Thursday, April 27, 2017

Electrical Systems & Design, Part I - Lithium or AGM?

We're moving on to installation of Bonne Amie's interior, so it's time to begin considering electrical requirements.

Having completed electronics and electrical refits on multiple yachts over the years, I've gained valuable experience, having had the chance to experiment with, and evaluate, a number of different products, vendors & technologies.

Bonne Amie's original DC panel from 1955

The most important lesson I have learned is that it's really easy to make things too complicated.

Among the clear decisions for this installation were the following:
  • Keep the systems as simple as possible
  • Lithium House Batteries
  • Lightweight, Odyssey cranking battery
  • Just one single AC Outlet in Navigation
  • Provision for SFC Fuel Cells (Supplemental Green Charging) for long passages
  • LED Light Conversions Throughout
  • Engine Driven & Solid Fuel Heat Only
  • NKE Wind Instruments & Pilot
  • Cobham (Thrane & Thrane) SAILOR VHF Radios
I'll get into the specific reasons for each of these decisions in each part of this series.

Roll Your Own or a Purpose Engineered, Marine Specific Li Battery System? 

 

I have dealt with Bruce Schwab at Ocean Planet Energy on two projects, and I cannot speak highly enough of Bruce or Ocean Planet Energy.  I can't imagine anyone else in this market has Bruce's expertise in this specific area.  If you're considering an Li installation on your boat, or green power on your yacht, you need to call Bruce.  Because of this relationship, and my past successes working with Bruce, I would never consider rolling my own Li batteries.

It's just not worth the effort or risk when I can buy a complete system designed by someone who has forgotten more about Li batteries than I'll ever learn for just marginally more than rolling my own.

While there are folks out there who are fully capable of building their own Li house battery system (and it is a complete system, not just a battery), I am not.  So I'm going with a proven expert in the field, and a tier-one battery manufacturer who has worked with Bruce to design Li batteries specifically for the offshore sailing market.

Why Lithium Batteries?


I've put Lithium batteries on two boats now, and as far as I'm concerned, there is simply no better choice for house banks now that Li technology has matured.  Lithonics, Mastervolt, Genasun and others all make incredibly reliable batteries, all safer than lead in many respects.

Here are some key things I consided with when deciding between AGM & Li:
AGM:
  • Total Cycle life of AGM batteries is compromised if 'Depth of Discharge' (DoD) exceeds 50%
  • The top 20% of capacity in AGM is very slow to accept charge
  • Poor Charge Acceptance rate, a typical G31 AGM's is optimally charged at ~30A, with a max rate of ~40A, compare that to 1C (or better) rates on Li
  • In fast charge scenarios, only 30% of an AGM's capacity will be usable 
  • High loads (rapid discharge) of AGM batteries significantly reduces their capacity
  • Despite the reduced 'Charge Acceptance Rate' (CAR) of AGM above 80% charge, full charging is necessary to prevent sulfation
  • ~15% of amps in are lost due to inherent charging inefficiency with AGM batteries
  • Limited Lifespan (400-500 Charge Cycles)
Lithium:
  • The real world usable capacity of Li batteries is 80-85% of total rated capacity
  • Li is light weight: ~25% for same usable capacity with AGM
  • Li's charge acceptance rate can be up to 3x total capacity, typically 90-95% for maximum cycle life
  • Li requires no temperature regulation of charge voltage
  • Li has an extremely high cycle life with 3000-5000 cycles being very common
  • Li has greater efficiency for big loads (windlass, etc).  Same number of Ah in as out
  • Li has dramatically less voltage sag in discharge cycle, with virtually no Peukert’s losses

Some very relevant musings on the Lithium subject, including information on making home baked Li banks, are available on Compass Marine's website.  It's a fantastic article, and there's a lot in there everyone.

A Real World Use Case

Let's look at a real world use case.   We're going to take a long day sail to a remote anchorage from our mooring in the islands.  We'll do the trip in two identical boats, one equipped with AGM, the other with Li.  Both batteries have an equivalent total rated capacity of 120Ah.

Starting with fully charged batteries, we apply a constant load of 9A (instruments, autopilot, minimal systems, refrigeration, perhaps some music on the stereo) for the duration of our sail.

The 140A alternator has sufficient reserve output during charging to absorb this fixed 9A load while the engine is running.

