The year for the boat started with leaving Subic Bay for the Holidays and a six-month cruise. We soon discovered an unsolved drain in the DC side, causing havoc with our battery storage. We replaced the last of the older batteries and after sure it was not more, added two more 8d Trojan AGM batteries for a total of 6.
We are now officially a middle-aged boat, twelve years of very hard service. We often put on more hours in a year than most do in ten. Knowing there are things with specific life expectancies I started down the list which was much more cosmetic this year, while off the boat we had the interior refinished on the top two levels. The teak and holly cabin souls were taken to bare wood and given ten coasts of a two-part varnish. The interior wood work got a couple coats of varnish.
the loyal Balmar
The loyal Balmar generator quit, again, at this age no surprise, and again I had thought of rebuilding it while still working but did not. We were in Cebu and I shipped it to Manila to be repaired, at the same time I ordered a new one. The old one came back first so I installed it and it worked great, kept the new one in storage. (Now jump way ahead to this year, the ol Balmar stopped again. I recalled that I did not really check the new one to see if it was exact, looked good but did not measure the mounts, so I dreaded taking it out of storage and having it scream “idiot” at me. Ahh praise the gods, it bolted right in and works great. Will get the old one repaired and kept as spare)
The noble leather upholstery had shown wear. Really only in color and the few spots that get heavy use. We redid the upholstery in the salon, the settee and the two “Kathy” (named after Kathy Youngblood who helped design them) barrel chairs. We also redid the pilot house seat. One area that has seen the most wear,(wink wink), the master bed, had a custom mattress. We had the mattress recovered and some foam replaced. Gotta love the Philippines, all this work done for a fraction of the cost in the USA.
We installed three large solar panels a few years ago but were never really happy with the performance. I befriended a solar wizard in Puerto Galera and learned a great deal. I had the three panels in parallel, I learned that by putting them in series I would almost double the charging over a sunny day. With the panels in series, the charge starts as soon as the combination hits 24v, which is about 0700 hours and last until that voltage is lost, about 1500 hours. The maximum charge at noon is the same but the length of positive charge is much longer. We rewired the panels and changed out the MPPT controller for a larger one, it now had to accommodate 150v.
The difference in the charge was profound so I decided if some is good more is better, and added three more panels. Now with two sets of three panels in series the charge is amazing, -- if the sun shines.
We added wind generator last year, it made more noise than electricity, so I tied it off until some solution can be found. The technicians rebuilt it with higher quality bearings and now it hums not growls. It provides some additional charge, hard to determine so I have ordered a separate volt/amp meter just for the wind gen. Sitting in Puerto Galera for a month of cloudy weather and wind it did help. The one I got was a cheapy, so now I will investigate a higher quality wind gen.
My two depth sounders failed, one completely and one mostly. I like good depth readings! We installed two new Garmin fish finders, one up and one down. They are excellent. One glitch I discovered, one bright day I decided to figure out how to dim the one in the pilot house. Shocking as it may seem I did this without the aid of the instruction manual, I am a man you know. I fiddled about and sure enough dimmed the screen so dark I could not see it, poof gone! i quickly realized I would have to wait for dark to see the screen. That evening I was able to see it clearly and brightened it up again. Now I know the sequence and can do it blindly, but this is a glitch in the otherwise perfect system.
Donna marking the chain
While at our haul out we had the bottom painted, two years and it was due. Also replaced the engine thru hull, sea cock and strainer. While out Donna did her annual painting of the chain. I have seen many elaborate chain marking schemes, color coded to the point of needed a code breaker. We simply paint a 6 foot long red mark, every 50 feet (16 meters). When we anchor I simply tell the crew the number or marks to put down, 2, 3 or as needed and we don’t need an enigma machine to calculate the chain length.
With now 8450 hours on ye ol Cummins, she is still purring like a kitten. There was one unsolved glitch; the first hour or so, especially if the boat has sat for a while, the engine RPM’s surge about 200 RPM’s up and down. This eventually goes away, usually quickly but disturbing. I thought “fuel fuel fuel” changed all the filters and no change. I found a good mechanic who took a listen and diagnosed that we had a failing transfer fuel pump. We ordered the pump, replaced it and it seems to have solved the problem. I bought a spare. I will say this is the first non-maintenance Cumming part I have had to replace, not bad.
This brings up a new point. For eight years and half way around the world, I have been blessed with top notch assistance from local Cummins representatives; Australia, Malaysia, Thailand all had established service representatives. Not so in the Philippines, I spent a month sending emails to all who claimed Cummins connections, usually no response, most worked on heavy equipment not small truck motors. One company did respond with a $2000 estimate to do an oil change!! By chance I found a German mechanic who specializes in Cummins rebuilds. This is the first time I have been disappointed in Cummins service, I hope they remedy this shortage.
Furthur ready for the next adventure
So, all solar and wind powered up and with a beautiful new interior, clear view of the depth and humming engine off we go on the next big adventure.
Make Your Dream Your Story
Capt. Brian Calvert