Life Afloat on SV Light Reach Two Sailors and a Sea Dog

01 April 2018 | Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart Fl
20 March 2018 | Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart Fl
12 March 2018 | Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart Fl
09 March 2018 | Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart Fl
01 March 2018 | Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart Fl
18 February 2018 | St Lucie River Stuart Fl
17 February 2018 | Sapphire Bay USVI St. Thomas
16 February 2018 | Road Town Tortola BVI
15 February 2018 | Norman Island BVI
14 February 2018 | Great Harbor Jost Van Dyke BVI
10 February 2018 | Great Harbor Jost Van Dyke BVI
09 February 2018 | Little Harbor Jost Van Dyke
07 February 2018 | Norman Island BVI
06 February 2018 | Tortola British Virgin Islands
05 February 2018 | Stuart Fl
31 January 2018 | Stuart Fl
24 January 2018 | Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart Fl
19 January 2018 | St Lucie River Stuart Fl
17 January 2018
13 January 2018 | Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart Fl

Happy Day after Thanksgiving

27 November 2020 | Stuart Fl
Sally | pleasant
.I hope you got to spend Thanksgiving with someone you love. It certainly has been a horrible year and not being able to be with the ones you love stinks. It was just the Captain and I aboard Light Reach. We made the best of it with a Game Hen as opposed to a turkey which fit our oven perfectly. We did have a lovely facetime chat with our Grand girls, daughter, son in law and his folks. And we have a new baby in the family Lily Astrid was born in Sweden on Thursday morning to Scott’s nephew Tim and his wife Jackie. That certainly brightened the day.
I’ve begun working on the starboard side toe rail bright work. Hopefully our projects will be small ones and we can settle in and just enjoy life on the ball. We have put up a few Christmas decorations, now I have to find the impetus to want to shop!
And cute dogs always make good pictures. this was Penny's birthday in October she isn't spoiled at all LOL!

We have cold Yeah!!!

23 November 2020 | Stuart Fl
.The fridge held its cool all night! We unloaded the coolers into it and put our boat back together. It looks like our home again. Today we rest, tomorrow we go to visit my sister and spend the night in the condo. We'll bring lots of food back on Wednesday for our Thursday feast.
no pic today

Installing the evaporator

22 November 2020 | Stuart Fl
Sally | sunny and beautiful
The copper tubing comes in a neat coil about 1.5 feet in diameter. It is already attached to the evaporator plate aka freezer. You must be extremely careful not to break that connection, not perforate the coil or bend it in such a way that it fatiques the metal and cracks. The installation instructions tell you to lay the coil out flat as possible and gently thead it through to the condenser. The evaporator is a rectangular box that mounts to the port side of the fridge box in a space that leaves no room for your fingers to hold the screws. The thermostat (I've forgotten to mention it before) is delicate little wire that has to be mounted to between two plates on the bottom of the back side of the evaporator in a J configuration. We argued about that for a bit but got it sorted and mounted. We unrolled the copper tube ending up with the evaporator sitting on the salon table and the copper wire running through the galley into the fridge. We needed to push the tubing through the fridge hole and out the cabinet into the lazerette. This required the tube to make the 90 degree exit out of the fridge. We're talking about 15 ft of tube. That little exercise required me to get inside the fridge box and maneuver the tube through the above stated path all without damaging it. Scott pulled from the cockpit while I pushed from the fridge. Meanwhile as we progressed the evaporator box was making its way closer to the actual fridge box. That necessitated me to crawl in and out of the box several times. Who could make this shit up? When we finally had the evaporator close enough to the box to mount it Scott did the honors. We weren't done with the contortions yet as I had to get back into the box to route the remaining tubing and try to make it look reasonably decent without breaking it and making sure the insulation was in tact. That required me sticking my head in the cabinet while sitting in the fridge. Don't you wish you could live the romantic exciting life of a cruiser? We got the sucker in there though and I had the honor of using the silly putty errr pipe goop to seal the hole.

As if that wasn't exciting enough I had the pleasure of getting in the lazarette yet again to coil and insulate the excess tubing that will now reside there. Finally we were ready for the final connect but not before the captain swore at the manufacture for telling him to buy the wrong size wrench. This was the moment of truth you only get one chance to get the condenser connections threaded onto the evaporator coils. Holding our breath Scott did the job and voila, hallelujah come to Jesus it worked. Yee haw!! We'll let her run until tomorrow to insure it does get cold before we unload the coolers.
The picture shows Scott installing the evaporator and the carnage we created in the boat. What a job!

Doing the wiring

21 November 2020 | Stuart Fl
We needed to make a run for wire, terminal block and fittings to complete the install of the condenser. We first stopped at harbor freight which was not fruitful. Back at the boat we cleaned out the lazarette and I climbed down in to clean up a bit before we did the install. At some point in time a previous owner had cut a largish square out of the back ot the galley cabinet. Rather than route the tubing over the bulkhead our plan is to run it throught this opening. Half the distance and half the pain, we hope. Scott did the crimping and prepping of the wire whilst I did the install of the terminal block and hooked the wires up to the condenser. Now on to the fun part, running the tubing. We needed some goop for lack of a better word to put around the pipes as they exit the fridge. A modeling clay like substance that would seal the edges of the hole and also give with the movement of the boat. We also needed pipe insulation. Off to Home Depot where we did find the goop, 5 lbs of it LOL we need about 10 oz. We’ll tackle the evaporator install and pipes tomorrow.

