Boat Systems Report Card
I borrowed the idea of this “boat systems report card” from another site (svfelicity) after referencing it numerous times throughout the refit. It’s a quick, efficient way to discuss what’s working and not working. I will add comments to this page at various stages in my travels over the next few years essentially creating a report card for each major piece of gear I purchased and installed onboard Dosia.
Anchoring – My anchoring system plays a major role in my “self-insurance” tactic. I carry a 44lb Bruce, 35lb CQR, and Fortress FX-26 for our anchors. The primary Bruce has 250′ 5/16” chain. I haven’t made up the secondary rode yet, but carry 150′ of spare 5/16” chain in the bilge at midships along with several 100’+ lengths of 1/2″ and 5/8″ 3 strand. To manage this ground tackle I splurged on a Lighthouse 1501, a major expense, so it better live up to our expectations.
**update 7/06** I have since redone the rodes so that the primary has 150’ of 5/16” chain + 195’ of 3/4” 3-strand nylon. The secondary has 50’ of 5/16” chain + 150’ of 5/8” 3-strand nylon. 200’ of spare chain is carried in the bilge. I haven’t dragged and feel very comfortable in most all anchoring conditions. The Lighthouse kicks ass but needs frequent shining to keep it looking good.
**update 4/09** I used the Fortress 16′ of 5/16″ chain (my dinghy lockup chain) and some 5/8″ three-strand as a stern anchor in a few anchorages in the Marquesas and found it extremely handy. It kept the boat pointed right into the seas and kept us from rolling around. Other than that, the anchoring system seems sound. No problems so far. Still gotta shine up that Lighthouse a lot!
Cushions – I replaced all the cushions on the boat. I had new foam cut and covered with ultra-suede for the interior. I replaced the V-berth cushions with a custom Handcraft Mattress system III and custom sheets. In the cockpit, I had custom cushions cut from EvaDry foam and covered in sunbrella fabric.
**update 4/09** The cushion on the port side settee…the comfortable side…is wearing thin. It’s not surprising. I’ll look into having some new foam cut in new zealand but for now, I can just switch the starboard cushion over! I love the mattress. I need more sheets made though.
Dinghy – My dinghy is a Caribe L-9 (light model) which is a hypalon RIB weighing in around 115 lbs. I bought this at the Annapolis show and carried it home myself to avoid both tax and shipping charges. I’m powering it with a Nissan 4 stroke 8HP. The dinghy will be stored on the foredeck.
**update 12/05** already had to pull out the transom drain and rebed it after finding water sloshing inside the hull. Draining it in this photo. Hopefully this isn’t idicative of Caribe quality. We haven’t even left home yet!
**update 7/06** have to say that I wish we had a 15hp engine. Why? It’d be more fun. I can plane, but only with two people. Sometimes I can’t plane with a heavy load of laundry. The 8hp is only JUST enough.
**update 4/09** I REALLY wish I had that 15hp 2-stroke yamaha. The Caribe is holding up well despite the abuse of world cruising. And I still love the fact it fits perfectly in it’s spot on the foredeck. The Nissan actually died on me this afternoon…luckily it was only 20 yds from the boat. It’s probably water in the fuel or a carb cleaning. I’ll tackle that tomorrow.
Dodger – I definently splurged on the dodger deciding to go with a Wavestopper Hard Top hard top and Barrett Bonded Windows. Custom Canvas of Charleston did the fitting and build for me. I chose the hard top for numerous reasons but mainly for the fact that I’ve never met, nor heard of, anyone who regretted having a hard dodger aboard their boat. In fact, those with hard dodgers usually declare it one of their most useful, satisfying pieces of equipment. It provides numerous places for handrail installation and it gives us a sturdy mount for some solar panels later down the road. Even little things like putting the sailcover on the mizzen is simpler since you can sit on it!
**update 7/06** still love the hard dodger and we get tons of compliments on it. Used it to mount speakers and soon, another antenna (wifi). It’s just really nice to have.
**update 4/09** mounted my new solar panels on top of the dodger. LOVE IT. And the Barrett windows are doing great. The clear plastic is still clean and clear after about 4 yrs.
Electrical – Dosia is powered by a total of 8 Trojan t-105 6V batteries in custom boxes. Six of these are for the house bank giving us around 660 amp hours. The other two are in series as a starting battery. The reason for this setup is that I’ll probably repower the boat sometime in the next few years. In conjunction with a repower I’ll up the charging alternator from the current Balmar 6 Series 150 amp to something more powerful that can quickly charge an 880 AH bank. Then I can just switch those last two Trojans into the house bank and add one more battery for starting. I just didn’t have time to complete a dual alternator setup or to have a custom pulley machined for a large single alternator so I set it up for future expansion. A Balmar 612 regulator, Link 2000, and Heart Interface Freedom 20 charger/inverter, separate Echo charge round out the major aspects of the electrical system.
