Refitting the Nav Station

I’ve been looking forward to typing up this blogpost for a while, but I haven’t quite managed to get to it since the project it concerns have taken a while to get fully completed.

Boat electronics happens to be an interesting topic to me. With a background and education in IT and Software Engineering and having fiddled with electronics for most of my life, this is an area of much curiosity and joy.

Overview of current equipment

Our boat was refitted somewhere around 2004-2005 with a complete Raymarine system, top-of-the-line at that time, hooked up to a Seatalk network bus to which the following equipment were connected:

  • Raymarine windvane 
  • Airmar depth sounder
  • Airmar log and temperature sensor
  • Raymarine ST5001 Autopilot Controller with Fluxgate Compass, rudder angle sensor and a linear drive actuator, connected to the steering quadrant.
  • Raymarine ST7001 Doubled autopilot controller
  • Raymarine ST60 Tridata
  • Raymarine ST60 Wind instrument
  • Raymarine GPS Antenna

Raymarine ST60 TriData Display

Plotters

We have dual Raymarine RL70C+ Chart Plotters (one in the cockpit and one at the nav station). These are linked using Raymarine proprietary network called HSB (High Speed Bus) which means they can share chart data, settings, routes and radar data. The plotters hold dual slots for charts memory cards and when you hook them up via HSB you can have them both access chart data from four memory cards at the same time.

These plotters are built like tanks and although the software is slow, by modern means of measure, they still function perfectly. They have excellent brightness and heavy duty buttons (touchscreens were still only a dream in those days). Replacing them would mean throwing tonnes of money into the boat and replacing a wide set of electronic charts.

Raymarine RL70C+ Chart Plotter

This is a very clean setup and the only addition we’ve done to it previously is to add an additional plotter to the Nav Station. For all intents and purposes, this setup has served us very well and with the significant investment made by the previous owners it feels silly to throw this out and start again.

New requirements and new gear

The reason we have started fiddling with this setup at all is that we have the need to add additional equipment for safety and navigation purposes. We have decided to add a radar for low visibility and nighttime navigation as well as an AIS Transponder, for similar reasons. 

  • Raymarine RD218 Radar – We bought this one almost three years ago and it has been sitting in storage since.
  • ICOM423G VHF Featuring a built in GPS
  • Camino 108S Class B AIS Transponder – Just released in 2017

In addition to adding this equipment, we have realised we want to be able to use navigational data on an iPad, phone or laptop connected to the boat WiFi.

Raymarine RD218 Radar

The radar hooks up easily to the Raymarine plotters. They will share the radar data between themselves over the HSB connection. The plan is to connect it to the plotter at the nav station as running the cable to this position is far easier than wiring it to the steering piedestal.

ICOM 423G Fixed mount VHF

We previously had a Raymarine VHF which had failed some years ago. It could only occasionally receive a clear signal and transmission was broken entirely. Not very trustworthy so we decided to replace it with a tried- and trusted unit. The ICOM423G VHF has the essential feature set you expect of a modern VHF. As a bonus it has a built-in GPS receiver, which is a good backup to have, should any of the other ones on-board fail. The GPS data received can be used by other instruments if you hook it up to your NMEA0183-bus (more on that further down).

Camino 108S AIS Transponder

The AIS Transponder, for those of you who are new to this type of equipment, is a device which connects to the VHF antenna and continuously broadcasts the boats current position, speed, heading, name and Callsign. It uses a dedicated GPS-antenna to acquire this data. It also receives this data from other vessels within transmission distance.

Transmitting data is the key security feature from our point of view. Being a small vessel, it feels comforting to know that larger vessels can spot you on their displays and collision alarms. It also means that people ashore, can see where we are at any given time, should anything occur.

The data we receive from the AIS Transponder can be used to display, on a chart, other vessels, their direction, speed and heading. Using a collision alarm we can get warnings should we be at risk of colliding with another vessel, based on a calculation using the two vessels speed, heading, and location data. 

The AIS Transponder connects via a network called NMEA0183 to other marine equipment and via USB to a computer. Just using the transmitting feature does not require any additional fiddling with networks. But if we want to use the received data, then we need to work out a solution.

