Everything Gets Done Twice

My galley currently at night

I told you of my plan to add a 16’ rope of LED lights for my galley. I t had occurred to me that Dauntless is a bit dark at night in the salon and galley. While I have under counter lights, that do a good job when cooking or cleaning, looking in the cabinets are another story. I know where everything is or at least how it is organized, but thinking about Ti, everything on Dauntless will be new.

So, I decided to add those LED lights, but it as another project that started and then stalled. Last night, while in bed, I realized why I’d stopped.

My original plan was to just add the string of LED lights to the overhead dome light. Switch on the dome light (which I never use) and the LED lights would also light up, illuminating the upper cabinets and the spice rack. I had taken the light fixtures down, as part of the process and also got new warm white (2700°K) to replace the hot white LEDs I put in 5 years ago. Only in the engine room and these galley lamps (which I never use) did I put cool white LED’s (6500K). They are pretty ugly in the galley, so I am changing them just in case someone does turn on those lights.

I was so proud of myself; if only it had been the correct set of lights!

Ti’s given name is Trinh, pronounced Din, rhymes with tin. Her childhood name and the name her family and friends call her is Ti, like tee or tea. In this last year I realized that it’s just easier for all concerned to say Ti. She was called Ti because in Vietnamese it means, small, like a mouse. She is small, like the runt of the family, at just under 5 feet. So last night in bed, it finally dawned on me that she could never reach the light without a ladder.

That switch is on the ceiling, 7 feet off the floor. I can reach it, but Ti will need a ladder. Now, I know she would never say anything, but still, I’ll put the new switch near the current one for the under-cabinet lights. That will be easier for everyone

I did finish one other project today. Last night I was excited to look at Dauntless with all her new exterior LED lights on, only to discover that the starboard side deck was still not connected. So, I got up this morning with that in mind.

Finally, the right set of lights lite up.

I was so proud of myself. The picture shows my handiwork. Went to the salon to turn everything on and to my dismay, still no lights, but even worse, the pilot house eyebrow lights were on.

When I started working on the lights today, I wondered why I had left the end wires so short. Well, I figured it out, they were the END wires, not the beginning wires. In other words, I had hooked up the end of the wire line that was on the fly bridge!

Another warning sign that I had ignored was that I had already led the wires down to the starboard side deck. I wondered why I did that but didn’t bother to look up and see the light pigtail that needed connecting.

The New Warn white LED bulb in the light fixture

A comedy of errors.

After fixing that, again pleased with my work, everything worked and then if you are eagle eyed you will be noticed in the attached picture that the wire runs outside of the aft stay for the paravanes. Luckily, I just had to untie that stay, but it also means that I will have to check its adjustment again once we get underway.

I certainly keep life interesting. But it also demonstrates how much easier everything is when you have a partner to ask you, why are you attaching the wires there, when it is wired on the other side of the boat already? Or Are you sure you want that line on the inside of that wire?

BTW, Does this look a person who is going to complain about he location of a light switch!

 

The exterior double row LED lights in a protective case

The double bayonet, double pin LED bulbs for the Kadey Krogen dome lights

 

 

Slowly, But Surely, Things Are Getting Done

But does it have to be so slow!

Just a beautiful picture of the boats and the Mare Island Bridge in Vallejo

I’ve noticed, not for the first time, I may add, that I never start and finish anything in a direct line. Project A starts, but at some point, I’ll start Project B and maybe even C, while A limps along.

Why, I wondered? It certainly seems inefficient and worse of all; I’m always tripping over all the “stuff” laid out. I won’t even take a picture of the chaos as it’s embarrassing, but evidently not so embarrassing that I would change my ways.

So, why do I do it?  It’s combination of my ineptness whenever I do something the first time, coupled with my unease, once I see that I should have done it differently and probably better. My brain, all brains, need processing time. “Sleeping on it” is part of that process.

My instruments on the laid down mast

Therefore, while it may seem inefficient at first glance, there is almost nothing on Dauntless that survived the first cut and sometimes even the second cut.

