Thursday, March 28, 2013

Composting Toiler It Is!

Another couple hours at Phoenix today cleaning out junk which included removing the old toilet. This thing really looks vintage, aka old and tired and the ancient seacocks were frozen in place. I just decided I really didn't want to mess with putting in a new nonsensical marine toilet installation, especially since the entire system would need to be bought. So today out it came and straight to the dumpster. I'm not sure of the material of the thru-hull but a swing of the small mallet sheered them off.

The old simple toilet, the way it should be!

I was also pulling off the running rigging to clean and hopefully reuse. While studying the lines to write down which goes where I came up short on one function. Can somebody help? This block mounted at the spreaders is meant to lift something but what? I've never used a spinnaker and it looks like the boat was rigged for one, is this block part of a spin rig? There is no deck fitting to lift an inner sail with a wire luff.  I'm pretty much a main and jib kinda guy, nothing fancy, help:)

Mysterious block

And to reference to my last post about fin keel boats here is an example that is near Phoenix. So how much performance penalty does that three bladed prop/anchor, strut and shaft impose, especially in light air?
Probably could be a fast boat, except for that prop!

Also I counted the boats that I think need to move before I can retrieve Phoenix, 7 maybe 8. Luckily they all look like cared for boats so my fingers are crossed that they move out fast:) Unlike a poor old Southern Cross even further back than Phoenix. That SC has a 1996 registration sticker!
Phoenix in deep storage.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Could a cutaway full keel be faster than an fin?

I suppose the short answer is no, but its fun to think about a Triton that has nearly all extraneous drag components removed that lines up against a fin keel boat dragging a propeller, multiple thru-hulls, speed sensors and who knows what else. I just started thinking down theses lines after admiring the keel on Phoenix. When viewed from behind the keel looks no wider than the rudder. Well maybe a little:)

This is a result of the the external ballast and I've read somewhere that later, after #383 IIRC, Tritons with encapsulated keels are a few inches wider. Now on Phoenix I plan to remove all the below the water line thru-hulls, remove and fill the aperture for the prop. She should have pretty good light are performance for a cutaway full keel boat. But I suppose any modern clorox bottle boat will still take her.  I hope to get her in the water and racing with the Northport Yacht Club on the Penobscote Bay this summer so maybe I'll get to surprise a few of those bottle boats:)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Triton Toilet, what to do???

What American and international rule makers have done to the small pleasure boat toilet is nothing short of ludicrous. The rules for dealing with human waste aboard has made the average head look like the plumbing for a nuclear reactor. Here are a couple examples of the plumbing aboard Triton #503 that James Baldwin rebuilt and Triton #381 that Tim Lackey rebuilt.
Triton#503 built by James Baldwin

Triton#381 built by Tim Lackey

Triton#381 built by Tim Lackey
My own experience with the typical marine toilet installations have been less then pleasant. I was so disgusted that I finally installed an ‘Air Head’ composting toilet in the Head compartment of Rubicon our Heavenly Twins 26ft that we lived aboard of a few years. Overall I was very pleased with the installation and would recommend the ‘Air Head’. My only real issue was the cost! That simple piece of roto molded plastic cost nearly $1000.
Heavenly Twins "Rubicon" Air Head composting toilet

Now to be fair when compared to the full cost of a standard marine head with all the valves,pumps,seacocks,holding tanks,deck fittings and toilet represent a fairly large chunk of change! Granted depending on your boat some or all the parts may be in place, but “Phoenix” has a simple pre-holding tank era toilet so basically I'd need a complete installation like #503 and #381 to make it legal.

So whats a frugal guy to do? I seriously thinking about just building a simple bucket composting toilet. The problem is the urine is not separated as in the Air Head so much more sawdust, peat moss, etc must be carried. I'll need to ponder this topic topic for awhile.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

First day of the rebuild - 3.25 hrs

Yesterday was a sunny, blue sky day but a little cool to me but workable, high was 50F. I decided to do the hour drive over to see Phoenix and get a little work done. I had bought a used tiller at Bacon’s Sails, a marine consignment store, but it had too much upward curve for my taste. I did find the old broken tiller while cleaning up, so I have a template when I go back to Bacon’s. I’ll head over to Bacon’s Monday since they have a 10 day return policy. But now I have a much longer list of items to look for!

Next I decided to clean out some stuff that would be difficult to dispose of once the boat is back home. Since I have no plans to install an inboard motor this primarily meant getting the old wet exhaust pipe out and the prop and shaft. Due to a loop up high in the lazarette(this is the area behind the cockpit) I could not figure a way to get that blasted pipe out and I only had hand tools. Luckily I had a hacksaw among the tools but man was cutting through that pipe tedious and required several rests and two blades. I guess I was lucky it was early in the season so there didn’t appear to be any active wasp nests. All the wasp nests were on the underside of the lazarette right above my head when I cut the rubber exhaust connection to the through hull. 
Atomic 4 inboard gas engine wet exhaust cut by hand

The boat should sail better with the weight of the exhaust, prop and shaft removed. I’d guess about 50lb combined. Plus, removing the prop gets rid a tremendous drag source.
Junk removed today.
I wasn’t able to get the transmission shifter hardware out. The nuts spun underneath and the forward nuts are in fiberglass. The old gauges will be remove later. This cockpit is going to require quite a bit of work to make it blue water ready. A breaking wave pooping the cockpit would quickly end up in the bilge. All the details will be on my main website for those interested.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Saildrive, oxymoron defined!

