My Boat Projects
Last updated: Man-O-War, 12 Jul 2014 Contact:
  1. - with two 130W recessed solar panels
  2. - a 9' strip planked sailing dinghy
  3. - replacing an old Yanmar 3HM35F with a new Yanmar 3JH5E
  4. - replacing an old Adler Barbour Cold Machine
  5. - a 10' nesting stitch & glue
  6. ...

 Hardtop Bimini Project
Máncora, 1 Dec 2008
My first retirement project was a hardtop bimini for Breakaway.  It took a lot longer than I expected but I think it came out OK.  There are two Kyocera KC130TM 130 watt solar panels recessed into it.  They were the best fit in the available space, each measuring 56.1" × 25.7" × 2.3".  I think they are pretty close to a perfect fit.  The 2.3" depth includes the terminal box.  The depth of just the panel is about 1½".  I've connected them to my batteries using heavy, marine grade 8-gauge copper wire and what appears to be an efficient Blue Sky 2512iX controller.  I mounted the controller against the hull (on plywood securely epoxied to the hull) just aft of the battery charger, as close to the batteries as possible.
Here are some photos:
(Click on image to enlarge)
The little holes in the corners are for drainage. I made them by building the "grooves" into the sides first, fiberglassing inside the groove, then glassing a "ceiling" over the groove (in the last couple layers of fiberglass).  The curved sections were built up of ⅛" bending plywood laminated over a form, then set in place over temporary supports.  Once I had the 4 sides and middle divider fitted in place, I started applying alternating layers of fiberglass cloth and 18oz biaxial roving until the lip supporting the solar panels was about ¼" thick.  In hindsight, I would have used foam in the curved sections instead of plywood, to reduce the weight a little.
As you can see in the photo below on the right, the bottoms of the solar panels are open.  This should keep them a little cooler and help the efficiency.
(Click on image to enlarge)

Man-O-War Cay, 25 Feb 2015
I built the hardtop bimini in 2007, before I started documenting my projects.  So unfortunately, I don't have any photos from the construction.  I will try to describe it though.
When I started, my plan was to build a "female mold" in the shape I wanted (top and bottom so two molds), then laminate fiberglass material into the mold (building it up layer by layer of glass+resin).
I soon realized 2 things -
  1. the marina where I was staying at the time probably would become upset with me taking up space at the dock to do such a construction, and
  2. I would have to get a lot of details and dimensions right in the forms in order for the final construction to fit right.
I then switched to simply building it a piece at a time in place, starting with the core pieces. Most of the core pieces were fir lumber shaped from common building lumber (2x4's and 1x2's).  I made the large quarter round pieces along the sides from 1/8" "bending plywood", bent over a simple plywood form on the dock and then fit each into place (cutting and shaping to fit).
As each piece was fit into place, I secured it to the overall assembly using small bits of glass cloth and resin - just enough to hold it as I went along.  When everything was in place and shaped, I started applying layers of cloth and resin so that there are several layers of cloth in what I felt were the most stressful sections.  I found that 18oz. biaxial cloth with the epoxy resin was a very quick way to build up the lip that the panels rest on.  That lip was formed over a simple form in order to get the surfaces flat.
To finish up, I used quite a bit of thickened epoxy (using West System's "colloidal silica").  After lots of shaping and sanding, I had the boat yard here paint it with 3 coats of Awlgrip.  It looks as nice today as the day they painted it.
 Dinghy Project - Plan
Máncora, 1 Dec 2008
My next retirement project (after I return from Ecuador) is to build a dinghy.  I want to do this in the Abacos, the northernmost islands in the Bahamas.  The Abacos have a long tradition of boat building, including the Abaco Dinghy.  There was a very pretty Winer Malone-built Abaco Dinghy at the boatyard for a while this summer.  The dinghy I plan to build is not going to have those lovely traditional lines, but it should be a lot more convenient for cruising on a small sailboat (much lighter, can be stored on deck, towable).
The dinghy I want to build is from these plans.  It uses the strip-plank construction method.  First, a form or mould is constructed from plywood and 2x4s.  Then 1/4" thick strips of wood are glued edge-to-edge over the mould.  When all the strips are glued together, the bottom is sanded and finished "clear" with a layer of fiberglass cloth (overlapped below the waterline).  Then the form is removed and the inside is sanded and finished clear with a layer of fiberglass cloth.  It looks like this under construction and should look something like the photos below when completed.  I built a 16' Redwood strip-plank canoe when I was in high school.  It was indestructible.
I'm planning to use Spanish Cedar instead of Western Red Cedar (which is what most people use).  I had hoped to use Redwood but apparently it is no longer available.  Spanish Cedar is a little heavier but it should look really nice when done.
Here is how it should fit ondeck on Breakaway..
Here is the dinghy itself (Photoshopped from the lines on

Here using a centerboard

I prefer a daggerboard to avoid a centerboard trunk inside the boat. I don't know how effective
my little kick-up trick would be though.
Looks good on paper..   Well, I can use a
normal board and experiment with this later.

