By: Rob MacLeod

213Before leaving on an extended cruise, it is critical to inspect and maintain all systems on your boat. Some of this work can be completed before launch if you are in an area where the boat is hauled for the winter. Leave sufficient time between a major repair and starting your cruise to ensure there are no issues with the work that is done.

This past spring, I reviewed the most frequent repairs and maintenance items I made in the prior season, and in no particular order, they are:

* Battery charging systems

* Engine cooling systems

* Refrigeration

* Food storage and provisioning

* Head including diverter (Y) valve and overboard discharge


Battery Charging Systems

There are four major battery charging systems available to cruising boaters - shore power / charger, alternator, solar, and wind. We have chosen not to include wind power generation on Sojourn, but the cruising sailors we talk with swear by their wind generators (when they are not swearing at them).

Our coastal cruising rhythm is three or four nights at anchor or on a mooring ball and at least one night a week on a dock. Your cruising choices will dictate your energy management needs and the selection of charging system and capacity will vary accordingly. One night per week at dock gives us a number of things, but in the energy department, it gives us consistent power to re-charge all of our systems.

We currently have two 95-AH deep cycle house batteries and a starting battery. The charging systems go through the house batteries and then through an automatic charging relay (ACR), which ensures the house batteries get charged first and then the starting battery is topped up. All three batteries can be combined if we need additional starting energy. It took a while to get the battery charger to actually send its rated ten amps to charge my batteries, and now that it does, both Sojourn and I are happy. An investment in a clamp meter that allowed a quick reading of the amperage being put out by the charger allowed me to pinpoint the issue and make the correction.

A few years ago, in anticipation of going south, I researched and installed a high performance 100-amp alternator and external regulator on our Westerbeke 30 HP diesel engine. This summer I replaced it with the original 60-amp alternator. Why? Experts I have talked with told me that smaller engines are not set up for high output chargers. High output alternators require either a serpentine or double pulley to handle the stress on the belts and pulleys. The company I purchased the alternator from had a number of adaptors for serpentine and double belt pulleys - but not for my engine.

Our third source of energy for recharging is solar. On sunny days, we have more than enough power generation to keep the refrigerator and 12-volt freezer doing their jobs and the batteries topped up. We turn off the refrigeration at night to conserve energy and the insulated box seems to stay in a reasonable temperature zone until morning.

Fig 1 Clamp MeterFig 2 Wire


Refrigeration

I don't feel that my boat was originally designed for long term cruising. Nor were many mid-80's production boats. I have talked with other owners of the CS36 traditional and have heard what they have gone through to improve the cooling and insulation in their 'ice boxes.' We replaced our refrigeration unit in 2009 before heading to the Bahamas and installed cold plates, at the recommendation of a knowledgeable friend, and the system worked flawlessly for the first three years.

We then started having intermittent issues. The refrigeration unit would put out well for two or three days and then it would go down. I found some of the wire terminals were loose. I replaced them with a terminal bar. The unit worked for a while and then a new problem; I could hear the compressor start up and then almost immediately shut down.

Fortunately, the maker of our cold plates (no longer in business) used a Danfoss 50 compressor and Danfoss has excellent online support. Their UK distributor put together a series of trouble shooting videosand, while working through those videos, I discovered what looked like a very thin string dangling from the compressor control unit.

On further investigation (I stripped back the plastic) I discovered the string was actually a wire - a very thin wire. Snooping around behind the compressor, I found the other half of the wire. Bearing the ends of both wires and connecting them with a trouble shooting wire I had with alligator clips at both ends, the refrigeration unit sprang to life.

The fan signal wire had been installed across the top of the compressor and the vibrations of the compressor wore the sheathing off the wire and it began to short out (intermittent failure) until the wire broke (complete failure). I added in a section of wire to get us through this summer and will replace the signal wire during spring commissioning.


Fig 3 Coolmatic gf25Food storage

An addition to our galley is a Waeco 12-volt fridge/freezer that kept our frozen food frozen for the entire three weeks of our most recent cruise. In the past, meal planning was primarily cooking what had thawed. By deep-freezing our meat prior to departure, we could select what we wanted to eat. We were able to stock three full weeks of protein for two people - a great benefit in not having to re-stock provisions when you really want to be at anchor.


