Does it Run?

This is a long one so settle in and read on to find out if we were successful in installing the electric engine.

Ok, Finally after spending several days of attempted hand sawing (no shore power on a mooring) and killing drill batteries by drilling through the bolts in the collar that was hell bent on leaving the prop shaft, I prevailed.

Funny, even after preparing and buying a second drill for the daunting task that lay ahead, guess what was missing? Go ahead, Guess. The friggin charger! Needless to say there were many setbacks during the process but the first step (probably the most difficult) had been accomplished.

I managed to drill through 1 1/2 bolts that clamped the collar tight to the shaft and had to hammer it off after my drill died. Off she came.

VICTORY!
VICTORY

From there the next steps were fairly painless. The new propeller shaft collar was put in place. ***NOTE: Do NOT push the shaft back to far.*** Motor was mounted along with the gear reduction unit. Mounting the entire unit to the ground was super simple since there is no need for engine mounts (little vibration). I just simple drilled one pilot hole into each side of the motor runners (that is what I call what the motor mounts to because I like to make up my own names for stuff sometimes). Luckily most are just wood underneath fiberglass. I just ran one fairly thick lag screw on each side to hold the motor in place. I believe they were about an 1″ – 1 1/2″ long.

Next step I started applying the heat transfer grease onto the back of the heat sink which the Sevcon controller will be screwed into. I used my finger instead of a roller like they suggest because they give you a very small amount. I think using the roller would have absorbed it all and left me with nothing. A little extra would have been nice.

My plans were to mount the controller flush against the wall, but after consulting with Thunderstruck, they suggested mounting it on its side long ways top to bottom. This allows for better air circulation allowing the heat to rise away from the unit easier.
Do not place the relay switch under the controller as it creates a good amount of heat.

Next I just watched the Thunderstuck wiring video and got that all taken care of easy enough. I ended up placing the 4 group 27 batteries where the gas tank was for a nearly perfect fit. I am using wet cell batteries for now because they are cheap, but will most likely switch to AGMs in the future.

Installing the throttle cables gave me a bit of an issue. As hard as I tried, I could not get my current wire/lever assembly to give me the play I needed to get full throttle power in both directions (after fabricating throttle actuator-aluminum rod for cable attachment).

My intention by purchasing the Curtis ET-134 was to use my exsisiting cables so I wouldn’t have to mount the funny looking clown nose throttle lever anywhere near the cockpit area. The thing looks like a toy. I lost this battle, but I do intend on either covering or topping off the rod with something cool to distract from the cheesy red plastic knob. I really don’t like the thing.

Anyway, the existing throttle cable(s) were completely bypassed. ( They would have needed to be replaced anyway). The throttle is completely controlled digitally by the Curtis unit ,and yes we now have full throttle in both directions. Although I managed to install it backwards so forward is reverse and reverse is forward. But hey, it works and I am beyond ecstatic. It is now time to bring her home to St. Augustine. Let the move begin!

Until next time,
Dennis

 

 

 

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Leaks, Leaks, Everywhere Leaks

Beautiful but a bit leaky at the moment.

We need the rain yes, but enough already! There is a reason for everything, at least that is what we keep telling ourselves. It seems to hold true enough in this instance and all this non-stop rain here in Florida lately has been a blessing in disguise. We prefer our boat to be as dry as possible, but mother nature as usual has other plans. The rain has shown us where every single little leak is. There still may be more we don’t see, yeah! Seriously it can stop raining now, please. The to do list is getting a bit longer than any of us would like. Did we really expect anything less? Nah, of course not.

The major leaks that need attention for the moment are above the engine room coming from fuel fill valve and one of the cockpit drain hoses. That one is kind of a big deal. It turns out all those frustrating  motor install delays have been a blessing in disguise. We would probably be cursing and crying had the motor been installed before finding that particular leak. Then we have the front port stanchions leaking that have done a good bit of damage to the front portion of the bulkhead. That’s going to be a whole other repair job. The window in the head needs 1 new latch and probably some type of new gasket. The amount of water coming in there is amazing.  Of course the keel stepped mast  is leaking. Lastly there are a couple of small leaks from the windows in the main cabin. It is starting to feel like I bought another fixer-upper (lol). The thought “What the hell did we get ourselves into” has crossed our minds more than once lol. 

The camera does no justice to the puddle of water.

Until next time,
Dennis

Electric Engine it is

So the main reason (besides a great deal!) that I wanted a sailboat with a dead motor was because I had researched electric engines and how their owners liked them and I was sold. Our boat was going to have an electric engine.

From what I had heard, putting in a new diesel engine (not sure if new or rebuilt) can cost $10,000-$15,000 and is not a job for a non- mechanic. They have to be craned in and set-up by someone who is knowledgeable and experienced. Anyway, We are not fans of stinky diesel engines and all the headaches and maintenance nuances that come with them. I’ve seen enough youtube videos to realize that I prefer to enjoy our boat and not have to constantly repair and maintain the engine.

