This blog is about planning and preparation for a circumnavigation of the world in a 39-foot sail boat followed, hopefully, by a diary of the actual circumnavigation. You can track the progress of Pachuca by visiting http://www.pangolin.co.nz/xtras/yotreps/tracker.php?ident=VNW5980
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
NOON 30 SEP GMT-11. 34S24 167W50. 888 NM FROM OPUA, 1226 NM FROM RAIVAVAE. RFPLENISHED 1 WATER TANK WITH RAINWATER. N-N=119 NM.
As predicted, rain !!!
The wind readings were a little out, but a few posts ago I posted this weather info;
Stephen here again. Pachuca had a good sailing wind last I heard, about 10.00am yesterday my time. I'm in Perth, Western Australia.
They are very happy with the weather fax system, which runs from a laptop and get transmissions from HF radio. Currently, they recieve weather fax information from New Zealand.
I am always curious about the weather where they are, and came across an updated satellite image/s showing (I believe) mostly uppper level cloud. This is my "cool thing" and you can see it at this link;
You really need flash (and broadband) for it to work OK. You can see New Zealand outlined in the bottom left of the screen. It's up to date.....
Pachuca is roughly (hasn't been updated for 24 hours) at this location;
Thanks for reading......
Monday, September 29, 2008
here is Pachuca's location;
and sms of the day;
NOON 28 SEP, GMT-11hr. 34S22 171W16. WE'RE 721 NM FROM OPUA, 1382 NM FROM RAIVAVAI. NOON-
NOON. DISTANCE: 105 NM.
I'm working on something "cool" for tomorrow :),
Sunday, September 28, 2008
There has yet to be a great sailing wind for the crew. In the last 24 hours they have sailed 129NM.
I don't think they have sailed 1/3 of the way to their next stop, Ravavae (in the Austral group of French Polynesia). The expensive onboard water maker isn't up and running yet, though it has produced a few drops. It gets towed, and needs a good boat speed to work I understand.
Bob and Arnold have not had bath/wash for many days to preserve water. Still, their spirits are very high and all are looking forward to a better wind.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Opua-Raivavae – First lEG
20 Sep 08:
The departure was amazingly orderly. We decided to discard the toaster and electric kettle that I had purchased in Adelaide and we gave them to Rosangela aboard “Zazoo”. To Rosangela also went our telephone and Internet cards and to her children Luke and Joshua a surplus $2.00 coin each. We asked Rosangela to convey our regards to her husband Ben, who was in Viet Nam on a diving job.
Arnold visited Warwick and Nancy Tompkins' “Flashgirl” with our copy of Foreign Affairs magazine and a goodbye note because they were not home.
At 9.45 AM we visited Laura at the marina office and returned our parking permit, keys, and electrical cord. Laura produced 5 copies of Pachuca's registration document. At 10.00 AM Brenda, Arnold, and I presented ourselves at the Customs office where Jo Ann inspected our documents, accepted our forms, and give Pachuca her clearance paper. We then had hamburgers for lunch on the boat.
At 1.20 PM we backed Pachuca out of the pen and were on our way. We motored for almost two hours then set sail with a 15 kt East wind in a generally dry and sunny day.
21 Sep 08:
After sailing into a light E/SE all night we were becalmed at 4 AM during my watch. I dropped all sails and took to the bunk fully dressed while the boat lay ahull. Shortly after dawn I woke up to the sound of the hum of the wind charger, indicating that we had more than 10 kt of wind. I woke Arnold up for his watch, we set sail, and I went back to bed. At 9 AM we were 2035 nm from Raivavae, and only about 60 nm from the NZ coast.
At mid-day we were becalmed again and had a go at calibrating our new Raymarine ST60 wind instrument. We had discovered the previous day that the indicator points in the direction of where the wind is going to, rather than where it is coming from. The chart plotter was reporting the wind direction correctly, which suggested that the masthead unit had been orientated correctly. We had rechecked the wire connections and found no problem. The manual was next to useless in its shallow simplicity. We started the engine and tried several double 360-degree turns as prescribed in the calibration procedure, but they failed we think because with the wallowing of the boat in the sea the wind direction was not changing in a steady and consistent rate. So for the foreseeable future we would have to live with the situation.
