Sailing and restoring #9874

AaronD

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Aug 10, 2014
545
Catalina 22 9874 Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
I don't know the science behind it -- but all truck and trailer calamities happen on Sundays. The good thing is it makes the trip unforgettable. Glad it turned out as good as it did.
Isn't that the truth? :mad: Ours was about 11:30 PM on Saturday night - and yes, we won't forget that one! Thankful for people who helped get us back on the water, so our vacation was saved.

A few notes about having the boat + trailer towed, as I'm sure I won't be the last C-22 sailor to find him/herself in a bind:
  • BoatUS was really professional - every time I called them, they checked on our safety ("Are you in a safe place? Are all your family members safe? ..."). And they were always really clear about timeline and next steps.
  • Unsurprisingly, I suppose, it was totally up to us to find a good destination to tow to. BoatUS didn't have any advice there.
  • The tow truck they dispatched was a standard automotive flatbed, and the driver hadn't ever put a boat trailer on before. That was my only negative surprise about the experience - I somehow thought that BoatUS towing contractors might be selected for boat-trailer towing experience. But maybe that's too rare a skill-set to expect, even in near the Puget Sound and Lake Washington.
  • Our C-22 trailer just barely fit on the truck widthwise - when we got her aligned just perfectly, we could get her on the bed, but I think one or both tires were touching the side rails. A trailer wider than our C-22 would be out of luck (or waiting for an even larger tow truck - no idea what BoatUS might have done then).
  • As I said above, our trailer jack (a Fulton 1500 lb XLT) made it through the adventure. But even that flexed a bit while being winched. I think a smaller one might have dropped the tongue on the truck, for an even bigger adventure. I wish I had an even beefier roller system. Suggestions?
  • The flatbed was about 3.5' off the ground, so the total height was < 12'. No problems with overpasses. Thankful for a mast riding flat - my old, taller mast crutch that held the aft end up another 12-18" might have been a problem.
  • Once the boat was on the truck (and chained down), she seemed to ride just fine, and we haven't seen any subsequent problems.
  • As alluded above, the brakes + hubs + bearings were relatively new and in good shape. The only thing I know of that might have triggered the problem was a car ahead of me slamming on their brakes in traffic, forcing me to stop shorter than I normally would - I wasn't following especially closely, but I noticed it. By the time we noticed the failure, the bearing buddy was gone, so we'd lost all the grease.
Hope somebody finds that helpful.
 

AaronD

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Aug 10, 2014
545
Catalina 22 9874 Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
How are you deploying those 200 watts of solar?
4x 50w semi-flexible panels, on the bimini with velcro. Or laid out on the cabin + bow when at anchor if we want the bimini down. I have 2 through-deck connections wired in parallel - one near the stern pulpit and one near the bulkhead. So I can plug in from either place.

I'm not very happy with the velcro solution - the velcro sticks to the panels great, but often pulls off the bimini; even stitching in a few places hasn't worked all that well. I may try a magnet solution instead next year - if it works, I'll post pictures.

We have a Rogue 20A MPPT controller. Good design, recommended by @Maine Sail. And made here in Oregon, until they stopped making them. And now we have a Sterling ProCharge shore-power charger. Pictures to come someday (don't hold your breath).
 
Sep 30, 2013
3,297
1988 Catalina 22 central Florida
The Bimini makes sense. I could see doing that in order to run a fridge, assuming 200W on the Bimini plus 60W on the stern pulpit would get the job done.

What about some of those little twist-lock fastener thingies, in lieu of Velcro? The kind most mainsail covers use?
 
Apr 5, 2009
1,654
Catalina '88 C30 tr/bs Oak Harbor, WA
The Bimini makes sense. I could see doing that in order to run a fridge, assuming 200W on the Bimini plus 60W on the stern pulpit would get the job done.

What about some of those little twist-lock fastener thingies, in lieu of Velcro? The kind most mainsail covers use?
They are called "common sense fasteners" and they would be a good choice for this use.
 

