2022 has been a messy year, full of uncertainty and setbacks.
Covid restrictions, lockdowns, Government restrictions and the traffic light system provided the uncertainty in 2022. A very messy year all round.
During the lockdown opportunistic thieves broke into Truce and made off with a good haul of treasures, some very valuable to me but worthless to the thieves. I put in an insurance claim but will never recoup the full value of the stolen items. Now the fact I have made an insurance claim is conspiring against me for future insurance. Don’t you love insurance companies.
The good and bad news. The police caught the thief’s red handed and recovered some of my stuff which was basically stuff they couldn’t sell and is useless. It turns out that the robbers were living on various boats during lockdown and taking the opportunity to rob other boats while the owners couldn’t access them. All this taking place from dinghies in the dead of night. The bad guys have gone to court and pleaded not guilty and now the case will go to trial next year. I don’t expect anything from our pathetic justice system apart from protracted delays, wasting of taxpayers money for lawyers and legal aid, resulting in a gentle slap on the wrist for the perpetrators. A keelhauling would be much more satisfying, more fun, quicker and cheaper.
Well, I decided early on in the year to relax and let the covid thing run its course and use the time to get some maintenance done and get Truce ready for coming adventures in 2023. In the meantime I have been keeping busy working part time at Burnsco, utilising my staff discount and building up the cruising fund.
As I write this its early December. The plan is to stop working at the end of December and go sailing again in the New Year. We could go north and visit some inexplored paces at the top of New Zealand or we could go south again to Stewart Island. In the New Year I think we will just go with the flow and take the path of least resistance.
In the meantime there is a brief update on what we have done during the very quiet year of 2022.
MIDWINTER MINI CRUISE
27 June 2022
07:00 and flat calm, not a breath of wind and still dark as Ngozi and I let go from the marina at Hobsonville. Slowly we made our way out of the marina and over the shallow patch into the marked channel. Then a bit more speed as we opened up the throttle and hit seven knots. What a beautiful crisp morning, the crescent moon popped out from the clouds and reflected on the water as the sky lightened in the east.
As we motored down channel with the tide behind us, in the twilight we could see a large fog bank ahead before the harbour bridge. Soon we were in thick fog off the Chelsea Sugar Factory, motoring at slow speed, the radar was on, picking out the moored boats and navigation buoys, the harbour bridge showing as a big black smear on the radar ahead of us. Suddenly the bridge appeared visually just ahead and above us, we had judged the opening correctly and slid under the centre span with the sun rising beyond the bridge over Takapuna, quite dramatic.
With the sunrise the fog quickly disappeared, Auckland City showed itself, the radar was shut down and we carried on at good speed down the harbour, around North Head and up the Rangitoto Channel heading out towards Great Barrier Island.
The wind was favourable from the South West for the crossing across the Hauraki Gulf but unfortunately only about five to ten knots, not enough to sail at a reasonable speed and enable us to reach our destination before nightfall. So, we motor-sailed, doing about 2000 rpm on the engine. The passage across was made in glorious sunshine, lounging around on the foredeck (away from the engine noise) soaking up the warmth from the winter sun. We anchored in Kiwiriki Bay at five in the afternoon as the sun was going down.
There is only one other boat in the anchorage, I thought there would be more. Well, its only a few days after the winter solstice not really the boating season.
June 28 2022
Another peaceful night at anchor and a wonderful sleep, hard to believe its mid-winter.
We got up later this morning, starting to get into relaxed mode, no rush to get anywhere and plenty of time to get there. There are now two other boats in the anchorage, another one came in last night.
Today we motored around to Port Fitzroy and anchored just off the wharf. There seem to be a few more moorings in the bay now and less space for anchoring. We had a brief run ashore and visited the store. Ngozi bought a Vodafone sim card as our Skinny phones don’t work over here. Considering this place is part of Auckland city the facilities here for the locals are sparse, or maybe that’s the way they want to keep it.
After Fitzroy we went fishing again and this time had no luck at landing any fish. I was expecting a fish dinner this evening and am quite disappointed in myself. The hunter gatherer not providing, shameful.
