Heartsong III Technical, Maintenance, and Repair Notes
. . . Or “How Many Times Can I Bang My Head and Still Remember My Name?”
These notes were compiled because this boat is complicated and I’m so darn stupid that if I don’t write it down now I’ll never remember all the little nuances that make things work. Often I’ll walk into the port side cabin that we use as a workroom and stare at a project that I’ve been working on and I’ll think “What the hell is this?” So I started keeping notes.
These notes are arranged bow to stern unless I get into a complicated system that covers several areas. I’m going to apologize beforehand as this document is kind of a free association of ideas and things we’ve done.
BOWSPRIT, ANCHOR ROLLERS & ANCHOR SYSTEMS
Heartsong III has a dual anchor roller system. The port side main anchor is a 110 lb (60 kg) Bruce anchor. The port side bow roller has been designed to accommodate this specific anchor with enough clearance so that is doesn’t hit the bow.
I have added two small stainless steel projections on either side of the roller end so that a securing SS (stainless steel) pin will thread through the pin hole on the head of the anchor. I have also added a large SS loop connecting the two port side anchor roller cheeks. This is designed to help distribute anchor-chain side-load stresses. After bending the bowsprit cheeks from anchor chain side load stresses a couple of times we felt this additional loop was a necessity. So far it works.
The Bruce anchor works very, very well. So well that we removed the 60 lb (27.2 kg) CQR from its position on the starboard side roller, and we now keep it merely as a spare in the anchor locker or sail locker. Knock on wood, we didn’t drag significantly in six years with the Bruce. We always set it with a minimum of 3:1 scope, up to 5:1 if there’s any swinging room at all.
We recommend an aluminum Fortress FX 55 anchor which can be mounted and secured with line or bungy cord in the stainless brackets on the stern pulpit for emergencies and as a stern anchor. To launch a stern anchor you can either drop it off the stern with the desired length of anchor rode; or drop a second anchor from the bow and cleat it off the stern (keeping the anchor rode from forward outside the lifelines). If you use the second method of rope rode from the bow you can drop the rode off the stern cleat and use the anchor windlass to bring it in. The stainless brackets on the stern pulpit can also be used to hold the gangplank when it is not stowed in the aft lazarette.
The rode for the CQR anchor is 20 ft of SS chain attached to 200 ft of rope rode kept in the starboard side anchor chain well, ready to go with a SS shackle on the end. The rope rode exit hole is under a spring loaded SS deck cap on the starboard bow.
The Bruce anchor is attached to 300 ft of 5/8″s G40 Ancor chain with two heavy SS shackles and a SS anchor swivel all stored in the portside anchor well with a little slop over into the starboard side anchor well over the rope road.. All these components have been sized with similar working strengths of approximately 5000 lbs. Breaking strength is usually described as 3 to 4 times working strength so these components may distort at about 5000 lbs of pressure and break at between 15,000 to 20,000 lbs of pressure. Something tells me we’ll rip out the fore deck before these components break.
The bitter end of the anchor chain is attached to 10 ft of nylon anchor rope U-bolted into the divider between the anchor chain wells so that if you reach the end of the anchor chain you can cut the rope in an emergency that requires dumping the anchor and chain quickly. If you do this you will lose all the cool stuff I just described so please be careful. If you have time, tie some rope and a float (fender, lifejacket, any visitors you don’t get along with) to the end of the chain so you can find it later.
By the way, the anchor chain was regalvanized and the shackles and swivels replaced while we were in New Zealand in 2001 so the anchor rode should be in pretty good shape. The Bruce anchor was sandblasted and hot-dip galvanized in Trinidad in January 2004.
Now back to the anchor rollers. The anchor roller/bow sprit is a well-engineered, beefy bit of equipment designed to release, lift, and store the anchor. It is not designed to take the side loads associated with anchoring. We have an anchor bridal system that distributes these loads. The anchor bridle is two approximately 20ft sections of nylon anchor rode attached by SS shackles to a central SS plate with a groove that fits over an anchor chain link. I let out the amount of anchor chain that is appropriate ( a minimum of 3:1 scope), slip the SS anchor plate over a chain link, then feed out the chain until I have the amount of anchor bridle out that I want. Then I cleat off the two anchor bridle rodes to the two most forward cleats running the bridle over the bow inside the two forward stanchion bases and under the Bruce anchor and bow sprit. Then I let out the anchor chain to slack it so the bridle takes all the tension.
To avoid rope chafe and paint scratches, each bridle rode is run through a length of plastic tubing that has small lines attached that are placed over the cleat so that the plastic tube does not slide down off the bow. This system seems to work well so far. The anchor bridle assembly is either in the storage unit or in the anchor locker.
