Category Archives: Hunter 340

Battery boxes

Now that I’ve got four nice new Costco batteries, I have to get them into the boat. The original setup on the Hunter 340 was to have all the batteries in the starboard lazarette, sitting on top of the holding tanks with a few nylon straps. These batteries are 63 lbs each, four  would be 240 pounds of battery on one side.

I’m told the boot stripe is painted higher on the hull to compensate for all the weight on that side of the boat. My plan is to put two in each lazarette. This works for several reasons:

  • weight balanced between port and starboard
  • batteries can sit closer to the centreline
  • being 6volt in series it makes sense to keep them in pairs.

The starter battery an AGM yellow-top Optima and will go down below behind the aft berth bulkhead. It will sit low low and on the center-line, ignored for the season.

The boxes will have nylon webbing over top to secure the batteries in the boxes and the boxes will have stainless carrage bolts through the lazarette floor to keep them still.
I’ve decided to paint the boxes with epoxy coloured black with 423 Graphite Powder, as I have it left over from the rudder slop repair.

“423 Graphite or powdered tempera can be used up to 10% by weight.” as per West System, I’ll go with 5%.

Solar power

Aquatic Park Sailing Club has a mooring field, not docks, and the Club House itself is solar powered so our situation necessitates some thought into electricity generation and conservation. This is fine, as I love being independent of the plug.

I opted to install two solar panels, big solar panels, on my Hunter 340. They fit perfectly on top of the bimini, and provide as much power as you can squeeze out of a solar panel. The panels are Kyrocera 270w each running at 24v with a MorningStar MMPT charger. I am pleased with the installation as they are pretty inconspicuous, hovering about an inch an a half above the bimini. I have since replaced the old 12v batteries with two sets of 6v batteries.

Performance

IMG_0050_meter_30A
Yes, that is 30 amps of solar power!

In terms of performance, the panels are great. Even on overcast days I have more electricity than I can store. During the day the batteries don’t dip, so the only cycling that happens is from evening usage for the fridge/stereo and lights. I am adding some LED strip lighting from Ikea, which should help reduce the impact from the Halogen bulbs. With something like 14 lights I don’t think it makes financial sense to swap out the bulbs for LED, besides, we never turn them on all at once.

There is some boom shading on the forward panel. I have the panels on separate breakers so I should check to see the performance impact from the shade. Two panels of this wattage is overkill but the panels were not that expensive and I figured if one is good, two would be great!

Installation

The panels were installed for the 2014 season and I spent last year on the old batteries. Spring 2015 I upgraded the batteries to 4 x 6volt, paired in two, with a set in starboard and port lazarettes.

I did the installation myself, anchored one end of the panels to the arch and the other end to a rail that runs parallel to the bimini. This arrangement creates a bit of spring on the rail end but I’m not concerned. Ideally I could run a pole to the rear railing and perhaps tab the front one to the bimini railing. I cut small wedges out of starboard keep the mounting square.

solar-diagram_actual_2

Slight alteration to the wiring configuration, one battery switch vs three.


I’ll keep chipping away at this post, apologies if it is a bit brief.

2015 upgrades

It seems there is a never ending list of little things I can do to the boat. From maintenance issues, to “wouldn’t it be nice” projects or “why did they build it like that?” modifications.
Here’s a round up of spring 2015 projects:

Cockpit Stereo

JBL_PRV175_hunter_340The cockpit speakers were controlled from the head unit at the nav station. The main problem with this setup was that in order to adjust the volume you have to do a steeple-chase down to the nav station!

I chose the JBL PRV 175 as it is a marine unit (waterproof!), accepts Bluetooth, USB for MP3 and of course am/fm. I wired it directly to the cockpit speakers and ran a line-out to the head unit at the nav station so we will hear the same music inside and out. (I will run another set of lines from the head unit to the cockpit so I can use the cd player – but that’s a low priority.) Continue reading 2015 upgrades

Saga of the leaking tap.