The picture shows how fun it was to wire.

Refrigerator Part 1

20 November 2020 | Stuart fl
Sally | warm in the lazarette
We got amazingly lucky the fridge parts came in on Wednesday. We picked them up on Thursday and began the assessment on how to proceed.

I should explain that a fridge on a sailboat is nothing like the one you have in your kitchen. First off, the box is, in our case, an integral part of the boat. Ours is built into the hull. Not something you can cart off and replace. The condenser sits outside the box stashed away somewhere the boat builder finds suitable. Note: suitable is not equal to convenient. The evaporator, which in our unit doubles as the freezer, is mounted inside the fridge box. The two pieces are connected via copper tubing that carries the refrigerant. This is like saying your fridge motor might be in your garage while the actual fridge is in an upstairs bedroom, a bit of an exaggeration but not much. The manufacturer does put a limit on the distance between the two by the amount of copper tubing provided. Oh and the unit runs on 12V which means it has to be wired through a circuit on the breaker panel for the boats’ 12 V systems. Confusing, yes, kind of like one of those Chinese puzzle boxes. We carefully studied the existing system and the paths of both the wiring and the cooling tubes. The cooling tubes are wrapped in pipe insulation to both protect and insulate them.

I’ll start with the wiring. The current “motor/condenser” is located in the starboard side lazarette in the cockpit. AK A, that big pit under the starboard side cockpit seat used to store all sorts of crap like dingy pumps. The condenser is mounted on a shelf on the forward side of the locker and wired directly to the breaker panel via a maze of wire that snakes through the engine compartment on its way to the breaker panel located on the port side of the boat down below. We needed to make sure the new unit would fit in the same spot and that there was enough wire to reach the terminals on the unit. Of course in the 27 years since our boat was built the condenser has changed configuration. It fit in the footprint but the connections were located on the opposite side. Of course there wasn’t a square cm of extra wire. This will require us to put in a terminal block and run a new wire from the condenser to the block and then connect the old wires to the terminal strip. All the time observing proper polarity and trying to avoid excessive voltage drops.

Remember those copper tubes that run from the condenser to the evaporator? The condenser has two very special copper fittings that connect to those tubes. Of course they’re nigh on impossible to connect as they’re located on the backside of the unit. This was going to be fun. Did I mention you get one chance to hook those suckers up or you lose all your refrigerant and you are stuck with one expensive oh shit moment. And the tubes to the evaporator? Well they wound there way over the bulkhead through a cabinet in the galley down through a hole into the fridge box and around the fridge box to the evaporator. I think the designer was related to the Marquis De Sade.

After taking a plethora of pictures and discussing the plan we disassembled the old components. I had the express pleasure of not only crawling into the cockpit lazarette and unhooking the wires and removing the plethora of screws that held the condenser in place but also sticking my head in the galley cabinet to pull the tubing out of a alarmingly small hole and shoving it over the bulkhead. What a joy. We did get the old one out before calling it a day. We need fresh clear heads before tackling the rest of this job along with a trip to West Marine for wire.
This picture is of the old compressor before we disasseembled it, yes I was in the pit with the camera. Notice the connectors that join with the cooling coils. That's the scariest part of the entire job.

Retrieving the wheels

16 November 2020 | Stuart Fl
Sally | rainy off and on but warm
Normally Scott would have made arrangements with Helen from Indiantown to give him a ride to fetch our car. He didn't feel comfortable with that this year. We try to limit exposure to anyone to as little time as possible, in excess of 6 feet when we do and outside. It cost a bit more but I made arrangements to rent a car (nice and sanitized). I had to walk down to the rental office to pick it up. A bit of a hike but good exercise. There was no problem getting the car and I was soon back to pick Scott up at the marina.
We made the trip out to Indiantown and back and returned the rental. The woman laughed at how little time I'd used the car.
Scott had done some research on replacement parts for our fridge. Surprisingly the best price was West Marine. This is rarely the case. We decided to stop and see about getting the needed parts. Of course they didn't have them in stock. We did have a tenacious parts person chase some down for us. We were told anytime from two days to two weeks for them to arrive. Yikes fingers crossed for the former. Ice is getting pricey for the coolers.

I had Scott stop at Publix where I ran in and picked up a few things. I was shocked at how many folks were there mid afternoon on a Monday. Then it was back to the marina. It will be a Godsend to have the car there.

the picture was taken the other morning during one of the many rain showeres.

Vessel Name: Light Reach
Vessel Make/Model: Pacific Seacraft 37
Hailing Port: Annapolis Md
Crew: Scott and Sally and missing our CSO India the wonder Schnauzer she sails on in our hearts
Scott and Sally met in college, married and lived the average dirt dweller life for years always somewhere near the water. We fell in love with sailing in the early 90's. Summer of 2014 we both retired and became full time cruisers. [...]
Extra: "I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky; and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by." John Masefield
Light Reach's Photos - Main
August 2015 visit to Keuka Lake (New York Finger Lakes)
1 Photo
Created 2 September 2015