This evening we have anchored in a cove on the south side of Kairara Bay, looks like it could be protected from the southerly winds that are forecast.
I did a stupid thing this evening when anchoring and am going to pay for it in the morning. Usually when anchoring I approach the chosen anchor spot at low speed and shorten up the dinghy painter so it cant get into the propeller. Then I clear the anchor away ready for dropping. Just before the anchor position I engage astern on the engine and walk forward to let go the anchor, by this time truce is usually stopped and just starting to go astern as I lay the anchor chain out on the seabed before snubbing up. This evening I went through the usual ritual, as I dropped the anchor the engine shuddered and stopped dead.
Instantly I knew with sickening certainty that I had forgotten to shorten up the dinghy painter. A look over the side confirmed what I already knew, the dinghy was hard up against the transom in a nose down configuration and the painter bar tight. Yes, no doubt about it, I had wrapped the painter around the propeller! I cut the painter at the dinghy and the little pig floated free. The fouled propeller would have to wait until tomorrow, no way was I going into the water in the gathering darkness to free the prop.
As a precaution I checked inside the boat to make sure the stern strut was still tight and that the shaft seal was still ok. All was good as expected and no leaks. One of the few advantages of a low horsepower engine is that it doesn’t take much to stop it. The last time I got something caught in the propeller was in British Columbia and that time it was some tree bark, the type the Indians use for lashing and stuff, strong material. When I got it out of the propeller I was surprised how little it had taken to stop the engine.
Nothing else for it I will be diving tomorrow.
COLD WATER BATHING
29 June 2022
Another peaceful night at anchor and a good sleep again.
This morning I set about freeing up the propeller. First I unwound the propeller shaft from inside the boat three turns, hoping the rope would unwrap a bit. Then I tried teasing the rope out of the propeller from the dinghy, it didn’t work. I really didn’t expect it would work but am willing to try almost anything rather than get into the water.
Left with no choice, I had to get in the water and free it by hand. I dislike getting into seawater at anytime and only do it reluctantly when its tepid and shallow. This was not tepid, it took my breath away. After a few minutes work I had the propeller and shaft free and all the rope removed. I couldn’t see any damage underwater and the anode was still in place, firmly attached.
Getting back onto Truce was an interesting exercise. I climbed up the steps that are fastened onto the transom. The steps are there to enable someone in the water to climb on board, I had never used them from the water until now. I made it onboard Ok, but had to pull myself up with my arms until I could get a foothold on the bottom step. A tired, exhausted or overweight person would struggle to get back on board this way. A cold freshwater shower in the cockpit completed my ordeal and served my penance.
The weather forecast to the next couple of days is for strong winds and we now have continuous rain since this morning. Nobody onboard is keen to go anywhere so I let out a further ten meters of anchor chain for when the expected wind arrives. Its nice and warm in the cabin and a good place to relax with the rain and wind playing around outside.
In the late afternoon I set about making up a stew in the pressure cooker. Its been wet and breezy all day, real weather to cook up a stew. The fire is on and its cozy in the salon, the forward cabin is nicely heated as the chimney passes through the cabin to the deck.
CALM AFTER THE STORM
July 1 2022
Two nights and a day of nasty weather is behind us. Strong southerly winds made for an uncomfortable couple of nights, particularly around two in the morning. Once again, I wonder what makes the wind strongest at two in the morning. According to the radio it was gusting at fifty knots plus in the Colville Channel just to the south of us.
The wind was particularly annoying as it was coming in big gusts with almost calm lulls in between. In the strong gusts the bow of Truce falls away and as the anchor snubber comes tight she sails forward, then in the lull with no wind to hold her she keeps going and sails on over the anchor before bringing up and falling away again. This is uncomfortable and wearing, a steady strong wind is preferable.
Anyway, today the wind has abated, we now have a gentle twenty knots which doesn’t trouble us in the anchorage. We have had two days without sun and solar input. I ran the engine for an hour to feed some amps back into the batteries. It would be nice to have lithium batteries that provide so much more usable power, must buy a Lotto ticket.