I can't decide between the two versions above.

A fairly round bottom - she will be a little tender.

Here are some photos from one of the builder's letters from that website..
I like the way he did his seats.

This one has been Photoshopped from
the original (shown on the left).
I plan to make the transom a little curved
and rework the seats a bit.
I started to work on the dinghy in August.  I assembled the 2x4s for the strongback and jigsawed the station bulkheads out of 1/2" plywood.  (As they suggest here) I cut and fastened a narrow strip of 1/2" plywood around the edge of each so that I only need to use C-clamps to hold the strips together until the glue sets.  That way I can avoid the little marks left from having to drive staples into the strips to hold them in place.  That took me a couple days, sweating like a proverbial pig.  For whatever reason (age, condition?) I wasn't getting used to the heat.  It wasn't fun.  I had been planning to make the trip to Ecuador and Peru after the dinghy.  Instead, I put the dinghy project aside and set off for Ecuador.  It'll be there when I get back.  As I write this from northern Peru, I'm looking forward to it.
Man-O-War Cay, 19 Mar 2009
I've added the construction page here.
 Boat Cards
Cuenca, 20 Jan 2009
I made up some boat cards in Photoshop and had them printed out on some nice textured business card stock at a little shop a couple blocks from the apartment.
I'm "recycling" some images
that I found on the web.
I edited them quite a bit
(and feel I've passed the
threshold of "fair use").
Man-O-War, 20 Aug 2011
The Problem
The original engine, a Yanmar 3HM35F, has been having some problems lately.  While the base engine and oilpan still seem to be in good condition (it "sounds like a sewing machine" and does run very smoothly), recently I've had
the following problems ...
  • [currently] The engine coolant seems to drop after I run the engine. 
    The instrument panel plate is kind of old and crumbling on the corners. 
    The exhaust hose from the muffler to the thru-hull is at end-of-life and needs to be replaced.
  • [0 engine hours ago] The shaft holding the water coolant pump pulley sheared off.  I'm pretty sure the belt was properly tensioned (and it was in fine shape -not showing any signs of shredding or anything- when it happened).
  • [about 2 engine hours ago] There was a transmission leak that came on suddenly and then went away.
  • [about 8 engine hours ago] The high pressure oil line that straddles the engine developed a pin-hole leak.  It is amazing how quickly the oil leaks out under pressure.  I noticed it as soon as it started so the oil level never got too low.  The leak turned out to be up behind the starter and was just producing a fine mist back in that general area.  We had to pull out the engine to find it.  Argh.
  • [about 10 engine hours ago] The raw water entry to the exhaust mixing elbow was clogged up.  It was easy to clear using Muriatic Acid but it's been only about 40 engine hours since being installed.  It was fabricated in Ft. Lauderdale and I'm now not too keen about how it was done.
    The raw water enters the mixing elbow via a long length of smallish inside diameter pipe with two 90° elbows in it.  Also, the pipe tilts such that when the engine stops, I'm guessing the raw water in it will lie there evaporating (quickly due to the heat), leaving the salt deposited in the pipe.  Argh.  What a bad design.   
    The current exhaust mixing elbow, fabricated and
    installed about 50 engine hours ago
    I don't like the idea of having to clear it so often -every 40 hours is absolutely unusable- especially if it needed it on a passage or someplace where I didn't have acid handy.  Other options are modifying the current one (say, cutting off one elbow and half the pipe) or having a new one fabricated.  All exhaust elbows will eventually clog up.  But a couple thousand engine hours is more reasonable.  The good thing is that it occurred here and now where it was easy to sort out (credit goes to Darren, the Edwin's #2 boat yard manager).
  • [about 50 engine hours ago] The exhaust mixing elbow was cracked (at normal end-of-life).  The local Ft. Lauderdale Yanmar distributor didn't have have anything similar looking in his catalog so the mechanic I had at the time fabricated one from "black pipe".  This part had a problem at 10 engine hours ago (see item above).
  • [about 50 engine hours ago] The Vetus muffler exhibited a small leak where it had been rubbing against the fiberglass of the engine compartment.  It was pretty easily fixed.  But I wonder about a 25-year old plastic part that has been heated up fairly often.

The net of it is that I don't feel as confident in the engine as I used to.  I have aspirations of going out cruising again and the thought of having to sail into a strange, squirelly inlet with a broken engine is worrisome.  When the water pump broke recently, I sailed back into Man-O-War harbour and picked up a mooring single handed and felt pretty proud of that.  I swear the inlet was half as wide as normal - juuust squeezing through :-).  But, if I had my druthers, I'd rather avoid that sort of drama.  Then there would also be the hassle and expense of bringing those parts into an out-of-the-way place.
The Options
I'd like to start with a fresh slate and repower here on Man-O-War where it's fairly convenient.  Unfortunately Yanmar no longer makes an engine of the same HP and weight/size as the 3HM35F.  Here are the vital statistics on the old engine and current models:
Model Nominal HP Max rated HP Continuous rated HPHP/Torque at 80% RPM* Displacement Weight Size
LxWxH (in)
Transmission Reduction Ratio (forward/astern)
3YM30 3030 hp at 3600 rpm 27.3 hp at 3489 rpm28 hp / 50 lb-ft at 2790 rpm68 cu in 271 lbs28.2 x 18.2 x 21.52.21/3.06
3HM35F3534 hp at 3400 rpm 30 hp at 3200 rpm 27 hp / 53 lb-ft at 2560 rpm78 cu in 368 lbs31.1 x 18.7 x 25.12.14/
3JH5E 4038.5 hp at 3000 rpm35 mhp at 2907 rpm 37 hp / 80 lb-ft at 2320 rpm100 cu in381 lbs30.3 x 20.4 x 24.52.36/3.16

