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An introduction and a request for tips/advice/wisdom for an idiot in a 1985 40'

Oct 22, 2014
13,063
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Welcome to the forum @limbodog . Is that a name about your flexibility or that you like to play Caribbean dance music?
Wow... you started the introduction with a great story... I kind of like it.
I have a little connection regarding boats. My purchase is a 1974 boat in 2015 that had been used as a livaboard for maybe 10 years. The first thing I did was just to spend time on the boat writing down lists of what I saw that I thought was wrong and needed change.
Then I took a weekend and identified the way and how I wanted to use my boat.
It was to be a place to live while doing business in a city 250 miles from home. This meant it needed certain facilities. Dry, warm, place to sleep. A way to prepare meals. Some work space with connections to the outside... etc. The list was as generic as I could make it.

Then I started fitting the boats structure in to this list. Example No heat in berth area. Fine for summer based for winter.

This helped me create a list of priorities that needed to be accomplished so that I could safely use the boat. While now 3 years later, I have accomplished a lot and have enjoyed the opportunity to sail her, she is still a work in progress and I continue to review and add to - subtract from the LIST...

Along the way I have enjoyed the help and wisdom of the sailors here.

Looking forward to your list.
 
Jul 16, 2018
120
Hunter 40 Boston
Your bilge pump should be connected directly to the battery with a fuse within a few inches of the battery. The thinking is that there should be no way to accidentally leave the boat without a bilge pump being able to operate with the float switch. On my boat the bilge pump switch is a manual type and only has two positions: momentarily ON that bypasses the float switch and when the switch is released it defaults to the float switch position. Not sure how your auto switch is wired. It does appear to be wired correctly to the battery though.
That makes sense. Mine is clearly unhappy, but I haven't figured out what needs to be done yet.

I've got 2 size 31 batteries. The bilge seems to go through the DC panel, but also can be wired directly to the battery. I have to turn on the switch next to the battery to activate the bilge, even if it's set to auto. My setup has 3 settings: "off, manual, auto," and all three require the DC power panel be on and bilge switched on. I think, however, that the extra wires would bypass the panel entirely.

My second related problem is that the battery seems to be insufficient to empty the bilge. After 50mph winds and heavy rain last weekend, I had a fair amount of water in the bilge when I got home. Turned on the DC and it powered up, but didn't lower the water level. I hooked up my 110 battery charger to my battery and then it emptied the bilge (and the charger said the battery was at 88%)

It's possible I was just impatient, but i am wondering if my batteries need a lot of desulfation or something. Could it be that, fully charged, they just aren't packing enough power to lift water 5 feet up?

+1 on removing fresh water supply from dock.
Haven't actually hooked up to water since I pulled in to the slip. Only when I was testing the system on dry land at the boat haulers. But yeah, that idea is now out the window.
 
Jul 16, 2018
120
Hunter 40 Boston
Welcome to the forum @limbodog . Is that a name about your flexibility or that you like to play Caribbean dance music?
...
Looking forward to your list.
Hah, well, I used to have a different name online back in the 90s, but someone in a chat room said I stole their idea for a name, so I looked at the roster of the chatroom and saw "LambadaCat" was above my own name, and from that derived "limbodog"

And yeah, I've been looking at how best to prioritize. I also have to keep funding in mind. No point putting really expensive jobs I can't afford to do right now at the top, etc.
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,471
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
Sounds like the first concern is a living space you can be (edit: comfortable, not conditioned) in. Then you have time to tackle the rest at your leasure. Exciting change in your life. I'm jealous. My son is looking for a new apartment in DC and I keep saying, how about a boat?
My wife just does :snooty:

-Will ( Dragonfly)
 
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Jul 16, 2018
120
Hunter 40 Boston
Thankfully, I can sleep in a side berth while things get sorted out. It's not ideal, but it'll do.

I'm starting to worry more about what winter holds in store. But I'm trusting that whatever it is, other people have dealt with it before and I can follow their footsteps.
 