Mid-morning, we shifted anchorage to the head of Kaiarara Bay and went ashore for a walk. We have been here before many years ago. As we took the dinghy into the shore I remembered the shallow muddy beach, it hadn’t changed. I pulled the dinghy ashore through the thick mud with Ngozi sitting in it like a princess, she got out when we hit firmer ground.
We didn’t walk too far, just didn’t feel like it. Ngozi found a rich vein of Pipi’s in the mud on the beach and set about harvesting. We then returned to Truce and set off for a bit of fishing as we fancied fish for dinner. We caught a few healthy snapper and kept two pan sized ones for the evening meal.
It still gets dark early and we returned to a cove on the south side of Kaiarara bay to anchor for the night. The evening meal started with Pipi’s followed by fish and chips, no mushy peas available unfortunately. Tasted great.
All is good on board this evening, we are well fed and watered. The fire is on and its cosy, a quiet and peaceful night is expected, the wind has died down.
July 3 2022
The day opens fine, clear and glassy calm sea. The wind died down early evening and calm prevailed all night, had a fantastic sleep. After a bit of a lazy morning, we weighed anchor and headed around to Port Fitzroy where we picked up a convenient mooring just off the jetty. The mooring belongings to a mate of a mate.
Off we went ashore and topped up some fresh water jerry cans. We really didn’t need to top up with fresh water, but old habits die hard. Then it was off to the store for some fresh provisions including more beer. Now, I thought I had brought sufficient beer but the stocks seem to have been going down at an alarming rate. Better have another case – just in case. Another treat ashore was an ice cream, which we ate sitting on a grass bank looking across the harbour in lovely warm sunshine.
Late afternoon we let go from the mooring and headed across to Smokehouse Bay where we anchored just after sunset. Sunset is at 17:30 in the afternoon, it gets dark early. There are three other boats anchored here, it seems quite crowded.
The anchorage in Smokehouse Bay gave us a beautiful calm night, the water was flat calm. Even just warm enough to sit in the cockpit for half an hour finishing sundowners before retreating below to the cosy warmth of the salon.
The next morning was just as calm, we took the little pig ashore after breakfast. There we met the two other couples from the other yachts. They were busy doing their chores, laundry, chopping wood, making a fire for a hot water tub fire and planning how to use the Pizza oven. Smokehouse Bay is a wonderful facility for boaties, this time of year its almost empty, in the summer months it must be jam packed.
Ngozi and I headed off for a walk ashore, beautiful weather and it really was quite warm, it almost felt like summer. There was quite a bit of pig activity on the track, both large and small pig tracks, we didn’t actually see any pigs. Ahh Bacon. After an hour or so we returned to Smokehouse Bay, sat in the sun and chatted. Ngozi headed onto the rocks and picked a feed of mussels. One of the guys was a self-opinionated know all and it became painful to listen to him, so we decided we should depart back to Truce.
Once back on board the anchor came up and we went fishing. This proved very productive, we kept a couple of good snapper for dinner. We returned once again to the anchorage at Smokehouse Bay and got settled before the sun set in time for sundowners.
Dinner was a grand affair, Mussels in white wine sauce for starters and snapper, mashed potatoes and broccoli for main course. All washed down with pale ale for me and white wine for Ngozi. All in all, a wonderful day and another calm night. Mid-winter cruising is not bad.
LAZY DAY AT SMOKEHOUSE BAY
July 4 2022
The anchorage at Smokehouse Bay provided another perfectly calm night. We arose later than usual and with no place to go and no hurry to get there we pottered around all morning doing odd jobs and relaxing. The afternoon came and went and we had no inclination to do anything energetic. The weather was unseasonably warm, we enjoyed relaxing in the cockpit, reading for her, messing around, fixing and maintaining things for me.
The weather forecast for the coming days is all doom and gloom, high winds and record rainfall are predicted. Staying at Great Barrier Island is an option, there are good anchorages in Port Fitzroy to ride out bad weather. But, the prospect of long nights and short days of bad weather is not too appealing. We decided to head south to Coromandel and see what develops with the weather. So the dinghy was stowed on deck and everything made ready for a morning departure.
