Was an electric Motor a Huge Mistake?

Sorry, it’s been a while since the last blog. Since our last loss of motor power event, we have since made some drastic changes to the boat to ensure that we have sufficient power for most circumstances.

It has been a little while now, but I recall it was quite the ride of time and money spent to restore our confidence in our electric motor’s available energy supply.

Here is the list of upgrades:
1) SS tubing and terminal ends to build a sturdy base above the Bimini while trying into the Bimini bars.
2) Replaced Bimini feet to Solid rigid style for strength and stability
3)  Purchased 2 Piomar (de Italia) –  200 Watt 24-volt panels wired in series (48 volts) above Bimini using 4 SS Ubolts per panel.


4) Purchased Midnight’s The Kid Charge Controller.
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5) Purchased two Battery switched and battery cables to switch between using and charging our FLA and AGM battery banks. Will probably run with 2 AGM banks in the future.
6) Last, but not least I built a platform for the second battery bank above the other and installed 4 Vmax tanks AGM MR137 (Amazon – Free shipping! Yeah baby!) wired in series for the second 48-volt bank.
7) Is that all? No!!!!!! We eventually purchased a shunt and Wiz Bang JR. From Midnight to measure amp-hours going into the bank when charging and amp hours and percentage of life being used. Really neet device to prevent overcharging which will destroy your batteries.

Sailing on a budget Haaaaaa!!!!! Is there really such a thing? With all of this though I am certain that we saved over $5,000 when compared to having a new diesel engine installed by pros. The total price of motor batteries, panels, etc. Still comes in at less than $10k DIY.

What I found the most frustrating was programming the controller correctly, but contacting the battery manufacturers and Midnight to dial in the numbers certainly eased my pain a bit. Just a bit.

Final tests are in. On a clean Hull, we should now be able to do somewhere between 3-5 knots (depending on wind resistance, tide, etc.) at a 20 Ah draw (seems to be a our sweet spot) for a little over 5 hours on strong, charged batteries before we end up at the 50 o/o level.
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Time to set sail again, finally!!!!!! So glad this chapter is over, for now!

See you on the water!

 

If Only I Had Known

If I would have known then what I know now / Buying a Sailboat

Owning and maintaining a sailboat (especially an older one) requires a lot more time, work and money than we could ever have imagined. There are definitely other much easier ways of travel. If you have lots of free time on your hands and don’t mind, or better yet, actually enjoy replacing this and fixing that constantly, it might just be your cup of tea. I may be wrong, but I don’t believe that is the case for most people unless you are retired. If you are very financially well off, well I suppose you would just pay people to do the work for you (that would be ideal!). Either way, it’s not an inexpensive experience by any stretch. Even DIYing everything

Currently, we are in the middle of painting the deck which is like 100 step process, or so it feels like. TONS of prep work!  Sanding, cleaning and de-waxing, wiping off 2x, taping, priming, sanding again, painting, sanding again, painting 2nd. coat, etc! It’s enough to drive one insane!!!! Absolutely ridiculous! After that we will be painting the topsides. Later sometime, we will need sand, re-barrier coat and paint the bottom. Really looking forward to that one! Not!

I must admit there have been many times that I ask myself why are we doing this. Why am I putting myself through all this torture, especially in the Summer Florida heat! I honestly didn’t think that it would take this long and I really wouldn’t have called her a fixer upper. She did require some attention and repairs though. I keep telling myself to keep my eye on the prize – sailing to Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico etc. It’s the only thing that keep me going.

What we see on youtube is mostly glamour, and the amount of work that is required to keep things going is not fully disclosed. Hard to do in short videos and who want’s to see that anyway!

We really do hope it’s all worth it in the end. That we will develop confidence as sailors and be able to travel to some beautiful destinations and make lots of friends along the way, before it’s time to repaint!

For those of you who are considering owning a sailboat, think hard and talk to many people. This rose has it’s thorns and you will bleed.

There are easier ways to enjoy the sailing experience other than owning a boat that needs to stay in the water. Trailer sailors may be another easier option, but they are not generally built for long range travel. Make sure you do your full research (alternatives to owning a sailboat) and make a quality decision for yourself, whatever that may be.

See you back on the water soon!IMG_3331

 

A No Cost Repair???

When we first purchased our beloved but in need of some TLC Sailboat she came with a new 3 winged prop and depth sounder puck that had yet to be installed. Finally installing something was not going to cost anything extra other than some silicone and time.

Let the demolition begin! I began by carefully slicing the old depth transducer outer edge I used a harbor freight dremel tool. Great little tool for these kinds of projects. After that I just wedged and pried out chunks until finally I was able to push it out. Replacing was pretty straight forward, just had to rout wires to the control unit which was interesting. Be sure to run your top cap through all the wiring first (so it sits on top of transducer) before you run your wires to unit otherwise you will need to completely re- do your wiring run like someone I know had to (not mentioning names here). Pretty easy job, except it’s freaking hot enclosed in the tiny little spots in a boat during the Florida Summer! I did fabricate a slanted base out of a fiberglass board so the puck could sit a little straighter and epoxied that in place before buttoning it all back together with 3M 4200. Hopefully all will work as it should now. In theory. We shall find out if all my hard work paid off when she is back in the water.

Replacing the prop was a bit more challenging, but I managed. By tapping the back end of the prop directly with a hammer, (should have used a large collar of some sort to prevent shaft dings) I was completely unsuccessful. I wasn’t fond of possibly damaging the motor coupling or motor using this method either. Time to bring out something that will do a bit more damage. 

