Thursday, November 15, 2012

Winter has come! or At least the cooler weather.  We ran the Espar diesel forced air heater for real the last couple of days.  It brought the interior up to a nice warm temperature.  All that needs to be done now is to install a thermostat that can have the heat go off at night and come on early in the morning before we climb out of bed.

We also got the heat pump in the main salon operating on the heat mode.  It puts out a lot of heat, but being that it is under one of the bench's it is a bit noisy.  I am sure that on a "minus" day this will not be a big issue when trying to stay warm!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Plugged In - the Volt's are Flying

     We finally got the 220v system hooked up and operational.  After a bit of research and discussion it was determined that the present isolation transformer could be used with the US shore power.  The voltage is less, and the hz's are 60 cycle rather then the European 50 cycle, but we do not have any equipment that is either that sensitive to the voltage and hz difference or can use a range of voltage and hz.
     It took a bit of cutting on the 1/4" steel lid for the autopilot steering/electrical box, but overall the project of installing the "Smart Plug" system went well.  We have used the "Smart Plugs" on both the 125v and 220v shore power connections and to date have been happy with their function and ease of use.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Around, Around it Goes...

After filling both tanks while in Mexico it was decided to keep burning out of the aft pair of tanks. It soon became apparent that "Zeta" was becoming a bit bow heavy so we switched to the forward pair of tanks.

 These tanks had never been filled, so we where a bit hesitant as to what may be waiting to test the fuel filtration system. As usual with new things, nothing goes 100% smoothly. The first item that was discovered was that the emergency shut off valve was in the off position. Then a drip started at the top part of a check valve fitting.

 In a short period of time we got both of these items squared away and first ran the generator for an hour before the bigger test of running the main engine. All seemed to be going well until we heard this loud alarm. After a bit of head scratching it turned out to be the fuel filter alarm for water in the filter. The remedy turned out to be a good lesson in how all the 12 valves function. We drained the water, looked up the necessary manuals on the internet, and made a note to obtain additional spare filters for these units.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Another survey item down…

      A master battery switch has been installed for the generator.  This hopefully has solved a couple of issues.  The first being an item that was on the "buyer's" survey report, "Provide and install a shut-off switch for the generator positive start cable."

     The other potential problem that was solved by installing the generator battery switch is the prevention of a battery drain, and not being able to supply A/C power to the vessel.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

We got the heat...

                    After installing a new fuel line and reworking the exhaust system, we have heat! 

                                                     The system works extremely well.
                       We are ready for the coldest nights and crisp mornings... bring it on.

Can you hear me??

     We spent some time with the manual, then in frustration called a local dealer/distributor and in the end lost the battle with the Raymarine Ray49E VHF radio.  According to the manual we where suppose to be able to change the channel set from the International to the US frequencies.  But, both myself and the dealer gave up.  After a phone call by the dealer, Raymarine finally indicated that it was as odd situation and they would have to do the reset so that the US channel set could be used.
     The radio was sent back to Raymarine ... the waiting is on to see what the final results are.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wide body, Tight fit....

     When we got to where we where going to berth "Zeta" we found that a can of Crisco was going to be needed....
     The situation did give us an opportunity to  meet every one on the dock!  After some help, some searching and a tape measure, we found a more appropriate slip.  It was not the length that got us, it was the wide beam of the gal...

Coming back to the "State's" ....

     We finally made it back to the US.  After almost a month in Ensenada, Mexico we made our way into San Diego.  On the way up we stopped at the Coral Marina and picked up 600 gallons of fuel at a price of $2.90 a gallon.  
     Then remember that new dripless shaft bearing we had installed?  About an hour out of the Coral Marina an alarm went off.  It indicated that there was no flow of the cooling water to the bearing.  After shutting down the engine I went below to see what was up. 
     The bearing had backed out of the coupling and had rotated braking off the hose that supplied the cooling water.  With a bit of knowledge I got the system back together in less then 15 minutes.  Accept for some water in the bilge, everything was fine.  So either the hose clamps where not installed properly, or need to be attended to before each voyage.