HEADING TO COROMANDEL
July 5 2022
At seven in the morning the sky was getting light and we weighed anchor, saying goodbye to Smokehouse Bay. One of the other yachts at the anchorage departed just before us and looks like they are headed back to Auckland. The weather is grey and overcast with a lot of moisture in the air.
The weather forecast is for fifteen knots from the North East increasing to thirty knots later. Perfect wind for a sail down to Coromandel. Once outside Port Fitzroy we hoisted the mainsail with one reef, a good wind was expected once we had cleared the coast. We motored south with not much wind. Once in the Colville Channel the wind picked up a bit and we started sailing only for the wind to die down again ten minutes later and the rain to set in. We motored past Channel Island with not enough wind to fill the sails. A bit disappointing.
Later in the afternoon we had some gusty breeze off the high land of Coromandel but it was fluky, with rain squalls, motor-sailing was the only option if we wanted to arrive and anchor before dark. In the wet conditions I wasn’t keen to hang around so Mr. Yanmar kept on beating away down below. At least a prolonged period of motor-sailing gave us time to become familiar with the new Pelagic Autopilot. So far it has performed faultlessly and is far superior to the Raymarine Tiller pilots we have been suffering with. Its early days yet but I am already thinking of getting the Raymarine units off the boat and just buying a spare ram for the Pelagic.
Late afternoon we arrived and anchored in Te Kouma Harbour. The wind has died down and the predicted thirty knots is missing. Te Kouma is a good anchorage when strong winds are expected, the bottom is thick sticky mud. The evening is wet and cold outside. I have moved the dinghy on deck to clear the smoke stack for the Dickinson heater. With the heater on the cabin is cosy as the wind and rain start to play around outside.
Tomorrow the winds are forecast to reduce and blow from the south at fifteen knots. We will see.
BACK IN AUCKLAND
July 7 2022
A bit blustery last night but nothing special and didn’t live up to the doom and gloom hype from the weather forecast. The morning was wet, cold and overcast with a light wind from the south. As the wind was forecast to increase to twenty knots it seemed ideal to sail across the Firth of Thames. We set off after a hearty breakfast, motoring out of Te Kouma anchorage in anticipation of a good sail.
Up went the mainsail, spilling a ton of accumulated water over me as a freshener. Then back to the cockpit to deploy the yankee and staysail. Not much wind, maybe it was coming. I scanned the sea to the south but saw no sign of the promised wind. I furled the headsails and motored on towards Sandspit Passage at the bottom of Ponui Island. It was a pleasant motor across in benign conditions.
Once into the Tamaki Strait we tried our hand at fishing. It wasn’t a very serious effort, the fish were not biting and any enthusiasm soon evaporated. The sun came out briefly as we passed along the south side of Waiheke Island in flat calm. In early afternoon we turned up into Islington Bay and dropped anchor for the night. I am not a fan of Islington Bay as the bottom is sticky mud, good holding but a terrible mess when weighing anchor.
The evening was relaxed, the fire was on and all was well on the good ship Truce.
Shortly after midnight the promised wind arrived, singing in the rigging. It sounded no more than twenty-five knots and I returned to a good sleep. In the morning the wind was still blowing from the east and the updated forecast was doom and gloom again for a few days ahead. I had half expected this scenario and we decided to head back to Hobsonville Marina rather than spend more days on board in nasty weather.
We weighed anchor and as anticipated the chain came up a real muddy mess. A few buckets of water helped clear some. I have now added a deck wash pump to my project list and may get around to it before the spring.
Once clear of Islington Bay the blustery easterly wind was ideal for pushing us up the harbour with the incoming tide. We romped along with just the headsails pulling. Rather than use the windvane the new Pelagic Autopilot was put into action and after adjusting the gain setting slightly it performed perfectly, what a pleasure to have a reliable autopilot on board again.
We passed under the Harbour bridge at nine and an hour later were all secure in the berth at Hobsonville Marina. The wind increased and the rain fell but we didn’t care. We walked up the Café and had a late breakfast, the full fried heart attack for me washed down with coffee. A perfect end to a quick winter cruise.