On the way to the anchor windlass, the anchor chain passes through a chain stopper, which is mounted on a wooden block. The windlass is not designed to take the load of anchoring all by itself, so please always use the chain stopper. The chainstopper securing device is currently inside the chart table. To employ it, insert the thin edge of the device between two chain links atop the chainstopper, and secure the pin through the stopper eyes.
The windlass has a clutch on top of the vertical drum, which you can loosen and tighten with the flat anchor windlass bar. To use the bar, just feed it into the slots on the clutch. When you loosen the clutch, the chain will fall free. When the anchor is set, tighten the clutch back up. In case of a power failure, this same bar can be used to bring in anchor chain by turning the drum through slots on the drum base. The bar is in a white vinyl cover. It is currently stored either in the offshore bag underneath the settee, or underneath the nav station.
The smooth portion of the vertical drum is used to bring in rope rode. A small push-button switch has been added on the underside of the port side foot switch in the chain locker so that if you are in the chain locker flaking chain, you don’t have to reach outside to turn on the windlass.
The electric motor for the windlass is in the anchor locker. This motor was replaced new in 2002 in New Zealand and the old motor refurbished and kept as a spare. Maintenance and lubrication instructions are in the Maxwell Service Manual (located with all the other manuals in the brown portfolios underneath the computer desk.). There is a grease nipple at the base of the windlass and the gearbox below decks takes gear oil as described in the manual.
A waterproof, foam-filled crash area is built in under the anchor locker to isolate the bow area in case of collision with a floating obstruction. Drain holes in the base of the anchor locker drain overboard at the two small SS drain covers just above the water line at the bow.
When Liza & I anchor Heartsong III we usually pick a spot by mutual consent after lengthy discussion, negotiation, compromise, and occasionally bribery. We do not yell. We avoid this by using the “Sailor’s Relationship Preservation Device,” which is two rather inexpensive Radio Shack two-way radios that have the microphone in the earpiece so wind noise is diminished and hands are free. After we pick the spot that Liza likes I man the windlass and Liza womans the wheel. We motor up to the spot, go into neutral into the wind and gently come to a halt. I have already lowered the anchor out of the bow roller and if the water is less than 15 feet deep I’ll lower the anchor slowly using the down foot switch. Fifty feet of chain is approximately 30 to 31 revolutions of the windlass. If the water is deeper I’ll release the clutch and let the anchor free fall, tightening the clutch as we back away from the anchor keeping enough resistance on the chain to keep the bow towards the anchor and setting the anchor. When we have enough scope out I completely tighten the clutch, stop the chain, and Liza backs the boat under power to set the anchor. If you put your foot on the anchor chain as it comes out of the chain stopper you can feel if the anchor is skipping over the bottom and not setting. We can tell when the anchor is set because the chain becomes tight and the boat stops. This may take several attempts to get it right, but if anchoring were easy, there would be no cheap entertainment at popular anchorages.
- Windlass will not work when foot switches are pressed.
Check the windlass switch on the electrical panel in the nav station, then check the large breaker in the forward cabin on the lower port wall. Otherwise foot switches or motor may need repair, or windlass battery under forward bunk may need charging.
2. Anchor continues to drag.
Let out more scope or find another spot to anchor.
The sail locker is just aft of the anchor locker. This is a huge, excellent storage area that holds spare sails (asymmetrical spinnaker, storm staysail, and storm trisail) and many other items (including a spare roll-up dinghy).
Below the floor of the sail locker is the area that contains the holding tank for the forward head. In heavy weather a lot of green water comes over the bow and no matter how well you secure the sail locker hatch, water will find its way into the sail locker. The water can drain through small holes in the sail locker floor and into the holding tank compartment. To solve this potential problem, I have placed a small automatic bilge pump (Rule Automatic 360 gph) and float switch in this compartment to pump any water out. The fuse for this pump is in the upper port side of the anchor locker hanging down from the wiring loom, and a manual/off/automatic switch is in the sail locker on the upper port side. This pump comes on when the water level activates the float switch. It will continue to run until all but a small amount of water is left. There is a one-way valve at the pump to prevent water running back down the tube. The water is pumped into the anchor chain wells and drains overboard.
Before sailing, always turn the pump switch to the auto position, or you may find water leaking thru the SS holding tank fittings that go through the watertight bulkhead that is the aft wall of the sail locker (which is the forward wall of the forward cabin). After one particularly long, rough trip we found water to the bottom of the holding tank in this area. That’s when I added the automatic bilge pump. The good news, of course, is that the boat is so seaworthy that we sailed for days with a couple hundred gallons of seawater aboard to no ill effect.