Before we started the engine the batteries bank voltages were 12.9V for the House bank, 12.9V for the Start bank, and 13.0V for the Aux (i.e. Anchor winch) bank. House bank capacity was 766 Amp Hours, representing 83% capacity. The charger started putting out over 160 amps which settled down to about 75 amps after 30 minutes. After 55 minutes we shut the engine down with over 90% capacity in the House bank.
At 3 PM we were becalmed again.
At 4PM we decided to give the asymmetrical spinnaker a go. We had never flown one of kites before so we proceeded with great caution. It took an hour to repack the kite, find suitable sheets, and set up the pole. The big moment came and the kite went up with remarkable little trouble, and minimal shouting. The big problem was the pole, which had only one mid-pole attachments, not two, one each for the topping lift and the down haul. This presented a problem where we could not keep the pole down properly. Nevertheless we were able make a reasonable job of setting and trimming the spinnaker and were soon moving at about 3.5 kt.
At sunset we dropped the kite, stowed it, stowed the lines, then rolled out the jib against a gentle NW wind. We engaged the Autohelm to have dinner together and decided to let it run all night. Arnold had the first watch. At midnight I woke up for my watch and he reported that the system had run very well and he had had an easy night down in the cabin reading and occasionally sticking his head out to scan the horizon. I am writing this at 2AM. The boat is gently running itself at 5.0 kt, course 065 True, and Brenda is asleep in the forecastle and Arnold is asleep in the port quarter berth. What luxury! I am in the warm dry cabin with the time and energy to do productive things. For example, I took the first sextant sights of the cruise today, and soon I'll be able to reduce them to get a line position. If things continue to go well I'll try to take some star sights at dawn.
22 Sep 08
It was a day of little progress from downwind sailing in a light breeze. After lunch Arnold telephoned Bob at Cater Marine in Opua and I described the problem with our new wind display instrument. He agreed to make inquiries and we would telephone him the next day. I reduced one of the sun sightings of he previous day and got a line of position (LOP) within two miles of our actual position. I also started to become reacquainted with the procedure of getting weather faxes.
23 Sep 08
We had such light winds from the SW that we lay ahull most of the previous night. We figured that 2.5 kt of speed was not worth the effort and the flogging rigging. Instead we all got a good night's sleep and woke up refreshed. It was a better wind day and by now we were accustomed to using the Autohelm continuously. I put in more effort into the weather fax and we got an excellent chart of the South Pacific from NZ at noon. That put our mind at ease about future weather information. The weather fax confirmed that we were in the middle of a high pressure zone with no nasty weather in sight. That explains the clear sunny days and light winds that we have been experiencing. We telephoned Bob and his response was that we should calibrate the instrument. We will do that the first chance that we get but we are somewhat skeptical. Nobody can explain why the display is so far out yet the chart plotter uses information from the display to produce
accurate apparent wind direction data. We will have to wait for a suitable time for the calibration – either a very calm day when we can execute the two 360 degree turns without the indicator swinging back and forth, or my going up the mast to manually turn the indicator.
We hoisted the spinnaker at 3PM and after some improvisations with the down haul (the new life raft was getting in the way of a starboard pole down haul) we got it up with excellent results. With great reluctance I decided to plan it safe and drop the kite before dark. Just as well. The wind was strong, our technique not very good, and the kite wound up under the hull and in front of the keel. I thought that we would lose the kite but we managed to free the halyard on the starboard side and pull the kite up onto the port side.
At the moment it is 1040. After a pleasant dinner to the music of the Beach Boys followed by Cointreau we agreed that I would take the first watch. Arnold and Brenda are asleep. The boat is doing 5.4 kt with a partial jib and a strengthening wind off the starboard quarter. The Autohelm is steering the boat and the batteries are holding up well.