Below are the power, torque and fuel usage curves for the 3HM35F, 3YM30 and 3JH5E.  I've plotted the point on the curve for each engine at 80% of peak RPM for that engine* (the red dots).  The (I think, popular) notion is that this is an ideal operating point for each - not over stressing the engine, having some power in reserve, while running it high enough to avoid carbon buildup.  Where it applies, I assume an optimum sized propeller for that engine and RPM setting.  I assume I will need to modify my existing prop. 
  Here are the power curves.  It is interesting to see how the current generation engines -the 3JH5E and 3YM30- are able to maintain their power at the lower RPMs compared with the 3HM35F.  I assume it's the difference between the latest technology and 25+ year old technology.  
(Click on image to enlarge)
The torque characteristics have changed dramaticly since the 3HM35F - both the shape of the curves and the magnitude.  The 3JH5E is billed as "producing 25% more torque than the model it replaces [which?] from less than 10% increased displacement".  I wonder if that has been a focus for this JH family of engines?
(Click on image to enlarge)
The fuel consumption curves are pretty "normal" looking.  If I run the new 3JH5E at the same "80% of peak RPM" load* (the red dots), the fuel usage should be similar to the existing 3HM35F* - ie. their red dots are pretty close to the same Fuel Consumption on the y-axis in the plot.  At that operating point (where remember, the fuel usage is the same) the 3JH5E's RPM will be  
(Click on image to enlarge)
about 10% lower (so hopefully a bit quieter), engine power will be about 35% higher and torque will be about 50% higher.  Sweet.  When I apply the difference in the transmission reduction ratios, the prop will be turning about 20% slower at that operating point:
Model RPM at
rated HP
of that
Reduction Ratio
3HM35F32002560 2.141196 985/1196=0.82
or 82%
3JH5E 29072326 2.36985
I assume we will be able to re-pitch the existing prop to accomodate that.  TBD.
Also, the 3JH5E appears to have other sound-reducing features - a "modified intake silencer" (vs the 3JH4E), claimed vibration reduction and a cover over the V-belt.  It is claimed to have a 5 decibel reduction in noise over the 3JH4E.  A bit about noise.
* -  I'm starting with the "Continuous RPM" rating of each engine for comparison - 3490 for the 3YM30, 3200 for the 3HM35F and 2907 for the 3JH5E.  Then taking 80% of those.
* -  I used to run the 3HM35F around 2400 RPM.  At that speed, I figured I was using about 5/8 gallon per hour (by measuring it a couple times).  That looks pretty close to the graph.

14 Sep 2011
Here are front and side views comparing the engines (3HM35F in red, 3JH5E in blue).  The 3JH5E is shown with the KM35A transmission (with the 7 degree tilt).  I couldn't find a schematic for the straight transmission.  I've aligned the front motor mounts.
The 3JH5E (in blue) appears to be a little wider and shorter
than the 3HM35F (red).  Pretty good deal for the extra power.
The front motor mounts of the 3JH5E are about 3/4" more widely spaced.
In my boat, the rear motor mounts are on a special bracket bolted onto the transmission
and will probably need some custom installation work on the new engine anyway.
I found this photo online of a 1998 Crealock 34 powered with a 3JH2E.  It looks like that is a 2" exhaust, where the 3JH5E has a (very chunky, but requiring the replacement of everything back to and through the exhaust thru-hull) 3" exhaust.  Anyway, it got me thinking about getting a dripless seal for the propeller shaft and the "high riser" option on the exhaust elbow.  
(Click on image to enlarge)
18 Sep 2011
  I haven't been able to get a handle on prop size yet.  The current prop appears to be 16" diameter centered in a 22¾" opening.  I'd like to reuse the existing prop, modifying the pitch as necessary.  I am told (by Thumper at Pacific Seacraft) that the latest model PS34 used a 17RH8 prop on what I believe was a 3JF4E engine.  I'll have the local prop shop and Yanmar make their recommendations after I've had a chance to determine the current pitch.
Here is a plot of Boat Speed vs HP that I compiled from this simple tool.  The tool recommended a prop diameter of 17.9" with a pitch of 10.9".
I'll make some RPM vs Boat Speed measurements for the new engine and my existing prop (and then with any modifications to the prop) and will post the plots here at that time.