I installed a salvaged Scandvik shower mixer, part #10466 in the hot hole in the bathroom counter when I replaced the taps. It was fine until I winterized the boat last fall and wondered why there was pink on the counter and dripping out of the facet.

Scandvik shower mixerI opened the cartridge and found that there is a o-ring that sits atop the upper ceramic disc that appeared to have been pinched. How this happened I don’t know. Perhaps it swelled from the alcohol in the antifreeze?

After searching the internet and finding the model #, then contacting Scandvik I received a parts diagram and a quote for $30 USD plus shipping for a new Continue reading Saga of the leaking tap.

wheel wrap

Last summer on the return trip from Ottawa/Kingston, the weather was particularly cold in early August.  Malcolm and I got seriously cold, numb feet and stiff hands. I noticed that the stainless wheel gets really cold in cool weather,  I never had this problem with a wooden tiller, but a cold wheel makes life that much more miserable.

I decided to wrap my wheel in the leftover marine grade vinyl I used for the cushions on my previous sailboat, the Tanzer.  I used just a small amount of contact cement to hold it in place.The thread is UV nylon I used for the cover, not that I am worried about the elements as the cockpit is covered by the bimini (and solar panels).  It took me about three hours to stitch. I cut the vinyl a little too narrow and the seam varies from closed to about a 2mm gap. The perfectionist in me says it can wait until it needs to be replaced, or I’m retired, whichever comes first!

Bamboo sink cover

IMG_0329Counter space is rare on most sailboats but seems to be a premium on the Hunter 340.  At first glance it seems there is a reasonable amount of space but the counter has a double sink, garbage hole/lid smack in the middle of the counter and a top-access fridge. There is only about a square foot that is free.  Preparing meals is like playing chess, you are constantly moving things around the counter trying to strategize the best way to do things. This is especially so with summer meals with multiple salads or burgers and all the condiments and trimmings. A sink cover creates much needed space so I decided to make a second cover for the larger sink to compliment the white Starboard (I assume?) cover for the small sink. I am also contemplating making a cover for the stove as small items like jars tend to fall over on the grill. Continue reading Bamboo sink cover

Winter Cover – DIY

Sailors seem to be divided into two camps,  winter cover or no winter cover. I’ve played on both teams but I’ve finally become a card carrying member in the cover camp. In the past I  used tarps from Canadian Tire, silver on one side and black on the other.  Some years I didn’t bother, I didn’t see much of a difference, the old boat was leaky covered or not, and being over thirty years old, the UV had done it’s damage to the gel-coat.

20140203_143234_snowI think it was the day I visited Tortuga last winter when I decided to cover it. There was a couple of inches of snow and ice on the boat. Snow,  like rain isn’t my main concern, it was the ice I was worried about, specifically water creeping under deck fittings, into cracks and crevices and then freezing. The freeze thaw cycle has the potential to tear a boat apart, keeping water and snow off a boat is the best defense, short of indoor storage. Continue reading Winter Cover – DIY

Yanmar Service Bulletin – coolant & fuel bleeding

Winter always brings a small amount of anxiety for boat owners, get your winterization wrong and you’ve created expensive problems. Fresh water systems get a dousing of pinnk antifreeze, but engines seem to cause confusion. Given that engines are made up of many materials with different properties, such as rubber gaskets, aluminum, brass and steel,  coolant additives are important to ensure parts aren’t being corroded by the very liquids designed to protect them. Here is a list of coolants from Mack Boring regarding Yanmar engines.

