Captain’s Corner – Refrigeration And Windlass Repairs

So the refrigeration issue in detail for those interested:

The failure was the result of a determined calculated risk during the refit.  I decided to save $4k and leave the 30+ year old 12VDC air cooled thin plate evaporator systems for the fridge and freezer.  The reason being, we had redundancy in the form of a 120VAC water or air cooled holding plate system for both.  Also on board is a 120VAC/12VDC Engel that can operate as either fridge or freezer.

To keep the fridge going on 120, the issue became the amount of generator run time to rely solely on the holding plates.  Instead of an hour or two every other day, it was two to three hours per day.  To top it off, now I had excess solar coming out of my ears (edited for television) because the 12VDC fridge and freezer weren’t running due too the holding plates being cold.  But I couldn’t run the holding plate compressor off the inverter, utilizing the excess solar due to start up load.

Well, you know how it goes….the fridge compressor locked up.  It is an old Danfoss BD2.5 (the predecessor for BD35) with R-12.  I decide to replace the entire system due to age than to just replace the compressor and deal with all the refrigeration work, oil and compressor compatibility.  It also allows me to upgrade to a BD50 multi-speed compressor system.  I hope to see a difference in energy consumption is this warmer climate or at least, better performance.

While both boxes are empty I will also seal and caulk the lower moldings as they have started to weep a little condensation when the doors are opened and closed.  I had not thought to do so during the refit, and they have been cold ever since.

Hopefully the freezer compressor hangs on for a few more years!

The windlass:

I originally was going to replace the unit, but after days of very large hammers, pry bars, saws and eventually a cutting torch to disassemble the thing to remove our pulpit for deck repairs (when the teak decks were removed by previous owner, they skipped this area due to difficulty), I realized the genius of the extremely heavy, yet simple engineering, that requires only basic parts I can have machined anywhere in the world if needed.  So many less parts, gears, seals etc. than a horizontal style.  Did I mention the unit weighs a few hundred pounds?!

The issue at hand was when the top nut is loosened a multiple spring pad pushes the top drum up, which is keyed to the main shaft allowing the clutch pads to slip, letting the un-keyed wild cat to freewheel.  This was not happening, because the top drum had some shaft corrosion causing friction to overcome the spring pressure.  This is one of the reasons that I demolished the original windlass during disassembly.  Lesson:  disassemble windlass periodically and lubricate main shaft,  a very simple process, due to its design.

Here are some windlass photos.

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

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!”