24 Sep 08
We had a long September 23. At about 12.45 of the “24th” we crossed the international date line and were thrown back to the 23rd. We were at longitude 180 degrees, opposite Greenwich, crossing from the Eastern to the Western hemisphere.
In the morning I lashed the spinnaker on the fore deck dry it out. I got two good weather faxes – the situations now and in 48 hours. We are still in a high pressure zone, with the wind from the SW at about 15 kt. We are running slightly south of east on a broad starboard reach with only half of the jib rolled out in order to minimize flogging when the boat rolls. Our speed ranges from 3.2 kt to 4.5 kt.
After lunch sky became sunny. Arnold had a bath in the cockpit. When it was my turn we hove to, lowered the ladder, and I had my bath in the sea accompanied by my usual vociferous expression of scorn to my wimpy shipmates.
By then the “house” bank was down to 12.1V after three days since the last charge and we ran the engine for one hour. A one hour run would give us only one day's battery power supply but we wanted to save the long run of the engine required to bring the batteries up to 100% until we were becalmed and the engine could be used to keep us moving. During this time Arnold made a very useful repair. Soon after our departure I noted that our engine hours counter had stopped working. This is important because it helps us keep track of our fuel consumption as a guide for maintenance. He discovered that the counter is activated by turning on the ignition key, rather than by some exotic direct connection to the engine. With a multimeter he identified the problem: positive and negative wires had been reversed during our stay in Opua. Fortunately the reverse polarity did not damage the counter and it appears to be working OK. It is useful to have
electrical skills on board.
At 1AM before taking over the watch I helped Arnold get a good weather fax out of Charleville, Australia using his PC. This is good because it is important to have a backup to my machine. His PC experiences the same electrical noise as mine when there is a connection from the HF radio to the PC and to the inverter supplying power to the laptop. We get clear faxes only when we run the laptops on internal battery power. My laptop battery currently supports the machine barely enough to get one weather fax (i.e. 15 minutes). If things get any worse then we will have to rely on Arnold's laptop. (I don't think that it is the battery, which is double capacity and less than a year old. I think that it is the firmware which has once before been proving to be the culprit.) Arnold's laptop also has its own copy of C-map and GPS antenna – another good backup.
We plan to try out the water maker soon so that we can plan our use of water.
the International Date Line has been crossed, so to celebrate they were supposed to send an actual email for this blog. But,I have not recieved it yet.....
Here is today's sms though; (and the wind is now good)
NOON 24 SEP NZT. 34S15 179E56. WE'RE 294 NM FROM OPUA, 1798 NM FROM RAIVAVAI, AND ABOUT 3 NM FROM THE INTL DATE LINE, SPEED 4.5 KN.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
NOON 23 SEP NZT. 34S17 178E07. WE'RE 210 NM FROM OPUA, 1883 NM FROM RAIVAVAI. MOVING ONLY 2.1 KT IN LIGHT WIND.
I can sms the crew short (I mean short) messages, but you need to send the message to my email address which is email@example.com Remove the character 7 from the address please, added to prevent spam bots. Also - some messages may not get sent :( because of the sms carrier.
Still only a light breeze,
Monday, September 22, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
The crew have left NZ......
Hi - Stephen here,
I'll be trying to keep this blog afloat until the crew get to land again.
I usually get an sms from the crew at least once every two days. Here is the sms from yesterday,
NOON 21 SEP NZT. 34S35 175E18. NOW 74 NM FROM OPUA, LYING AHULL IN LIGHT WIND AND CLEAR SKY.
To leave NZ here is a great picture I found on the net of Lake Mapourika;
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Tomorrow at 10 AM Brenda, Arnold, and I will present ourselves at the Customs office next to the marina office with our passports and other documents. After we get our clearance papers we will phone up the Road Runner pub to deliver the $400 worth of duty-free liquor. We hope to motor out of the pen at about noon and hoist sail for Ravavae in the Austral group of French Polynesia an hour or two later.
There is a High moving over the North Island and we expect to start off with SE winds of 15 knots.