In keeping with the manufacturer's recommendations, we will only discharge the AGM to 50% before we begin recharging the battery, the Li battery will be discharged to 20%, according to the manufacturer's guidelines, before recharging.

We will start our experiment at 7am, as we sail off our mooring.

Sailing with AGM

We depart from our tranquil mooring on the AGM equipped yacht at the prescribed 7am.  Under the 9A load we are able to sail until 1:40pm before we must start recharging the batteries.

Because the acceptance rate is only optimal until we reach 80% total charge on the AGM, we will charge only until this point to save fuel.

While we have a 140A alternator, the maximum charge amperage of the AGM is only 40A, but RECOMMENDED charge amperage is only 30A to maximize cycle life! So we cap the charge program at 30A.

Factoring the AGM's 15% charge inefficiency, we calculate that we can only effectively deliver 25.5Ah to the cells per hour.

It will take 2 hours and 21 minutes to charge the battery back to 80% of it's rated capacity.

At 4:01 we are finally able to turn off the engine and continue our sail in peace.

We've brought the battery up to 96Ah of it's rated 120Ah capacity, leaving only 36Ah before the engine needs to be restarted, again.

By 8:01pm, after only four hours, we have once again exhausted the AGM battery.  We need to charge for another 2 hours and 21 minutes to bring us up to the limit of the battery's optimal absorption. At 10:22pm, as we approach our anchorage, we once again have a full charge, having consumed a total of 96Ah of battery, and replaced a total of 96Ah.

We've run the engine for a total of 4 hours and 42 minutes.

Sailing with Lithium

On the Li equipped boat we slip our mooring at 7am as well.  We're applying the same 9A load, but this time we won't hit the battery's reserve capacity until 5:40PM after 10 hours and 40 minutes of sailing. This is a big improvement over the AGM's performance as we've been able to sail an additional 4 hours before starting the engine to top up the batteries.

We have consumed 96Ah of the battery's capacity and have 16% of safe reserve before critical voltage drop, but we decide to turn on the engine and begin charging the bank.

With it's high acceptance rate and charge efficiency we are able to deliver 100A (0.9C) of charge to the battery, and will stop charging at 95% of it's total capacity or 114Ah of the total rated capacity of 120Ah.  We need to put 94A back into the bank at this point, but at 100A of charge we accomplish this in just 57 minutes.

It's now 6:37PM and we have 94Ah to burn until the next charge.  By 10:16PM when we arrive at anchor, we have only consumed 33Ah of the 94Ah we have remaining.  Turning on the engine for the final 16 minutes prior to dropping the anchor handily tops up the Lithium battery while we furl sails, do a bit of pre-anchor maneuvering, and drop the hook.  It is important to note, however, we would typically leave the battery partially discharged, as Lithium has no issue sitting partially discharged, unlike AGM which prefers being fully charged.

We've run the engine on the Li powered boat for just 73 minutes compared to 4 hours and 42 minutes on the AGM boat.  That's 73 vs 282 minutes on the engine, or a savings of 209 minutes of engine run time in just a single day's sailing.  That's HUGE!


Computing the Real Cost Per Usable Ah

For rapid charging scenarios, what most sailors face offshore (given the tiny size of most of our fuel tanks), we need to compute the cost of batteries not by some factory rated capacity, but by usable capacity in the real world (we don't live in some battery engineer's lab).

Let's look at the the real cost of two batteries of comparable reputation, and quality.

A Lithonics 110Ah battery with the integrated NeverDie BMS is approximately $2200.00.  The real world usable capacity of that battery is approximately 75% of it's rated capacity with low voltage cutoff at approx 80% discharge (although this battery will deliver more than 12v all the way to 96% discharge when manually reset, something the AGM cannot do, even in an emergency).

That's 82.5Ah of real world usable capacity in a rapid charge environment.  This battery is not effected by partial charging or storage at partial charge levels, unlike AGM's, meaning significantly less headache.

That works out to $26.67 per Ah for Lithium, including the BMS.

Mastervolt's very good 12V 8D 225Ah AGM battery sells for approx $814.00.  Given the same operational parameters, this battery will deliver 67.5Ah of usable capacity in a rapid charge environment, still requiring frequent full charging if you are to get anywhere near it's full cycle life.

That's $12.05 per usable Ah.