The cruise has exposed a fault in my new electrical setup. Although this has worked well at the dock, in real life it has worked but could be better. I believe that the alternator (55amp) is overwhelmed when the DC DC converter cuts in and the house battery is simultaneously charging, potentially drawing 60 amps. I have a solution in my head and will write about it when successfully tested. I now have a long to do list for continued improvements and maintenance – it never stops – but I enjoy it.
CHANGING ENGINE MOUNTS YANMAR 3GM30F
October 6 2022
For a couple of years now I have been observing the rust accumulation on the engine mounts. Looks nasty and it’s a pain to keep cleaning up. But on closer inspection I could not see any structural failure and the rubber inserts appeared to be OK. So I just convinced myself that it was a cosmetic issue and everything was working well under the surface. Recently I had noticed that the engine was moving around on the mounts more than normal, the change may have been ongoing slowly so I hadn’t picked it up sooner. Worn engine mounts cause more engine movement, the symptoms were there.
Anyway, I decided that the mounts had to be changed and set about finding some replacements. Shock horror at the price of new Yanmar engine mounts. I took to google to do some research. There is a wealth of opinions and experiences both good and bad with Yanmar alternative engine mounts. After some filtering out of information I decided to go with some mounts manufactured in Europe. They were significantly less expensive than the Yanmar factory mounts and had one hundred percent positive feedback form people who had used them.
After parting with some hard-earned beer tokens the new mounts arrived from Europe. They looked and measured exactly like the same as the original mounts. The quality looked good but I noticed the paint covering the steel was not too thick. The first job I did was to give the new mounts a further few protective coats of paint over the metal, don’t want any premature rust showing up.
My plan for changing out the mounts was to do one at a time, starting on the forward mounts as they were the easiest for learning on. Before removing the mount, I carefully measured the distance from the bearer to the hanger, I could then install the new mount with the same measurement. The mounts would be removed with the hangers attached. It was easier to remove the hangers from the engine with the mounts still attached. Also, I wanted to refurbish the hangers as they were looking a bit sad.
Before starting on removing the mounts I disconnected the shaft from the gearbox. Lack of space made this more difficult than it should be but all went well. I also removed the shaft coupling as it was a but rusty and needed some treatment and refurbishment.
To hold the front of the engine up I placed a timber strongback over the companionway entrance and used a rope and Spanish windlass arrangement. By tightening the Spanish windlass I could lift the engine sufficiently to remove the first mount. A bottle jack under the engine or chain block to lift and hold the engine work as well. In practice I found that when a mount was removed the engine would sit happily on three mounts without any support.
The first mount was surprisingly easy to remove. This was encouraging, I reminded myself that this was the mount with the easiest access.
The other front mount detached quite easily as well. To remove the rear two mounts I didn’t use the Spanish windlass as I found I could lever up the engine with a steel bar sufficiently to remove the mounts. The rear mounts were more difficult to remove due to the tight access. A bit more verbal encouragement was needed.
When the old mounts were compared with the new mounts they did look very sad, definitely not a bad decision to replace them. I cleaned up the mounts and coupling the best I could with a drill mounted wire brush and then soaked them overnight in Evapo-Rust (A CRC product). The next day the magic Evapo-Rust had done its job and the parts were clean with no visible rust. This is the first time I have used this product; it works.
I spray painted the coupling and hangers with primer and then a topcoat of engine enamel and finally a baking cure in the oven. They came out looking good.
Before fitting the new mounts, I cleaned up the bearers and gave them a fresh coat of paint while had I had the opportunity of access. I also took the opportunity of cleaning out the bilge behind the engine and giving it a fresh coat of paint. Fitting the new mounts was a simple reverse of the removal procedure. Again, the rear mounts being trickier due to the cramped space.
Before refitting the coupling to the shaft, I took the opportunity to replace the dripless seal bellows. The manufacturers recommend changing the bellows every six years. The existing bellows have only been on for five years but as the shaft is disconnected it seems a good opportunity. I also replaced the raw water discharge hose to the shaft seal with a stronger braided hose that’s more suitable for use below the waterline, its not shown in the photo below. I now have peace of mind for another six years.