We think that it will take about 24 sailing days to make Ravavae.
As before, we expect to send out short reports via satellite telephone every day.
Everyone keep well.
Modern yachting is characterized by two new ingredients:
From the masthead lights to the sails to the hull and deck, halyards, sheets, paints, wiring, and down to the anti fouling at the keel almost every part of a modern sail boat involves chemicals – some very strong and dangerous.
The other toxic ingredient is money. Modern equipment is good, durable, reliable, functional but very expensive. With those mutterings I will present a cost of our 45 days in Opua in New Zealand dollars:
1.Marina charges: $847.25
2.Mechanical and Electrical work: $19,984.74
3.Mastervolt charger: $750.00
4.Boat Shop : $4275.45
That makes a total of $25857.44 NZD which is roughly $22,000 AUD.
That is a lot of money but it represents a lot of creativity, good design, skill, and top equipment that has for us transformed the boat to a new level; and I feel very firmly that I've gotten my money's worth. I have found the professionalism, quality of work, honesty, and responsiveness in Opua outstanding. Fremantle is a bigger center with more resources than Opua but there is no way in which I could have gotten this work done to this standard in only six weeks because the economy and boating are booming in Western Australia and everyone is too busy. I would recommend Opua to any Yachtie needing serious work on their boat, particularly in the "off" winter season when things are relatively quiet and the suppliers can focus on your requirements.
By the way, that brings my total expenditure on Pachuca, including purchase price and all improvements to $225,000 which I consider good value given her inventory of equipment.
Task No. TASK Start Date Completed Date
1 Replace masthead wind instruments 10/08/08 22/08/08
2 Fix compass light 11/08/08 12/08/08
3 Solve battery problems 09/08/08 12/09/08
4 Repair engine-starting switch 09/08/08 17/09/08
5 Replace battery tester ammeter 09/08/08 12/09/08
6 Repair Anchor Winch 09/08/08 27/08/08
7 Engine service 09/08/08 12/09/08
8 Replacement alternator belt 09/08/08 12/08/08
9 Repair wind charger 11/08/08 10/08/08
10 Replace/Repair Fwd Hatch 11/08/08 22/08/08
11 Repair loose railing 10/08/08 27/08/08
12 Replace roller furler line 11/08/08 12/08/08
13 Cockpit jack lines 27/08/08 27/08/08
14 New mainsail sheet 11/08/08 12/08/08
15 Replace life jacket cartridge, spares 10/08/08 27/08/08
16 Repair starboard bow fair lead 09/08/08 10/08/08
17 LED globes for cabin lights 09/08/08 26/08/08
18 Repair/replace Rutland Wind Charger 11/08/08 09/08/08
19 New barge boards
20 More snaps for main dodger 08/09/08 15/09/08
21 Repair starboard rail dodger 26/08/08 26/08/08
22 Lee cloth for Arnold's bunk 26/08/08 27/08/08
23 Hang V-Berth curtain 04/09/08 04/09/08
24 Investigate anchor well for leaks 11/09/08 12/09/08
25 Soap dispenser shock cloth in head
26 Install Cabin Fan
27 GPS antenna for Arnold's laptop 14/08/08 23/06/08
28 Install JVComm32on Arnold's laptop 08/08/08 13/08/08
29 Purchase 406 Mhz EPIRB 11/08/08 26/08/08
30 Replace Traveler Lines 12/08/08 13/08/08
31 Seal cockpit coaming dorade vents 14/08/08 14/08/08
32 Install larger midships bollards 14/08/08 24/08/08
33 Install 2 more midships bollards 24/08/08 25/08/08
34 Repair/replace anchor winch foot switch 11/09/08 11/09/08
We decided to wait until we get to Seattle to produce two well-designed and varnished barge boards for the boat. In the meantime we will sail with the two boards that we received in Eden. The soap dispenser and cabin fan installations are trivial and I will do them at sea. Otherwise I am happy to report that all of the big items have been done.