True, this is less than Li. HOWEVER, the total cycle life of any AGM battery is optimistic at 500 cycles (we're talking lab conditions here, not on a boat), where the Lithonics can easily exceed 3000 in real world marine applications. Considering the cost of disposal and replacement of the AGM's multiplied by six, the Lithonics cells are a screaming bargain by comparison.

Also, consider the 15x8x12" Lithonics battery weighs a mere 32lbs, where the 20.5x8.5x9.5" Mastervolt AGM weighs in at an astonishing 141 lbs.  That's 440% heavier!

Putting it All Together

 

So with all this in mind, the decision to go with the Lithonics with an integrated NeverDie BMS seemed a no-brainer for the house battery.  The 12V110A-30H-CTRL200 was chosen as it can be easily doubled for offshore racing at some future date, and the internal BMS eliminates complication of the overall system.

The cranking battery for our little three cylinder diesel engine will be a simple, lightweight, low cost Odyssey PC925L Battery.

Shore Power will connect only to the Sterling Power 12v-30a Pro Charge Ultra charger, which will be used to charge the Li bank when dockside power is available.  These beautiful chargers are compact (10.25x8.5"), fully programmable, and the 30A unit is less than $550.00.

Power to the single AC outlet in navigation will be provided by a compact 12x7.5" Sterling Power 1000w Pro Power SB Pure Sine Wave Inverter.



While these are 110v, they do operate at 50Hz.  Considering all the equipment we might use on the boat has auto detecting power supplies (laptops, small appliances, etc), this is of no real concern.

The alternator, rectifier and regulator will be supplied by Mark Grasser at DC Power Solutions in Eliot, Maine.  Mark is THE expert in the field when it comes to alternators, rectifiers and regulators.

Not only are Mark's products the best you can buy, they are typically priced lower than the inferior competitors, so there's absolutely no reason not to go with the best.

In order to maintain charging efficiency we need to reduce heat, and with any high output alternator, most of the heat is produced by the diodes in the rectifier.  By putting these in a purpose built case with their own heat sink, heat soaking of the alternator is almost entirely eliminated.  The result is an alternator you can still touch with your bare hand after running at full output for nearly an hour.  Try that will your Balmar alternator.

Marks custom regulators also have a very nice field cut feature which can be wired directly to the electrical panel or a switch at the helm.  With this enabled the field strength is cut to float, giving you all that horsepower back to propulsion in heavy seas or in an emergency.  The best part, it's cheaper than even the most reasonable competitor, and the quality is top notch.

All of this will me monitored by a Phillippi System Monitor from Ocean Planet Energy.  This will be discretely mounted in the navigation station inside the sliding cabinet, out of view.  I will be able to extend this to tank monitoring at some point should we chose to put tank monitoring in.

These can be integrated with any brand of product, and can monitor all shipboard charge sources and loads.



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Bermuda Delivery with Old Friends

With spring approaching, and the America's Cup on the horizon, numerous yacht owners on the east coast have been looking to get their yachts to Bermuda.

A few months ago I was approached by an owner who had recently acquired 2004 carbon rigged S&S NW58.  They asked me to Navigate for the passage and assemble crew for an early spring crossing.

I decided that this trip wold be the ideal first ocean crossing for my daughter, who is now seven and anxious for any adventure that comes her way.

On Thursday prior to the start of Spring Break we flew to Boston, and made our way to Newport. Preparations had been underway at the yard for some months, but the boat was still in some disarray with last minute jobs still being completed.  Much packing and stowage work remained.

Key systems including satellite phone, radios, and wind instruments were installed, configured, calibrated and tested, however, data coms and autopilot remained on the to-do list for Bermuda.

Having made the crossing on numerous occasions I was fine with these few remaining to-do items, considering critical safety systems were all well sorted.  Autopilot was of little immediate consequence as I have hand steered the passage to Bermuda before.

As for weather data, it was highly probable wind and current data would go stale after just 48-60 hours. Our Gulf Stream transit would likely be complete and our route well onto the rhumb line course for Bermuda.  Acquiring fresh data offshore was therefore less of a concern than it would have been in an ocean race.

Double-headed with the J2, Staysail & full main clearing Montauk Point, Bermuda bound.

Off to Pick Up Crew


We departed Newport, RI on Saturday, April 8th at 4am, motoring to Stonington, CT to board the remaining crew & make final preparations for departure.  We were joined by Jamie & Matt, two long time friends from New York with whom I've sailed for many, many years.