I'll be placing the order for a 3JH5E this week.  Steve Brodie at Pacific Seacraft recommends it and it looks like a good fit.  I started out this section saying Yanmar doesn't make an engine of the same HP and weight/size as the 3HM35F.  The 3JH5E appears to be very close, and generally improves on it.
I'm having Edwin's Boat Yard, a Yanmar Dealer, do the work.  I'm seriously looking forward to seeing an engine hour meter with 0 hours on it :-).  And starting a careful maintenance log for it.

Exhaust thru-hull
22 Sep 2011
  The 3HM35F uses a 2" exhaust.  The existing exhaust thru-hull looks like this.  I like the way it directs the exhaust water away from the hull.
The 3JH5E uses a 3" exhaust so I need to replace the existing one. 
  I was hoping to find one similar to this Buck Algonquin bronze transom thru-hull, but with a threaded NPS end to join to a seacock.  As you can see, this has a hose connection ----->

Here is a printout of the Groco 3" inline ball valve (to scale)
  taped to some cardboard to see how it might fit.  It is inserted into a Trident 3" silicon elbow, next to the Buck Algonquin thru-hull.  It doesn't fit very well in the aft compartment [see Oct 3rd update below].

  OK.  Plan B is to use a Groco seacock and one of their bronze FTH thru-hulls with the mitered edge that (hopefully) will direct the exhaust water away from the hull.  Here are the relevent sections from their 2011 catalog.

A substantial hunk of metal -
weighing in at 34 lbs!
(Click on image to enlarge)

3 Oct 2011
  Here are the Groco inline ball valve (on the left) and seacock (on the right) scale-drawings-taped-to-cardboard placed in the aft compartment where the exhaust thru-hull is located.
The seacock is much more expensive than the inline ball valve ($575 compared with $300) but has a stainless steel ball compared with a chrome plated brass ball and has what looks to be a much better handle.  Also, I'd have wanted to secure the inline ball valve to the bulkhead (say with a couple stainless steel straps to a block epoxied and bolted to the bulkhead).  A seacock avoids all that mess.

(Click on image to enlarge)
Looks like a tight fit.  The thru-hull would have to be relocated from it's old location.  The handle looks like it would be kind of hard to reach in use.  The bend in the exhaust hose (where it comes in from the top) would have to be pretty sharp.

(Click on image to enlarge)
Looks like a better fit.  The thru-hull lines up with the old opening.  And the handle should be a little easier to get to.  The bend in the exhaust hose is much better.  Notice how large the new thru-hull is compared with the old one (you can see the threads for the new one on
the printout).  The old thru-hull was 1½".  The existing 3HM35F installation had the exhaust reduced from 2" at the output of the mixing elbow to a 1½" input to the Vetus waterlock muffler.  So much for exhaust back pressure.  It was producing completely clear exhaust fumes.

New engine unboxing
24 Feb 2012
The new engine has arrived on Man-O-War.  Here is my unboxing video.
A couple pleasant surprises ...
First of all, it's nice to see the builtin electric fuel pump.  I've been using a large (truck size) electric pump that can be found in an auto parts store.  Bleeding the lines was a snap with it.
Then, there's the much larger (than on the 3HM35F I'm replacing) fuel filter and additional water separator.  I like that the drain nut on the water separator *looks* durable - the one on the Racor filter I have is fairly horrible.  Also, very nice is that the fuel filter and water separator are located at the front of the  
Large, accessible fuel filter
Separate water separator
engine so easy to get to.  What I don't like is that the water separator bowl is not clear (like on the Racor).
Next, I like that the transmission dipstick is easy to remove by hand.  On the old engine, this required a wrench.
The air intake is much sturdier looking than the flimsy thing on the old engine.  Darren says it reduces the sound level of the engine a lot.  Nice.
The Operation Manual talks about cleaning the air filter that's inside but I don't see how it's possible to open it up.

The raw water pump is now facing outward and it looks much easier to get to the impeller.  It is also gear driven, not belt driven - eliminating that V-belt.
And it may be a small thing, but finding the oil dipstick hole was a real nuisance on the old engine.  This one looks much easier to find.
A couple questionable things ...
Having to remove the belt cover each time to check belt tension would get
old, fast.
The oil filter on the old engine was, I think, easier to get to.  On the new engine, it is mounted directly behind the motor mount.

Man-O-War, 17 Apr 2012
Here are some photos from the start of the installation.
Darren uses the crane to put it onboard.
Darren used the crane to lower it onto these blocks in the cockpit.  Then we used a hoist and come-along to lower it into the engine compartment.  He removed the air cleaner, exhaust elbow and shifter bracket.  We were then able to fairly easily lower it into the hold by tilting the transmission end down.  Having lift rings on this engine is wonderful.  The old engine had none and it was necessary to rig straps around the fore and aft to take it out or put it back.  Tilting it to maneuver into the engine compartment was pretty hard.
Resting over the top of the cockpit access
panel to the engine compartment.
We then raised and lowered it a number of times, checking the fit and reshaping parts of the engine pan.  The engine mounts and overall size of the new engine are pretty close to the old one, but the oil pan and transmission housing are a little bigger.  We had to trim the engine pan around it some to allow it to fit.  And it looks like it will be best to mount this engine a couple inches further forward than the old one - necessitating a new, longer propeller shaft.  As I am having a new dripless fitting installed now, it will be good to have a new shaft for that to fit to
Lowered into the engine compartment.
- some compensation I suppose.  Having a couple more inches in that space will be welcome too.
Snapshot from the front.  It's a little shorter
and wider than the old one.  Barely discernable.
Another from the top.