My mast instrument project is finally done. I also replaced all the cotter pins and a few clevis pins also. The rigging for my paravane stabilizers was carefully inspected also. I was pleased to see only minor wear over the last 25k+ miles and 5 years. Sad to say, I’d say that 80% of my cruising has needed the paravanes deployed. Sad because it means I need to stay home more often, but then when your home is constantly on the move, …

I did update my C-Maps for the west coast and Alaska. Figured there was no reason to save it for the last minute. I also have a rough cruise plan to get to Seattle in June. That will be in an upcoming post.

I was hoping to finish the replacement of my driving light bracket and cross bar with the new stainless-steel versions. All has gone to plan, except I have discovered I made the driving light brackets 9 mm to narrow, that’s about a third of an inch.

Oh well, luckily, I’m flying to Vietnam next week for two weeks and I can get new brackets made for a couple of bucks. Now, the plane ticket is another story.

I just soldered these 4 wires

Easy Come, Easy Go.

Dauntless without her driving lights (But how is she going to sea?)

 

 

Two Steps Forward, a Couple Back

Why couldn’t I just say Two Forward and Two Back?

My New Fresh Tank Selector Valve to the left of the stairs

The words: a couple, a few, came in handy back in 2004 when I had to teach significant digits to my high school physics class.

While I’m pretty good in physics, meteorology really just being mostly math and physics, with a few fluid dynamics classes thrown in, I had to refresh myself (learn) about significant digits to teach it. As it turned out, it was the last year in was in the New York State high school physics curriculum, but I thought it important, so I taught it.

At the time I wondered why I didn’t it didn’t come quickly to mind as the other important concepts of physics did. Later, I realized because during my high school and university, I was using a slide rule and understanding how many digits were significant in any calculation was an integral part of it’s effective use.

Thus, I “knew” it, without knowing what I knew.

So, when thinking about this blog post today, I debated titles: Two steps forward, three back, no, I have made some progress, two forward one back, let’s not get carried away on the amount of progress, two steps forward, one and a half back, sounds awkward.

My New Fresh Tank Selector Valve with the stairs. The grey box on the bottom middle is my bus heater that really warms the boat when underway)

Two Steps Forward, a Couple Back about sums it up. Of my 6-item list I of last week, one, moving the fresh water selector valve is done, but now instead of 5 things left to do, I’ve already discovered a dozen more. I’ve already taken care of a few, like the hole I found in my stainless-steel sink (how does that happen??), but that still leaves me with half-a-dozen more.

Therefore, the ambiguity of “a couple” is perfect.

My re-positioning of the fresh water tank selector valve is done. Finally, with only a few missteps. In the process, I may also have found the problem with my fresh water pump. I had to replace the pressure switch back in the fall and at first, I taught all was OK, but then I noticed decreasing water pressure as the pump ran. For most of the winter, I assumed I had to adjust the pressure switch, but now I think I had a very small air leak in one of my older water hoses where it connected to the copper hose (and I put new hose from the output of the selector valve to that copper fitting).

I’ll know once everything is up and running and no matter where you live you will probably hear me laughing or crying in my shower depending upon the outcome.

I’ve also been working on a number of electrical/mechanical improvements:

Maretron intruments now on the spreader of the laid down mast
  • Repositioning the Maretron instruments on my mast, including running a new Maretron cable and re-conditioning all the connectors,
  • Moving my Groove Wi-fi extender to the mast also and running its antenna cable thru a new route from fly bridge to pilot house, as the old wire race is full to capacity.
  • Adding switches, replacing a fuse box, adding a voltmeter and rewriting my AM/FF radio in the salon.
  • Adding some LED lighting to the side decks (more robust and waterproof than my initial effort 5 years ago.

Pictures and results to follow.

My New Fresh Tank Selector Valve with the stairs. The grey box on the bottom middle is my bus heater that really warms the boat when underway.

Moving the mast instruments has been a drama. After finally realizing I needed to tap and die the bolts for the spreader since the aluminum is so thick, 3/16th, to ¼”, I was “pleased” to discover that while I have two metric tap and die kits, I have virtually no metric bolts or machine screws, at least none that were stainless steel.

