Books, Charts and Radio

Our old VHF radio works fine.  It is an ICOM M502.  The previous owner I guess installed it or had it installed with the remote microphone connection in the cockpit.  The microphone, however, was well sun-dried, rather like a raisin.

The cable and case which appear to have once been white were that dull yellow color the sun cooks plastic to when the stuff sits in the sun too long.  The cord, which was once the cool, curley-Q design was stretched out and pieces of the cover were disintegrating.

Pieces of it liter the sole of the boat and the cockpit floor every time I connect it.  It was well past due for replacement.

I had counted the pins on the mic connector before I departed the boat for Colorado last month and stopped in the local ham shop and found a cable I could attach by using the old connector and mic body.  Picked the surplus cable up for a couple of dollars.

Unfortunately, I’m really having issues with my close in vision for doing soldering and stuff like that, so I considered perhaps I could get a replacement mic already to go.  Sure enough, I did some searching and found a black one, a white one and a few extra items I don’t need, so I ordered it.  Cost 100 dollars, free shipping.  Not bad I guess.

It will be here next Tuesday.  I can use that now.  I’ve packed the old microphone and new cable into a plastic bag and stowed it under the nav station seat for after my eye surgery so I’ll have a spare again if needed.

Our plan is starting to flesh out.  We are going, at this point, down the ICW a ways.  We will decide about whether we will sail out and back in to the Bahamas, or go all the way to Florida on the ICW later.  We, as usual, will have several plans and back up plans in case something goes wrong.

With all that in mind, today I ordered the rest of the Explorer charts for the Bahamas.  We already have the last edition for the Near Bahamas, including Marsh Harbor and Abacos.  So, I ordered 2 more chart books, a full chart of the Bahamas for planning and a copy of the chart for Abacos Sea, which I promptly found a copy thereof after ordering.  Oh well, spare.

We’re looking over some cruiser guides as well, but I placed an order for the Waterway Guide for the Bahamas.  Might not get any others, but at least we will have that one.  We will decide on other books if necessary once that one arrives.  We have most of the Waterway guides already, and they have been decent for the ICW, helpful.  There are things lacking occasionally which I find in other books.

The biggest issue with books is we have no real room in which to store them.  I’ve got to empty out a couple of lockers under the seats, consolidate things, and make some more room for stuff we truly need to keep.  At this point I have SOME room in the forward head, which doesn’t work.  I’m about to rip out the toilet in there and put in a working, manual pumping head without the holding tank.  I hate the way the system is here on the boat, without a way to empty the tanks overboard in the ocean without climbing into a rather precarious position on the fore-deck.  That tank has to go.  It takes up a lot of space anyway, a place I can store… say books. Or Food.  Or chain.  Or an anchor.  Anything but poop.

So, new books, new charts, new microphone, and in a few days, new lenses for my eyes.

Then I can actually read the charts and books.

And the microphone display.

And see the little ants better.

(We have little tiny ants aboard.  I’m hunting for them now, I think I know where they are coming from, so I will find them. And kill them. And their mommy too….)

Future Plans

Good Day everyone.  Stormed rolled through here last night, not too fiercely, but were still a bit wet, stormy and windy.  Fortunately, we didn’t get any thing more than a few drips inside.

It’s pretty hot lately so I put up tarp with a shiny side up to help reflect a lot of the heat.  It helps a bit down below, but even with the A/C running on the boat it still gets upwards of 90° F.

I go in for eye surgery in two weeks.  I have cataracts.  My left eye is pretty severe.  Right eye I can get away with for a few more years I suspect.  However, we’re going to try to get it all done at once.  One eye one week, the other eye in one or two weeks after.

Problem is, by the new idiotic medical laws they are saying I have to have a “physical less than 30 days before surgery”.  I had a physical on the 20th of July.  Couldn’t get the appointment scheduled until the 30th.  Not MY fault.  Also NOT my fault that insurance won’t pay for a second physical within one year of the last one.  Has to be at a year or more.  Sorry, can’t do that.

To their credit, Virginia Eye Institute is contacting my doctor back in Colorado and getting her to fill in some forms letting them do the surgery.  We shall see.

