Monday, April 29, 2019

Let's float this boat

We applied our graphics and lettering!  It is a simple thing but one that has big impact in my opinion.  I'm excited about it.  The old lettering was faded so it was time to replace it.  We spent a lot of time
The Big Reveal!

looking for a font and graphic to provide clues that "Pogeyan" has something to do with a Leopard.  We found a jungle-esque font, tweaked it a bit, then put it together with a leopard.  We joked about adding phonetic spelling or a web address to aid with the pronunciation.  Some days we answer four or five questions about the meaning and pronunciation of the word.

From Wikipedia:

The Pogeyan is a purported grey big cat allegedly living in the Western Ghats, India. It was mentioned by photographer Sandesh Kadur, and is known to locals. The name "Pogeyan" is derived from the language of the locals. It means "The cat that comes and goes like the mist."

I removed all the old vinyl stickers using a hair dryer and putty knife.  If the vinyl was heated up it would peel off easily with occasional scraping.  After removing the vinyl I used 3M adhesive remover to get rid of the adhesive goo.  This was followed by wet sanding with 600, 800 then 1200 grit sandpaper to smooth the surface out.  Then Rich power-polished it with cutting compound and cleaning wax with a polisher.  He got some scaffold and polished both Hulls.  They shined up quite nicely.  I got a photo of a sunset reflecting on one!

You know how it is when you have a good hammer: everything starts to look like a nail.  Rich went on a polishing rampage after he did the hulls.  He polished the transom, the dingy and then he polished our ratty old Honda van!  The van has always been a heavily oxidized grey/black as long as we have owned it.  We told ourselves it was a security measure.  It looked so pathetic no one would think to steal it.  Now it's a beautiful shiny black.

The graphic is applied and the protective layer ready to be peeled off.

Ta da!

The old lettering was faded.  The gold color started out as bright yellow.  The back of the tape was still yellow when I pulled it off.
Removing the old lettering on the transom.  You can see the adhesive left behind and why the sanding was required to smooth everything out.

This shows the bright yellow that was on the backside of the vinyl.  The left is the faded color seen and towards the right is the underside which wasn't discolored.  The blue looked the same front and back.
While we were in the groove we changed the hailing port from Hobe Sound, FL to our hometown of Overland Park, KS.  One less thing to clarify after people say: "Oh, you're from Florida!"

Applying the name on the transom 

Old hailing port

New hailing port
And just when we thought we were done we noticed that the Robertson & Caine stickers were faded and coming off so we printed new ones to freshen it up.  The only thing we forgot to do was order new striping.  How we overlooked it I don't know.  By the time we realized it, it was too late.  So, it's on the list for next year.

Old sticker
New sticker

Rich polishing the hull
Look at that sunset reflected!
And the dinghy gets polished...
Look at the difference it makes!  The back isn't polished yet.

Anti-foul for the bottom

While all the above work was going on I was applying anti-foul paint to the bottom.  I gave both hulls 2 coats.  The day we were to launch they put the boat on the trailer and removed the blocks we were sitting on so we could paint in those spots.  And we did 1 more coat from the water line down 2 Ft since that gets the most growth.  Pretty much 3 coats applied.

It took about 5 hours too get 1 coat on all 4 hulls.  Let it dry overnight then apply the 2nd coat.
Some tall dark joker kept giving me masking tape tails!
Rich sanding where the blocks supported the bottom.  The anti-foul dust is toxic - so an organic filter mask is required.
The main reason we hauled out this year was to remove the failed rudder and get it rebuilt.  Thank goodness we anchored next to Ed from Aka at Minerva reef.  He graciously rebuilt the failed rudder so we could keep sailing and wait to return to NZ for a permanent fix.  Which is exactly what we did.

