time flies, but not fast enough apparently! We miss Kismet a lot and we are looking very much forward to the day she will splash again. On the positive side, her refit is proceeding at full speed. At this point all the major decisions have been taken (ok, a couple maybe are still pending) and as the new parts and some “toys” start to come in, the money starts to flow out! Here a long deserved update on the status of the various restorations and improvements. What would you like first? The bad or the good news? Ok, ok… in no particular order…
The main engine is almost ready to come back from the Volvo Penta shop. While we have no evidences yet (we have been begging for some pictures, but were not heard), we have been told it is like new and shall run for another 3000 hours at least (and it better do!) They did not need to work on the compression because everything was in full order there. That was indeed good news to us and to our wallet.
Our Fischer-Panda has been totally revised, all the critical components, mostly part of the fresh water cooling system, have been replaced and we have been told it is also going to look like new. Hopefully it will also work like new and purr graciously to produce some juice when we need it. If it does, we may even give it proper name (very likely a German one like “Franz”). It is also true that with the new wind generator, the solar panels and our inverter we should need it less frequently, if not at all. Anyway it is good to have a backup in case we stumble into a multi-day solar eclipse with no wind…
Wind generator, solar panels and WiFi amplifier
It was worth visiting the Düsseldorf boat show this year as we happened to find a distributor which had a very good offer on the Silentwind generators. After some verifications on the included Hybrid 1000 charge controller (it turns out the old ones were rated 40A wind/40A solar but the new ones are 40A wind/20A solar), we confirmed our order of a brand new Silentwind 450W 24V. We also bought from the same company the Web-Catcher with a 8.5 dBi antenna and a long range router. The WiFi amplifier will also go on the roll-bar we are building, so we expect to improve our chances to access an internet connection when close to shore and be able to update all our friends around the globe.
Regarding the solar panels on the other hand, we did not decide yet. We got a good offer for 4 x Phaesun Sun Peak SPR 100W, which have exactly the right size for our future roll-bar. Before confirming the solar panels we need to make up our mind on whether we would run them through a dedicated MPPT charge controller (Maximum Power Point Tracking – much for efficient that the traditional ones) or use the solar input of the Hybrid 1000 (which is not MPPT). As pros, a dedicated MPPT controller would be more efficient (+30%) and also provide full redundancy respect to the Hybrid 1000. As cons… well it is additional $$$ as usual.
Kismet is fully naked now! The deck has been sanded and is as smooth as baby’s bottom. The company which will provide the new teak deck has taken all the necessary measurements and made all templates. Now they are back to their shop to build the assemblies (teak wood on a GRP substrate). We expect the new deck to come back in and be vacuum glued around the end of February, beginning of March. To be confirmed.
Over the past days all the old cables have been stripped out (and boy there were many of them!) and, for the most part, the new ones are already in. The new system is entirely SeaTalk ng based, basically the Raymarine version of NMEA 2000 / Can Bus. Instead of two separate speed and depth/temperature sensors now we have a combined smart transducer (Raymarine DST-800). On the flip side we also have one useless through-hull that needs to be closed.
The new AIS transponder is in place and will have a dedicated antenna at the top of the mast for maximum range. Also at the top of the mast is already the primary VHF antenna for our DSC capable Ray240E. Our spare Standard VHF radio will be connected to a third VHF antenna on the roll-bar, to be used in case of serious issues with the primary systems (I didn’t want to write the word “dismasting”… ok, I just did, knock on wood!)
For the bulk of the new navigation instruments to go in, we need to wait for the new console at the steering pedestal to be ready. The new autopilot also needs to find its place and be connected to the existing hydraulic pump. Since the autopilot control unit is also powering the rest of the SeaTalk ng network and therefore needs to be on the whole time, we will install a solid state relay that powers the pump only when the autopilot is engaged for steering. In this way we are going to save energy and reduce the wearing of the pump itself.
More details on the new navigation instruments, together with some crazy enhancement ideas I am secretly working on, in a coming post.
Great news! Over the past days, on Monday to be precise, I had a real break-through. I had been struggling for weeks to find the push-buttons and the controls that would make our new console look very much like those that Hallberg-Rassy provides with their boats more recent than Kismet. Then, through some careful research (ok, almost by chance…) I found the original manufacturer of those parts! (Contact me in private if you would like to know this very well kept secret…)
Now I have all the parts identified and a new design which should make it look like an original HR console. Sweet! Didn’t order the parts yet, but will happen soon. Then we will have fun wiring everything together and making sure that when we press the furling button for the main sail the anchor doesn’t drop instead. 😉
Note that in the new layout we have added an RMK-9 keyboard to complement the Raymarine A95 multifunctional display. Speaking with the Raymarine experts during the Düsseldorf boat show, they confirmed to us what we suspected. In really rough sea conditions, it is not easy at all to use the touch screen of the display in a precise manner. Better to have an alternative, even if more traditional, input device as backup to the touch screen. Hence we reworked the layout of the console to include the RMK-9. Beside the helm console, we are going to have an i60 wind instrument, a second i70 and the compass in the console above the companion way. Also note that the exposed edges of the console will be rounded and protected by a hand-rail all around it.
Sea-cocks and through-hulls
Ok, here the bad news, at least economically speaking. Looking at the average status of all sea-cocks and through-hulls and considering that a failure in one of them could sink Kismet right then and there, we decided to play the safety card and replace them all. Yes, you read correctly, all of them and let me tell you that there are many of them on Kismet. All the new sea-cocks and through-hulls will be in CR brass also known as DZR brass or CW602N or CZ132 (any chemist out there? good, then this is CuZn36Pb2As)
This type of brass is one of the few materials that can withstand a constant contact with seawater and not corrode (CR or Corrosion Resistant) and loose its Zinc component (DZR or De-Zincification Resistant). Additionally its use is in compliance with the ISO 9093-1 norm Small craft — Seacocks and through-hull fittings — Part 1: Metallic. In that respect it is fully equivalent to bronze, but slightly less expensive. Ordinary brass, also known as CW617N, is not fit for the job. It’s pretty ok to use it for internal piping work, but not for seacocks and through-hulls. According to the experience of many marine surveyors, uncountable boats have sunk because equipped with the wrong material type of sea-cocks and through hulls which eventually corroded and started to leak.
If you are interested, one of the best quick references out there is the article entitled What every sailor needs to know about seacocks in the June 2011 issue of Yachting Monthly.
What, new sails too? You guys are really breaking the bank! Yep, close enough! But you know what, I think will save this topic for the next update! 😉
Till next time. Fair winds and following seas.
Marco and Desiree