Towards Stornoway, Outer Hebrides

After a winter again filled with boat jobs, me and my brother Thomas cast off from Lagos, Portugal 23 March, with the aim to reach A Coruna, relatively quickly before the Portuguese North wind sets in. The main objective for this season is to visit Lofoten.

Kerpa was launched the day before departure.

After one night in Cascais we reached Nazare, which is known among surfers, the highest wave ever been surfed was in Nazare. I attached a YouTube link about it https://youtu.be/zOYL15QOvWE

Next stop was Porto, where Kerstin arrived after being in Stockholm helping our oldest daughter when she gave birth to a daughter, now they have boy and a girl, perfect.

Traditional boats for transporting Port wine

Porto is a beautiful town well worth visiting

Inside Porto’s railway station, Impressive

Time to enjoy a beer in the sun.

While we were in Porto we took the opportunity to rent a car and visit the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge. The 516 m long Arouca bridge, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/05/516-meter-arouca-pedestrian-suspension-bridge-opens-in-northern-portugal/.

The area offers very nice scenery

April 6 we arrived to A Coruna not without Problems

On our way and no wind the engine temperature went up, luckily we found out before the high temp alarm went off, I have a Bluetooth temp probe on the exhaust hose, that together with smell of exhaust gases made us suspicious. I went down the hatch to the engine checked the impeller, but nothing wrong with that. Open the lid to the cooling water strainer and found some minor debris in there, cleaned it away and the problem was gone (we thought) but a few hours later the problem was back! Of with the lid to the strainer, no debris, I took a long rod and pushed it through the cooling water inlet and that solved the issue.

Coruna is a nice historical town offering besides historical sites also very good Galician food.

Hercules tower a very old  lighthouse from the Roman time built during 2nd century AD.

Several old and historical houses in A Coruna.

Again, we had to wait for a suitable weather window for crossing the Bay of Biscay. 12 April the condition was not too bad. +/- 20 knot of wind 3-4 m Swell to start with but the conditions become less rough and all in all we had a good passage to Cork, Ireland, We stayed at the Royal Cork yacht club, established 1720 and claim they are the oldest Yacht club in the world.

Of course first thing to do, try a Guinness at Royal Cork Yacht Club

Sunset at the RC yacht club.

Crossing the Bay of Biscay was my brother Thomas main aim, so he was pleased reaching Cork and flew back to Sweden, so from now on it is just me and Kerstin aboard.

Next stop was Dun Laughaire close to Dublin 100 Nm north of Cork

We left Cork in very calm weather

Leaving Cork

After a couple hours we were greeted by many Dolphins that followed us for hours

Just arrived Dun Laughair

Dun Laughaire is a very nice and safe place to leave a boat and go exploring the local area as well as visiting Dublin about 30 minutes away by train.

The Marina

Visited Dublin for Afternoon tea

We left Kerpa for a short visit to Sweden, First to celebrate our youngest daughter Linnea who took her PhD in Biotechnology

A very happy daughter, but even more proud father

And of course we wanted to see our latest grandchild Ingrid

Proud and very happy mother

After a week we were back on Kerpa and next stop was Bangor, Northern Ireland, from were one easily take the train into Belfast where we visit the oldest Pub in Belfast The Crown Liquor saloon.

Very impressive Pub, beer tasted excellent

Next was a gentle sailing from Bangor to Sandy Island

First Anchorage in Scotland Sandy Island

It has been cold most of the time and we have had our share of rain as well, so our newly installed diesel heater has been very valuable and contributed heavily to the comfort aboard.

The heater in the cockpit locker, note the CO alarm as well as the Bluetooth temp probe, same as I have on the exhaust hose, maximum temp measured is 46 C. The white PVC hose is a plumbing device that connect well to both the combustion ait silencer and the heater, I installed silencer both on air in and out from the heater as well so it operate very silent, on low power one does not hear it at all.

Very pleased with it.

As we have water tight bulkheads drawing duct for hot air is not easy, a stainless tube through the after toilet solved the issue to get warm air to the after cabin. The tube gets rather hot and give warmth to the after toilet too.

above you see the warm air outlet just above the outlet for the air-conditioner. Amel had already installed a duct from the cockpit locker to the fore cabin so that came in handy. The heater together with new soft carpets make it very cosy aboard

Another improvement we did was to install a 3,5 kW inverter dedicated to the induction hob.

3,5 kw inverter Chinese made, reasonable priced and size.