Here are a few pictures of the Volvo SD30 saildrives installed in our first big catamaran. I read somewhere that a 1inch prop shaft on a fin keel sailboat generates as much drag as the entire hull. So really a saildrive should be call a sea anchor.

Man was I a newbie then. This was my first big boat so I was seduced by the vast interior and livability of the Catalac. Oh and it motored great with twin three blade 17inch michigan props churring the water, which was a damn good thing because that pig would not sail in less the 15kts of wind. Want a pig. Don’t be fooled my slick sales copy or a fast talking broker, run away from any boat with a saildrive unless you really want to motor while real sailboats glide past.

I was so sick of the poor performance of that Catalac after our first cruise that I had drawn up plans on how to rip out the twin diesels and saildrives and put twin outboards that retracted in a well. Then shutting the well doors. But in the end I’d fallen out of love with that motorboat and just wanted to sell the pig and get a real sailboat that we could also live aboard. 

Now Phoenix originally had a prop in a large aperture between the keel and rudder. Pretty standard stuff for this era and hull type.  Not a great design but no real issue on Phoenix becauseI’ll be pulling the prop and shaft then filling in the aperture. I’ll be using a small outboard that can full retract from the water. When I get to the actual build I’ll detail it on my main website.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bridge deck clearance and some old boats.

I'm a little strange I guess, because I enjoy walking around boat yards when I have some spare time.  On this walkabout I had several questions pop to mind, like when do you know you've left the boat in the yard too long? One possible answer, when a 6 ft tree is growing in the cockpit. Actually it's not quite that bad, the tree has grown up between the two long sitting boats. So I guess the real answer is, when a chainsaw is needed to make access for a travel lift:)
Or how about, when is it time to call it a day and dumpster a sailboat. Another possible answer, when then mizzen mast AND the hull are broken in half.

First a definition, on catamarans the structure between the hulls is called the bridge deck. This structure can be as simple as a Hobie cat tramp to the massive apartments as found on many larger cats. For real performance its necessary to keep this area between the hulls clear of obstructions.

Knowing the above then I have to scratch my head and ask what were they thinking with the following designs. Here are a couple boats that the average person would call a catamaran. But these couple of boats certainly aren't going to live up to the sailing performance generally attributed to catamarans dragging those center pod through the water. These boats were probably initially designed to carry those pods above the water by a few inches, but in the real world as soon as the between hulls bow waves get started those pods are in the water. Added to this basic design problem is that the average owner then fills these boats with every shore side connivence. The result is that most of these boats end up sitting well below their lines. So the pods are always in the water as evidence by the bottom paint.

And these final catamarans are just as poorly designed with respect the the bridge deck. It looks like a nice 36 inches, but quickly drops to about 10 inches. I can only imagine the pounding in any kind of seaway.

Low bridge deck clearance is a pet peeve of mine. I learned the hard way. My first big cat, a Catalac 10M, had about 24 inches clearance back aft and would pound so hard water would spout up the cockpit drains. Then my next catamaran, a Heavenly Twins 26, had a center pod and had to be kept nearly stripped to keep the pod out of the water.

And don't think this ridiculousness is limited to just old cats, here is a relatively new boat, a 2009 I believe. Not only is bridge deck clearance vanishing, those steps on the side of either hull certainly don't help performance.  The outboard is a nice feature if it actually lifts well clear of the water when sailing. Speaking of drives, there is nothing quite as absurd as a "sailing" catamaran equipped with that travesty called a "sail drive"in each hull. I'll rant on those some other time:)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Another Trailer issue and Fix

SailTrailers had the tire carrier back and looking good. I think with that lower braces and the top hat there should be no future problems with the carrier.

After installing the carrier I decided to walk around and give the trailer a hard look over. I examine all the welds, check the wiring, and checked fasteners. The only obvious issues were that both rear tail lights the wires were crimped between the frame and the light housing. On removing the housings, sure enough, the brown wire on the left had the cover cut through showing the wire. And the other wires were worn so that I'm sure that they would have shorted to the frame in a few hundred miles.

I separated the wires and then used electrical tape to cover the damaged areas. Then I rerouted them so no more crimping. I didn't have time to actually check that they still work, but the wiring is simple enough to troubleshoot should I need to.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Trailer issues even before it hauls it's fist boat:(

This trailer from Sailtrailers of Columbus Ga seems well build but two real issues developed on the trip from Georgia to Maryland. First, they didn't provide a storage location for the 24ft "super extension". In Georgia we loaded the extension and used some tie down straps to hold in in place. In short order the straps were cut through by the sharp edges of the box aluminum tube. I ruined four straps before getting a system of carpet scraps, towel scraps, rope and remnants of straps that worked without to much additional damage.

I think the worst part was that the new paint was no longer new. I'll need to come up with a secure system before spring.

The next issue was unnoticed until I arrived in Maryland, the spare tire carrier had cracked badly. A few more bumps in the road and that spare would have been rolling down the interstate on it's own! Sailtrailers is making it right. They gave me a FedEx number and I shipped it back to them to re-engineer.