Yesterday morning (Thurs the 18th) we took the boat out on an abbreviated sea trial consisting 30 minutes of working the helm hard and trying the Autopilot. During this trial Arnold discovered that the 160-amp alternator was not putting out any current. We returned to the pen and removed the covers of the engine and the regulator. The engine side looked OK (e.g. Belts working OK) but the regulator was reporting no input via its lights. Battery voltage was at 12.7V which should have triggered the alternator to start working.
Within 15 minutes Bruce was on board and of course everything worked perfectly when he started the engine. He looked hard but could find nothing wrong and told us to call him if it happened again. After he went away I went through the exact same starting sequence that I had used before to start the engine, including switching on the Autohelm and Instruments breakers. Once again we had the charging problem. We left the engine running and I saw Bruce who soon came on board and started looking.
The problem was simple and here is my understanding of it. The charging will not start until the oil pressure reaches a certain point. This is to ensure that the engine is running before the system is activated. But it works only if you start the engine using the master key at the navigation table. I was using the switch at the cockpit to start the engine which bypassed this oil pressure setup. After some discussion I described it as a feature because as Arnold had pointed out, we now had a way of de-activating the field on the big alternator in case we needed every ounce of power that the engine could deliver to drive the boat.
While in the pen I dropped the anchor and retrieved it several times using the electric anchor winch and that performed OK.
I signed off on the electrical and mechanical work.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
We cast off all lines and I started to motor back and discovered that I had no steering - I could not turn the rudder. We nudged the boat back into the pen, tied her up, and started to investigate. The rudder was hard to starboard. We engaged the autopilot and instructed it to steer one degree to port and slowly it moved the rudder toward amidships. This told us that the steering mechanism was OK and that the Autohelm worked OK when in "Auto" mode. It seemed like the Autohelm was not releasing its control of the steering system when in "standby" mode.
I checked below the cockpit and confirmed that the two new batteries that had been stacked on the pre-existing batteries in no way obstructed the movement of the steering. Soon Alex, Bruce's employee, was on board. He disengaged the coupling of the linear drive (i.e. the ram by which the Autohelm turns the rudder) and voila! the steering was free and easy. Alex removed the linear drive and asked me if I wanted it fixed. (Hey, Alex, is the Pope Catholic???)
Alex took the unit to the shop while I looked at for the technical manual on the unit. When I delivered the manual to Alex he was experimenting with the unit and got the ram to move in and out by energizing the motor and the clutch. But for some reason that neither of us could explain the ram would not move in and out freely when not energized.
I got on the telephone and internet trying to get advice from John at ICS in Adelaide and Peter at Maritime Electronics in Fremantle. In the meantime Alex was dismantling the unit. This bothered me because even though Alex had done careful, and methodical mechanical work I didn't think that he would know much about Autohelm linear drives.
By the time I got back to the shop Alex had totally dismantled the unit and understood how it worked. His report was not good. There was rust in the unit which would not allow the shaft rotate freely. Bruce was speaking to someone at Raymarine about it. It was confirmed what I had learned from John in Adelaide, that the linear drive was a really, really old model. The best option was to replace it with a new one.
The good news: Raymarine had one in stock and it could be delivered today. Also, the new unit had the same footprint as the old so that fitting it would be easy.
The bad news: The unit would cost me over $3,000 NZD plus of course the labor.
I gave the OK to order the new unit.
Later I visited the workshop to retrieve my manuals and told Bruce that I had come to give him the shirt off my back as I started to remove my top. Later I saw Bruce as he was closing the shop for the day and I told him that Alex had done a great job with the Autohelm. Bruce said that Alex is a qualified marine engineer from the Ukraine. He had had a lot of experience on container ships etc.
Arnold said that we had to get out of Opua before I went broke. I mumbled something about Hotel California ("You can check out any time but you can never leave.") Perhaps Reg put it best shortly after I purchased my second boat Angie. Something along the lines of 'You can pay now or you can pay later, but you always pay.'