The inverter fitted nicely under a shelf, It work very silent, some inverters make a lot of noise, I have had the inverter to run at full blast for up to ½ an hour without any issues, when it gets hot the fan starts but its relatively silent, and the fan does shut down after a minute or so when it has cooled down the unit.

The remote control just above the shelf, very handy

The induction hob with the dedicated 220 v socket. Gives redundancy and the MultiPlus inverter can be used at the same time for other purposes.

Kerstin’s new favourite gadget in the galley is an air fryer, a small hot air oven, it works great. Now we do not need to use gas anymore, In the Air fryer one can make Lasagne, French fries, Chicken wings, even bake bread etc etc. very happy with it.

How much electricity does it takes?

During15 days (10-25 may) on average

18 Ah/day for the Inverter for the Induction hob                  

23 Ah/day for the MultiPlus inverter (used for boiling water on the kettle, the air fryer etc)

Front opening fridge (ca 7 C) 14 Ah/day

Freezer 11 Aha7day (-8C)

Cooling chest 14 Ah/day (2 C)

Total 80Ah/day n.b. 24 v system.

Despite the grey and rainy weather we have had, we have only used our diesel generator for ca 4 hours since we left Lagos over two month ago, else power fom our 1160w Solar panels

That was some technical stuff

Next we had a short sail 33 Nm to Port Ellen where we stayed at anchor for two days in grey and windy weather. When we left, we were very surprised to have four Dolphins doing acrobats around Kerpa when we were at anchor, and they followed us after we left the anchorage for ca ½h on our

Furher we were at Jura, Tobemory, and Uist.

It is important to time the tide right

If timing the tide right, speed can be very high, if wrong progress can be slow and dangerous if one ending up in falls, races and tide against heavy sea, so fare we have succeeded rather well, but we feel as rookies when coming to plan and time the tides.

Tobemory

At Jura Loch Skipport, we had wind exceeding 30 kn during nights so sleeping was not great.

Stornoway

Finally, we came to Stornoway, Outer Hebrides has for long time been on our list for places we wanted to se.

Stornoway

We rented a car, and for ones the weather cooperated occasionally with us and we had a great trip around Harris.

Narrow roads and clouds, The speed limit on this road is 60Miles/h, close 100 km/h, I thought 30 km/h was enough.

When sun is shining the landscape is amazingly beautiful

This is how people could live in the old days and until the last person moved 1970.

There is a “Stonehenge” on Harris as well, believed to be ca 4000 year old.

Below follow some more beautiful scenery from Harris.

Now in Stornoway we have gale wind gusting + 35 kn, hopefully tomorrow we can set sail towards Orkney Islands

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Fair isle a must-see place

We left Stornoway for a 138 Nm overnight sail to Kirkwall, Orkney, rather strong wind with good speed but cold, so hot chocolate with a generous addition of dark rum gave comfort and warmth to the body during the night shift. We arrived Kirkwall early morning, still cold and grey weather.

Kirkwall

The town itself is rather small, but have a very impressive cathedral St Magnus Cathedral, built mid-1100s,

The bishops palace had been an impressive building as well

Kirkwall street view

It was not the queen they celebrated but school holiday

Before we left, we bought some local crafted beer, as well as a bottle of local Rum, but they should stick to making beer!

Westeray

Left Kirkwall for a short trip to Pierowall harbour on Westray small place ca 24 Nm north Kirkwall

We went into Pierowall harbour which is very tiny harbour, but well protected on the north west side of Westray. We had looked forward to visit a local Pub, but no such was to find

Pierowall harbour

The disappointment was soon gone as a fishing boat came in loaded with fresh Crabs and lobsters, we bought some at one for us attractive price. 20 pounds for three large crabs and a one kg lobster, we were happy, and I got the impression that the fishermen thought we paid well too.

A feast on one Crabb and a Lobster, we saved two of the crabs to the next day.

Old magazine building

Traditional phone booth need some TLC.

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We left Westray the day after for fair Isle only about 47 Nm away and the wind allowed us to sail about half of the way.

Fair Isle

Approaching Fairs Isle

We were lucky and found a free spot at the rather rough cay

There was one boat at anchor as well, but there is not much room, so I think it will be difficult to anchor another boat.

Fair Isle has two “Harbours” North and South Haven

North Haven from North on the other side of the bar is the South Haven, but that is an anchoring only.
South and North Haven looking north

We stayed a few days and several boats came in and for some time we had two boats outside us and the swell picked up so not 100% comfortable with the situation.

