Captain’s Corner: Equipment Review And Other Thoughts

So far So good….

There is not much to report on equipment failure etc.  All the replaced systems are doing well. There are a few things which were not replaced that are having issues,  but all have been easily identified ahead of time and repaired or monitored, not causing any real problems.

Some people have asked about anchor selection and performance after Caroline’s post.  The anchor is an 88# Rocna attached to 400′ of 3/8″ chain without a swivel.  This might seem like overkill, but I wouldn’t change it at all.  I like the weight of the heavier chain, up to about 15 knots the anchor doesn’t do much.  After sustained 30 knots for days and gust to 46 knots:

The solar array has been fantastic, even on cloudy days.  660 watts takes up our entire pilothouse roof.  It averages around 170 Ahrs. Good days are over 200 Ahrs, and an average cloudy day is around 60 Ahrs.  It does not eliminate generator run time, but significantly reduces it and gives a lot of flexibility as to when I want to run the generator.  We do laundry etc. on the sunny days when we have excess energy.  The other benefit is if we run the generator in the morning, the batteries only take bulk charge to 80% (after that we shut down the genny to eliminate light loading), the solar then brings them up to full by days end.  This greatly improves battery longevity.

Our watermaker from CruiseRO has been great.  Model# SM30 regularly has been producing 36gph of product.  We run it at anchor and underway, using the inverter when needed.  Our only complaint is that the water is noticeably soft when showering, but that means it is working!  Our water consumption is higher then expected, I contribute it to using all residential fixtures instead of marine fixtures during the refit.

The Paravanes have performed as expected. The only downfall is deploying and retrieving.  Except for Charleston harbor, we always seem to have to bring them in before we reach sheltered water, due to depth.  However, at a total cost of under $10K, vs. $50K, compromises were to be expected.

The  Kadey Krogen hull has been good to us. The layout is great, I couldn’t imagine having the widebody.  The salon is plenty roomy, and walking around the boat on both sides for one reason or another is a daily activity.  The widebody would also not allow use of paravanes.  Head seas are not the best, following seas are wonderful.  It is also too easy to load up the cockpit and lazzerette, causing the stern to drop down because of its underwater shape aft, but that is what gives it the efficiency.

I am really happy with the engine room layout, after moving components around.  Do not skimp on lighting!  I have plenty of access and storage for everything that goes on down there.  Because it is so nice, I find myself not reluctant to go down there, which keeps everything in great shape.

The Raritan crown heads, even though a bit loud and primitive, are working very well.  They macerate right at the bowl, preventing clogs of any kind developing downstream.  They also save us freshwater.  As for the raw water flush smell complaint:  The secret is too flush vinegar through the inlet line right at thru hull on occasion.  I think people pour vinegar into head itself, thinking that the smell is at the discharge end of things.  Small amounts of living organisms get stuck and die on the intake side and under the rim. This is where the smell seems to originate, and is easily eliminated by the vinegar flush through the intake.

More to come, as we go along.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”







Casting Off!

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Welcome to our big, nautical adventure!! I am posting later than I’d planned, and am still figuring out this site, and how I want it to look, so bear with me.

After two hellish years of a complete refit of our trawler (check out our Our Floating Home), we planned to set off on Tuesday, September 1st. I wish I could tell you that the last few months were spent leisurely visiting friends, and gathering last minute things. The reality was a manic state. We were trying desperately to finish as many boat projects as possible, while plugged into power, and close to West Marine, Home Depot, etc.  We saw many doctors, and had many test, making sure all is well as possible for the next three years. Things were ordered online, and bought at various stores in the area, making for full days of errands and doctor appointments.

We squeezed in as many friend and family parties and visits as possible during the last few months, in between errands, doctors and boat projects. Thanks so much to everyone, for being flexible and making time to see us! Time with you was a welcome and much needed break from the stress of our pending departure.

The final days were a flurry of craziness: On Monday August 24th, the clutch on Scott’s Land Rover went out, on the way to storage. It’ll take a few weeks to fix, so the shop will tow it to storage for us, once it is ready. That Thursday, Scott went in for an emergency root canal, an all day process. He now has what is essentially a dead tooth, so we have to figure out how to get a crown done somewhere before we cross to the Bahamas.

Friday evening, Scott woke up with severe pain in his left testicle (yes, we’re sharing all in this here blog). By Sunday, we were in the emergency room, after a phone conversation with an on-call urologist. Tests showed nothing wrong..ugh! He followed up with his regular urologist on Monday (a BIG thank you, to our friend, Colin, for being Scott’s driver all day!), and it seems that Scott has a cyst, inflammation and an infection in his testicle. He left with a strong antibiotic and anti inflammatory, which wreak havoc on his innards.

So back to the Tuesday the 1st. It was our “blast off” date for the last year, and Scott was going to keep to it, come hell or high water (or infected testicle)! Our weather was beautiful, the bay forecast was great..waves flat (something you almost NEVER hear) and our friends Perry, Stephanie and Paul, Amy and Joe,  and Ted took time out of their morning to come and see us off, which meant so much!!

Thank you to Stephanie and Pattie, for their great photos of our departure!

Day one was an easy four hours across the bay, to Bay Bridge Marina (except when I almost sunk our boat on a bay bridge piling!). We met our friend, Kirk, for dinner and had a wonderful visit. We were both in bed at 8pm…the last few months have taken a toll! Yesterday (2nd) we traveled to Herrington Harbor South, the marina resort where we were married ( We’ll be here until tomorrow am, when we’ll head to a slip off of the Potomac River, for a visit with my parents.

With Scott less than 100%, I’m thankful that our first week will be quiet and easy. He’s feeling better every day, and we’re grateful that we lucked out with all of this happening while we were still at home port….and not Guatemala!

PS…a BIG, BIG thank you to my sister, Sally, who helped me get this crazy blog idea up and running!

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”