I refitted the coupling to the shaft, making sure and double checking I had the keyway and pin bolts positioned correctly before tightening up. The coupling was then presented to the shaft ready for alignment.
Two days later the engine alignment is done. What a mission! I could have done the alignment in a couple of hours if I had had a helper and started out making big adjustments then decreasing to small adjustments. A lot of time was wasted crawling from the space behind the engine to the front of the engine and vice versa. Also, by making small adjustments to the mounting I confused myself and got into a cycle of new adjustments cancelling out previous adjustments. By using bigger adjustments, the results would be more readily apparent. Anyway, the job got done and I am a bit wiser.
On the mounting bolts I have applied indicating paste. Any misalignment of the indicator will immediately show movement of the bolt. A simple way to visually check for any movement. It was with trepidation that I started the engine up. I shouldn’t have worried; all looks and sounds wonderful. The engine runs quieter and does not bounce around on the mounts like it used to do. The horrible wobble at low RPM’s has disappeared and it sits rock solid at higher RPM’s. I am pleased how this job has turned out. A worthwhile job and the new engine mounts should last for many years to come.
WIRELESS ANCHOR WINCH CONTROL
13 October 2022
The anchor winch on Truce is a Maxwell 1200 model. It has performed thousands of anchoring cycles without complaint and is a simple solid piece of kit. I have two ways to control the winch, firstly by foot switches on the deck forward and secondly by a remote switch in the cockpit.
In practice I never use the remote switch in the cockpit as I cant see how the chain is leading and when the anchor is coming up to the roller. I much prefer to walk along to the bow and use the foot switches and get a visual on what is happening with the chain and anchor.
For about a year I have been thinking of using a wireless remote control. Such a device would make tasks such as rigging the snubber much easier. I would be able to stand anywhere in the bow to control the winch without always reaching out with a leg onto the deck button.
Just by chance I saw a remote winch control for sale, the control was for an off road vehicle winch. The price was $25. Could this work on a marine winch? After all its just a momentary switch to apply power to the solenoid – what could go wrong? Certainly worth a try, if it didn’t work I would be out of pocket by $25. The marine anchor winch manufactures sell wireless remotes at ten times that price, just because its got boat written on it. A quick google showed that the cheap 4WD remote I had selected bore a striking resemblance to one supplied by a European winch manufacturer at many times the price – minus a fancy anchor sticker.
Well, I purchased the cheap off road unit. It seems well made with a waterproof seal to keep the damp out. The hand unit uses a small 12 volt battery for power, the same battery type is used in the water tank gauge system. That’s good, I have spares on board.
Wiring the unit into the existing system was easy, just four wires to connect. Red and black wires for positive and negative went into the existing power supply. For the yellow and green wires I put on a double stud and crimped terminals to the wires and connected than together. The control box I screwed on the bulkhead in the anchor locker and left the antenna wire hanging down. Then I gave the connections a liberal spraying with CRC Soft Seal.
I switched power onto the winch and checked everything with my trusty multimeter. Everything looked good. Back on deck I switched on the remote control and gave it a tentative press. Hey presto it works! Nothing more satisfying than completing a project and having it work first try.
Setting and retrieving the snubber onto and off the chain is easier. I can pose with gay abandon to the other boats in the anchorage waving my arm about with the remote in hand. I feel quite pleased with myself.
BIGGER IS BETTER FW ACCULULATOR TANK AND BONUS DECK WASHDOWN
October 20 2022
In Nelson last year I changed out the fresh water accumulator tank for a new one. The rubber bladder on the old one had burst and there was no replacement bladder available. The new accumulator tank was a one litre Jabsco, just the same as the old one. Quite handy at the time as it was a direct drop-in replacement.
After a bit of trial and error, adjusting the bladder pressure with the help of a bike pump I was able to get the tank to hold the maximum water capacity before the pump cycled on. But I was not happy. Over the years, the Jabsco water pump has developed an annoying noise when operating and I wanted a bigger accumulator tank to reduce pump cycling. I looked for a solution and as usual the space constraints on board seemed to limit my options. I could not see an alternative but kept the idea alive at the back of my head.