Installation, continued
Man-O-War, 1 Mar 2013
Well, I went sailing for a couple months aboard Panope, got back to MOW and it was too darn hot to do anything.  I was in no hurry.  But, we're getting back to it..
Here's the plan for the
exhaust.  These diagrams come from
The "Min"s are, as far as I can tell, recommendations from Yanmar.  I've seen one or two people refer to them being in a "Yanmar Installation Manual", but I haven't been able to find such a manual so far.  The values in red are from my actual installation ("~" means "approx").
As you can see, the actual values from my installation are at least double the recommended values, except for the distance from the top of the waterlock to bottom of the high riser elbow.  Still, it's about 3" more than the recommended 10".

Installation, finished
Man-O-War, 12 Jul 2014
Here are some photos from the installation.  Chad Albury and his dad, Blake, of Edwin's Boat Yard did an outstanding job with the installation IMO.
Looking down into the engine compartment.
Here is the exhaust riser (fabricated locally) wrapped in heat tape. It connects to the Vetus muffler. Everything is now 3" diameter. Chad moved the raw water filter over to this side of the engine compartment (you can see it below the crook of the exhaust riser) - the raw water pump is on the port side of the new engine.  It was on the starboard side of the old engine.  It is now much easier to check and clean the strainer.
A small piece of the engine catch tray had to be cut out to make room for the transmission shifter.
This is the port compartment, just aft of the battery box. The exhaust is brought through the engine compartment wall just aft of the muffler, then up the wall and over the top of that compartment through the aft bulkhead as high as possible.
Here is where it comes through that bulkhead and exits through the transom via that humongous seacock. The new seacock is positioned to try to make it as easy as possible to open it. Chad filled in the hole where the old seacock was located and also made a flat surface for the new one to rest on.
3.0 Engine Hours :-)
Here is a short video.

Man-O-War, 21 Jul 2014
I feel this engine is a better choice than the 3YM30, say.  And am very happy with the conscientiousness and final installation of Chad and Blake Albury (who only got involved at the end - game savers as it were).  One lingering question in my mind is: Could we have reduced the exhaust diameter, say to 2½", coming into the muffler?  The installer who started the installation recommended carrying 3" all the way.  In hindsight, I should have gotten a second opinion at the start.  (live and learn)  At this point, I don't know if 2½" was an option, but if it was it would have saved a fair amount of space, weight and cost.
   - Source of the Yanmar 3YM30 and 3JH5E curves
   - The 3HM35F curves and other specs are from the Yanmar service manual
   - All the 3JH5E manuals
   - Compass Marine "How To" Articles - lots of photos, clear explanations
   - Here is an interesting look at the inside of a mixing elbow after 2000 hrs

Man-O-War, 21 Sep 2011
The fridge, an Adler Barbour Cold Machine, stopped working some time ago.  Recently, I bought a new one (a CU-200 with the water-chilling option in case I need it) and am in the process of installing it.  I just saw this comparison from a Practical Sailor article and it made me kinda wish I had gone with a Frigoboat instead.
But on second thought, I wonder.  Breakaway's icebox looks to be about 4 cu.ft. (well under the 10 cu.ft. spec of the Frigoboat) but with probably just moderate insulation - I see about 2½" thickness (including the wall of the engine compartment) where the evaporator's tubing exits the icebox and 1½" thickness on top (including the counter top).  The cover is about 3" thick.  So I wonder if, without adding insulation, the Frigoboat's Danfoss BD35F would have been sufficient?  The article says the BD50F (used in the Cold Machine) has 25% more cooling capacity at 40% more power demand than the BD35F (used in the Frigoboat).  So the Frigoboat's compressor is inherently more efficient.  And it looks like Frigoboat's ability to slow down the compressor to the more efficient 2000 RPM might have been a good fit with my solar panels.
Regarding the BD35F's inherent efficiency, the "25% more cooling capacity at 40% more power demand" claim seems a little misleading.  In that for a given cooling load, the BD50F will run at a lower duty cycle.  If the energy usage and cooling output are both linear with run time, for a given cooling requirement the BD50F would consume just 12% more energy.  Doesn't sound quite as bad.
For example:
  Say the 35F uses 100 units of power per hr at 100% duty cycle to produce 100 units of cooling.
The 50F would use 140 units of power per hr at 100% duty cycle to produce 125 units of cooling.
To cool the same amount as the 35F, the 50F would only need 100/125 = 80% duty cycle, consuming .8*140 = 112 units of power per hour.  Or 112/100 = 12% more power.  Hmm.  Did I figure that right?