When the boat yard removed the rudder they found it had a bent rudder stock.  That explained why it was so difficult to remove at Minerva - and why our steering seemed to have resistance at one end of travel.  A new rudder stock was fabricated by a local machine shop and the yard built up the rudder good as new.  They helped Rich put it back on and we gave it a couple coats of bottom paint.  You would never know anything happened.
Rebuilt rudder

Applying bottom paint

Bye-Bye to the last leaking hatch

One of the last projects was to remove our last leaking hatch and replace the gasket.  It turned out to be a long difficult task.  After that fix we now have a dry boat for the first time ever!  We were so excited after our first heavy rain with no leaks!
Old gasket removed and about to clean off old sealant

Replacing the gas detector and adding refrigeration controls

On a rainy day he tackled the gaping hole left in the wall when he replaced the failed gas detector last year.  The old gas detector was called out on the insurance survey.  The new unit was half as big as the old one and we ran out of time last season to cover the hole.

At the same time he installed a new temperature control system for the refrigerator.  He mounted everything on a piece of black plexiglass.   It turned out really nice and I'm so happy that ugly hole is gone.
The gas detector was mounted on the right and from the left to center was just an open hole.
Two new systems installed by the automation consultant!
Speaking of electrical systems, our house bank was dying.  About a month into our voyaging last year it was obvious our 6 year old house batteries were at end of life.  Rich brought a bag of little audible alarms from the states with no specific use in mind.  Those things turned out to be invaluable.  He used two for critical alarms.  The first one alerts us when the battery voltage drops too low.  The second tells us if our anchor is dragging or a ship is near. 

During the day our 1000 watts of solar panels charge our batteries (when it's sunny).  But eventually the batteries weren't holding a charge even when we scrimped on power usage.  Every night that alarm would sound and wake me up.  Rich couldn't hear the alarm so I would get up and start the generator or an engine for an hour or two to charge the batteries.  After cloudy days I had to get up twice!  I can tell you that got really old.  By the last month of the Southern hemisphere summer our days finally got long enough to put an sleep-all-night charge into the batteries.

Back in NZ Rich ordered new batteries.  Shipping costs to Whangarei were a lot so we decided to make the 2 hour drive to Auckland pick them up. It worked out that we drove our good friends Frank and Lisa from Mango Moon to the Auckland airport at the same time.  We were so sorry to see them go and wish them the best in their next adventures.  While in Auckland we picked up our new house batteries: four size 4D gel cells, each weighing 140 lbs.  I found us a $100 5 star hotel room on Priceline that was right in the heart of Auckland.  We were in the lap of luxury for a day.  No coin-operated showers in that place!

Rich hired a yard laborer for a few hours to help him remove the old batteries and get the new ones up onto the boat and into their home.  They reside in a compartment under one of the benches in the cockpit.  There isn't a lot of room to work.
Standing on a scaffold and lowering the old batteries
New batteries installed.
Instrumentation Upgrades (by Rich)
I've been making incremental improvements to our instrumentation.  The boat came with it's original early-2000's electronics - which were worn out.  The chart plotter, VHF radio and autopilot displays were so sun-damaged you could hardly use them.

I find electronic chart plotters to be expensive, proprietary and difficult to use.  When you upgrade an old chart plotter you end up with a display that will easily connect to that vendors products - but little else.  This is fine if you want a plug-and-play solution and can afford $5-15K on all new electronics.  As an automation professional I couldn't help myself: I simply had to create a more open and flexible solution.  I did replace the old chartplotter with an identical unit found on Ebay.   This filled the hole at the helm station and it now provides backup navigation.

We exclusively use tablets and computers for navigation.  Right now we are using Navionics/Garmin charts and Transas/TX97 charts for New Zealand and the Pacific islands.   These are kept up-to-date for about $150/year.  As a backup navigation aid we have a total of six devices onboard with the freely available OpenCPN chartplotter and worldwide charts from an unknown source.  We carry wide-area paper charts and know how to use them.  But I doubt we ever will. 

