Category Archives: Deck Equipment

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

Teak Sign Boards

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I’m headed back to Roxia today after two months away. Roxia has been in the care of Brett Hensler and staff at Bundaberg Marina. By the time I get there, she will have new bottom paint, PropSpeed, a new PSS shaft seal and main cutlass bearing.  I have a number of projects to complete before the arrival of Nordhavn salesman extraordinaire Devin Zwick in a week. Devin and I will take Roxia south to Brisbane to load onto Yacht Express. Here’s the project I kept busy with while away:

Roxia Sign Boards- Because Roxia is named the same as my grandparents 40′ Wheeler, I wanted to try to tie the two eras together.  My son-in-law Bobby matched the gold leaf typestyle on  the transom of the original Roxia by hand drawing. Then my son Will digitized the letters so I could print them the 4″ size I wanted. Overall size turned out 6″ by 28″. My goal was to make the signboard look hand carved so not too perfect and a little old fashioned. Someday I may write all the details how to achieve this result. In a nutshell I have about 40 hours in it from milling rough sawn teak to the dimensions, hand carving the letters, creating “crinkle” finish gold and finally 10 coats of varnish (6 on the back). For now the pictures here will have to do. Suffice it to say it would never make sense to pay someone to make these because it ended up about $16 per square inch! I wanted to be able to remove the signs to refinish so I used Weld-Mount ¼”-20 female standoffs and silicone bronze flathead bolts.