**update 7/06** charging system is pretty good. Would be nice to have a bigger alternator but with my engine and the stock pulley this is as much as I feel comfortable installing. Have changed the belt once. Batteries will power the boat with me on it for 2-2.5 days. Without me, it’ll last almost 5 days. Want to look into solar and/or wind but it’s just not necessary yet.
**update 4/09** I think the batteries are shot. Not surprising after the really long storage in Ecuador. I still get 2 days but no more. My new solar panels (Kyocera KC65T) and their regulator (Blue Sky Solar Boost 2000e) certainly take some of the load off. I’ve seen them putting in up to 8 amps at high noon. Without them, I would have to replace the batteries. With the new lower end I can’t seem to get anymore than 70 charging amps out of the alternator. Not like that’s awful or anything though! Last year my Honda 2000 generator SAVED THE TRIP. Thankfully I had it aboard or we would have been handsteering for miles and miles.
**update 10/09** I just needed to tighten the belt. At 2100 RPM I’ve seen 120 amps though I charge at 1300-1400 where I get 80 amps to start and it drops as it goes through the cycle. I plan on replacing the batteries in New Zealand. I do believe it is time. 5 years isn’t too bad for deep cycles especially when they were left on their own for so many months in Ecuador.
Electronics – I carry the following electronics aboard Dosia:
– Raymarine C80 Chartplotter/Radar display
**update 10/06** so far, I am very happy with this unit and the Navionics gold charts it takes.
**update 4/09** still happy with this system and the charts. i think i have some loose connections to the radome. either that or i need to pull the manual out and do some major adjustments. i’m not getting the kind of detail i should at high ranges.
– Raymarine 2kw Radome
– Raymarine ST-60 depth (one in cockpit, one below…each with own xducer)
– Raymarine ST6001 Linear drive autopilot with the rate gyro option
**update 4/09** I had the motherboard go out on the autopilot computer in Panama a couple years back. They repaired it at no cost. But while it was gone I bought another so I now have a spare linear drive, spare computer, and two spare gyro compasses on board. Basically two autopilot units. The only thing I don’t have a spare of is the control head/display.
– Garmin 276C GPS
**update 7/06** already had to send this unit back for repair. Cable and place where cable connects to back corroded away, pin broke, and unit would no longer charge. This was obviously due to the location of the mount…at the helm on an Edson arm, but I still thought it should have lasted longer than a couple of months. Will have to remount elsewhere
**update 4/09** for no reason in particular i just don’t like this thing. the battery died and had to be replaced. now i charge it below and only bring it up to the cradle at the helm when entering and exiting harbors. it’s “okay” but i’d like to figure out a better option
– Icom 802 SSB with AT140 tuner
**update 4/09** I RARELY use this thing. After all the expense and hassle of the install, the satellite phone has become my main means of email communication at sea. People ramble on about the most useless crap on the nets and I don’t really care to listen in.
– SCS Pactor Modem
– Standard Horizon Spectrum VHF
– Multiple SH and Icom handheld VHF’s
– Toshiba Laptops
**update 10/06** With the cooling fans on the bottoms of these things, you have to watch carefully where it sits, making sure it gets adequate airflow at all times. I had to completely take one of the laptops apart to replace a burnt out fan already.
**update 4/09** These things hold up pretty well and I get a decent bang for the buck. I still have one of the original laptops from ’05 but it’s barely hanging on. One toshiba was stolen over the boat in Raiatea so I bought yet another.
– Nakamichi AM/FM/CD player
Engine – I’m sticking with the original Westerbeke W40 engine for now. I carry a full assortment of spares including an extra alternator and water pump. The paragon transmission is already giving me some trouble with slippage, but I really haven’t devoted enough time fixing it to consider replacing it. I replaced the old stuffing box with a PSS dripless shaft seal and I installed a new raw water filter (Groco) and fuel filter (Racor). I had the old alternator rebuilt and marinized for a spare and replaced it with a Balmar 6 series 150 amp model. I also soundproofed the engine room to the best of our ability with the SPM sound tiles from Sailor Solutions and Silent Running sound dampening paint.
