due to the large swell really slowing the boat. We can easily go faster but we’ll end up becomming fuel limited if we push hard through the big swell so we’re running in the 5.0 to 6.5 knot range. Our speed should pickup again nicely as the swell diminishes.
The boat is running super well with two minor faults: The FLIR camera way up the stack appears to have taken a few hard waves and it’s shorted out inside and the breaker has released. I think it’ll likely need replacement. The second issues is we have a small exhaust leak in the ER that is dropping soot below the exhaust cladding and lifting the ER temp by 3 to 4 degrees. Neither is problem that will slow us down in anyway. Just the normal wear and tear.
Thanks for checking in with us.
It looks like you woke up to some light rain and still have that lumpy swell behind you. It seems to be giving you a little push. You mentioned the camera taking a wave? Did you have a wave break over the stack? Thank you again for letting us follow your crossing adventure!
Yes, conditions are now very nice. The swell is actually medium sized or bigger but it’s such a long duration that we hardly notice the boat going up and down. In the roughest conditions we saw a few days back we were taking a lot of water onto the decks. Are exhaust pipe nearly 30′ in the air is completely salt encrusted our canvas fly-bridge instrument cover was so salt encrusted and rigid that it was almost rigid.
All I know for sure is the FLIR Infrared camera has a direct short that immediately causes the breaker to release. It’s possible that the problem is wiring damage on the way up to the camera but my best guess is the camera is full of salt water and will remain inoperative.
Our most recent course had us passing 200 miles south of Barbados but, as the system north of Bermuda worsens, we’ll need to give it a wider berth. We’ll head south another hundred miles and pass Bermuda 300 nautical miles to the south. This puts us a long way out of intended path but it should give us less sever weather.
I assume you meant Bermuda and not Barbados :-) The ECM and NOAA forecasts show your plan of heading another 100 miles South would keep you on the edge of the low. It looks as though it could develop into a subtropical cyclone over Bermuda on Friday as you are passing to the South. Hopefully you will be clear of it and it will move North and not push you any further South. I am sure this is a great time to have internet access as you can blend your models and sources in real-time.
Woops, thanks. I corrected my last note to say Bermuda. It is good to have access to all the weather models and we occasionally get tips from readers giving us routing suggestions or a summary of what to look out for or try to avoid. The combinations is wonderful. We still can’t avoid everything but having more data does make the trip safer.
It looks as though you will cross paths with a tanker and be passed by a cargo ship around daybreak. Have you seen any smaller craft over the last few days?
Glad to see you dropped South enough to clear the weather. Unlimited visibility and a 4-5 swell? You should have a cargo ship a few miles off your Port this afternoon to keep you company. Maybe 50 gallons lost due to the slow down? The NOAA says that low will swing North and should leave you alone the rest of the trip. Hope all is well with the three of you!
Exactly. It’s wonderful clear weather with a light to medium swell rolling through on fairly long duration with winds around 10 kts. The additional mileage spent routing around weather translates to slower running since we constantly adjust speed to achieve the needed fuel economy. On this trip we’re aiming to arrive with 200 gallons of reserve fuel.
It is great to see you only 570 miles from SC! 7 knots of speed a light wind and gentle swell? It looks as if you had a cargo ship in front of you an hour ago. I guess it will only get busier as you get close to the mainland. Excited to see you arrive safely on Thursday at noon with 200 gallons of fuel.
Good morning Timothy. We’ve since slowed to 6.4 kts and have only 498 miles to go. Weather continues to be excellent with a light swell and 5 to 10 kts of wind. The storm we worked so hard to avoid is now a named system. Tropical Storm Ana. For some reason, giving it a name makes the 500 nautical miles extra distance that we were forced to cover feel totally worth it rather than an annoyance.
I’m not sure what time we’ll arrive in on Thursday but you guess is a good one. If I had to call over/under, I would say perhaps a bit earlier but conditions change frequently so it’s hard to call with precision. And, yes, as you say, we’ll be arriving in with 200 gallons of fuel in reserve. Thanks for riding along with us on this trip.
Sorry to see you getting caught in the storm right now, looks sort of nasty. Hopefully it will pass before too long and you can get on track. The next week looks pretty good after this one moves on. Thanking or you both. ??
Meant to say “thinking of you both” ?
You are right. Conditions are poor. It’s not the roughest conditions we’ve seen but it’s up there. Probably in the top 5. We’re in 12′ to 14′ seas and some as high as 20′ on a ridiculously short 7 seconds winds in the 30 to 35 kt range with gusts to 43. Just moving around in the boat takes care and planning. Some waves tower above the pilot house.
Looks like things will start to taper off this evening and be reasonable again by tomorrow morning. Thanks for the note.
Wow, didn’t expect a reply to this, certainly not this soon. Sounds like a rough ride you’re having, hope it settles down soon. Take care. ??
Yes, it is unusually rough out here today. It’s expected to start tapering off in a couple of hours and to settle greatly overnight. We kinda looking forward to it :-).
Looking at your latest Conditions dashboard; is the engine room temp really 110F with the outdoor temp in the 60s?
It’s hard to read the screen at the resolution we post it at but the outdoor temp is 74.5F and has been running in the low 70s for the past few days. But, I still agree with your assessment that the ER temp seems higher than normal. Not much high but it’s currently at 108 that’s a 33F deltaT when I would normally expect 28 to perhaps 30 or 31 as an outlier. When I noticed it a couple of days ago, I checked all the engine room fans and they are spinning at full speed in the right direction. There is an interesting failure mode on these AC fans where, if the capacity fails, they can spin the wrong direction.
Yesterday I noticed some soot on the floor of the engine room and appear to have a minor exhaust failure. It’s not bad but there is a small amount of soot being forced into the ER past the exhaust cladding at the flexible wrinkle belly segment area. I suspect the gaskets on either side of the wrinkle belly are leaking or perhaps the wrinkle belly cracked. It’s making a minor mess on the floor but it’s not a problem for now. Unless it gets worse, I’ll just service it on arrival. It’s possible this exhaust leak is lifting the temperature a degree or two. I also checked the calibration on the ER temp probe and it’s reading 3F high.
It might just be the temp sensor is just slightly biased but the rails around the engine are much hotter than usual and I suspect that is the exhaust leak. One final factor that will raise the ER temperature a bit higher than we have seen for years is we are running the most of the house air conditioners right now and the two alternators are putting out fairly high power levels with one running a case temp of 202F and the other at 184F. They will contribute a enough heat to raise the temps by 3 or 4F as well.
Good eye to see that the ER temps are a bit high. Your right.
Ah I must have misread the dashboard, sorry about that. The paper cuts can certainly add up; that failure mode for the AC fans is particularly interesting!
The reverse flow fan problem isn’t a big deal but it, in cases where there are two fans beside each other, it’s easy to not noticed that one is going forward and one is going backward so the pair are just a tight loop without any real flow. The capacitors seem to last around 8 years so it’s not a frequent problem.
One issue that is a big problem is Nordhavn’s cool the dry exhaust stack by using a double walled exhaust pipe where the exhaust flows in the central pipe and cooling air is pumped up the between the inner and outer pipes. It’s a super effective means of cooling but we once had the stack cooling fan run the other way. Abstractly this doesn’t sound like a problem in that, either flowing up or down, it’ll still cool the exhaust equally well. What’s dangerous is the air coming down is so hot it melts the ductwork at the fan. It’s a bit of a nasty failure mode so put a temp sensor and alarm on it.
Sorry to hear about your Canon camera. Suggestion: Remove the lens. Open up everything you can and let it sit for a few days. If you have to replace it consider the Sony DSC RX100. It is a pocket rocket! Marvelous little camera with moderate wide-angle and telephoto capability. It is ideal for someone as active as you two. It does have a steep learning curve to use all the features. But you can select the ones you want to use. I love mine.
The Canon lives! A day and a half in the fairly hot and dry engine room underway and it came back to life. Thanks for the pointer to the Sony DSC RX100. Really impressive specs across the board and a very nice package. I might prefer a longer lens but it’s hard to that without getting larger or giving up lens quality.
Sahara dust/sand off Africa which is below you limits chance of tropical low forming from Africa. You face low coming off east coast this coming week. Jet stream keeps cold fronts rolling east into the Atlantic.
Hope the low coming moves north for you. You and Jenifer get as much sleep as you can before the weather hits.
Thanks for the advice Andrew. We’ve had a wonderful run so far riding in the middle of the Azores/Bermuda high but, as you said, it looks like we see the south side of the next low pressure area coming across. We’ll pump the last of the above deck fuel into the main tanks tomorrow and be ready for a couple of days of rougher conditions.
Is your landfall at Charleston in deference to the upcoming hurricane season and needing to stay north?
No, our insurance allows us in the Hurricane zone until July 1st so that didn’t influence our crossing choices. For this crossing we planned to go south from Dublin to the Azores/Bermuda high and then west to landfall. We did want to land north of the hurricane insurance line so that we wouldn’t have to move the boat immediately. Within those constraints, Charleston seemed like a good choice. We’re it not for hurricane issues, we might have chosen to land in Florida.
HI Jennifer and James: Great to see that your passage has been smooth (relatively) smooth sailing so far.
Just wondering how does your system generate the course updates? Not the details themselves but the frequency they are posted to the site? There is no apparent pattern for these updates
Good morning Rod. Some updates are manual and some are automatic. Weather is automatic every 6 hours, route and position data is automatic and every 15 min. The fuel economy updates and pictures and trip notes are, of course, manual. In thinking this through, perhaps we should update the weather data more frequently. We’ll look at doing that.
I see that your speed has picked back up. You must have transitioned into calmer waters at are at the edge of those two weather fronts. It looks like you might get a push of 1/2 knot today. Excited to see you crossing again.
Yes, conditions are quite positive right now and we’re currently enjoying 7.8 kts. Conditions are wonderful with a very light swell and less than 5 kts of wind. Our plan is to continue to skirt the edge of the systems around and it looks like we are going to be successful at that for at least the next 4 or 5 days.
There is a low pressure system that the models show forming in the Bermuda/Florida area that may give us trouble but the weather models prediction qualities get pretty thin when looking that far ahead.
It looks like your turn to starboard put you into a 12-14 knot headwind and slowed your speed. The models show a decent swell of 4-5 feet now. I hope it all smooths out for you by the morning. At least the temps are in the high 60s!
Yes, the air temperature is already 70F and it’s only 9am. The water temperature is also much higher than we have seen for years at 74F. Conditions remain calm. It’s looking like about 5 days out until we reach the US, we’re going to have to work through some low pressure systems. Nothing big predicted but looks like we’ll be seeing some weather.
It looks like you have a gentle breeze and high cloud cover and pleasant day ahead. Five days out of the US? I was thinking twice that time so am I missing something? I calculate that you will arrive in the US with about 220 gallons of fuel remaining.
Sorry Timothy, I wasn’t sufficiently clear. What I meant is we have 5+ days of good weather but out beyound that there are big systems predicted that we’ll have to work around or might have to put up with. Your predictions on fuel look about right. We’ll be in the 250 to 350 gallon range unless we have reason to spend some of our planned reserve.
Hi to you both, I seem to recall the last oil change during passage was on the north Atlantic to Kinsale, from Dublin to the US should require 2, I’m interested to know how you plan to do this.
You are right, on one trip we did decide to shut down the main engine during a crossing because it was a nearly 600 hour crossing from St. Helena to Barbados (roughly 3,650 nautical miles).
On the current trip we went Dublin to the Azores and then changed the oil in Horta, Azores. We’re now 3 days out of Horta on route to Charlestown. We’re taking a longer path than strictly necessary working our way around weather systems but, even doing that, we’ll not need another oil change prior to arriving on the US East Coast.
You must have great conditions tonight. It looks like a clear night with Dirona dead center in the low. I see that you are running over 8 knots and at close to 1.5 mpg! As a note, I am sure you hear this all the time but, I appreciate the communication and responses while you are underway. The satellite comms and tech to keep us informed and following is amazing and always appreciated.
You are so right. Conditions are amazing. We still have to manage a system out there in our path nearly a week out but it’s looking like conditions are going to stay quite good for a while yet. This really nice.
We have now consumed 530 gallons so I plan to pump the forward fuel bladder below decks today. Thanks for the feedback on the blog. We appreciate it.
I hope the day was smooth and clear as you still look centered between the fronts. It almost looks dead calm on the model. You mentioned draining the forward bladder but I thought you had already used that fuel. The cockpit bladders at 532 gallons are next?
We did empty the forward bladder on our way south from Dublin to the Azores but we refilled our tanks and that bladder in Horta Azores. When ew left Horta we were carrying our full fuel load below decks and above. The aft two bladders will be transferred below as soon as we sufficient empty below deck tankage for them to fit with a 50 to 100 gallon safety margin. We expect we will be ready to transfer the aft tanks below Saturday or Sunday
Hi James and jennifer how’s the crossing going would you have seen the falcon 9 this morning thank you safe passage to charleston
No booster rockets seen in our area which is generally the way we like it. Conditions here are excellent with a light swell and 5 to 10 kts of wind.
thank you for the information
Hi James and Jennifer, your latest crossing has been great to follow. Spitfire looks great! Your experience with PredictWind has motivated me to use it again. Tracy and I left Palm Beach a couple weeks ago and are slowly making our way North. Unfortunately we’ll be past SC by the time you arrive but hopefully our paths will cross again later this season. Our current plans have us in Maine for the month of August. Have a continued good voyage.
Good to hear that you, Tracy, and your new boat are all heading North. We’ll hope to catch up with you both on your return trip.
Nicely done Jennifer and James
Still enjoying your international crusing, engineering, exploring, drinking and eating. We miss it.