We did plenty of research and found that electric engines are very low maintenance,  are more powerful than diesels and are much more affordable. They make a great DIY project which also saves you $$$$! Who doesn’t want to save money.

We ended taking the middle ground and purchased a diy electric sailboat kit from Thunderstruck.ev. Instead of a complete set-up from other companies that we found on line. We decided to go with the 10 kilowatt model which is generally equivalent to a 15hp motor, but with more torque. 

The 10kw kit with the gear reduction, upgraded throttle control and shipping cost us $3,048 plus an extra $400 for the Exide batteries purchased at Tractor Supply. Also spent $75 for 3 18″ ancor cables from West Marine.

We will probably steer towards AGM batteries in the future (less maintenance), but since I purchased 2 wrong size batteries (group 27s Deep cycle) for the house bank, I decided to get two more of the same to create the 48 volt system needed to power the motor. We can always get AGMs later after these die.

Let the install begin!

Making sure everything is going to fit together and sit right. All good.

Okay not so fast. You thought this was going to go smoothly didn’t you? To be honest I was thinking the same thing. Stacey was about to do the dance of joy but held back because, Well……. she didn’t want to jinx it. I had already almost set the boat on fire. Listen to the wife when she reads the instructions to you. Don’t argue and insist you know better than some instruction manual. Needless to say I have to purchase a new charge controller for the house batteries.

So you can see why I was so happy that this whole engine thing  was going so smoothly. Some might say too smoothly. Then it happened, I was stopped in my tracks by two rusted bolts that had no intention of budging. Nope, not happening.  No matter how hard I try they are not going to move at all. So what do you do when you have no power for power tools at the moment  but a whole hell of a lot of determination? Out came the hand saw. I was going to saw those bolts off damn it. Stacey  just stared at me trying her damndest to control an outburst of laughter and asked me how long I thought it was going to take to do it with a handsaw. It could be done. It was just going to take a little bit longer is all, maybe an hour. Have at it was all she said and went back to what she was doing. I was determined that the engine was going in today DAMN IT! Needless to say those 2 rusty bolts had the upper hand for the day. I will come back and be victorious.

This did not go so well. Please try to contain your laughter. I was determined.

To end the day we got to see these guys. You can’t help but smile watching these beautiful creatures.

Until next time,
Dennis

 

 

We Make it a Little Closer to Home

Roger to the rescue!!!!!

Fortunately after a few setbacks including the weather and availability, we were blessed to have a part-time mover help us out that seller had found on craigslist. Roger is a pretty neat guy, from Trinidad who enjoys sailing, is very experienced and isn’t afraid to tackle an issue,  our motorless sailboat. On top of that his price was more than reasonable.

So here was the plan, we would hiptow her using our dinghy and a used 9.8 outboard that I purchased for this one purpose, figuring I could resell after and make my money back from the motor.

So the big day arrived. Would everything come together as planned? (insert hysterical laughter) Of course not. After replacing spark plugs along with the upper and lower oil in the Nissan outboard and learning everything I could about this outboard, we could not get the motor to stay on. After spending about 2 hours of frustration we decided to try the 5.0 Tahatsu 2 stroke (no tide pulls out here thank God). Low and behold she worked flawlessly and tirelessly, until…… we ran out of gas. 

Roger and I knew better (2 strokes love gas!),  the previous owner assured us that the the 2 gallons of gas we had would get us from Cocoa to Titusville without a problem. Never happened! Looking back it was a good experience to learn how to handle these types of situations. Stacey was trailing on land so she bought us some gas and 2stroke oil, waited at the nearest marina and asked someone that was headed out for a day on their boat to bring us the gas. We pulled over to the side of the ICW and set down our anchor while we waited for the saviors. Boat people are a very helpful bunch

After we got going again we did manage to set a our head sail up for while while trying to conserve gas. (We were headed towards another gas shortage). Unfortunately, the wind was against us most of the way, but we did end making it to Titusville!

After a long grueling day of boat towing (Roger took on the brunt in the dinghy for the entire ride) and paying the man for his awesome service and teaching us a few things along the way, we invited him and his girlfriend to dinner and drinks and had a good time getting to know them better

By this time and because we woke up this morning at 4:00 am to make this thing happen we were exhausted. Would you believe it that Roger, this guy from Trinidad that we first met this morning invited to stay at his rental property for the night for free so that we could get home safely the next morning. We took him up on his offer and It was a good decision to stay the night.

Working with Roger was an absolute pleasure. We spoke about family, work, and boats all along the way. We learned much from him and I admire that he was always patient and thorough from the beginning of the trip to the very end. I hope we can continue a long friendship with Roger and his girlfriend Tangy.

With all being said, I must say we were blessed with an honest and very helpful seller. I have heard of many horror stories out there. Fortunately, we never had to experience any of that.