This means we have to tackle the task of interfacing a wide range of equipment, from different manufacturers. I’ll try and explain how you could go about doing this. First, let’s talk about boat networks!

What is Seatalk?

Seatalk is a proprietary instrument network owned by Raymarine. It was superseded by Seatalk NG as NMEA2000 entered the scene. The Seatalk network cabling is very simple, it consists of three wires: power, ground and one signal wire. This means all equipment connected to Seatalk can be powered directly off the bus itself. 

In order to use the data on the network by any other type of equipment, a converter needs to be added to the network. These come in various forms and can translate back and forth between Seatalk and other protocols.

NMEA0183

NMEA0183 is a network specification (electrical and data) which has been widely adopted by marine electronics manufacturers. If you have a boat of about ten years of age it very likely has a NMEA0183 backbone. This spec has been replaced by NMEA2000 which is the dominant system implemented on modern boats.

NMEA0183 wiring is also simple, although it does not carry power on the bus. Rather it has a positive and a negative signal carrier. I won’t go into details but the key thing to understand is that you cannot simply wire together an NMEA0183 and a SeaTalk network without some additional equipment.

Converting and combining data streams

There are a number of options for converting and combining data from two or more networks. Some chart plotters and Autopilot controllers has a built in SeaTalk-NMEA bridge. That is the case with both our RL70C chart plotters and our ST5001 and ST7001 AP controllers. 

When combining equipment of different ages and purposes you might also run the risk of introducing problems caused by different transmission speeds. SeaTalk has a transmission speed (called Baud rate) of 4,800bps. This means 4,800 symbols (or characters) per second can be sent over the network. The AIS Transponder has a transmission rate of 38,400 bits per second. Simply wiring this up to one of our plotters for bridging would wreak havoc on the SeaTalk Network.

The solution when you are in this situation is to introduce a piece of equipment called a Multiplexer. 

The Shipmodul Multiplexer

Shipmodul is a Dutch company who makes marine multiplexers of various sorts. I bought the MiniPlex-3USB-N2K last year and it has functioned excellently, thus far allowing us to hook up a laptop, via USB, to read data off of the SeaTalk network. It also has allowed us to hook up an additional Raymarine Plotter and get wind, heading, speed and other data to display on it.

The beauty of a Multiplexer like this is that you hook up all your buses to it: SeaTalk, NMEA0183, and NMEA2000, and then you configure in software how these buses should interface to each other. You can define, down to individual message types, what data should be transferred from and to each bus. The Multiplexer handles the problem of connecting equipment of different data speeds to one another with (relative) ease.

The Multiplexer has a USB-interface which you connect to a computer. Then you use a special software from Shipmodul to carry out and troubleshoot the configuration. After some reading this is fairly straightforward.

Shimodul MiniPlex-3USB-N2K Multiplexer

Getting data onto your wifi

I said in the beginning that we wanted to be able to use data from the instrument networks on a tablet or an iPhone via WiFi. To solve this problem, you could purchase a router from Digital Yacht, which will create an onboard wifi and allow you to hook up NMEA0183 to it. This equipment however, is quite costly. Further, we already have a 4G Broadband Router which we use for laptops and for streaming data. 

The slightly more complex solution required, to get instrument data onto the network created by the 4G router, involves a Raspberry Pi microcomputer.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi microcomputer is an incredibly versatile (and affordable) piece of equipment. It is in essence, a PC which can run a range of Linux operating systems. It has four USB ports, an HDMI-port for video, built-in wifi and bluetooth and a GPIO allowing you to connect all sorts of electronics such as temperature sensors, lights, displays and whatever you want to play with.

Our use of the Raspberry Pi is fairly simple. It’s one and only role is to be a client on our WiFi (created by the 4G router) and to broadcast the NMEA data stream onto that network.

The Raspberry Pi runs the Raspbian Linux distribution. We use a VNC client to connect to the desktop on the unit and to be able to start and stop applications. The unit is connected via USB to the Miniplex, which sends all NMEA data to the Raspberry Pi.