Phil and Gerri Bradshaw – ex N52 “Mermaid Explorer” and now with many grandchildren- we love them all dearly, but it did curtail our cruising life! :)
We’re missing the restaurants and pubs part of our normal routine and we miss them as well. Hopefully, we’ll get vaccinated when we arrive into the US and can get back closer to our normal travel rhythm. Our current plan is to get back underway once this weather systems passes through and, in the interim, we’ll have some time to enjoy the Azores. Thanks for the post-crossing greeting and all the best from Dirona.
Hi James and Jennifer seems like you’ve had a pretty good run from Dublin, I’ve been following along the way, wish you a safe journey across the Atlantic for the remaining part of your return to the USA??
Thanks for the best wishes on our latest cross Atlantic run. This morning we arrived into Horta. Most of the trip south from Dublin was excellent. The weather was just kicking up a bit in the last 24 hours as a low pressure system comes through. We’ll stop here in Horta, get fueled up for the next leg of nearly 3,000 nautical miles to South Carolina, and enjoy the Azores a bit while waiting for the weather to improve again before getting back underway.
?? I was keeping an eye on your trip from Dublin, checked in a couple of times a day, also followed the “PredictWind App” looked like it was going to be a lot rougher near the end but seems like it cleared fairly well. It got sort nasty behind you hitting the south coast of Ireland. I’ll watch for you leaving Horta and hopefully you’ll have a great journey across the Atlantic. Maybe you’ll even make it to Georgian Bay and the North Channel but you’ll be hard to please with nice scenery after the last few years in Finland and Norway etc. Anyway safe travels and enjoy Horta.
Thanks for following along. You’re right that Norway was amazing but we lived in Toronto for 10 years so we know the Georgian Bay area is beautiful and we do intend to visit the great lakes sometime over the next couple of years.
It is so great to see you heading back and that the waves have settled down. Safe travels to the three of you!
Thanks Timothy. Conditions are better than we deserve right now but we’ll take every good day we can get.
We’re both looking forward to the next chapter in the adventure where we spend the next couple of years in North America.
It looks as if you will arrive about an hour after sunrise. Hopefully you will check in easily, pass the test and get some well deserved rest. I am excited to hear more about the plan for the trip home!
Yes, you nailed it. We arrived in just after 8am and are tied off on the commercial dock. We’ll get picked up for the COVID test this afternoon and plan to fuel tomorrow morning.
Does Spitfire have any say when it comes to MAYDAY? lol I love the ditch bag for Spitfire!
All three of us are pretty much in alignment that avoiding leaving the boat at sea is a primary goal so we’ll work pretty hard to keep things operating correctly and to avoid conditions the boat can’t handle.
It’s great out here Today. We’re 172 nautical miles north of Horta Azores and there is a light swell and 10 kts of wind on a clear day. Just the way we like it. We should arrive into Horta tomorrow morning just after 8am local time.
Hi James, Taking a look at the latest fuel status report, you appear to have used 2,896 ltrs and still have 7,351 ltrs available. Are you using fuel bladders for this trip?
Yes, we’re carrying our full fuel capacity even though we don’t even need all the fuel we can carry below deck for this short 1300 nautical mile trip. However, we’ll need the full fuel load for the second leg of the trip from the Azores to the US but since fuel is just about exactly 2x more expensive in the Azores than the excellent price we were able to get in Dublin, we’re “tankering” the entire load south with us. We’ll save enough on the fuel required for the second leg to pay for more than 1/2 of the first leg.
Having the capacity to move a lot of fuel definitely has up sides. Another advantage of ample fuel is we’re currently running at higher power levels than our normal ocean crossing pace and, as a consequence, only getting 1.1 nautical miles per gallon.
Ahhh, reading further I see you have already mentioned you are using the bladders!!
Yes, this is the 7th time we’ve used the bladders over the last 12 years. We continue to like the additional flexibility they offer us.
Hello James and Jennifer and Happy Walpurgis Night !
Throwback to 2019 when you where here in Aland visiting us.
We are spending the weekend in Kokar with our RV, trying out a new two floor sauna they built there. Are you going back to the west coast or staying on the east side? Safe travels to you! Best Regards Sam
Hi Sam. It’s great to hear from you and, as we recall, every Walpurgis Night is a Happy Walpurgis Night!
We really had a great time visiting you, the Aland Maritime Safety Center, and Aland in general. We’re currently heading back to the North American East Coast via the Azores. Our plan is to spend a year or two on the East Coast before returning to Europe via the Northern Route through Greenland and Iceland.
Please wish everyone back at the Safety Center the best and we hope you have a great time in Kokar at the 2 floor Sauna.
I may have missed the mention but is seems you are on your way home! Safe journey.
Hey Etienne. Yeah, we are heading back to North America. There is lots of exploring we been wanting to do on the east coast and crossing European borders by boat is very high friction right now, so we decided to get under way. Thanks for the well wishes. Conditions are wonderful right now.
Hi Jennifer and James
there’s a view from a webcam in dun laoghaire with mv dirona
thank you for an excelleny blog about your travels safe passage back to the US
Cool. Nice perspective over the Dun Laoghaire harbour. Thanks for pointing it out to us.
your welcome James hamilton
forgot to say mv dirona is hard to see she’s above the stern of the yacht pandora behind a wall best view is at high tide
When you have an archelogical find you often use dendrochronology to locate and date a find.
Such has been the case of a viking ship found in Roskilde Fjord.close to Copenhagen Denmark. It was long a big question where ship had been build. But through dendrochronology it was found that the ship was build in Ireland – at Glendalough in the year 1042.
Roskilde, and the Viking Museum there, were on our list of places to visit when we were in Denmark, but we didn’t quite fit it in. And now we’re moored not far from where one of those ships was built. Thanks for the information.
Hi…..I have been following your journey for a few years now.
I first seen you guys from Boston to Newfoundland.
We passed each other off Saint Pierre
I was on bridge watch for ferry NS to NL
That does go back a while but we do remember that trip well. We had a great time in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. So much so that we’re heading back to North America this year and will cross the Atlantic back to the US east coast this summer. Hopefully Canada will open up for cruising next year and, if so, our boats may pass yet again.
Thanks for the greeting on the blog and it’s great you are still following the blog.
Hi James and Jennifer
We hope that you guys are well.
Our N6052 has been stored on land, fortunately just outside the Nordhavn Europe office, for over a year now due to the pandemic travel restrictions. We were here in Canada last March and our own reluctance to fly prior to vaccination, combined with the current travel restrictions have kept us away from the UK. The third wave here is now quite severe and I have been called back from retirement to work as a vaccinator as they were very short of GPs and nurses in the clinics.
We are now starting to plan our move to the boat and wanted to ask your advice on shipping a pallet of supplies from Toronto to Southampton. Is there a company or network of companies that you have found to be particularly good to deal with over the years? Do you have any advice on the packing of the pallet or should we just leave that to the shipper/broker/freight forwarder?
Thank you very much
Stuart and Liz
MV Bluenose N6052
Sorry you can’t get to your boat for so long, but at least it somewhere safe where it can be looked after.
For shipping a pallet, we’ve found better results by working from the destination side, so that we are contracting with the locals, rather than working from the source side. Since we often have to either store the pallet or have it redirected locally, being the customer of the local company works well. The local shipping company has partners in the US that will handle the pickup on that side. For our past few shipments into NL and Norway, we have found a customs broker at the destination and then asked them for a recommendation on a shipper.
To find a broker, we typically just do a web search, contact a bunch and ask for prices. Most countries have some form of temporary import process for visiting yachts where you can bring the goods in duty/tax free. Sometimes you need to pay a deposit. So we ask cost for import/export with a rough list of the items and ask for an overview of the process. We pick one based mostly on responsiveness, cost and “interest” in the job. For some companies single pallet shipments are on the small side for them. The cost is usually less than $500 and can depend a little on how much you are bringing in and whether you will provide the Harmonized Tariff Codes for the items. If the brokers do it, they might charge a little more depending on the number of items.
We’ve shipped twice to the UK, but both times were parts shipped directly from the supplier and we didn’t arrange the shipping ourselves, and we handled the customs side only on one as the other was shipped through UPS and they handled it. The first time we did it using the EU temporary import process, where the goods are effectively imported with a deposit and we had to explicitly export them from UK/EU to get the deposit back. This was a bit of a pain as we exited the EU at NL and had to find an NL customs officer to enter the export into the system, but with UK outside EU will be simpler. We used Charlie Milligan at SeaAvia (Charlie@seaavia.co.uk) for a customs broker. For the second shipment the parts came in as TAD (Transit Accompanying Document) which basically says the goods are being transported through the country, but will not be imported. This process required no deposit and felt simpler, but broker could advise.
It’s important that the pallet be packed securely and you can do this yourself and many offer it as a service. Because it’s important the packing be done well, we usually ask for pictures. Then our local shipper at the destination arranged with their partner in the US to pick up the pallet and deliver it to the destination. We usually find the whole process takes 6-8 weeks from ordering what we want to actually receiving it, although the last one was a little longer due to pandemic delays.
Thank you very much Jennifer. We have already had advice from Charlie Milligan regarding the Brexit implications on our Temporary Import/Admission status of the boat. I had not realized that Charlie was a freight forwarder/broker as I had a different email address for him than the SeaAvia address that you mentioned. We will gladly rely on Charlie to organize our shipment. Thank you kindly once again for all of your advice. All the best, Stuart
There are two breakers on the junction box. One is a push button breaker that is labeled fuse and other is a two pole breaker. The former is prone to nuisance releases when they get old and especially if the generator enclosure temperatures have been high. The other one, the two poll breaker protects the field circuit. Which one is causing you problems.
On most of this issue, you need more data. You’ll need a good quality multi-meter and you’ll need a clamp on ammeter. The symptoms you are describing could all be closely related and all part of the same problem or they could just be independent issues. The noise at the raw water booster pump might be new or it may be that it’s always been that way and you are only noticing it now because you are investigating this problem and observing these systems much more closely. My normal approach to chasing down these problems is to 1) fix every problem that I know about that is even only possibly related on the belief that the more faults that you have out there, the more confusing it can be to find the problem you are after (fix everything), and 2) when everything is operating on spec and what is left is a difficult to isolate problem or, especially difficult, an intermittent problem like you have. At that point, I come up with hypothesis or possible faults that could cause these symptoms and then think through, if that was a problem, how could I detect it?
For example, if your theory is the raw water pump is drawing too much current and releasing the breaker, then you should put an ammeter on the raw water pump feed wire and watch it on start up where the draw is usually highest. If that doesn’t show anything, I leave it there and watch it when the pump starts making noise. In this case, the breakers you are seeing releasing don’t feed the raw water booster pump, so we know for sure these are not related by it’s an example of how I might chase down the issues.
In your case, I’m assuming it’s the double pole breaker that is releasing. This is caused by generator field winding excess draw. But we also know the inverter is cutting out. This could be many different things and you need to do more sleuthing. However, I have seen these two faulting together so this is one possible answer: The generator Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR) does have a failure mode where voltage starts to vary greatly and sometimes go quite high. The Inverter will reject poor quality power so, if the AVR does allow the voltage to swing, you will see the inverter cut out rarely. And, if the generator voltage is unstable, in rare cases it can cause the double pole field breaker to release. This did happen on Dirona, I replaced the AVR and it’s been fine since so this is certainly a candidate problem that would yield those symptoms. The bad news is an AVR is $500. In my opinion, AVRs fail often enough that it’s worth having a spare and, if you do have a spare, you can try it since it’s only a 10 min job to change it.
Intermittent problems are the very hardest to chase down but the best approach is to get more detailed and quantitative data and develop theories on what the problem might be and then use multi-meter tests or other data to confirm or reject your hypothesis. Sometimes when I have a spare, I might even try changing a part if that looks easier than chasing the issue through detailed measurement. Good luck!
You should check out this documentary. Really insightful
We’ll check it out. Thanks!
Welcome in Dun Laoghaire :) There are a couple of nice places within a couple of kilometers like Dalkey and Killiney Strand (6 km). Perfect for a stroll on a beautiful day like today. Enjoy your stay!!
Thanks for the welcome and we always appreciate recommendations. Much appreciated.
Hi James. I hope you all are enjoying Dublin. My sister and family live in Drogheda, which is about 35 mins north of Dublin. My nephew works for our friends at Intel :) Let me know if you need some pointers for Dublin and the surrounding area and I’ll put you in touch with my nephew. I am sure you all can figure things out with COVID and the associated restrictions.
If you have a chance, I would visit Monasterboice, which is close enough to Dublin. My sister took me there a few years ago. It has the world’s oldest Celtic crosses there, which are fascinating.
Things are still fairly locked down in much of Europe including Ireland but thanks for the recommendation. And, since we are unlikely to get vaccinated between here and our return to the US this summer, we’re being a bit cautious ourselves.
Okay, safe travels back to the US. Are you headed back to Seattle?
Our plan is to get back to the east coast of the US before June, get vaccinated, and then fly back to Seattle for 3+ weeks in town.
My wife and I met you on your return to the US mainland in West Palm Beach a few years ago, been following you and your tremendous adventures! I see that you’re back in Northern Ireland, that’s our native country. There’s a great local farm market “Farm Gate Fruit And Veg” they’ve got fresh fish too, it’s at 26 Inishargy Rd. Kircubbin not far from where you’re anchored. Just thought I’d suggest it as I see lots of great feedback about them.
Enjoy your voyage back across the Atlantic and wish you a safe voyage! Take care.
Things are pretty locked down at this point so the market isn’t really an option at this point. Perhaps on our next trip once the Pandemic is behind us all. Thanks very much for the local knowledge — we appreciate the advice and many of the best parts of our trip around the world came from recommendations like yours.
Thank you for the consistent update on your adventures. Recently retired I’ve been reviewing Yachts You’ve convinced me on the Ship to invest in. I really enjoy following your story.
Thanks for the feedback on the blog Mark. This trip has been an amazing decade for us. We feel super lucky.
It’s probably not worth the effort but you could always try to buy additional time on your lights finding used or open carton stuff to salvage what you need.
