Sunday, February 20, 2011

Odd jobs aboard Lucey Blue

In between the major tasks on our ‘to do’ list were a couple of odd jobs including replacing the bathroom mirrors and shower taps, and fabricating new sliding hatch shades. We also decided to upgrade the interior lighting as a number of the old cabin lights were broken or on their last legs.

The bathroom mirrors had started to delaminate where they had been glued to the cupboards. We simply ripped off the old mirrors, bought the new plastic mirrors from a supplier in Canberra and stuck it all back together with non-reacting glue.

The old bathroom taps were clunky, leaking and it was difficult to control the water flow rate so we wasted a lot of water. We ordered new combined shower/tap fittings from Penguin Engineering in the UK. The new low flow taps are great and the flick toggle ensures we no longer waste water when showering. They also have retracting shower hoses so they take up less bench space and the bathrooms look much tidier.

A number of the blown PVC plastic sliding shades in the hatch wells throughout the boat were cracked or in various states of disrepair. Nick removed all the headliners and replaced the old sliding shades. The new shades really look great – amazing how such a simple change can make such a big visual improvement.

After some consideration we decided to opt for LED overhead cabin lights and Aqua Signal Portofino halogen reading lights. The halogen lights may draw more power than LED, but they are bright and excellent for reading.

While Nick worked, Ryan spent his time drawing, reading and generally helping out when required.

Despite all the fun Ryan still really looked forward to his evening call to Mum!!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lagoon 42 TPI Owner's Manual

Shortly after we purchased Lucey Blue in December 2009, we went in search of the holy grail....a copy of the Lagoon 42 TPI Owner's Manual!

After Google-ing, Yahoo-ing and even contacting Lagoon in France and TPI in Rhode Island, Nick resorted to pleas on various forums such as Multihulls4us, Cruisers Forum and the Lagoon Catamaran Owners Group on Yahoo.

Graham, on Vinga III (in the Caribbean) answered one of these pleas and very generously made us a photocopy of his 89 page Owner's Manual and sent it to us in Australia.

Nick spent a couple of fun-filled hours scanning in this document today and we have uploaded it to Google documents, so that the other approximately 50 Lagoon 42 TPI owners (or prospective purchasers) can easily have access to it.

Check it out here:
Lagoon 42 TPI Owner's Manual

A huge thank you goes to Graham. We really appreciate your help, and hope to meet you some day!

PS. Having gone to these lengths to obtain this document, we then met Ian (of Skipper's Daughters - another Lagoon 42 TPI located in the UK) last weekend...who, of course, informed us he also had a copy of this 'scarce as hen's teeth' document. Isn't it always the way?!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sail repairs and Harken Battcar maintenance……

Lucey Blue has sailed a long way in her time and while the last set of sails were new in 2005-2006 it was clear we needed to do some routine maintenance. A good friend of mine Ben Gemmell dropped by to help remove the mainsail and blade jib.

The full battened main is enormous and it took forever to extract it from the reefing lines, lazy jacks and Harken batten cars etc, however, I have known Ben since school and capsized/broken more 12 foot skiffs than I care to remember, so the job was fun.

With the main out of the way I took the time to inspect the rest of the sail-related hardware. The Harken Battcar system is really well made, but after 19 years of use and many tens of thousands of sea miles later the aluminium toggles that connect the fibreglass battens to the Battcars needed to be replaced. The guys at Harken Australia were really helpful and managed to obtain the correct spares for the Battcars within a week– at $25 Australian per toggle the repair bill was much smaller than I had expected.

After a few repairs at Ben’s sail loft and with refurbished Harken Battcars it was time to reinstall our working sails. Everyone helped out and after much fiddling around pushing the 18+ foot battens back into their batten pockets, the job was done!!!

To celebrate another job complete Sam gave the saloon cabin a festive feel with her new tea-lights and we sat down to a well-earned dinner.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mastervolt Alpha Pro smart regulator

A while back we upgraded our 12 volt electrical charging system on board Lucey Blue by installing a Mastervolt Alpha Pro smart regulator and replacing the diode block used to isolate the house battery bank and starter batteries with a voltage sensitive relay.

The Mastervolt Alpha Pro smart regulator automatically adjusts the alternator voltage to maximise the current during the three phase charging cycle, thus reducing the recharge time significantly.

With the new smart regulator electrical setup our 115 amp alternator on the starboard Volvo Penta D2-55 diesel engine pumps out between 90-70 amps during the bulk recharge stage - the old system with blocking diode and normal regular used to average about 20-30 amps.

Until we get the solar panels installed we will still be careful with our power usage. But the Trojan T105 house batteries are “much happier” now and with a bit of luck the next set should last a lot longer.......

Spectra Ventura 150 watermaker – Overhaul and repairs

After a long period of “relative inaction” it was time to overhaul our Spectra Ventura 150 watermaker. The system was installed new in 2005 and has only done about 500 hours, however, it had been left unused for about six months and we were not sure if the reverse osmosis membrane would still be ok.

At the design specifications the Spectra Ventura 150 should produce about 24 litres (6.3 gallons) of fresh water per hour. The system is incredibly efficient and relatively easy to maintain - especially if you run it regularly and let the Spectra MPC-3000 automatic controller do its thing.

The first step in our overhaul was to replace the 20 micron and 5 micron dual pre-filters and the active carbon cartridge. We also replaced the fresh water solenoid and pressure gauge as both were not functional. The old pre-filters were in really bad shape – being full of salt water ensured a nice “black colour” and a stale sulphur smelling residue.

The next step was to cross our fingers, switch on the watermaker and hope that the reverse osmosis membrane was still ok…..

Amazingly the system came back to life no problems and soon we were making “sweet” fresh water from Sydney Harbour (although we are currently dumping that over the side, because I refuse to drink Sydney Harbour matter how much osmosis it has undergone ;-). The Spectra Ventura 150 even performed at near full capacity – we average 5.9 to 6 gallons of fresh water per hour with the system operating at an internal pressure of about 63 psi and drawing on average 9 amps.

Despite the online horror stories you read about watermakers they can be brought back to life. But I don’t think we will be so blase with such an expensive piece of equipment again.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Our newest crew member has arrived...

His name is Eric and we think he is pretty cute!

Fresh out of the oven, weighing in at 4020 g and 53 cm long...

Just four days old...

Big yawn...

Two weeks old...

First trip to Sydney to visit Lucey Blue...

The lovely staff at d'Albora Marina, The Spit (where we rent our swing mooring) found us a marina berth for a few nights...which made Eric's introduction to Lucey Blue a much smoother process!

...they also provide comfy makeshift strollers...just in case ;-).