Another thought running in parallel with the fresh water issue was a deck washdown pump. A few weeks ago we had anchored in Islington Bay, just outside Auckland. This is a notoriously muddy anchorage. On weighing anchor the chain came up caked in thick gelatinous mud, the anchor was just a big mud ball. After numerous buckets of water the anchor and chain were a bit cleaner and the deck looked like a dredger. I am getting too old for the bucket brigade and made a vow to find a less labour intensive solution.
A couple of weeks passed, the cogs in my head churned away in the background. I looked all around for a place to fit a larger accumulator tank, under the galley sink, in the head, in the bosuns locker, behind the engine. Nothing easy and tidy came to mind, the more I looked the more frustrated I became.
Off course every problem has a solution waiting to be found. It just needs time and a couple of beers for the answer to present itself. Under the existing pump and behind the chart table there is a small void space. Just the size to fit an accumulator tank and fresh water pump. Of course, the space is tight, good planning and flawless execution was critical to get the installation in place and connected.
Measurements were taken, retaken and then checked again. Sketches and plans were drawn up. By wriggling on my stomach across the chart table I could get one hand and arm into the space where the installation would take place. It was tight but possible. The installation of the water pump was quite easy. The existing electrical connection was close by and connecting the power was straightforward. The pump has quick connect ports which made the connecting of the inlet and outlet pipes a simple one-handed job. Securing the pump to the bulkhead was a bit fiddley one handed but once one retaining screw was in position the other three followed quickly.
The pump I chose to fit is a Johnson model. It’s a bit smaller than the previous Jabsco model at 11lpm but big enough to handle the needs on Truce. It can service two open taps with ease and in reality, there is usually only one tap open at any one time. The Johnson pump is quieter than the old Jabsco and as it is now insulated behind cabinetry the sound is very muffled.
Mounting the accumulator tank was a bit trickier than the water pump. I decided to fabricate a wooden back board out of marine ply, which I gave a protective coating of west epoxy. This wooden backing board has a bottom retaining bracket and the tank retaining strap bracket mounted to it.
The idea is to permanently mount the plywood backing pad to the bulkhead first. Then slide the tank down into position onto the location screws and bracket to hold the tank in place. The dry fit went well after a bit of adjustment. On top of the bottom bracket, the faces of the tank securing bracket and under the steel retaining strap I placed double sided bear tape. That will (hopefully), prevent any metal-to-metal contact, vibration wear and possible corrosion problems at a later date.
Due to space constraints the pipework under the accumulator tank was preassembled and fitted to the tank prior to installation. The tank was then lowered into place onto the location screws. It all fitted perfectly and is rock solid. The flexible inlet pipe was connected to the quick fit connection on the pump. The outlet pipe is connected to the John Guest distribution piping, an easy quick connect with the final fitting of a retaining collar.
Next, I checked the pressure in the accumulator tank with a tyre pressure gauge. It was too high so I released some pressure, down to the pump manufacturers setting. Then I opened all taps on board and opened the fresh water supply from the tank to the pump. The moment of truth, I switched on the pump.
Water flowed from both the galley and head taps, I let the water run for a minute to get rid of any air in the system then closed the taps. The pump ran for about a further thirty seconds and then shut off. So far so good.
As an added bonus I have converted the space where the old pump used to be into a large and useful shelf area behind the chart table.
I checked around for leaks and found none. Then I played around, running taps and measuring how much water I could draw from the system before the pump cycled on. The result was heaps, I can fill a kettle and fill mugs of water before the pumps kicks in.
The larger accumulator tank has made a significant improvement to life on board. The new installation is an improvement on the old in many ways. The pump is now lower in the hull and closer to the water tanks which reduces the vertical lift. The situation of the pump behind cabinetry reduces pump noise to a low hum which is not at all intrusive. I expect that when single handing the pump will come on only once or twice per day, reducing stress and wear on the pump and conserving energy. I am very happy with the modification and the improvement to the quality of life on board.