I doubt it would be worth the effort trying to extend something you know is out of production and ending it’s lifespan to me but it’s an option.
I had found some Ventura in stock at companies that specializing in buying old stock and marking it up. It just seems crazy to pay more for than list for an out of use part. The price you found is around 60% of list and far more reasonable. Thanks for opening up another option that we hadn’t seen.
While I actually agree 100%, I’ve been known throughout the years to benefit from that form of marketing. Generally, it’s a highly specialized market, to a highly selective type of client, and not something I would consider lighting fixtures to be a part of. If you really need to see that bad you can use a flashlight.
Over the decades I’ve been in this business I’ve always salvaged or retained key control components left over from an installation or retrofit. Most of the time it’s simply something that I either end up scrapping or my kids will one day however, there can be a market for it.
A well-known equipment and engine manufacturer has a plant I do work at which, produces various components for some of its products.
Their risk assessment in the event production was lost for as little as 4 weeks at that plant, was recently calculated at as much as one billion dollars world-wide.
Several years back a control board which had been out of production for decades, fried on their process chiller. A new process chiller was over 12 weeks out and only by paying to have a factory stop current production and retool for that product (not cheap believe me).
I sold them a sealed OEM control board that had been laying around my shop for decades. Both of us were extremely happy with the immediate outcome. I was also able to sell them a replacement and redundant chiller a couple of months later.
Yes, good example Steve. We often do something similar where, if we have an expensive part that is mission critical, like our Furuno Black box navigation equipment, we buy a cheap used unit to back it up. We operated it for the first 4 years from new, knowing we could buy a new one if it failed. Then when new non-compatible gear arrived, we purchased a used piece of equipment from someone switching everything out for the new version so we now have an entire backup unit that is less expensive than even a trivial component of that unit like the graphics processing card.
Hi James- Tim on Piredmus N63-06 cruising the BC coast. We have a Maretron system run by an MBB200. It is getting slow and thinking about upgrading. Would you recommend the MBB300 or a computer. If the computer, what specs would you recommend and are you using aboard Dirona.
Hey Tim. Good hearing from you. Our approach has been to use small PCs. There is nothing wrong with using the MBB200/MBB300 series but I’ve had several people report they were having flickering screens and slow updates on N2kview using these offerings. I’ve never tried one so can’t say with certainty but it sounds like they might be a bit light on CPU resources. On Dirona we use the Lenovo ThinkStation P320 Tiny (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1350651-REG/lenovo_30c20016us_p320_tiny_i7_6700t.html). It’s no longer available but this upgraded option looks like a good choice: https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/think-workstations/thinkstation-p-series-tiny-/ThinkStation-P340-Tiny/p/33TS3TP340T. Another option is the Intel NUC series (https://www.amazon.com/Intel-NUC10I5FNK-Business-i5-10210U-Bluetooth/dp/B088MM5H99).
James….does your Maretron computer have to be rebooted every so often because it locks up and won’t process data to the screen or send out notification emails? My MBB200 seams to do this regularly at about 4-6 weeks without fail and i have heard this with other MBB200 & MBB300 systems. It is annoying. And I don’t know when it will occur which is silly as when you need an alert sent, it won’t work.
No, we run N2kview on a Lenovo Thinkstation P320 Tiny (current model: https://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-30D1000SUS-P330-W10P-512GB/dp/B07VYTDKFQ). This solution will run for months at a time without issue. I’ve never seen N2kview go down. Unfortunately, the embedded computers used by Maretron are light on resources and frequently lock up. I would recommend replacing the MBB200/MBB300 with the combination of a N2kview and Thinkstation Tiny or Intel NUC.
Search for MBB200 on this page and you’ll see some additional feedback: https://mvdirona.com/general-comments/.
Yes, I think I will replace the MBB200 with a PC. One other question on Maretron….I notice on your screen, a number of the digital components for temperature & electrical readings etc have a “MIN” & “MAX” number on the lower part of the readout. Is this a Maretron feature in one of the latest updates to the software or is this something that you have programmed into the system? I searched the Maretron site for latest changes to the software and did not see that feature, which is a good thing to have. Thanks.
Good plan. N2kview on a reasonably powered and well serviced PC is very stable. Good eye on the min/max displays. They are WONDERFUL and probably the best part of the next release which is very good across the board. We’ve been running a beta copy of 6.0.15 for many months now and it’s never glitched or shown the slightest problem so it’s definitely ready for production use. If it’s not already out there on their download site, I’m sure it will be soon. When 6.0.15 is available, you be able to get access to this feature. And, I suspect if you said you saw it on Dirona, you might be able to convince the support team to get you early access.
I love the Maretron gear overall but I’m not a big fan of the MBB. I bought a new MBB 3 years ago. It was basically DOA. It would run for a few days then lock up. It took weeks of pushing on their support to take it back on RMA. When they finally did, the diagnosis was: Oops we put the wrong firmware in it. They reflashed it and sent it back. That was 4 weeks of downtime. Three years later the MBB is dead again, like really lights-out dead. Back again on RMA. This time: sorry, it’s unrepairable, but we’ll be happy to sell you a new one.
I think they have a serious QC problem; bottom line is that 30 months of useful life on a $1,300 product is so far beyond unacceptable that there isn’t even a word for it.
In the end I convinced them to comp me a new license of N2Kview so I could run the s/w on my pc. Normally the last thing I want to depend on is a PC but in this case it appears to be a much more economical and reliable choice.
Buy the software and an inexpensive pc if you don’t already have one.
I am sorry to hear your european adventures have been cut short by frustrations.
I am curious to whether you considered a Northern route home via Iceland and Greenland?
I am imaging this route could be opened up for smaller motor boats with improvements in weather monitoring and prediction. The main objection seemed to be the uncomfortable northery swell, not ice as i had suspected.
Us returning to the US is driven by a number of factors including it challenging to move between countries and even entering a marina in Scotland and Ireland is fairly challenging to arrange with most being closed. We’re also interested in cruising into the great lakes, spending more time in Newfoundland and visiting Greenland. And I need to spend 3 weeks in Seattle in July and won’t fly until vaccinated and vaccination in Europe is lagging badly. If we can get back to the US in late May or early June I expect vaccination will be easy to arrange at that time which we view as a prerequisite to flying back to Seattle for some work I need to do in July. All these factors make returning to the US for a while seem like a good solution.
We have always intended to return to the US from Europe via the Iceland and Greenland route you mentioned. However, the timing doesn’t work for that routing on this trip. The Newfoundland current brings down Ice well into July so that route isn’t a good one in early summer (Canada ice report: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/ice-forecasts-observations/latest-conditions.html).
Wanting to return in late Spring rather than late summer prevents using that routing on this trip but we still intend to go to Greenland and there is a very good chance we’ll go back to Europe via that route. At right time of the year, ice isn’t a problem on that routing and distances are short enough that the weather reports can be fairly good so it’s actually quite a safe route.
Welcome back to Ireland! I see above you mention visiting Kinsale again this trip. If it works for your itinerary I would highly recommend visiting Dingle. Being very familiar with both towns and having visited both when restrictions eased here last September I feel Dingle had the edge for takeaway food options and isolated walks on the Slea Head. While both are destination towns, Kinsale was busier with day trippers from Cork city. The marina in Dingle is also generally less busy vs. Kinsale if you’re hoping to minimise contacts.
Dingle sounds good and we’ve not been there before so we’ll investigate that option. Thanks for your suggestion.
Welcome to S’ford Lough – shame about restrictions but hope you have a pleasant stay. The Cuan Bar in S’ford Town does carry out meals by a very good chef.
Thanks for the welcoming note. We’re really enjoying being in the area. Lots to see and enjoy. Our only regret is we can’t stop in at the local pub but, other than that, we’re loving our time here.
I saw you are using Sena Expand headsets. May I ask why you chose the Expand rather than the SPH10?
We bought a pair of the Sena SPH10 headsets exactly 5 years ago. They started failing last year and are now totally useless so we have to choose what to replace them with.
Hi Michal. We’re far from experts in experts in communications head sets having relied on voice up until now but we really like them. We chose the Expand due to them being very inobtrusive. The mic is closer to the ear and less obvious, and we like the styling and pricing slightly more. So far, we’re really impressed with them. We never really missed not having remote communications but, now that we do have it, it’s clearly better. We end up communicating more and it’s nice to be able to say more and not have to project our voice through the doorway.
We also find them useful when working in the engine room or laz on jobs that needs to have someone else at the helm or helping in a different room. So far, they are a real win.
Hi James, Thanks for this update. Wet Wombat (N5279) has just arrived in Melbourne and been released from quarantine and we are now working on the commissioning and initial setup. Jenny just asked me today on our return from the boat to get on with the job of sourcing headsets!
Congratulations on the arrival of your boat in Melbourne.
I think you’ll like the headsets. The 52 is small enough you can operate without them and we have for a decade but having them is much better.
Reading through your Snow, Ice and heat post got me wondering. How much trouble do you have with damage shipping items halfway across the globe?
Do you have much trouble solving the issue if there is?
It’s amazing at times the amount of damage we see on equipment being moved across a couple of States.
Hey Steve. We have had amazingly good luck over the years. We have had some delays but very close to no damage probably due to them being packed well at the sending side. A couple of times the pallet base has been broken up but it’s still been serviceable by a forklift. The only package where we have taken some damage is the cylinder head. The package was a masterpiece of strength but there was a delicate rear main seal crankshaft collar worth about $85 that was dented and probably can no longer be used. Included with that part was a PTO clutch and a cylinder head both of which are quite heavy and we suspect one of those might have shifted slightly damaging the seal part. So far, we’ve not needed the seal part (I have an ongoing experiment on crankcase pressure that continues to be successful).
Other than the slight damage above, we have done 9 international shipments some as large as 2 cubic meters without damage. We have had some delays where a longshoreman’s strike in LA delayed a shipment to Australia for 6 weeks and that last shipment was delayed 2 months. Preparing these packages for shipment is a bit laborious in looking up all the required Harmonized Tarif Codes and even more complex if dangerous goods are being shipped. And, on clearing in, the complexity ranges from nearly none to requiring enough paper work to require a professional.
Overall, we feel like we have been pretty lucky but we’re still looking forward to arriving back in North America where most things we need are available via Amazon Prime.
Just to remind you that you are in Downpatrick, Ireland you have left GB behind you,
Yes, understood. We haven’t actually been to the island of Great Britain this year. We are currently sailing south from Scotland on route to the United States passing through Northern Ireland. I presume you might be referring to us currently flying a UK courtesy flag. We fly courtesy flags out of respect for the places we visit and certainly don’t intend to insult anyone. We’ll take it down.
Very confusing so you are forgiven! I think you will find that in Stornoway you were in GB? This will help; facts from the cartographers at the Ordnance Survey.
Oh, the Red Ensign is the correct courtesy flag for Northern Ireland.
Yes, thanks. We do have a do have UK courtesy flag for when sailing in the UK and an Irish courtesy flag for when sailing in Ireland.
So why did you take down your UK courtesy flag?
We fly courtesy flags as a courtesy to the country we are visiting. In Northern Ireland, not everyone appreciates us flying that flag, so we don’t.
James and Jennifer,
With your return to North America Tracy and I are looking forward to getting together again soon somewhere along the Eastern seaboard. We’re planning to leave Palm Beach in about 3 weeks and make our way North, eventually to Maine on our new 68, Sunday Morning. Many of your ideas and suggestions on charging systems and flexibility were incorporated into our new build. Thank you again.
It’s great to hear your Nordhavn 68 has arrived. We’re really looking forward to seeing it and catching up with you and Tracy. Jen and I hope to see you on the East Coast later this year.
Hi James, I am linking our virtual showroom in this comment for your thoughts on our hybrid Emachine. I am curious on your thoughts about it’s applicability in recreational marine. We created a virtual showroom since we have been unable to travel for expositions. I know you will probably understand our electrified power system better than 99% of the folks visiting the site so your input would be appreciated. https://www.scania.com/group/en/home/products-and-services/features/marine-power-solution-showroom.html
The approach of putting the electric motor between the internal combustion engine and the transmission is a nice approach in that it makes it easy to sell configurations with and without the eMachine and makes application design easier. Being able to instantly deliver 1500 Nm (1475 ft lbs) and 280kw (375 hp) is impressive.
In marine applications, I could see it used when entering and exiting the marina, when trolling or operating at low speeds, and right sizing engines. By right sizing the engine, I mean sizing the engine for typical load rather than rarely used peak load. To get peak load, you would run both the eMachine and the diesel. In low speed operations in marina, only run the eMachine. And when cruising long distance at constant speeds where range and efficiency is most important, just run the internal combustion engine.
For over the road trucking the gains are even more exciting. When operating in heavily mountainous terrain, instead of configuring 700 hp a fleet owner can go with 400 hp but drivers would still have 775 hp available when needed on tough hills. The fuel efficiency of a small diesel with the peak power of the biggest. The internal combustion engine doesn’t even have to run at lights, in stop and go traffic, on when maneuvering at low speeds.
I didn’t find a lot of detail on the 32 kWhr battery pack but it’s a good sized unit. I need one for the house battery system but I’ll need 24V to 650V step up/step down to do that :-). Overall, a nice addition to the Scania line up. I’m looking forward to seeing the first greater 1000hp than Scania over-the-road tractor using this hybrid power equipment.
You face a formidable voyage to the US. Wait for the Azores high to be north and head for the Horta. Then with the high over the Azores find the south side of the high and head west (wind and waves astern). Find the south side of the Bermuda high and keep heading west. The high will keep lows coming off Africa heading west instead of curling north and keep lows coming off the east coast curl northeast.
I know we don’t live in a perfect world. Weather forecasts are more flawed the further out the prediction. 10 days or longer have a 50% chance of accuracy. here is local weather service prediction for hurricane season:https://www.accuweather.com/en/hurricane/accuweathers-2021-atlantic-hurricane-season-forecast/924431
We really appreciate the guidance on our Atlantic crossing Andrew. Thanks for taking the time of passing along your experience.