  When we went through customs I learned something new.  According to the agent, they can impose a fee for the work that is accomplished out of the US.  Having travel through out the world all my life, I had never heard of this.  I understand paying "duty" on the value of goods beyond the specified limit, but on labor?  I asked what does American Airline's do when they have a plane painted in Spain?  Do they pay duty on the paint job when it is brought back into the US?  The agent backed off and let it go.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Flame out....

     And the maintenance goes on...

The Espar heater has a few installation problems.  The fuel line that was used is not of good quality and has failed internally causing the line to clog up.  But a real danger is the exhaust line.  It has been routed so close to the fuel line that if the unit had started up the exhaust heat would melt the fuel line and cause a fire.

                                   All of this is correctable, but it takes from the cruising time!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Going Green

     You have most likely heard of the person putting diesel fuel into the gasoline tank of their car, or maybe the boater filling the water tank with diesel fuel.  If it can happen, then some place along the line it will happen.

      To help prevent this "Zeta's" diesel fuel fill ports are now painted green and the gray/black tank pump outs are painted black.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hanging some decoration..

Before we left Florida, we had the chance to go to the Miami International Boat Show.  At the show we picked up a bit of art to spruce up the interior of "Zeta".  The piece was by the world's premier marine wildlife artist Guy Harvey.  We had the opportunity to meet him and have him sign the picture.

Keeping US Safe...

With boat fires being on the for front of the news in the last couple of months, I made sure that we had a fire/carbon monoxide alarm in the boat.  We where sadden to learn that folks, whom we associated with during our summers at the Bellingham marina, perished recently in a multiple boat fire early in the morning while they slept on their boat which was one of many lost in a fire. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Routing the volts...

“Zeta” is electrically challenged.  Being built for the European market, the rules for her certification are a bit different then here in the US.  Because they stern tie their vessels a majority of the time, the shore power connection is at the stern of the vessel.  Thus the first problem is that a standard 50 ft cord has a hard time reaching the shore power outlet if you go bow first into the slip.

The next problem was the lack of a CB within 10 feet of the shore power receptacle.  Because of these two major deficiencies, I have started to move the the shore power receptacle closer to the center of the vessel, incorporate a galvanic isolator, and CB.

Note the next item to look into.... why is the voltage reading 142.3 volts?  According to the volt meter that I connected to check the system, it is about 20 volts too high.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Drill and Tap...

It was a simple project.  Remove the sun driven dorade vent and replacing it with a traditional vent system.  I was 90 percent done when I broke the tap off in the third to last hole.

This disaster led to an adventurous trip through Ensenada.  Now in a country where km’s are used for speed, the temps are in “C’s”, and the fuel is in liters, you would think that you would be able to find a metric tap. Oh no, the only taps to be found at Home Depot and the local tool shop where standard.

    So, after yet another adventure, and the help of some kind people, I found a new metric tap.  I only wish they where able to shorten the day it took me to drill and pound out the broken tap.


The Zebra looses it’s stripes...

     This is a preview of “Zeta” without her “stripes”.  We removed the red stripes and the blue going down the stern trim piece. 

                       All she needs now is the final coat of white paint, and the bottom paint.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Valves Found...

     The mystery of the lost valves has been solved.  During the “buyers” survey the thru hull valves for the forward holding tank and direct overboard could not be found.  The folks in Turkey have either a very odd sense of humor, or a definite separation of work responsibilities when it comes to building vessels.

    It appears that someone built the hull, another person come in and did the electrical, and then some place along the way the plumber did his thing.  Last but not least, the carpenter completed the interior, doing a beautiful job, with the finest of detail and covered every thing up!

    Why would you want to look at those ugly valves, never mind being able to get to them.  After doing some detective work a door was cut into the finish work next to the head.  The valves appeared properly installed in all their glory.


Monday, April 16, 2012

                                             "Zeta" finally arrived in Ensenada, Mexico.

     She had a few bruises that will have to be taken care of (the sun shade canvas and head sail cover where damaged), but over all things went well.

    There are probably few people that have had a chance to climb aboard a freighter in this fashion.

     Once on board we where able to inspect "Zeta" then help with her removal from the ship.  Freighters are not yachts by any imagination!  The decks are full of clutter, grease and people.
It was quite the event to watch.

