CS27 Ravat Blog

Primary Winches Need a New Pad

posted Aug 19, 2012, 7:19 PM by Christopher Hubbell

Think that winch needs a tilted bed?  Yeah, me too.
I was looking at the winches today while on an absolutely amazing day sail trip, and it dawned on me that I really am going to need to put a tilted pad under these things.  That line is really not fair at all.  Although it stays in place, it's the sort of minor design flaw that just subtly eats away at me until I fix it.

Not to worry though, this will occupy a low spot on the priority list!  Still have a bunch of projects to finish first.  I'm making some headway with the holding tank mounting structure, albeit very slow.  I have obtained a new fresh water pump, but haven't picked its mounting location yet.  And I still need to install my Nicro solar vent...  Plenty to keep me busy before I go making trouble with the winches!

Instrument Networking

posted May 30, 2012, 6:48 AM by Christopher Hubbell   [ updated May 31, 2012, 5:54 AM ]

Having finally mounted the plotter, I'm now sorting through that rather thick bundle of cables hanging below my cockpit floor.  The plotter needs to interface with the DSC VHF Radio in order to provide location information and receive DSC target information.  It also needs to interface with the auto-pilot's course computer to show waypoints being steered to, and provide location information.  The catch is, my plotter only speaks "SeaTalk NG", and NMEA.  No plain old "SeaTalk" is available, and that is what my ST60+ instruments need.

Blue Sea Systems 4-post terminal strip.The result of this is that I need to wire an NMEA interface between the plotter and both the VFH radio, and autopilot.  For each NMEA connection there is a pair (positive and negative) of wires for a talker (sending) channel and a receiver (listening) channel.  That means a bi-directional NMEA interface uses 4 conductors.  I've chosen to use two 16/2 wires per channel.  These will be terminated on a 4-post terminal strip on each end.  I'll use an additional strip for the power and ground terminations as well.

The next thing I needed to do was start drawing pictures.  Any time I add an electronic device to the boat, or install something marginally complicated I begin with a drawing.  Nothing else seems to help me plan to the degree necessary, and nothing else will help me in six months if I need to troubleshoot.  Documenting your boat's systems is a key form of seamanship, and a key method of making deposits in Vigor's Black Box.

The final Instrument Network drawing is posted in PDF form in the Files section of this web site, and will hopefully be useful in the even that someone else needs a starting point for their own instrument network plan.

I'll install the link with the VHF radio first since that will enable a key safety feature.  I haven't locked in the final mounting location for the course computer, so I am not ready to set up the NMEA interface there yet.  Hopefully soon, as I am very anxious to see it in action.

The Chart Plotter Is Mounted!

posted May 29, 2012, 7:03 PM by Christopher Hubbell   [ updated Jun 21, 2012, 2:16 PM ]

The newly installed chart plotter - Raymarine A70d
Now this one is really exciting for me.  I've had the angled pedestal guard installed for a year now in anticipation of this day!  Last year I build a NavPod out of plywood and epoxy with the intention of mounting my ST6002 control head right next to the plotter.  This is a very functional location, but all along I was not sold on the aesthetics.  While I think they look cool on other boats, I just don't think my cockpit was designed to have a NavPod look good in it.

At the last second I ignored all my prior effort and simply made a mounting plate for the Chart Plotter using 1/4" marine lumber (Star Board).  It bolts to the pedestal guard in each corner and the center is cut out to allow the plotter to flush mount.  The wires are then run into a hole in the guard tube which ate up more drill bits than I can keep track of.  It was not a pleasant installation activity at all.

So now I have the 12 wires for the plotter hanging under the cockpit.  Given the length of that cable, it's not going to be possible to put them in a convenient location.  The plan is to mount terminal strips down there and terminate the wires there, then hook up the back-feeds into the various NMEA targets, the accessory power distribution, ship's ground, etc.  

After a bit of research, I discovered that the highest recommendation for NMEA wire is the 20AWG/8 conductor signal cable.  I'm sure it's very nice, but I only need 4 conductors going to each NMEA target, and the AutoPilot Course Computer is on a different side of the boat than the VHF radio.  So, I'm not excited about paying for 50% more conductors per foot than needed.  I believe that option #2 is to use a few runs of 16AWG/2 conductor per target.  If I get a little interference due to the lack of shielding over that small distance I'll live with it.

