There are only two short months that separate us from our great start. Two months down long lists of things to do in order to prepare the boat and the crew home to the epic awaits us. While Sounda is busy preparing for the school board and needed to keep us healthy, I focus on the house and the boat. I also returned a 2 week stay in Florida asked me in several areas of expertise.
I have a long list of improvements that I want to bring our boat to fit the journey we going to do with him over the next two years. This will not only be a vehicle to transport us from point A to B, but it will also be our home, our playground and our security against the elements that will befall us. I have now sailed more than 3,000 nautical miles (5500 km) on board, and there has not been a day that I did not make a note, idea or an issue that deserves one day attention particular. Those who know me know that I can be a tad perfectionist and it does not change on a boat and even less on the cusp of a great start… I therefore necessary to review every aspect of the boat. This is a complex machine with multiple systems I am a slave to ensure proper operation. It is a great challenge that stimulates my aging brain! My priorities are determined by the importance of the tasks: the drive (motor and sail) comes first, then energy, safety, comfort, amenities, and finally, the cosmetic.
Being ready for the worse
I am currently reading several books by John Kretschmer, a browser that has faced the worst weather conditions. This is the kind of crazy enough to accept a convoy sailing from New York to Norway in the middle of January. He went through hurricanes, cross seas and all imaginable conditions. In addition to providing training on sailing in heavy weather, he wrote exciting books on the subject. I read, I take notes and I learn. I drink all of his experiences in the big time, to draw conclusions that may one day allow me to take better decisions.
I can not help but relive the passage conveying what I did with Daniel Nadeau aboard Voilo. As I know I can relive this kind of condition next year, I decided to relieve the boat with a rig suitable for wind and Class 8 (60 km +). During my stay in Florida, Florida Rigging came to take the steps to install a new forestay and furling sail for a storm and Doyle will make me a staysail 24 m2. (blue in the picture, black is a storm sail and red, my existing genoa furler.)
The missing electrons’ society
On modern sailboats, we develop a dependence on electricity and therefore a power failure could seriously affect our enjoyment on board. So I placed a high priority to solve the problems of electric edge nature, as it is the basis of several security features (GPS positioning tracer SPOT position, warning AIS device, charting) and more be essential to our family comfort.
The energy balance is a bit like a budget: it must be a balance between inputs (production) and outputs (consumption). On the dashboard of the boat, there was an indicator of power consumption, but over the past weeks on board, I realized that I could not really me proud. I really felt there was a hole in our batteries that let electrons escape.
In December 2013, I made an important discovery: one of the two chargers installed at the factory did not work. Generator producing 60 amps but only half was sent to the batteries. The rest was lost! I did not even try to get a replacement under warranty. I simply excommunicated Cristec the brand forever from my boats because they are not able to have a quality assurance department, they do not deserve to have me as a customer. This past June, I replaced the one that was defective and to deal with potential failures, I replaced his companion by a product of a reputed brand: PRONAUTIC. (Yes, I know, I still have three Cristec equipment aboard, including one in the picture. They will be ejected at the appropriate time.)
Now, the generator sends all his gum to the batteries, but I’m not at my sentences. Power consumption is always abnormal what torments me quite yet. My solution is buried somewhere in the catacombs at the back of the boat. So I decided to bring this piece in the dashboard. This is the controller solar panels and can provide me with a tremendous amount of data on the state of the batteries. And that’s good because I also understand why the performance of my solar panels (430W) is not sufficient to offset the energy expenditure of my fridge / freezer…
After a tour at The Home Depot to get a suitable tool for cutting wood, I prepare a corner to accommodate the new instrument. This requires me to move control of the air conditioning and that both have the tool in your hands, I want to also install the control module for the reverse osmosis plant which is slow to complete. After a half day of work to measure, validate and make sure not to make a mistake before drilling large holes, the result is perfect.
Well, a new device that is mounted on wood panel, but it does not work. It must also install the module current measurement (shunt) in the right place in the circuit, ideally across the main battery. As well as be in the corner of the boat, I’m an interesting discovery: Beneteau, in their great wisdom shipbuilder, has seen fit to put their measuring instrument to a place where only the use of some devices is reflected. Maybe this is intentional to not scare their customers, but I realize that I really can not trust to the consumer presented on the dashboard has not much to do with reality… one step closer to understanding where my free electrons will!
After several trips to the shops and some parcels received from Amazon, my camera is finally connected and functional. I am anxious to know my consumption! I turn off all switches and my new camera says I still consumes 2.5A. Bizarre and it’s still a big number… I will diagnose the problem later… I’m going to find some good news: the production of solar panels. It was noon and the sun, the batteries should be good… And my camera 15A 5.3A indicated, three times less consumption expected…
My new priority was clear: I had to understand why the panels also produced little. After the engine and the generator, my panels are the only other source for producing energy that we have. It is therefore imperative to understand why I have such an abysmal performance.
My panels are very thin and mounted on a aluminum arch behind the boat. When I drew it all, I opted for a minimalist look and I’m pretty happy with the result. But perform maintenance is a nightmare because there’s really no room to work. Finally, after two days of work, I managed to disassemble the whole. I discovered a very green surprise:
Florida Yacht Group retailer who sold me the boat and prepared my electrical system has not thought it important to seal the electrical connections because they were in a small plastic box. Wrong !!!! The salt air deposits a thin sticky layer on everything and any metal, even stainless, eventually being cheated by this relentless cancer. Obviously a stranded wire is more like a capillary and corrosion inexorably lead to the wire, forming a barrier that slows or blocks the electrons that want to join the batteries. Proud to have found my problem, I am the removal of anything that shows signs of corrosion, renew connections and reinstall everything. I run my meter to confirm that I had a good day and that I can be proud of me. Nah… Nothing better, it’s as if I had not done anything… A little discouraged, I close the site for the night.
