At Anchor

At Anchor
Whiskyjack at anchor in Garrison Bay, San Juan Island

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A PROPosition

WhiskyJack on the Travel-Lift
Yesterday I hauled the boat at Rocky Point Marina to swap props.

The background:  The 14x8 (14" diameter by 8" pitch) Campbell Sailor that Norm at West by North recommended would not let the engine reach maximum engine RPM, meaning that I could not harness all the horsepower from my little Yanmar.  It also caused the engine to produce copius amounts of black, sooty, smoke at WOT (wide open throttle); definitely not good for the engine or the environment.  As I have previously described in an earlier blog (see here) , I chased a number of leads (exhaust restriction, injectors, injector pump) to this problem (see here) before coming to suspect that the propeller had too much pitch, despite Norm's insistence that it was correct.

The test:  I had Sheffield Marine Propeller here in Portland, build a "Michigan Wheel" (MW) type 14x9 three bladed wheel.   This, was Yanmar's propeller recommendation for the 2QM15 engine that I have.  The boat, when new, had a 14x10 prop, but the 1978 test sail article in Pacific Yachting leads one to believe that the engine would only reach 2600 RPM with that prop.  I swapped the new MW 14x9 with the 14x8 Campbell Sailor.  It took all of 30 minutes and I was ready to be go back in the water.

The results:  The new MW 14x9 prop lets the engine rev to 2700 RPM which is a vast improvement over what I had.  Speed looks to be just over 6 knots via GPS (average up-river/down-river).  If the engine, when new, could only rev to 2600 RPM with a 14x10, then getting 2700 RPM with a 14x9 is great.  The rule-of-thumb here is 200 RPM change for each 1" change in pitch.  So the "new" engine should have been able to rev to 2800 RPM with a 14x9 and, if so, the 100 RPM difference I'm seeing now is acceptable with a dirty hull and over 2000 hours on the engine.  Now we know for sure that the 14x8 Campbell Sailor is over-pitched for my engine/hull combination.

Next:  What will West by North do to make this right?  I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Summer rain and Burgoyne Bay

Today it rained with the sun shinning through and it made me think of the first time we anchored in Burgoyne Bay, Saltspring Island, BC.  At the time, our boat, WhiskyJack, was moored at Westport Marina, within walking distance of the Swartz Bay BC Ferry Terminal.  The drive from Portland was as boring as it ever was and we just couldn't wait to be on board.  We left our car at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and paid walk-on fare for the ride to Swartz Bay.  A ten minute walk after the ferry arrived on Vancouver Island and we were on the boat.  Peace at last! 
Well, almost.  The overcast sky was really getting dark and it seemed that it was about to rain.  We made ourselves busy getting underway and within a half hour we were moving out of the marina with the sky getting darker.  In a few short minutes we were winding our way north through the narrow channel to the west of Coal Island,  past the BC Ferry landing and west through Satellite Channel and it began to rain.  Not just a little rain, but a downpour.

Mt Maxwell and rainbow from inside the pilot house.
Mt. Maxwell in the clouds from the cockpit

Visibility was reduced considerably as we entered Sansum Narrows.  The only good news here was the flood tide.  Just as we were at the north end of the narrows, out of the clouds appears Mt. Maxwell.

The rain stopped just as abruptly as it had begun.  I stepped out of the pilot house and into the cockpit to look around.  It was warm and smelled fresh, it had been a summer rain. 

The entrance to Burgoyne Bay

The entrance to Burgoyne Bay beckoned with a Siren's Song.  We had no intention of staying there but could not resist the urge to enter the bay and check it out.

Burgoyne Bay is the northwestern terminus of the low laying land that nearly splits Saltspring Island in two.  On the other end of the valley, the south east end, is Fulford Harbour.