Later Arnold asked me if there was any part of the boat that I had not gone over. The only thing that I could think of that has not been removed, replaced, fixed, maintained, or thoroughly inspected is the rudder post fittings. Having said that, I would be surprised if Pachuca does not give me more surprises in the future.
Friends, do not even think of doing extensive cruising without a lot of money at your disposal. One approach is to buy a new boat for a few hundreds of thousands of dollars then spending tens of thousands more putting up the cockpit shelter, radar, extra sails, etc. I chose the route of purchasing a older but well found boat and then being dragged kicking and screaming into a refit program. I am still well ahead financially over the new boat option, and I've got a lot of new top-of-the-line gear. But there has been a lot of cost time and effort in doing the remedial work.
You can pay now or you can pay later, but you always pay.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Bruce has some minor jobs to do with the electrics. Last week the new alternator was putting out less than 10 amps which was probably due to the fact that we had the batteries fully charged with the constant running of our small charger. We have run all weekend on batteries only in an attempt to drain the batteries enough to induce the alternator to put out something approaching its 160 amp capacity.
Arnold and I made the AC connection to Mastervolt charger. When we started it up it began to deliver of 55 amps into the batteries, as we would expect. We immediately shut it down to continue draining our batteries.
We were all very busy yesterday. Arnold spend hours tracking down the cause of very strange interactions between two failing lights (e.g. Turn one on, the other goes off). To Arnold it reeked of an earthing problem. He eventually tracked it down to a missing screw in the main panel amongst mat of spaghetti wiring causing an earthing problem.
I fitted the wood to seat the engine cover 75mm farther out, allowing room for the large alternator. Bruce was very helpful by providing the dressed timber cut to size. In the afternoon I sorted out the mess in the starboard quarter berth where all of the tools, parts, and materials are kept. We took the opportunity to retrieve the 35-lb Swarbrick anchor from storage under the quarter berth and swap it for the 45-lb Swaqrbrick that we have been using. From what I hear we can expect calm lagoons and good holding ground in French Polynesia so the 35-lb anchor makes sense because is easier to handle and presents less weight at the bow. We also moved 17 meters of chain from the anchor well to the starboard quarter berth. So up front we will be running with a 35-lb anchor with 38 meters of 10mm chain. For deep water I will attach the 70 meters of rope stored in the upper level. The 50-lb Swarbrick will be for storms and rough anchorages.
Bruce showed up at 9 AM and we fired up the engine and saw the alternator deliver more than 160 amps of current to the batteries that we had depleted over the weekend. So far so good. But then the engine slowed down and stopped as though it was starved of fuel. It was. The port tank was shut off. We opened the tap and Bruce showed me how to bleed the system. I then checked the starboard tank and found that the tap was open - so how could the engine have been starved of fuel? Bruce did a check and discovered that the fuel filter was dripping fuel. In fact all 70 liters of fuel in the starboard tank were now in the bilge. He took care of getting the fuel out and putting detergent in the bilge. I spent about two hours getting the bilge cleaner than it has ever been. He has delivered 40 liters of fresh fuel and will bring the rest tomorrow morning.
In the early afternoon Ian finished the repair work on our cockpit spray dodger so all of the canvas work has now been completed.
We expect to do a one-day sea trial tomorrow. We leave in the morning and motor into the Bay of Islands and drop an anchor somewhere. Later in the afternoon we will weigh anchor and motor back to the pen. That is not much of a sea trial but we are short of time. If the sea trial gives good results we will try depart for Tahiti on Saturday which I think is the 20th.
Friday, September 12, 2008
We started off well by being the only table to correctly respond with "John Denver" to the first of nine or ten successive clues with diminishing points; so we started off the quiz with ten points. We sagged in "sports" and "faces" questions. However we had chosen "science" and "acronyms" as our strong suite and did well in those categories with their associated double points.
I am pleased to report that our table won by 5 points. We each walked out with a fine polo shirt with the Opua Cruising Club logo, and I walked out with a generously large wine glass also with the club logo, for my "John Denver" response.
