Author Archives: BakesConsulting

Sometimes Just Owning a Nordhavn is Cool

Recently we cruised to Poulsbo Washington for the week end. Roxia was tied to the end of “F” dock and we had visitors from time to time. I was cleaning up in the cockpit when and older couple (my age) and younger man (40’s) were looking up at our mast. The younger man said “That is quite a comms suite you have”. I don’t know about you but I rarely hear all the hardware referred to as a “comms suite” by people strolling the dock. We talked briefly across the dock and I could tell I had some knowledgeable folks so I asked them aboard. Since I was taking Emmy and six of her friends on a girls weekend I couldn’t talk tools and equipment much. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for these folks to let me ramble unabated about all things Nordhavn.

Roxia Comms Suite

Roxia Comms Suite

Turns out the older couple were the aunt and uncle of the younger man whose wife and kids were getting some food in town. Sadly the older gentleman went to UC Berkley and since I went to archival Stanford we had to cease communication immediately. Almost kidding. Rolf (the nephew) loved Roxia and we ended up talking for an hour maybe more. At the end he offered to let me tour one of the boats he had commanded. An Ohio Class SSBN, ballistic missile submarine. I thought about it while I leisurely blinked my eyes once and said YES.

Nice Ride. Just add three zeros to Nordhavn price.

Nice Ride. Just add three zeros to Nordhavn price.

After the requisite security clearance waiting period we made the drive to Bangor. Capt. S gave me and 4 others (Will, Bobby, Paul and Jim) five hours of his time for the most amazing tour of the base and USS Alabama. I used to think a Nordhavn was both complicated and had redundant systems. Those two definitions both changed for me. I learned a few things that day. When security asks “Do you know what contraband is?” If you don’t know the answer you may be there a very long time. Contraband includes cell phone, camera, any wifi capable device as well as weapons, knives etc. The next question is “Do you have any contraband?” If the answer is anything but “no” you might as well give up and not even try to walk through the inspection arch. At the fourth inspection point when walking aboard the boat and you say “Permission to come aboard?” This is actually a question that you have to wait for an answer. When you are granted permission, cross the gangway, pause and face the flag, place your hand on your heart (I don’t salute because I am not military) you no you have entered a special place.

Because on this particular day Capt. S happened to be the senior officer on the base we were treated to some amazing information. We met the the on duty team CO, XO and COB as well as some very talented men serving our country. After touring every part of the ship except ones requiring a higher clearance than we got, I was floating around in a cocoon of bliss. I have a renewed respect for the training and sacrifice these young people have chosen.

And to think all of this happened because I bought a Nordhavn and was hanging out at the dock.

The Crew in front of memorial.

The Crew in front of memorial.

Thank you Captain!

Ps. He did say if the weather is bad they just drop down another 100 feet and say “That hurricane wasn’t so bad.”

Roxia Refit Starts Early

The plan was to start the major refit of Roxia after making it through the fall with a couple more weekend trips. I think Roxia was like a thoroughbred that needed some attention before going out on the track. The sub-title of this post could have been ” Remember Chafe Protection”. As it turns out when a piece of equipment was added 10 years ago there was one missing piece of chafe protection.

Underneath this floor plate

Underneath this floor plate

Do you know how long it takes to empty a 20 hydraulic tank when there is a one quarter inch tear in a 3,000 psi #12 (” ID) hose? Less than two minutes is the answer. It also makes such a big mess in the Engineroom that it took me almost 8 hours to find the source. I spent two full days cleaning up the mess but I am sure I will be finding pockets of oil for the next year. I pumped 12 gallons of oil out of the bilge and yes I got the bilge pump turned off in time. The rest of the oil was soaked up in my clothes, a bin of oil absorb sheets or my hair. A big THANK YOU goes to Greg Harmon of Harmon Marine Service for finding the leak and solving the problem. Another big THANK YOU goes to Barry at Dunlap Industrial Hardware in Everett, WA. Barry made a new hose while we waited and stocks all the sizes of hose and fittings including stainless steel and the dies for the Parker swage machine.