Back onto the muddy anchor chain issue, there has been a huge improvement there as well. The old Jabsco fresh water pump has been repurposed as a salt water washdown pump. I have teed into the galley salt water inlet pipe to feed into the washdown pump which is installed in the bilge under the galley sink. From there I have taken a pipe to an outlet on deck at the forward end of the cockpit.
From the deck wash down connection I can reach all areas of the deck with a ten meter long hose. This is going to make anchor washdown a breeze and allow me to give the whole boat a salt water wash if needed. I anticipate that washing down after fishing is going to be much easier as well. Oh, what an easy life its going to be. Now I have too many buckets on board.
HOW MANY USB’S DO YOU NEED ON A BOAT
Novenber 4 2022
How many USB’s do you need? The answer is heaps.
For a long time we have had only two USB’s on board Truce. Most of the time it has been adequate but with two people on board and the proliferation of electrical gadgets that need charging it is no longer sufficient. We have phones, tablets, spotlights, speakers, headtorches and all sorts of stuff that like USB charging. I have also noticed that an increased charging rate is required for most modern equipment. Our old 1 amp and 2.1 amp USB’s just weren’t up to the job anymore.
In the cockpit I often use a phone or tablet with Navionics for coastal navigation. To power the tablet or phone I have been using an extension cable from the chart table and out of the companionway hatch. When I am single handed its works OK but with other people on board the cable always seems to get in the way. Its not a good arrangement.
I have now increased the USB capacity at the chart table with the addition of two new 2.4 amp USB’s. That gives up four USB outlets at the chart table and allows charging of multiple devices when power is available. Of course the current running through the supply cables has more than doubled and I have checked the wiring to make sure its up to the job.
For use in the cockpit I have installed a new twin USB fitting that is waterproof. I am always skeptical about waterproof electrical fittings so have mounted this on in a protected area under the dodger where hopefully the worst it will get is a heavy spray. Rokk is a good brand and not cheap so I hope it lives up to its price tag.
This new fitting will allow me to use a tablet for navigation in the cockpit without a wire trailing through the companionway hatch. A feature that I am sure others on board will appreciate. It will also make my life easier having a power source in the cockpit. An added safety bonus is that I will be able to lock the companionway shut from the inside in nasty weather if needed without disconnecting any cables. Now we have six USB’s on board from the original two. A good little upgrade.
BILGE ALARM – BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
16 December 2022
Truce has never had a bilge alarm. I know its an essential piece of kit, but I have never got around to fitting one until now. Every ship I have been on has bilge alarms; they are an important safety item. I have now remedied the oversight, another little job ticked off the list.
On Truce I run a dry bilge, any water in the bilge is a sign of a leak of some sort. The bilge pump and float switch are situated in a box above the bilge. Any water in the bilge would have to rise about 200mm before it overflowed into the bilge box and activated the bilge pump. This arrangement prevents any discharge of diesel or oil accidentally spilled into the bilge. There are two lines feeding into the bilge box, one is the drain from the anchor locker and the other is the drain from the shower tray.
Any water that finds its way into the bilge can be quickly evacuated by a few strokes on the large Whale 30 gal per minute manual bilge pump, which sucks directly from the bottom of the bilge. The residue can be mopped up with a sponge and cloth.
For the bilge alarm I have used a standard enclosed Rule float switch which runs to a loud siren that I purchased from Jaycar quite reasonably. The float switch and alarm is on the same electrical circuit as the bilge pump. The bilge pump is on an unswitched circuit direct from the house batteries, meaning that its always on.
To install the float switch in the bilge I made a wooden pad (epoxy coated) and stuck it to the inside of the hull using some 3M 5200 (strong stuff). This arrangement means that I don’t have to screw anything into the hull timber. I then screwed down the float switch to the pad and connected up the electrical circuit. I have placed a switch in the circuit to silence the alarm.
Once everything was in place I tested the alarm by lifting the float switch. Yes, it works well and will certainly get my undivided attention if it ever goes off. The switch to silence the alarm is essential.
If the bilge alarm ever goes off it will scare the pants off me. It will probably take a few seconds for me to realise what alarm it is. Now if only it would talk to me and say ‘High level bilge alarm’ in a reassuring voice.