Sunday, September 28, 2014

Never-ending Projects and Making new Friends

Part of the problem with refitting an older boat is finding space to add new electronics in the 12 volt panel.  And while its possible to use the existing power that ran the old equipment, there comes a time when there are only so many slots to tap into.  Maybe there's a way to install a bus bar behind the panel, but we don't know enough about how much we can continue to power through what's already there.  On top of it, the way this boat is designed, there is 2 foot channel that measures 3"x 5" directly behind the navigation desk by which all wires must pass in order to get to the panel - and its a bitch to access.  But having ran so many wires through this area previously and the fact that the area is already taken up by the original wiring, there's not even enough room to run fish-tape through it any longer.  

My solution to this on-going issue was to install a new panel that has easy access, and at the same time allows much more room for expansion.  I have a Sirius weather receiver to power, a 12 volt ethernet switch, and another chartplotter, not to mention any future expansion that may include 12 volt televisions in the cabins.   So I ordered a new Panel-tronics that came with five breakers pre-installed.

The new 12 volt PanelTronics
But cutting holes and running wires through all the nooks and crannies of a sailboat is never an easy task.  And you've never really appreciated the usefulness of fish-tape until you've used it on a boat.  We've ran it through so many tight spots that would never be possible with any other method - we've almost worn out the two reels that came with the boat.  But to make things worse, the battery bank is located under the back section of the berth where I sleep.  Bedding, clothes, mattresses, and support racks had to be removed in order to access this area. The final product powers up well and will be a snap to run any present and future power needs.  Now I have an easy spot to power my new cockpit chartplotter that we've just finished mounting a couple of days ago - hopefully the location proves to be ideal and the Navpod stands up to the harsh environment.

We ran the wires as professionally as we could

My modified NavPod for the Raymarine E90W
We've also made new sailing friends - Chris and Joyce own a 38' Manta catamaran named Salt Run and stopped by the other day.  He and his wife have a house down here in the Keys and just moved their Manta down from Jacksonville to the marina next door to us.  They found me through my blog and recognized the boatyard where we work and live and was nice enough to come by and say hi.  They are some of the nicest people that I've ever met - in Florida or Texas - and even offered us a truck to use, a place to spend the night, and a lobster/mahi-mahi dinner - all of which were much more than generous.  But we did take them up on the dinner.  They have a nice place that backs up to a canal just a few miles down the highway, and needless to say, the conversation was great and it was some of the best seafood we've ever had.  They've also just produced their own sailing blog, and you can find it here If we meet other cruisers in the sailing community that are anywhere near as hospitable and kind as Chris and Joyce, this will be an awesome adventure.  

1 comment:

  1. Kevin, your installs look really good, when you finish up, stop by and install some stuff for me! Thank you so much for the kind words, Joyce and I are glad to have met you and Justin.
    You are right, that was a pretty good meal!
    Chris and Joyce
    S/V Saltrun