     Over the side she went.  We where happy to climb aboard and find all went well with the engine and generator start up.  The only thing that was a miss was that the "old girl" had no idea  where she was.  The GPS had the right Lat/Long, but the chart was still that of Palm Beach, Florida.

     Being that the boat yard was in sight, we motored over for the hull out. Later with a simple full boot of the nav system we where in known waters with the proper chart.

     So, back on the dry she went for a new bottom job and a few other details.  Note the local folks watching the show ... this seems to be an afternoon past time.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

On her way....

"Zeta" is on her way west bound.  We put her on a cargo ship to get her to the west coast of the U.S..

It took two times to get her on the ship.  The night before I kept "Zeta" just off the bow of the ship in a 32 knot wind, white caps, and a rolling sea while we waited for the signal to come up to be loaded.  At 8:30 PM that evening it was finally our turn to come along side.  After she was in the hands of the ships crew I was taken off by a small skiff.  Back on shore we went to dinner before heading out of town.  At dinner my cell phone rang.  It was the load master, he needed me to come and take "Zeta"away from the ship because of the weather.

At 11 PM I got her to a berth suggested by the skiff captain.  At 5 AM the next morning I got up and had her in position at 6 AM to give it another try.  This time all went well and she got lashed down for her adventure west bound.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

There she blow's!!

     "Zeta" is happily back in the water.  She is once again water tight, so I went on to the next perplexing problem... the venting system for the holding tanks.

     After tracing hoses, running a snake up the expected vent hose, the mystery was finally solved.  The initial inspection found the hoses to go through the engine room then up to the wheel house.  To figure out where the vent house ended I hooked up a vacuum cleaner and blew air in both directions in the line at a joint in the wheel house.

     When pushing air toward the forward holding tank a couple of quarts of water came out.  When hooked up in the opposite direction the air came out in a somewhat strange place.... the mast steeped on the top of the wheel house!!

     This was rather strange.  The main problem is you have to keep track of the level in the holding tanks so that they do not back up into the vent line.  This must have happen with the previous owner, thus causing the vent line to become blocked.

     On to more oddities... g

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Finished, but not wet...

     Accept for cleaning out the bilge, the new dripless shaft bearing project is complete, but Zeta is not back in the water.  We are holding off because the ship that is going to transport her is not in place, and it looks like it will not be until after the 10th of February.

     A separate pump, that operates when the main engine ignition is on, was put in line with the water intake that lubricates the bearing so that there is always a positive water pressure.  One nice feature of the new system is that there are two back up seals already in place in case the original one goes out.  A new one can be installed while underway when the vessel is in the water.

     We are driving the "bat mobile", our marine transportation vehicle, back to Arizona while we wait word as to the expected date of departure for shipping "Zeta" ... g

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Anchor's Away....

     Still in the Stuart boat yard.  The dripless bearing project is going slow.  Today we spent $150 on a "nut"!  The piece that is used to keep the transmission coupling on the shaft used a special four prong tool that did not come with the vessel.  This was evident by the fact that it was previously tighten using the punch and hammer method.  So to make it more professional for this project, and easier the next time around, we had the piece machined to accept  a 1 7/8 inch socket.

     Hopefully this project will be completed tomorrow.

     Rolled out the anchor chain to verify the length and mark it in 50 ft sections.  For now to make it look a bit more ship shape, and easier to see on the bottom, I cleaned off the rust and put on a coat of paint.

     We are looking forward to getting her back in the water and on our way... g


Friday, January 20, 2012

In and Out....

     Well that did not go well!  The prop worked fine.  The zinc collar went on fine.  The engine started right up (but the generator start battery was dead, the vessel did not have shore power for the last three months).  BUT then after I motored over to a slip, where we where to spend the night, I went down below and checked the dripless bearing.  It was not acting dripless.  As a mater of fact it had a steady flow of water  from the shaft log.

    After some banging on the check valves,  I was able to get the bilge pump system to actually pump the water overboard.  That relieved a bit of anxiety.  I then went to work on the bearing problem.  With a bit of help from American Custom Yachts it was determined that the ceramic surface on the bearing had gotten gummed up and could not be made to seat correctly.  Thus the water still flowed, slower, but not a good situation.

