So we decided it was about time we made some temporary improvements to our comfort as it is getting colder, especially when there is a North wind (colder and blows straight into the cockpit from behind).
So we have repurposed a sheet of the shuttering board, that we had boxed the old engine in, to block off one group of 5 holes in the cockpit side (Engine throttle, autopilot, bilge pump, two fridge vents).
Plus we have repurposed a spare bit of foam floor tile to block up where the engine electrics were and at the same time provide a better route for our boatyard electric supply (yes it does have an rcd).
Sitting below now, for lunch, and the difference is very noticeable. Much quieter and warmer 😀
We have also ordered a couple of “Hotties”, safe, microwavable hot “water bottles”. With those and remembering our thermal layers next time we should be ready to continue work through the winter without too much discomfort. 🥳
With winds from the North and arriving late on Thursday in the wet it was a pretty cold boat to arrive to. So we are not ready for the major upheaval of removing the bulkhead between the aft cabin and the motor compartment. It will make our cabin a bit larger and provide better access to the drivetrain. However, our wall heater is mounted to that bulkhead and we still have holes in the sides of the cockpit (from where we have removed the engine controls, plus temporarily the auto pilot and bilge pump). The combination of draughts and no heater isn’t attractive.
Besides we have some special bolts on order to refit the stern tube flange and that will be easier before we build the replacement bulkhead.
So we will wait until the bolts have arrived and we have boxed in the motor compartment, plus better sealing of the cockpit before doing that job.
So instead, as Friday turned out to be dry and fairly warm (out of the wind), we decided to tackle some more holes.
We have had 8 holes in the aft deck (covered with tape) ever since we removed the davits. That was one of the first jobs as they were poorly fitted and were causing cracks in the deck.
The first part of the job went well. We got the sticky residue off and it clean. I then chased out all the cracks using the dremel and they turned out to only be in the gel coat, not in the grp below it.
Then we did a similar job for holes in the wheelhouse roof. These come from the wood handrails we removed (they felt rather flimsy and are in the way of where the solar panels will go) and from an unused GPS aerial.
Then we mixed some thickened epoxy. We have filled the wheelhouse holes nicely. However, the aft holes were more tricky. Access to the underneath is terrible. I can just reach with an arm but can’t see what I’m doing. Jane can sort of get in the locker but not reach properly. So our attempts to block the holes with cardboard and tape failed and the epoxy has mostly dripped through into the locker.
We will have another look in the morning to see what to do next. Then home before lunchtime.
So not a lot of progress but despite the failure there is some comfort.
a) these were the biggest looking cracks in the deck. We now know how to fix them all, and it isn’t very difficult.
b) the wheelhouse roof is looking good for being able to progress our first solar panels.
c) these holes in the aft deck are the only places we have to do any hole repairs with such bad access. The mess we have made of these isn’t going to be visible or cause any long term problems.
One of the advantages of a boatyard with a 4G signal is that we could stay on and still fit in an AGM on zoom.
So we managed to finish the cockpit drains. Well except that I ran out of the larger Jubilee clips. As you need 2 on each hose end we needed 8 smaller and 24 larger ones but I only had 20 of the large ones so one segment will need them adding later.
So we have 38mm drains from the two forward drains which come aft to the 50mm aft drains. We tested them and no leaks 🙂 Once we complete the sides to the motor compartment we will fix the hoses to them so that they don’t wobble around or chafe anywhere.
We have brought the motor frame home now that we have sorted all the measurements to complete it. So to make that easier we have fitted a couple of lifting eyes in the wheelhouse roof. These wouldn’t have been any use for the diesel engine but our electric motor and frame is less than half the weight. We will also be able to use it to lower the big batteries into the compartment.
It was nice that when I created the backing plates for the seacocks I cut out two circles that made perfect backing plates for these lifting eyes. By the time they have been painted and the solar panels fitted you won’t see them.
We used our man overboard lifting tackle to get the motor out and then were able to use it to lower the frame down the ladder too. To get it up I’ll temporarily add a wood side so it slides more easily.
After a night to reflect on it we ended up a bit less daunted by the tasks remaining to get the motor and drivetrain fitted 🙂
Again I needed to do some work this morning and then we felt we needed to take some rest this afternoon, especially after carrying lots of heavy stuff for the motor frame up the ladder.