And regarding the Frigoboat's ability to slow down it's compressor to the more efficient 2000 RPM, this might make an interesting Arduino project.  It would be fun to try dynamically changing the resistance in the thermostat circuit to vary the compressor RPM (the ability mentioned under the Sea Frost section in that article), based on the fridge's temperature and contents vs the current and predicted status of the house battery bank.  For example, use the following regimen:
  1. Never allow the house bank to drop below 50% charge (to optimize the life of the batteries).  Batteries trump ice cubes.
  2. Regulate the temperature based on the kind of food to minimize spoilage.  I wonder how you sense milk or fresh food or meat.
  3. Set the compressor RPM based on the estimated charge coming in from the solar panels and wind generator - using recent history and a weather predictor.  I think they say using yesterday's weather is a good predictor.  And of course, if it's nighttime we can probably expect not to get a lot of charge out of the solar panels for a while.  So, adjust duty cycle and RPM to maintain an even temperature until morning.
  4. Warn me if I need to run the engine to supplement the future charge estimated in #3.
  5. In general, optimize the available energy to say lower the temperature when there is excess energy available from wind or sun or the engine running (so storing the surplus energy in the contents of the fridge - "make hay while the sun shines" :-), while also trying to maintain a constant temperature when there is not enough energy until the next expected surge.
    • Solar - Adjust the prediction for the changing seasons - ie. summer vs winter.  Make a prediction about the cloudiness and effectiveness of the panels as the boat swings.  If the panels seem to be shaded by the boom (and it looks like we will need that power to meet our energy needs), warn me to move the boom to one side (recommending which side).
    • Wind - Adjust the prediction to wind patterns.  E.g. I may be in a spot where there is a land/sea effect cycle - where the wind picks up in the morning and evening.  Or I may have temporarily moved the boat out of a protected calm area like up a river to an open windy area like offshore islands. 
    • Engine's alternator - Adjust the prediction for say, my being away from the boat and not being able to start it up.  Or a period where I run the engine regularly - say an hour each day to move from the anchorage to a swimming spot and back - something we used to do each day on the Rio Dulce.
Also, the CU-200 has the option to add a "Water Cooled Option Package" (looks like currently around $435 online).  The CU-200 installation manual claims that with it, "In tropical conditions, the total daily power consumption can be reduced by 25%-40%".  I plan to stay in the tropics so it may be worth adding.  The Frigoboat has air cooled, water cooled and the "keel cooler" options.  But they appear to be just one at a time - not in combination like the CU-200.  The CU-200 + Water Cooled Option does add another pump (something else to break down) to the boat.
I wonder which of these various options is most cost effective in tropical conditions?  Hmm.  I'd like to measure my current system (new solar panels, new fridge, 3 year old Deka 6v battery house bank that has never been deeply cycled and has been equalized once just recently) in use to see how well balanced it is and how much fine-tuning it is going to make a difference.  Still, I think I'd like to try the resistance-varying trick just for fun.  The Arduino controller could also monitor and optimize the cycling of the Water Cooled Option pump in conjunction with the compressor speed.  Hmm.

Man-O-War, 10 Oct 2011
  On a day with around 80°F temperatures, the new fridge (half full, with 3 trays of frozen ice cubes), is averaging 3:10 (min:sec) on, then 10:15 off.  For about a 25% duty cycle.

 Next Dinghy Project - Plan
Man-O-War, 6 Oct 2011
I'm thinking about building another dinghy.  Following is the start of planning.  Or skip ahead to the construction page.
So, why another dinghy?  First, a picture.  The red hull/green lines are the 10' nesting Spindrift dinghy that I'm considering.  The black lines are my existing 9' Yacht Tender.  The rolled-up gray thing on the bow is my existing Avon inflatable.  I'll probably sell the Yacht Tender and keep the Avon for a backup.  Note that Breakaway has mast pulpits which prevent me from snugging the dinghy up to the mast.  I really like the mast pulpits (aka "granny bars") and want to keep them.