**update 4/09** I have learned A LOT about engines and the maintenance to keep them running well over the last couple of years. I rebuilt the water pump in Ecuador and now carry a spare. On the pacific crossing a rocker arm broke. That was replaced and I got another 12 hours out of her before she seized. There was saltwater in the cylinders. I assume it got there during all the repair attempts and therefore starting attempts in the Marquesas but it’s also possible I picked up bad fuel in the Galapagos and it snuck by the filter. The entire bottom end was replaced with a bottom end from a Perkins 4-108 in Papeete, Tahiti last November. So I have a Westerbeke W40 (Perkins 4-107) top end and a 4-108 bottom end. It’s working well and I’m replacing fuel filters every 20 hours till I go through everything in the tank.
**Update 10/09** The engine has worked flawlessly since the big rebuild. No smoke, runs cool, and I get more speed and power at lower RPM’s now.
Galley – I replaced the old CNG stove with a new Force Ten 3 Burner propane model. The new LPG tank is mounted on the aft cockpit coaming to avoid an LPG locker install. A new Adler Barbour Super Coldmachine and large evaporator make up our refigeration system. I may upgrade to the water cooling option if needed later. There is a freshwater foot pump at the galley sink.
**update 4/09** The regulator and solenoid I have mounted on the stern pulpit gave out and needed to be replaced. I need to have some sort of cover made to keep them out of the elements. It’s very difficult finding places with the right fitting to fill the horizontal mount LPG tank.
Head – I tore out the old Lectrasan and installed a new Lavac toilet. This is supposed to be the simplest, “least likely to break” toilet out there so it BETTER live up to it’s expectations. All plumbing lines were replaced with Trident sanitation hose and whale diverter valves. The head sink, floor drain, and shower drain all lead to a new Rule shower sump. My new 19 gallon custom holding tank was made by All-rite to our exact specs and fits perfectly in the space previously occupied by the Lectrasan with space leftover for storage on top. A new sewage deck fitting was added for pumpout although I can pump the tank myself at sea.
**update 10/06** I didn’t mention it above but one of the things I’ve truly grown to love about the 365 is the separate shower stall. I will NEVER own a boat that doesn’t have one of these things!
**update 4/09** Still LOVE the shower stall. It’s one of the nicest features on the boat and it’s unusual to have one on a boat this size. Not one problem with the Lavac. I have to say I’m impressed. I do clean it regularly with vinegar and baking soda and periodically pull the pump apart and clean it. Not b/c it’s broken…just preventative maintenance. I also clean the shower sump box regularly. That thing gets disgusting.
Lighting – I added in this section because the lighting industry is changing but I’m not. I still haven’t found LED cabin lights I like. I replaced the main galley light with an Alpenglow (not the LED one) and I love it. Way brighter with less electricity. I’m keeping my eye on the LED industry.
**Update 10/09** I love the Aplenglow. It pretty much lights the whole salon area and we rarely turn any other lights on nowadays!
Paint – During Dosia’s renovation I painted the entire deck including all nonskid surfaces with Interlux’s two part poly called Perfection. I did the nonskid sections of the deck using their product called Intergrip. It became obvious this stuff was not coarse enough to provide adequate protection with a wet deck and I ended up repainting the side decks and foredeck using coarse grained pumice. I’ve been extremely happy with the results. I left the cabin top alone for now.
**update 11/06** I wish I would have made the decks ever coarser. At the time, I was worried about the deck hurting my knees if I was up there doing work. Now that I’m out cruising I think it was dumb. I’m NEVER on my knees on deck unless it’s one of those extra special nights!
**update 4/09** The paint is showing a bit of wear but holding up well.
Plumbing – I completely redid the plumbing on the boat. I started by cutting out the forward 50 gallon water tank for conversion to storage. I cut the tops off both 50 gallon settee tanks, lined them with high density foam flooring I found at Lowes, and placed flex tanks from Plastimo inside each. My main freshwater pump is a Shurflo 3.3 GPM Aquaking. For my deck washdown I chose the flush mounted deck fitting originally produced by New Found Metals, now distributed by Jabsco. This is fed by a Shurflo Blaster pump with a diverter valve to choose either fresh or saltwater rinse. The deck fitting I installed along the side deck to allow easy reach to both the foredeck and the cockpit. All interior faucets were replaced with Price Pfister fittings. The cockpit shower is a SSI Plastics Ultimate Cockpit Stowaway shower. This shower required the smallest cutout we could find.