I would confidently put my life in their hands offshore, and was very pleased to have them aboard for the crossing with my daughter.  Joining us would be Steve, who holds a USCG Six-Pack Captains license, and the owner, another USCG licensed Captain.

After our arrival in Stonington we began the process of provisioning and the rather brutal process of re-stowing everything aboard.  This process took hours.  After a full court press by all of the crew, the boat was ready to depart at sunrise.

Departure


The morning was brisk and clear, with a light breeze out of the southwest.  Jamie took the helm as we cleared the dock at Stonington Harbour Yacht Club, and motored clear of Fishers Island Sound.  

With the TWA at only 80°, we set a double headed rig with the J2 & staysail with full main.  We made good time in these early hours despite the lighter breeze. The conditions were exceptionally pleasant for an early spring crossing, even with the chill in the air.

Brilliant night mode on the NKE SL50 displays over the companionway.  Probably the best night visibility displays I've ever seen.  The ability to easily send alternating calculated data from Expedition is fantastic.
Our first night saw 1/2 metre seas with a long easy period and a comfortable breeze rarely over 12kts.

My daughter's first evening at sea.  Southern New Jersey just over the horizon.

The Gulf Stream


As Navigator, my highest priority in a Bermuda passage is location of the optimum entry point and route through the Gulf Stream.  With current speeds up to 5 knots, huge gains or losses can be laid at the feet of the navigator.

I utilize a host of data sources for the Gulf Stream, including the well heeled RTOFS model, and observation data provided in the OSCAR gribs from NOAA (which provide very necessary confirmation of the model data in the RTOFS grib).

I also review the HYCOM data which provides improved resolution, however this data generally requires some capability to deal with NetCDF datasets, which are impossible to deal with offshore as the dataset is quite massive (although indexed).

Overview of the April 9, 2017 Gulf Stream over the course.
While contemporary models of the Stream do a good job of showing the main body of the Gulf Stream, the higher resolution NetCDF data provides very good eddy level details not found in the RTOFS grib which is limited by its 5nm resolution.
As the Gulf Stream plays such a significant role in a navigator's decision making process (due to it's strength), I spend days working with the data derived from the HYCOM model and compare it to the RTOFS after careful comparative analysis with the OSCAR observations.

Using all this data, we confidently routed for an entry point well west of the rhumb line to take advantage of current which in some areas would exceed four knots.





Detailed visualization of the Gulf Stream model from April 9, 2017, showing a strong back eddy flowing south-southwest under a deep southeast detour in the main stream.  This would provide the entry point into the southbound conveyor. Data as visualized in LuckGrib on OSX.

At 1825UTC on April 10, we were well positioned, making our entry into the gulf stream.  Soon the SOG had climbed to well over 13Kts, and with the assistance of the favorable current the apparent breeze built significantly. 

We'd nailed the entry into the Gulf Stream and were now on the magic carpet south.

Throughout the evening we chewed up the miles, making significant gains over the course in early watches.  Jamie, Matt & I drove these early hours in the Stream in Champagne conditions, a nearly full moon illuminating the sea from horizon to horizon.  It was, as they say, as good as it gets.

A Pleasant Surprise From NKE


One of the great surprises on this crossing became crystal clear that first evening in the Stream.  During her refit, the yacht had been fitted with new NKE instruments after discovering a number of the aging B&G H2000 sensors and displays broken and/or failing. 

The newly updated firmware (from my last experience with NKE) provides some amazing new functionality without any change to the hardware.  

This update includes a newly designed, fully configurable data page for the NKE Multigraphic called 'tactic.' This display page shows rapid refresh wind phase data against a 'thermograph' of the averaged wind direction. It's INCREDIBLY valuable at night when steering to an optimum AWA.  

Better yet, it enables the helmsman to stay firmly planted in the groove, and on his targets, especially as the TWA widens and the apparent breeze falls off.

NKE's new Tactic wind page for the Multigraphic

After sailing with the Tactic page for hours at night, in heavily oscillating breeze, I simply can't imagine driving without it in an ocean race.  

I'm continually amazed at NKE and their ability to provide incredibly solid, actionable tactical data for ocean racing and cruising. While they may lack some of those flashy, 'demo's good at the boat show' features, they more than make up for it with rock solid performance and genuinely usable tactical data, with fantastic accuracy.

