Last week ashore
15 September 2012 | Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
A week to go before we enter a whole different way of life. Over the past few weeks KARMA IV has slowly come back together again as a complete sailing vessel ready for whatever lies ahead. Years of planning and visualizing are coming to fruition at long last as each system is brought online; propulsion, fuel, water, plumbing, electrical, sensors and instruments, steering, rigging, lighting, waterproofing, brightwork, canvas and structures, upholstery and cushions, provisioning and stores for short term long term and perishables, gasp....
I know just about every square inch of our boat now, just can't remember any of it...but being familiar with our boat has significant advantages if problems arise further on. I have to say that refitting a sailboat has been not overly complex but it has been a real challenge technically. What I have taken away from a long period of refit is how attached I have become to K4, short for KARMA IV, and I find myself talking to her like a dentist would consult with a patient during a root canal. I see myself as a caretaker of this durable long lived craft and it is my job to make sure everything I do is the best I can for KARMA.
At this point though we still have to complete the installation of a type A (electric) autopilot meaning some more fiberglassing to build a mounting platform for the drive unit. Solving the autopilot related problems have been compounded by inexperience in this technology, we had a wheel pilot previous but that kicked out in heavy seas. We need a powerhouse system that will be there for us in heavy seas at night. That was the bottom line in our guiding principles for the refit, anything we touched had to stabilize or improve the boat and prepare it for worst case scenarios that we have not yet experienced but surely will eventually. I think we will sail conservatively but we also will have to increase exposure to harder things in order to become true blue water sailors. We are still pollywogs with legs.
I was finally able to connect the macerator pump to the breaker panel yesterday and we now have a complete cycle; human waste goes in the head and is manually pumped, flushed with sea water and sent via a network of 1 1/2" odourless hose into an 18 gallon holding tank. The tank, when full, is then either vacuum pumped out at a shore based pump out facility or we can discharge the contents through the macerator pump (chops solids into smaller bits) and then out a seacock and into the sea. Rules have become much more strict about where you can discharge sewage, in general cases you must be 3 miles from shore and never in harbours or areas where people live along the shore. Its expensive business getting rid of poop, up to $25 at a pump out facility and if you have some tummy issues that could mean frequent pump outs like every few days! The holding tank/macerator self discharge isn't free, its easily a boat unit ($1000) for our new odourless system and countless hours of labour and infrastructure work that added hundreds more to the final cost for our present legal config. I have heard of the poop police that come aboard on the US waterway system and test to see if you direct discharge into the water after flushing. They put dye in the head and pump...if they see the dye in the surrounding water you face fines and plenty of scowls. Truly good for the environment and KARMA IV is a green conscious vessel.
Also big on the list of outstanding deficiencies is the pressure water system which had to wait until the electrical mess was sorted out. The belt driven diaphragm pump has been taken apart and cleaned but just needs some real estate in the bilge cavity so it can be installed, wired up and hoses connected. We will fill the water tank at that point and flush the system. We cannot inspect our water tank and judging by what we saw on the pre filter when we took that apart we have deemed that tank to be utility grade water and not for human consumption. Water tank options will have to wait for later but for now its a 20 litre or 5 gallon plastic water jug to serve our daily needs. If we had to drink water from the tank I would boil it first.
Propane system rewired so the solenoid works, Nancy crawled into the aft storage locker and ran new electrical cables from the solenoid.
Installing the Garmin system was relatively straightforward and the hardest part was running cables to connect sensors, data and power throughout the length of KARMA IV. Garmin uses high quality cable so complementing that quality has to be terminating the ends if you need to cut the cables as I did at the bottom of the mast. The only problem I encountered was splicing the data cable for the radar, essentially cat 5 cable with RJ-45 connectors same as you buy at Staples or Best Buy for connecting modems to computers but much better shielded. Garmin data cables are cross connect cables meaning the pin configuration at each end is different, an A side and a B side. I cut the cat 5 cable so I can quickly and easily disconnect the multiple cables that feed into the mast should we have to remove the mast again...
Still in progess...have to go to the boat now to work..blog later when time allows..