My Tap and Die kit and the metric machine bolt assortment from Amazon.

So, I spent some days, just sorting my stainless steel and figuring out what was metric and what wasn’t. It’s amazing the amount of stuff I’ve accumulated that really isn’t suited for boat life, but I don’t want to get rid of any of it, because you never know what you may need in the middle of the ocean.

Having said that, it’s so strange to get my mind around that fact that for the foreseeable future I will be in range of Boat US or Sea Tow.  More so because in my first year, going up and down the ICW, I had Boat US on speed dial. But now, having spent so much time and miles being totally independent, it’s a mindset that is not easily turned off.

Now for those of still waiting anticipation of learning about significant digits.

It means that no matter how many digits your calculator displays, you need to use your common sense.

e.g. I walked 2 miles (a couple) today. There are 5280 feet in a mile, therefore, my calculator tells me I walked 10,560 feet.  But did I walk exactly two miles? Or was it 2.1 or 1.8 mile, one cannot know from the information

I love these warm, non slip socks. Pamisi on Amazon.

given.

5280 has 3 significant digits, 2 has 1 significant digit, when multiplied you take the minimum, therefore the answer will have one significant digit. So, even though the calculator says 10,560 feet, the answer with significant digits in mind is 10,000 feet (rounded off to the one significant digit).

You can get a very nice definition and explanation here:

http://limestone.k12.il.us/teachers/rhebron/Chem_HO/c05_Sig_Figs_Help.html

 

 

First World Problems

Was just finishing washing the dishes after another scrumptious dinner produced by yours truly, when I noticed that the galley sink faucet produces much hotter water at full volume versus reduced volume.  So, my next thought was I better add that to the list of things I need to brief Ti and Thien about.

Dauntless with her new flag in Vallejo

Then, as I thought about it, I realized this was truly a big issue. I don’t think Ti in her 40+ years has ever lived in a house with hot water. In fact, I know she hasn’t. The poor girl didn’t even have electricity until after she went to high school.

Do any of us even know someone who didn’t have a TV, color at that, growing up?

Even at that, only she and her sister finished high school from their neighborhood. Why? Because they had to swim a small river, hide dry clothes and bikes on the other side, just to get to school. Most kids didn’t want to bother. Umm, maybe if they had school buses the graduation rate could get above the current 98%.

My dinner: medium-rare hamburger, 5 minutes one side, 3 minutes other side, no wind on Weber Q 280 grill. Today, with cheese, grilled onion slice, butter, ketchup on English muffin.

In the USA, we have to cook the books (continually lowering the standards) just to get to 70%. But you all know that.

I know I digress, but let me end it with this: as an educator, If nothing else, at least I’ve learned that children value what they earn and don’t value what adults give them.

It is as simple as that.

So, 20+ years later, when I met Ti, she had taught herself English and had just started teaching herself Japanese. Why? Because English has become the world language and there are some very big Japanese-Vietnamese joint venture projects, (like the subway) taking place in Saigon (HCMC). Ti, as an accountant, wanted to find a position in a multi-national company.

Ti’s River.
Doesn’t look that big, but think I’ll wait for the bus!

She found me and Dauntless instead. Thus, I am making a list of the hazards and operating procedures aboard ship.

All of my problems are truly First World problems.

 

 

 

 

 

Chess, The Boat and Southeast Alaska

The last months, Ti got to calling me “mister chess”, which replaced “mister com’on” as her main moniker for me. I earned mister com’on, by being ready to leave the house sooner than she and saying com’on, let’s go a bit too much. She learned to give me a 10-minute delay, “Don’t come down to leave until I tell you”, which solved that problem.

My Chess Game

For much of the winter, I would play chess on my phone against the app, in my spare time. I realized that while I have always really liked chess, playing it with friends and lovers ended up being a lose-lose for me. I don’t like being competitive with my significant other and even playing with her son Thien, who is a good beginning player, I didn’t want to beat him, so I would give myself a handicap and then be irritated when I lost, because even though I didn’t want to win, I am competitive and don’t like losing. A no-win situation or lose-lose.