It was 35C every day in Florida… Work under the sun draping, this is torture, not a pleasure. So I from this day dedicated the ends of my days the solar panels and the rest of my work inside.
I assembled and disassembled 8 times my solar panels, support and electrical connections. The fact is that two panels are completely dead (most recent) and two operate at 2/3 of their performance. I am in contact with Aurinco, the company that produces them, to find an arrangement.
I took two days to install new solar controllers to increase my fleet of solar panel. In December, five new panels will bring my ability to 980W which should occur between 275A and 350A sunny day. New cables have replaced those that were corroded and others have been added in preparation for the new facility.
On the consumption side, I thought I noticed the fridge / freezer is almost always on. Buying an infrared thermostat allowed me to see a difference of 6 degrees between the surrounding cabinetry and door. After brief inspection, the door closes the fridge at the front is not the right place, so that the seal for sealing the cold is supported on 2-3 millimeters… The fridge must compensate loss of cold, which increases our energy balance. (And like everything is stuck, I prefer to have all the replacement parts, for surely the plastic will break when I try to fix the problem…)
To conclude, I have not the overall picture of our energy balance board, but I approach a response… 🙂
Y a-t-il un ébéniste dans la cabine?
Do you have a dishwasher at home? Do you use it? Sounda believes that ours is saving us an hour a day, then this is a device that we wanted to have on board. (Yes, I know, this is a decadent luxury on a yacht…). Beneteau offers dishwasher option on its price list, what we checked when buying the boat. But the dishwasher that was delivered was a joke. A Danby so small that our plates not entaient it. A Danby so bad that the dishes came out dirtier than before. A Danby I wanted to throw overboard at the first opportunity.
Obviously, the dimensions aboard severely limit the choices available to us. And if we tried to put a dishwasher drawer at home? Fisher Paykel is the only company offering this product on the market (even guarantee their patent exclusivity), I realized that the space was too small old Danby 1 cm in width and 1.5 cm in depth. Enlarge possible, but asked to go under the knife (or saw) a lot of the walls.
After thinking for days (while I was doing electrical work), and a final consultation with the admiral who was right in my hesitation, I decided to start the project. And when the saw makes its way into the woodwork, it feels really committed and there is no turning back… I had a good response, because the hole was perfect when I put the dishwasher in place.
Of course, for that to be in this part of the boat, I removed the filter the source water and replace it with a better quality (WaterChef), I pulled the valve which was used only for the pump walk to replace it with filtered water (tanks) or a direct output of the RO (for filling water bottles). To guard against a failure of the pump used to create pressure for the water board, I invented a system with one-way valves so that we can have water tanks in the main tap with the hand pump. I tested the dishwasher with all the dishes that I had messed up in my room (it was 8 days I used dishes and all accumulated in the sink. Either I plugged the dishwasher or I left the mop… As I’m pretty lazy, I chose to connect the dishwasher (which took 3 trips to the hardware store to get all the good bits…)
In the last days, I took all measures that will serve to cut the new panels that are coming hide the carnage Chainsaw I did… I modeled in 3D and everything is accurate to the millimeter ! (in theory!). I took the opportunity to add a panel (top right) I’ll sit behind the drawer of utensils, otherwise they go to visit the bottom of the hold when the starboard list is a little too pronounced…
An extreme makeover
As well as being in 3D modeling, I also designed the furniture that will be installed in the second shower. We have decreed a shower, it’s enough to edge and the space occupied by the other will be converted into a laundry and storage. We wholesale appliances in the kitchen that we use frequently (Vitamix) and some that we will definitely use a lot (Thermomix, ice machine, etc.). And a washing machine, it can be a blessing to edge to avoid wasting a day at this task comes after all every week (or two when it is mainly in the holding of Adam and Eve). Since we do not want this transformation is permanent, we do not want to break the shower with screw holes. Everything must be kept in place and firmly press, and for all sailing conditions that we will cross the son of the month. Again, I used my imagination and my knowledge of 3D design the perfect piece for this space and this vocation.
For my woodwork, I’m going to call The Key Vault in Montreal, a cabinet that produces cabinets and furniture of great quality with a friendly team, talented and forward thinking.
In the early sequences of the film The 5th Element, we often hear the teacher ask for the light… One of my projects was to install small light under the arch. This will make our lives easier when we come back a little tipsy from May to July… 8… 9… or midnight to see the fish behind the boat…
For a moment, I know there has water seeping into the boat when the dodger is not in place. But what I had not anticipated was that a piece of the bridge of 3 ‘x 3’ remained in my hands! It should have been glued, but the glue has lost its grip under the sun and the scorching heat of Florida… I had to scrape all, analyze the flow of water, fill the places I want to leave a passage for water and pick up the hatch at 4200 (medium strong adhesive 3M). It takes a lot of water to drink because it is a project that made me sweat the equivalent of 2 liters of water!
Test sail for a new piece in Jayana’s wardrobe
My trip ended with a trip on the water in St. Petersburg in order to try a particular sailing, Parasailor. It is a genetically modified web wherein some genes were injected paraglider. The result is rather unusual but it is the possibility of having a veil covering 70 degrees to 180 degrees, used by 4-30 knots of wind alone who challenged me… Handling the boom of a self is a nightmare on a 35 ‘and the limits of my strength, so I do not imagine that it can give a 50’. As I do not intend to become a superman, I was looking for a better solution. And I think I have found it! We decided to color yesterday… It will be just like this. Isn’t it beautiful?
Finally, here is my friend one day found in the cockpit. Lohan, who has seen a picture, found it really cute…:-)