When a water pump for a Wesmar APU300 was added the hydraulic hose supplying oil to the stern thruster was bent when the floorboard was screwed down. Two things could have prevented the issue: First the floorboard could have been cut out an additional inch to keep it from touching the hose. Or Two, chafe protection could have been added to sacrificially protect the hose from wear. When Roxia was built the floorboard was not screwed down and it looks like it was pushed tighter to make more room on the other side. For the repair I took out the pump, cut the board and added chafe protection.

As long as everything was apart I cleaned things up and removed the Denso tape from most of the fittings. I left it on some of the steel connectors.

Before and After

Before and After

The moral of the story is to make sure you have chafe protection and check it to make sure it stays in place. When a system is added double check the work. The hydraulic APU was a backup to the backup (wing engine) so I will be removing itif you need a backup.

Three Months in Alaska

It is two years this week since we bought Roxia in Mackay Australia. The last three months have been the final leg of the journey to return to our home base of Washington State. The major projects will begin but first let’s recap the final stage.

This stage was the stage of the visitor. For three months we had guests on board nearly every day. Who was the best guest? That question will never be answered unless we are talking to you then of course you were our favorite. Here is a glimpse of our trip: All the great photos are credited to Emmy Baker.

The Adventure Continues

The Adventure Continues

Eating on the boat is more relaxing. Mac enjoyed his three month water home.

Eating on the boat is more relaxing. Mac enjoyed his three month water home.

Boat watching is a favorite past time. Otters are nice until they decide to poop on your lines.

Boat watching is a favorite past time. Otters are nice until they decide to poop on your lines.

 

View up Princess Louisa Inlet

View up Princess Louisa Inlet

Malibu YoungLife Camp

Malibu YoungLife Camp

JohnO and Melissa

JohnO and Melissa

The fleet and hammock at sunset

The fleet and hammock at sunset

Dinner in Gorge Harbor

Dinner in Gorge Harbor

My favorite sign. The good life.

My favorite sign. The good life.

Mac loves the trip. R2AK father and son contestants.

Mac loves the trip. R2AK father and son contestants.

 

 

Locals at the Prince Rupert Coffee Shop. With Deb and Terry.

Locals at the Prince Rupert Coffee Shop. With Deb and Terry.

Ketchikan and Petersburg

Ketchikan and Petersburg

Nina makes it to Petersburg

Nina makes it to Petersburg

Hot pools next to cold river in Warm Springs.

Hot pools next to cold river in Warm Springs.

 

Smoke from the summer fires in Glacier Bay

Smoke from the summer fires in Glacier Bay

 

Laverne "The Bear Man"

Laverne “The Bear Man”

Sea Lion "haul out". Fun with Bob and Marsha.

Sea Lion “haul out”. Fun with Bob and Marsha.

The perfect anchor track. Tracy Arm with Mark and Cindy.

The perfect anchor track. Tracy Arm with Mark and Cindy.

Humpback whales "bubble net feeding" in Frederick Sound

Humpback whales “bubble net feeding” in Frederick Sound

Anan bear preserve

Anan bear preserve

 

Our bear protector. Who needs a cleat?

Our bear protector. Who needs a cleat?

Meyers Chuck town of 20. Meyers Chuck sawmill.

Meyers Chuck town of 20. Meyers Chuck sawmill.

Purse Seiner near Ketchikan. Cruise ships come and go every day.

Purse Seiner near Ketchikan. Cruise ships come and go every day.

We like to anchor unless someone loses a crab pot.

We like to anchor unless someone loses a crab pot.

This bear should not be in Echo Bay! New Speed Record!

This bear should not be in Echo Bay! New Speed Record!

The cabin at Octopus Islands Marine Park.

The cabin at Octopus Islands Marine Park.

The day after the cabin we crossed paths with Red Rover and exchanged photos.

The day after the cabin we crossed paths with Red Rover and exchanged photos.

Time to say goodbye from Verney Falls.

Time to say goodbye from Verney Falls.

Roxia Hacked on Marine Traffic

As we finished our provisioning for Alaska (now underway) I started checking up on friends via Marine Traffic. This is a great app to follow people and their boats. I looked at vessels I track and there was one I didn’t recognize. The James Stirling. It is a 36m by 8m Inland Passenger Ship. I didn’t remember adding that so I clicked on the vessel. To my surprise it was Roxia! Wait, What!? There were four pictures of Roxia and three pictures of a large steel passenger ship. It had my MMSI and Call Sign. Looking in more detail it said the name was reported by AIS as Roxia and the vessel type was Recreational Craft. I was not able to change it or remove the pictures.

