The path to progress
08 December 2018 | Chaguaramas, TRINIDAD
OK folks, for you techie types, amongst the many many things that should be done to Marinka2 in order to get her ready for an extended sea voyage (at least in the mind of the skipper) here are the following chores I'm working on now.
INSTALLING A HAM RADIO. In addition to the joy of simply communicating with both the home folks and other yachts, a good single side band HF amateur radio is, in my opinion, one of most safety importance. The boat came with a standard SSB which didn't seem to work very well. I purchased an ICOM 7100, modified to transmit all frequencies, and have been working hard to get it up and running. Regrettably, the prior owner had no clue as to how to set up a radio in a boat nor to properly design and execute an antenna. Unfortunately, although I may be able to install the radio and make it work, without major alterations to the grounding system within the boat, my signal may not be as strong as it was when on Marinka (1). There, I had designed a remarkably effective counterpoise and grounding system to give an incredibly dynamic signal from a 20m sloping dipole strung between the mainmast and mizzen with which we were able to maintain a solid signal from everywhere in the world to amateurs in the United States during our circumnavigation. We'll see what happens here.
REDESIGN OF THE FUEL DELIVERY AND RETURN SYSTEMS. The prior owner somehow managed to think up the most complicated and confusing manner in order to determine which fuel tank is in use for which engine (there are three engines on board Marinka2, port and starboard 120 HP Ford Lehman diesel's, and a Kohler 9 kW diesel generator) and which return line goes to which fuel tank. There simply is no logic ... nor any versatility. Moreover, the valves are unmarked and scattered about in the engine room in the most difficult to reach places.The way it's plumbed now, port engine is driven only by port fuel tanks starboard engine driven by starboard fuel tanks and those are the only options. The system I've designed and will be installing, will have a 34 gallon day tank with a fuel polishing option with multiple valves, all in a single easily reached location, allowing me a choice of cycling polished fuel to/from any of the 5 tanks, or polished fuel to the day tank, or run fuel from the fuel tanks through the polishing process directly to the engines. With all the various optional valves, I can bypass or direct fuel from any source back to any source. For those of you who don't know, fuel polishing is a process of passing fuel through a series of super fine microfilters and water traps to remove organic sediment, particulates and water before bad fuel gets to the engines and stops them dead. Separate from simple fuel filtering, polishing is a more refined ongoing process where one cycles fuel out of a tank through the polisher and back into the tank even when the engines are not in use thus slowly getting the fuel cleaner and cleaner as time goes.
RE-INSTALLING ALL VENTS FOR TANKS. Venting system installed by the prior owner needs to be redone. The biggest problem was that he chose to vent the water tanks into the galley sink such that on my shakedown cruise, on a hard starboard tack the starboard water tanks emptied their contents into the sink on the port side and out sea. As to the fuel vents, the fuel vents from all 5 tanks were Siamese connected to only two cockpit vents. I think it might be better practice to have dedicated vents for each fuel tank.
INSTALLING A BOW THRUSTER. Marinka2 is 64 feet long with a moderately full keel and lots of windage (meaning that aspect of a boat where the cabin structure and masts can catch wind and push the boat sideways). This makes her rather difficult to maneuver in tight spaces. And although she has twins props, they are only about a 1-1/2 meters apart allowing for little if any turning motion from counterrotating the propellers. Most boats solve the problem by installing bow and stern thruster's. Literally these are like outboard motors stuck in tunnels inside the boat pushing the boat sideways when necessary. Because of Marinka2's long overhang at the bow, we ended up having to place the thruster rather close to the water surface. As with most things in boats, everything is a compromise. In the bow thruster install album in the gallery, you can see progress pictures showing the tunnel installed in the bow. There will be a blister faring installed forward of the tunnel, and a slight shallow depression aft of the tunnel, to provide clean hydrodynamic flow when the thruster is in use or the boat is underway.
