Read: Bahamas Shakedown or Refit or Caribbean or en Francais
Solar Panels
12/06/2006, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Our new solar panel mount on the aft bimini. After trying other locations, we settled on what you see here as a reasonable compromise. The two panels (240W total) are not nearly enough to power the boat; they cover about half our energy usage on a good day and a quarter on a not so good day. Its all about fridge efficiency, which isn't too good on a stock J/40. If we continue with the boat after our Caribbean tour, the fridge box will be replaced. For now, since we'll be in the trades, the wind generator makes up the difference and if worse comes to worse, we have a high output Balmar on the engine. On our Bahamas shakedown, we learned a lot about energy usage and the need for good energy instrumentation if you're going to play the alternative energy game.

This combined bimini, solar panel mount rids us of the straps and vertical tubes of the original aft bimini: much easier access to fishing rods, BBQ, etc. However, because we can't just roll it up, it needs to be beefy enough to withstand a serious storm. The structure is designed for a 40lb./sq. foot wind load (about a CII hurricane) using 1" tubing with seriously thick walls. The fittings are heavy duty and thru-pinned with 1/4" bolts. We can remove just the solar panels in ten minutes if we have too. You can hang from it no problem!

Refit
Hatch Protectors
12/06/2006, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

The original hatch had been torqued a few times by errant jib sheets caught around the lip. I replaced the hatch and fabricated these lexan protectors that fit around the edge to keep the sheet from catching underneath. The standard approach of using rubber bumpers doesn't work on the J/40 because the deck slopes well off under the hatch edge.

Refit
Alternator Clearance
12/06/2006, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

All J/40 Yanmar repowers seem to have a problem with alternator clearance. Its pretty easy to notch the inside corner of the cabinetry and cover the hole with a diagonal piece, as shown here. The actual notch is much small than the cover.

Refit
Yanmar Install
12/06/2006, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

The new engine is in! I did most of the work and had the dealer inspect it to make sure the warranty would hold. The mechanical work was straightforward with the engine pretty far forward on one inch blocks, a drive saver. I did have to slide the prop shaft forward just a bit, so there's only 1/2" clearance behind the cutlass: 3/4" is really what you want, but... I kept the 3/4" water thru-hull with 1" (the Yanmar uses 1") high flow elbows and a massive strainer up by the water pump. The new JH's have the raw water pump on the front - yippee!

By swapping the waterlift around so that the inlet is aft, the exhaust worked out pretty well using a 3" to 2.25" adapter. We did measure exhaust back pressure and raw water flow and there is really no issue staying with the original 2.25" exhaust and the 3/4" thru-hull.

The new Yanmar control panel it the same width as the Volvo, but not as high, so a blanking plate was all that was required.

Refit
Rigging
10/12/2006

This picture represents a lot of work - replacing all the standing rigging. Florida Rigging did the heading and I did the install. I pulled and polished the chain plates. They look good, though I can see a tiny crack (crevice corrosion rather than stress) on the inner edge of the port chainplate. Nothing to worry about for now and we can watch it easy enough, but they will need replacing some day. I didn't want to do it now mainly because the stock plates have another issue: the holes are too big for the toggle clevis pins (see relevant commentaries by Brian Toss.) I'm undecided as to whether chainplates should be fabricated with the correct holes or to replace with a stock plate and add bushings: probably the latter. At any rate, we can safely put it off until some time later.

The original rod was actually (after 15 years in Florida) in better shape than I would have thought. The only real sign of fatigue was the heading on the lower end of the lowers. Still, 15 years is long time in the tropics...

The prebuy found some moisture in the core around the chainplates, though no delamination or to the point of being squishy. I routed out around the inside edges and filled with epoxy paste. At some point we'll replace the headliner. At that time I might drill some core samples to see how the wood looks.

I tapped holes and used screws rather than cotter pins: nothing to snag and easier to remove. Lost a tap in the process - tough stuff. The trick is to drill out a few numbered sizes larger before tapping this stuff: easy does it and lots of cutting oil.

For running rigging we've replaced most of the blocks. Neither the Harken nor Shaefer blocks, for the most part, were up for 15 years service. The Shaefer blocks had crevice crack disease. The Harken balls had UV disentigration disease. In theory, you could replace the balls, but this generation of Harken had stainless bolts in aluminum bodies: predictably frozen for life at this point. The later Harken design pay more attention to both UV resistance and corrosion issues. For sheet blocks, we used Harken roller bearing, racing stuff. For things like the checkstays and preventer tackles we used the Harken ESP series, which have very high load factors and much less expensive than the rollers.

Refit
Boom
10/12/2006

The boat had a dutchman boom brake rigged to the vang weldment and the shroud turnbuckles. What the boom brake advocates don't tell you is how many booms have been broken. For a long (18') boom like on the J/40 it is not hard to figure out. If you use an end boom preventer, the recommended hardware should have roughly a 3000 lbs. working load. (Lesser hardware has been known to explode: http://members.dslextreme.com/users/sded/sftrip3.htm) Bring that load into the vang attachment and your talking about over 10,000 lbs. loaded sidewise on the boom AND on the gooseneck (opposing).

Fortunately, I noticed a small crack developing and stopped drilled it, eased the vang, and took off the boom brake to get us through the last week. Florida Rigging did the beautiful doubler work, though at great expense, as you see here.

I sold the boom brake and reverted to a more traditional preventer. A nylon pendant (for some give) lies along each side of the boom and is thru-bolt attached to the end of the boom. Each side of the boat has a 2:1 tackle from the bow that can be attached to the pendants. These tackles lead aft to stoppers next to the main sheet winches. This arrangement does require going up the shrouds to attach the tackle to the pendant, but the dual arrangement, and careful attention to where the blocks go, allows one to gybe back and forth with both sides attached and without getting the tackle hung up on the shrouds, etc. As a side benefit, you don't have to rehook around the boom brake when going forward on the jackstays. Again, a copied design, but seems a good arrangement for cruising.

Refit
MackSails #3
10/12/2006

The boat has a DOA 135 and a nice 155. Given that we will be in the trades for the winter/spring, the 155 is much too big. This #3 is a heavy duty, all day long in the trades sail. It has a foam luff so that we can reasonably use it down to about 85% or so. Its definitely a cruising sail, not a racing sail, but looks very well built for the purpose. We're taking the 155 w/ us, but I suspect we'll never use until perhaps we're up around the Bahamas in June.

Refit
Power Train
10/12/2006

OK, this sucks. The power train on this boat has been a pain from day one. The newly rebuilt transmission was a total botch job: I actually found full sized parts floating around when I opened it for its first oil change. After much pain and anguish, I did a simple tear down and put back together with the right parts. Still, I could never fully trust it again.

The engine showed a little weird in the prebuy oil analysis, but nobody was able to figure out what was going on or seemed particularly concerned. The best advice was just to keep running it - hard when possible. Once running, it always ran well, but sometimes getting it to start was a bear and compression was starting to run low. We're still trying to figure out exactly what happened (probably a little water thrown up from a sag in the exhaust run), but she's locked solid now. Of course this is after spending Volvo bucks (its a different kind of currency I swear) replacing anything suspicous like water pumps, heat exchanger, etc. and spending a small fortune on Volvo spares to have on hand.

We did replace the stuffing box with a dripless that is truly dripless, a new cutlass bearing, and had the MaxProp overhauled. The prop was a great deal: super folks. For about $200 they remachined the prop and it has much less vibration than before. Plus it was sooo shiny :) (Not anymore:(

Well enough of Volvo. I have a new Yanmar to install, more on that later...

Refit

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