Well, another weekend spent working on Southern Star. And as frustrating as last weekend was, with so much started and so little completed, this weekend was much better – so many things got done!
I finished the addition of the new electrical panel to give us the upgraded circuit capacity, we now have 6 more individually switched circuits available, though I’m tying up three of them right away.
First was the “galley extension”. We installed a Dometic refrigerator that runs on both 110VAC for when we’re tied up to a dock with shore power, and also automatically switches to 12VDC when we pull away from our slip. Next to it is the “pantry”, which is several plastic storage drawers all stacked and connected together, and then permanently fixed in place. I also added a bungee cord strap to ensure the drawers stay closed under way. Can’t have all our goodies spilling all over the place when we hit a swell!
The next modification was a relatively easy one to do, but one that will benefit us tremendously every time we go out! I replaced the dagger board lift line with a brand new line that includes a pulley. Now we can raise the board using half the effort that it used to take. To do this, I lifted the top of the board clear of the hull so that I could access the line’s fastening to the top of the board. The line goes in a small hole on the top edge of the board. Then, about 2 inches down, there is a 1 inch hole cut in the side of the board that intersects with the vertical whole.
The rope was knotted in this hole and then a cap sealed it all up. I popped the cap, untied the know, removed the old line, and threaded a brand new (and slightly more colorful) line through. Putting the board back into its regular spot, I then ran the line through its normal path. But instead of coming the whole way back to its clutch, I terminated it with a pulley. I ensured that when the board is in the full up position, that the pulley is very close to clutch. I then ran a second line from a nearby cleat through the pulley and then back to through the original clutch. It gives a 50% pull advantage – you have to draw in twice as much rope, but it takes 50% less effort than it used to.
Finally, I also mostly finished up the really big project – the Raymarine EV-1 Autopilot.
The course computer is mounted down below in the cabin in the little “cubbyhole” over the starboard side rear berth. Lots of cables had to be run to it, beginning with power from its circuit on the new power panel. In addition, three lines had to be routed to the steering pedestal and fished up through a 2″ hole in the ceiling of the berth area into the base of the pedestal, and up through the myriad wires and steering cables that were already there. What fun THAT was! I also had to make some modifications to the face of the pedestal, moving the existing AM/FM radio remote control (to the port side of the pedestal), installing the new P70R control panel, adding the SportDrive motor to the steering shaft under the wheel, and then pulling a cable through the top that connects my Garmin GPS unit to the system, and sealing it all back up again. Finally, I had to install the EV-1 sensor unit with all the gyros that sense the boat’s movement on the boat’s centerline. I put it right under the stairs above the rear berths. Nicely out of the way
. It was a real thrill when I finally had all the cables run and neatly hidden wherever possible to throw the power switch and not see anything blow up or burst into flames! Even better was when I went up to the cockpit, push the “Auto” button, and then turned the knob and saw the wheel turn! Woohoo! The last step, which I haven’t gotten to yet, is the installation of a sensor that lets the computer know the current position of the rudder. That one’s a bit tricky, since it requires me to build a small shelf near the rudder control arms in the equipment area at the far aft of the cabin area where I can install the sensor and tie it into the rudder system.
In just less than two weeks is opening day. We have an appointment at a service shop near our marina early that morning to get the outboard motor serviced and made all ready for the season. Then we’ll be putting her into the water at Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes and staying on board over the weekend to get her stocked and provisioned for the season. I can’t wait to take her out on the water to test out all her new equipment! Come on, May 2nd!