Thus, IF I can not get my surgery done here, I think that I will just put it off again.  I’m not letting more stupid medical issues prevent me from sailing south this time.  Especially since they are life or death issues.  I’ll schedule with someone else, in another place down the road, or make plans to go back to Colorado for my physical and eye surgery at the same time just to make it easier on everyone.

Being in a marina, 2 hours away from the nearest eye place isn’t easy to deal with.  Add to that crappy internet, absolutely NO phone service or data service here, and an inability to make phone calls anywhere or any time I want, puts us back into the mid 20th Century (LOL, how funny is that?)

When we do have wifi I can make calls.  I can’t necessarily get them.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day light hours (up until 3pm) moving most of the junk out of the forward cabin.  I made a list of things to get rid of and removed them, either to the car or topsides where they are out of my way.  It’s a short haul to either a car, van, or dumpster though.

I have a Jabsco marine head I put up for sale, for the price of a motor.  New motors cost 150 bucks.  The toilets cost 400 new.  I put the thing up for 125 bucks.  So if someone needs it… let me know.  Works fine.

Also I removed my guitar stand, bike rack (for the car) and a camera tripod that is practically new, almost never used, and I have no idea why I kept it except perhaps to connect the Go Pro camera too.  Which has never been fired up either.

I’m waiting for the marina guy to come over to assist in getting a mizzen halyard replaced, but he said “sometime next week”, last week, and today is Thursday.  I suspect it won’t be until much later than that even.  I also suspect that we MIGHT be on the list for haulout, cleaning and zincs… but not entirely sure.  They haven’t got a list of jobs to be seen around here, and I don’t know how they keep track of anything they do.  I also have no idea if anyone really works here any more. lol

As usual, this place seems similar to the others in that there is little to push them forward, unless you’re waving green in their faces right then.  I suppose if they can’t read your mind or bank account statements and don’t know you’ve actually got money sitting in the bank, you aren’t a priority.

Then again, can’t really get out of hear easily without dredging… which was supposed to take place in June.  It’s August.  It might be happening in a few days.  Or it might not.

Our plans then are to try to get my eye surgery done.  Finish getting the boat ship shape, ready to roll.  Head south to Norfolk area and hang out ready to hit the ICW.  We’re leaving earlier, rather than later.  I have no problem passing certain points during named storms, except the storms themselves.  We will obviously watch the weather closely over the next three months.  Either way, we do NOT want to be in the Chesapeake in October for long again.

After Beaufort and Hatteras we plan to sail south doing coastal stops along the way to as far as St. Augustine.  After that, with luck, the right weather and timing, we’re headed over to the Bahamas.  At this point, if my surgery has been done, I think we might remain there for the season.  We’ll play it by ear after that though.  We shall see.

Solar power is working very well on the boat, but it is augmented by the shore power to keep batteries topped off during the day.  I still am doing checks on usage and the main thing we use on the boat are wifi and fans.  (And computers).  We might have to cut back a lot once on the hook, and until I get a wind generator put in place.  Don’t see that happening until next year though.

One of the things we don’t keep very well is our log book.  I’m pretty bad at keeping exact course notes, times and such, but I usually have the chart out and plot on that, which makes for keeping me up to knowing where I am.  But, I can’t go back and see and re-chart things this way.

I do write major events, ship sightings, times, speed and various other things in a rather haphazard way, but at least I keep something.  Going to work on fixing that issue.

We have more things on the boat than we need at any given moment.  But the moment I throw something out, I find that I needed it and it’s gone.  I suspect this is a dilemma that has plagued sailors for ever and ever.  What to do with the cushions we don’t use that are stored, until we decide we need to use them? LOL  Who knows.  But removing big, bulky items for space and lightening the ship a bit, to give us more room for food…. now that is something I can go with.  I have a lot of electronic gear we kept, I want to keep and probably will still install some of it, but get rid of some as well.  If I can empty two of the seat lockers, that more food storage, and I can also put other things in there that I don’t want to store more forward as well. (Heavier items for instance, like tools).

Tools. I got rid of a LOT of my tools.  But still have a couple hundred pounds of things, including my battery operated power tools.  All of them have come in handy, so getting rid of them…. maybe, but not yet…. is on my mind.