To get the data on to the WiFi-network, we run a simple program, called kplex, which reads data from the serial port (the USB-connection) and broadcasts it via UDP over the wifi. The data stream can then be read from any computer, laptop or smartphone which is connected to the same network.

The newly refitted nav station as of 2018

Lessons learned

This all seems straightforward and simple. Of course, in retrospective it seems just like that. However, there has been a number of obstacles to overcome along the way. Everything from troubleshooting wiring connections, configuring the multiplexer and setting up the Raspberry Pi and kplex software.

If you plan on expanding your current setup I strongly advise you study what gear you already have, what connections it has and also to get straight what requirements you have when adding new gear. By thinking ahead you understand what, for instance, type of multiplexer you will need.


The boys go sailing

On the weekend, the 26-27:th of May, I invited some friends to come cruising. Check the video on YouTube and you’ll see what an amazing weekend we had!


Regatta Sailing in Nävekvarn

On the 19:th of May, the Nävekvarn Yacht Club hosted its 80:th Pentecost regatta. A recurring event which attracts competing boats from the nearby yacht clubs. This year I was asked to film the event, this is the result. My first official contribution as a yacht photographer!

The video can be seen on www.navekvarn.se and www.nqbk.se


Ascension Day Weekend 2018 - Video

Ascension weekend normally means four days off work for most Swedes. Not that we celebrate it from a religious standpoint, but it means we can go sailing! The month of may this year has been absolutely glorious in terms of weather. This weekend we ventured south for a cruise in the Gryts and St Anna archipelago.


Video time! First Sail of The Season

The weekend finally came when we set sail for the very first time in 2018. Come along on a grey, chilly April cruise!


The BIG post about the BIG winter refit

This post has been inevitable. As the amount of work we took on during the winter has grown, I have also realised that writing about it in a blog post will be an ever growing task. It however turned out to be a good reminder of how much work we have accomplished during the winter and, more importantly, how much better a boat we now have!

Starting at the bow, and moving aft I will run through the items we’ve accomplished. They range from small to very big.

Refurbishment of the chain locker

We’ve had a problem with a leaky bulkhead separating the chain locker from the forward cabin. There are in fact two bulkheads separating the chain storage from the v-berth, but the forwardmost one has been in a sad state since we got the boat.

This job involved grinding and chipping away about 80% of the old bulkhead – a tough task as it was glassed in place. Afterwards, the entire chain locker was sanded. A new bulkhead was cut out of marine grade plywood and wedged in place where the cutout was made. The new bulkhead was glassed in place with epoxy and biaxial glass fibre matting. Afterwards, the entire area was painted with two coats of International Danboline paint in glossy white. Spiffy!

Estimated time? About three days.

Refit of head compartment and installation of a holding tank

This was the biggest job of the winter and also the one highest on the list of priorities. I won’t go into details – you’ll find plenty of them in the four related blog posts, but I can safely say this has been one of the most fun – and surprisingly straightforward jobs I’ve undertaken on the boat. At its completion, after about ten days of work, we now have a brand new heads compartment with a 70 litre, custom-made, stainless steel, fully concealed holding tank. It is fitted with a deck fitting, optional drain under the water line and a manual bypass, should you want to flush straight overboard.

The heads compartment itself got a refresh with a reconfigured cabinet in glossy white. Fresh!

Refurbished salon panels

This was the earliest job we got through. It involved sanding and prepping the surfaces of the outer and inner cabinet walls in the salon. We decided to brighten the space up further with a glossy, white paint, to make it feel bigger. This also involved sanding and painting the interior walls of the hull, inside the cabinets.
We also fitted a pair of additional reading lights from Båtsystem, which added some needed light to the corners of the salon, where you most often sit and read.
Another piece of decoration added is a new Wempe thermometer and hygrometer in chrome with a white dial. Beautiful!
This work took about four days to complete.