Micah (my nephew and crew in 2016) and I played a board game called Empire Builder all the way from Ireland to Panama for that 10-month journey. It was a great game, because unlike chess, I felt I could experiment with different strategies that kept the game interesting for me. It wasn’t just about winning but coming up with new ways to win. While Micah was very competitive, and he beat me two thirds of the time and at times he accused me of not trying. But I was trying, just in my own way. Once I found a winning strategy, the fun for me was to change the strategy and see how else I could win. As I said, more often than not, it didn’t work, but I liked trying and didn’t mind losing to Micah as he is very smart, and he always made my brain work hard to succeed. A win-win.

But for me chess is different, and I realized I just don’t like playing against people, any real people, but against the computer is fine and enjoyable. Much like Empire Builder, I aim for about a 50% success rate, at which point I have the computer play at a higher skill level (basically it takes more time to go thru moves). Now I still got really irritated when I would lose stupidly, but I like the challenge.

My Stats so far

To a certain degree, being up for the challenge is why I love teaching and education. In the classroom or in a school there are always challenges. I like the fact that these challenges change from kid to kid, from day to day. I get true satisfaction helping others help themselves.

That’s also the connection I have to boating and Dauntless. If I can help someone else not do the stupid, costly or just plain not needed thing that I did, I feel valuable, same as helping a student see why we have seasons or where the copper in that penny in our pocket was made.

So, it was a bit of a shock the other day when I realized that I had not played chess since getting back on Dauntless weeks ago. I wondered why?

Teaching, whether to adults for children, exercised my mind, like running a marathon, without ever leaving the room.

Being back on Dauntless, now presented me with a number of challenging systems’ issues:

  • Rewiring my mast, moving instruments to collect better data and reduce cabling issues, so I’m not climbing up the mast in 15-foot seas because my wind instrument is not working and the higher the winds, the more I like seeing the numbers!
  • Moving my fresh water tank selector valve to a place that is more accessible
  • Moving the water maker test port and selector valve out of the engine room

These types of problems give my brain all the exercise it wants. I don’t need chess for now.

 

I also have some boring jobs:

  • Replacing the seals in my water maker
  • Taking my heat exchangers to be tested
  • Replacing anodes (zincs) in said heat exchangers.

    A little light project to see my fuel sight tubes and filters better

But when I finally get to those jobs, I will probably play chess again, because those jobs are just that, jobs. No challenges, I can’t make something better, all I need to do is make it the way it was.

Easy, but boring.

And that’s where Southeast Alaska comes in. Much like the Baltic cruise on 2015, I so looking forward to Southeast Alaska:

  • New cruising grounds,
  • new cultures to learn,
  • new people to meet,
  • new places to go
  • beautiful nature.

I can’t wait.

 

 

 

Back in the Saddle Again

Or more literally, I’m back on Dauntless.

My transportation

Last week I returned to Dauntless, but then took a 5-day trip to Anchorage to attend a teaching job fair. I figure as long as I will be in the USA for the foreseeable future, I may as well work again and put my winter time to constructive use and replenish the coffers.

I spent much of the winter thinking of what had to be done on Dauntless. Since leaving Ireland two and a half years ago, I’ve asked for a lot from my little Kadey Krogen, but gave her only fuel and oil in return.

But 30 months, 10,000+ miles, 2100 engine hours later, the poor girl needs some TLC. While I revised and improved things like the paravane stabilizers as time went on, some other things, like my solar panels, were ignored, though I knew I needed to change the wiring from the controllers.

I also didn’t need to, but thought it was time to change the location of my fresh water tank selector. Too many times, I’ve had to sneak into the occupied second cabin in the middle of the night, open the closet, pull up the floor board and change the water tank so I could take a shower.  Since I’m working with water, I may as well also, change the selector valve for the water maker output.

It’s hard to see, but the re-charge fitting is at the very tip against the insulation for the copper tube.