That’s about it for now.  A mundane log entry, I know but, we’re not sailing.

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be the Jamaica Party at Tim’s at Cole’s Point Marina.  We’ll be there on and off.

 

Back!

First, I want to apologize to every one who has asked about blog entries.  We have NOT been on the boat for almost a month.

We left last month on the 12th to travel across county.  I’m sure some of you get the “security” idea.  JoAnne and I have always been “security conscious” but more so now that we live on a boat.  Having both worked in the government, and me in particular in the military, and with security for the Missile Defense Agency for many years, we tend to look over our shoulders a lot.  So, we try hard not to advertise EXACTLY where we are, where we’re headed, where we’re anchored, but we still do it to some extent.

Half the fun of doing this is changing locations and seeing new things and sharing that information with others.  Both the good and bad of it….whether it’s a bad or good experience in a marina, getting our boat damaged by someone else or rain (constant rain sometimes), we’ll share.  We won’t share the dates and times we’re leaving exactly, or exactly where we are located except with family members so they know to look for us if we “vanish”.

With that said, again, sorry for no entries lately.  I’ll make up for that though now.

We left for Colorado on the 12th headed back for doctors’ checkups.  I had a physical.  JoAnne had a “two years after chemo” checkup.

We arrived and stayed with my daughter, Kristy…. but on the way we stopped to rescue a grandson who had been abandoned by his mother, our ex-daughter-in-law and return him back to the family in Colorado.  He is safe with his Uncle Nick and his Dad is working to get a job and support the young man now.  Gage was doing well when we left him.  Hopefully someone remembers to feed and water him occasionally (he’s 16, I think he can help himself a lot now :))

On the 20th I went in and had a blood draw, and a physical.  Apparently, I’m not going to die any time soon.  My heart is doing fine, though I now have an anomaly due to the heart surgery called a Left Bundle Branch… what ever that is.  It looks weird on the ekg.

JoAnne went in for a blood draw as well, the CA-125, which is an indicator of tumor growth.  Her numbers have been low since the surgery, in the 10-16 range.  We never got a pre-surgery baseline, so no idea what it might have been before the tumor was removed.  The numbers peaked at 18.  The PA said we could do another test in a month to see if it were a glitch or a CT scan.  We instantly asked for the CT scan.  Her examination was fine.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  It was just that darned blood test that scared us.

A couple of days later she had the CT scan, and then we had to go back on Thursday to see the doctor.  We ended up sitting for over 2 HOURS waiting for him, because he was running behind.  They placed us in the conference room for an hour and a half and we were nervous by the time he walked in.  He was flanked by a nurse and the “social worker” or psychologist or whatever she was.  We BOTH almost lost it right there.  We KNEW it was going to be bad news.

But he asked JoAnne how she was.  She said she was fine.  He said “Your exam was fine, and the CT scan came back clear.  There is no sign of cancer”.  I wanted to throttle him for making us wait for 2.5 hours for that.  He could have kicked us out of the office in 2 minutes and simply said “You’re fine, no sign of cancer, go sailing”…. ack.

We had already packed so we headed home, collected our bags and packed the car.  We’d mostly said good bye to everyone but got a few more in and got on the road.

Stopped in Hays, Ks.  Then we traveled on Friday to Mike and Cindy’s home in Richmond, MO and visited over the weekend.  On Monday we went to Branson.

In Branson we saw the “Legends” show on Tuesday, and on Wednesday we went on the Branson Belle Showboat and saw a cool show on the river cruise.  The ship was HUGE…. and probably could have held Adventure inside the auditorium!  They probably had almost 1000 people in attendance and not all the seats were filled.  Both shows were very good.

We made it back here on Saturday afternoon.  Adventure was fine, our new solar charging system is working wonderfully and there was nothing out of place.  Unfortunately, JoAnne’s lavender plant didn’t do too well in the care of the marina office.  I’m trying to nurse it back to health now.  Not sure I can do it though.

So in the middle of retirement, we took a month vacation.

I did laundry yesterday, today we go grocery shopping so we can actually use our refrigeration unit haha, and I’ve got a bunch of stuff to put away.