Refurbished surfaces in the galley

The refit of the galley was the biggest project of last years winter refit. For this year we were left with the task to refurbish all surfaces (wood and hull interior) in the galley area. This involved plenty of sanding, fairing, painting and varnishing. We faired over plenty of old screw holes and applied a couple of coats of International Goldspar Satin varnish to the mahogany veneer.
The hull interior in the galley cabinet received a couple of coats of Hempels multicoat, our favourite interior hull paint – in semigloss white. The cabinet walls adjacent to the stove was clad in sheets of aluminium, to supply a heat shield for the fridge and to provide some stain protection. This work took about four days to complete.

Reconfiguration of DC distribution panel

This was one of this year’s bonus projects. It sprung out of an idea I got in December when I stumbled across the Schaeffer AG website. They are a company from whom you can order custom-made front panels to use for instrumentation or similar applications. I played around with their CAD-software over a period of many nights and realised I had the optimal solution for reconfiguring our DC-panel. The panel was short of switches for upcoming gear which we needed to install, and I was hesitant to just add cheap-looking off-the-shelf panels.

So this job turned into one of the most gratifying, but also time-consuming ones thus far. It involved stripping out the old panel. Designing, ordering and building the new panel using the panel from Schaeffer in Germany, Wema-tank and DC gauges and switches and circuit-breakers ordered from China. Wiring it together required an insane amount of crimping and cutting cables, but the result speaks for itself. A truly unique and bespoke DC-panel with a retro-style look. Gorgeous! Time in total? Probably about 5-8 days of intense work. Lead time from start to finish has been about five months. There’ll be a separate blog post about this job in the near future.

Expanded Nav-panel

As we had intended to install a new VHF and AIS Transponder, I took the chance to expand the nav station with a dedicated panel for flush-mounting the VHF and concealing the AIS transponder and NMEA and Seatalk multiplexer behind it. I also moved the NASA BM-1 battery monitor from its hidden location up to this panel, for ease of access.
This was a minor job which meant cutting a wooden panel and mounting some new equipment. The wood I used was actually a piece of the former galley countertop which we ripped out last winter.

New gear installed

We’ve done some shopping at boat fairs and chandlery sales and have added and replaced some essential equipment onboard:

  • Icom M423G VHF
  • Amec Camino 108S AIS Class B Transponder
  • Victron Energy 800W Pure Sine Wave Inverter
  • Gobius 4 Holding Tank gauge
  • Fusion 4″ Cockpit Speakers

Conclusion

This winters projects have taken an enormous amount of time to complete. I have spent maybe three out of every four weekends at the boat. Work was made easier as the first part of the winter was relatively mild. Late February, March and early April however was unusually cold with temperatures reaching as low as minus 20. Of course we have onboard heating which makes it comfortable to work indoors but it does require some planning when it comes to glassing or painting.

We now look forward to a summer of intense sailing and living onboard!


Installing a holding tank - Part three

This is a series of posts which details the work which was required to outfit our boat with a holding tank for toilet waste. The project grew over time to include a refit and reconfiguration of the entire bathroom space.

With all the prep work out of the way (detailed in the first post), the tank mounted in place (the second post) we now get to the reassembly and the reconfiguration of the cabinetry.

An installation like this requires an insane amount of hose clamps. I mean really insane! I did an early sketch and estimated we would need about twenty but the finished installation required about 40 in the end!

We’ve taken the approach to use dual hose clamps on any hose connection where there is the potential for standing water in the hose which it fastens. This includes all thru-hull connections and all drainage connections from the tank and the flushing hoses. So it quickly adds up.

We needed two additional valves for the installation. One valve to select whether to flush the bowl contents to the waste tank or to flush it overboard. This of course so that in the event where the tank is full or blocked for some reason, the toilet can still be used.

Another valve was needed to be able to drain the contents of the tank overboard. This valve would sit below the tank and make it possible by the pure strength of gravity to empty the tank.

For both valves, we decided to go with the composite valves manufactured by Trudesign, a company based in Auckland, New Zealand. After having read up on customer reviews, it was easy to make a choice. Their waste direction selection valve is also really user-friendly in appearance and operation.