AaronD

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Aug 10, 2014
545
Catalina 22 9874 Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
Solar System (failed)

First, the failed attempt. I bought a Genasun GV-10 MPPT controller, which by all accounts is a good controller. The unit is small, and the standby power draw is measured in microamps (yes, that's micro). But I found out too late that the voltages aren't programmable. Its default settings are pretty reasonable for flooded batteries (which are more tolerant of off-spec voltages anyway). But I really wanted to take good care of our expensive AGM batteries. So I replaced the Genasun with a Rogue MPT-2024 20A charger (@Maine Sail recommended it at the time; unfortunately, it's not manufactured any longer). I gave the Genasun to my brother-in-law; hopefully it will serve well on their camp trailer.

One note: Genasun will configure a unit with custom voltages. I just decided the price tag for that route was too close to the larger Rogue controller with a remote display.
 

AaronD

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Aug 10, 2014
545
Catalina 22 9874 Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
Solar System (better)

IMG_2333.jpeg

I installed the Rogue controller in the coffin, and the remote display on the port side, along with the electrical panel. I love having a remote display accessible in the cabin. As I noted above, the Rogue is discontinued; if I were starting again, I expect I'd use a Victron, which has Bluetooth - and I think the full setup would be slightly cheaper.

IMG_2502.jpeg coffin.jpeg panels.JPG

I used Scanstrut cable clams to pass the wiring through the deck - one near the stern pulpit, for plugging in panels in the cockpit, and one at the front of the cockpit, next to the front bimini mount, with wiring leading up the bimini support.

IMG_2504.jpeg IMG_2503.jpeg

I couldn't justify the cost of Solbian panels. For a full-time cruiser, I'm sure they'd be the right choice, but for my usage, I had to stick with cheap off-brand alternatives. Available at Amazon for ~$100 each. At one point, we had a single 100w, but it failed after a few seasons (we think a friend walked on it when it was sitting in the cockpit). When I replaced it, I decided on 2x 50's instead. For a few reasons:

1) They're easier to store when not in use (usually under the V-berth cushions)
2) If we kill another one, we still have a working (if degraded) solar system
3) The price difference between 1x 100w and 2x 50w is pretty minimal

A couple seasons ago, I had to do some remote work during our cruise in the San Juans, so I added another 2x 50's to account for the laptop consumption, so we're up to 4 now - 2x Allpowers, 2x Renogy - the latter seem better made, but all 4 work. I'm pretty certain hard panels would come closer to their rated power output, but the semi-flexible panels are better on a bimini and stow under a cushion - definitely the right choice for us.

Historically, our power budget (when I'm not telecommuting) is ~350 watt-hours per day (or about 30 Amp-hours). I've heard that estimating 5 hours per day x <rated panel wattage> is a reasonable rule of thumb. That would be 500 watt-hours. In the Pacific NW, I estimate 3.5 hours instead, and that seems to come pretty close. That's probably partly related to clouds and rain (it is the PNW, after all), and partly that I don't always pull out the panels if we don't have the bimini up (they work on the cabin-top, but get in the way there).

When we leave Breezy in a slip, I usually leave a panel or two in the cockpit. The batteries are always topped off when we return.

Cost: ~$800
4x 50w panels: ~$400
MPPT controller and display: ~$300
2x deck pass-throughs: ~$50
Wire, connectors, velcro: ~$50

Time: Unrecorded (installation and updates were spread over several years). But I'd guess you can do something similar in ~8 hours.

PS - I have a small 30w panel propped up outside my shop to keep the batteries charged over the winter. I had some extra romex wire from wiring the shop, so I ran a cable from the exterior to the boat (hanging down from the ceiling) and plug it into the normal MC4 connectors. That system wouldn't work in the far north (where the panel would be covered in snow), but here in western Oregon, snow is a rarity. And even our grey winter days provide enough juice to keep up with the parasitic drain. That way I don't have to disconnect the batteries and I can do winter electrical projects without constantly connecting + disconnecting.