After all this years of following your blog I finally had to respond.
Light Years Ahead was a fantastic recommendation.
Thank you very much.
PS love all the Spitfire reports.
That video gem was from fellow blog reader Stacy Kenworthy. Thanks for the feedback on the blog (and Spitfire is rolled into a tight little donut sleeping beside me as I type this).
Any plan’s past Florida? Have you given any thought to crossing back over to do the Med? I’m crossing my fingers that Canada will be open for this summer but the unfortunate reality is that it looks like we’ll have to wait for 2022 to have things “normal” Safe travels
We’re not yet sure but We’re thinking of the US east coast this year and then Canada and Greenland next year.
Ugh. We have a WSO 110 just passing 3 years. Still working, but wishing now I had bought a spare. Maybe Airmar.
We have best results when nobody is up there. If someone holds onto the instrument when waxing the boat or doing other service, it’ll flex the seal and leaks seem to come quickly after that. In this case, nobody other than me has been up there for years so we got pretty good life. My plan right now is to run without a backup until latter this year and I’m hopefully that Maretron will have one available. If not, I’ll find an appropriate Airmar.
Hopefully yours keeps going strong.
One of my favorite podcasts is Space Rocket History. This fellow from NC has spent over 300 episodes of his time detailing US and Russian space history with a through perspective teaming narration with historic narration and in person audio. It is pretty amazing to think this is over 50 years ago and what these Americans and Russians achieved. btw N6081 is in the water and awaiting shipping so fingers crossed will see it in Ensenada around May 30! You may have covered this but when are you crossing over to N America?
Congratulations on N6081 being ready to ship to the US. Very exciting.
We plan head south to Kinsale Ireland and to wait there for favorable weather. We’re interested in crossing the Atlantic when weather allows it. I suspect we’ll be arriving in Florida around June 1st but it’s hard to predict with any certainty.
How do you get high bilge water signals into your NMEA2000 system? I assume you are using the SIM100 to detect a sensor signal for the actual NMEA2000 integration, but I’m curious if you have dedicated sensors for the task, or if you put the SIM100 in parallel with other sensors (such as the Ultra Switch that I think you said you use)?
Hi Alex. We use three diverse detection systems since water intrusion is a leading way to lose a boat. The first is a Maretron BHW100 (https://navstore.com/maretron-nmea-2000-bilge-high-water-detector-sim100-accessory-bhw100.html) feeding a SIM100. The second is an Ultra Jr float switch (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VZ49N4E) read by a digital input on a raspberry pi. The final is a bilge cycle detector that detects bilge pump on and alarms if it cycles more than 3 times in an hour or cycles for more than 1 min. This is also a Raspberry Pi based detection circuit. This will also alarm of the bilge pump looses power for any reason (e.g. breaker release since bilge pumps still need circuit protection).
The primary protection is the first but we want more than 1 detection system and we would like to still detect if we have a CANbus failure (rare but has happened once). We also like the ability to detect loss of power at the bilge pump and to warn via dash indicator and email on frequent cycling.
Did you have any admin problems getting back into Scotland with Spitfire post Brexit?
So long as we keep Spitfire confined to the boat, we can bring him in without formality. That is the same as pre-Brexit. If we wanted to bring him ashore, that’s more involved and as far as we know can only be done through commercial transport (that was true pre-Brexit as well), except if coming from Ireland.
Makes sense. Thanks.
Good afternoon. I passed you yesterday morning in the white catamaran .
Have been reading all your interesting advice on your pages .
And noticed on your data display the water temp was 48.2 farenheight which I think is a bit high I have 5.8 ° c .
Maybe I’m reading your data wrong ?
Have loved reading all about your adventures . Kenny .
I spoke with you off the rear deck off Lifeboat the other day .
We’re reading the water temperature 4′ (1.2M) down. It might be slightly warmer down there or we might be reading a bit high. We have two transducers at roughly the same depth and when I crossed checked them 6 months back, they looked to match pretty carefully but we’ve not rechecked them for a while. Thanks for letting us know that it may be reading a couple of degrees high.
Your N2KView ‘digital color’ widgets in your dashboards seem to have min/max values that I don’t seem to have available. Is this a custom mod you made?
Hi Alex. Good eye. Min/Max is a great N2kview feature. Any recent version of n2kview supports this. Got enter Ctrl-E to edit the page, select the digital color widget you want to change, select edit and tick min and max in the popup, then two saves and you are done.
Hmm, I just checked for an update and it says I am running the latest version (220.127.116.1100324, which is also the latest on the Maretron website). But when I edit a color digital widget I don’t have the min or max check boxes available (I do for others like gauges and bar graphs). I’ll keep looking.
That looks like a mistake on my end. I may still be running a prelease copy — I thought I was back on the production version. I’m at 6.0.15. We’ve been running it for a long time so I suspect it’ll be made available soon and I’ll bet if you contact support they’ll likely be able to get you an early copy or tell you when it’ll be released. If you say you saw it running on Dirona, they’ll probably totally understand be fine getting you a copy.
James: Did you utilize a nylock nuts when remounting the side light? When can you move out of quarantine?
I didn’t use a nylock fastener on that one. With 10 years experience with these lights, the fasteners don’t seem to loosen so I don’t expect problems.
We’ll be out of Quarantine on Friday at midnight. We’re currently seeing 35 kts with gusts to 50 kts so not going anywhere until this storm passes. I’m sure the combination of those winds and the currents in this area would yield towering seas.
The Carolina Reaper was certified as the world’s hottest chili pepper by the Guinness World Records on 11 August 2017. 2.2 million SHU (Scoville Heat Units)
We found 8,706 pretty hot so 2.2 million would, indeed, be pretty challenging. This is the hottest we have ever tried and it’s got to be getting close to the record: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dixie%27s_BBQ.
If you’d taken the northern route back to the US had you harbored any thoughts of doing the Northwest Passage?
Yes, we have given the Northwest Passage a lot of thought. The upsides are obvious. It’s a great adventure with lots of new experiences. The downsides are it’ll take a full cruising season with lots of waiting around for exactly the right weather report. And, even with all that time and care, there is a chance that the trip won’t start or that it’ll start but have to go back. There is even a chance that the boat will get stuck in ice for a season. From our time in Norway we’re amazed how fast ice can form and then get thick.
So we probably lack the courage & patience to do it but it’s been under consideration several times.
Greetings, just wondering what exterior damage Dirona incurred from the ice – cosmetically & structurally.
Malcolm Dale Melbourne Australia
I think we just wore the bottom paint off a 8″ diameter section of paint on the bow waterline. The bottom paint is probably worn quite a bit down the sides as well but it’s not visible by eye when standing on shore. We probably have put some scratches in the gel coat below the bottom paint in the bow area. So, very close to no issues or damage at all other than wearing off the bottom paint. Easily corrected but requires the boat to be lifted out of the water to do the work.
Quite a large percentage of Norwegian’s leave their boat in the water year around and the ice doesn’t bother them. Dirona is an absolute tank at 55 tons so no issues for it either.
Hello I have seen you video while you wee crossing the Atlantic and found it very interesting.
As I am working towards my 200 Ton RYA (even though it is not required for US flag boats and would like to fine tune my skills and enrich my knowledge), we are planning a crossing of the Atlantic.
I was wondering if you have any pointers on crossing from the US and back.
What time of the year do you think is better to cross from the US? I understand that depending on vessel capacity you refueled somewhere. Was this re-fueling Bermuda or Azores, how long did it take for you to cross?
What were your intermediate ports of call?
Any input from you or the community would be greatly appreciated.
That sounds like a good plan. We crossed from Newport Rhode Island to Kinsale Ireland. More detail on the crossing stats here: https://mvdirona.com/2017/05/newport-to-kinsale/. Our crossing was 2,801 miles and it took 17 days. The route we took is an less common routing where you need to cover the full trip directly without stops along the way (no intermediate ports of call). By far the most common routing is the US, Bermuda, Azores, to Europe. This more common routing usually has better weather and the longest leg is far shorter at 1950 nautical miles. Another routing that is gaining in popularity is Canada to Greenland, to Iceland, to Scotland (or Norway). On the northern route, late summer is preferred once the Labrador Current is no longer bringing ice south. For the other routings early summer is better to avoid hurricane season (officially starting July 1 but sometimes early).
We were originally planning to return to the US on the northern route (Iceland and Greenland) but we want be back earlier in the year than allowed by that route so we will take the southern route (Azores and Bermuda).
17.4 knots through the Pentland Firth…I didn’t realize you reworked Dirona into a planing boat! :-)
Thank you for letting us live vicariously through your adventures. Norway looked amazing!! I also love all of the boating and cruising wisdom that you share.
Yes, we had a rocket engine installed recently. The fuel economy is impacted slightly but crossing the Atlantic is only going to be few days :-).
It was absolutely crazy fast. By far the quickest this boat has ever done. It even beats the down current speed we achieved on the Columbia river in Oregon. The boat did great in all the eddies but at one point when passing behind a small island there was a firm line where the water was running at 10+ kts across our bow sideways to our direction of travel and then, right beside that, there was a big back eddy running at about the same speed in the opposite direction. Hitting the back eddy turned the boat fast and forced it over to just under 20 degrees of heel — it hit impressively hard. Everything immediately returned to normal (other than a broken coffee pot) but it’s a location like few others in the world.
Overall, it was kind of exciting. And we also love the scenery here. It’s great to be back in the Orkney islands.
Talk about being along for the ride with little or no control…exhilarating and frightening! I’m glad to hear you are ok and that you only broke your speed record and not your degrees of heel record. Now that’s a record that doesn’t need to be broke! Godspeed with your trip back across the Atlantic. Are you planning on the southern route with the current or the northern against it?
We’re thinking Azores to Bermuda for this Atlantic crossing.
Ah, I used to work out of Scrabster for Decca Radar and I’ve sat on top of the cliffs at Dunnet Head watching the ships coming through the Firth. I was watching one Belgian trawler, you could hear her engines thundering mightily as she fought against the tide, she was my next job to repair her radar and she was making 2knts headway. Talking with the skipper later he said he was making revolutions for 16knts and had a few choice words about the tide.
I’ve done surveys of the seabed in the Firth and that was exciting! Sitting there waiting for your marker buoy to pop to the surface at slack water so you could continue from where you left off.
The line of standing waves from the mainland out towards Stroma is called The Merry Men of Mey.
I’ve only recently discovered your epic journey from a post about Nordhavn yachts on ybw.com ( https://forums.ybw.com/index.php?threads/another-new-nordhavn.558555/ ) and have started to try and catch up, it was me that made the comment about From Russia with Love on your Crinan video.
Thanks for the reference to From Russia with Love and, yes, there are some massive tides around here. Not quite as big as the Kimberley region of Australia (https://mvdirona.com/category/destinations/australia/kimberley/) or the Bay of Fundy in Canada but pretty close. The currents in this area can make for a very short trip or a very long one and, with wrong wind direction, can be absolutely punishing.
I once read the book “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance” it recommended following a path up a mountain before making your own. My wife and i have just bought a Trader 445 (similar to 4087) and plan to circumnavigate the UK and then a trip to Norway. We are just cleaning and checking through systems.
Congratulations on your new purchase. The Trader does look very similar to our last boat and we really used it heavily putting 4,100 hours on it in just under 11 years. I hope you really enjoy your new boat. You’ll just love Norway.
Welcome to Orkney – you look to have some good weather for a few days :) Great to see your adventures.
Thanks for the welcome greeting! We were last here in 2017 so it’s been quite a while.
Sorry things aren’t as welcoming as before due to Covid – it was good to see you appear here again… I run the Marine Traffic base station on the east side of Orkney on Mull Head so keep an eye on what’s coming in, and so great to see a pink coloured target coming in. All the very best to you. Steve
Thanks for the welcome message. I don’t doubt pink targets are getting rare. It’s getting close to impossible to cruise right now with so many national borders closing and after Brexit, we now have the Schengen restrictions to cope with so we’re planning to head back to the US this summer. We’re finding even just doing that is complex.
Thanks for saying hi!
Hi there James – as you may have seen, those of us living in Orkney and Shetland have the least Covid restrictions of anywhere in Scotland and I think the rest of the UK – though still lots of restrictions on indoor socialising etc. Not just an island effect either as the west coast islands (bigger and smaller than us) have had a lot more cases. So at least we can get out on our boats a bit if we stay within the County / archipelago – you may had seen a couple of local sail boats in Scapa Flow the other day. Must be frustrating for you but with Orkney having two weeks no with no positive Covid tests there’s lot of commitment to keep it that way. At least you have a good sheltered anchorage there for any gales that may come your way. Hopefully by the time you get back to the US the world will be in a bit better shape. Best wishes, Steve.
It’s not an easy time. Hopefully things will turn around as more vaccines are given and infection rates continue to decrease.
See you are crossing North Sea. Going by some fishing vessels. https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/centerx:1.8/centery:58.6/zoom:10
Yes, there is quite a bit of traffic out here. Most we’ve seen so far have been oil rigs, rig supply vessels, and a search and rescue vessel but fishing boats are out here as well. Thanks!
Hello from Ireland! I am writing a historical article about the buildings on Brow Head, West Cork. I saw your post on this site dating from 2017 and wondered if you would kindly give me permission to use your drone view of the buildings on the site: they give such an excellent layout of what was built up there. I would acknowledge you and put in a link to your site. If not, no worries. Bon Voyage anyway!
Yes, that’s not a problem. We’re happy to contribute to your project.
Hi James, I was wondering, Have you already looked into SpaceX’s Starlink system to get cheaper broadband internet at sea?