So, next step is to pick up a few terminal strips and see if can get the plotter to talk to the VHF.  Going to be some unpleasant boat yoga involved in that installation, but it will be extremely cool to see that plotter finally working.  Not necessary at all, but extremely cool.

Installing the CO2 Detector

posted May 29, 2012, 6:52 PM by Christopher Hubbell   [ updated May 29, 2012, 6:53 PM ]

Having finally re-installed all of the panels I had a place to mount the C02 Detector.  After toying with a large number of options I finally arrived at a position just forward of the wet locker along the hull.  It meets all the criteria outlined in the manual for an ideal location, and it had an easy wire to fish into the wet locker for routing to the main cabin lighting power bus.  It installed very easily, and all I have left to do is hook up the wire.  I'm trying to get a number of electronic devices mounted so I can hit them all up in a wiring binge rather than pull the access panels multiple times.

The Cabin is Back Together!

posted May 29, 2012, 6:48 PM by Christopher Hubbell

I seriously underestimated how difficult it would be to put the cabin back together.  It wasn't all that bad removing it, and refinishing the wood was easy.  But it just didn't go back in exactly the way it came out, and slight shifts here and there amounted to a lot of finessing.  The hardest part of all was re-installing the teak grab rails which hold the cabin trunk trim in place.

I'm not convinced that I like this part of the CS27 design.  First off, the screws penetrate a cored section of the cabin trunk.  Like all other parts of the CS27, these holes were not properly potted or countersunk at the factory, and with six bolts per side they make up a huge leak and damage potential.  Second, anything that is through-bolted is really supposed to have backing plates.  There really isn't a good way to put backing plates on the outside of the cabin trunk and still have it look good.  Do I have a better answer?  No, not yet.

Getting past the design issues, the challenge turned out to be that the amount of flex required in those gab rails is a lot, and the force necessary to make that flex is also significant.  As a result, it's extremely difficult to thread the screws into the bolts given the tiny amount of clearance involved.  I ended up having to bring down screws which were 1/2" longer than the originals.  These were used to apply the initial tension and flex to the grab rail.  I then replaced them one at a time with the original bolts that are short enough to recess behind the teak bungs.

Pictures to follow - lately I've been out there evenings and the photography isn't very good once the light fades.

Marching Towards the Launch...

posted Apr 16, 2012, 6:35 AM by Christopher Hubbell

Had a great day on Sunday de-funking the decks.  That winter sludge is some nasty and persistent stuff.  A day of scrubbing is required to bring her back to life.  I'm about 90% satisfied with the deck, although I still have a few areas where gel coat porosity makes funk removal stubborn.  The good news is, I removed enough that I was able to wash the hull without fear of deck wash bringing new filth to the clean topsides.

I noticed that I need to rub out a few abrasions on the port side where my fenders rubbed some gunk into the paint.  That should only take an hour or so.  I also have to take a bit more aggressive matters to get the black streaks off.  Then I'm ready to put the AwlCare in, which is a pleasure compared to traditional wax.

Duncan was a great help as always and had a blast rinsing the hull as I washed each section.  If luck favors me this week I'll be able to get out two nights after dinner and finish up the polishing.  Then all that's left on the critical list is de-winterizing the engine.

120V AC Outlets. Still?

posted Apr 8, 2012, 6:23 PM by Christopher Hubbell

Yes, I'm still working on them.  The real problem for me is that the original box outlets didn't have a monster honking GFCI in them before, and that monster honking GFCI takes up a TON of space.  I couldn't event get the ground wire in place with a heat shrink terminal as it stuck out in a direction that wouldn't fit into the box.  I finished up the outlet in the V-berth, and eventually got the GFCI more or less in place.  I just need to tie in the grounds to the box and it will be done.  Then, I'll just need to finish up the wet locker outlet.  Very, slow, going!

The good news, however, is that I managed to get all my new halyards reeved.  I have to say, they look really nice.  The StaSet-X is definitely stiffer than the Sta-Set, but given how little I handle a halyard vs. a sheet, I don't see where it will be a problem.  I think all the talk about StaSet-X being unfriendly to handle might be awfully nit-picky.

I'm continuing to work on reassembling the shelves for the starboard outboard cabinet.  I had reassembled it, but inadvertently left the long shelf out, and the wine holder had broken way back and not been repaired.  I now have the shelf back in place, and have made a template for the wine holder.  Once I'm sure of the fit I'll cut a new one from some of my leftover teak plywood.  That stuff is so expensive I'll be measuring 10 times and cutting once.

