Blessed Lady

This is the cruising blog of the sailing yacht Mabrouka. The Favorites in the side bar allow those with discriminating taste to filter for just the stuff you want to read. Thanks for visiting, Roy.

13 September 2015
21 August 2015
21 August 2015
20 June 2015 | Marina Mazatlan, Mazatlan, Mexico
15 June 2015 | Marina Mazatlan, Mazatlan, Mexico
15 June 2015 | Marina Mazatlan, Mazatlan, Mexico
15 June 2015 | Mazatlan Marina, Mazatlan Mexico
13 April 2015 | Off Club Nautico, Mazatlan Commercial Harbor, Mazatlan, MX
15 February 2015 | Marina Mazatlan, Mazatlan, Mexico
13 February 2015 | Marina Mazatlan, Mazatlan, Mexico
25 January 2015
06 January 2015 | Mazatlan, MX
24 December 2014 | Marina Mazatlan, Mazatlan, Mexico
24 December 2014 | Mazatlan, MX
22 December 2014
21 December 2014
18 December 2014 | Playa Isla de la Piedra, Mazatlan, MX
18 December 2014 | Mazatlan, MX
15 December 2014 | Ensenada des los Muertos, Mexico

"Tell me Dory, ..."

24 April 2014 | Lee's Landing Marina, Freemont, WA
Roy / Cool with occasional rain
Credit to Pixar's Finding NemoMarlin: Tell me Dory, do you see anything?
Dory: Yeah, I see a light ... it's so pretty!

I was at one time a technical-person-in-training but, after a brief period of supposed professional status as an actual engineer, over a few decades devolved into a project manager, then into a retired person. This has been my own way of seeking a lower level of entropy. The search for a career that actually paid a salary led me to Webb Institute where they force fed me enough temporary knowledge to propel me to the more energetic state of naval architect. In the intervening years, varying degrees of gorging and starvation now find me striving to be the artist that I really always wanted to be.

So, for those technically minded of you out there who might hope to be stunned by this description of my power system upgrade, please try to restrain your disappointment. Here goes:

Last summer's cruising emphasized a deficiency that I'd known of for years, the crux of which was that my battery bank, even with the help of two 130 watt solar panels, couldn't sustain my 110 volt power demands. It was the refrigeration system that I saw as the major culprit. I could pare down my use of the TV and the 110 volt outlets, but refrigeration seems kind of necessary. The system had been on the boat since before I'd owned it, so was well over 15 years old. I'd always thought about replacing the compressor with a more efficient 12 volt unit, but skin flint that I am, I couldn't bring myself to force it to walk the plank and settled on the coward's strategy of letting it suffer a natural death.

Then the doity bastitch went and died without telling me. Actually, I suspected, indeed secretly hoped the compressor was on it's last legs, so had gone ahead and purchased a Cool Blue unit at the Seattle Boat Show. If it hadn't been for the long, cold, blizzard-plagued Seattle winter, I'm sure I would have smelled the decaying corpse (sour milk, moldy cheese) some time ago. Fact is, it was a mild winter, but one cold enough that the food didn't turn into biology experiments at a fast enough rate for me to suspect that my refrigeration had, indeed, already deep-sixed itself. I conned a refrigeration technician to come to the boat to see if he wanted to pay me big bucks to harvest my old freon, but was embarrassed to hear that I didn't have any to harvest. None. Nada. Zilch. Oops. Oh well, I was able to cut the old refrigeration tubing away with a free conscience, if only I can get over the guilt of having maintained the system so poorly in the first place. I must own up to my share of responsibility for the hole in the ozone layer. If you're a glutton for punishment you can see my earlier post of April 11th for more.

But I've digressed and elaborated on a story that has already been told. To get back on track, ...oh, wait. One more digression, this one not so lengthy. I also bought a single-side band (SSB) radio at the boat show. I won't explain that here other than to say that it sucks up a lot of power when transmitting my wisdom and pleas for help across great expanses of ocean. The package of shiny new components included a not-so-shiny manual that attempted to instruct me in the finer points of SSB installation. One pearl of wisdom it shared was that the radio should be connected directly to the battery by a single cable with no joints and not more than about 8 to 10 feet long. With the locations available to me for the radio, THAT was SO not hap'nin', so I hit on the idea of adding a separate battery. While I was at it, I'd switch all my instruments over to be powered by that battery.