For the hoses, we went with a 38mm dual layer odour resistant sanitation hose for all wastewater connections. The hose is manufactured by Italian company Hoses Technology” and goes by the brand name of “Sanipomp/W”. This is a tough hose to cut and to bend (although it is marketed as flexible). It consists of an inner layer of black rubber and an outer shell of off-white rubber. A metal spiral runs through the length of the hose, making cutting the hose a tough job. With this toughness, however, comes the comfort that the hose will hold for at least five years of frequent use.

For the seawater flushing hoses, we went with a 19 mm transparent PVC-hose with a metal spiral running through it. This was a cost-effective and visually appealing choice. It does provide the comfort of being transparent which should help locate any potential blockage in the inlet.

I had carefully calculated the mounting location of the anti-siphon valves so that they would remain above the waterline under all circumstances. I took the opportunity to reconfigure also the location of the hand pump on the toilet to sit on the left side of the bowl. This made it possible to mount the anti-siphon valves and hose loops within the new cabinetry. I also splurged on a new Jabsco hand pump, replacing the older model.

As we neared the point where we would close up the cabinetry I also took the opportunity to mount the Gobius 4 Tank level monitor. Being able to monitor the tank level is a legal requirement in some countries, and the Gobius tank gauge does this using a vibration-type sensor mounted externally.

The Gobius has three sensors which need to be mounted at a height representing 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 of the tank volume. To get these heights right, Gobius has an excellent tool on their website where you enter the tank dimensions, and it will tell you the heights. Brilliant!

Wiring the tank sensor to the main DC-panel required running some new cable ducts under the salon sofa.


Installing a holding tank - Part two

This is a series of posts which details the work which was required to outfit our boat with a holding tank for toilet waste. The project grew over time to include a refit and reconfiguration of the entire bathroom space.

In the previous post, we cleared out the bathroom and stripped away the cabinetry and faucet. We prepared the surface and laminated a new partial bulkhead to the side of the hull. These steps meant we reached a point where the tank could be mounted.

I had designed the tank with two mounts on the left side, each protruding 10 cm from the tank wall. The intention of these protrusions was to place the tank some distance from the bulkhead on the left. This would provide access to the chainplates should they need to be inspected or replaced at some point in time.
On the right side of the tank, I had asked for three mounting brackets. These would provide a secure attachment to the additional bulkhead, which we had installed.

To mount the tank to the bulkheads, I had purchased a thick mahogany beam which I cut up into 15 cm segments, one for each mount. I drilled 8 mm holes through these pieces. The brackets of the tank would be mounted to these holes with M8 screws.
The tank was then manoeuvred in place, and I used wood screws, coming through the bulkheads to secure the mahogany pieces to the bulkheads themselves. This arrangement made sense as I could not have achieved the measurements accurate enough to make brackets which would attach directly to the bulkheads.

This probably does not make much sense in writing, so I’ll let a picture tell the tale.

Plumbing starts

The plumbing needed to be redone, not so much due to ageing of the hoses but rather that the tank drains and the waste selection valve required us to reorganise the whole area. The list below details the essential requirements for the new configuration:

  • One drain, from the tank straight to the deck fitting, for connection to a pump out facility
  • One drain from the tank, to the through-hull, making it possible to drain the entire tank while at sea
  • From the toilet, we should be able to select whether to pump straight overboard or to the tank
  • A vent line needed to be connected to prevent vacuum build-up when draining the tank and to allow expanding gases to vent from the tank
  • New seawater hoses for flushing the toilet

All in all, we’re talking about approximately 10 meters of hoses being run through the cabinet. We decided to remove all of the old sanitation hoses and completely replace them with new ones. The rebuild of the cabinetry would allow us to hide most of the hoses behind wooden panels, so the old ones would not have the correct lengths anyhow. This was the smelliest job as it required cutting open the old hoses.

With the tank, pretty much irreversibly mounted in place, we started to route the plumbing. The first hose to be run was the one for the deck fitting.

The location of the tank made it fairly simple to figure out where to drill the new hole in the deck for the waste water fitting. A 52mm hole was cut through the teak deck, top skin, core and bottom skin of the deck.

This opportunity to cut a new hole in the deck was a chance to also measure the thickness of the teak deck and thus judge the level of wear that has taken place since it was laid in 2004. We were glad to see that we had a thick and healthy teak plank left after the cutout.