So, I have a list of about a dozen improvements and corrections (to some older half-assed jobs of mine) to do. Plus, the normal stuff of putting away the clothes and accouterments of a “normal” life after merging a couple of households. Now, where to put those dozen suits?

I’d also come up with a plan as to not to waste money. I cook very well and like my cooking. I often eat out only because I like getting out, not because the food is better. In fact, often it’s not, yet expensive.

Day 1 of 60 days, the next two months, on my first free day, with the rental car that I’d picked up in Sacramento Airport the night before, and which had to be returned by 18:00 here in Vallejo, I would do my shopping at Costco to set me up for the next two months.

All goes according to plan, with only a little warning flag. The freezer only got down to 20°F in the first 18 hours. Usually, it is minus 5°. Did it just need more time, I wished and hoped?

You all know that hope. The hope that is not based on any reason or even history. It’s just a hope that you don’t have to deal with it

So of course, on Day 2 of 60, instead of starting my dozens of projects I’d planned, I’m dealing with stuff that isn’t even on the list.

Freezer temperature is still too high. My Costco ice cream is more like a slurpy. First thing I did was to look online for solutions. Not hard, and in fact, on Cruiser’s Forum, there was a really well written story of re-charging the Freon in (my) BD50F Danfoss compressor. Not so hard, just finding a coupling fitting will be a PIA.

I check out the re-charge fitting and I notice the first fly in the ointment. I’ll have to move the entire compressor to get at the re-charge fitting, as it’s tucked up against the insulated copper tube for the refrigerant.

My compressor is behind the freezer, under the pilot house settee. Getting to the securing screws require an agility I never had. Yet again one of those situations in which a trained monkey would be very valuable.

By noon, the compressor is moved enough to start phase 2. Finding Freon.

Taking my new acquired $60 bicycle, it was only 10 minutes to the NAPA store. Sure enough, they have Freon, but not the hoses or fittings to connect it. I buy a can in any case. (Why you wonder, without the hose??)

Then, as I am walking out the door, I realize that I still need the hoses and connectors, so I may as well go to the nearby Autozone. Said Autozone was much better equipped than the NAPA and not only are their prices lower, they have a number of options with Freon and hose together. I still needed an adapter hose to connect the car sized fitting to my bicycle style fitting used on the Danfoss compressors.

The Freon I found

They had something that may work, so I get that too, promising not to hurt the packaging so I can return it if need be.

Decide I may as well, return the Freon I got at NAPA. Apologize for that.

Get back to the boat and get ready to get to work.

As I am gently moving the compressor, trying not to make a small problem into a much bigger one by rupturing a coolant tube, I notice that the muffin fan that sits between the compressor and the radiator is not turning. I stick my finger in it to make sure and it’s still not turning.

Well, that will teach me to diagnose the problem on the internet.

Yes, Freon may still be an issue, but before I do anything, I need to get the fan working. There is no way I can take the old fan out without moving the entire compressor to a more assessable location.

But guess what? I have muffin fans! At least three or four!! Why? You wonder? Because back in the day, year one (as Asians would count it), the muffin fan went out in my inverter. The inverter overheats and shuts off pretty soon without the fan.

My job complete, The bottom back of the freezer is on the right

I bought 4 muffin fans online, they were advertised as being very quiet and would last forever.  Spares are good. Of course, par for the course, once I took the old muffin fan out of the inverter, I realized the fan rotor had just fallen out of its housing. I just needed to glue it and put it back. It’s worked the last 5 years without a hitch. Though of course, noting is that easy. I cut the wires very short when I pulled it out, so of course, it took half a day to reconnect them.

But now, when I really needed one, I had muffin fans to spare.

I installed it on the opposite side of the radiator, so that it blows thru the radiator, the defunct fan and the compressor. I hooked it up to an external 12v power because before I went to the trouble of hooking it up normally, I wanted to make sure it was the solution to the problem.

Within hours the temperature of the freezer was down to zero. By morning, it was -5°.

I was good to go.

Now, at the end of Day 3 of 60, my to-do list is the same as ever and Alaska is no closer.

 

 

 

 

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