First boat outside Kerpa. I’m very surprised and a bit annoyed when other boats approach and ask if they can moore outside us, usually only 2 or 3 small fenders out not unusually also very dirty and sometimes even punctured. and then they use old sheets to more the boat with. The non stretch mooring ropes creates unpleasant jerks and squeaking sounds along fairleads and cleats. One wants to be friendly, but from now on I’m very firm, I say you are welcome to moored outside our boat if you have adequate with fenders and when they use the non-stretch mooring ropes I ask them to replace them and if they do not have that, I offer them to use some of mine ropes after informing them, that next time use proper ropes when mooring along another boat.

Fair isle is known for its abundance of birds and the most popular ones are the Puffins, so our first excursion on the island was of course to see Puffins. There were plenty of them and they were not afraid for us, so we could come very close to them.

A creative way to use old fence wire. Very nice we thought.

We wanted to take a closer look at the north lighthouse which we saw from the water when approaching North haven on fair Isle, so next trip went north

Beautiful scenery on our way north

The north Light house

Out on the cliff there is an old impressive foghorn

Impressive old Fog horn

Time for a picnic before exploring the bird cliffs

The white stuff you see on the small cliff fare away are birds!

A few Pictures on the beautiful scenery on the way back to Kerpa

The next day we decided to go south

 and found out there is a school on Fair Isle, in total only 5 children in the school.

Fair isle School
Fair Isle Surgery

Fair Isle House

Fair Isle south Light House

There are a lot of Sheep on the Island

Fair Isle is a fantastic out-post, very beautiful, a very harsh place to live on and well worth a long detour to visit, but you need a reasonable good weather forecast, the wind and weather shift rapidly in Scotland, so one has to be prepared for rough weather, the harbour will probably be untenable at moderate wind as swell build rather quick, however Fair Isle is not fare away from reasonable shelter either at Orkney or going north to Shetland Islands (n.b. Fair Isle is part of Shetland Islands) which will be our Next stop on St Ninians Island a wonderful place

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Finally on our way

After a lot of work on Kerpa we were finally on our way. First trip was not very far to Ferragudo about 7 Nm east of Lagos, we had a gentle sail and just unfurled the head sail and enjoyed the short trip.

Really great to be at anchor again.

We had some relaxing days

Kerpa at anchor

Enjoying a beer in a very nice setting, it feels great after 9 month of hard work on Kerpa.

Strolling around admiring some of the beautiful street art.

Meeting friends, visiting places with live music and fancy food.

Live music and fancy food at Club Nau

It was DeAnne and Steve on Voila who took us to the Club Nau, and we show them Kalu Beach Bar, which probably has the best hamburgers in the neighbourhood.

But not only time for pleasure because more boat jobs remains to be done, First our outboard was not performing as usual, i.e starts on the first pull and run without problems, now she needs a few pulls and lose revs now and then. I got some contaminated fuel last year so time to clean the carburettor.

A quick fix and now she runs smoothly.

A bit larger task was to replace the old fridge with a new one that I had ordered. The fridge was supposed to arrive long time ago, before we left Lagos. First, we had to take the train to Lagos to pick up the fridge, transport it to Portimao get the old fridge out, the new onboard and take our car back to the garage in Lagos and the train back to the boat. Then the only thing remaining was to install the new fridge, which of course was a bit larger than the old one, so it did not fit. I made a YouTube video about it if you want to see it click on the link.

New fridge installation

There is a 15 sec short version below!

We had some “contractors” aboard for minor but “time consuming” jobs (they were overcommitted with jobs and consequently did not show up when they should, so a few days’ work took more than two weeks). To save some on marina fees we moored outside a larger sailing vessel in the fishing harbour. One problem was the tide and wind who pushed the larger boat out from the quay and thus created some problems to get aboard Kerpa. Klick on clip and you find how we solved that issue

The big task was to replace the standing rig on Kerpa now more than 20 years old. Most insurance companies do not insure sailing boats with standing rig older than 10 years, so from that perspective we were long overdue. We had of course outsourced the job, but quite some job for us as well. Take down and fold all the sails, disconnect all cables which are a few, take off all split pins and loosen all turnbuckles. It’s a full day work. The riggers were very pleased that we had done all the job, which they probably had expected to do them self, but it was high season for boat work and we did want to speed up the process as much as possible.

Masts back again, and now I needed to connect all the cables again, it is much faster to disconnect than connect that is for sure. I have a few YouYube movies about the replacement of the standing rigg.