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Nov 18, 2016
101
Hunter 260 Lucky Peak, ID
Limbo D,
Subscribed. So - am assuming you are running shore power directly to your heater and dehumidifier and not through the as current suspect boat wiring?
1. Second the idea of a few CO detectors immediately - can't fix the boat when you die in your sleep.
2. We ski out of our pickup camper all winter and have been as low as -25F. (Use catalytic heaters vented & plumbed into the interior propane system w/disconnects as we are off the grid.) A few ideas:
a) insulate underneath (and on the side) of your sleeping quarters. Cold water against the hull will draw heat - we have used bubble wrap over closed cell foam with good success.
b) synthetic insulation will keep you warm while damp. A good synthetic sleeping bag will be your most efficient bedding. But - a synthetic duvet will be most comfortable - utilize your bedding to stay warm vs. heating the entire boat - it will have cold spots. Dry your bedding in the sun during warm days - good to have a boom.
c) consider trouble shooting your diesel heater - overall more efficient and safer than the portable electric space heaters.
d) does your slip freeze in the winter?

Enjoy - you will learn as you go!
 
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dakno

.
Jun 22, 2009
209
Hunter 41DS new orleans
Im sure your batteries are toast, avg life of 5 years if properly maintained. Space heaters draw 15 amps each on high setting. You should be able to use 2, 1 port and one starboard on low setting(10amps). My experience is hunter put one 15amp circuit on each side of hull for cabin use. You don't need a dehumidifier as the space heater does the same job. Big puffy sleeping bags make great bedding. Get a shop vac and dry your bilge, spray cleaner and repeat till bilge is satisfactory. Pritorize, shore power plugs and breakers(inside and out), new group 31 batteries, inverter functioning. Once done, get to the fresh water system. Until then buy some 2.5 gallon water jugs with the attached valve for temporary fresh water. Inch by inch is a sinch.
 
Jan 19, 2010
649
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
Please tell me that this boat was not purchased in Hingham, and that it's owner sold the boat thru a brokerage after being transferred to south east Asia.
 
Mar 20, 2011
525
Hunter 31_83-87 New Orleans
Congrats on the new home. Looking forward to following your successes in the numerous projects. I can’t say enough about running a dehumidifier 24/7. Keep one running on my boat and it’s made a huge difference in the interior. Check out Big box stores for a reasonably priced unit and have it discharge into an overboard drain. Good luck surviving NE winters.
 
Jul 16, 2018
120
Hunter 40 Boston
Limbo D,
Subscribed. So - am assuming you are running shore power directly to your heater and dehumidifier and not through the as current suspect boat wiring?
1. Second the idea of a few CO detectors immediately - can't fix the boat when you die in your sleep.
2. We ski out of our pickup camper all winter and have been as low as -25F. (Use catalytic heaters vented & plumbed into the interior propane system w/disconnects as we are off the grid.) A few ideas:
a) insulate underneath (and on the side) of your sleeping quarters. Cold water against the hull will draw heat - we have used bubble wrap over closed cell foam with good success.
b) synthetic insulation will keep you warm while damp. A good synthetic sleeping bag will be your most efficient bedding. But - a synthetic duvet will be most comfortable - utilize your bedding to stay warm vs. heating the entire boat - it will have cold spots. Dry your bedding in the sun during warm days - good to have a boom.
c) consider trouble shooting your diesel heater - overall more efficient and safer than the portable electric space heaters.
d) does your slip freeze in the winter?

Enjoy - you will learn as you go!
The 110 outlets are in good shape (thankfully), presumably PO has never altered them in any way. So I run the heaters off that without issue so far. Same with the little dehumidifier. Biggest issue is where to keep the heaters. Room for one in the salon next to the ice box, but no clue about #2 yet.

1. Not super worried about CO detector, but will pick one up soon anyway. I have no source of CO on board that's in use. The CNG isn't on. The stove doesn't get used (at least not yet) and the heat is all electric. There's a CO monitor installed, but I don't know how to test it (need to find the manual for that)

2. I get the impression that the marina doesn't want people drying laundry on their decks, but if I see others doing it I will follow suit. I'm actually at a loss for how to keep towels dry once it gets below freezing 24/7. Thus far I shower at the marina and then let my towel dry in my car while I'm at work. I've been using a sleeping bag thus far, but will keep your suggestions in mind as it gets colder.

c. Yes, using a blower heater, and an oil-tank fanless electric heater. both pure electric. No CO.