So, now back to the main saga. I'd decreased my 110 volt load by switching to 12 volt refrigeration (a more efficient one at that) and now only have my outlets and my microwave that require AC power. I also doubled my main battery bank power by adding a second 260 amp-hour battery. The new battery for the SSB, dubbed the Comm(unication)s battery since it also powers my navigation instruments and the VHF radio, provides an additional 140 amp-hours of power.

New House batteryNew Comms battery

New system block diagramThis was all well and good, but the new kids on the team had to learn to play well together, so I called in Coach Ed. Coach Ed (Ed Foster) has been helping me electronically on Mabrouka for a couple of years. I've bought solar panels, solar panel controllers, batteries, and LED light bulbs from him, but now solicited a higher level of his expertise. Ed listened to my layman's description of what I had and what I wanted, then tried to explain to me how to get there. That explanation included the cool wiring block diagram shown here, although it went through several iterations. Note a couple of boxes with red lettering (all the new stuff has red lettering) labelled Pro Split R and ProConnect. These are the ringers that Coach Ed called in as co-captains for the team of batteries. They decide who needs power when and how much. That way my various sources of electricity, the solar panels, the engine alternator, and shore power, will keep all the batteries charged at the right levels without burning anything out. There's even a solenoid (the one labelled CH 24401) that cuts out the solar panels when the engine is running.

Sterling control boxesSo, as with the SSB installation, I received a big pile of brightly colored stuff and had to figure out what to do with it. Well, the new batteries weren't so brightly colored, but they were heavy enough that my face made up for that when I put them in the boat. I got to cut wood up and put it back together again to make the batteries fit. I got to pull out and throw away all sorts of grungy old wires that had outlived their usefulness. I got to take all my cabinetry apart (again!) and run nice, thick red cables all over tarnation. I got to crimp lugs and electrical connectors onto a zillion wire ends using my fancy new wire strippers and crimpers. Oh joy, I even got to solder some wires!

Updated Nav Instruments panelThe system has now been commissioned and seems to be working fine. I only hope I have not added undue complexity, although my mission of providing a separate battery bank to support critical communications systems seems to be a worthy goal. I can look over at the cheery face of the new Comms breaker panel any time I want and I am inordinately fascinated by the flashing yellow, green, and blue lights on the Pro Split R and the ProConnect, so that makes it all worth while.
Vessel Name: Mabrouka
Vessel Make/Model: CT-41
Hailing Port: Seattle, WA
Crew: Roy Neyman
Mabrouka and I have been partners in crime since October 1998, hanging about in West Coast waters, first in San Diego, then in Seattle. All of that time we've lived together aboard. [...]
I've called this blog "Blessed Lady" because that's my preferred translation from Arabic for "Mabrouka". She's a 1980 CT-41, one of several clones of the original Bill Garden design Mariner ketches. At 50 feet from the tip of her mizzen boom to the tip of her bow sprit, she's 16 tons of [...]
Mabrouka's Photos - Main
Photos 1 to 10 of 10
On the streets of Freemont
Street art edited.
Elvis the stuffed cat is a memento of my daughters at the age of about 5.  The peace sign was a gift from good friend, Karyn Borcich.  Thanks to both!
This is Swan as I knew him, though in a more rugged environment than we ever shared.  We usually met at the coffee shop or at Voula
This is of Swan as I would also like to have known him, ...cigarettes, cameras and wine.
This is Steve hosting our Elliott Bay Design Group company picnic at his vacation home in Darington.
I never went fishing with Steve, although he let me try out his fly casting rig in the river by his house during one of the company picnics he hosted.  I
The winter slip on Lake Union
Temporary raft up with Molly Bella near my old slip at Stimson Marina
This album shares photos from mainland and Baja Mexico.
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 1 March 2015
The beginning of the South Pacific cruise, heading to San Diego and Mexico
1 Photo | 6 Sub-Albums
Created 15 August 2014
Killing time with local sailing and projects before heading south with the Coho Ho Ho cruiser's rally
56 Photos
Created 29 June 2014
Kathy and Karyn (with a "Y") used me as an excuse for a party. I was just fine with that!
25 Photos
Created 31 May 2014
On Lake Union where Mabrouka and I spent the winter
20 Photos
Created 31 May 2014
Shakedown cruise to Port Townsend
7 Photos
Created 25 May 2014
Gunkholing in the Seattle area, with me and Mabrouka getting our sea legs back under us.
50 Photos | 28 Sub-Albums
Created 14 April 2013
Custom made sailing skiff hand-built by NW School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Port Hadlock, WA
18 Photos
Created 21 March 2013
Pre-retirement cruising pics
27 Photos
Created 21 March 2013
Photos accompanying Projects blogs.
43 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 12 March 2013