Author Archives: BakesConsulting

The new dinghy is finished!

This has been a work in progress since July 2021. After ordering the boat it was built by Whaly in Holland in about a months time. The problem was shipping. The tentative arrival date was in October of 2021. When the ship arrived Long Beach, CA it sat outside the port for a number of months then delays at the port of Long Beach because of the volume and port policies delayed it further. I was finally able to pick up my Whaly 455 Pro in late January 2022. After driving the boat home on a trailer I started planning what it should look like inside. I am not a big fan of driving from the back of the boat because I can’t see over front passengers and I like transferring more weight forward.

The typical Whaly I think has a storage box in the back with a gas tank inside. After searching for different size gas tanks I found the largest that would fit inside the storage box was 6 gallons. I wanted a larger tank so I purchased a 12 gallon tank, secured it to the floor and made a wood slat seat to go over the top of the fuel tank. My original plan called for another storage box for the driver to sit on and a steering console forward of that. After setting it up that way I decided that was too far forward. I put a large storage box on the starboard side so that I could run all the cables and controls from the console to the back of the boat. I then purchased a very cushy bench seat with a folding back from Tempress for the driver. Once I received the seat I realized it was too big and didn’t look right in the boat. It was great quality and very comfortable but just too big. I ended up building a second wooden slat seat. Both wood seats are removable and will eventually get cushions.

Here are some interesting test results: Tested 9.5″ x 15″ SS prop-30kph@5200rpm. Tested 10.375″x14″ Aluminum prop-8.3kph@3000rpm. I did not expect that result. The clue to this mistake is in the bottom photo next to the dock. I then tested 10.875″ x 12″ and it was still bad. I put the original 9.5″ x 15″ and I got a 3000rpm result again. I knew I had done something stupid but what could it be. Well, the bottom picture shows a motor cover on the engine. I had always run with a motor cover to protect the outboard but the new cover did not have ventilation like the old one. During the first test on the lake I did not use the cover. I was starving the engine for air and it was having nothing of it! With the cover off it practically jumps out of the water with the 12″ but tachs out to 6100. I will keep two props probably the 12″ and the 13″ but will test in multiple conditions and loading before deciding.

The rest will be in the pictures below.

Take Care of the Davit so it Let’s you Down Easy

For the last four years I have enjoyed a great davit to lift the dinghy without a hitch. It has been pieced together using different fittings without complaint. It was time to give some love to the giant shiny boom on the front of the boat. The biggest challenge I thought would be figuring out the rusty and corroded cartridge on the boom. I learned the cartridge is for load handling keeping the boom from dropping too fast when loaded. This is what the block looked like when I started.

Over time leaking or broken hard lines were replaced. The top left line looks like steel brake line and the top right was replaced with a hose and non-stainless fittings. I was afraid to remove the cartridge so I removed and capped the entire assembly. I worked with Matt at Maximum Performance Hydraulics in Seattle, WA to figure out what to do. My original idea was to replace the cartridge and hard lines using the same block. Matt was patient when explaining the difference between a load handling cartridge and one that only allows the boom to drop slowly. The load holding valve or counterbalance insures that the boom stays in place when you need the boom to stay in one position. It is also a positive stop in case a line bursts or fitting comes loose. You don’t want to be in your dinghy up in the air when a line breaks and the davit drops unexpectedly. The old design slowed the motion with a spring cartridge but did not provide a positive stop. Matt determined this by the old block design. A true load holding cartridge requires ”pilot pressure” in order to open or move at all. This could have been done by piecing “off the shelf” parts together but I wanted it to look nice also. Fortunately, Maximum Performance Hydraulics has a full machine shop and talented machinists. Matt made CAD drawings and I had some suggestions on how I wanted to install it on the davit. Matt made the modifications and here is the result.

Instead of a combination of fittings the new design is clean and all stainless, including the fittings. The Sun Cartridge is not stainless because it was ten times more expensive and not available for at least six months.

The rest of the davit work was simply removing the ram covers cleaning off the old white paint inside, prime and paint the inside then polish the outside.

The last item on the list is to remove the six old hydraulic lines make new ones and reinstall. I used six colors of shrink tube cut in rings to mark which hose goes on each fitting. I will wait until the snow clears a bit to remove the hoses. So in the words of Billy Currington ”…if I fall, can you let me down easy”. Another project in the books.