Starlink is a pretty exciting service that has the chance to fundamentally satellite data costs. But, it’s not there yet when it comes to mobile applications. This is from the Starlink FAQ: “Your Starlink is assigned to a single cell. If you move your Starlink outside of its assigned cell, a satellite will not be scheduled to serve your Starlink and you will not receive internet. This is constrained by geometry and is not arbitrary geofencing.”
So it’s only supported at a single location and, just out of interest, I tried to register for the service and Seattle isn’t supported and they don’t yet have a date for it. I tried Boston and it’s not supported either but they expect it will be later this year.
My overall take is the service is technically very interesting but they don’t yet have the coverage needed and they claim that they can’t support mobile applications. I suspect that last statement is a point in time and I can’t think of any reason why they couldn’t support mobile terminals in the future.
Hi James, what are those speakers in the aft corners of your main salon? I’m looking for something like that for mine and I’m not seeing anything online that resembles them.
Sure, we are using Definitive Technology Mythos speakers connected to a Pioneer receiver.
That peculiar structure illustrated in your photo describing a water reservoir is a VOR station used in aerial navigation.
Thanks Ron, we hadn’t see that before: VHF Omnidirectional Radio Range (VOR) is an VHF-based aircraft navigation system.
In reference to your PSS Fault.
It seems you’ve had vibration issues since that new shaft went in. Did you ever make a determination on why?
My insufficiently deep read of the draw limitation was that it was a controller limitation rather than a power supply limitation. I do use direct 12V supply from a dedicated 12V breaker to power the LED lights but I still use multiple controllers.
Yeah, it’s kind of annoying but the shaft runout is over the ABYC spec. Not grossly so but it is higher than it should be. What we have learned here is that lip seal systems can tolerate more engineering margin of error than the Packless Shaft Seal system. But that’s not really the issue. The fault in this case is excess shaft runout. It’s not intolerably bad and not enough to be hard on the transmission but it’s more than it should be.
I don’t know the cause of the runout. The most likely cause is the shaft isn’t true but it’s possible that the transmission flange was bent when removing the shaft coupling, it’s possible the trans flange is out of line and the yard machined the coupler to match to match it. There are many possibilities and all we know is it was running true prior to the shaft replacement and, after the work, it has excess runout. What we can measure is the shaft runout and it’s just a bit above the ABYC limit. Not enough to produce an annoying vibration but the runout is excessive. The only solution is pull the shaft, coupler, and transmission flange and get a machine ship to replace parts until it’s close to true.
It’s unfortunate that we went into the yard three years ago with a true prop shaft and no vibration, paid to get a new shaft installed, and left with excess shaft runout accompanying a fairly substantial bill.
“Unfortunate” isn’t a word that would describe my personal feelings over something like that.
Unfortunate is while I don’t see anything in the way of boats shafts, I do see a lot of large blower shafts, there just aren’t many machine shops around anymore that can true a shaft of any length. They use to be fairly common but that was 40 years ago, I’d expect more from a machine shop dealing with MARINE equipment :(
I agree. Basically where we are on this project is we replaced a straight prop shaft assembly with a new one that is not running true so we’ll probably have to repeat the entire fairly expensive job at some point in the future. Fortunately, the runout is not so great that it’s damaging — just annoying.
Hey guys, couple of equipment questions:
1. I’m having trouble finding led rope lights that I like. Can you give me an idea of what you used on your outside lighting?
2. I notice that you’re using those big heavy duty three phase AC plugs and sockets. I’m familiar with these from past project work, wondering what led you to use them in certain applications on Dirona.
We used LED Wholesalers LED Strip Lights from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0054U46Y2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1.
There is no 3 phase power on Dirona. I suspect you are referring to the 16A European mains connection we have as a second shore power connection. It’s an IEC 60309 which is a single phase 16A connection. We use this because it’s the most common shore power connection in use around the world. We can adapt to US connections as well but don’t need an
adapter for most of the world. Or you might be referring to the big waterproof plug and socket we for the patio heater in the cockpit. It’s a single phase 230V connection made by Clipsal that we sourced in Australia. We liked it because it’s very well weather sealed and you can see into the connection and know the connections are good and not suffering any heat damage. All other connections are standard single phase plugs and sockets in common use in the US.
Yes, it was both of those plugs I spotted in various photos. Thanks for the info on those and the link to the led strips!
About those led strips, it says the controller can’t handle the power requirement of more than one strip connected to it, but it occurs to me that you might be powering/controlling them using another method, like one of your pi devices with a beefier power supply with multiple strips connected. Looks like the strip takes 12V common and and a low side pwm for each of the colors?
Sorry I misread that thing. it’s the power supply, not the controller, that is limited to a single strip. That’s an easier problem to solve; the controller can do two strips. Still curious on your power/control approach.
Couple of questions. Will you be able to get a vaccine shot where you’re at? Are you doing any diving?
Norway will vaccinate everyone in the country but they are doing it order of need and supply is quite limited right now. As a consequence, we’ll not get vaccinated anytime soon.
No, we’re not diving in Norway although it is recommended by many. We used to cold water dive but no longer have dry suits so, with a few exceptions, only dive warm water these days. The last cold water dive I did was 58F freeing an anchor in the Orkney Islands Scotland: https://mvdirona.com/2017/09/anchor-ensnarled/. Right now we’re surrounded in 5″ to 6″ of ice so we’re neither able to leave nor able to SCUBA dive (without cutting out a section of ice).
Hope you guys are enjoying the cold weather, I’m certainly not :)
Anyway, “udder support” has been around quite some time. I remember my Uncle using them back in the mid sixties except he made his own.
There really is a purpose, I found this funny link explaining on reason.
Your a unbounded source of information Steven. Thanks for that. The cold is not bothering us but we got caught be surprise and 2″ ice formed all around us quickly here in Farsund. It’s now 5 to 6″ so we’re trapped for now.
I replaced the HVAC units that failed months back and they worked great for a day but the water temperature has now dropped down to 39F to 42F which is too cold for these reverse cycle systems. But, the good news is they are back operating. It’s weird that two independent systems both had reversing valves stick at the same time and damage the compressors but it seems to be that is what happened.
Reversing valves do fail, it is strange you were unlucky enough to have two at the same time right after being out of the water.
I suppose the “law of average” eventually catches up with us all. The good thing is you’ve got them replaced, working and I can’t think of any reason even an air lock from being out of the water would have caused it.
Stuff just happens.
Hopefully you won’t need an ice pick to get going again. Dirona is heavy enough for breaking 6″ of ice but I doubt the hull construction would be up to the task. Maybe if you went slow :)
Lightening does strike twice (rarely). It’s not likely to have independent faults within days of each other but very rarely it can happen.
We have broken 2″ with the tender and Dirona and it cleaned the bottom paint off the big boat and did some damage to the gel coat on the tender. We watched a roughly 50′ fish boat break out of their slip in 6″ and it was horrendous. It took him a 1/2 hour and was just brutal on the steel boat. There is no way we can get out of this without help from a stronger vessel to break ice first.
This is a bit of a learning experience for us. We have seen surface fresh water freeze but we have never seen salt water freeze this fast nor this deep.
Sounds like the first act of one of those end-of-the-world movies! stay safe and warm!
Yes, exactly. The ice is now thick enough that yesterday kids were out playing on it. We’ve pushed through ice before but nothing thicker than 2″ and that wasn’t very far. We won’t be forcing our way through this.
Regarding the ship you saw in Førde. Its realy an “nobody wants” 82 mtr yacht.
Originaly build for a russian juice & milk billionære. But he died before the papers was signed.
Its an PJ World Explorer, iceclassed and with helipad. So if you want to upgrade…… :o)
More info: https://www.palmerjohnson.com/explorer-1
Great timing. We do need ice class right now. While sitting in Farsund, we were quickly surrounded by 2″ ice and it’s now 5 to 6″. We even have a picture of Jennifer (carefully) standing on it. We’re going nowhere for now. Amazing to see this much ice when the water is 5 to 6C.
Thanks for the background on the 82M yacht.
Since you still are in Farsund, i guess the ice and winter stops you for the moment.
This winter did come as a surprise for us which live on the West Coast of Norway.
Covid and travel would i guess, is not so easy for travellers like you.
I went to work this week. First Gardermoen , test that could not be older than 24h before landing in Denmark, Kastrup.
Next stop Spain , hotel and isolation. 3 days. New test, and then allowed to go onboard where i work.
This covid pandemic, affect us all :/
It is a bit warmer here btw, 20 ++
Between Algeria and Spain somewhere.
Your overhead of going to work is a already bit higher than most people driving to a nearby office but the pandemic makes it much worse. As you know, Norway isn’t greatly affected so it’s not been too much of a burden on us but we’ll soon need to cross national borders again and that’ll require testing and other new overhead.
Right now, leaving is not really much of an option in that we’re frozen in here in Farsund. The ice surrounding us is thicker than we can force our way through so we’ll either need to wait for warmer weather or pay someone to bring a boat over to break us out of the ice. It’s not a problem right now but if we don’t see warmer weather in a week or so, we’ll need to investigate other options.
I note the recent failure of the ballast on your fluorescent lights. I have had two such failures. When the first occurred, the only ballast I could find was a used one on eBay. When the second occurred I changed all the lights to LED. It turned out to be cheaper than the cost of parts for the fluorescents and are a bit brighter. Only time will tell how long they will last. Did you find the ballast quite easily or did you just have one in spares?
All the best
We have spare ballasts on board. They are $35 on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00859WZZQ). We’ve thought of moving to LED and if we found something that ran on 120V/60hz with similar dimensions (or could be placed inside the existing fixtures), we would do it. What did you elect to use in N6303 Murray?
They don’t make the ballast in my units anymore and no one could give me an alternative that would fit so that is why I bought a used unit on eBay. When the second unit failed I looked at using the new replacement LED tubes bypassing the ballast but you also had to change the tombstones fittings at the same time. Delivery time then became a problem as I am moving around. They would have fit within the same fixture. It ended up easier to just get new Home Depot 2 foot LED ceiling wrap lights for CDN$50 with next day delivery. They are about the same size and are a bit brighter. I am still changing them out but so far they have all fit roughly in the same space. A new ballast is easiest if you can get the right one, then replacing with the new LED tubes if you can get all the parts and then lastly, getting new units. Trying to get 120 VAC in Europe adds another level of complication.
Your recommendations make sense. Thanks for the advice. I think I found what you used: Progress Lighting 2′ LED Wrap Light at Home Depot (https://www.homedepot.com/p/Progress-Lighting-2-ft-LED-Wrap-Light-Semi-Flush-Mount-P730011-030-30/312500438?NCNI-5). We might just make the change when we return to the US. Thanks for the details.
The ones I bought were by Commercial Electric and look similar but were a bit cheaper. Maybe they were on sale. It will be interesting to see how long they last. Safe travels.
Thanks and all the best Murray.
Here is a decent description of Fluorescent to LED Conversions. https://zled-lighting.com/news/convert-fluorescent-lighting-led/
I’ve done them both with and without ballasts and the process is straightforward. You can use the original “Tombstone” sockets however how they are wired will have to be changed for 120VAC conversions.
The biggest problem is finding a color (Kelvin rating) that is pleasing to the individual.
I would recommend finding an electrical wholesaler and look at what is available in person. once you know what Kelvin rating you want they are readily available through AMAZON or anywhere else you want to order them from.
Thanks for the reference Steve. We probably should make the change. Our fluorescents are super power intensive but we have good brightness and I like the really high color temperatures in an engine room (but would hate it in living spaces).
Fluorescent lights put out a lot of UV which as a light source really does us humans little good. You probably like Cool White bulbs in the engine room.
I’ve never checked with a meter however LED lights seem “brighter” probably because the light they do emit is more in the spectrum we can use.
The biggest problem with the early tubes was they were more directional in where they threw the light.
The newer tubes, ones that look just like a regular fluorescent tube have solved that issue. As long as you stay away from tubes where you can actually see the individual diodes, I think you’d be pleasantly surprised at the result.
The best thing I can recommend if you are interested in LED is find a supply house or lighting store with displays set up for you to see. Almost all of them in the U,S. do I don’t know about Europe.
We’re thinking of returning to the North America this summer so we’ll probably check the lights out in the US. We really love Europe but the combination of Brexit (Jennifer travels on a UK passport) and the more serious variants of Covid-19 leading to border closures is making travel fairly high friction.
It would be a shame to have to modify plans, I know you two wanted to travel into the MED but, it’s probably going to be a long time before travel returns to normal (if it ever does).
While there is “no time like the present”, there’s always hope for the future and there is still a lot of water on this side of “the pond” Dirona hasn’t seen yet.
There’s always the great lakes and while I know Dirona was built to drop it’s mast, there is always the great loop if modifying exhaust, cabling, etc. for her to actually do it isn’t to much of a hassle.
Anyway it goes, you two have already been on a ride very few of us will ever take and you’ve barely scratched the surface on what’s left to do.
As always, you nailed it Steve.
Our thinking is there is lots of adventures waiting for us on the other side of the Atlantic and nothing will stop us from returning to Europe.
J and J: Glad you are enjoying (maskless) Norway.
A quick comment on your blocked dryer vent. Such blockages are notorious for causing fires. Some can be quite serious, so much so a 200 bed hotel in Alexandria Bay, NY was lost a few years ago due to this exact cause .
An addition to your maintenance schedule? :) :)
Norway isn’t really “maskless” — masks are very common in big cities like Begen and Trondheim and close to universal on public transit (I believe it’s required). Even in small towns where masks are rare, many people put them on when they walk into a shopping center or a grocery store.
It’s a tribute the focus and care of the Norwegian people and their government that they have been able to keep the infection rates always near to the lowest in Europe or North America.
That’s a good point on the dryer overheat and fire risk. We have a thermal fuse on our dryer that will protect against this and we did blow that fuse once by doing this which shows that it’s needed. We shouldn’t rely on the fuse and will add that task to the maintenance list. Thanks for the suggestion.