I have spent the last two weeks trying to correct the information with Marine Traffic. It is partially fixed. You can now search “Roxia” or “James Stirling” and get to us. We still show as an Inland Passenger vessel so our icon is blue instead of purple/pink. If you are using real AIS via VHF and are nearby we show up correctly.

How weird is all of this? Should I expect more room or higher maintenance with my new vessel?

HACKED

HACKED

Roxia has a Dog Run

There are many places when cruising where it is difficult to take the dogs ashore. Our spoiled dogs need a place that is “just so” to do their business. We have tried the small potty patch and it worked for a short time with our 9# dog but the 80# dog just wasn’t doing it. I decided to try again.

The cruising pups.

The cruising pups.

This time I bought a 4′ by 14′ foot section of turf from Costco. I cut it in half and laid it out on the swim platform. If we left it out without washing it off I can only image the smell of stale dog pee. I NEED a raw water wash down for the pad. I purchased a Marco wash down pump package. I have used the Marco pumps for years and really like these gear drive variable pumps. They make transfer pumps, domestic water pumps and this one came as a kit with hose and spray nozzle.I had a spare shutoff valve in my sea chest so the only difficulty was running the hose through the lazerette into the bustle. I was fortunate enough that Roxia was prewired for a cord retrieval. On the panel was an extra breaker labeled for the cord so I knew it must be in the bustle because that’s where I have seen cords on the N62. Success! 24 volts and appropriately sized wire. How lucky was that. I used my Weld Mount kit to epoxy four 8-32 studs inside the bustle. This kit is great to have so you never have to drill holes. I have 8-32, 10-32 and -20 studs plus other tie downs for various wire ties and straps.

Epoxy studs are permanent.

Epoxy studs are permanent.

The last item was to install a bulkhead fitting for the water hose attachment. Somewhere in my parts supply I found a flush fitting that I have had for 10 years. After install I found a small leak so I can’t leave the pump powered up. The pressure switch makes the pump cycle a bit. It will work for now but I think I will replace with a quarter turn valve.

Flush mount hose attachment.

Flush mount hose attachment.

Completed installation in the bustle.

Completed installation in the bustle.

Both dogs used the pad while we were anchored and I just washed everything down and leave the turf rolled up when not needed.

Drying after hosing off the turf and deck.

Drying after hosing off the turf and deck.

Relaxing after install day.

Relaxing after install day.

The Great Torqeedo Challenge

Because of a generous loan from Kevin and Alison Jeffries I was able to test the Torqeedo 1003 electric outboard motor. I have an inexpensive 7.5′ roll up inflatable boat that I used as a test boat. What I found was a little surprising to me.

I did not expect “Mr. T” to have as much power as it did. I ran it fast and slow for about 30 minutes and put it through it’s paces. I docked it and approached the boat and swim platform to simulate being on the hook.

The Pros: Powerful, quiet and simple are the selling points but you never know. It is definitely true. The motor is easy to put on the transom of the dinghy because it is so light with the battery off. You can easily hold it in place with one hand and tighten the clamps with the other. It looks like the handles can be lined up and locked like most small outboards. The battery slips easily in place and locks with a special pin. I think if I was leaving the boat on shore I might run a bicycle cable through the battery handle and lock it to the boat as a precaution. The motor tilts easily like a normal outboard and locks in place so you can drag the boat up the beach. I didn’t see the lock down on the other side until after the first time I tested reverse. It was just like when I was a little kid again and the prop popped up out of the water. It was a little embarrassing with the Dockmaster watching. Surprisingly I was able to get the little 7.5′ boat on plane when I leaned forward in the boat. That was a shock.