We added one item to the inventory, a manual water maker, which is a reverse osmosis filtration system.  It is a hand pumped device.  I have yet to read all the instructions, but it will go with our ditch bag.  Hopefully we will never have a need to use it.

On the 12th I go in to see an eye surgeon.  My left eye is getting bad with cataracts.  I’m going to have to have surgery soon.  I hope it very soon so we can plan our trip to the Bahamas next.

All my best to everyone.
Fair Winds!

Refrigeration

Refrigeration:

Our boat, Adventure, has an ancient Danfoss D2 unit. I took pictures of it awhile back and posted them here. Today I troubleshot the major issue, no power. I found that the unit’s ground was wired through a “dead” power supply, the boat’s auxiliary battery charger. I SUSPECT that unit was disconnected at some point when the newer unit which is a charger/inverter system was installed. I KNOW there are some wires going back to the batteries that are no longer connected and MAY go to that charger.

Anyway, because the charger won’t fire up, the ground is removed from the fridge.

So, I pulled the old red (+) wire from the unit, and tied a new cable with both black and red wires, and used the old cable as a fish/messenger wire. Pulled in the new cable, made the connections in the panel, then tied everything in at the compressor.

After I reinstalled the fuse and checked the connections, I fired up the “Refrig” breaker, saw the compressor kick up to a momentary 8 amps, and drop back to 5 amperes.

I listened to the cooling plates and sure as I’m sitting here at my computer, I could hear the thing pushing fluids through the plate. In five minutes the plate started getting cold.

It’s been on for 10 now. The temp inside (and remember we have been putting ice in the unit as an ice box for a couple of weeks now) is around 54 degrees F right now. The plate is developing some frost on it, which it would NOT do with just the ice in there.

That means I can pronounce the patient “healed”.

I do need to replace the thermostat, as it is broken and in some random position. I also need to run this thing to see how cold it gets for a couple of hours.

Update to follow!

Update July 1: C-Head, Solar, Sails, HF Radio

C-Head:  Over the course of the past couple of weeks I have been busy digging in the lockers, getting parts together, ordering things and repairing a few things.

We ordered and receieved the standard “C-Head” toilet a couple of weeks ago.

Unpacking it was easy.  The parts inside are standard parts.  The most expensive piece I suppose was the C-Head container which is a box like plastic container.  It holds a standard sized 5 gallon bucket which has been modified for use inside, with a frame that holds a paddle that you crank around to mix up the composting material.

The number 1 bucket (pee bucket) is a simple 1 gallon water/milk jug.

The device is well built, but personally I still feel it much more expensive than it needs to be.  Everything can be back engineered however to make your own if you wanted to.  In our case, after looking over the forward head, that appears to be our next option.  I’ll just reverse engineer this thing to fit a new, home built device in the forward head.  Reason being is this standard one will not fit.

Installation was easy.  Taking the old electric head out was a bit more difficult, but it took me a couple of hours.  I still have not actually removed the hoses.  I plugged them all, and left everything in place “just in case”.

The new head doesn’t quite fit right, but after playing with the various angles of the head we were able to mount the toilet in there.  It’s been in use for over a week without any issues at all.  I make it a point to empty the urine jug daily though.

So far, so good.  It doesn’t smell at all, especially not like the still-existing holding tank.

Wiping it down is easy.  Emptying the tank is easy.  I have yet to attempt the emptying of the bucket (the “Number TWO” container, haha).  That will be soon so I can make sure it’s done once and I’ve gotten the hang of it.

Solar:  Solar panels and some parts arrived a week ago as well.  I have installed them on the Bimimi frame.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the money to buy all the cool, fancy stainless steel fixtures I actually needed, which would have been clamp on stand offs.  Instead, I manufactured my own.  Cost me about $20 dollars for stainless steel bolts, nuts, washers and some aluminum stock (yeah, I know steel and aluminum don’t mix in sea water, but these are physically under the bimini anyway).

I will add pictures when I have time to this blog entry.  I have to take them, upload them to the host, then post the images in the text here.  It will not be today.