Stay tuned as the adventure continues. We still have to get her home to St. Augustine.
Until next time,
Dennis

 

We found our sailboat

After passing our depressive state from the last boat we decided to pass on (Allied Seabreeze). Our impatience was growing so we couldn’t help but continue to look for “our boat”. From what we could tell the best deals seamed to be on craigslist, so we continued to do some hard window shopping. By this time we were in a much better financial situation as we had put together the money for our fourth and final kid’s braces and we have managed to pay our home off!!!!! (WooHOO!!!!). Now we felt like the timing was right.

I was particularly looking for a strong and worthy classic with a broken down engine (Clearance Sale!). It was slim pickings, but we ended up taking a look at a Bristol 29.9 in Cape Canaveral Fl. that had it’s engine removed (bonus!) and was being offered for $6,000. The seller just had the lower hull redone and painted and also just replaced the rudder stock and a couple of through holes.

Senora del Mar on the hard
Senora del Mar

We could not find a single bad review on this boat and although it was a little smaller than what we were looking for, it’s layout and beam made up the difference. Besides smaller is more affordable to maintain (more fun money!).

I must admit although it sounded like a fair deal, I still hesitated a bit knowing that once we said yes a financial hurricane would come our way. It did not disappoint!

So we did say yes to the deal after negotiating to $5,500 dinghy and 5.0 outboard motor included. Ok so we bought this boat so now what? The owner had now taken her off dry storage where he was getting ripped a new one and and had her docked at a friends house in  Cocoa Fl. while she waited for us to pick her up. Only 1 problem, she has no back up engine and I don’t currently have keel boat sailing experience, yikes!

After having an acquaintance bail out on me, another friend too busy at the time and looking into over water and out out of water transport fees I was a bit stressed and overwhelmed. How can we get this boat from Cocoa to St. Augustine, Fl. or at least Marineland Fl. safely without breaking the bank?

She Floats!!!!!!
She Floats!!!!!!

Stay tuned to the adventure. We will find a way to get her home. Surely it will be full of amusement for all.

Until next time,
Dennis

The Dangers of “Window Shopping” Boats on Craigslist

As I lie here this morning slightly depressed, my brain is still trying to “make it work” even though we already decided that it’s just not the right time yet.

We took a look at a 35’Allied Seabreeze that a gentleman was selling for next to nothing yesterday and drove a several hundred mile round trip with full intentions on purchasing her. The largest obstacle to get around was the fact that the Westerbeke diesel engine was not working. Between towing, mast destepping, lifting, trucking, lifting again and once again towing , along with whatever other adventures happen to pop up, the reality of the numbers were starting to unfold.

 

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She was a beautiful boat inside and out

 

My plan was to borrow from the nest egg account and pay it back after I finish getting braces on my youngest. In the mean time the boat would have to sit and wait until that financial obligation was taken care of. I still believe that we would have come out ahead in the end and we believe the boat was a perfect fit, but we just felt uncomfortable with the outlay of cash to make it happen. And we know to expect the unexpected surprises, and then what!

It was not all a loss as we learned a lot by speaking with the owner and made a friend, we just felt deep inside that it just wasn’t the right time.

Thanks for reading, until next time……

Dennis

Repairing the Broken Boat

Hi there,
Sorry it’s been a while. I was dealing with boat repairs and then came the holidays.

On the last blog, I had mentioned the damage that occurred to the boat. I ended up taking our 2 piece broken mast to an aluminum fabricator. He ended up reinforcing the broken area by putting a short aluminum rod on the inside of the mast, between the two pipes and the welding the mast back together.  The mast was previously broken and welded under the previous owners watch at the same location at some point. The cost was $50 for the repair and took less than an hour. The quick turn around was appreciated!

Next came the the forward shroud that had frayed. I ended up going to West Marine  as I heard they supply you with the tools to get the job done. Well, my first attempt was not so good. I’m sure it would have helped if they gave had given me the correct oval sleeve instead of a round stop sleeve. Talk about frustration….
I surrendered after an hour and a half of trying to put it all together with the help of the the West Marine associate.

Google and Youtube to the rescue! After doing some online research I went back and purchased the correct oval sleeve type and size from West Marine and went to work. After another hour and a half hand wrenching, wire bending / holding (not fun for a pro guitarist) and crimping with my arm pit, I was set. Very comical to watch I’m sure.  It would have been easier with 2 people, but I was just glad it finally came together. Not as neat looking as the previous one, but it will do.


Next part was the easiest. I had to rivet the two shroud attachments back onto the mast, reattach the chain plate on right side and also rivet the base of the mast back in place with some super long rivets that needed to special ordered online. Lesson. DON’T BE A DUMB ASS! Take your mast down as soon as you get the boat out of the water, even if you can’t find a parking spot.

She is finally ready for the water again. More adventures to come soon.

Happy New Year!!!!

Until Next Time,
Dennis Fermin