Engine Cooling

Keep in mind that a boat is a system made up of a series of subsystems - propulsion (sail and engine), electrical, plumbing, etc. I have had challenges with my boat's engine cooling system since day one.

During the cruise south, the alternator belt broke and we did not catch it right away. The engine overheated and we had to sail to the anchorage. While replacing the alternator belt, I pulled off the raw water pump to check the impeller and found one tip missing.

Fig 4 Removing Impeller Bit

At this point, let me introduce you to two of my most favourite tools: A long handled haemostat and a hose hook - both purchased at my friendly neighbourhood auto supply store.

When I spotted the errant impeller tip in the output side of the pump, I was able to latch on to it with the haemostat and draw it out. Yes, I could have used a pair of needle nosed pliers, but the locking mechanism allowed me to hold onto the piece of rubber without continuing to exert pressure. The haemostat also comes in handy when you have to retrieve a nut, washer, screw, or other small item you may drop into the engine sump or some other restricted space.

Fig 5 Hose Hook

The second tool is a hose hook, intended to loosen the grip of hoses that have been attached to some part of your boat for the past few decades. Able to get under the edge, break the seal of the hose, and then give you leverage to pull the hose off the fitting, I think the hose hook is invaluable. It is also great for fishing for impeller bits in a water pump. When I blew air through the output fitting of the pump I felt a restriction, so I continued to search for and remove several impeller bits - eight in fact - all wedged into the narrow elbow fitting feeding cooling water to the heat exchanger. Once the pump was re-installed, the operating temperature of Sojourn at 1500 RPM returned to a civilized 180F. At the same time, I replaced the thermostat - always advisable anytime the engine is overheated. Be sure to carry all of these items in your spare parts kit.


Head Including Diverter (Y) Valve

Nothing dampens the enjoyment of a trip faster than a malfunctioning or stinky head (toilet). On older boats, much of the smell comes from older hoses connecting the head to holding tanks and to pump-out fittings. Hoses, especially those which are low lying and allow effluent to pool, may start smelling in as little as five years. Replacing all of the hoses in an older boat then becomes an 'at least once each decade' maintenance task.

If your cruising will take you out of coastal waters (more than three NM) you will also need to consider the ability to discharge black water waste (untreated sewage) directly overboard - either directly from the head or by pumping the holding tank. The regulations governing the use of overboard discharge are strict - and for good reason. Many harbours, which used to allow overboard discharge, have become NDZ (No Discharge Zones). In these areas, Y or diverter valves have to be secured in the closed position so they cannot be used. Authorities can and will inspect any such installations and the fines can be significant.

We were also having problems getting raw water into the head. We had installed a Lavac(r) vacuum head prior to our 2009 trip to the Bahamas. Taking out the medicine cabinet, I was able to determine the vented loop was functioning well, but the input line had to be re-primed each time we flushed the head. By adding a check (or one-way) valve before the anti-siphon valve, we kept water in the supply side but still guarded against siphoning water through the head.


Conclusion

You don't have to be a mechanic to keep these systems in top form. By knowing how to maintain them, you will be able to give better information to any marine professional you have to call on when the time comes.

See you along the way,

Rob MacLeod

 Photo Credit - Mary MacLeod

 

Destinations

  • Prev
Located about half way between Shediac and the Miramichi on New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast, the town ...
Suddenly the once forsaken city of Hamilton, Ontario is booming for at least two good reasons.
The Salty Dawg Sailing Association (SDSA) invites all sailors to join a cruising rally from the ...
Long popular with New England and St. John area boaters, Passamaquoddy Bay is too often overlooked ...
We did breakfast yesterday in the Greek port of Piraeus, just outside Athens:strong coffee, crisp ...
After much speculation Prince Harry finally popped the question to American actress and longtime ...
Last January we ran a short piece on the motor boat A Great Story which had been restored by the ...
The Moorings has just announced the launch of its newest Caribbean destination, Antigua. 
Toronto sailor and former RCYC coach/sailing instructor Ryan May is now a US coast guard captain ...
Just before the weekly party at Shirley HeightsSunsail staffer Chris Donahue conducts our chart ...

