Bookmark and Share
D & D Nagle aboard MV DavidEllis
One More SE Seahorse
08/13/2014, photo is Redoubt Bay fish weir, south end Sitka Sound

And one more Seahorse - Hong Kong connection in a summer chock full of them, SV Sun Wah, a Seahorse motor-sailer Dorothy and I first saw in 2004 in the Seahorse yard in China, sailed into Sitka as the bad weather hit and got what was probably the last spot in the place. Mark & Deb, whose home is Australia, have been spending northern hemisphere summers the past 3 years, in Alaska and made the passage down from Prince William Sound this summer. I met Mark in HKG just a few months before he left HK to do the same North Pacific route to Alaska, which DavidEllis did in 2009. Sun Wah will winter over in Wrangell, where we will also be and hopefully we'll buddy up a bit for next summers' cruising before they continue down the West Coast.

Danes Check Out Alaskan Version of "Sky Mountain"
08/13/2014, Anders and daughter Ditte at Redoubt Bay

Next Victims! We met Anders, Christina and Ditte (their 16 year old daughter just back from a 19,000 foot climbing trip to the Himalayas) in Hong Kong a couple years ago. They are also friends of Tjasa & Aiden, are originally from Denmark (as are half of Ms Dorothy's genes) and they are in the process of having a DieselDuck sedan built by Seahorse. And now they are in Alaska. Rusty and Rascal never had so much attention! Christina and Ditte apparently were suffering DTs -- doggie tremens -- withdrawl as a result of separation from their doggie at home in Sai Kung and spent much time, cuddling, stroking, cooing at and kissing the Rs, who tolerated this but always with one eye on me, to see my reaction or to say "see, somebody loves me".

Honu and DavidEllis got out of port as soon as we got A,C,D aboard, while there were still vestiges of the gorgeous weather of the past couple days. We got in 4 days 3 nights at 3 different anchorages, saw some animals, took some great photos and had a fun time getting to know each other better. Wade, Anders and I spent many hours chewing over mechanical and electrical plans for the new boat. Then the rain hit and a significant storm forecast, so we went back to Sitka, lucky to get a tie up as everyone, fishing and pleasure boat alike was headed for shelter. More visiting, eating, dog-spoiling, hitting Sitka tourist spots and half of a Star Wars marathon got us to yesterday 12 August, and time for our Danish via Hong Kong guests to depart. Rusty and Rascal are now in mourning.

"Current" Project
08/13/2014, Lovely Ms D Checks State of Charge on New Batts

Back in Sitka, 27 July - 4 Aug doing boat chores -- serviced engines, cleaned, things & stuff. And, we replaced the house battery bank. So, you say, what's the big deal there. OK, Tech Alert! here. Yeah, I know I just wrote above about the smoking alternator belt and a electrical breaker issue. For those of you who can't stand this part, go to Dorothy or my Facebook page and check out the pretty pictures.

Back to the batteries. DavidEllis, like most small boats, runs primarily on DC electrical power, like your car, not AC, like your house. We do take AC into the boat from a very big extension cord to the dock, when it's available and sometimes we make AC power with a diesel-powered generator -- our own little municipal power plant. The lights on DE, are DC, all the electronics -- radios, chart plotters, sonar, radar -- the water pumps and toilets. We produce DC electrical power from two alternators on the engine and sometimes from solar panels and or a wind generator. And sometimes we turn DC power into AC, via inverters, to watch TV, run the microwave or blender and charge stuff like phones, computers, portable radios. But mostly, everything electrical happens thanks to the house battery bank (as different than the batteries which start the main engine or the generator engine or lift the anchor chain or spin the bow-thruster prop).

Our current house battery bank is the original, installed sometime late 2005 or early 2006 at the Seahorse Marine boatyard in Dou Men, China. It consists of 4 pairs, eight total, 60-some pound each, 6 volt, AGM (acid glass matt) sealed, 225 AmpHour deep-cycle batteries. Wired in series-parallel, we end up with a 12 volt house bank of 900 AmpHours weighing about 500 pounds. In the 9 years the boat has been operational, they have given good service, but are down now to less than half their original capacity -- meaning even with close to a full charge, they will barely provide enough power for household needs on the hook, overnight before dipping below 12 volts and making the refrigerator and freezer motors very unhappy. Time to buy new batteries.

There are many ways to go on batteries, but all things considered, the most practical and least painful for us, is to replace the current set with batteries which fit the existing footprint and wiring set-up. As it turns out, there is a US manufacturer producing AGMs of almost exactly the same specifications as our current set, happily for me, being sold by Fisheries Supply, Seattle where we get a significant discount.

And, as it turns out, this manufacturer has another 6volt model, with the same footprint, but 25% greater capacity (and 30 pounds heavier per unit times 8). So after a dozen phone calls spanning two days, the new batteries were purchased out of Seattle and a week later arrived by barge, in Sitka. Oh, did I mention the price? And remember I got a good deal. The batteries cost more, significantly more, than the brand new Dodge Demon (Dart) we bought in '69 or '70. And that was before shipping.

Two full days work with very much appreciated assistance from the ever-lovely Ms Dorothy and Captain Wade and we now have 4 pairs, eight total, 90-some pound each, 6 volt, AGM (acid glass matt) sealed, 300 AmpHour deep-cycle batteries. Wired in series-parallel, we end up with a 12 volt house bank of 1200 AmpHours weighing between 700-800 pounds.

And wouldn't you know it, those two days were the most gorgeous sunny, warm days of this summer!

08/19/2014 | Dan & Robin McCarty
This was a very informative post about the Ducks battery usage. We have been very curious about the real world lifetimes on the batteries. Almost 10 years is pretty danged good especially living on the boat like ya'll do.

Captain Wade is a good guy to have around! :)


Older ]


Who: Mike (Dave) and Dorothy Nagle
Port: Sebastopol, CA, USA
View Complete Profile »
SailBlogs Friends
 In Your Dreams