To get a good seal between the deck and the new fitting we took the opportunity to sand the deck gently with the orbital sander so that the butyl tape, used as a sealant, formed a smooth bond with the deck surface. With a heat pistol, we heated the butyl tape so that it would set properly. It was still about minus five degrees celcius outside.

In the next post we’ll continue with the hoses and I’ll show you the spiffy new composite valves which we’ve decided to go with.


Installing a holding tank - the first steps

This is a series of posts which details the work which was required to outfit our boat with a holding tank for toilet waste. The project grew over time to include a refit and reconfiguration of the entire bathroom space.

The law, is the law

As you may know, our boat was designed and built in the 1970’s. This means that many of the modernities and standard gear you would find on a modern boat wasn’t even conceived when she was launched.

One of these features is the holding tank. A holding tank provides the ability to store all your toilet waste onboard and later empty it in a designated shore facility. In 2015, a law was passed in Sweden stating that all pleasure vessels had to have the ability to store toilet waste onboard. Emptying your tank while at sea was also made illegal.

For most, this law meant that you had to drill a hole in the deck and run a hose to your existing holding tank. For us, this law has bigger consequences. It would require rearranging the entire bathroom/toilet area.

For reference, the image on the right shows how the space was configured before work started.

The toilet, before the refit.

The elephant in the room

This project has been lurking on our list for quite some time. We knew from the day we bought our OE36 that we would have to take it on at some point in time. This would be the winter to do it.

As with any project, the hardest part is getting started. For us, many projects start on a Sunday, just when we’ve finished a previous project. This was no different.

Just as I had finished putting the galley back together after our sanding + varnishing project, I thought to myself: “why don’t I just quickly check if I can dismantle the bathroom?”. An hour later, all cabinetry and panels had been removed.

Revealed to me was a blank, albeit dirty, canvas to start working from. On the wall towards the hull, our boat was equipped with a large cabinet with two big doors. The cabinetry held three shelves and had space for tonnes of stuff. This has been one of the least efficiently used spaces onboard.

I carried on by cleaning up the surface and sanding away most of the old hull paint.

Then it was time to measure the area and start to sketch out how a tank could be mounted in the space, while still having room for a cabinet for storage of toiletries and cleaning supplies etc.

I thought to divide the space into three sections essentially. The leftmost two-thirds of the space, where the hull is beamiest, could be dedicated to the tank. And the third to the right could provide space for a new cabinet. We had made the decision a long time ago not to buy a tank off the shelf but rather have one custom-made. This would provide the neatest solution.

This would require some careful thinking and measurement. It would mean we needed to install an additional partial bulkhead to provide support for mounting the tank, as it cannot be attached directly to the hull. Complicating the matter slightly was the fact that on the left bulkhead, which makes up the left wall of the bathroom, are mounted the chainplates. These are an essential component of the rig and mast support, and I could not under any circumstance prevent access to them by putting a tank in the way.

To make sure we were thinking in the right lines, we decided to make a template of a tank of roughly the intended dimensions. For this, we used cardboard, sticks of wood and hot glue. The initial template made the tank unnecessarily wide, so we decided to cut about ten centimetres off the width.

Measure three times, make two drawings, cut once...

With these considerations in mind, I started to measure the space and to make a sketch in Sketchup. This meant learning the basics of CAD-drawing, which might come handy in future projects. After a couple of days of work, adjusting, thinking and further adjustments to the drawing, the tank had taken shape. It came out at 70 litres which feels like a lot, but it will provide us with the ability for extended cruising in remote places without having to drain waste overboard. The generous volume is further reassuring when you have guests onboard.

With the drawing completed, I asked for quotes from a few local firms and got a very good quote from a welding company about an hour north of our location. They asked for 550 EUR to build and pressure-test the tank. We thought that was a great offer, considering an off-the-shelf tank (obviously cubic) comes in at around 300 EUR for a comparable volume.

The build-up

As the tank was placed on order, we started installing the new bulkhead. This meant sanding and prepping the underlying hull and interior ceiling surfaces.