A barnacle can be good if it’s a BRNKL

For a couple of years I have been looking for an easy way to make sure the shore power was connected and charging the batteries on Roxia. If you are a boat owner you know what I mean. Even if your boat is nearby and it gets stormy the shore power connection can be lost. If charging stops you could run your house bank of batteries below 50%. This is the critical number on a lead-acid battery like flooded cell or AGM. A battery or bank of batteries can operate through thousands of cycles if treated properly but may last less than a dozen if allowed to discharge below 50%.

Our house bank consists of twelve 8D Lifeline AGM batteries wired series/parallel giving us 1,530Ah at 24 volts. We have stacked inverters so we can get 240 volt AC to run anything but not everything on the boat. With two small SubZero refrigerators and one SubZero freezer running all the time I worry that if the power goes off when I’m not on the boat we could discharge the batteries in a matter of days.

After the great NAPS2021 Rendezvous in Poulsbo, WA I became acquainted with the people at BRNKL (pronounced barnacle) Systems. Sean Battistoni walked me through the system in a Zoom call and I realized how easy it is to install. Two keys to the system for me are: 1) All connections happen behind my main electrical panel. There is no need to run wires all over the boat. 2) The monitoring happens through a cell card that works anywhere there is cell service on the globe. Here are some photos of the install and a few screen shots from my cell phone.

I sensed the shorepower after the final breaker in my panel so I can tell if the breaker has tripped. This gives me the added ability to see if I have loaded my generator or shorepower too much with cooking and air conditioning. I can also tell if I forgot to select shorepower or generator…which I have also done.

All in all I am very happy with the installation and the ability to monitor at anytime that I am on the boat or off. The system comes with a camera which I have not yet installed. I am not sure where I want it to point. Some people point it at the main entrance or there shorepower panel. Alerts can trigger a picture taking as well. I can add more in the future.

I’m Exhausted

The Lugger 1276A on Roxia has 4,200 hours. I think the muffler is original and I noticed some soot on the ceiling of the engine room. This is not what you want to see in your engine room. I took the insulation off the dry exhaust and found a large hole in the muffler. I called my go-to exhaust man Scott Conahan at National Marine Exhaust. We measure the muffler 16” diameter with 5” in and out attached to 6” exhaust and 10” by 8 bolt flange. One manufacturer was 8-10 weeks lead time and the other was 3-4 weeks. We choose the latter.

The muffler arrived while we were cruising so I planned to remove on June 28th knowing we would not have the boat put back together for July 4th. I was at Scott’s shop first thing on Tuesday June 29th so he could build a fixture and weld up the flanges for the exhaust system. Thursday morning Scott sent me pictures of the new exhaust welded up and ready. I drove to his shop and picked up the muffler and they had even installed the insulation on the muffler to save me time. Eight hours later the exhaust was back together and we went cruising on July 2nd!

Can’t say enough about the work done by National Marine Exhaust.

The pictures below tell the whole story. The hole was pretty large and I patched it with stainless steel mesh and marinetex so I could use Roxia while the muffler was ordered and shipped. When I told Scott I hope it holds he said “It’s probably better than it was before…”. It didn’t last that long and by the time I removed the muffler it was almost completely gone.

With the boat finished we were able to catch some fireworks. I started the project at 10am Monday morning and finished 8pm Thursday night thanks to the great work by Scott Conahan and his crew at National Marine Exhaust in Marysville Washington.

Projects of the Pandemic

2020…Anyone want a do-over? Crazy to say the least. My motto for 2020 is “If you can’t go far, go often.” One unknown outcome of the pandemic on Roxia has been the number of projects I completed that I didn’t even know I needed to start. This is a brief recap of “PoP” with pictures below:

  • Pull shaft and remove Hydraulic APU
  • New Computer for FarSounder and Backup Navigation
  • Replace wiper switches with electronic wiper control
  • New hose for gasoline storage tank
  • Replace blackwater hose and vent line
  • Replace bungee at all freeing ports
  • Install new Bluesea M2 gauge on Electric panel
  • Remove non-functioning DryZone system
  • Upgrade engine room ventilation system
  • Install air compressor (horn, air tools and Hookah diving)
  • Build new windlass handle
  • Build aft enclosure for cockpit
  • Visit the Mothership for Nordhavn swag!
  • Build a rack to store small glassware