Our position, live in Expedition, just prior to entry into the Gulf Stream, showing temperature, current speed, and wind speed/direction. To this point in the passage our weather data was pretty spot on. We had worked west of the rhumb line and were perfectly positioned to take maximum advantage of the well formed back eddy we had targeted. Note the NKE Multigraphic on the 'Tactic' page in the background to the right of the monitor.

Comfort Over Speed?


All was well until the late watch.  With the AWS up, a decision to reduce sail was made to make sleeping conditions more comfortable for the crew (not that anyone had complained).  This decision was made sans consultation with either of the Watch Captains or Navigator.  With sail area reduced, the improved heel angle made life aboard a bit more comfortable. Forward progress was, however, severely handicapped.  SOG dropped to under 9 knots.

This decision would have negative consequences in the following 26 hours as our ability to get ahead of the building high was eviscerated.  

The seriousness of this became painfully obvious as daylight broke the morning of the 11th and we sailed into the teeth of a strong, stationary high with no wind, blocking any sensible route to Bermuda.

Our options had become severely limited.

Morning Visitors


Despite the decline in our progress, morning greeted us with smooth conditions and a school of dolphin on the bow.

Jamie and Nanami enjoying our school of morning visitors.


For nearly an hour they played with us, riding our bow wave and leaping clear of the water time and time again.  My daughter squealed with excitement.

Hitting the Wall


By mid morning reality had set in.  Failing to get in front of the high, we were now trapped in a nearly 100 mile band of variable light winds and would be forced to motorsail for many hours to get back into meaningful breeze.

Soon the formerly favorable current turned against us, with 0.6 to 1 knot of current impeding our progress.

As hours passed it became more and more apparent that the current, and especially our wind data, had gone stale.

It had been 72 hours since my final grib download, made over cellular data connection as we cleared Block Island Sound and entered the open Atlantic.  With no satcom data available to us, we had to choose between calling for current and wind updates, or saving airtime on the satphone plan and making the call from the boat.  We opted to save the airtime and play the hand we were dealt.

Decision time had come.  The only choices, a direct rhumb line course, or working a little southwest to try and regain some favorable current.

With a probable 2kts of current on the nose in the coming hours, we opted to try and break free by steering slightly more west of south, and were able to get into somewhat less unfavorable current, but we never fully broke free of it.  We sailed the final 30 hours in 0.5-0.6kts of current set just off the starboard quarter.

Fortunately, it was not directly on the bow.

Wednesday evening arrived with building breeze and seas.  By the middle watch the seas were over 1 metre and the wind had built to a solid 17, with occasional gusts up to 24 knots.

Wanting desperately to make up for lost time we pressed hard under partially reefed J1 and a full main, making 8-9 knots through the night.


Morning arrived with diminished breeze and Bermuda just over the horizon.  We shook the reef out of the J1 and worked hard through the morning to get as high as possible before raising North Rock Beacon.

Mid-morning the 120lb Rocna anchor began to shift and spun free of the bow rollers.  Four days of incessant pounding from the 600+ mile beat had taken its toll.  The broad triangular fluke's exposure to wave after wave had finally broken the anchor free of the bow roller assembly.  Only quick action by the crew to secure it using the free spinnaker halyard prevented the anchor from scarring the hull.

Wrestling a 120 lb anchor into it's roller, upwind in 1 meter seas is no easy feat, but fast thinking by the crew made quick work of what could have been a disastrous, and dangerous situation.

By 9am we had raised the North Rock Beacon, within an hour Northeast Breaker was clearly visible off the bow, St. David's Light and the hills above St. George clearly defined against the horizon.

"Q" Flag raised. Ready for Customs

We'd made the crossing in just over 4 days, despite being trapped by the high for over 18 hours.

The Crew


Matt updating our friends via the Garmin In Reach Explorer

Jamie at the helm

Jonathan at the helm approaching St. George

Steve, who drove more than his share

Nanami, happy upon arrival in Bermuda

Arrival in Bermuda was, as always, a pleasure.  We contacted Bermuda Radio upon sighting of North Rock mid-morning, and were tied up without incident at Ordinance Island in St. George by midday.

An hour later we all had a fresh new stamp in our passports and were ready to tidy up the yacht before a pleasant evening ashore.

Safe on her mooring in St. George, Bermuda

Here are a few more images from our stay in St. George.