Check the system before you go on passages by flipping the sail locker switch to the manual setting and listening for the pump operating. If you don’t hear anything or see any water pumped, the pump may not be working. I’ve had to replace it in the past. First check the fuse in the port side of the anchor locker. If it’s intact pull everything out of the sail locker. Unscrew the entire hatch (not the inspection port) leading to the holding tank area and check the pump. The pump is attached to the locker floor with marine caulk. This is a miserable job, as the holding tank locker smells like a holding tank locker, and the pump is at the base of the locker at arms length. Good luck and wear old clothes.
FORESTAY & JIB FURLING SYSTEM
The forestay is attached to the anchor roller/bow plate by a massive attachment device thru-bolted down the bow. The Furlex jib furling system is manufactured by Selden and has been trouble-free since new. I regularly rinse the furling drum with fresh water and lubricate as instructed in the Furlex maintenance manual with Selden Lubricating Grease. The masthead furling unit also requires greasing and cleaning. whenever you have the jib down and access to the unit. The jib halyard is Spectra rope to decrease stretch and the end of the rope is encased in a larger rope cover so that the halyard will fit the line stopper on the mast. The jib halyard sheave block was replaced new in Trinidad in January 2004.
The jib is a 130% Hood Vectran foresail. Actually both the main and Jib are Hood Vectran. We have been very pleased with these sails so far. They are lighter and stronger than Dacron and so far they seem to have weathered well. We took the sails off and had them completely checked and refurbished in 2000 in New Zealand, in 2002 in Australia by the local Hood sail lofts, in Thailand in January 2003 by Rolly Tasker sails, and again in Trinidad in January 2004. Each time we were assured that the sails were in good shape.
We usually unfurl the jib after coming to course with the main out. Release the lazy sheet, tighten the leeward sheet with the electric winch, release the sheet stopper for the furling system on the starboard side of the cockpit, and feed out the furling line with a couple of loops around the winch to control the line. There are blue stripes at the base of the jib at the bow indicating first and second reef points. Obviously you can let out as much sail as you want with this system.
To furl the jib it’s better to take pressure off the jib and luff just a little bit. Release the leeward (working) sheet somewhat. You can furl the jib with a manual winch handle or with the electric winch handle. If you don’t need the exercise of manual work take the nifty Modea electric winch handle which you have already plugged into its electric socket in the forward starboard cubby hole in the cockpit. Place it in the furling winch and use either low or high power to gently furl the jib. BE VERY CAREFUL. The electric winch handle can exert a lot of force and could damage the sail or furling system if you don’t watch carefully. If there is any question of undue force being exerted, switch to the standard winch handle and winch by hand. Always watch the furling drum as you furl the jib. Occasionally the furling line will foul on a forward cleat or in the furling drum. If it is fouled in the drum stop furling immediately. Too much pressure on the system could ruin the drum and even bring down the forestay. Go forward and release the fouled line by turning the drum by hand. If the line is too badly fouled and the wind is blowing too much let out the jib all the way and drop the jib by releasing the halyard. This is an emergency procedure we have not had to use, but keep it in mind. Avoid having the furling line foul in the drum by always keeping a little pressure on the furling line as the foresail is unfurled. This prevents the furling line from being loose in the drum and overlapping like fishing line forming a rat’s nest in a fishing reel.
The electric winch handle receives power through the starboard side electric winch breaker on the aft end of the electric panel below the Nav table, marked Lewmar & starboard.
The inner forestay is removable. It is best to leave it attached as it adds support to the mast and decreases mast pumping. Do not tighten this forestay so much that it adds any forward bending to the mast as the mast must stay in a straight column to allow the in-mast furling to work properly. Never use the running back stays if the inner forestay is not attached.
The staysail is for emergency heavy weather use only. According to Frers design office the Hylas 54 is a sloop. There is no advantage except in a very narrow sail angle to sailing with a jib and a staysail. If in very severe weather or if you lose the jib you can hoist the emergency staysail on the inner forestay. Run the staysail sheet lines through the forward sheet blocks on the track and back to the secondary winches.
We designed a dinghy cover to carry the dinghy on the fore deck. This cover has a staysail bag sewn into it so that you can carry the staysail hanked on and in the back ready to go. We’ve only used the staysail once when the jib clew block parted and we had to sail to an island in Tonga for repair. We kept the staysail attached in its dinghy-cover-bag on a couple of very long passages when we expected rough weather, but the jib is so adjustable and worked so well that we’ve never had to use it for storm purposes.