Hi James.. I just watched an IBM analyst presentation on the Mayflower autonomous ship project. I real milestone — the first I’ve heard of a marine data system that is differentially better Tham what you’ve built on MV Drone… Time to raise the bar don’t you think? :). best/Peter Christy
:-). It looks like IBM has us beat on the automation navigation front. But, I’ll bet the autonomous navigation system would have had some troubles with aspects of our last trip. On that one, we did a channel with only feet to spare on either side of the boat followed by pushing through 100′ of 2″ ice to get to the harbor.
It will be a long time I think before autonomous systems are as good as a human augmented system. I’m not sure if or when a Tesla will be good enough to enable a snooze in the back seat but I do think they have already created a safer car with their augmentation. Assuming the same is true with boats — may be necessary to limit paths compared to having a human pilot available.
I agree. It will definitely come but hasn’t yet.
Check out Yara Birkeland , I think this is the first one i Norway.
Also for the subsea use, things are ongoing.
Not my company. But already we are able to sit onshore, controlling ROV’s offshore.
Nice technology and it makes perfect sense in that a human operator can have access to all bridge data on the bridge or in a control room many miles away. There is no reason why a pilot needs to be on the vessel even without going to fully automated operation. Thanks for posting it.
Looks like you are just passing Egersund. it is a very nice littel town, sail safe, and be awear that on the east side of Lindesnes there will be more ice. in the winter. so look out.
Thanks Geir. We appreciate all the local advice you’ve been giving us. Even before passing Lindesnes, we’re already finding a lot of ice.
may I ask would dirona be anchored on the main anchor or the spare anchor while the windlass is worked on
We only use the spare anchor when we have lost the main anchor (hasn’t happened on this boat) or when the main anchor won’t hold (had only happened a couple of times). Other times we’re on the main anchor reguardless of weather conditions. One exception where we had to use the spare anchor and rode was when the main anchor got jammed up in an old mooring chain. You can see it here: https://mvdirona.com/2017/09/anchor-ensnarled/. In that case we anchored off the backup anchor and rode and then loosened up the main anchor so we could dive it and use a pry bar to work the anchor out of the chain in which it was ensnarled.
You were asking how we service the windlass while on the main anchor. When we don’t leave the anchor loads on the windlass. Instead we put out a snubber which is a short length of rope that can attach to the chain and then tie off on a deck cleat. This is where the anchor load hangs so the windlass is not loaded in the normal case. Since there is no load on the windlass when at anchor, we can service the windlass by lifting off the chain, doing the work, and then putting the chain back and testing the system.
thank you for the information James
Welcome to Kvitsøy.
I hope you will have a pleasant stay.
My house is the white one with the tall windows on the right hand side of the flagpole.
Beautiful house and, wow, what a location. We’ve been walking around the island and exploring by tender. Thanks for the welcome!
Hello James & Jennifer
We’ve followed you about 4 years now, keep-up the great blog. Providing inspiration and experience such as yours to others is an important element to the longevity and promotion of our cruising lifestyles. As an engineer I appreciate your technical content.
I’m curious about the “bow-eye” you have on Dirona, was it a factory design or a James Hamilton design? We are planning a spring haul out for our DeFever 52 Offshore Cruiser and plan to install a bow-eye. I’ve made several design inquires of others and have received many opinions on what’s important, however not much of the advise converges to make me comfortable with a particular approach. Dirona has been at sea several years and on-the-hook much of the time, hence I’d be interested in your thoughts on the design and construction of a robust bow-eye system for my similar sized 90,000 pound cruiser (I think you are somewhat more). In discussion with other fellow DeFever owners stem thickness ranges between 2 and 4 inches solid (non-cored) fiberglass.
The intent of our bow-eye is for anchoring. As you and many of your readers know by lowering the attachment point for the anchor snubber allows for less anchor rode for a given depth and desired scope. In our case lowering the attachment point by 6 feet can reduce rode length for given scope at 7:1 by 42 feet, this is significant for us when anchoring in shallow and narrow spots in the US southeast low country……especially in 8 foot tidal ranges which can really test your scope requirements.
I’m also making the same inquire to marine architect consultants, however the more input I obtain the better my confidence will become.
Thanks and safe travels!
MV Last Laugh
DeFever 52 Offshore Cruiser
Now lying Lady’s Island, Beaufort, South Carolina
Thanks for the feedback on the blog. Your right, we are somewhat heavier at 110,000 lbs but not much more. Your Defever sounds like a heavily built boat. Our bow eye is a popular option available from Nordhavn. It’s official purpose is towing and it’s ideal for that purpose but many owners also use it for exactly the purpose you intend. This is an excellent description of it’s use from Milt Baker a Nordhavn 47 owner and very experienced boater:
With its tall bow and broad shoulders, our N47 used to sail at anchor a lot. That was until we discovered that using an anchor snubber line reduces sailing markedly if we lead the line down through the towing eye at the stem just about the waterline. We do that, then run the line back up to the deck where it’s secured until we anchor. When we anchor, we let out sufficient chain for the water depth (including freeboard forward). Then we secure the snubber line to the anchor chain (outboard of the bow roller) with a proprietary Kong Chain Gripper (though a rolling hitch or galvanized chain hook will work), lower the anchor chain until the chain-snubber connection is about 5 feet below the surface of the water, then secure the bitter end of the snubber line on deck. Finally, we let out another 5-8 feet of chain. That means the pull on the anchor is effectively from the waterline forward rather than deck level, which changes the dynamics dramatically. We found that one simple change reduced sailing at anchor by roughly 75 percent. YMMV. Having the pull right there at the waterline also gives you the effect of having more line out (greater scope) because the pull is not from the deck but, rather, from the LWL, so the measurement from deck to LWL doesn’t have to be included in the scope calculation.
Hi James, we have been in touch a while ago. I am following your blog with interest and pleasure – but, actually, for me personally – in this time if the year – Norway would be a bit too cold and dark – but perfect to protect yourselves from being caught by the pandemic! :-)
I am presently installing two Electromaax serpentine drive systems for the alternators and 2 new Electromaax / Genmaax High Power alternators, @ 12V/215A each, on my Sabre 42 Hardtop Express. One on either of my 2 Yanmar 445 HP engines. I read your Balmar posts with interest. I am considering to use Balmar controls and not Electromaax controls – but, opposite to you, with my two independent engines, I think I should install their Centerfielder module as well. Would you agree? Thanks for an opinion, and all the best!
Take care and stay healthy, Christian
Good project. I’ve not come across Electromaax before but looking through their website, they look pretty good. 215A@12V is pretty good. The alternator we have puts out 190A@24V or 265A@12V so a bit more output than what you are planning will get you a combined output from your two engines of 5.1 KW which is very respectable.
The need for a centerfielder is an interesting question and strictly speaking it’s not required and I didn’t use one on our last boat that had two alternators on two engines, a similar configuration to yours. Anytime you put two alternators without a centerfielder or other way to coordinating the charging, you will go through long periods where “only 1 alternator” is working which, for many is a concern. It’s not really what is going on but it looks like only 1 is working.
What is really happening is during charging the battery acceptance amperage decreases. When you start charging, you get full output from both alternators but as the the battery acceptance rates decrease, one alternator will end up winning and supplying the full load. So, without a centerfielder what happens is both alternators run flat out and, over time, one will stay at max and the other will decrease to 0 and you’ll be charging on only 1 alternator. Then as you get closer to full charged, the alternator that was running flat out will decrease down to very low but the entire time the other one will be at zero.
This phenomena doesn’t slow charging in any way. If you look at the system when it’s charging with 1 alternator close to flat out and one is completely off. Let’s say 1 is at 185A and the other is at 0. If you where to put a centerfielder on the system without changing anything, you would still be charging at 185A. That wouldn’t change. The only change is that both alternators would be putting out 93A. The net effect is that a centerfielder equipped system charges no faster than an independent regulator system.
Given that amperage production doesn’t change is there any advantage of using a centerfielder. Yes, there is. An alternator running flat out is hotter, somewhat less efficient, and wearing more than an idling alternator (more bearing load and more bearing heat, more heat in windings, more heat in diodes, etc.). On our first boat we had 2x 105A alternators on two Cummins B-series diesels and we ran the regulators without a centerfielder. It works fine but, as I said, one alternator will carry most of the load much of the time.
The same question comes up in our current configuration where we have two alternator on a single engine. 1 alternator will carry most of the load most of the time rather than it being equally carried between the two. We ran this configuration for many years and, again, it works fine. A couple of years ago I changed the system such that when the alternators are charging two independent battery banks, they run on two regulators and are 100% independent but when both attached to the house bank (the normal case), both alternators run off a single regulator. In this later configuration, they run 100% in lockstep as they would with a centerfielder but you only need a single regulator and don’t need a centerfielder.
The short answer is the running without a center fielder is fine and chargers at the same speed as with one. Adding a centerfielder will balance the charging rates and allow the alternators to run somewhat cooler but is otherwise no different. Running both alternators off a single regulator is the same as a centerfielder in effect without the cost of a second regulator and center fielder. I’ve seen all three configurations and we have used two of them ourselves and they all charge at the same rate with the balanced configs slightly better in sharing the load across two alternators.
A last point on your choice of regulators. We’ve always used Balmar MC612 (on 12V) or MC624 (on 24V) and we’ve been happy. Recently a company called Wakespeed has entered the regulator market and their specs look good, the system looks easy to work with, and others report they work well. We’re still happily running Balmar but there are now more options.
Many thanks James for your detailed comments. Actually, I already have the Electromaax alternators here in Germany, and they indeed are a very nice product. CNC milled housings hard anodized, solid and large cable ports, piece of art equipment. Same applies for their serpentine pulleys – but these are a simpler product category. The Electromaax control system is more sophisticated than the Balmar MC614, with communication ports for a laptop via USB and via Bluetooth, but it seems they have a bit of a problem with supplies now, in pandemic times.
The latter brought me to Balmar for the control system, and this I think is a good move, as Balmar is – kind of – the leader of the pack, is world wide organised, with more product out and available, probably more proven components, and probably the most experienced team. Also, their system configuration is more straight forward. Less system components, but more programming options, and a simpler wiring. No hookup to the laptop, no bluetooth – but, really, I do not see a reason for this information to be on the laptop, or a need of communication with regulators through the air.
Regarding the Centerfielder, I am sure what you say is correct. However, its cost is not a big part of the investment, I am running wires through the engine room anyway, so the amount of work is not a lot different – and I like the idea of less heat in the systems, and also more safety. With 2x MC614 and 1x Centerfielder – what ever may happen – one system will remain functional, in nearly any foreseeable scenario.
Talking about Balmar – with our previous discussion about battery monitoring systems in mind, I looked at their SG200. I am wondering whether this thing may get some of the weaknesses of battery monitoring systems under control, which mainly relate to changing battery capacities, and the monitoring system not including this into their calculations. Any SG200 opinions or experiences to maybe report here, out there in the group of people reading this?
Sounds like a good approach. I too prefer to reduce alternator heat so elected to go with the single regulator for the two alternators but you’ll get just as good a result using two regulators and a centerfielder and you’ll get better failure behavior on regulator failure with that model.
On the SG200 SoC meter, I’ve not tried that one but I have used Mastervolt, Xantrex, and Maretron. Rhey all count amps and so all suffer from the problems: 1) overall bank capacity is entered as a config parameter but it is actually falling from day one until you replace the battery bank rather than being a fixed value. This means that 50% charge on your SoC meter is slowly going to actually be 40% charge after some time and it’ll go lower than that. And 2) if you count amps out, and count amps in and estimate the amount lost to battery inefficiencies (Peukert constant) which is what they all do, you get a slight error on every discharge cycle until fully charged again. This slight error is additive over time and will keep getting worse until the system is brought back to a 100% charge to get the error reset. The combined impact of these hard to predict error rates limits the accuracy of SoC meters.
For the above reasons, I’m not a huge fan of SoC meters and even though we have many SoC meters on the boat, we know longer display any of them and only use SoC measurement to have the system automatically start and stop generator. And, even there, I don’t find the SoC data that accurate so I autostart on max voltage over the trailing 15 min and autostop when battery acceptance amperage drops below a threshold. I’m not against SoC meters but we have ended up not using SoC meters on Dirona. Most people we know both use and like SoC meters so our perspective definitely in the minority. Hopefully someone else can comment on the Balmar SG200.
Well, I am in your minority group. They say that the Balmar SG200 will find age capacity reductions, it will work these into the displayed SoC and SoH information, and even after very many charge cycles to less than 100%, it will display an error which always remains below a maximum of 3% away from reality. Sounds miraculous.
That is almost too good to be true. Exciting. I read through the manual and the SG200 appears to be a closed system without NMEA0183 or NMEA2000 output. That ended the enthusiasm for me in that, if it can’t be used to trigger autostart or send data to other control or display systems on the boat, then it’s not very useful (at least to me).
If they produced data consumable by the rest of the boat systems, I would be much more interested in it.
I used an Electromaax alternator on my former sailboat and loved it. I used their serpentine belt conversion kit on the Yanmar engine which went together perfectly, and the alternator ran flawlessly. I found the company a pleasure to work with, and the products were outstanding.
As to the SG200, I tried one of those on my new Nordhavn and found it disappointing. As James pointed out, it’s a closed system. That’s a pretty much fatal strike for me as well, but performance was not great, it lost its configuration once and I had to reprogram it, programming was kind of clunky with their one-button interface, and I think the shunts are a bit undersized. I killed one shunt probably due to overheat from too much current; I think their maximum peak (short duration) current spec may be too generous for their design, but unfortunately perhaps too lacking for my demands.
I switched all my current/battery monitoring over to Mastervolt using Mastershunts and DC Distribution gadgets and I’m very happy with those. But I also agree with James on the dubious value of SoC metering. I use it mainly for the entertainment value, and of course I want to see the actual current on the battery so the necessary shunt provides me with that value regardless of metering SoC.