Arnold and I put a lot of work into the investigation of leaks from the anchor well into the sail lockers. We first removed all chains and rope then removed part of the upper level giving us full access to the lower level. The enclosed photo shows the bottom of the anchor well as we found it. That dark wedge below the plastic access hatch, just above the bottom of the well, and slightly to the right, is the end of the wood wedge that we drove in from inside in those huge seas in the Australian Bight. That wedge saved our cruise if not our bacon, and I will probably keep it as a souvenir.
Arnold tried to drive the wedge back through and it crumbled. Fortunately I was able to get a good hold of it from the inside and pulled it out.
That wedge went through a double bulkhead. The wedge sealed the inner section but not the outer (i.e. anchor well side) due to its taper. Also, the 12G screw that we used to plug the other hole sealed only the inner section. My theory was that this allowed water to pass into the thin cavity between the two bulkheads and work its way into the sail lockers.
Using and electric fan heater and blow drier we managed to dry the area off well enough to enable us to plug the holes with International 2-part general purpose epoxy filler. Then I did some patch-up work along the edges of the bulkhead where I had done the fiber glassing.
The next day we filled up the anchor well with water almost to the level of the level of the inspection hatch. The good news is that the port side locker which had given us so much grief in the Bight remained bone dry! However, we got some seepage on into the starboard locker. I was prepared to fiberglass the entire bottom of the anchor well but the we had rain threatening us and no matter how much I tried the area with the blow drier I kept getting seepage of water from the bulkhead back onto the bottom of the anchor well. It is a pity because the area was all set up for the fiber glass job.
Nevertheless I am satisfied with what we did. We have properly plugged up the two holes through the bulkhead, cut down on the leakage into the boat, and now I know exactly what has to be done - wherever we can find hot, dry weather and a day or two of free time.
Removing the upper level was difficult since I had used a lot of Sikaflex in an attempt to fix the section (in case of roll over) and direct water entering from the top to the upper drains. However, I replaced the upper section with no sealer so that we can easily get back into the area for the fiber glassing repairs. The panel fits so snugly that I will probably leave it like that forever, relying on the anchor well hatch (lashed with ropes) to keep the rodes in during a roll over.
From there it is one short step to ask why I still need the plastic inspection hatch between the V-berth area and the anchor well. It is a pain because it leaks and we must seal it with silicone sealant. I plan to one day remove that inspection hatch and permanently re-seal the bulkhead. If I get a jammed chain in the lower level I will access it by temporarily removing the upper level.
The other photo that sneaked into this entry is of us having lunch with friends in Wellington.
The house batteries are regulated by a "Next Step 2" alternator regulator produced by Ample Technology of Seattle, USA. It is dedicated solely to regulation of the output from the 160-amp alternator to the four "house" batteries.
The "starting" bank charged by the 50-amp alternator using its internal regulator. Once the "starting" bank is charged a relay is used to divert charging to the electric anchor winch.
So we now have two fairly independent electrical systems: separate pulleys, belts, alternators, regulators, and switches.
The photo shows the external regulator above the two large bus bars installed by Bruce & Co. ... Yes, I know, the wiring looks messy. The only way to really clean it up is by a complete rewiring.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The photo is of our "Mastervolt Mass 12/60" regulator. It will supply a whopping 60 amps of current to our house batteries using "any" input voltage. It also has a battery temperature sensor to guard against overheating of the gel batteries.
Tommo has hard wired it to our DC system. Today Arnold and I will hard wire the AC side to take power from the boat's AC system. When in Australia and NZ we will supply the boat with 240V AC power and the charger will automatically do its work. When in the USA we will use a plug converter so that we can supply the boat with 110V AC power. The charger will use this voltage to do its work and we should be able to then use the boat's GPO's (i.e. wall plugs) to charge our laptops and other 12V equipment.
The unit is less that 12 months old and came off of a boat where two of these units are being replaced by one much bigger one. Bob told us that $750 at about half of its purchase price was a fair amount to pay. After that price was agreed with the vendor Bob checked up and saw that these units are now selling for over $2500. ... We've gotta win a few.
