Friday, January 29, 2010

Sailing Biscayne Bay...

Had a great sail on Wed on a friends Hunter 30, in Biscayne Bay. Even dug out an old Cruising Chute that hadn't seen daylight for many years. Bliss!!!!

Posted this for all you people "up" North.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My issues with LED lights....

LED lights are in their 4th + generation. For an overview go to Bebi Electronics Web site. Some of the earlier LED lights simply did not cut it and were prone to rapid failure. Buying a cheap LED is a bad idea.

I love LED low power usage and I plan to use them as spot lights, reading lights and to cover work areas in general. The next question is whether to use sealed units or LED bulbs in traditional fittings. My great concern about the sealed units (e.g Bebi, Hella Euro etc.) is that in the event of a lightning strike you loose the complete fitting. If you pay $100 per unit this can be expensive and you have to buy and install complete new fittings.

If you use a LED bulb in a traditional fitting you only have to replace the bulb (assuming your boat hasn't been completely fried). I have been impressed by the SCAD Technologies "Sensibulb" and plan to test it in a WM Xenon Berth Light fitting. I tried it in a dome light but it does not seem to distribute the light evenly (partially due to the fact that it fits in the socket an an angle).

For a low cost, low power usage I am happy to recommend the Bebi Electronics products. I have no connection with the company other than the Owners/managers own a Downeaster 38, a sister-ship to my last boat. However, you can help but like a company that makes LED lights in a village in Fiji.

This may seem like a lot of effort for lighting but next time you are onboard a well lit boat try and compare it to a less well lit one.

WM Interior Dome
light, bright enough but halogen light use too much power.

Bebi Light - Not bright enough for area lighting IMHO.

Bebi Light - I will use some of these as down lights.

And we have a lighting winner......

On our last boat we quickly came to the conclusion that you need a "bright" boat below decks. An important aspect of this is good lighting. Spot lighting (reading lights etc.) is fine, but sometime you need to "open" the boat up to avoid a feeling of claustrophobia.

For this purpose the Alpenglow light is a clear winner. I plan to put 4 in the saloon (2 in the main area, one over the galley and one over the chart table). One in the vee berth, one in the forward heads, one in the aft heads and two in the after cabin. That's 9 lights at $97 each (ouch) for the 9-watt single power light. I will use the Red LED version ($119) over the chart table and in the forward heads.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Keel fuel tanks are finally in.....

OK, I accept that this bilge took longer than the painting of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling but ..... its a pretty bilge!

Coosa board chocks that the tanks sit on.

Tank access with bilge pump system between

Aft tank.

One change was the use of 3M 2216 Scotch Adhesive to glue the haysite to the bottom of the tank. 3M were adamant that you should NOT use 5200.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

How much Horse Power do you need in a sailboat?

In the case of a 32ft WLL, 26,000 lbs. sailboat the short answer is 36HP for a nice cruise on Biscayne Bay and 100HP when trying to claw off a lee shore at 3am after you have screwed up your navigation.

Good old Nigel Calder has an excellent table on page 226 of his Marine Diesel Engines (3rd ed). He uses the example of a 32ft WLL, 26,000lb auxiliary sailboat, which is close enough to a fully loaded Whitby 42 to make no difference. Please refer to Calders book for details, but the basic figures are;

Hull speed = 7.58 Kts.
Shaft HP to reach hull speed allowing for 40% prop efficiency = 36.25HP.
Add 33% for power train loss = this gives a BHP of 48HP.

This ties in with all other tables I have seen. Obviously add a few HP for alternators and other bolt on's.

Friday, January 22, 2010

So why can't I install TWO engines.....

in a Whitby 42. I mean if its good enough for Bob Bitchin on his new Shannon 52 RDP?

OK, OK before anyone has a stroke only one of those engines in mine. I hadn't planned on making the engine decision for another year and in the interim I was busy torturing myself with questions about HP, turbo/no turbo, brand etc.

While on a visit to our friends in St. John, Pat and Bev, the Perkins Sabre M65 was mentioned. It pretty well fitted the HP slot between the 80HP recommended by the Whitby purists and the 50/55 HP non-turbo engines that were generally available (see next post on HP requirements). But the engine was out of production.

A few weeks later, when Jim E (previous mentioned boat guru etc.) said that he had a lead on two used Perkins Sabre M65 "at the right price", and would I be interested in one? I was. Pretty much anything that Jim mentions "at the right price', I am interested in, which may result in him being cited in my eventual divorce.

I am now the proud owner on a Perkins Sabre M65 with about 1,800 hrs in need of some cosmetic work, but otherwise in perfect working order.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Boat DC Wiring!!!!!!

Had the pleasure of visiting our friends Scott and Jeanie and their boat 'Joie de Vivre' in Stuart on Sunday. Always enjoy snooping around other boats, especially other Whitby 42's. Scott proudly showed me his wiring system and trust me he has reasons to be happy with it (installed, no doubt at great expense, by the previous owner). It is a thing of beauty but also serves to illustrate the complexity of the current method of wiring a boat. ALL the wires lead back to a central panel usually midships.

Installing such a system is way beyond my meager abilities and patience so my only choice would be to contract it out. This is unlikely to be a cheap option and unless I stand over the installer I may still not understand where all the squiggly amps go.


I can investigate one of the new distribution systems, e.g. the Capi2 bus based power supply systems. Nigel Calder went this route on his new sailboat Nada, not without some pain, see "On the Leading Edge"

This is one of the comments about the system which I like;

Comments which stop short of "are you completely f#&king nuts?" would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Weird weather in Miami......

One of the benefits of living in a warm part of the US, like Florida, is that you don't need things like heavy socks, woolly jumpers, heavy coats etc. That is until you have a spell of weather like we are currently experiencing. The manatee are passing out, iguanas are falling from the trees and the locals are beginning to look like Napoleon's troops on the retreat from Moscow.

But at least the sunsets are beautiful. This is the view from our apartment.