**update 7/06** I can’t ever get the Blaster/flush mount plug to prime the pump. I think it always get airlocked. Will have to examine this installation…maybe that’s the problem. To this day, we haven’t touched the cockpit shower.
**update 4/09** I figured out I could prime the Blaster by blowing down the hose after I plug it in. Nice. Never once used the cockpit shower. No major problems with the water system.
Rigging – Every piece of rigging on Dosia was replaced including all chainplates (Schaefer). I used swaged rigging simply because it was readily available to me, quick, and inexpensive. Next time, when I don’t have such easy access to a rigging shop, I’ll probably use sta-loc or norseman fittings. My furler is a Schaefer 2100 series. Most of the running rigging is New England Endura braid with some of their T-900 and Sta-set X mixed in. The traveler system I added is Harken with their track risers to clear the companionway cover. I also used a small Harken traveller car on a short length of BB track to create and easily adjustable outhaul system. Almost every winch was replaced with new Lewmar winches including the new 44ST’s in the cockpit. I laid down new genoa track (Schaefer T track) lengthening it 4-5 ft on each side from the original layout.
**update 4/09** I like having the extra length on the genoa tracks. It allowed me to experiment a lot on the downwind sail across the Pacific. No major problems to report here. Sometimes the furler is a bit tough to work with but I’ve never really been on a boat where that was easy.
Safety – Safety items include an ACR Globalfix Epirb, numerous SOS lifejackets both manual and automatic with and without harness, jacklines and a horseshoe buoy on the sternrail. I added numerous harness attachment points throughout the boat. My first aid kit is the Trans Ocean Pack from First Aid Pak.
**update 4/09** Had to go through the First Aid Pak and get rid of a lot of stuff in Ecuador. I added some things as well. Haven’t really needed it yet but I like having the big kit just in case. EPIRB is up for battery renewal and will come back to the states with me later this year.
Sails – UK Sails in Charleston made a new main, mizzen, and 130 genoa for me. So far I’m extremely happy with them. I went with the 2+2 batten setup on the main with 2 reefing points figuring that if it’s blowing hard enough to have three reefs we’ll just drop the main and fly the mizzen and furled up genoa to balance the boat. I will have a new jib made soon which we’ll put on anytime a long beat into the wind is expected. Currently I don’t have any type of true storm sail setup which is worrisome. This is definently a priority and I’ll set one up as I sail the boat more and find the optimal solution. I have a new asymetrical spinnaker with an ATN sleeve from FX Sails.
**update 10/06** No problems here, but I just wanted to mentioned that I’ve yet to touch the spinnaker. It always seems that when the wind dies I need to (or want to) motor for electricity anyway. It could come in to use much more in the Pacific though.
**update 4/09** I used the spinnaker and I FREAKING LOVE IT. It was the reason our passage across the pacific was so fast. I personally know the owner of FXsails and have worked for the company. It’s a great operation with the best prices around. The setup was easy. I put a block on the stemhead for the tack and use the windlass drum to adjust. For the sheet I attach a block to the Mizzen running backstay padeye and run it up to the winch. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Steering – I replaced the old Edson pedestal with a newer version and simplified the steering system. The old autopilot, a rotary drive system, involved the addition of a separate sheave, chain sprocket, and separate quadrant (in addition to the radial drive wheel). I removed all this junk and now use a Raymarine ST6001 Linear drive and Edson tiller arm mounted on the rudder shaft just above the radial drive wheel. The new Edson wheelbrake setup seems far superior to the old style. Windvane steering is a potential purchase for me, but I’ll see how the linear drive handles in different conditions and make that decision later.
**update 4/09** No problems here. Of course I’m still interested in windvane steering but only b/c of it’s electricity saving potential.
Watermaker– I went with a Katadyn PowerSurvivor 40E simply because of it’s compact size and the price I could get it for. It doesn’t produce as much water as quickly as I’d like, but with it low power usage and our relatively large battery bank, I can run it for hours on end with no problem.
**update 7/06** it would definitely be nice to have a faster watermaker. This one is okay because of it’s size but IT IS SLOW. With a larger unit I could make multi gallons when I am charging the batteries anyway. Maybe next time!
**update 4/09** I hate this thing. I wouldn’t take another if you gave it to me for free.
**update 10/09** Man, I must have been frustrated at this thing back in April. The biggest problem with the unit is that it’s too small. It works fine but 1.5 gallons per hour is not enough for our needs. We like to shower…daily if possible which many cruisers consider a luxury. I bought it because of the low amperage draw but now I wish I would have bought a much larger unit to turn on while we’re charging batteries. It works well for what it is though.