The coolant/anti-freezes that have been tested and approved are shown below:
  • Texaco Long Life Coolant Anti-Freeze both regular and pre-mixed Product codes 7991 and 7998. This product is available in gallon containers, drums and bulk. It is recommended that the cooling system be drained and flushed before filling. Only Texaco Long Life Coolant should be used for top-off. This product has a much longer shelf life than conventional coolants provided the integrity of the container is maintained. For additional information and availability contact Texaco at 1-800-782-7852.
  • Havoline Extended Life Anti-Freeze/Coolant. Product code 7994. This product is available through Texaco gas stations, Procedures are the same as with Texaco Long Life Coolant Anti-Freeze.
  • Dex-Cool Long Life Coolant. This product is available through GM service centers worldwide.
  • Prestone Extended Life Coolant. Product code AF888. If the above coolants are not readily available, Prestone Extended life coolant is satisfactory.

Full text can be found in this Yanmar service_bulletin: fuel bleeding & coolant

Here is another great link on Yanmar engines: http://nsc.ca/nsc_library/techtalk/dewitte_diesel.htm

Anchor & Rode

CQR_anchorI have the opportunity to acquire an all chain rode with a hinged-plough CQR-type anchor.  I was going to jump at the chance, but my initial hesitation was handling all that chain, I don’t have a windlass, installing one would require switches, wiring and batteries, money. hmmm, maybe it’s worth it?  After some quick research I can summarize the following pros and cons:

  • rope provides cushioning (stretching) when the rode is pulled straight, chain is hard on fittings and can unset an anchor when pulled taut.
  • catenary effect: the weight of chain provides a calming/dampening effect in calm waters, or so many claim.  Research suggests that the weight of rode is negligible.(see Peter Smith link below)
  • abrasion resistance: chain is the clear winner for abrasion resistance, this seems to be the deciding factor for most, allowing sailors to sleep at night.
  • weight:  chain is heavy and requires a windlass, weighs down bow, better to go with lighter chain and bigger anchor.
  • expense: chain in expensive and rusts in salt water – but lasts longer than rope

Rope is actually better as a medium given it’s ability to stretch and absorb shock when the rode is straightened out but high winds or wave action, however the reality of abrasion is what makes most sailors reach for chain.

Rode length, not material, is what is important, the pulling force on the anchor needs to be as horizontal as possible, it is vertical pulling that unsets anchors. Chain is used as it pretty much guarantees abrasion resistance. When mooring in waters with unknown/varied seabeds, chain is best for a primary anchor rode.

For my normal stomping grounds, Lake Ontario, rope is fine. I suppose if I venture down the ICW to the Bahamas it might be advantageous to have a chain rode. hmmm, I’m back where I started.

Here are some good links on anchors, rode and scope:

The science behind anchors and rode:
http://alain.fraysse.free.fr/sail/rode/static/static.htm

Cruisers Forum rode discussion, chain vs rope:|
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f90/chain-versus-rope-scope-74337-3.html

Anchors:
http://www.petersmith.net.nz/boat-anchors/

The fridge: AB Coldmachine and the fans.

When I stepped onto the dock after our 26 day day trip to Ottawa, a club member congratulated me on my trip and asked if everything went OK, “sure” I said, “it was great!” “Nothing broke?” he asked, “Nope” I replied. It wasn’t a lie, it was just that I didn’t remember that the fridge compressor was making strangled-guinea-pig-like noises as opposed to the usual Darth Vader sounds, besides, it was still keeping things cold.

IMG_0001A couple of days later the cabin was very quiet, on the trip, with a kids, stereos, motoring and lots of activity on the boat I hadn’t realized that the fridge was ominously silent. I looked in on the compressor under the port dinette seat and realized that there was no air moving, the compressor was very hot. Not having paid too much attention to the compressor in the past I figured it was supposed to be hot – but not hand-burning hot!
Clearly the cooling fans had stopped. The fans are computer fans, nothing special, easy fix I say to myself. I pulled them out and tested them. One was definitely dead, it wouldn’t spin up and when I poked it with my finger it raced then died.  The second made grinding noises and was sluggish, clearly the source of the strangled-guinea-pig noises.

Continue reading The fridge: AB Coldmachine and the fans.