Category Archives: Cruising Life

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.