Play list with 4 videos about our rig replacement

It took a full week for them, take down the mast, undress the mast, make new wires, dress the mast, step the masts, and finally tune the rig. It was only short moments we were at the quay, most of the time we were at anchor. One thing is for sure the boat rolls substantially more without the masts on. Not fun at all to be at anchor without masts. We had the sails stored on deck in their bags, and one day they almost fell overboard when Kerpa started to roll violently when a reckless motorboat circled the anchorage with speed making maximum wave heights, can’t say he was a favourite that evening.

When hoisting the sails, we discovered that they had riveted the cutter foil 180 degree wrong on the furler drum!

Attachment point for the tack, but the grove is on the other side of the foil, shit what to do? I did not felt for drilling out the rivets, turn it and put in new rivets, I started to get tiered on boat jobs and we did want to leave Algarve rather sooner than later.

Well it work this way also!

At last we could set sail and start our adventure for real. Next stop Porto Santos ca 470 Nm, the forecast indicated 15 kn wind and broad reach, excellent conditions to test the new rig!

Just outside the breakwaters we realised the wind was much stronger. Close hauled and ca 25 kn apparent wind, not exactly the conditions we wanted to test our new rig in, luckily everything went well, and we got a nice trip under sail all the way.

Porto Santos

Approaching Port Santos during the evening with pooled out genoa. Anchored inside the harbour, contacting the marina as the Covid procedure require. We were to remain aboard until 14:30 the day after when we would get a Covid test in the marina for free. After that we had to go back aboard and stay until next morning until our test show negative. Everything went smoothly.

We found the anchor outside the breakwaters nicer and much more spacious and no catabatic winds, so we moved outside.

We took a long trekking up to the highest points of Porto Santo. Porto Santo is a very dry place, but the north part is greener than the south.

 Views from north part of the island

It was a long walk, and after we reward our self with a nice and cold beer on the beach

A fancy place, they know how to capitalize on the location, however the food did not match the price, but we still enjoyed the spot very much.

A few days later we sat sail to Funchal Madeira, prior to departure we needed to take a rapid Covid test, nothing that Kerstin fancy

Funchal

It was a very grey and gloomy day when we sat sail, only 42 Nm to go, we sail wing on wing for a few hours, when approaching Madeira, the wind picked up and suddenly we were sailing broad reach with apparent wind gusting over 40 kn, again our new rig was tested. Our cutter jib made an excellent job during these conditions.

Luckily Funchal was in shelter, and we got safely in. Again, Covid procedures but even easier this time, we mailed copies of our quick Covid tests we made in Porto Santos and copies of our passports, less than an hour later we could go ashore.

A hamburger in one of the marina bars/restaurants was the treat

We found this piece on the deck and assume it came from our cutter furler. We had problem with the foil after it was originally installed (2016), The foil is in several sections that are hold together with screws, unfortunately the screws vibrates lose and the foils might come apart, has happen two times. I needed to inspect the foil, unfortunately we could not take down the jib more than a few meters, then it was stuck, I had to go aloft and found as I suspected that some screws had vibrated lose and one was protruding a bit preventing the top swivel from passing by on the foil. It was only one screw that was protruding, but after taking down the jib, I took off all screws and put them in place with strong Loctite 271 instead of the more usual Medium strength Loctite 243. Hope it will last a few blows without vibrating lose.

I could not identify from where the plastic piece came from, still a mystery.

Up the mast securing the screws holding the different sections in place.

After a few days moored outside a traditional sailing vessel we got a very nice and convenient place in the marina.

Funchal is a very nice village, small cobble stone streets

 a lot of restaurants for all wallets, the ones we visited did not make us disappointed

Here we tried local oysters.

Plenty of street arts

It’s a delight to walk the narrow streets and if one gets to warm there is only a short walk to have a swim in the Atlantic.

A cable car took us up the hill above Funchal and we found a very nice and tranquil park, well worth a visit. It is also the place for the famous cobble stone sledge ride, which we thought to pricy and to slow for our liking, so we strolled the park instead.

Of coerce one has to taste the famous Madeira vine as well

Madeira is so much more than Funchal, the whole island is very beatifull and well worth to explore, we took a trip up the mountain to the highest point Pico Ruivo (1861m)

Below follow a few pictures, amazing is the word, I let the pictures speak by them self

Kerstin at the top, very rewarding

From were one can look down at part of the trail we have been walking

The landscape has a totally different character on the east side, dryer and much more rugged.