The Cons: Care must be taken when connecting the cables not to cross thread the plastic fittings. The tiller and throttle were very stiff. If this wasn’t a borrowed motor I probably would have tried a few modifications to make these easier. The throttle was similar to the early electric shift controls on boats with a slight delay. Initially I had a tendency to click the throttle out of the detent and keep turning until the motor started going. By the time the prop was engaged it jumped forward (or reverse). After a few near water landings I learned to turn and wait. It starts out so slow that you have better maneuverability than a gas motor when placed in gear. Same thing for the stiffness of turning the motor. It is so tight when you want to make small adjustments the stiffness makes you over correct. There is a collar that looks like it could be adjusted. The last con is interesting that Torqeedo didn’t think of it. The tiller arm easily lifts up and down like most outboards but if you lift it all the way up it comes out. There is no stop that I found to have it up but not held in place. It’s minor but I wanted to lift it up out of the way and have it secure. I worried that I would lift the tiller and have it hang by the two cables.

Final thoughts: All in all I loved it. Mr. T could easily power a larger tender. The boat I have has a flat bottom and would have benefited from a keel. Even the inflatable type keel in some small boats would have helped. I used 8% of the battery during 30 minutes I was running it. The charger is the size of a computer adapter rated at 2.0 amps. It took an hour or so to top off. The charger draws so little it can recharge the unit from our house batteries and inverter overnight. With a little throttle modification kids (or grandkids!) can run the dinghy for a long period of time. Maybe all day. The next test would be to run it a lot and row home if necessary.

A BIG THANK YOU to Kevin and Alison!

Running on the wild side.

Running on the wild side.

Anchor Chain Marking

I do not have a fancy chain counter for my windlass. If you ever anchor you need to know how much rode you have out to insure you have proper scope for holding power but not too much. In general more is better for holding but may not be a good idea for other reasons. If you have too much rode out, you might swing into other boats at an anchorage or go aground when the tide goes out by swinging closer to shore. I used to mark my chain with paint. I would lay all the chain out on the ground and paint the chain for about 12″ inside a cardboard box. The problem with paint is that it wears off and the chain has to be dry to repaint. Repainting usually involves taking all the chain out again after it is dry. I decided to try a new method with zip ties. The chain doesn’t twist in the gypsy so I figure the zip ties will last a long time if I put them on top where they won’t rub. I have been using the same color code for years and replicated it with zip ties. I ordered colored zip ties that are red, white and blue. I can keep extra zip ties in my front locker and replace when they break when the chain is wet or dry. The big test will be after anchoring during our three month Alaska trip this summer.

I mark every 25′ with white, every 50′ with blue and every 100′ with red. I put two ties per link on three consecutive vertical links.

The code

The code

 

No project is complete without finding another problem. After all the chain was out and sitting on the bottom of the bay in my slip, I found the bottom of the anchor locker full of water. There is a false bottom to the locker creating a flat surface to keep the chain from jamming into the small triangle. I lifted the false bottom of the anchor locker and found the drain full of mud probably from years of use and no cleaning. I tried a plunger and running a wire down the pipe. I pumped out all the water and scooped out the mud so I could disassemble the hoses in the bilge. I removed the hose (with a bucket handy) at the check valve after closing the thru-hull. The hose was draining but nothing was passing the check valve. The type of valve on the line was a spring loaded piston type rather than a swing type used on our sinks so I couldn’t just push the valve open. I removed the check valve and took it into my engine room work bench. When I finally got the valve dissasembled I found the piston completely frozen. The screw holding the rubber seal had also broken. I cleaned and buffed all the parts with the scotchbrite side of my bench grinder. I lubed the piston and reassembled and it worked great. Fortunately, when I went into the newly organized Roxia Hardware Store I found the right size screw.

This check valve uses a spring loaded piston

This check valve uses a spring loaded piston

Cleaning up the piston

Cleaning up the piston

It's nice to have spare parts

It’s nice to have spare parts

The Knife Rack

Necessity is the mother of invention Have you ever put your hand in a drawer on a moving boat to get a knife and reached where you shouldn’t? Yeah me too. We decided knives in a drawer were a bad idea. I didn’t want to have a knife block on the counter so I designed one that I could put on the wall and still be safe. I had visions of a knife thrower on a moving boat if the knives came out while underway. I had some teak and walnut scraps around my shop and thought I would see what would turn out. I should have taken pictures while I was working but wasn’t sure it would turn out or if we would even use it. Here is what happened.

