Boatworks 2016/2017

Posted Aug. 2, 2017 at 17:08

It's been a while since I felt inclined to write a Dazzle blog, so it's time to try and catch up, inclined or not, as I get pressed on the subject by the Admiralty often.  I'll try to summarize the two seasons, now being end of July 2017...  This one is about a few improvements made to Dazzle's systems, without giving away trade-secrets, so it may be safely skipped.  After this, it will be, oh where did they go, what did they do, who did they meet, maybe even why and how...

Last year I decided to put an end to the way the seven 85-100W solar panels were mounted since 2008... Compounding problems was the way we added a canvas shade when we were in Florida before going to the Bahamas.  Thinking it through the winter, a new solution crystallized, concentrating all existing seven, plus two new ones (!:-)), a total of 9 panels, to create a fixed 'Solar Bimini' that's sturdy enough to withstand most reasonable conditions (except maybe 20ft waves crashing from above fully over it, but that was not the intended use for this design).  I'll tell you in person why and how the layout and framing are designed...   I can also stand straight under it at the helm and see all around and it's just clear of our low (sporty) boom ;-)

... before ...

... and after ...
The panels have very little wind-resistance and they stay up all winter with the boat on the hard.  Upon returning to the boat this spring, Andrea told me there were two days of non-stop 60kn bora blowing...   One of the foam paddings along the edges got detached because of the glue I used - that's it.  So I was releaved and happy about the design choices I fretted over previously, this being the one and only prototype... ;-)

I took a month of running around Grado and the help of the TreCoFer company near the Ronchi dei Legionari airport (mostly for sourcing the stainless steel tubes, bending and welding according to my specs) to build it.  Paulo, one of the owners, went to school with Gianni, my cognato, and without this connection, Paulo's and his brother Roberto's help, it would not have come out so well...  This is, after all, Italy ...

With this setup I now get up to 60A (under cool, ideal conditions, routinely 45-55A when it's very hot) out of my (zk) Solarcharger and I have No More Blues about electricity on-board with two freezer compressors and a 13gph watermaker running almost daily...

Last year it was also time to replace the black-water (a.k.a sh.t) hoses...  The spare y-valve and macerator got swapped in, the old ones, re-conditioned and working serving as spares now...   These and other smaller projects, plus the necessary visit to our old home-town to do the sad business of selling inherited real-estate in a down-down-lower market took us into early July before we could leave land...


So, this past winter I was thinking: I really hate the aft cabin 'garage' mess (note the sails and other junk on the left side of the pic)...

Now that the panels were permanently out, I still had four sail bags heaped there and hence all other smaller items accumulated...  In the 'king-size' aft cabin, there was barely room for one person to sleep comfortably after pushing aside 'stuff'...  Plus, whenever I wanted to get to the parts-stores below the mattresses, the shuffling that had to happen beforehand...  yikes!!    So in the spring, after we got back to the boat, to D's great consternation, this is what I did to the beautiful aft cabin of the beautiful C&C121 (cut & cut and cut-cut, out with the idiotic mis-placed liner, cut two new access-hatches...):

,
and after a week, with the help of my cognato, Gianni who's an expert carpenter and helped me create the ceiling panels and trimmings, it became this:


Now we have a very spacious cockpit sail-locker above that nice cherry-clad (below) and fibercloth and epoxy-covered (above) marine plywood ceiling panel that can swallow three sails: two of our three genoas and the spinnaker, with room to spare for a number of sheets and other items... And we haven't really lost anything useful inside!   The aft cabin is now king-size again, clean and neat!

This winter we also decided to invest into a new North Sails 3Di mainsail (don't ask), our earlier 3DL-one now a distant memory since 2009 when it tore one night near Elba...  :-(.  What a beautiful sail -(the 3Di)- and feeling to sail with it...  This boat is worth it - and how it likes it!  Even with our cruising dacron Doyle and our 3tons of extra cruising weight, most 40-45 footers in use on the Adriatic couldn't keep up with us, but now, with the 3Di, it's not even funny...  Compared to last year with the dacron Doyle, which seemed to 'resist' the wind and heel over under fresh breezes, the 3Di doesn't budge, just pushes forward... with a beautiful, smooth, wing-like shape that can be adjusted by backstay tension, cunningham and outhaul easily.  Not cheap, but happy!

In the winter I also designed and built a couple of electronics projects for the boat: new cyan-blue decklights with proximity sensors using state-of-the-art colour LEDs, two strong, adjustable-intensity cabin LED lights, a dedicated nav-station LCD display and a new v3 60A Solarcharger, and a chain-locker chain-counter with a large LED display (at night it can be difficult seeing the plastic chain marker inserts, so the LED display is a helpful redundancy), bla, bla, bla....  All these are controlled by various Microchip PIC micro-controllers... (bla.)   A bit of work-like fun to avoid boredom. ;-)

only the cyan ended up being used...

chain-...

...-counter

One last note: Do not buy Mastervolt!  Our second Chargemaster 3/100 unit died this spring after less than three years in sporadic service (a month on land in the spring and a few days in the autumn on land again only)...  Due to a faulty built-in sensor causing a false alarm that cannot be masked.   Mastervolt Italia offered us (again) to replace it, out of warranty, at the flat-rate repair rate of about 400 euros.  So I tore the faulty one out of the boat the day before we left land and had it sent back to Mastervolt for a replacement which I will pick up in the fall when we return to Italy...  When that one dies, which it will, I am now sure, I will ceremoniously bury it in the middle of the Adriatic...  Our old Freedom 2500W charger/inverter is still working after all these years, alas with 60Hz input only...
- Z -