Epilogue


It would have been a huge benefit to have data over Satcom.  Priorities with the yard prevented full testing of the new Cobham SAILOR Fleet One data capabilities.  As our weather and current data aged it became less relevant and we essentially fell off the cliff at about 60 hours.

Post analysis of the available current data indicates that opportunities were available to us had we had actionable data.

The images below show the evolution of the current model run from April 9 to April 12.  Note the significant improvement in the stability in the southeasterly flow into Bermuda in the April 12 dataset.



Access to the April 10 data would have significantly influenced our route late that night, putting us in a position to take advantage of the southeast meander illustrated above, putting us on the rhumb line for Bermuda much farther north than the earlier dataset.

Lesson learned.  Data services over satcom are not to be dismissed lightly when making a Gulf Stream crossing.

Reduction of sail while making good forward progress in the Stream was, as always, a huge mistake.  When making gains, never, ever, take your foot off the gas. Especially if you are trying to get ahead of an advancing high.

In addition to securing the anchor with the retaining clamp, we should have lashed the anchor to the bow with Dyneema.  Typically I would advise stowage it in the forepeak (my typical choice on an ocean passage).

The failure of the 24v alternator belt on the main engine exposed the lack of sufficient mechanical spares aboard.  Having a generator to charge the house batteries made this a near 'non-event,' however we should have inspected the spares inventory upon arrival in Newport.

Walking to Wahoo's for dinner Thursday evening



























Good Friday in St. George



Friday, July 03, 2015

Waterway Taping & Matte Non-Skid Application

With the initial hardware placement sorted, it's time to get down to the business of establishing waterways and taping around the hardware.  Placement of every piece of deck hardware was considered, careful attention paid to insure no sheets chafe, and each lead is fair.

The decision was made to have a three inch waterway along the toerail, expanding to 4-1/2 inches at the transom.  The radius at the bow was carefully taped to 3/4" matching the line on the aft side of the bow chalks.

With the deck hardware going down it seemed a good time to get the copper tubes for the dorade boxes sorted.

The hand made copper vent tube for the forward dorade ventilator was fit after silver soldering a traditional sweat joint with the bronze deck fitting.  Proportions for the tube height are detailed in Olin Stephens' original type plan which is available from Sparkman & Stephens.

The completed fitting is screwed in place and bedded in butyl rubber tape.


The cabin top dorade boxes were also installed with their requisite copper tubing in place.  Like the originals, the cabin top boxes fully encapsulate the vent tubing, insuring there is no chance of water ingress into the cabintop.  The boxes themselves are bedded in a healthy quantity of butyl to insure no moisture can ever make it under the boxes.



The forward bases for the bow pulpit are bolted through the deck and screwed into the toerail using bronze tapped inserts.  These allow for easy removal when varnishing.  As the pulpit is wired for navigation lights, a small tube protrudes from the base to allow for wiring to enter the pulpit cleanly from under deck.  The wires are never exposed.  Typical Nevins, elegant and clean.



Small cover plates screw into the deck for each shroud tang.  Like all the deck hardware, these are original.


Remaining hardware was all taped 3/4 inch once the waterways were established along the toerail.

Paint & Griptex Application


For the deck we chose Awlgrip.  The color is a custom mixture of Grand Banks Beige and Stark White. They were blended by eye until we achieved the hue of bleached & silvered teak, carefully matching the hue of the paint on the hull as no white is truly white.  This was applied to a chip which was sent to Awlgrip who then created a custom color for their catalogue called Bonne Amie Beige.

The original decks were made by Nevins from plywood covered in No. 10 Cotton Duck cloth, bedded in white lead.  For obvious reasons this is no longer a viable way to cover a deck.  Beyond the obvious long term toxic consequences of bedding cloth in white lead, cotton covered decks fail with frightening frequency once the cloth is compromised.

Both Olin & Mitch raised the issue more than once during my visits back to Maine & Newport.  Both strongly encouraged this concession to authenticity in the restoration which is why the deck remains the only place in the boat where we've used epoxy and glass. 

Once all the the deck was taped a full coat of Awlgrip was rolled onto the deck, one person on port working in tandem with other to starboard.

A coating of Awlgrip Griptex texture beads were sprayed directly onto the wet paint using a simple, low cost, wall texture gun.  After curing over night, excess beads were carefully vacuumed off the deck prior to top coating.