The solar panels are working very well, but, they aren’t hooked up, so there’s no place for all that beautiful sunlight to be stored as electricity at the moment.  However, the Charge Controller is mounted already in a closet in the aft quarters.  I have a plan together to run the wires through an existing deck entry which contains an apparently non-working GPS antenna.  I’ll be tracing wires shortly to make sure it’s not being used somehow.  There’s a second one mounted on the aft taffrail area, and it blinks a green light when operational, orange when searching, so I’m pretty sure it’s the operational antenna.

Here the charge controller is wired in and operational.  Taken 2 July 16 at 0800

Yesterday in the US Postal mail a letter came addressed to me from Dick Stapleton who used to own Duna.  Duna is now Adventure (and we did have a naming ceremony and all that, in case anyone wonders).  In the letter was a very short note on a yellow sticky from Mr. Stapleton.  The most important part was the single sheet inside the envelop.  It was something that engineers love.

An electrical schematic for the sailboat’s systems!  I had been mulling over how to trace everything and this schematic is pretty accurate from the parts I already chased down.  The only thing different on the schematic I can find is the fact that there were only two 6V batteries when we purchased the boat, and there are four of them now, in two 12v banks tied in parallel.

Funny part is, the schematic shows four batteries.  So, now it is about as accurate as I could have drawn it.  Obviously there aren’t all the connections shown on the page, but it does tell me a lot of things I was unsure about, like the battery/service/engine switch and how it actually was wired.  I checked it last night and the meters and sure enough, it’s wired as it says.

Tying in the solar panels will be simple, or rather, relatively simple.  I need to feed wires down below from the panels, I need to attach connectors (some of the parts I bought) to tie the panels to the controller.  Then I need to feed wires from the controller over to the batteries and tie those in.  Pretty much all I need to do.  I could add a small inverter to the load link, in case we wanted to have a separate AC load in the bedroom area, but I’ll consider that later.  I do have a 400 watt inverter we carry in the car when traveling and might put it in the bedroom as back up to the large one.

We have a several hundred watts inverter in the boat.  It’s part of the Xantrex Heart monitor system.  I’ve not really taken a close look at it, and don’t remember the model, but it is capable of running a fridge, coffee pot and a few others things, but not necessarily all at once.

Thanks to Dick Stapleton for sending that schematic.  That was very helpful!

Sails:  All of our sails are roller furling sails and the main and mizzen live inside the masts, on a furler built inside.  A few weeks go when I looked over the sails I realized the UV covers were in tatters and weren’t really doing much any more but flapping in a breeze, so Kurt Seastead, the owner of the Transworld 41 Facebook Group  suggested I contact Ullman Sails and drop off the sails for repairs.  Instead I opted for them to come visit the boat, help me take them down and look things over.  I ended up sending the working jib, main and mizzen sails to have new covers installed, repairs done and so forth.  Wasn’t cheap.

Yesterday I drove to Deltaville VA to collect the sails.  Unfortunately, they lost the one bag I have for my sails, but were nice enough to give me a new one as replacement.  Thanks Jerry!

They did good work.  I wasn’t happy that they called me later to tell me they “forgot to charge me for the washing” – because the initial conversation said “wash, repair, etc” and then I got the invoice later and it added a few hundred dollars to the bill I wasn’t expecting.  Other than that over sight, things were fine.

Until I went to install the mizzen sail.

Apparently the halyard was weakened near the bottom.  As I hoisted the sail something bound up and before I could reverse everything, the halyard snapped just inside the mast opening.  I had my hands full of broken line, winch handle and suddenly sail…. the sail pulled the halyard up and out of the mast assemble, leaving me with no halyard inside the mast now.

So, until I either get up the nerve to climb us and thread the needle, or bite the bullet and hire someone, I’ll use the outside track and spare halyard to use the mizzen sail.  Might be easier anyway.  The thing always seems to bind or act funny.  Putting a sail on in a NORMAL manner might be a change of pace and give me a chance to actually USE the mizzen now.

HF Radio: JoAnne and I are both Ham Radio Operators.  She is KB0IRW and I hold call sign N0NJY.  She doesn’t really do much with ham radio these days but used to get on the VHF and chat, or do Skywarn stuff in Colorado.  Since we started refurbishing the house a couple of years ago all my ham gear had been packed up and disconnected.  I don’t even have a rig in the car any more.  The only times we’ve used it was around marinas to talk to each other or in the car traveling on the handhelds.