So we spent a few hours sitting around the motor compartment plotting and planning how everything is going to line up. We even made some decisions. Next the trick will be to do them in the right order.
First we properly fitted the new motor frame drive shaft and it’s bearings. Then we fitted the belt pulley.
That allows us to position the forward end of the motor frame, there is just space to squeeze a replacement belt on when needed.
That allows us to work out the relationship between the end of the propeller shaft where it goes into the thrust bearing part of the Aquadrive, making sure there is enough propeller shaft in the boat for the PSS Pro Dripless Seal.
As you can see there is a lot of motor frame drive shaft that is unsupported at present. And the aft end of it carries a fair lot of weight (the CVT joint, Coupling converter and Coupling).
So a key set of decisions have been made about how we extend the motor frame to support a pillow bearing on the aft end of the motor frame drive shaft; and how we fit the motor frame onto the motor mounts and them into the boat. That is all done now and I can take the parts home and build it all up in the garage.
The next big decision was about the bulkhead that needs to be built to fit the Aquadrive thrust bearing to and which needs to be strong enough to absorb all the thrust from the propeller. This new bulkhead will form the base of the new bulkhead to the aft cabin. So access to the Dripless seal will be by lifting the floor of the aft cabin and access to the Aquadrive through a removable section of the cabin bulkhead. We will make the lower section of the bulkhead from FR4 (10mm vacuum compressed epoxy resin and fibreglass) with plywood triangular braces on each side of the propeller shaft going forward and aft. It will have a U shaped cut-out for the propeller shaft as otherwise the motor compartment isn’t long enough to ever be able to remove the propeller shaft. We will need to create 7 degree angle packing for the Aquadrive to align it correctly with the propeller shaft.
So it looks like we will have a few weekends with a rather more draughty aft cabin as we will have to remove the bulkhead, door and door post before we can fit the new bulkhead and it will take a while to get that properly aligned.
When that is all done we will have to fit some supports for the motor battery bank, which should be reasonably simple, we just need to get the full drivetrain connected first to check the height clearance.
Then we can fit all the bulkheads to the cockpit locker, aft cabin and corridor. Then we can do the wiring. …
The house battery bank box got the last bits coated in epoxy.
I finished the vertical posts that the corridor and cockpit sides will fasten to. These got coated in epoxy and fastened in with thickened epoxy. They will also support the horizontal beams that the house battery bank will sit on.
Finally, we put the first coat of paint behind the saloon cushions.
I suppose the most significant progress is that we has a guest sleeping on board with us for the first time. Stephen, one of our sons, in our social bubble, joined us for the night. The saloon single berth got a good rating.
Today, I ended up working for the morning but Jane and Stephen took the house battery bank apart and then reassembled it with thickened epoxy as glue. They have then coated nearly all of it with epoxy and added some fillet joints to strengthen the joint between the sides and the base.
Then we spent some time going over the design and plans for the electrics.
Meanwhile, one of the lasts part of our drivetrain had arrived (the shaft from the reduction belt pulley to be connected to the propeller shaft via the Aquadrive) so we have been able to lay things out and make sure everything fits (it does – just).
I’ve had to redesign the way the electric motor rests on the engine mounts so that we can support this shaft at the propeller shaft end. So a few more bits of metal and one extra bearing are now on order.
This shows the base of the box for the motor batteries.
It is slightly oversized at present but there is just space for it and still be able to open/close the seacocks. Access to the Aquadrive (which will be partly under the battery box) will be by making the new bulkhead to the after cabin open-able (after all no carbon monoxide or diesel fumes to worry about).
The house battery bank goes above the motor and the motor battery bank.
The two inverters go on the bulkhead forward of the motor and just above it (grey bulkhead at the bottom of the previous two images).
Given how tight everything is I’m sure we are going to have to pay attention to air flows and ventilation to ensure that the motor, the motor controller and the batteries don’t overheat. However, I’m pretty confident that we are going to be able to make that work fine for most climates with passive ventilation. We will probably need to assist that with fans in the tropics (but if it is hot there should be plenty of solar power available to charge things.
The centre of gravity of the batteries has moved up a little from what I had hoped for. However, I don’t think it is very different to when the diesel tanks were full (and it doesn’t move around). Fortunately, we have saved a whole lot of weight in other places and when we switch to dyneema rigging we will save a whole load of very high up weight.
So not huge visible progress but a lot of thinking and planning will help next steps.