The salon table's varnish work is coming out stunning.  It is doing exactly what I wanted and filling the pores to seal the wood.  I think the prior owners of the boat used teak cleaner one too many times, leaving the pores really eroded.   Although the going is extremely slow, after around 6 coats the surface gets to be a very smooth sheet of glass that won't let water do any further damage.  I don't plan to use varnish everywhere, but the table needed some kind of preservation or it wasn't going to look good much longer.  One sweaty glass of ice water set in the wrong spot would have been permanent damage.

I'm very anxious to get the table project finished because it has taken over my workshop, and the fumes from each coat really stink up the house.  My wife is being very patient with me, but I know it's driving her nuts.  And finally, there's just enough parts when you take the whole thing apart...  To make me wonder if I'll be able to get it back together the right way!

120V AC Outlets - More Delays

posted Apr 5, 2012, 7:00 AM by Christopher Hubbell

I have small pockets of time I can spend getting things done out at the Yard, and last weekend was no exception.  My plan was to get the AC 120V outlets wired up.  Not really critical to launch, but fairly easy and the aesthetics of closing up the box holes in the cabin would please me.

The first thing I did was to take a terminal screw out of the GFCI to check to see if it was a #10 or #8 terminal.  After determining that it was most definitely a #8 screw I set about crimping three #8 terminals onto the line side wire.  And then came the frustration.  I tried and tried to get the screws back into the GFCI, but couldn't do it.

It turned out that there is very little clearance for re-engaging the screw in the GFCI, and the heat shrink tubing ate up about 1/16", which was just enough to keep the threads from hitting the plate.  It looks like I have two options:  [1] Obtain longer screws for the GFCI, which will most likely risk causing other problems.  [2] Use fork terminals.

If I'd done this before or had properly researched the task I would have realized that the screws really aren't meant to come out of the outlets.  They are meant to be captive.  With that in mind, I realized I'd need to obtain a package of #8 fork terminals for 12-14AWG stranded wire.  Unfortunately, that means a trip to West Marine, and that would have eaten up about 50% of my remaining work time.  So, no luck on finishing that project.

I'm going to try to pick up the terminals this week so I'll be ready for a weekend installation.  Hopefully the second time will be a charm.

AC Mains are Live, Charger Works!

posted Mar 25, 2012, 5:48 PM by Christopher Hubbell

I had a very productive afternoon completing the wiring for the battery charger. I actually never needed it last year since I have a 20 minute round-trip cruise under power from the slip to the end of the channel. 40 minutes of 25amp alternator time has always completely recharged my banks. Despite this, I was anxious to get this part of the boat wired so that it was there if I need it.

I tied in the charger's chassis ground to the main ground bus, then ran all the wire for the AC outlet circuit. The original CS27 AC system was solid core 14/2 wire. This breaks a few rules. I picked up enough wire to replace it all from GenuineDealz.comusing 14/3 stranded boat wire. Next trip out I need to bring a GFCI and a two regular outlets to finish the job.

After running the wire I rigged the shore power cable up and connected it. I was a bit nervous as I flipped the AC Main on, but no problems occurred. Next I flipped on the charger circuit, and in a moment I saw my Victron Energy Battery Monitor indicate a charging current so I know everything was working. I left it to charge overnight, and will take it off tomorrow evening when it has had a nice 24 hours on float charge.

Although it is a bit of a diversion from my critical path, I brought home the folding salon table to refinish.  I've been dying to do that for a long time, and I decided it would be a nice thing to putter at in the evenings when I can't make it out to the boat yard.

This week should bring the delivery of my new running rigging, which I'm very excited about...  This season's progress and projects are going to be very exciting.  Especially the detail about not having any major structural work to delay getting on the water!

2012 Countdown Begins

posted Mar 18, 2012, 5:44 PM by Christopher Hubbell   [ updated Mar 26, 2012, 7:26 AM ]

I just set the timer - the 2012 launch goal is April 30, 2012.  I'm feeling pretty good about making that date since the boat is mostly ready.  She's already uncovered, and everything is in good shape from the winter.  At this point I'm in the process of replacing some running rigging.  I need to get my sails back from the loft from winter repairs, and I need to recommission the engine.  At that point I'm ready.  Bring on the early season - I'm not spending any wasted weekends in the cradle this year!

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