Tuesday, March 31, 2015

New Fire Extinguishers

The Coast Guard requires at least 3 type B-I or one type B-I and one type B-II portable fire extinguishers aboard recreational boats between 40 and 65 feet.  We did have 3 type B-I's but during the survey these were called out as a safety issue for not being tagged.  They were all within the green and appeared in good shape so I probably would never have messed with them if our insurance company didn't demand we resolve the survey findings (before April).

So, yesterday, Tara brought them to a local fire safety company to have them inspected and tagged.  It turns out that because they're plastic and so old that two of them are no longer legit and the third would have to go through some sort of overnight pressure test because it's plastic.  I was also surprised to have them tell us that because the needles were in the lower end of the green mark on the gauges that they need to be recharged anyway.

So, $150 later and we have three new type ABC filled with monoammonium phosphate complete with 2015 tags.  Many boaters use B or BC extinguishers which are easier to cleanup after an incident but I'm trying to follow ABYC standards as much as possible and they recommend ABC.

Anywho, hopefully we'll never have to use them - and now I can tell our insurance company that we've complied with all of their requirements.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

46 CFR 67.123 - Name and hailing port marking requirements

When we bought Junovia she still had a previous name, "Jenny-V" on the stern which Tara managed to get off using a 3M Stripe Off wheel in the electric drill.  Since then some time has gone into considering different designs, fonts, colors, etc. for new markings but in the end we decided to keep it simple.  We had basic vinyl lettering printed out by NW Sign Solutions where a friend works (thanks Sara) and they turned out to be pretty easy to put on.

We got a tip from friends on the dock (thanks Jay and Carolee) to spray windex under the vinyl to keep it from immediately sticking allowing us to make slight adjustments to the position and completely wipe out any bubbles.  This turned out to be a good idea and I'd definitely do it again next time.  Two things we did wrong were:

  • Not enough windex on one set resulting in immediate sticking and a couple minor wrinkles that took some effort to iron out.  The windex did make us a bit lazy about getting it right initially.
  • Got some windex on the port name before exposing the sticky side.  This prevented it from properly sticking to the backing paper that keeps everything lined up.  We had to wait much of the day for that windex to evaporate so the letters would again stick to the paper before we could put the port on.  It looked like we were going to be ordering a replacement but in the end it turned out fine.
After putting the vinyl into place and wiping the bubbles out we left the backing paper on for a few hours for the windex to evaporate before exposing the final names.  The process was initially a bit stressful for me but we're both very happy with how it turned out.

Electronic Projects

Helm Instruments
Warning: this post gets pretty nerdy as my primary boat project for February involved getting all the instruments and radio/navigation components integrated along with a bunch of wiring cleanup.  Much of the core of the electrical system was cleanly rebuilt before we bought Junovia but there were a number of rats-nests and issues remaining that were both unsafe and unwieldy to work with.

Radio Panel
Main Power Panel
An issue that was bothering me in particular was how all the low-voltage splices in the engine room were just sort of dangling exposed and all tangled up making it really difficult to troubleshoot or trace anything.  For this I mounted a sealed PVC box with a couple terminal strips epoxied inside.  It's become the nerve center for our data networks where information from the mast, helm and radio panel all come together and gets distributed back out accordingly.  We have NMEA0183, NMEA2000, Ethernet and SeaTalk networks along with a number of proprietary links between components such as remote mic's, depth sensors, radar, etc.  I added a Brookhouse eMux that integrates the NMEA, SeaTalk and Ethernet networks together such that all the data is translated between each protocol.  Our Ethernet includes WiFi which means I can get all this wirelessly on our computers, iPad, etc.  We can pull up OpenCPN on my Macbook and see all the nearby ships/tugs, how deep the water is under our sounder and even where the rudder is pointed along with just about everything else the boat knows.  Pretty overkill but I'm having fun with it and building some skills that will be useful for developing marine software or working on big yachts down the road.

We also replaced the windvane at the masthead and added ST60 Wind & Multi-Graphic instruments at the helm.  Feeding a new wire inside the mast for the windvane was the most challenging task of the month.  It took a couple attempts of attaching the new wire to the end of the old before we got a splice skinny and flexible enough to pull all the way through from the mast's top to the base, which is around 56 feet.  Our clearance from waterline to masthead is only 52 but the mast continues through the cabin sole and sits on the keel a few feet below that.  Tara was upside down in the bilge while I was hanging in a harness at the top of the mast, we communicated via radio working together to coax the new wire into place.  Need to remember to bring the camera and snap a picture of our busy masthead the next time I climb up there.

The less interesting electrical tasks included replacing the DC sub-panel that was based on fuses and a bit clunky with a new BlueSea unit using the same type of breakers as the existing main panel.  All the solid copper wires have been replaced with ABYC compliant stranded copper and I've disassembled and re-connected almost all of the AC outlets, most of which appear to be the originals from when the boat was built which are safe and compliant.

Next up is a quick post about getting Junovia's name and port on the hull.  Then it's on to the refrigeration project which I'm expecting to consume many hours, but should be interesting and will also involve a lot of learning.

Engine Room Data Junction
Engine Room Data Junction
Brookhouse eMux

DC Power Sub-panel Back

DC Main Power Panel Back

DC Main Power Panel Terminals