Advantages of the Spindrift over the Yacht Tender
  1. It looks like it would fit better amidship, where the Yacht Tender will interfere with the main sheet.  On the bow, both interfere with use of the staysail as well as tacking the genoa when the staysail is not in use (and the inner stay is moved to it's aft storage position - where I usually keep it).  Also, it looks like it will be a little "shorter" on deck, so should be easier to see over.
  2. It looks like it should have better initial hull stability - making it more convenient for passengers to board and easier to transport bulky/heavy stuff like 6 gallon jerry containers of fuel.
  3. It should be able to take my existing 4 HP Johnson outboard motor where the Yacht Tender (1) requires a long-shaft outboard and (2) doesn't appear to have as much bouyancy in the stern to take the weight.
  4. It looks like it should plane.  The Spindrift webpage shows a 10' model planing with a 2 HP engine (with a fairly lightweight boat driver).  An online forum mentions planing under sail (again under ideal conditions).  Pretty kewl.
    17 Jan 2012: I just noticed on one of Garry Prater's pages, he says:
    She reached a plane a few times and once on a broad reach with a gust she took off on a plane like a shot with a slight hum from the centerboard. Wow!
  5. I would paint the Spindrift.  It would then be easier to maintain and I wouldn't worry so much about knocking it against docks and rocks and such.  Just a matter of applying some fiberglass and fresh paint over the damage.
  6. It would draw less attention and not set me apart as much from the local community.
  7. Not sure if it would be practical, but it looks possible to launch by placing each half in the water and assembling it there.
    25 Dec 2011: Garry Prater, who came up with this idea, described to me how he was able to join the two halves in the water and how he did that once in gale-force winds in an emergency - when he had to launch his dinghy to carry out an anchor in the Intracoastal Waterway during a sudden storm.
Some nesting dinghies that I found
I wish I had gone to one of the wooden boat festivals where the manufacturers have some of these on display.  Or even have 3 or 4 day construction classes.  If there was an event where you could try your favorites in the water, that would have been awesome. 
I bought a kayak that way once - a weekend try-before-you-buy event in Maine with all the major manufacturers present.  Then a stop at L.L.Bean where they had the model I liked best.  BTW, a 17½' Current Designs Solstice fit nicely on Breakaway's deck and I could fairly easily launch and board it from there.  The combination of Breakaway's low freeboard and the kayak's stability made stepping in and out of it from Breakaway's deck eminently doable.
In lieu of that, this is the best I can do:
DesignerDesign Len x BeamWeight (lbs)Capacity (lbs)HPRig/SANotes
(expanded page)
Chameleon 10'4" x 4'2"~100 ~500 2 - 4 Lug /
50 ft2
Chesapeake Light Craft Eastport Nesting Pram 7'9" x 4' 75 375 Lug /
42 ft2

Passagemaker Dinghy 11'7" x 4'8"94 650 Sloop /
78 ft2
David G. Bolduc (based on Matt Layden)Micro Folding Dinghy 6'10" x 2'+
Uses 1 sheet of ¼" plywood + a little canvas. Free plans.
Nestaway 8'2" nesting pram 8'2" x 4'3" 100 Lug /
8ft Nesting Stem Dinghy 8' x 4' 75 - 80 400 Lug /
9ft Nesting Clinker Stem Dinghy 9' x 4'3" 110 2.5 - 4Lug /
10ft NN10 Nesting Stem Dinghy 10'2" x 4'5"145 Sloop /
Nestor 8 8' x 3'8" 2 adults Cat /
Nestor 10 10' x 4'4"80 4 adults Cat /
Note that Holtrop's site (apparently now gone) included free download plans for the Nestor 8.
They are available from the site here.
PT Eleven 11' x 4'2" 85 518 2 Cat /
60 ft2
Forum: Builders' BLOG
B&B Yacht Designs (Graham Byrnes) Spindrift 9N 9' x 4'1" 72 - 82 2/4**2 - 3Cat /
45 ft2
Spindrift 10N10' x 4'2"77 - 87 2/4**2 - 3Cat /
55 ft2
Forum: B & B Yachts Forum
Construction blogs: my list
Spindrift 11N11' x 4'6"88 - 1103/4**3 - 4Cat /
65 ft2
Two-Paw 8 7'10" x 4' 65 – 75 3 - 4
2 Lug /
36 ft2
Two-Paw 9 9' x 4'4" 75 – 85 3 - 4
3 Lug /
45 ft2
Wooden Widget Fliptail 6 6'2" x 3'4"33 330 max 3.3Lug /
25 ft2
Fliptail 7 7'2" x 3'4"39 495 max 3.3Lug /
25 ft2
Stasha 7'2" x 3'8"22 ! 330 max 3.3Lug /
25 ft2
There are several other folding designs on their website as well.
WaveDancer Yacht Design Piccolo 9'1" x 4'8" 2 - 3.3 Cat /
33 ft2
Sinbad 10'2" x 4'8" 2 - 3.3, up to 5 Lug /
56 ft2
Dorita 10'3" x 5' Cat /
42 ft2
Nexus 10'11" x 4'11" 2 - 6, max 9.9 Cat /
52 ft2
Sinbad 2 11'2" x 5' 2 - 3.3, up to 5 Cat/lug /
52 ft2
Normus 13'1" x 5'3" 3.3-6, max. 15 Lug /
76 ft2
Sponberg Yacht Design Inc. (Eric W. Sponberg)Halfling 7'10" x 4'0" ~70 800 Cat /
37.2 ft2
BoatCraft PacificNesting Joey 8' 2 Cat
Selway Fisher Design
(Paul Fisher)
BOCAR 8 7'11" x 3'11" ~65 2-3 passengers rowing/motoring, 1-2 sailing Lug /
34 ft2
BateauFB11 10'6" x 4'2" 70 4 Sprit
** - "Maximum recommended number of adult = 165# crew for normal use as a sailboat/ tender." [B&B]
Thanks to Paul DiCarlo for pointing me (and this table) to a number of these.
Here is a comparison of two transoms -
the Spindrift in red, the Port Townsend Watercraft Eleven in white.  The Spindrift, with just the one chine, looks like it will have a little more form initial stability.