So a couple weeks ago while waiting on parts to arrive, I ran some wiring back to the backstay antenna and connected up the HF rig.  I have been able to do a bunch of contacts on a digital mode called BPSK31 on 14070Khz with numerous hams around the US, Caribbean and even Europe.  The rig is only Amateur Radio and I don’t marine HF (SSB as the mariners call it) right now.  Going to change that soon.

The reason for having HF in the first place to call for help if we get into trouble, or pass email traffic through Airmail and a pactor modem.  We don’t have a pactor modem though, so I use a Tigertronics SignaLink external sound card (box) connected to the computer to feed data in and out of the laptop.  Using linux as my OS.  One day, I’ll write about that.  Should be educational if not boring as hell. Ha!

That’s what’s been going on lately.  Well, off to dig in the bulkheads, cabinets and wiring to see what’s actually connected, and what isn’t, start pulling in wires, and get these solar panels doing what they were designed to do… give me MORE POWER!

 

Yesterday, today and tomorrow

Why that title?  Because I did things yesterday, today and will do some tomorrow.

Yesterday we had some issues with wifi.  The antenna attached to the Bullit broke.  Snapped right off inside the connector, necessitating me to dig out the soldering equipment to do repairs.  When it went down, I was well in the middle of running cables over from the radio to the external antenna on the boat.

Basically, we have a “random length” wire, that comes from the tuner over to the insulated backstay (one of the wires holding the main mast up).  I had to dig through a lot of junk to find some wire to run through the bulkhead to get the antenna connected.  In the mean time, the wifi stopped working and the wife was asking about it, or complaining really, because she was trying to play a game and kept getting disconnected.

So, stopped working the HF radio stuff, repaired the wifi antenna and got that back up and running.

In the middle of all of this, I got a message on my phone.  We can’t get calls, no coverage, so we’re connected to the wifi…. which wasn’t working.  Therefore, the second the wifi came back, the message came through.  They stated I had a large box awaiting me at the office.  Turned out to be the new C-Head composting toilet.  Collected that.  More on that later.

Once I got the HF rigged up, I realized I’d lost my control cable somewhere.  The control cable goes between the tuner and the HF rig to switch bands and is an absolute necessity on a random antenna like we’re using.  I remembered that when I was in Colorado Springs in the winter, I’d looked for the missing cable inside the trailer and storage we still have (my kids are keeping that stuff).  When I didn’t find the cable, I had purchased the DIN connectors and placed them into my electronic gear I carried back and forth all the time.

Fortunately, along with some wiring I needed to complete the HF installation, I happened to locate some 5 conductor spare wire that I was able to use to build the control cable.  So, today, the HF radio is working, and Wifi is back online.

This morning I opened up the new box of stuff, the C-Head Toilet.

It appears that this installation is going to be easy.  The toilet will not only fit, it will sit perfectly in the aft head.  I went through all the instructions, directions, parts, parts list and read everything.  The hardest part will be the removal of the old toilet, the plumbing, etc.

So, yesterday I did the HF.  Today, I examined all the parts of the toilet, tomorrow, I’ll probably start the installation in the head.

 

Of Toilets, Sails and Electric Power

Sails:

Three jobs I want done.  Sails repaired (the UV damage I can’t really fix, I’ll need a sail loft to do, as I have no sewing machine and I’m not sure how to go about replacing pieces of the sails yet).  The toilets; time for a composting head.  And power.  I like power.  JoAnne and I have our computers, my ham radio gear and we like to have lighting at night most evenings for reading.

Today I spoke to a local sail loft, and someone will come out to the boat this week to assist me in unsticking and checking the internal rigging for the mizzen.  It’s been giving me fits since the first day.  It’s pretty stuck again.  Maybe it’s me.  Maybe it’s the internal rigging.  I did have it working once pretty well, but it’s acting up again.

The main and mizzen are both suffering pretty badly on the clew where it hangs out of the mast.  On the main mast furling (for those who don’t know) the clew (the bottom corner part of the head sail farthest from the mast) sticks out about 10-12 inches when the sail is rolled all the way in.  That part of this particular sail has no UV cover or protection and it’s sat for many years in the sun.