Take a few measurements of the knives

Take a few measurements of the knives

Test with a few home knives

Test with a few home knives

Back view. Added some relief in case the wall was curved

Back view. Added some relief in case the wall was curved

Maybe here but higher? The boss will decide.

Maybe here but higher? The boss will decide.

Since I was cutting up a bunch of scrap I figured I would make new storage for my router bits. I used the wood from a wine box to make the frame and some walnut scraps from a house that was being torn down. I call myself a high end dumpster diver looking for wood. The great reclaimer.

The racks slide out so I can use near my router

The racks slide out so I can use near my router

Engine Room Storage

This project started out as a basic engine room clean up and ended up a construction project. We had so many things stacked on the workbench and sides that there was nowhere to work. I looked for a tool box to store everything but I couldn’t find anything that fit the space. I used a simple design that was flexible enough for all the spaces.

I made three separate cabinets, one for tools, one for nuts and bolts and the last one is for small spare parts. This should give me back most of the workbench on the port side and a workplace on the Starboard side. Below are a few photos from the build. The drawers are 1.5″, 3″ or 4.5″ height. The bottom of the drawer is also the slide and fits into the dado slots. The slots are spaced at 1.5″ so every drawer can fit anywhere in the box.

Cutting out the Baltic Birch Ply

Cutting out the Baltic Birch Ply

Routing the sides for the drawers to slide

Routing the sides for the drawers to slide

Starting drawer assembly

Starting drawer assembly

More assembly

More assembly

Drawer front detail

Drawer front detail

Finished drawer

Finished drawer

Making handles

Making handles

Engine room port side

Engine room port side

Engine room starboard side

Engine room starboard side

I sorted all the screws I have collected for the last 15 years and organized the drawers.

Took me a week to organize

Took me a week to organize

Roxia hardware store is open for business!

 

 

Fall Update

Fall Update for Roxia

It has been a busy fall of learning for this Roxia Cap. I attended Bob Senter’s Captain’s and Hands On classes for Northern Lights Generators and Lugger engines in Seattle, WA. I also attended the ABT/TRAC hydraulics class in Rohnert Park, CA. The classes were well attended by Nordhavn owners which was fun. Bob Senter said only one thing can stop a Nordhavn from cruising and that is a grandchild. Well, guess what? We are having our first! A granddaughter due in March.

Our new cruising plans will take us on shorter trips and probably only as far north as Southeast Alaska. Any “not to be missed” locations you can recommend will be great to know. The rest of the time will involve getting around to a few upgrades I have been wanting to do and replacing hoses before they need it. I will build some tool storage units for the engine room to finally clean the area up. I have never liked using the engine room to pile up storage and spares so I have been organizing slowly but now I will finish up.

Emmy has been getting decorations completed (are they ever really?) and Roxia feels like an old friend now. We have enjoyed having friends take short trips with us now that we are based in Sidney BC which is closer to our home near Seattle.

One project I finally finished is the pilot seat post extension. As a vertically challenged individual I had to remove the Compass in front of the helm seat in order to see the deck. I had some old weathered teak after one of our customer’s backed his swim platform into something so that’s what I used. I love to repurpose old wood and benefit from it’s experience.

You can never have enough clamps.

You can never have enough clamps.

Bolted through to the bottom plate.

Bolted through to the bottom plate.

I shorted the “wedge” holding the compass by about half an inch and removed the half inch shim between the wood and compass. I think it was there so the compass did not hit the original MFD’s. The compass is back in place about an inch lower. I love my new view.

As low as I could make the compass.

As low as I could make the compass.

I also decided to return all the staterooms to 120 volt outlets from the 240 volt Australian outlets. It was pretty straightforward and allowed me to return the electric panel and patch panel back to original. I kept the 240 volt GFI breakers and outlets in case I want to change back. I left the salon with Australian voltage because the previous owners had replaced the TV, Receiver and BluRay in Australia. The TV allows dual voltage but the receiver and BluRay do not. The BluRay player also has Australia geographic zone and will not play most US disks. The zone can be changed on the BluRay but my next project is to build a new equipment storage that matches the Nordhavn interior woodworking.That’s enough for now. Cheers and happy Cruising.