Mastervolt is not the easiest thing to interface onto our N2K networks but there is a device to do that and I finally found one and it works great.
Victron also makes similar battery monitoring gear and their devices are much easier to to interface to N2K. They even have a 1000A shunt! The largest Mastervolt has is 500A but you can parallel them for more capacity.
Awesome. Thanks for your experience with the SG200 Chris. Also a good point on the SG200 shunt rating being low (and that even within that rating, it might not be able to manage continuous running at near the rated load).
Thanks from me as well for your input, Chris. Very helpful. So I will keep my existing battery monitor – it has the latest technology, similar to the Victron, and I will live with its limited information value.
Looking at the amount of work this alternator upgrade project creates – I actually found a lot of things in most of the “heavy wires” dc installations on board my Sabre 42, which desperately needed to be upgraded. Talking of battery to charger / to engine starters / to switchboards cables and cable terminations here.
My boat was built in 2004. I now installed about 15 additional overload protection fuses, I upgraded about 35m of heavy cable, which means that 70 cable terminal swages had to be done, and I added 3 pieces of busbars, for an improved cable organisation, and for more safety. This bit actually took a lot more time and effort than the alternator and their output cables upgrade itself.
Don’t want to think about how many thousands of boats are out there that would desperately require this kind of safety upgrades as well.
That is a big project but, as you said, it’s super important to get it right. The current levels in modern electrical systems can be very high. When we are charging at full rated output, we’re charging at 250V. And, just the 240V inverter alone can draw 250A and for shore periods it can draw more than 350A. And, of course, even higher current can be expected on component or insulation failure. I’m sure you are correct that many boats out there are not properly protected against over current.
Please allow me to challenge your technical knowledge …
Last weekend a marine surveyor pointed me to potential problems with 120V 60Hz shore power in the USA.
I have a Victron 8kVA quattro charger/inverter on board, that will accept 180-265Vac at 45-65Hz, and outputs 240V at the same frequency as the input. Input into the Victron is generator or shore power.
Would a Victron autotransformer be the answer to step up the US shore power? What with the frequency? Would my washing machine and dryer suffer?
Alternative would be to add a 110V battery charger (eg Victron phoenix) , and run all my 240V appliances from the Quattro inverter, without using its charger part. This would solve the frequency issue.
Most US marina power is 50A at 240V 60hz so the Victron will see voltage and frequency within it’s correct operating range and it’ll produce 24V (or 12V if you are a 12V boat) so it’ll charge fine. But, as you point out, it’ll also be delivering 240V 60hz to the boat 240V system and you definitely don’t want that (assuming your boat is a 50hz boat). You have a couple of alternatives:
1) use dedicated chargers that can accept 50hz or 60hz and charge properly and then have a separate inverter for your house systems. When plugged into a frequency incompatible with the boat internal systems, you need to switch off the breaker that feeds the inverter so it’s not charging (and feeding an incompatible frequency to the boat). When plugged into a boat compatible frequency (shore or gen), the inverter can be switch on. This is the approach we take: https://mvdirona.com/2014/08/a-more-flexible-power-system-for-dirona/. This is effectively the suggestion you made at the end of your question.
2) put an frequency converter (ABB Atlas are examples) so the boat always has the correct frequency. This is expensive but common on big boats. Personally I find it less flexible.
Above I explained that the most common shore power configuration is 50A @ 240V 60hz but small marinas/slips may only be equipped with 30A @ 120V. We’ve only used this 4 or 5 times in 11 years but it’s nice to be able to handle it. Our approach is to transform up to 15A @ 240V 60hz which works OK but the power losses in the transformer means you only get around 14A which is fine but not a lot of power. We support this approach but we also have a connector that takes two opposite phase 30A@120V shore power connections and produces 30A@240V 60hz. This needs to be done by an approved device but they exist. For example: https://www.hubbell.com/hubbell/en/Products/Electrical-Electronic/Marine-Products/Molded-Adapters/YQ230/p/1631060. We love this configuration because it gives 30A at 240V.
We have a large variety of plugs to allow us to plug in all over the world.
Some other example configurations out there that might matter depending upon where you go: Tahiti 240V@60hz, South Africa 220V@50hz. We’ve not been there by boat but I’m told that some parts of Japan are 60hz and some are 50hz.
Hi Spitfire & crew, check out the new N51 twin 160hp jd model. Bigger sister of the N41. Another Turkish delight. Very cool!
Nice looking boat! 320 HP should move impressively quickly and that engine seems to run very well at low load so it’s probably going to be quite efficient at lower speeds as well. The boat should sell well.
Seems to be missing the Portuguese bridge. Thumbs down if that’s true.
Hi James and Jennifer,
A happy new year from Monara in Antwerp.
Monara is scheduled to leave on a world tour on July 1st, and we would love to show our location to our family and friends. We have an Iridium Go on board, which allows GPS tracking.
What system do you use to track Dirona along your trip?
Hello from Dirona in Bergen! Congratulations on your plans to do a world tour starting this summer. That sounds exciting. Our trip has been an amazing experience.
For tracking, we recommend Spot (https://www.findmespot.com/en-us/) or Inreach (https://buy.garmin.com/en-GB/GB/p/561269). They produce good results and we have seen cruisers using Spot with very nice embedded maps. The systems seems pretty good and it gets good reviews but we’ve not used it ourselves. What we use on Dirona tracks is produced by custom software that is primarily used for other purposes — the tracks produced are just a side effect of a broader system. This software takes all data off boat-wide NMEA2000 data communications bus and stores it in a database every 5 seconds. This data includes all data from all the main engine, wing engine, generator, all electrical systems, all navigation systems, the electrical systems, and many other discrete devices in the boat. The data in the database data is used by other custom software systems to track historical changes, alert on problems, set indicator lights, send warning email, auto-start the generator when the battery discharge, shed power load when starting to reach the limits of the current boat power source, etc. A small part of this data is auto-uploaded to the web site to show the track on the map at http://mvdirona.com/maps using a combination of google maps and custom code shown inside WordPress (the blog software).
I have a SpotX which I’ve been using for about 6 months. I’m very disappointed in this device. A lot of boaters are drawn to it for its low entry price and low subscription cost but it is really not suited for continuous duty boat tracking. There are two main problems with it in this scenario: 1) it’s a handheld device that needs a clear view of the sky. I don’t think it will be reliable if kept indoors while it is expected to be pinging the satellites. 2) This is the major failing here: it is programmed to go to sleep and stop communicating at every opportunity and there is no configuration option to avoid this. To wake up it needs to see a significant jerky acceleration, like it would experience while being carried by a walking human. Because that is exactly the use case that it is designed for. Recently I ran my boat all day across a 35 mile leg in very calm conditions. My ideal boating day. The stupid SpotX went to sleep on the flybridge shortly after I put it there and didn’t send a single position report the entire trip. I talked to the Spot support person about this and he confirmed this is how it works and that there is no way to change it.
So I’ve got a new YB3i from PredictWind, which is a fixed mount, powered (no batteries), continuous duty tracker that uses the Iridium network and integrates into your PredictWind subscription for track mapping (additional subscription fees for the tracker service apply). A bit less than the Iridium Go if you’re willing to give up voice/text communications, or already have that covered using another piece of tech.
Other friends of mine are using the Go and it works great too, also integrates with PredictWind.
Don’t get a Spot. Your friends will think you sank without a trace 10 minutes after departure.
Thanks for the tracking recommendations Chris. It’s good to have up-to-date experience. We’ll recommend Iridium Go or Predict Wind YB3i. Reading through the information on both, they look quite good.
Thank you for that info Chris. I’ll install the Iridium Go with the external antenna, and was planning to use the Predictwind service for weather forecasts anyway, so we’ll be safe on that side.
I’ve been pretty happy with a Delorme Inreach (now part of Garmin) for tracking and messaging. It stays running for months on end plugged into a USB port and suction cupped to a pilothouse window. Occasionally it needs rebooting. I like the messaging app better than Iridium Go. And it’s easy to throw into a dry bag for dinghy trips or a pocket for hiking.
Thanks for the data point on Delorme Inreach Sam!
Hello james and jennifer Dirona is life in bergen see
Absolutely! We are enjoying the snow and taking the opportunity to pick up full load of diesel, gasoline, groceries, and picking up a parcel.
Hello from Thailand… where its warm!
Glad to see your okay.
I enjoy your maintenance videos
Hello from Norway where we are surrounded in snow (https://mvdirona.com) and it’s definitely cooler than Thailand :-). Thanks for the feedback on the videos.
With more dark hours than light hours and cruising in the dark so you can be anchored when the sun comes up I believe it is prime for a video that can help so many of us. A video on cruising in the evening. Radar, spot light, instrument lighting, no moon/full moon. You have acquired some really great night time experience in tight quarters (as well as open seas).
I know you are busy folk with work and navigating, but I would enjoy learning from your experience.
That’s a really excellent suggestion. Both Jennifer and I think it’s a great idea. We’ll plan to do it a night time operations video. Thanks for the good idea.
James & Jennifer; you made the case for installing stabilizers and the matter is settled to the delight of my co-skipper. You bet there will be more than a glass of wine when you show up at our doorsteps! We thank you as well for your other recommendations. We learned the hard way that one disrespects the sea (and Lake Michigan!) at one’s peril and will be careful during our crossings.
Jan-kees; thank you for your comment. We choose a Linssen primarily to cruise the waterways and attempt La Grande Boucle in Europe. But the lure of the Norwegian fjords is somehow irresistible. Why else would the Hamiltons spend a dark winter there…
All the best. Ed & Sabine
Dark? Are you kidding Ed? The shortest day in Trondheim was 5 hours of blistering hot sun :-).
We agree with your assessment. Norway is truly worth visiting. Jan has also been working on us to do inland river and canal cruising but, as he said, our current boat isn’t the right platform for many of those trips. We were able to do the Crinan Canal, the Caledonian Canal, and Amsterdam to Antwerp but most of the canals need a boat with both less air draft and sea draft. Between wanting to do the great circle and being interested in the European waterways, we might actually end up with a second boat or if we are ever willing to give up on longer range coastal boat travel and ocean crossings.
And thank you Jan for raising our interest in the European inland waterways.
Thank you for allowing us to follow your wonderful journey. You inspired many, among them this French couple, to buy a boat and embark on admittedly more modest adventures on both sides of the Atlantic. Our 32’ Halvorsen completed the Great Loop and is now cruising the Western Med while we await delivery of a Linssen 40AC. Two questions if we may: creature comforts aside, can we, in your opinion, cruise safely from Holland to Norway, then spend time as you did in Norway’s fjords, in such a boat? The second one is about stabilizers. We still have time to tick this option, adding about 10% to the cost of the build. We were ready to do it after too many miles on our floating cork. Then someone with far less experience than you have, told us that northern Europe’s waters were more comfortable. Your thoughts?
Last, but we hope not least; when you make it to our beautiful shores (Cannes), please make yourself available for a fine meal. The neighbors claim I have the best wine cellar around!
Safe travels and all the best for this New Year. Ed & Sabine
You’ve already done a lot of cruising and your new boat looks like a good, strong vessel. It’ll do fine cruising the inland waterways of Norway. We often don’t even bother to turn on our stabilizers when operating in this area. But, the North Sea between Norway and Holland can be very rough. Particularly the German Bight and just south of Norway. This area can get rough enough to have disable mid-sized cruise ships and cause container ships to loose containers. Care is required in these waters but, with careful timing, you’ll have no trouble finding the right weather for a safe passage in your boat. We seen these areas in near flat water but we have also been in these areas when it’s rough enough to require care when moving around in the boat. You don’t want to be out in bad days in your boat but it’ll do great if you choose the right weather and is totally capable of making the trip and being comfortable.
On stabilizers, they are nice to have and really make the boat much more comfortable when in a heavy swell but, in the last month, we’ve probably only used them 1/4 of the time and it would never have been uncomfortable without them. But, over the years, we have seen a great many days where we did need them. If you want to cruise the west coast of Ireland, the off shore islands of Norway, the west coast of Germany, Holland, Belgium and France, you’ll prefer to have stabilizers. If you are willing to avoid these area or chose your weather well, you’ll be fine without stabilizers. If you are wiling to take heavy rolling on the less calm days, you’ll be perfectly safe without stabilizers. It’s a Class B boat so you’ll want to avoid the very rough stuff even with stabilizers. If you are mostly focused on inland cruising, you don’t need stabilizers. It really depends on where you want to go, how sensitive you and your family are, and how much a bit of extra comfort is worth to you. Given the price delta you report, I understand why you are giving it careful thought.
We personally wouldn’t want to do our trip without stabilizers but, as you said, our trip is a bigger one that is exposed to a wider variety of conditions than you currently plan.
Thanks for the invitation to Cannes. It’s already a pretty attractive location even before introducing your wine cellar :-). We would love to visit, have a glass of wine, and talk boats and world cruising.
I see you have doen the great loop, now with a Linssen, have you not pondered the European inland waterways?
Having done only the loop from Ohio to Jacksonville, it was no comparison to the thousands of waterways and rivers in Europe.
Yes we have nudged James and Jennifer, but their boat is just not suited for it.
They did do a the canals from Amsterdam to Antwerp and they also did the Gota Canal. Stabilizers are not needed on the canal and rivers, and if you want to, you can go from Maasbracht, where you wil probably pick up your yacht, al the way to the baltic sea and even to Moscow. But the canals and rivers in Holland, Belgium, France and Germany give you many more times the mileage of the loop with much more interesting views.
From Holland to Norway, instead of the direct route along the exposed west coast of Denmark, you could choose to go via the North Sea canal to Kiel. From there east of Denmark up to Norway. Then you avoid most of the North Sea.
Your Linssen is more than good enough for this.
That’s a good point that much of the offshore portion of the trip can be skipped using the Kiel Canal. And, the Canal is kind of a fun adventure as well. Thanks!