Protip: Remember to disconnect the winter charge cable before pulling the boat out of the shop. :facepalm: It turns out that MC4 connectors pull off of romex wire pretty cleanly, but they can't be reused. We'll see if I remember that next spring.
 
Sep 30, 2013
3,297
1988 Catalina 22 central Florida
Historically, our power budget (when I'm not telecommuting) is ~350 watt-hours per day (or about 30 Amp-hours).
Wow, that's fantastic. We consume about 15Ah/day WITHOUT a fridge. What fridge do you have, and can you describe how it is used?
 

AaronD

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Aug 10, 2014
545
Catalina 22 9874 Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
Wow, that's fantastic. We consume about 15Ah/day WITHOUT a fridge. What fridge do you have, and can you describe how it is used?
Sorry for the confusion. That 30 Ah/day was before the fridge. Fridge post coming.
 

AaronD

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Aug 10, 2014
545
Catalina 22 9874 Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
Freezer

I mentioned this in a trip report, but I'll post a couple pictures and a little extra info. We added a little compressor freezer for this year, primarily to re-freeze sealed ice packs for the other coolers. We use Cooler Shock sealed ice packs and Coleman Xtreme coolers - in our PNW cruising grounds, we can usually get 3-4 days from a couple ice packs. And after that, it was bagged ice - resulting in soggy lettuce, rotting peppers, dripping cheese, etc.

So we tried an Alpicool K18 as a freezer. It fits 3 of the large Cooler Shock ice packs, with room on top for a few ice cream bars or a couple quarts of Ben-N-Jerry's. We cycled freshly-frozen ice packs into our coolers every day or two, and it worked great.

IMG_2500.jpeg IMG_2501.jpeg

There are a lot of manufacturers of little compressor refrigerator / freezers. I looked at:
  • Dometic (~$800)
  • Iceco (~$400). Recommended by a friend. It looks like the compressor is probably better than the Alpicool, and might be more efficient.
  • Various other cheap Chinese imports.
I picked the Alpicool over those because:
  1. At $220, it was by far the cheapest
  2. It comes with an AC adapter as well, which we might find convenient for use off the boat.
  3. Unlike the small Iceco, the Alpicool K18 has flip-out handles. I wanted some way to strap it down in the coffin, and didn't want to have to resort to the sort of surgery I did on a $30 cooler (risking $30, fine. Drilling holes in the ends of a $400 item is a bigger risk).
  4. Of the Chinese imports, it was the brand I saw sticking around for the couple years I sat considering this project.
I mounted it in the coffin with a couple footmans' loops, close enough to stern that I can access it reaching through the port lazarette. Not comfortably - I wouldn't want our main cooler there - but it works for a freezer that we only open ~1x daily. It's controlled by an iPhone app, so I can set or check the temp without sticking my head in the coffin.

I wired it permanently via an inline fuse to our switched power bus in the coffin (and bought a second DC power cord to replace the one I used for that wiring, in case we want to use it on a non-boating trip).

As I noted in our trip report, the freezer used up most of our ~100Ah usable battery capacity in ~60 hours without solar, or ~40 Ah/day. I didn't try to track it very precisely, but after we were recharged and turned it back on, I think that usage rate was pretty consistent. So in the PNW, our 200w of solar won't quite keep up with the freezer along with our other electrical usage (~20-30 Ah, as I noted in the solar post above), but it will keep us going for several days. And if necessary, it's no problem to turn off the freezer for a couple days until we get back to sunny days or shore power - just pop the freshly-frozen ice packs in the coolers and we're fine for a few days.

I can't really comment about longevity of the Alpicool, but it's worked fine for us thus far.
EDITED TO ADD: The Alpicool's insulation isn't ideal for use as a freezer. It's sometimes cool to the touch, and I noticed some condensation in the coffin. I plan to try wrapping it in XPS foam insulation; perhaps that will reduce the condensation (and might reduce power consumption too).

Cost: ~$250, including a little wire and connectors, fuse holder, a couple footmans loops, etc.
Time: 2 hours
Weight added in the coffin: ~25 lbs
 
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