We lost our beautiful spring like weather to a foot of slush, ugh. The last few days have reminded us why we really are looking forward to our trip South. Slush is worse than rain as it doesn’t run off, just piles up putting water in places that you never imagined!
Adesso came with a KISS high output wind generator with lots of spares. My research on the product indicated that it was a durable and respected name in wind generators of the past. Kiss is no longer in business but parts were available so with that in mind I rewired it when recommissioning Adesso after the trip across the US. During the summer trip around Vancouver Island an unexpected compatibility issue arose, the KISS does not have a regulator relying on a simple heat sink and diode to produce DC and assums that a battery can be overcharged to up to 10% of its capacity negating the need for stage regulation. Well that may be true BUT when you mix that with a Morningstar MPPT regulator for the solar, things are not so happy, the “smart” regulator sensing the high voltages that the Kiss would output would shut down charging and not recover until it was reset. The Mastervolt charger/inverter didn’t like it either, should I mention the Balmar regulator as well, Sigh@><!
The choice was to buy another regulator and larger heat sink for the KISS or look for something else if it was affordable. In the end I did not want to spend hundreds to support an older piece of technology on our boat so the KISS was sold to someone with a simpler alternative energy environment. Looking for bang for the buck and taking into account that Captain Sue wanted less sound we opted for the Air Breeze Marine and installed the carbon fibre Blue Blades made in Portugal. Wow – no more problems and very QUIET not mention the blaze of blue in the sunlight! Another project off the list.
One of Sue’s first projects was redo the upholstery. Adesso’s was dark and worn out in a number of places so fabric hunting was high on the list. It all started with fabric rub counts and swatches laying about the boat for weeks while the best colour choice was made. In the end a lighter blue/grey with no pattern was the winner, as it lighten up the interior of the boat and is very easy to clean, a major concern! Becky of Anchors Away was contracted to do the job. The result was nothing short of spectacular, thank you Becky!!!
I must say that though my feelings about furry crew is that life without is easier, Sue fell for Kato (his name now) at the local pet store and showed up aboard. He has adapted well considering we failed at the “head” training attempt #1, and has taken a couple of winter time dips in the ocean. If you can imagine a cat leaping out of frigid water so fast you didn’t even notice how he got out. On our first trip with him this Christmas we found out he loves a moving boat, as soon as we were off the dock the cat was roaring up and down the decks, my thinking was we were going to get a cat overboard drill on the trip! So welcome aboard Kato, I’m sure we will be posting your antics in the future.
Adesso arrived from Rhode Island with a new air conditioner which would pump out a little heat but in the Pacific Northwest real heat is needed to survive snowy days. The best heat for a larger boat are forced air or hydronic diesel furnaces that will put heat in a number of cabins. In our case Sure Marine in Seattle has a great reputation, supplying Webasto heater kits for the marine industry and is close by. We went with hydronic because of the installation, 1” hose was possible to run from the boiler where a 3” air vent line path could not be found. The other big challenge was where to put the boiler itself. All the room underneath the cockpit was already full of , generator, holding tank, water maker, spare anchor, auto pilot, leaving a small area behind the propane tanks the only choice. This was a tight fit, not to mention the contortions required to get into the area to install the unit as well.
The other challenge was the expansion tank had to be above the boiler which meant I had to be creative to find a place that would work. In the end the tank in one of our master cabin lockers keeps its contents dry and radiates nicely in to the cabin. The small radiators were installed in the bottom of lockers and storage areas, cutting a little into the space but this was a small price to pay for heat. The water loop ran from the stern of the boat where the boiler was, underneath the aft cabin bunk, along the removable floor boards to the forward locker, 150 feet of hose in all. The install is not for the faint of heart as there are many components all of which have to squeezed in to the boat somewhere.
With three zones all on their own thermostats we are cosy aboard even when the snow falls! The other bonus is the efficiency of this type of heat compared to the drip feed stove. Using a fraction of the diesel and a little 12V current has made Adesso our winter cruising home very comfortable. A special thanks to Sure Marine for the great service and support getting this all running! The air conditioner was sacrificed for room and power savings though we may regret that if we ever get to hot countries!
Adesso came to us geared around a new Master Volt Whisper generator but we are of the alternative energy mindset so solar and reconnecting the wind generator was at the top of our list. After much research I decided on the Morningstar MPPT 45 regulator and a single 250 watt/30 volt solar panel. These panels are the standard in larger solar installations so are the cheapest per watt and the most durable. I calculated that it would produce under 15 amps so I put a 15 amp breaker inline to safeguard all the parts. Much to my surprise these panels turned out to more efficient than advertised and during peak sun the breaker would blow – it was charging at 20+ amps!!!! A larger breaker is in order. Our local solar expert Terratek supplied the panel and regulator and were very helpful. I’m now wondering about adding another to the bridge by changing the orientation.
To mount all this Nuno at Ocean Metals came up with a great idea that he had done on other boats. Because Passports pushpit is so well built and strong we just made two vertical 2″ poles mounted to the deck, supported to the corners of the pushpit and the solar bridge at the top. With the wind on one side and electronics moved to the other everything was neat and tidy.
A quick get away for the night to Henry Bay proved to be a little exciting. I have been cut polishing the top sides and in the rush to leave our slip we forgot the hose on deck, yes it was still attached to the dock. No damage done but we were a little sheepish. The lesson learned is ALWAYS walk the boat before casting off ! Josh and his friend Greyson played Tarzan off the bow but it should be noted that the warm water is gone. It’s amazing how beautiful this spot is so close to our home.