The main sail is a loose-footed in-mast furling main made of Vectran. The controls for furling the main are the two forward buttons on the starboard cockpit coaming behind the cockpit cushions. The breaker for the in-mast furling is a small button on the control panel below the Nav station. The button is located on the aft end of the panel above the winch breakers.
To let out the main sail is a 2-step process: 1. First release the main sheet until the boom swings a little bit, and release the boomvang line stopper (which is the middle stopper in the line stopper rack in the stbd fwd cockpit). It is easiest to head the boat into the wind to unfurl the main sail, but it can be done with a little wind in the sail. 2. Then press the unfurling button while simultanesouly winching the outhaul line. The outhaul line is located in the most starboard line stopper in the starboard forward cockpit line stopper rack.
Be very careful and watch the edge of the mainsail as you unfurl it. It is possible for a small wrap or fold to occur along the edge of the sail as it comes out of the furling groove and to cause the sail to wrap or foul. If you continue unfurling you can jam and tear the sail. Avoid fouling by keeping tension on the sail, by winching the outhaul line continuously as the main unfurls. If the outhaul winching becomes tight and difficult, that means you need to release the main sheet a little more. Also, be sure the boomvang line stopper is completely released. To the extent possible, keep the leech of the sail tight by regulating tension on the main sheet.
We have had the mainsail wrap or foul a couple of times in 6 years. Each time it was pilot error – we weren’t paying attention. Usually we were able to release the foul by furling and tightening the mainsail and then slowly unfurling with great tension on the outhaul. On two occasions I had to go up the mast and pull the mainsail out by hand at the foul. This was only because we had continued to unfurl the main when it was fouled and compounded the problem. Lesson is: WATCH THE SAIL AS YOU UNFURL, you can save yourself a lot of grief and bruises.
To furl the main sail, go into the wind and push the furl in button on the stbd cockpit console. Release the outhaul, but keep some tension on it as you furl to keep the sail tight and prevent fouling. One person can easily do this, by pushing the furl button with one hand and slowly releasing the outhaul line in the other. You can feel the proper tension in your hand as you go. It’s very easy – much harder to describe than to actually do.
The mainsail furler can also be operated manually with a small special winch handle we keep in the nav station drawers or the cockpit caddy. The winch is inserted into the winch holder on the stbd side of the mast motor housing. When you push in the winch handle it releases the clutch in the motor. Sometimes the clutch release mechanism sticks so occasionally spray a little lubricant into the insertion. The manual system is easy to operate and can generate more pressure than the electric furling motor. I have used the manual system to reef the mainsail going downwind with the sail against the shrouds when the electric motor could not generate enough pressure and stalled. I would only recommend doing this as a last resort as I could have torn the sail.
The best way to reef the mainsail is to come into the wind until the main luffs, and then quickly push the button to furl in the main while slowly releasing the outhaul. Quickly turn back downwind before the boat stalls and voilá you have reefed the main.
It is also possible to reef without coming into the wind. As the boat comes off a wave, wind pressure on the mainsail will abate momentarily, and the sail will slacken just a bit. You can use these slack intervals to reef the main a tiny bit at a time. This procedure was especially useful in a blow with big seas, when coming into the wind was a daunting prospect. If you try to reef the main when the sail is tight and full of wind, you will probably blow the breaker. If the mainsail stops furling, this is probably what has happened. It won’t happen, however, if you always wait to reef until the mainsail is slack (and of course, the easiest way to accomplish this under normal circumstances is to head up into the wind). Again, the important thing is to watch the sail.
When going downwind, we always attach a preventer line to the attachment point at the end of the boom and run it forward through the midship hawse hole and back to a secondary winch to prevent the boom from accidently jibing in rolly seas.
We have an orange emergency heavy weather trisail that fits into a track on the mast. The in-mast furling mainsail is so infinitely adjustable that we have never had to use it.
The whisker pole to pole out the clew of the jib is stored on its own track on the forward mast. If the wind is from greater than 120 degrees aft the whisker pole can be used to keep the jib from collapsing. We used it a lot, and found that we could go dead downwind wind-and-wing at excellent speed and with a smooth ride.
Use the whisker pole to windward and do not let the wind angle move forward more then 110 to 120 degrees or the jib will be back-winded.