Amazingly, the sails inside are clean and pretty.  Though, could use a good washing.

The mizzen sail (again, for the non-sailors that follow us, the rear most mast on the boat) is the same way (and the mechanism is the same, only smaller).

When I talked to Jerry from the sail loft he told me I could either remove the sails and bring them down and they’d price it out for me, or someone could come to the ship and assist if necessary.  When I explained the problems with the mizzen, he said he’d probably come out personally.

At this point, I’m going to hand over the working jib, main and mizzen and not worry about the genoa.  I let it out and examined it pretty carefully again today.  I’ve had it up and down a few times and looked it over.  The only real wear is at the clew where you attach the sheets.  However, it’s nothing at all to worry about right now.

Before we head for the Bahamas (under sail we hope) we will have decent sails.

Toilets:

On the toilets.  I really like the electric head.  But, I HATE that it uses electricity.  I hate that there is a holding tank.  I hate the plumbing.  I hate when we have to use it and put anything in the tank.  We have literally no smells aboard the boat except when the tank gets something added to it.  The tanks are old (original) and are stainless steel.  Worst possible thing they could be for holding waste.  Even stainless steel “stains” around urine.  I don’t even want to think about what it will be like to remove that tank….

On Facebook in the Sailing and Cruising group, and on several of the online sailing groups, composting toilets have been discussed to death.  There are two, absolute views on them.

A) Hateful, evil, nasty

B) Loving relationships

Those who use them on their boats love them.  Those who don’t like them have either had little experience with them or none at all.  Of course, like everyone else, I’m somewhat generalizing, but this is truly what I have read from the masses online.  Of the several people we’ve met using them, and having them on a cruising boat we found that without exception they state they are 1) clean, 2) do NOT smell, 3) do not have to worry about if your Y-valve is locked or not, 4) easy to clean and care for.

Of those whom I’ve personally had discussions who didn’t like them, they have said “They stink”, “they are nasty”, “They can flip upside down” (so can your boat with a holding tank), “I wouldn’t own one”, “I’ve never used one” and various other remarks that lead one to believe they are horrible.  But, in almost ALL cases, there is no experience with them at all, or minimal.

In all, we’ve probably spent a couple of hundred hours of research, reading and talking to the various companies, and friends about this subject.  One one never imagine having to talk about poop so much.

Finally though, we decided that we’re going to replace ONE of the toilets on the boat with a composting toilet.  We’re going to go with the C-head – because it’s half the cost of the others.  But it also uses easy to find parts if something goes bad or breaks.  The truth is I could go up the hard ware store and buy a bucket, some play wood, some glass and build my own given the pictures and knowledge I have now.  I just don’t have a full service wood shop on the boat (though I have a lot of tools) I don’t relish the idea of building something and taking a couple weeks to do it and then maybe mismeasuring one thing.

So we will purchase one and install it.  If all goes well, we’ll replace the second before the time to depart in the fall.  Sometime next year I’ll have the boat hauled when we do our painting and cut out the ancient tanks, plumbing and remove those through hulls and have the hull repaired, fared and painted.  That will remove several through hulls and the associated plumbing, and a large space in the bilge will be emptied out for us.  Next year.

Electricity:

What a mess.  My house bank is really for the windlass and the bow thrusters.  Everything else in the house actually appears to run on the starter battery.  Oh. My. Wow.

I will need to get under the bed, the aft head, the bilge, and the port bulkheads to locate wires and figure out what goes where and draw schematics.  What a mess.  I want to add solar and a wind generator, but I’m not even sure where I’ll put solar panels on this boat.  No real place to do it.  The taffrail on the aft might hold them, except for the mizzen mast rigging.  The davits might hold them, IF I have something built up above them.

A wind generator can be mounted on the mizzen.  Except for the big issue of making connections to everything, needed a specialized charge controller to handle both solar and wind generator.

As much as I hate to do it, I’m going to have to find a consultant to assist me to dig through the wiring and figure this mess out.  I’m not sure this is going to be an easy thing to do anyway.  I DO know I can rewiring some things, I just don’t have a good handle on it yet.  Going to take me a few days of measuring voltages and tracing wires.

The toilet, in comparison to the electrical issues is going to be a cake wake.