Wednesday, 23 May 2007

electrifying

We have ambition when it comes to our electrical system. We want something simple to use, safe, reliable, and something that will take care of the boat. With that in mind, we decided to update things a bit. We opted for a 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter/charger with a built in echo charger for keeping the start battery happy. This will let us run any piece of electrical gear we might use at home on the boat (for as long as the batteries hold out).

We aren't sure what our live aboard or off shore needs will be, so we opted for something a little over the top.

So with running water, after getting our foot pumps installed in both the galley and the head, I needed another job to do. The weather was not friendly for an outside job, so I decided to mount the new inverter.

This turned into one of those 'boat jobs'. There is only one place that the inverter fits and in order to mount it there, the shore power plug and AC breaker panel would have to move.

I disconnected shore power and pulled the breaker panel off the bulkhead. There was a 2 1/2" hole into the cockpit where the shore power plug had been. That had to be patched up and then the area behind where the inverter was to be mounted had to be primed, then there was the additional fasteners that had to be bought, and the special driver that was required to drive a screw in a space that was too narrow for a regular screwdriver. Did I mention that the inverter weighs 70lbs?

In and around the installation of the inverter, I started sorting through the old wiring. Fortunately, even though the boat is 50 years old, the oldest wiring seems to be from the 70s. There have obviously been several electrical 'upgrades' over the years. Old wiring has been added to by tacking a different coloured wire to the end of an old wire.

There was this crazy home made fuse panel tucked into the quarterberth. It actually had some things labeled, one or two were actually right. Most of the fuse panel and its many many wires didn't seem to do anything.

I decided to reconnect the bilge pump (didn't want the boat to sink, after all). The bilge pump was connected to a pos and neg bus bar. When I connected those to the house battery, almost the whole DC system was up and running again. There are no fuses, or breakers protecting any of it.

Somewhere in the mix, I have misplaced the alternator cable. It runs off to the instrument panel, but it doesn't seem to come back. Guess I better get back to it.

Monday, 14 May 2007

out at last

Yesterday we finally made it out sailing. We have been spending a lot of time working on various systems. Nothing is finished but many things have been started. It was getting to the point that actually getting the boat out on the water was seeming like a big deal. I was hoping that we would be sailing at least every week, but there is always one more thing to work on, one more thing to get ready before we cast off.

We picked up our friend Jonathan at 10:00am and got the boat ready to go. We got things squared away and started up the engine. Then I made
my first ever VHF transmission to the Johnson Street Bridge. (We are just upstream of the drawbridge, so we have to request a lift each time we go out or come back in.) I think that was what I was most nervous about. Anyway, the operator acknowledged my request, and the bridge began to open. We pulled out of our slip and we were on our way.

We had some challenges with the rig. The main sail is well sized for the boat, but we aren't sure if it is well cut for the boat. Farther research is required.

We were cruising along well in a 20-25 knot breeze under double reefed main, when we tried to set the Genoa. As with the sea-trial, the halyard wrapped the forestay, so we couldn't set more than a corner of the foresail. It was a known problem, but one I hadn't been able to really fix, since I hadn't had someone to crank me up the mast in the bosun's chair. I was hoping that the short term fix would work for one sail. Alas, it was not so.

About an hour and a half out, we decided to turn around and head back in the general direction of the harbour. Without
a headsail, we didn't have much luck getting the boat to go where we wanted to go, so we doused the sail and motored back.

There was a fair bit of wind an current against us, so going was slow. For most of the return trip we averaged less than 2 knots. That was a bit of a concern because the bridge operator goes off duty at 4:00pm. We had a deadline to meet, and deadlines are never a good thing to have when sailing.

As it turned out, we made it to the bridge with 15 minutes to spare. With Jonathan's help and advice, docking was relatively smooth and painless.

Once we were tied up and settled, I asked Jonathan to crank me up the mast so I could take care of our halyard problem. A few minutes at the masthead was all it took to install the fairlead block I bought 2 months ago. I took the camera up with me to take a couple of reference shots for future rigging and masthead electronics upgrades.


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