    It became a pay me now or pay me later situation.  Rather then try to deal with it in Ensenada, Mexico (which has become another story) we decided to take her back out of the water, pull the shaft and put a new system in.

    So here we are again, high and dry in Stuart, Florida!

    In the mean time, the ship that was suppose to transport Zeta is stuck in Houston with an engine problem.  The dollars flow, but we are not moving very far forward on the journey.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

We are here!!

We are back in Stuart. Zeta is a bit on the dirty side, but she has weathered well. The aft bilge has a very small puddle of water. All of the others are dry. Snugged up the hose clamps on the drippless bearing in hope that it will stop the drip. Will put a plastic container under the shaft in case this does not work.

The prop is just about back on. Had to hunt down a metric SS Allen bolt to replace the one that was broken off in the prop hub (it keeps the shaft nut from backing off). It was suggested to add a zinc to the shaft to help make sure there is no pitting on the prop or shaft.

There is always more to do, and we may end up with more time to complete a few more projects. We still do not have a firm date or place from which Zeta is going to be shipped to Esenada, Mexico. Tomorrow, tomorrow ... That is what we have heard for a couple of weeks.

Till tomorrow... g

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Getting Closer, but Frustrated!

     We are getting closer to "shipping" Zeta to the west coast, Ensenada, Mexico.  The frustration level has gotten higher in that we still do not have an exact date, nor a ship that she is going on or if we can ride along with her.

     In the mean time it was decided to have the prop looked at before we headed into foreign waters. After some research I contacted Bobby Soles Propeller.  They have been very helpful and after listening to my concerns provided some avenues that should increase the cruise speed and alleviate the hull thumping that occurs as the throttle approaches full rpm.

       So right now Zeta is prop-less, but should be ready to go about January 18th.  We are anticipating putting her back in the water on Friday, January 20th, then start heading back to Palm Beach (or Fort Lauderdale) to have her put on the ship going to the west coast.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Zinc or sink .....

    Zinc's, such a simple part of your vessel, or so you would think!

    We are in the process of refinishing the bottom of "Zeta", and in doing so decided to replace the weld on zincs with bolt on (they could then be replaced while the vessel is in the water).  Now one would think that you simply remove the old, and replace them with new (after a about 24 studs are welded in place).  Not the case, at least not that simple.

    It has been two weeks now.  I have been on the internet, read a few books on the subject, spoke with multiple suppliers, the builder of the Duck, and had a conversation with the surveyor on the subject.  All the "expert's" have different idea's or approaches to the subject.

    A lot of good idea's.  Use slotted bolt on's rather then a fixed hole diameter so that the studs do not have to be 100% square and spaced exactly.  Use or do not use aluminum as the anode.

    So to date the best I have is ….. Stick with Zinc as the metal because it is "the" standard and easy to find (though aluminum will last longer and is more active).  Per the builder, bolt on's will work, but leave the zinc's in the positions where they are.  A few articles stated that over protection can cause the paint to blister, but other sources say you would have to sink the vessel with zinc's before it became a problem.

    The final decision is still not made … only a twenty day's to go before we have to have the anode's in hand.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Let the New Year roll in and here comes a new adventure....

     Happy New Year to all!  At the end of January we will start on a new adventure with our Diesel Duck "Zeta".  We have signed up with SevenStar Yacht Transport to move her from Florida to Ensenada, Mexico.  About a month ago we received an email from them with an offer to transport "Zeta" at a price, that when it comes down to the bottom line, we could not afford to not accept.
     We thought we where going to have more time to explore the east coast and the Caribbean, but with this offer we would about break even financially and not put the wear and tear on the vessel.  What we will miss is the adventure of taken her ourselves through the Panama Canal.
     With some luck, but we will not know until about a week before, we will get to ride along with our "Duck" as she is transported westward.

     By moving  her on board a ship we will not have to dismantle her spar and antenna's.  This alone will save us both cost and time.  Hopefully we will not have an incident like a friend of mine emailed me the other day.  The youtube is of an unloading in Dubai.   It speaks for itself!