D. I don't know. Possibly, but I'm not sure yet.
 
Jul 16, 2018
120
Hunter 40 Boston
Im sure your batteries are toast, avg life of 5 years if properly maintained. Space heaters draw 15 amps each on high setting. You should be able to use 2, 1 port and one starboard on low setting(10amps). My experience is hunter put one 15amp circuit on each side of hull for cabin use. You don't need a dehumidifier as the space heater does the same job. Big puffy sleeping bags make great bedding. Get a shop vac and dry your bilge, spray cleaner and repeat till bilge is satisfactory. Pritorize, shore power plugs and breakers(inside and out), new group 31 batteries, inverter functioning. Once done, get to the fresh water system. Until then buy some 2.5 gallon water jugs with the attached valve for temporary fresh water. Inch by inch is a sinch.
I've got a little dehumidifier running, it's pulling about a cup of water every day so far. Probably not a lot, but better than not doing so. The oil-tank space heater won't reduce moisture. I'm not sure if the blower space heater will or not, but hopefully at least it keeps it in the air and not dripping from cold surfaces.

The shore power has a build in breaker. I honestly don't know what the standard issue breaker/fuse situation is for my power console yet. It's on my list to investigate. But I am going to replace some of the 110 outlets with GFIC asap.

Two new batteries would be unfortunate, they're not cheap. But maybe I can put them on the december list.

I've been using jugs of water thus far and its' not so bad. I haven't minded the trips to the marina if I need the loo, but I suspect that will get old as it gets colder.

And I am still dealing with some incoming water. I can empty out the bilge, but with the constant rain and wind we've been getting since my boat arrived in Boston, I'm still adding water. I haven't seen any direct leaks anywhere, but I think my hull seam may be the culprit. I'm also concerned that my engine leaks water as there's a couple inches of water below it, tho' it could have just splashed in when I was in one of the storms.

So many things...
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,471
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
When I was a kid, my family lived aboard for nearly 4 years in the 70s. To dry our clothes, we went to the laundromat. The only people I saw hanging more than a towel or two out to dry on the life lines were transients on the hook. Living alone, as opposed to a family of five, you shouldn't have to go very often. It can even be a pleasant couple of hours if you take the right book or have an internet wifi connection so you can chat with the SBO community.
Otherwise, leave a fan on your clothes while you're at work. You'd be surprised at how fast moving air can dry stuff out.

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
Jul 16, 2018
120
Hunter 40 Boston
Yeah, there's laundry at the marina, but I don't want to run the drier daily for a single towel. But yeah, the fan is a good idea.
 
Sep 25, 2018
10
hunter 27 tall menominee marina Michigan
your loss of power could be due to a collapsed/plugged fuel tank vent hose, insects like to build nests at the vent or see my photo,,I found that these boats that sit in boatyards for years, will heat up so much the hoses collapse,
 

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Nov 25, 2018
17
Hunter 40 Boston
Congratulations. I too came across a 1987 Hunter 40. I purchased it at the end of October. I upgraded from a 26 foot MacGregor.
The boat was in the water In Ithaca NY, and was hauled out and set and its cradle last week
I am looking to bring it to Boston in the Spring and adress all the problems that it has.
I literally just joined this forum and hour ago and was compelled, by your story, To respond.
I'm excited to be one step closer to living the dream
I look forward to following our stories
 
Jul 16, 2018
120
Hunter 40 Boston
Hello Megaman!
Well, I wouldn't be surprised if we encounter a lot of the same issues. I don't know how many changes there are from 85 to 87, but I'm guessing not a lot of 'em.
 

DaveJ

.
Apr 2, 2013
351
Catalina 310 Niagara-on-the-Lake
Not sure if you have scuppers on your boat, these are the holes in the floor of the cockpit, used to drain the water out. It is possible that the hoses to drain the scuppers are cracked/broken, this would allow water to access the bilge. If you have an open transom then you likely don't have scuppers.

Cheers
dj
 
Jul 16, 2018
120
Hunter 40 Boston
Yup, got two scuppers that cross under the transom. I checked those and they seem dry. The water appears to be coming in further aft possibly. Or it's possible it's coming in through the pedestal and then flowing backwards. I'm not sure what's going on between the deck and the aft bedroom ceiling.