The days were very foggy in the Broken Group so we decided to make a run for Victoria and the sunshine!! The westerly gale that sets up in the Juan de Fuca Strait should just push us there, at least that is what we thought! It turned out that the two day trip back to civilization was without a breeze and mired in fog the whole day. Ugg. As soon as we rounded Race Rocks 4 miles from Victoria the fog disappeared and a breeze stared up, as if it was waiting for us to arrive via motor. None the less we were happy to be back in the warm so after a fuel up we ventured over to Hidden Harbour Marina where our friend Jim and a slip awaited. From here to Comox we would have a packed social schedule which was wonderful. We had time to visit with so many friends and family. Tilly was loving all the visitors thinking they had all come to see her and she was happy to see the end of all that swell.
The last couple of weeks of our trip went like a blur which results in the blur of a post. Due to all the distraction no pictures were taken and even though we covered a lot of ground this story is condensed into a few lines.
- saw Chris, Lisa Uma,Jim Cookie,Al,Zoe
- shopped for t-shirts, shorts, beer, coffee
- on mooring buoy to have the Backstay adjuster repaired
- saw Jim and Kathy
- saw the Smith and Bannister clans
Walace Island Marine park
- break to swim and hike with just us
- very busy!!!! Granville Island tasties!!
- saw Jeff for dinner
- couple of days in our favorite Marine Park close to home
- on our mooring for a quick laundry and grab food
- pic up Glenn and Asheya
Now we were off to Cortes to witness Tim and Elizabeth getting married… The sun and fun seemed like it would never end! Well, rain was in the forecast for the first time in a month and a half.
Oil leaks are messy especially if they are on deck. Adesso had a Navtec Series 7 hydraulic backstay adjuster, a little dated but still worked well except for the oil drips that eventually mixed with all sorts of deck flotsum and jetsum resulting in a sticky mess. A little research showed that the rebuild kits were still available and Blackline Rigging in Victoria were the authorized local warranty/service dealer. Brent at Blackline said the kit and labour was a not cheap but much less than a replacement so I took the series 7 in to be done. A week later it returned with a clean bill of health, at least that is what I thought. Alas a couple within a couple of weeks the dips started again from the pump handle, yuk! After talking to Brent we decided that it was not worth putting more time into the old adjuster and he found us a new year old “last model” replacement that he sold us for cost to compensate for the money already spent!
Just before leaving on this summers trip I installed the new unit thinking this was the end of the oily mess. Well “Murphy” is alive and well – two days after leaving the top seal started leaking. Akkkk. I sent a picture and info to Brent who was at a loss as to why and would contact Navtech. As we were on our way around Vancouver Island it was decided that we would stop in Canoe Cove where Blackline is. Navtech said that the seals were most likely hard because the unit head was not rotated every few months when in storage. Brent not only fixed the leaks by replacing all the seals but found us a mooring bouy to stay at while the works was done. I give 5 stars for perseverance and customer service to Brent at Blackline Rigging!
We head out of Ucluelet for an easy jaunt over to the Broken Group. Not much wind or swell and since we are also outta fish, its definitely a good fishing day! Josh, my 15 year old son, and I check out charts using Navionics to determine best fishing hole between Ucluelet and Turtle Island and decide that its definitely the southeast side of Sargison Bank. This is called ‘womanly-fish-witching/tuition’ – no knowledge or experience required! We have pretty funky fishing gear, not much experience, little patience and mostly we are good at finding baby cod in little nursery holes. So totally unprepared, a 40 pound halibut latches onto one of our measley rods…. Josh on the other end with excited expletives abounding! Josh reels his prize within 15’ of the boat. We look the fish, our net, one-another… now what? There is just no way the cod-baby-net is going to snag this monster…
At this point Josh is demanding, “Ted, call someone!” I’m encourage, “We can do this, guys! We can get this fish!” It quickly becomes evident that we do not have the equipment to haul this fish aboard, but we are sure that we can claim our fame and land this prize!
The Plan: drag it ashore using the dingy (despite that only a rocky outcrop on puntsy islet is available nearby), bonk it with a hammer, flop it into the dingy, and get properly anchored on Adesso so we can do the cleaning and processing. Sounds good, right? It takes an hour to get to the islet
So I lady-the-helm on Adesso, equip the dingy with meagre tools-of-halibut-steak production, and Josh and Ted head off in the dingy. The dingy lands, or bounces around on sketchy rocks and Josh quickly leaps out and starts dragging his prize on a barncle ridden rocky outcrop. Ted stays in the dingy to navigate the rocks and bouncing dingy. When I look over my shoulder towards shore i see a mammoth fish up on the rocks with Josh trying to drag it higher. Next look… Josh is getting yanked into the ocean, but somehow manages to sit and straddle the fish.
Ted is out of my line of sight. Then i see this wildly flapping fish tail with Josh riding it hard rodeo style. Afterwards Josh it was like being violently jiggled ontop a slimy mount while his legs and knees took a bloody bashing. The next thing that happens is most unfortunate. A large swell rolls ashore swamps both Josh and fish into the ocean.
The fish dove as soon as the water hit it and Josh stood, threw up his arms, and let out a new batch of expletives.
A very large and wiser halibut still lurkes along Sargison Bank and we hunkered into Joe’s Cove to lick our wounds and drown our disappointment.
Entry by Sue