To capture the shape of the hull for the bulkhead, we used a technique I picked up from a Youtube channel. Using hot glue and tiny strips of plywood, we made a template which closely matched the curvature of the hull, in the exact location where the bulkhead would go. We cut a 10 mm sheet of marine grade plywood into the new shape, and to our relief, it fit perfectly in the intended location.

The board was held in place by a rig, manufactured of scraps of wood and two holding clamps. We then applied a fillet of Epoxy mixed with a microsphere additive to the gap between the board and the hull. After curing, we then re-prepped the surface and laminated the board with three layers of chopped strand matting glass fibre mat.

After some additional sanding and prepping of the surface, we then proceeded to paint the entire space with three layers of Hempels Multicoat – a paint we have truly learned to love.

This whole prep process took place over about four to five weekends and involved many trips back and forth between the boat and our workshop. But after these steps, we were prepared to start planning for mounting the new tank and associated hosing.

More on that in an upcoming post!


The state of things onboard - mid winter

We’ve made it past mid-winter here in the Baltics. The season has thus far been unusually cold, and temperatures have, for the past couple of weeks, remained steadily below zero. For being February, these are temperatures to expect, but usually, we get a couple of days of warmer weather every now and then.

As a result, the sea ice in our home port is nicely settled in. Our initial hope was to be able to put the boat in the water by easter. This means a launch somewhere around the 23:d of March. That is one month from now and looking at the weather forecast it does not seem feasible. The ice will have to melt completely, which means we need daily average temperatures to reach 5-7 degrees in the next few weeks. It does not look probable.

But that does not mean that work on board is at a halt – rather the opposite. We have already managed to put some projects behind us, the messiest being the refurbishment of all surfaces in the galley.

Galley Refurbishment

Here’s what we’ve accomplished in the galley:

  • Sanded all wooden surfaces of the galley cabinetry
  • Varnished all wood with Internationals Goldspar Satin
  • Sanded and refurbished the main cupboard towards the hull and painted the interior of the hull with three layers of Hempel Multicoat (white).
  • Replaced the sliding tracks for the stove countertop cover
  • Fabricated and installed aluminium head and splash shields on either side of the stove

Click the image to view the gallery.

Salon area

The salon area has also been refurbished. We’ve focused on sanding and painting of the cabinet walls and the inside of the cabinets, primarily the hull interior. We’ve removed old and malfunctioned instruments – a mechanical clock, a barometer and an old thermostat for a heating system which was long since removed from the boat.

Here’s what we have accomplished in the salon:

  • Sanding and fairing of cabinet walls
  • Painting of the cabinet walls with three layers of International Toplac in glossy white
  • Sanding and varnishing of mahogany details on cabinet walls
  • Installation of Båtsystem Opal LED reading lights on either side of the salon

I am on the hunt for a chrome plated barometer/thermometer combination to replace the old and broken barometer which we’ve removed.

Click the image to view the gallery.

Cockpit Instrument Panel

In the cockpit, we’ve removed and reorganised the instrument panel. It previously housed an inclinometer which has now clogged up along with two broken 12V outlets which we’ve never used. The instrument panel also housed an old West Marine speaker which, while still functioning, was cracked and faded in appearance. The panel backing was sanded down, the holes for the 12V outlets were filled in using marine plywood and epoxy. The surface was faired, covered with clear epoxy and later painted with three layers of International Toplac in glossy white, the same paint which we used in the salon.

We purchased a new set of marine speakers from Fusion and wired these up to the stereo at the nav station. We now have a four-speaker system where we can enable and disable the audio going to the cockpit speakers from the stereo controls.

Once the boat is in the water, we will also mount a new Garmin inclinometer to the dashboard. Later additions will be a cockpit/transom light control panel and a swan neck chart light.

Ongoing projects

We have a number of projects currently in progress, which I will write up in a separate post. These include:

  • Installation of holding tank and reconfiguration of the heads/bathroom
  • Replacement of bulkhead in anchor locker
  • Installation of Inverter
  • Reconfiguration of DC electrical panel
  • Installation of VHF and AIS equipment

Stay tuned!