October 2012 I was on my first longer trip, from the Algarve to Madeira. I was crewing on a Swedish 41 feet 1973 vintage sailboat a bit dated boat with bridge deck and just a small sparay-hood for the companionway, but a competent sailing boat. The weather became very rough during the trip, the last days we were closed hauled in south westerly gale force wind, sea was constantly washing over the boat and the silly spray-hood did nothing to protect us, so we became wet and cooled. Previously the gear box had broken down when motoring when we were becalmed in the beginning of the passage, a provisional repair was made during the passage. But we did not know for how long it would hold together, therefore the captain decided to  take  “shelter” under the cliffs above as we arrived at night in the strong south westerly wind. There were some shelter for the wind but large swell came in and about an hour after we got the anchor firmly set, the anchor chain snapped. We had to circle on idle throttle very close to land and the rocks protruding from the sea during the whole pitch dark night in the strong wind and pouring rain, I was soaking wet and cold, later at lunch time the day after we manage to sail around the peninsula and get into the shelter of the Marina Quinta do Lorde. I must admit I felt a great relief when we entered the marina.

Marina Quinta do Lorde, a rather sleepy Marina and resort.

Next stop

La Graciosa

But that will follow later.

We have a YouTube video about the trip to Madeira

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Chaos aboard

Chaos aboard

A warning, this blog is about boat job no fancy sailing adventure.

Long time since last blog, mainly due to a lot of parallel and unfinished boat projects, this has resulted in some chaos aboard. Add to that, lack of knowledge/competence and waiting for parts and services that have been delayed, thus not much to write about then. Covid has of course had a major impact on our life as well. In Lagos, Portugal where we live, the restrictions have been very firm, restaurants been closed, as well as shopping centers. luckily DIY shops and the chandlers have been open. Restrictions on if and when one can leave the local community, limitations in meeting friends outside, beaches has been closed etc. So very pleased that we have had Kerpa so close, else we would have not to much to do, been working on Kepa more or less on a daily basis. We have been in Sweden two times during this period, visiting our kids for Christmans, and meet our latest grand child this spring, a delight . There is a remarkable difference in how Sweden and Portugal have handled the Covid issue, In Sweden from our perspective, life had continued as normal, very few with face mask, restaurants open, the total opposite to the rest of Europe. Cruising plans has be changed several times. The latest plan? is that we will cross the Atlantic from Cap Verde late Oktober for landfall in French Guyana, slowly going north, maybe Christmas in Tobago.

The main project for this season was to install an DIY LiFePO4 battery pack. A project at the edge of my knowledge and capability. I had a relatively clear idea what components I needed, but only a vague idea on how to design it, most of the design was made as the project proceeded and resulting in some redesigns along the way as I found out smarter ways for layout. All this of course added to the chaos and to some frustration.

I ordered 16 LiFePO4 271 Ah cells from China, they were offered including freight, customs and VAT, and about 40 days after order they arrived, and appeared in good conditions, one had a very small dent and one had slightly different color on the negative terminal. If that is of significance or not future will tell. I have read in various forums of poor second-hand Chinese Li cells, as well as I have read about them who have bought and used Chinese cells successfully for many years. The difference in price buying direct from China instead via an European distributor is at least a factor two. I really hope we will be pleased with our cells and installation. The cost for the 16 LiPO4 cells was about the same as for 440 Ah 24v Victron Gel batteries

In the picture I have taken out half of the old battery bank and placed the new Li cells (540 Ah, 24v) in what I thought was the best place. Already now obvious how much less space they require.

But before proceeding I had to trace what users all the old main cables from the battery switch are supplying, that was a rather time consuming and tedious task!

And of course, one of the terminals on the main switch broke off in the process

“Luckily” Amel have the switches in stock, but it set you back 330 Euro!

We have two switches on for the positive side and one for the negative side of the system, and as you might notice it is 4 terminals, each switch handle both the 12 and the 24 v side. Instead for all the main cables going direct from the Main switch direct to the consumers, I installed fuses on each of the main cable.

Fuse work in Progress

The hart of the system is the Battery Management System (BMS), I chose one from a Swedish supplier, the MasterLi, it came at a price, that made my hesitate a bit, but in the end I felt I made the right decision, I got a lot of help from Thomas the seller when installing the system, very grateful for that. And it is also a very well thought out concept.

The two 75 Ah batteries to the left in the pictures are the AUX battery, the one in the centre is the starting battery.

One of the benefits with this BMS is that it support the use of an Auxiliary (Aux) battery, when the LI pack is fully charged the Charge relay opens the charge goes to the Aux battery, not only protecting all chargers from being damage when exposed to an open circuit, it also a give redundancy in case there is a problem with the Li Pack, If that happens, we still have 75 Ah capacity to run navigation and communication, an important safety aspect. Some other feature is that you can control other equipment’s by the BMS, such as an Victron Multi Plus charger/inverter and control the field winding on your alternator to avoid damage to the alternator regulator.