Looking northwest toward Maple Bay
We entered Burgoyne Bay and found a small dock on the northern shore, almost at the head of the bay.  We tied up here temporarily and went for a short walk.  We walked in an easterly direction for aabout 1/4 mile, the took a road south toward the Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park.  Twilight was just beginning as we walked along the tree-lined road.  We stopped to converse for a minute when my wife said, "Don't make any sudden moves, but a deer is looking at you through the tall grass about ten feet behind you."  I very slowly turned my body until I could just see the deer in my peripheral vision, and sure enough, a doe was giving me the once over.

Sunset in Burgoyne Bay
We returned to the boat via the shoreline and moved off the dock, anchoring at the head of the bay.  There was one other boat at anchor.  We prepared our evening meal and retired to the cockpit where we were treated to a most beautiful sunset.

This is my memory of Burgoyne Bay

Electical System Upgrade

The way it was.

The recent work on WhiskyJack's engine and the engine monitoring system brought me to add an oil pressure gauge and to replace the old temperature gauge with a new one.  There was a backing plate under the old temperature gauge that need refurbishing or replacement and a voltmeter in the dash that did not work.  I also had a burning desire to install a Link 10 battery monitor that I had purchase several years ago.  It was time to play musical gauges.

New backing plate

I removed all of the gauges, replacing the old temperature gauge with a new one and adding a new oil pressure gauge.  When I removed the old temperature gauge I found that a previous install had required a larger cut-out and that was the reason for the backing plate under the gauge.  It was my intention to put the Link 10 in this place, so I decided to construct a new backing plate.  I also wanted to be able to measure the voltage of the starting battery and therefore, I added a single pole, double throw, momentary push button switch in the backing plate to accomplish this.  I machined the backing plate from black plastic engravers stock.  The voltage sense wire from each battery is led to the push button switch and then to the Link 10.  While the Link 10 is displaying voltage, if I want to know the starting battery voltage, I simply push and hold the black button to the left of the gauge and the voltage is displayed.  Releasing the button and the Link 10 to displays the voltage of the house battery.

The shunt for the Link 10
The Link 10 uses a shunt to calculate the amount of current (amps) that the system is using.  The shunt was placed on the engine room bulkhead in close proximity to the house batteries.  A wiring harness of wires is led to the gauge.  A simple explanation of the Link 10 is that it displays voltage, amps being used, amp hours remaining, along with a LED bar graph showing the amount of energy left in the battery bank.  The complete description can be found here.  The beauty of it all is that there is no more guessing about how much current is going into our out of the battery bank or what the state of charge is.

Balmar 70 amp alternator and ARS-5 regulator

The "guts" of the electrical system is the 70 amp Balmar alternator and it's companion, the ARS-5 alternator regulator.  The alternator is designed for continuous output in the marine environment.  The ARS-5 controls the alternator and provides a multi-step charging regimen.  This allows the batteries to be charged at the fastest rate possible for the battery type without damaging the batteries.  More on multi-step charging here.
Small Engine Mode switch

The ARS-5 regulator has a "Small Engine Mode"  that reduces alternator output to 50% so that more engine horsepower is available for propulsion.  I added a switch on the dash to control this function.  (The location is not one I would pick, but fills an existing hole that was no longer need.)  Now, when I'm underway I will can reduce alternator output, but when anchored I can use the the alternators capacity to more rapidly charge the battery bank.

Flow-Rite Qwik-Fill

Last fall I added a Flow-Rite Qwik-Fill battery watering system that allows me to keep the battery fluid at the proper level without opening each cell or trying to get my head (or a mirror) over the top of each battery.  The system works by drawing water from a container with a small hand operated pump and delivering it to each cell.  This is the easy way to keep your batteries topped off.

 And last, this winter I added a BatteryMINDer onboard desulfinator which uses high frequency pulse desulfination.  It is powered by the 12 volt system but is only active when the system is charging.  The jury is still out on this item.  It will take a year or two before I know whether it is keeping the batteries desulfinated or not.  My hope it that it will extend the battery life.