Happy New Year to yourself and Jennifer
What are the specs of your battery tester, please.
PS How is your Norwegian coming along :)
PPS You are very fortunate not to be under lockdown
Happy New Year Rod! Norwegian’s almost always speak excellent English so we can’t say our Norwegian is improving but we’re really enjoying our time here.
The battery tester is a Midtronics MDX-640 (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002YKPXQA).
happy new year 2021 James and Jennifer hope it will be a year of adventure’s for you thank you for sharing your travels on the blog
Thanks, we appreciate the feedback. Happy new year from Jennifer and James.
Hallo Jennifer and James Hamilton! I found the Dirona on Geirang’s webcam! I wish you a nice day. https://youtu.be/yMSc-qqW3To
Thanks! The weather is nice and clear. It’s a bit chilly at 38F but without any wind at all it feels surprisingly warm. We’re really going to enjoy New Years Eve here.
look at this livewebcam dirona look very good https://www.geirangerfjord.no/webcamera
Thanks for pointing out the webcam. It looks great. This is our third time in Geiranger and it’s still amazing!
You have a great web site. Very interesting to follow your adventure. Question I have is what the pink dots, blue dots, pink line , and blue line represent. I figure the dots are either walking with AIS and blue dots are dingy adventures?
We probably should find a way to document that better somewhere. The solid lines are trips made by us on the boat. The dotted lines are trips made by us without the boat. And, the colors differentiate trips from different years.
Hi. Observed a boat on the fjord and found you on AIS and Google.
Tip for you to visit in Romsdalsfjord. Veøy and Hjertøy
62°40.504’N • 7°26.014’E
62°43.054’N • 7°10.286’E
Thanks for the suggestion of Ramsdalfjord. We appreciate the advice and we were there in 2018 and really enjoyed it.
In Norway during solstice has to be night cruising most of the time. Great you are living your dream!
It’s true we are moving frequently at night. For example, it’s currently 10am as a write this and we just dropped anchor as the sun rises. We’ll now have 5 hours of light to explore the area. It works pretty well but the days are short.
You were visiting Vanylvs fjord before Christmas. I took a picture of you when you passed the pier with my boat at the quay. Very nice boat you have, You also landed in our local newspaper, >> Synste Møre :-) You were by Slagnes. Inside Åheim, they will start on the world’s first boat tunnel that will go through the mountains. The Norwegian Coastal Administration will start blasting holes in the rock next year. size of tunnel shall be room for vessels of 20,000 DVT. The tunnel will be completed in 3.5 years. When the tunnel is finished, vessels do not have to go past Stadt in bad weather. >> Attaches link.
Hope you have a nice trip and that Covid 19 is soon over, then it will be easier for everyone to take a trip and visit people etc. I traveled to work in the North Sea where I work as Chief Engineer at a larger PSV and I have celebrated Christmas on board. There will be a lot of flipping in photos from the boat holiday last summer and autumn. I am planning the next trip on the west coast of Norway. Norway does not work anything along the coast for boats until May. But when it is boating season, there are many vessels along the coast.
Hope you had a nice Christmas and have an even better New Year.
Nice article in Synste Møre (https://synste.no/2020/12/12/pa-battur-i-atte-ar/). Thanks for mentioning it.
I’ll bet the engine room of the PSV you work on is pretty interesting. They are usually very well equipped ships.
Happy New Year and all the best in 2021.
Happy Holidays Hamilton Family! I have been following the Dirona for many years and have been so inspired by your travels. I curate a podcast called Device Nation and would love to have you on the show to talk about the path that got you here and what you’re passionate about now. A phone call is all! I hope you say yes as I know my audience (as would I) would LOVE to hear your story!!
Between work, the blog, and the adventure, I’m pretty close to tapped out so can’t do the podcast but thanks for the invitation and all the best in 2021.
Some days I feel lucky if I make it from my bed to the coffee machine in the morning.
Hallo from Germany! Dirona live in Kristiansund!
An even better web cam angle! Thanks for finding that Ulrich and Merry Christmas from Dirona!
may I say dirona can be seen on the Kristiansund Sentrum
and merry christmas to dirona and all viewers of the blog
Merry Christmas to you as well James and thanks for the pointer to the Kristiansund webcam. Looking “back in time” on the webcam, you can see us arriving in the dark earlier this morning. Thanks for pointing out the webcam.
Marry Christmas Dirona!
Thanks and Merry Christmas to you as well!
Dirona can be seen in Trondheim
Love it. Nice resolution and the light is nice right now. Thanks for sending our way!
I grew up in Laerdal, at the end of Sognefjord , north of Bergen. That would be a awesome trip. Hope you make it to the Wild Salmon Center. Say Hi to my sisters.
We had a great time in Laerdal but the Wild Salmon Center isn’t open in the winter so we couldn’t visit. You’re right, the Sognefjord was pretty cool. Amazing views.
Hi J and J. Have you considered wearing ski goggles on your colder 32 knot tender trips? I find them useful in Seattle now and then. ps, we still ask for the “Dirona” slip at Bell Harbor.
It’s funny you should suggest that. On our last trip we were just talking about googles probably helping when it’s this cold and we do plan to do it. Thanks for the suggestion. The “Dirona” slip at Bell Harbor! That’s just great. We’ve seen a lot of great moorage locations around the world but our stay at Bell Harbor still ranks in the top 10 to 15%
J and J, have you given any consideration to a diesel outboard? I’ve been told it’s just not worth it but the thought of having a single source of fuel onboard is appealing.
We’ve looked at diesel outboards since carrying gasoline is a slight hassle and care needs to be taken when handling it. But, the power to weight ratio of gas engines is absolutely amazing when compared to diesels. Our 50hp Honda outboard is only 214 lbs and staying light keeps the tender fast. It’ll do 32 kts (37 MPH). Diesels are very heavy, expensive and there aren’t many options in the small horsepower ranges.
Moving to a single fuel on Dirona would be attractive but it comes with so many compromises that are hard to accept, we carry enough gas that we don’t need to fill often and we haven’t found gas hard to find.
may I ask would there be a post about deck equipment onboard dirona
We’ve been talking about doing a video on the systems. We think it’s worth doing but just haven’t found the spare time to bring it together but we will do it. Thanks for the suggestion.
your welcome it would be interesting to see
merry christmas and a happy new year to jennifer and James hamilton spitfire and all viewers
hello Jennifer and James and spitfire
in the next year or two I’m planning a cruising trip to norway may I ask any tips on finding petrol in norway the vessel I have has a 136 liter or 36gal fuel tank and for longer trips I have 10 spare tanks 5 liters each I’ve had 25-30 nm on a ful tank
Merry christmas and a happy new year
We only fill up very rarely so haven’t a lot of personal experience and when we get fuel, it’s often by having a truck deliver it. We usually 3 to 4 times only because we carry a lot of fuel (6624 liters). However, the good news is that Norway has small settlements just about everywhere and nearly everyone seems to have a boat. Consequently many settlements have fuel available and settlements are all over along the coast. Most of Norway’s fuel stops are without attendants. You just need a credit card and you can buy fuel there 24×7. These fuel stops are very plentiful. And you are willing to carry your gas cans a block or two, then most towns of any size can be fuel stops for you even if there isn’t a marine stop in that area.
Hello James and Jennifer,
Your site and stories are the highlight of my day. Thanks for sharing your stories and adventures.
I have been looking for the story of when you made a crossing and hit really bad weather and took a big
hit to Dirona. Could you please direct me to that story if there is one?
click on topics and select nordhavn and at the top in the cruising section is the information regarding 69.1 degrees it maybe the post your looking for
James suggestion is an excellent one. The shortcut to that video is at:
We had a mechanical problem on our North Atlantic crossing that made it a more difficult than expected trip. That write-up is at:
And our planned follow up work is at:
Hi James & Jennifer,
I can’t help but notice…in the Spare Cat photo, should the floor panel closest to the photographer be rotated 180deg? Looks like the lines on the Teak & Holly would align better (assuming they were aligned from the factory!)? Sorry, just my OCD catching things!
Yes, the woodwork does align. The cover is only temporarily re-installed as we work.
It`s good to see you back i Norway again!
Just a tip: 0.5 NM NNW of your current position is a great hotel you should see. Håholmen (link: https://nb-no.facebook.com/HaholmenHavstuer/) is an old place converted to a hotel and museum. They have the remaining parts of the replika viking ship Saga Siglar which sank in the Mediterranean Sea. It`s a beautiful place, althoug I have only been there in the summer.
Another tip which is a bit more north of you, Grip (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grip,_Norway) (63.2195N 7.5931E) Also a very beautiful place, but again I have only been there in the summer. No one lives the during the winter, but it is so special that I think it is still worth the trip.
Thanks for sending along both recommendations. Some of the best experiences of our world-wide cruise have come from reader recommendations. Thanks!
Hi James and Jennifer, Thanks for all the great posts of your adventures and preparations as well. So useful and I love seeing your adventures. I have adapted your maintenance spreadsheet to our boat. Lots of work to get it set up, but provides such useful tracking. A couple of questions. We are traveling with two cats, Nikki and Chicha. What is your planning in case you need to abandon ship? Do you have preservers for them?
Secondly, I’m trying to figure out a good method for managing our tracks and sharing that information in my online journal. Could you provide some insights on how you are managing yours?
Glad you are finding the spreadsheet useful. For Spitfire, we don’t have a life preserver. It’s hard to get him into anything and just about impossible to keep him in anything if he is in a panic and we’re not sure we will have time. If he’s scared though, he will trust me and cling to my chest so our plan is to put him underneath our winter flotation suits. You an see the Mustang 2175 in the picture at the end of this article: https://mvdirona.com/TechnicalArticles/PY_JAN06_WINTER_CRUISING.pdf.
For tracking, we recommend Spot (https://www.findmespot.com/en-us/) or Inreach (https://buy.garmin.com/en-GB/GB/p/561269). They produce good results and we have seen cruisers using Spot with very nice embedded maps. The system seems pretty good and gets good reviews but we’ve not used it ourselves. What we use is an more complex integrated system where we have written custom software that stores 100s of data points every 5 seconds in a database. This includes all engine, navigation, power, weather, and location data. A subset of that data is uploaded to the web site automatically for display.
Thanks James for the reply. We can usually get our cats into carriers, but those live in a compartment under the bed. Not easy access in a hurry. Our cats will cling to us us well. Your idea of carrying them that way may be a better option. We can get them to wear harnesses, but they have no flotation and perhaps that is not the biggest issue. If we can get to our life raft or dinghy, being in a warm spot may be more important. Will think on that more.
Funny that you mention SPOT. I have a Spot Trace and our Kady Krogen does not seem to have enough motion to wake it up after sleeping at a marina or anchorage. I’ve been in contact with them, installed their greater sensitivity tool and even had them send me a new one. I have tried locations all over the boat to no avail. I typically have to power cycle it every time to wake it up. It would be a good tool if I could get it to work… I’ll keep fiddling and do some additional searching.
Certainly flotation for cats is available (https://www.amazon.com/s?k=cat+floatation+vest&ref=nb_sb_noss_2). One of the biggest problems with lower cost human floatation aids is not all keep the head above the water. I have no idea how cat floatation vests due by that measure. There is no certifying authority and testing would be cruel. It wasn’t the direction we took but might be a good solution. We just don’t know.
On your unhappiness with Spot Trace, the Trace is designed to track personal assets. It’s not the choice for people I know that have chosen Spot devices but it appears to be supported by both the Spot Basic and Flex Basic plans so it might work for your needs. However, I believe you need one of these plans and a device support by the chosen plan in order to get the tracking support you want. These plans offer Basic tracking with 5, 10, 30, and 60 min check-in supported (https://www.findmespot.com/en-us/products-services/service-plans#spot-gen4-plans). Either plan using a 5 min check in would yeild a reasonably high resolution track.
Hi James, Yes I’d hate the do the kitty head above the water flotation test. My kittens would disown me!
Regarding Spot, I have the Spot Basic plan currently. When I reboot, it mostly tracks, but seems useless for asset tracking as it never turns on without me rebooting. Of the folks you know using Spot, which device are they successfully using?
My read of the Spot Basic plan is that it should work for you. I’ve not heard the “reboot required” complaint before and don’t know if the reboot problem exists with other Spot devices. Good luck with getting the tracking you want.
J and J: Am a bit confused with your recent posting of photos in the Highlights section of Dirona.com where all are being tagged with the same date, namely 10/20/2020
You are not 2 months behind in posting photos are you? :)
Yes, we are 2 months behind. The map always shows our current location but the trip log and blog entries are written as we have time and we are running way late. We expected cold weather and short daylight hours in the Norwegian winter would have us fully caught up and looking for things to do but we’re having a ball and keeping very busy.
It’ll certainly rain soon and we’ll get closer to caught up :-).
Love your videos! Thank you for sharing a wealth of knowledge with those of us that hope to travel like this someday! Loved your trip near Amsterdam. What do you use for your four camera view and how do you edit that into your videos? Have a Merry Christmas!!
Yes, you are right. Travelling by small boat is a wonderful way to see the world. For cameras we have many Reolink Dome cameras (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FQ2T89L) throughout the boat (6 outside and 2 inside). For video editing use use Adobe Premier Elements 15. Thanks for the video feedback and happy holidays.
Well I am jealous, on your tender track you went by our boat on the hard at Ulsteinvik Marine. Right behind the two very large supply boats. The whole area is a Gem. Hoping to be able to return in the spring.
It’s a wonderful area. Hope you can return to it in the spring as planned.
Will you have a stop in Kristiansund? If so, you are welcome for a beer on board my boat Fridtjofen, which was built for University of Bergen as a research vessel in 1955.
Thanks for the kind offer. We’re really enjoying having absolutely no plans or schedule and just continuing to explore north. My expectation is there is a very good chance we would make it as far north as Kristiansund. All the best!