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The previous owner must of had some leaks in the stanchions as he applied silicone over the the base of the stanchions and the bolts. I have been putting off rebedding them as they have not been leaking for me, but a month or so back we rafted up with a friend’s larger boat while in Port Jeff waiting for some torrential rain to ease up before we headed home, and ended up putting a good bit of stress on a couple of the starboard stanchions when the weather picked up before we could get the boats unrafted. No damage was done, but ever since then the stanchions that were stressed have been leaking.  I ordered a some butyl tape from Maine Sail to rebed the stanchions with. Read the rest of this entry »

My hatch seals were 21 years old, and were starting to leak, so I picked up a 10′ length of replacement seal from West Marine.  The old seals had flattened out and combined with their age, they had also shrunk to the point where the hatch did not even make contact with the seal at various spots anymore, this project was a little overdue.

Old gasket vs New gasket

Old gasket vs New gasket

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This part 2 of my Solar Panel related posts, the previous post being about the Solar Charge Controller

I drilled a hole and installed a 1/4″ cable outlet similar to this one over the starboard lazerette where the charge controller is located in order to run the power cable from the solar panel into the lazerette, thru-bolting with nylon locking nuts and sealing everything with 3M 4200  UV to keep from letting any water in.  I then installed the solar panel on the stern rail using the Sunsei solar panel mount.

Original Solar Panel Mount

Original Solar Panel Mount

 

Ganz 12w Solar Panel

Ganz 12w Solar Panel

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Even after I upgraded all the cabin lighting on the boat to LED lights last year I was still finding that on longer trips the batteries were running down and that the outboard engine did not recharge them fast enough to replenish what was being used. I realized that I needed a solar panel to keep the batteries charged up. I didn’t need anything too large, my battery bank is only about 145AH, and the boat does usually spend the whole week sitting at the dock with almost no load on the batteries. I really don’t mind if it takes the whole week to recharge from a weekend of usage, as long as there is enough battery capacity to get me back out and back the next weekend.

Having already determined that the largest panel I wanted to fit on the boat was going to be a low wattage panel, and without doing much more research on the matter I picked up a 5W Sunforce solar panel and 7A solar charge controller, as well as a Sunsei solar panel mount at the West Marine Spring Sale, and installed the charge controller this spring before launching the boat.

 

Sunforce 7A Charge Controller Installed

Sunforce 7A Charge Controller Installed

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My Tohatsu 8hp outboard has an 80w charging system, which I discovered did not have a voltage regulator after the installation of my solar charging system. After some research I found this was standard on most small 2 stroke outboards.  It seems that the outboard manufacturers assumed that anyone using a small outboard for charging would probably never have fully charged batteries, so the batteries would always accept the charge, and voltage regulation wasn’t important. Probably a fairly reasonable assumption unless you have some other chargeing system onboard like I now do.

I discovered the lack of voltage regulation when trying to top off the charge of my secondary battery with the engine before combineing the batteries as the primary was already topped off from the solar panel, and I didn’t want to charge one by discharging the other. After about 10 minutes of running the engine at crusing RPMs I checked the battery voltage at the terminals with a multimeter, and found it was over 16v!

The charging system works off of a dedicated charging coil under the flywheel, that based on engine speed produces a AC current up to 40v at full throttle, and a rectifier converts the AC current into DC current at (roughly) half the AC voltage. That means at full throttle the engine will be putting out roughly 20 volts, way too much voltage if you don’t have a half charged battery hungry to absorb the power. Read the rest of this entry »

This one sure counts as an adventure…. Memorial Weekend Sunday we went out with some friends for an afternoon sail and anchored between Chimon and Copps Island off Norwalk. We had picked up some live lobster that morning and were planning to have a nice lobster dinner on the boat when a small mistake in the galley caused a fire, and had I not had the appropriate safety equipment in place, could have ended in a disaster.  Read the rest of this entry »

I wanted to add spreader lights to allow better use of the boat at night. Sometimes when anchoring it’s also nice to light the boat up for a midnight swim, or just to make it easier when cleaning things up at the dock after getting back after dark. I picked up 2 of the high output 600 lumen Dr LED Kevin Spreader lights, and 25ft of 16/4 tinned marine wire. I had the mast down in preparation for this, and had to cut the rivets off the mast base (sorry, forgot to take pics of that) to gain access to the conduit inside the mast.

For the actual installation I took off the steaming light and used it’s power wire to pull a length of twine up to the 3/4″ hole in the mast under the steaming light, then pulled the steaming light wire, along with 2 lengths of twine back down the mast with the first length of twine pulled up.  Leaving one length tied off as a backup we then pulled the new wire through the conduit and out the steaming light hole, where  the outer insulation was stripped leaving the 4 wires.  Read the rest of this entry »

 

My boat didn’t come with an electric bilge pump. Since I have an outboard, and the only original below the waterline thruhull was for the galley sink drain, and the rudder post sits above the waterline, I guess they decided it wasn’t needed.  Since the ice chest and head / shower floor drain both empty into the bilge, it can fill up pretty quick on a hot summer weekend  with melt water and if someone wants to rinse off in private.  I really wanted to install an automatic electric pump to keep the water level in check as I have on more than one occasion gone out for a sail and forgotten to manually pump out the water first, and when heeled over the water spills out onto the cabin sole and makes a big mess.

Due to the small volume of water the bilge can hold, and some old rule of thumb that I heard somewhere long ago, a reasonably sized working pump (aka non emergency pump) should be able to pump out the entire bilge in under 2 minutes, and about 30 seconds or less at the level the auto float switch kicks in.   Based on this, and the estimate that my bilge holds about 5 gallons, that means I only need a pump that can handle 2.5gal / min, or 150 gph (2.5*60). Since the smallest commonly available pump is 500 gph (at zero lift), I shouldn’t have a problem with this.   I also didn’t want an old float style auto switch as they are too easy to jam. I picked the Rule Mate 500 because it contains an integrated electronic water sensing float switch (i.e. no moving parts), and is rated at 250 gph with a 3ft lift (exactly what I happen to have). Read the rest of this entry »

My 21 year old boat is performing like a brand new one! I just got the new sails from Neil Pryde that I ordered last fall and went out for the afternoon. Performance improvement is so incredible I can’t believe it! Pointing ability is significantly better, and at the same time, speed is better while pointing! Now all I need is to replace the miserable Crosby Rigged mainsheet with a traveler and everything will be fantastic!

I knew my old sails were overdue for replacement (they were the original sails to the boat), but I didn’t realise just how much performance improvement I was going to get! Read the rest of this entry »

Jen and I sailed the boat home to Stamford, CT from it’s winter layover in City Island, NY last night, approximately 17.3nm over ground. Left the dock at City Island at 5:58pm, and reached the dock in Stamford at 8:41pm according to the track on the GPS. That puts my average SOG at least 6.3kts, probably a little more as I didn’t sail the shortest path back had to cover a little more ground than my course called for.

Winds were blowing 12-15 average around 14 (apparent) out of the SSW, we were on a broad reach with just the main for most of the trip, Read the rest of this entry »

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