Work in progress:

  • Replace hydraulic gauges with plug/test ports
  • Remove paint from cap rails
  • Service watermaker
  • New Backup domestic water pump

An Exciting day at Haul-Out

I think it was IBM who used to say you never have a loyal customer until you solve a problem. They also said you shouldn’t hire a salesman under 6′ tall…

In the case of the first remark I was a loyal customer of Port of Everett and now I can’t imagine going anywhere else. Recently, we hauled out Roxia for some routine work. POE has a 75 MT lift and we are right at the limit. I have been hauling out at POE for about 8 years and all the employees are great. They have hauled multiple N62’s so I know they have the experience.

As usual the slings were ready when I arrived and I slipped in with no problem. They waited while I shut things down and I stepped off. On the way to the pressure wash area (away from the water with containment) one of the tire stems broke and started to leak air. These are 300psi airplane tires that I think they run around 140-150psi. With 150,000 pounds in the slings the action started pretty darn fast. One call on the radio and 10 people came in trucks with blocks, a spare tire, a BIG jack and breaker bar. Did you know the lug nuts are torqued to 300 foot pounds. Think about that, with a two foot breaker bar I still could get enough force from my 140 pounds of cinnamon rolls to torque the lugs. Fortunately the mechanic had a 4′ torque wrench. The tire was brought in with a forklift and four guys rolled it into place. All’s well that ends well.

Anyway PORT OF EVERETT You ROCK!!!

You don’t just call AAA
Roxia had to be blocked quickly.
Back in business

The New and Improved Cabinet

A previous caretaker of Roxia removed the original entertainment cabinet and replaced it with one to accommodate their electronics. While it was a nice cabinet it did not match the original woodwork and was really just too big. Here is what it looked like.

Previous Entertainment Center

Here is the new and improved entertainment cabinet.

Cabinet as of April 2020

That’s all you need to know unless you want to see how I built it. Ok, still reading? Here are the pictures of what I did to make it look better than before. I will note that the Plexiglas in the door is made from one of the swing doors in the previous cabinet. Also, I cut two of the shelves to make the new shelves and the top to make the back of the new cabinet. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

And there you have it. If you made it this far you probably have nothing better to do. This is during the great quarantine of 2020. Stay safe!

A Few Engine Room Projects

Remove Hydraulic Drive

The first project was to remove the backup to the backup. Roxia has a fully separate wing engine in the event of a main engine failure. We also have/had a hydraulic “auxiliary propulsion unit” APU which is a hydraulically powered motor mounted to the main driveshaft driven from the 20kW Northern Lights generator. My plan is to make room for a second 6-8kW generator for low load situations especially in temperate climate like the PNW. The last piece to come out will be the drive coupling. I need to remove the main shaft coupler in order to remove it so I’m waiting until I haul-out to make it easier. Greg Harmon was a big help with this project. All this equipment is for sale…

Exhaust Insulation

The next project was new insulation for the main engine exhaust and muffler. The old cladding was deteriorating and pieces of the material were making their way into the bilge. Scott Conahan from National Marine Exhaust has built exhaust and insulation for me in the past so he was the man for this project also.

Build Aquarium…

The last project was just for fun. I figure I spend a lot of time in the Engine Room so why not make it remind me of a place I want to be. Since it is usually warm I thought of the tropics…or is it a window?

Sometimes Just Owning a Nordhavn is Cool

Recently we cruised to Poulsbo Washington for the week end. Roxia was tied to the end of “F” dock and we had visitors from time to time. I was cleaning up in the cockpit when and older couple (my age) and younger man (40’s) were looking up at our mast. The younger man said “That is quite a comms suite you have”. I don’t know about you but I rarely hear all the hardware referred to as a “comms suite” by people strolling the dock. We talked briefly across the dock and I could tell I had some knowledgeable folks so I asked them aboard. Since I was taking Emmy and six of her friends on a girls weekend I couldn’t talk tools and equipment much. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for these folks to let me ramble unabated about all things Nordhavn.

