Friday, September 28, 2007

Fuel Gauge

Don Gallant finally (after 14 or 15 month) got around to fixing the instrument panel for the Yanmar. Also he fixed the fuel gauge which has not worked in 15 years. I was usually, but not always, able to keep track of the fuel in my head. As I get older I can not do so. Besides where we are going running out of fuel could be a problem. The whole effect is very nice and looks new. The tachometer still does not work, but I have learned to use the sound as my tach.

Jan is doing a nice job on the wood. It is now perfectly clean after strip ease and two part teak cleaner. She is planning to use 6+ coats of Z-spar Captain varnish. White Pepper will look better than when I bought her.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Odds and Ends

I am making slow progress on the 'to-do" list and finding other problems to fix. I was able to get the Garmin 48 to talk to the EPIRB. I felt very satisfied when the EPIRB, a Rapid Fix 406 from ACR, let out a little bleep saying it was receiving GPS sentences. Now if we sink not only will we know exactly where we are sinking but so will the Coast Guard.

I finally got the Bahamas charts into the laptop on Chart Navigator Pro. I do not know why it had to be so hard. It took hours, and I just pecked the damn thing into working. I was disappointed the the charts are not vector and not nearly as detailed as the USA charts, but they should suffice.

I changed out the main halyard this morning and ordered the second reef line.

I am going the Blue Water now to finalize the purchase of the windlass and anchor chains. It will be expensive but necessary. I am going with a Lofrans Royal vertical manual two speed windlass and two combination rodes. Each will be 100' of ACCO 5/16" HT chain spliced into 150' of 5/8" nylon three strand. Of course one could argue for more, but we are only going to be anchoring in 20' of water maxi mun. If I ever that the boat into deeper water, I will have to buy more chain.

Jan is in NYC on vacation today and the weather is beautiful so I think I will take the White Pepper over to Ingleside Cove and try out all my new toys.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Honda Generator

I bought a Honda gasoline generator today. It is model EU2000 for 2000 watts. It is sleek to behold in it's red carrying case. It can lift it with one hand at 85 pounds. After buying a 3 prong to 30 amp converter at Blue Water, I plugged it in to the White Pepper through the usual shore plug. Regretably, it only delivered 8.5 amps at the batteries far under the rated 13 amp. Solar power will be needed. Still it willl be a valuable addition to the energy management plan.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Breakthru in electonics

Great breakthrough today in navigation electronics. I finally got the depth sounder solidly in place. I had to epoxy the transducer to the hull which was fraught with difficulty and then rove the cable and extension back to the Garmin GPS which will double as the depth sounder. After literally days of work it all fit together.

The autopilot, a wonderful 7 year old Simrad Robertson 22, is back up and running thanks to Joe and Roy of Joe's Marine Electronics. It just needed to be initialized; but silly me, I thought it was due to the new stainless steel water tanks. We motored in a 360 degree circle, and presto, it worked. Also Joe and Roy wired up the Garmin 545s GPS to the Simrad so that the autopilot will take us to any waypoint--remarkable. The autopilot is so crucial to our effort that I doubt we could do without it. It is worth at least 3 crew members, and it never eats, drinks, or complains.

The nav station has a new brace to prevent the lid from crashing down onto the laptop. It looks like a kid's shop project, but I can assure you it took many hours of thought and work. Anyway it is sturdy and fool proof.

I still can not get the Garmin to talk to the Acer laptop. The problem is that the Garmin puts out NMEA data down a wiring harness. I have been able to get the data from two wires into a 9 pin serial port which I soldered with great difficulty and clumsiness. Joe tested the 9 pin and says that the NMEA is getting down that far. However, the laptop has only USB ports and a serial port to USB adapter just does not seem to work. Ideas, anyone? I am resigned to using a separate GPS with a USB output.

All in all it was a good day today with many days of seemingly futile effort coming together. I am starting to think that the whole project is doable within the next 90 days.