When using Li cells with Aluminium casing one need to place them in a compression box to prevent them from swelling in case of overcharging them. see video clip below

The most common way to arrange 16 cells in a 24 v system is to connect two cells in parallel and then the 8 pair of them in series, called 2p8s in Li language.

above you can see the 8 pairs of Li Cells and the wire for balancing

Work in progress placing Solar controllers, contactors and fuse-boxes etc, not so easy to bend the thick cables and place them on the studs, and also have a logical routing for all the cables.

But finally, I got all things in place.

More solar power

Now with the new batteries I wanted to increase the solar power on my solar arc, so I ordered 2x400w Sunbeam panel supposed to have the highest efficiency, they give a few advantages towards the old 3×150 watt set up, that was in series. In general if you put your panels in series they will be much more sensitive for shadow, compared to have them in parallel. The old panel was nominal 12 v so need to have them in series to charge a 24 v system, the new panels reach over 60 volt, and I have one MPPT controller for each, so eventual shadow on one panel have no effect on the other panel. Now I have 800 w on an area just a fraction larger than what the old 450 w panels required.

The new panels were stored under Kerpa while working on the Li project.

The arc after removing the old panels.

A bit dangerous job high up from the ground

Safer to work from the platform.

Ready 800w, total area 210 cm by 170 cm.

While I was at it I decided to replace the 2x100w 12 v panels that we had on the bimini, with custom made semi flexible panels from Hovall in China, sounds expensive to purchase custom made panels, but it does not need to be. The panel it self 2×150 w 36 volt cost less than 400 euro, but freight in Covid times, customs and VAT, and some miscommunication that caused the panels to be sent back to China!!!, made the logistic cost close to 900 euro!!

The arrived well packed in a wooden box.

And looked rather well when fixed to the bimini, but doubtful if i would do it again.

Now we have in total:

2×400 watt on individual MPPT controller, ridged panels on the Arc

2×180 watt in parallel on one MPPT controller, ridged panels on the rail

2×150 w in parallel on one MPPT controller, semiflexible panels on the bimini.

We have had the system up and running for a few months both while on the hard and now lately living aboard. Only have part of all the solar panels activated at the same time as it gives more that we consume now. Guess it will be different during wintertime in the Caribbean when days are much shorter.

But if any other solar nerd reading this, below follow some interesting numbers so far for each set up

The 400 w Sunbeam panel have produced 2,91 kwh at best, and 2,7kWh is standard during a normal day in the Algarve during the period late May early June.

The 2×180 w on the rail gives about 2,3 kWh/day

The 2×150 on the bimini only around 700 Wh,

Total if running all panels, we would exceed 8kWh/day. Normal voltage is 26 v, so 310 Ah /day.

Electric consumption

With all this charging we now need to consume the electricity generated. Therefore, we have installed an induction hob on top of the Gas stove, it is semi-permanent, quite easy to convert back to gas. The reason for this set up is to; Be more independent, do not need gas. Low investment a two-burner induction hob does not cost much, and by placing it on top of the old gas stove very easy installation and maintained gimbals function, still able to run the oven on gas if we so desire.

The silicon pads on top of the hob work as a very efficient anti-skid without interfere with the heating.

We consume about 30 Ah when making Spaghetti Bolognaise, which require a lot of simmering, so definitely above average for a dinner aboard Kerpa.

We have now also a baking machine. Consume ca 18 Ah for a loaf of bread, a loaf last ca 3-4 days, so we bake about two times a week.

 More electricity work/issues

I have mounted shunts for each fridge & freezer.

Now we can see how much energy each unit consume.

The small 35 l freezer on average about 15Ah but that varies a lot, dependant of how often we open it and of course the ambient temperature. We have had reading from 10-21 Ah a day the low numbers when not open it at all a less hot day, the 21 Ah when loading it with goods and taking things in and out several times during a day (making drinks, ice is nice to have aboard).

The larger box +/-85 litre between 20-30 Ah a day, but we do not open that very often.

The front opening fridge (110l) consumes 25-30 Ah, but that will be replaced, more about that in next blog.

I have an energy meter also for the inverter to see how much energy we consume from that source, I’s only been in operation for a few days but so fare we consume about 80 ah/day that way.

We have no problem in making hot water by running via the inverter. Still plenty of energy in the Li batteries. Another of the great advantages with Li technology is that they take full charge more or less until they are fully charged due to very low internal resistance, and you can run them down to 20% SOC without any problems.