Yesterday the system was connected to the re-vamped electrical system and we freed the blades and soon saw that the wind charger was working well, with its familiar and comforting hum.
It has been a while since our last blog entry, mainly because there were several projects in motion but few results.
After our return from the 5-day car tour of the North Island we got back to work on the boat.
Bruce and his colleague "Tommo" had done a brilliant job of fitting the four big gel batteries into the boat. Two were sited under the cockpit above the large Delkor engine-starting batteries. The other two were sited under the port and starboard seats in the main cabin. This meant that the weight was distributed evenly on the port-starboard axis and the weight of two of the batteries was in the aft section of the boat, visibly raising the bow in the water. The rest of this week was spent fitting the 160-amp alternator and its two belt pulleys as well as several other jobs.
The result is that we now have three banks of batteries:
1. "House" bank of 4 new gel batteries yielding 928 amp hours
2. Engine "starting" bank of the two existing Delkor seal batteries yielding about 260 amp hours.
3. "Auxiliary" bank of one ACM gel battery of 55 amp hours that drives the anchor winch.
The pre-existing 50-amp alternator charges the starting batteries and when they are full the charging is automatically directed to the winch battery. The 160-amp alternator charges the house batteries. It has been set up with an external regulator which will yield faster charging than its internal one.
The entire system is monitored by a display that reports:
1. Voltage of each bank
2. Net amperage of the house bank - that is the net result of subtracting the amps going out from the amps going in from the alternator, solar panels, and wind charger
3. The capacity of the batteries still available in amp hours and as a percentage of total capacity
The large "make before break" switch that enabled us to supply the boat power from bank 1 or bank 2 has been replaced by three switches: one for the house bank, one for the starter bank, and one for a crossover when one bank is totally dead. Thus to start the engine we turn on the switch of the "starter" bank and the engine starts using this bank quite independently of the house bank. This has the important benefit of eliminating the voltage drops which stopped the chart plotter and gas sniffer every time we started the engine.
One photo shows the new gel batteries stacked on the pre-existing Delkor starting batteries under the cockpit. Another photos shows the three new manual switches in the bottom and the power monitoring display at the top left. The third photos shows the new alternator and belt arrangement.
Monday, September 1, 2008
We are in a town called Turangi, at the south end of lake Taupo. We left Opua yesterday morning in our friend Hector's car and drove through Auckland to Cambridge where we stayed at Betty's place, a friend of Brenda. She is a delightful lady who is the most traveled person whom I have ever met and is still rear'in to go for more. We left Betty's this morning at 9 AM and did a tour of the thermal areas from Rotorua to Turangi. This area is amazing with steam coming out of the earth in parks, back yards, and even gutters beside the road. We saw steam coming from rock crevices, through hot water, and through mud. Just today they had an earthquake of 5.8 on the Richter scale 20 km below this town.
I have established contact with Bob and Ann, relations of my neighbours, and we hope to see them tomorrow afternoon in Wellington. We will then spend the night in Wellington and see Bob and Ann once again before we start trek back to Opua. We hope to spend Thursday night at Hector's home in Whangarei, though Hector won't be home at that time. We expect to be back in Opua on Friday morning.
While we are away Bruce will be installing our new electrical system which will mean making a real mess of the boat so it is just as well that we are away. By the time we get back we hope to have received the replacement Rutland wind charger from UK and the four new cooling system diaphragms from Noway.
Once we think that the boat is ready we will do a very short sea trial by motoring into the Bay of Islands and spending the night at anchor. The idea is to exercise the engine and the battery system as much as possible and then return to the marina for a final checkout. Once that is done we will plan our departure.
Attached are photos of Brenda at two thermal sites and two photos of the most interesting public toilet that I have ever seen, in Kawakawa. (Boys on left, girls on right.)
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- Hot off the press...
- Weather fun.....
- Another few clicks.........
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- A short message............ SMS
- Crossing the Dotted Line............
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- Hei konā rā Waka ...................
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