Again, here is the construction page for my next dinghy, a Spindrift 10N.
   - Free small boat plans - canoes, dinghies, small sailboats, houseboats, etc
   - Free Boat Plans from "Science and Mechanics", "Boat Builder Handbook" and other very old magazines
      (makes me chuckle - I built the Redwood Canoe from those very plans when I was a kid ...
        about 45 years ago)
   - Projects page - Philippine Home Boatbuilders projects
   - The Swift Solo looks interesting.  Very pretty hulls.  Although maybe more of a young man's game.
     The builders' website and what appears to be the class homepage.

 Attaching a Monitor Windvane to a tiller
Erice, 16 June 2012
Here is IMO a pretty clever way to connect a Monitor Windvane on a tiller-rigged boat.  Edmund J. Hull came up with it for his Crealock 34, Panope.  It steers the boat well and is easy to attach and detach.
I think the stainless steel pipe and base were standard lifeline stanchion parts so should be easy to find.
(Click on the images to enlarge)
The tiller is connected using the stainless steel pipe shown here. The lines hold everything in place
Attachment to the tiller
The lines secure the pipe to the Monitor when in use. The pin enables removing the pipe from the tiller
when not in use
Here is the pipe
attached to the Monitor. There is a little U-shaped plate welded onto the
pipe that fits onto a link
in the chain
The pipe is fairly easily detached from the Monitor to quickly resume hand steering. The pipe is then detached from the tiller by taking out the pin
Here is how the autopilot is attached to the rudder.  With the autopilot in use, the tiller is left in a vertical position.   
This yoke/arm was fabricated
by a friend of Edmund
Here the autopilot is attached

 iNavX installation
Man-O-War, 5 Oct 2012
Onboard, I have:
  • Raymarine instruments
    • ST60+ Wind Instrument (wind speed and direction)
    • ST60+ Tridata (depth, speed, log)
    • ST 6002 Autopilot
  • a Garmin GPSmap 545
  • a Standard Horizon MatrixAIS+ GX2150 (VHF radio with an AIS receiver)
I'd like to:
  1. Use my Garmin 545 as my main chartplotter/AIS display and have an equally graphic monitor as a backup
  2. Have a graphic monitor for guests and crew to follow along the course and generally play with
I'm thinking an iPad running iNavX.  In particular the new Retina iPad with builtin GPS (ie. a 4G LTE model).  I'll also probably be getting an iPad Mini (if they announce it with a Retina-class resolution display).  Charts would probably come from X-Traverse.
This blog entry will be about installing the bits to setup to use iNavX on the new iPads on my boat.

iNavX on an iPad (from
Acquiring the multiplexer
Man-O-War, 8 Oct 2012
The iNavX FAQ recommends 6 multiplexers.  With the Raymarine instruments I have, I needed the translation from Seatalk to NMEA 0183.  And I wanted WiFi.  The Brookhouse and ShipModul units looked the most promising.  Brookhouse's site says to send them an email to find out the prices and distributors in the US.  I sent several emails and never got a response.

MiniPlex-2Wi (from
unit (a MiniPlex-2Wi) looked good, their website was pretty informative, and I found a dealer in the states with them in stock for $466 (Navstore).  ShipModul also offered the unit for sale, direct from them in the Netherlands, with free shipping for € 280.  That came out to $380.  I placed the order with them on a Saturday (their order entry is a little funky via Paypal), it shipped from the Netherlands on Monday along with an email with a DHL tracking number, and arrived in Florida on Wednesday.  Sweet.
The only thing I don't like about the MiniPlex-2Wi is that the WiFi link is apparently Ad-hoc so limited to a single iPad (or iPhone or iPod) at a time.  More than one would have been nice, though not necessary.  One future possibility is to connect the USB output from the MiniPlex-2Wi to a Raspberry-Pi board and then rebroadcast the NMEA 0183 datastream on an Infrastructure network (allowing multiple devices to receive it at the same time).

 Hurricane Sandy
Man-O-War, 28 Oct 2012
Not a project,
per se, but something for the scrapbook..
Man-O-War is where the orange (current position) dot is, of course.
We probably got around 80 mph winds, as they note.  Some surge, but not too bad.  The island is fairly used to dealing with hurricanes - both preparation and cleanup.

Man-O-War, 5 Jan 2013
Here is the actual landfall on the East Coast.
It's interesting how accurate the projected track was in the forecast above - 3 days, 18 hours ahead of the actual landfall.  At a point too where it apparently made a sharp turn.
I have been reading a book by Nate Silver called The Signal and the Noise.  In it, he talks about the improvements in weather prediction.  His blog, FiveThirtyEight was spot on in projecting the election.  The book has great insights into prediction making - weather, sports, economics, elections, chess, poker.  I predict myself rereading it a couple times :-).

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