How to be as Polite as a Canadian at Gulf Island Marine Park Anchorages

Gulf Island Marine ParkStory and photos by Catherine Dook

One summer I sold ice cream and knick-knacks at Montague Harbour Marina. I was standing behind the counter one day, when the phone rang. “There’s a boat at anchor in the middle of the bay that’s been playing loud music for three hours,” complained an irate-sounding male voice. “Can you make them stop?”

“Um, no,” I replied. “The marina has no jurisdiction over the anchorage. Besides, my only weapon is a till.” The man hung up on me.

Now when you think about it, you can understand why the poor fellow was annoyed.

Read more about the Gulf Island Marine Park.....

 

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
We were all set with this week’s POTW when a real stunner came in as part of a story on the Blind ...
Have your say. Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need ...
When I was about ten years old I starting racing sailboats on Cape Cod and the sound of the wind ...
I took this photo in July 2017 from our boat Ginger which was anchored and stern tied in Mouat Bay ...
Were we nervous when we returned to Adamant 1 in November? The answer would be a hearty yes. The ...
Just to put it in historical time warp I was a World Sailing Vice President 1976-1994 and President ...
Great icicles! This is not what one expects from the tropical climes of BC. It’s a nice winter ...
Rossiter is a Canadian builder in Markdale, Ontario that builds a nice fleet of rowboats and small ...
Welcome to Photo of the Week 2018. If you are not familiar with this wonderful feature (What???!!!) ...
Living the dream! Longtime CY staffer and now blogger Lynn Lortie with her husband Pat left Midland ...
Canadian Yachting Digital April 2018

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
Commodore’s Boats is a full service shipyard with over 50 years of generational history and ...
Cruisers Yachts debuts the all-new 42 Cantius. The sporty, luxury cruiser will make its first ...
Once again, the designers at Jeanneau have outdone themselves with the innovative new Leader 10.5 ...
The introduction of X-Yachts’Xc range in 2008 has proven itself to be something of a game changer ...
Hull #1 ZINNIA, the all-new, twin outboard MJM 35z left Boston BoatWorks on July 5 for Newport and ...
Following a 10-year hiatus, Richmond, BC-based Crescent Custom Yachts is once again launching ...
According to the folks at Fraser Yacht Sales, you couldn't ask for more - the new Azimut Atlantis ...
During those cold, cold, sunless, dreary months of January and February, I want to remember the fun ...
The Rossiter 23 Classic Day Boatis both a logical extension of the Canadian-built Rossiter line and ...
It's rare for Canadian Yachting magazine to report on the same boat twice, but that is how ...

 

Cruisers Yachts Cantius 42

Cruisers Yachts Cantius 42By John Armstrong and Andy Adams 

The latest new model from Cruisers Yacht sis the Cantius 42 and this yacht made its debut in the fall of 2017, at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. We had the pleasure of going all through this newest Cantius there and clearly, the Cruisers Yachts people continue to refine and expand on all the features that have made the Cantius line such a success.

The new 42 continues the Cantius family resemblance with handsome and distinctive lines including a big section of hull side glazing port and starboard that makes the full-beam mid-ship master stateroom feel very bright and open.

Read more about the Cruisers Yachts Cantius 42...

 

 

Marine Products

  • Prev
We have all had the experience of heading down below on a nice boat only to encounter an unpleasant ...
Last year when this column launched a good deal of time was spent understanding global satellite ...
This article was my first about 10 years ago, and it found it's way to an outdoor editor/writer ...
For a gloomy February we look not only at how an app that works within your phone can be of benefit ...
ZCare Marine, offers effective, eco-safe products to help keep your boat clean. They have products ...
Monaro Marine Ltd. of Richmond, BC, designs and builds its own unique brand of semi-custom 21' to ...
With Garmin it is now possible to use both devices without independently operating two devices with ...
When the Halifax Boat Show opens on February 8th there will be an excellent selection of pontoon ...
The 627 is the largest outboard in world. New cylinder heads and camshaft, an uprated ...
Sirius Signal held a product information session for interested parties prior to demonstrating ...