INSTALLING A CLASS B AIS SYSTEM. The AIS system is an new electronic automatic information system for boats operating on VHF frequencies where the vessels transponders automatically communicate with any vessels within range sharing location, direction, speed and the identity of the vessel. By international law, this is a requirement for every commercial vessel over 65 foot long to carry a class A AIS system and every fishing vessel to carry a class B system. This system can provide a good deal of safety in collision prevention since it will show, on a graphical display, the location, speed, and direction of any AIS equipped nearby vessel and calculate if there is a collision probability. Additionally, one can set variable range alarms that are triggered when AIS vessels approach within a prescribed distance. And, one other major advantage comes from a small radio device worn by all crew such that if a crew member falls into the water even when unnoticed, the AIS sounds an alarm and a position is identified on the AIS screen so the other crew members can locate and retrieve the person. Modern technology at its best purpose.
Here's an interesting web site showing current marine traffic in the world. Paste this in your browser ...
INSTALLING DAVITS. In this case it is by no means a necessity for an extended voyage, however when single handed I found the lifting of a heavy RIB on the deck is more than an old man can handle. Having the dinghy davits to lift the dinghy and motor out of the water provides a secure place to keep the dinghy away from sticky local hands, and makes life easier overall.
UPGRADING ANCHOR. The current anchor onboard was a 66 pound Bruce anchor which is a little undersized for the windage and displacement of Marinka2. I have decided to upgrade to an 88 pound ROCNA anchor, well known in the cruising community for its tenacity in holding power. This is a case where generally bigger is better, but as with all things boats, there has to be a compromise. Being able to handle the anchor is as important as to having one big enough to set.
UPGRADING THE MFD ELECTRONIC DISPLAY. The current MFD on Marika2 is outdated such that the South Pacific charts I need are no longer reliably available for it. Therefore, in addition to getting a fully modern MFD (multifunctional display), I get the GPS charting I need, fully integrated communications system integrating depth, SONAR, radar, AIS, wind information, and GPS location on one screen. Of course Marinka2 will carry a fully GPS capable iPad and iPhone along with all the needed paper charts for the purpose of safely determining position. It appears, gone are the days of the sextant and nautical tables.
PAINTING THE HULL BLUE. One day, Caren suggested that we should paint the hull blue. Yes ma'am! I was secretly wishing that anyway and now that Caren suggested it, it's a done deal. We will see Marinka2 outfitted in her formal "dress blues" soon.
As with any boat, the "to do" list is endless. And, with a certain amount of joy, I will move step-by-step to try to keep the list to its minimum.
Keep an eye out for upcoming blogs on progress getting a Marinka2 shipshape.
"A ship is always referred to as "she" because it costs so much to keep her in paint and powder." - Chester Nimitz -
As to why?
06 December 2018
So the question comes up as to why. Why does one drag oneself away from a comfortable existence, from family, friends, and the mundane life and instead subject oneself to the rigors of the sea, a place where white knuckled terror and boredom often sit side-by-side. I guess I could wax poetic for sometime about the beauty of the sea and the longing of the soul for our primordial roots but the truth is I really don't know. Caren asked me the other day... Why are you doing this? I answered back "for the love of the sea". It was the best I could do at the time. But it's more than just simply a love of the sea, it's deeper than that. It's a compulsion, a passion, or as some may say an infatuation with self torture. An illness or disease no less insidious than opioids. It's that, but again it's deeper than all that too. It is an unquenching thirst for that which lies beyond the next horizon, an unrelenting drive to see what one has not seen before, and to experience for yet one more day what it truly means to be alive. It is all that and more. Those that have come to the sea to drink it's wine, understand all this very well and to the rest, well it's simply incomprehensible. So in the end I guess there's no single easily understandable reason for why. Each of us have our own reasons for what we do.
"Boats are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made"
Robert N. Rose
03 December 2018 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago
Born of Downeast heritage in 1978, Marinka2 (née DawnStar), now under my stewardship, carries with her over 80 years of venerable Hinckley tradition. She also carries with her the continuation of the name of our first boat, Marinka, which safely carried the Sutton family on our nine year circumnavigation of the world, 1981 thru 1989. She measures 64'8" OA, 16' at her widest beam and displaces 66,000 pounds, and although she is a more cruising oriented center cockpit design, the traditional lines, beauty and craftsmanship of a classic Souwester are still in evidence throughout. It is now my task to bring Marinka2 from Trinidad to her permanent home in the San Francisco Bay. This blog will be a chronicle of that journey.