Our Raymarine instruments for depth, speed and wind still function perfectly.  So does the original Raymarine autopilot.  To get the data from these devices "out in the open" I installed a little multiplexor device from a company called Shipmodul.  The device consumes very little power and it talks natively to the old instruments.  It also listens to the autopilot, radar and AIS.  Everything is broadcast on our wireless network.  We can monitor everything from our computers, phones and tablets.  Previously we were constantly running back and forth to the helm station.  Now we monitor continuous trend displays on our laptops.  The trends provide much better insight to boat speed and wind conditions.  In bad weather we only need to leave the salon for our periodic horizon checks and rig checks.
An example of the data available on our phones and tablets.
The wiring behind the helm station was quite cluttered when I started into the electronics upgrades.  I brought back cable and connectors from the states to clean up the existing cables and make room for new runs.

I connected the radar and AIS to the data network.  Now when I have an unknown target on the radar display I can mark it.  The mark pops up on our electronic charts along with the AIS data broadcast by ships.  It is really useful to have AIS information overlaid with our charts.  We can see the projected path of ships and our future closest approach.  

On our outbound passage from New Zealand last year I was surprised how frequently we would cross paths with other yachts in the open ocean.  At that point we could only receive AIS information.  As soon as we arrived at Minerva Reefs I installed an AIS transmitter I had onboard so that we would also broadcast our position.  But since we were 100's of miles from anywhere I couldn't simply download the required installation software.  I contacted my brother Wade for help.  He found the mobile device installation software and emailed it to our satphone address.  It took all night for the satphone to download the 9 megabyte file.  Thank goodness the Iridium Go has an unlimited data plan.

The instrumentation rats nest wiring behind the helm station.

The cleaned up version of the instrumentation wiring.
Provisioning 2019
This is my second year of provisioning and this year was much easier.   I found out the local discount grocery store Pak'nSave has an online ordering option and the service fee is only $5!  I was able fill a online cart over a period of 2 weeks sitting at my computer.  It was an immense time savings compared to walking the aisles.  I'm not familiar with the local stores so last year I walked up and down every aisle more than once on each of 3 trips.  Each time I had a totally full cart.  Six months of provisions is a lot of food!

This year I entered my order and selected a pickup time.  We arrived, they wheeled out baskets filled to the brim full of food which loaded into the van,  Since we were still out of the water we drove the van right under the boat.   Rich is tall enough to lift the boxes up onto the transom where I move them into the cockpit.  Last year I spent several days picking off the shelves and loading the van.  Rich would walk back from the Marina to the grocery store and drive it back.  We then transferred everything to carts which we trundled back and forth down the long dock.  All of this happened during several days of heavy rains.

The other big win in the provisioning department this year came courtesy of our friends on Citrus Tart.  They loaned us an access card that allowed us to shop at a wholesale supplier in Auckland called Gilmour's.  When we drove to Auckland for our new batteries we stopped at Gilmore's and stocked up on a lot of the items needed.  It was great to get large quantities because NZ grocery stores package in small sizes.  Very, very few items are available in "economy size".   For example, salad dressing comes in 250 ml bottles.  Period.  That's 8 ounces!  Snacks like chips, nuts, and raisins are also found only in small packages.  So, needless to say, we were happy to purchase items in any size.  We didn't buy that 5 gallon drum of salad dressing but it was nice to have options.  With our new batteries and a huge amount of canned goods the back of the van was much lower as we drove back to Whangarei.

Bulk items from Gilmour's
Some of the Pak,nSave haul.
And the amount of chocolate needed for 6 months is staggering!  Below is a small amount of what we have on board.  We also have about 15 packs of various chocolate cookies.  We have a little treat either after dinner and usually after a snorkel or dive.  So we can really go through it.  Remember how hungry you were after swimming all day at the pool as a kid?  That is how we are after being in the water for hours looking at reefs and fish.  We are STARVING!
And a few cookies!


After being on the hard for 5 months we finally splashed.  For 3 of the months we returned to the US to visit family and friends.  Rich worked for 2 months to help pay for all the boat projects.  We splashed on the same exact date as last year, April 29th!  High tide was in the evening just before dark so we had to get in the water and scoot down to Town Basin marina quickly while there was a hint of light.

On the trailer and headed to the boat ramp.

Backing down the ramp.

Almost there!
The Te Matau A Pohe bridge being raised so we could pass under it to get to good old Town Basin marina.

More photos of putting the boat back in the water.

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