Category Archives: Engine Room
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.
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
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…
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.
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?
Roxia Refit Starts Early
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.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.
Engine Room Storage
This project started out as a basic engine room clean up and ended up a construction project. We had so many things stacked on the workbench and sides that there was nowhere to work. I looked for a tool box to store everything but I couldn’t find anything that fit the space. I used a simple design that was flexible enough for all the spaces.
I made three separate cabinets, one for tools, one for nuts and bolts and the last one is for small spare parts. This should give me back most of the workbench on the port side and a workplace on the Starboard side. Below are a few photos from the build. The drawers are 1.5″, 3″ or 4.5″ height. The bottom of the drawer is also the slide and fits into the dado slots. The slots are spaced at 1.5″ so every drawer can fit anywhere in the box.
I sorted all the screws I have collected for the last 15 years and organized the drawers.
Roxia hardware store is open for business!
Back in the USA
We finished our five week “working” adventure in Australia and have returned to the chilly Northwest. We spent the first week getting Roxia set up then went on a three week shakedown cruise finishing with one more week in Sydney. Roxia is safe on the hard in Bundaberg Port Marina under the watchful eye of Brett Hensler and Donna Pressler. Roxia survived the first 100kph wind with no issues. All the boats on the hard are kept in steel cradles and then the boat is strapped down.
We did have a few issues that we had to repair on the fly. The worst of them was the hydraulic cooling pump connection failed and we didn’t have a spare. We were three days from nowhere and needed the pump to be able to use the stabilizers.
These pictures show the sheared off teeth of the connection between hydraulic motor and water pump as well as the three versions of my solution. First, using cut up pieces of hose, zip ties (V1), then hose clamps (V2) and finally hose with hose clamps and a zip tie to take up some of the torsional force (V3). V1 lasted 20 minutes, V2 lasted 3 hours and finally V3 lasted more than two weeks. I need to come up with a better long term solution. If I can build a bracket to keep the motor and pump aligned the old style may work. The other problem is the pump has slotted head screws instead of hex head. That is the worst invention ever. It is impossible to hold a screwdriver in 115 degree heat in rough seas to change the impeller. At least that is a simple solution.
All in all this was a great trip. We did some cruising of the Whitsundays and the Curtis Coast (down to Bundaberg). Lady Musgrave is a reef about 35 nm off the coast. There is an opening in the reef deep enough to drive through. We cruised there for our last night before Bundy and we are glad we did. After nervously motoring inside avoiding bommies, we anchored and took the dinghy to the tiny little island which is the part of the reef above water. We walked through mangroves with hundreds of nesting birds. The sound was amazing with all the songs and probably yelling at us to get out… Back on the beach we snorkeled in the reef. A tortoise swam with us and we watched a Blue Spotted Ray rest under a rock.
Here are some pictures from our cruising.
As we were cruising I was amazed at some of the patches of algae that we saw. I’m not sure if this is from the warm water or if it is normal for this area but the patches were vast. Here is a picture when we were many miles offshore.
Coal is a huge export from Australia. The controversy is starting to heat up regarding the use, mining and export of coal but these two pictures show the number of coal freighters we saw in both Mackay and Gladstone.
It was fun spending time in Sydney. The ferry service is awesome. With the Opal card you can take the public ferry, bus and train routes. There is a discount with the card and a 15.40 max per day use so once you hit that amount everything is free. On Sundays the max is under $2!
Now the question is: Do we ship Roxia home or drive her home? The big question is if she is ready to make the voyage or can we get her ready before the required (by ATO) April 20 departure date.