Boring reading? Probably yes unless you are very much into boat electricity.

More boring stuff to follow.

Replaced my old 24 v to 12 v converters, the big old green ones are rated at maximum 8 A, the new small blue ones are rated for 20A and more efficient. If you have followed the blog, you might remember that when we crossed the Gulf stream in rough weather, Kerstin felt the smell as from a fire, it was not a fire, but it was one of the 24v to 12v converters that was very hot, I measured 130 C with my IR thermometer. A bit critical, it was pitch dark, very rough conditions and risk of shutting down our navigation system. There were two reasons for the overheating. More and more navigation equipment been added over the years, and to much things in the cupboard where they were placed preventing proper ventilation. A portable fan was the remedy at that moment it cooled down the converter enough. Now we do not need to worry about that any longer.

New Propshaft Bushing and lip seals installed this time I had a 316 stainless-steel bushing made.

The Autoprop has been overhauled new bearings and seals.

The copper coat has been upgraded with a few new coasts.

Bow thruster

The bow thruster once again has been overhauled, now it looks as it works, we have used it a few times, but still keep my fingers crossed.

Last year I replaced the two gearboxes for furling of the main sail. Unfortunately last fall I found that the gear box shaft already has started to corrode, so I had new shaft made in 316 SS

It was a great disappointment to notice the corrosion, look at the shaft to the right it has corroded already at the top and the bottom which are exposed to moist air. I had a lot of job and cost last year to install new gear boxes, and thought it was long time to next major overhaul of the gearboxes, but no.

While I was at it, I installed grease nipples, before it was oil inside.

The head furler also need to be serviced with new lip seals and bearings, but that I outsourced, as well as replacing the timing belt and raw water circulation pump on the VP TMD 22 engine

Found this when taking of the cover, there was some Sikaflex like substance on the cable, when removing that, the cable cover just fell off? More work! but in the end a rather easy job, a high quality shrink tube made the job

Now back in place and with new paint as well

It is a heavy piece to put back total weight well over 20 kg

A major challenge

The cutter stay is going down and is fastened to the floor in the bow locker. Probably due to a too large and too weak inspection hatch the floor has started to bulge. How to fix that? After a lot of thinking and a few sleep less nights I decided to have some substantial beams made to reinforce the floor and to spread the load to a much larger area.

The beams they go from side to side under the locker floor and there is a flange at the edge of the floor that support not only the floor but also the new beams. The beams are made by 3×18 mm plywood epoxy glued together, rather heavy stuff.

I can tell you it was many uncomfortable hours in the bow locker passing them through the hatch assemble them and trying to hold the beams with one hand and screw them into place with the other hand, Houdini himself would have struggle to do the job.

Finally, I got them in place, now the attachment point is bolted through the locker floor, the beams and the previous substantial backing plate.

Feels very strong, but guess the floor itself has to be replaced in the future, not uncommon on Super Maramus that the bow locker floor rotten due to the moist environment in the chain locker below

New cushions

We decided to replace the upholstery.

Looks very nice and bright.

Some plumbing job

Old AC pump, the capacitor has melted down, I had a spare pump to install, while waiting for new capacitors to be delivered.

The New AC Pump, as well as a new fresh water pump, the old Marco pump felt unreliable

There is a huge difference in size in favour of the “old” Marco, which work with variable speed and should not need any accumulator tank, but I’m already in to the second one I a few years so went back to the original Amel set up, I had both a spare pump and a spare motor so decision was easy.

Heater

one of the plans for this year was to go to Nordkap, Norway, so I had long gone plans to install a heater, but I hesitated it’s a major projekt on an Amel with several water tight bulkeads, and also costly. We decided to only install a heat exchanger to get heat from the fresh-water cooling system from the engine.

This Isotherm heat exchanger is good for 10 kw heat, but now we have decided to go south so will not get much imminent use for it

I used PEX tube for the installation, looks very solid, used an ordinary bicycle pump to pressurize the system to identify any eventual leak.

the hot water from the engine first pas the boiler for domestic hot-water, then to the heat exchanger for the cabin. The cabin heat exchanger can easily be isolated by two bal-valves in case any trouble occur in the installation, not to jeopardize the ability to run the engine, again I used my bicycle pump to pressure-test the whole system

New anchor

The Rocna anchor has beet retired due to poor resetting properties.

It is a rather big beast of anchor weigh 40 kg, one see it when in the car both, it has been replaced with a 45 kg Spade, and that after a lot of research on the internet for a more reliable anchor. Theed 45 kg Spade anchor fits very well on the anchor roller, no amendments needed.