I finally grabbed my jigsaw, removed the base from it and was able to saw the sucker off. I’m starting to enjoy this demolition stuff a bit by now. Anyway, on went the new 3 winged power prop that we were gifted. Your supposed to get more power from these with a slight increase of drag.  Maybe not the best in light wind situations, but let’s see how she does. Hell, it was free and it looks awesome!

After these projects, she should be ready for the water again right? Not quit yet. Catch you on the next blog!

Until Next Time,
Dennis

Contortionist as a Side Gig

Steering System Overhaul!

Well, we made it to the St. Augustine Marine Center for our first personal haul out (cost $300). Thankfully everything went uneventful, with the exception of a bent stanchion, woops! Now to get to work.

 The first priority was to completely disassemble the entire steering assembly. Removing the steering wires was easy, removing the Edson steering quadrant was not. Lots of PB Blaster and patience was needed here as I didn’t want to break any bolts in the process. That would make for a bad day. After that was over, I removed the wooden block under the wheel and then attempted to remove the stuffing box. Not happening! The leverage points to release this thing are ridiculous. Imagine a monkey hanging upside down from the top of a tree to do something that requires twisting strength. Time to get some help!

The guys from the marina did manage to unscrew the stuffing box cap off where the flax lives, but try as they might were unable to get the remaining housing off. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an option. After lots of PB blaster, days of waiting, several attempts and paying for 3 labor hours ($95 hr.) with no results, I decided it was time to demolition! Hey, I am starting to get pretty good at this demolition stuff by now.

 Using a reciprocal saw and a harbor freight multi tool,  (again hanging upside down like a monkey, no arms!) I managed to cut the saltwater seized stuffing box housing off. Unfortunately, as careful as I tried to be, I did nick the shaft a bit. The fun just never ends!

 While waiting for our new Buck Algonquin stuffing box ($140 w/ Free shipping, yeah!!!), I reluctantly decided that I also needed to take care of our pathetic looking upper rudder bearing that had completely fallen down out of it’s housing and was now sitting loosely on top of the rudder. Ah, the joys of owning an old boat.

After much grieving and not wanting to grind out and remove the skeg boot (hidden under the fiberglass) to drop the rudder, I finally stumbled on other solutions. First, I tried cutting the stuffing box from just above rudder. This was working, but very slow going. Hmmm, what if we could fish it out with some wire from the top? Sure, once you get the surface corrosion off the rudder shaft section that is in the rudder stern tube. Don’t ask me how I come up with this stuff. It just so happens that a 1 1/2″ piece of pvc piping fits nicely into the stern tube so I glued some sandpaper (rubbery glue) to the bottom inside of the pvc pipe and sent the pipe down to do it’s thing. It worked! Finally I was able to fish out the remainder of the old and very worn rudder bearing from above with ease.

Fortunately, replacing the rudder bearing was easy enough as they simply used a standard 1 1/2” interior x 2” exterior 6” long cutlass bearing (paid $140 locally). After lightly sanding the inside walls of the stern tube, I gently tapped it down with two hammer tops. There are 3 set screw on top of the stern tube need to be drilled out and replaced as they were badly corroded. Got new larger SS set screws from Ace Hardware. Love that place!

The pintle bolt on the bottom of the rudder has been replaced with silicon bronze parts. Inspect these often as the saltwater had chewed up ours so bad that both the bolt head and the nut were missing!!!! Everything was being held together by a nub!

So now to repair the nicks on the shaft with some JB weld, lightly sand and put it all back together again. Hey, if we are lucky enough, maybe we can do some sailing before the year is over. Imagine that!

Happy Sailing,
Señora del Mar

 

 

let it shine,Shine, shine!

I find it hard to believe that SS Chain plates, as tough as they are, will eventually surrender their life to the saltwater Gods. Fortunately, I recently noticed that there was a complete crack through half of the aft chain plate where the upper bolt runs through. There was also some “creative” work done to the forestay plate. Inconsistent whole sizes where cut which then required an undersized clevis pin to be used along with SS washers so the pin wouldn’t fall through. This shady move by previous owners caused the pin to lay sideways which caused part of the cotter pin end (of the pin) to break off. Who said size doesn’t matter?

Anyway, With no clue on where to find a replacement chain plate a few random calls where placed. Luckily for me, there is a machine shop 5 minutes down the road from me! Yeah, how convenient!

Luckily for us our mast is keel stepped so we very reluctantly decided to loosen the aft  chain plate to create a new replica. We are on a mooring field which occasionally gets some violent water movement,(from speedboats of course) so we fabricated a thinner temporary steel stay and smothered it in what? Yes, toilet ring wax to keep corrosion at bay. What do I know, but it worked!

$30 later we had an exact replica with holes punched and a bend in place. Honestly not sure if they gave me 316 or 316L SS, but either one is fine by me.
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I learned the hard way that there is no easy way to polish SS plate to a chrome mirror shine, which they say makes the steel more corrosion resistant. So me and my OCD got to work! After investing many countless hours, this is how It worked for me:
Orbital random Buffer / 60 Grit – removed rough areas on face and sides followed by:
120 grit
360 grit
500 grit by hand
1000 grit by hand
1,500 grit wet sanded by hand
2,000 grit wet sanded by hand
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Finally, the holy grail chrome mirror look shun back at me and it was time to rest my weary hands.
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Now to deal with forestay pin and plates! Ah, more fun on the horizon!

Until Next Time,
Señora del Mar