Roxia Comms Suite

Roxia Comms Suite

Turns out the older couple were the aunt and uncle of the younger man whose wife and kids were getting some food in town. Sadly the older gentleman went to UC Berkley and since I went to archival Stanford we had to cease communication immediately. Almost kidding. Rolf (the nephew) loved Roxia and we ended up talking for an hour maybe more. At the end he offered to let me tour one of the boats he had commanded. An Ohio Class SSBN, ballistic missile submarine. I thought about it while I leisurely blinked my eyes once and said YES.

Nice Ride. Just add three zeros to Nordhavn price.

Nice Ride. Just add three zeros to Nordhavn price.

After the requisite security clearance waiting period we made the drive to Bangor. Capt. S gave me and 4 others (Will, Bobby, Paul and Jim) five hours of his time for the most amazing tour of the base and USS Alabama. I used to think a Nordhavn was both complicated and had redundant systems. Those two definitions both changed for me. I learned a few things that day. When security asks “Do you know what contraband is?” If you don’t know the answer you may be there a very long time. Contraband includes cell phone, camera, any wifi capable device as well as weapons, knives etc. The next question is “Do you have any contraband?” If the answer is anything but “no” you might as well give up and not even try to walk through the inspection arch. At the fourth inspection point when walking aboard the boat and you say “Permission to come aboard?” This is actually a question that you have to wait for an answer. When you are granted permission, cross the gangway, pause and face the flag, place your hand on your heart (I don’t salute because I am not military) you no you have entered a special place.

Because on this particular day Capt. S happened to be the senior officer on the base we were treated to some amazing information. We met the the on duty team CO, XO and COB as well as some very talented men serving our country. After touring every part of the ship except ones requiring a higher clearance than we got, I was floating around in a cocoon of bliss. I have a renewed respect for the training and sacrifice these young people have chosen.

And to think all of this happened because I bought a Nordhavn and was hanging out at the dock.

The Crew in front of memorial.

The Crew in front of memorial.

Thank you Captain!

Ps. He did say if the weather is bad they just drop down another 100 feet and say “That hurricane wasn’t so bad.”

Roxia Refit Starts Early

The plan was to start the major refit of Roxia after making it through the fall with a couple more weekend trips. I think Roxia was like a thoroughbred that needed some attention before going out on the track. The sub-title of this post could have been ” Remember Chafe Protection”. As it turns out when a piece of equipment was added 10 years ago there was one missing piece of chafe protection.

Underneath this floor plate

Underneath this floor plate

Do you know how long it takes to empty a 20 hydraulic tank when there is a one quarter inch tear in a 3,000 psi #12 (” ID) hose? Less than two minutes is the answer. It also makes such a big mess in the Engineroom that it took me almost 8 hours to find the source. I spent two full days cleaning up the mess but I am sure I will be finding pockets of oil for the next year. I pumped 12 gallons of oil out of the bilge and yes I got the bilge pump turned off in time. The rest of the oil was soaked up in my clothes, a bin of oil absorb sheets or my hair. A big THANK YOU goes to Greg Harmon of Harmon Marine Service for finding the leak and solving the problem. Another big THANK YOU goes to Barry at Dunlap Industrial Hardware in Everett, WA. Barry made a new hose while we waited and stocks all the sizes of hose and fittings including stainless steel and the dies for the Parker swage machine.

When a water pump for a Wesmar APU300 was added the hydraulic hose supplying oil to the stern thruster was bent when the floorboard was screwed down. Two things could have prevented the issue: First the floorboard could have been cut out an additional inch to keep it from touching the hose. Or Two, chafe protection could have been added to sacrificially protect the hose from wear. When Roxia was built the floorboard was not screwed down and it looks like it was pushed tighter to make more room on the other side. For the repair I took out the pump, cut the board and added chafe protection.

As long as everything was apart I cleaned things up and removed the Denso tape from most of the fittings. I left it on some of the steel connectors.

Before and After

Before and After

The moral of the story is to make sure you have chafe protection and check it to make sure it stays in place. When a system is added double check the work. The hydraulic APU was a backup to the backup (wing engine) so I will be removing itif you need a backup.