This is not the complete list of works but I think I have bored you enough with the jobs we have done. It has been good to have Kerpa close to home and doing the job during Covid times, most other activities has been restricted. Our main activity has besides working on Kerpa, has been work-out to keep reasonable fit and to be able to work in extremely uncomfortable positions. Coming time we will spend between Lagos and Portimao for some remaning smaller jobs, and later we will go Vilamoura to replace the standing rigg, after that we are well prepared for extended cruising inclusive crossing the Atlantic again

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On the hard working hard

Been on the hard since end August and as we have a lot of project during this off season, we started right away with boat job.

As we did not stay away as long as we had planned there were lots of food and wine to unload

Together with all other zillions of things aboard, we want the boat to be more or less empty as we have a lot of projects planned for the off season. After emptying the boat, we treated our self with a nice sushi

Eat as much as you want for 12 Euro a person, not bad.

But not rest for long, first major job  was to dismantle the gear boxes for the main furling system as I discovered that these super expensive gearboxes shafts were of a not so good stainless-steel quality already after a few months they started to corrode.

See the corrosion on the exposed parts of the shaft already after 3 months in action

For you who have reed my previous post know what a hard work it was before I got the new one in place. Also dismantle the head sail furling mechanism as time to service it.

cof

Picture from when we took it of in Bermuda to service the top swivel. The whole lump weigh about 25 kg.

The electric motor has a poor cable hope I can fix it with a heavy-duty heat shrink tube, else I have to take it to a professional workshop. I have taken the head furling gear to a workshop as it is a very expensive peace of equipment and I do not want to risk damage the aluminium casing. I was recommended a workshop in Portimao who serviced the same type of furler on Lady Annila another Amel SM, which we know.

A bit more heavy duty workshop than many other marinas has , they will also make the shaft for the main furler gearboxes and some other things while they are at it, one problem they are loaded with job and they said “might be ready beginning of December”!!!. Keep my fingers crossed

You who follow, you know that I replaced one of the toilets but when we went out sailing it did not drain, well I found the reason for it.

The stud to the right is the cleaned one the other one is from the other forward lo

The hose between the bowl and the holding tank was totally blocked., I took apart the forward loo hose as well and it  was not long before that one also would have been blocked.

Further

From the copper stud that is glassed in to the holding tank there is a hose attached inside the tank, that was on its way to get a lot of deposits as well, If you want to know how I fixed a hose inside a holding tank? there is a YouTube film, me sorting the whole thing out

and by the way tell the female part of the crew to newer, I say newer put hair in the bowl, it will clog up your pump and destroy the seals.

We have bought new solar panels 2x400w to replace the 3×150 watt on the arc, so 800w on almost the same area as 450w, will be a great improvement. Waiting for two 150 w semiflexible tailor-made 36 v panels from China to put on the bimini, that with the current 2×180 watt on the rail will give total 1,46 Kw of Solar. I have 16×270 Ah LIFePO4 cells soon to arrive from China, but that will be a blog on its own

The Turbo and elbow needed service/replacement

Cleaned out the Turbo

This is how it spins when attaching a vacuum cleaner to it.

Some say it should spin faster and longer after shutting down the vacuum cleaner others say it has no lubrication when not attached to the engine. I decided to just clean it and put it back again, Parts4Engine deliver very fast so if I need to replace it, I just order one for deliver wherever I am, and mount the new one. less than a half day job now when I have done it ones.

Elbow certainly needs to be replaced, I have now a new in Stainless steel to mount

Heat exchanger and oil cooler needed to be cleaned

Strange that the engine does not get over heated when running. The above are example of some of the job going on

Like to see how I cleaned to cooling system, and how a normal day are for us when in Lagos? Click on the link

While I work on the engine Kerstin is cleaning out our drawers, they are lined with some white fluffy fabric, smart solution? Not sure, the fabric stop noise from things rattling around in the drawers but as the fabric is glued fast, it is extremely hard to clean. Kerstin has a hard work cleaning the drawers and restore the waterproofness of our cockpit enclosure

I am not the only with work to do, do not want to swap with the fellow owning this boat

But not only work, we got a very sought-after visit from our daughter with family so for the first time we meet our grandson Alexander

They stayed for two weeks which we spend showing them the delight of the Algarve

We went babysitting so they could for the first time since the baby was born, go out and have a dinner and drink on their own, highly appreciated we believe. Now they are back in Stockholm and we proceed with our boat job.

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