Over each of the two successive days additional coats of matte finish Awlgrip were applied to the non-skid.

Once the deck is fully cured the waterways will be cut in with the same color gloss Awlgrip.

Port side deck jewelry
After curing overnight we pulled 'most' of the tape, and carefully positioned all the deck hardware.  Tape was pulled using a 'floatie' to avoid walking on the still curing paint.  Any remaining bits of tape will be pulled after a few days.  A great deal of tape residue is remains, but it's better to wait a few days. Better safe than sorry.

Port side water tank fill. Some glossy patches remain visible as the flattening agent rises to the surface as the Awlgrip cures, a many day long process.

Foredeck with forward dorade box fitted & chromed cleat pad, note holes for windlass
Starboard side deck


Tom's taping turned out perfect.  The hardware all looks stunning on the freshly painted deck.

Thursday afternoon, as the sun emerged on cue for the Fourth of July weekend, Bonne Amie was moved into the sun to help cure the new paint.  We may spend part of the day sunning in the cockpit tomorrow :)

Nanami approves

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Deck Hardware Placement

After meeting with the sailmaker last week to determine clew heights, sheeting positions, etc. we began the long process of determining the placement for all the deck hardware.

On the surface this seems like an easy enough task.  In reality, twin primaries create some real problems leading sheets fairly to the turning blocks, lead positions for the smaller headsails, and spinnaker blocks aft.  A number of placement choices result in sheets chafing spars, coamings, or create any number of interference issues with other winches, stanchions, etc.

From the forward most lead position for the #1 and AP Genoas the sheet just clears the lifeline stanchions. Note that the winch handles turn neatly inside the lifelines but the top of the handle still remains below the top lifeline.  This image shows one of the oft overlooked details of Olin Stephens' genius. Note how the radius of the coamings flows neatly into the radius of the brow on the aft side of the cabin trunk.



Starting with lifeline stanchions, we placed each base along the toerail.  Once placed & measured, it's critical to insure the stanchions are outboard far enough to not interefere with the genoa when sailing upwind.  The foot of the #1 genoa seals to the deck creating a proper end plate to minimize pressure loss between the two sides of the sail, maximizing drive.  

Aft of the forward face of the cabin trunk, where end plate seal is less of a concern, the foot is radiused (raising the clew) to allow it to pass over the lifelines as the genoa track is mounted to the toerail.  This requires the shanchion bases aft of the aft lowers be brought inboard a tiny distance to allow the sheet to clear the lifelines.

Fair sheet lead to the genoa sheet turning block.

Once this is done the bases aft are placed to insure lifelines follow a smooth arc aft from the bow, careful attention paid to where the #1 genoa sheets pass to the turning block.

The lead to the original Nevins forward primary just clears the aft winch base.
With the hardware positioned we can drill the fastener holes and temporarily fasten all the deck hardware before taping off the waterways for application of non-skid.  With some luck the deck will be completed next week.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tiller Restoration

Thanks to Stephen Olson in Maine, we have an original tiller end fitting from one of the other original Nevins 40's.  This was the single most difficult piece of hardware for us to locate.  

With this part in hand we're able to begin the new tiller.  Once again, Ted Pike from Edensaw in Port Townsend came through for us, supplying a massive white ash timber (far more than I can ever use).  Peter and I cut a six foot length for the new tiller handle (using a mere quarter of the original timber, let me know if anyone needs any tiller stock).


Ted selected a perfect, clear, straight-grain piece which will steam bend nicely once it's been turned.

The tiller is constructed to S&S's original type plan No. 91 (used originally for the NY32's in 1935).  As Nevins built both the NY32's (Design No. 125) and the 40's, the tiller's are nearly identical.



Andy Wickert turned the tiller on his extra-long lathe, built by joining two individual lathes together.  The tiller is only four feet long, but still longer than the lathes at the yard, and we wanted extra length for steaming.  Using Andy's setup allowed us to turn the full 6 foot timber.


Andy's the consummate perfectionist, but even after three hours of painstaking effort he maintains the mildest, kindest demeanor you could hope for.  The taper was re-worked two or three times until the entire shape was perfect and well proportioned to both eye and hand.


Once the taper was complete the tip of the handle was turned to the plan and then fit carefully to my hand, a nice personal touch I'm sure we'll both remember for a long time.