To rig the pole tie the red fore guy and green aft guy lines to the pole end. I sit on the life raft facing the pole to rig it. Use the pole lift halyard on the port side mast winch to raise the pole out of its bail. Be sure to release the two line stoppers for the continuous line on the port side of the pole track to allow the upper pole car to move on the track. Move the end of the pole outside the lifelines just forward of the shrouds and place the working sheet for the jib in the whisker pole jaws. Keeping tension on the aft guy, lower the track end of the pole. As you loosen the working sheet and lower the track end of the pole the jib sheet end of the pole will rise. I forgot to mention that you need to lower the lifeline gate and lead the working jib sheet through the gate for the proper angle on the sheet. Attach the fore guy to the forward cleat and the aft guy to the midship cleat. Adjust the pole height with the pole lift halyard and the track car lift. You want to end up with the pole perpendicular to the deck and even with the height of the clew of the jib . Once the pole is in place, gently unfurl the jib until the clew is at the pole end. Bring the pole aft until is almost touches the forward shroud, but do not let it rub on the shroud. We’ve left the pole up for days at a time going downwind, checking frequently for chafe, especially on the working jib sheet at the pole end. You must furl the jib to bring it to the other side of the boat if you need to jibe.
To go wing and wing, put the jib out to windward as described above. Unfurl the main, and after running a preventer, ease the mainsheet to allow the boom to come forward as much as possible without allowing the main to chafe against the spreaders. Winch the preventer in as tightly as you can to avoid an accidental jibe. You can now sail at any angle from 120 degrees all the way back to 180 degrees downwind.
If the wind shifts to 90-120 degrees, you can always jibe the jib over to leeward with the main. It doesn’t hurt a thing to leave the pole out to the windward side, as long as it is clear that the seas will not come up high enough to touch the pole end.
If the wind shifts past 180 degrees (so that the main is now on the windward side, just jibe the main and move the preventer around to the other side. If the wind shift looks long-term, you will benefit by moving the pole to the other side, but it is possible to sail pretty well for a short-term wind shift without moving the jib.
Another downwind configuration we have used successfully is to fly the poled-out jib alone, without the main. Especially at night with only one person on watch, this allows the crew to accommodate wind shifts without having to jibe the main alone or fool around with the spinnaker.
The asymmetrical spinnaker is larger than the combined area of the main and the jib. It should not be flown in true winds greater than 15 to 18 knots. Use it for apparent wind angles of 90 to 150 degrees abaft of the beam.
The sail is encased in an ATM snuffer and sock. Prepare the sail by running the sheet lines outside all lifelines through the black spinnaker blocks on the aft deck, and then back to the main winches (aftger removing the jib sheets from the winches.) Attach the tack line outside the forward pulpit. I usually run the tack line through the strbd side anchor bow roller and back to the windlass drum so that I can use the windlass to adjust the length of the tack line when the spinnaker is flying. Make sure the snuffer control lines are not fouled before you start. Also make sure that the suffer control lines are tied off to a cleat so you don’t lose control of the process.
To hoist: Head downwind, furl the headsail, hoist the spinnaker on the (green) spinnaker halyard to the mast head (being sure to tape the snap shackle closed first), hoist the snuffer, adjust sheet lines, and come to course.
If you unfurl the mainsail to fly along with the spinnaker, the main just eats the spinnaker’s wind. We found that the boat goes faster and more smoothly flying the spinnaker alone.
To snuff the spinnaker you can unfurl the main to blanket the sail or use the engine to speed up and take some pressure off the sail. Pull the snuffer control line to bring the snuffer down over the spinnaker. It takes about 5 seconds to douse the spinnaker with the snuffer.
The key thing to be careful of while flying the spinnaker is not to let the wind get too high with it still up. Not only does a wind of 20+ knots threaten to tear this very light sail, but the wind also makes it increasingly difficult to get the spinnaker down. If you lose the plot, however (as has happened to us from time to time), and the wind becomes too high, and you cannot get the snuffer down, here’s the best thing to do: Release the tack and let the spinnaker fly out in front of the boat. This should release enough pressure to snuff the sail. It is also highly entertaining, Roman-candle-like.
Whatever you do, never do what we did in the Caribbean once and allow the spinnaker to fall entirely into the water and get underneath the boat. What a mess.
The rig was last fully checked in Trinidad in January 2004 by Trinidad Rigging, the Selden representative. They replaced the intermediate shrouds and spreader boots. They fully checked all attachment points with a magnifying glass and pronounced them in good shape. They tuned the rig and rechecked everything.
By the way, the mast should be kept as straight as possible because of the in-mast furling. The running back stays are for added support and to stop mast pumping, not to bend the mast. We usually do not set the running back stays except in heavy weather going to windward or going down wind. Otherwise just use them to support the awning.
Never set the running back stays without the inner forestay attached.
Also keep an eye on the inner forestay quick-release handle. The large side screws have loosened before, and the handle has fallen apart. Always check it before and after a long passage.
DINGHY STORAGE ON DECK
The dinghy was custom made by Southern Pacific Boats to fit on the foredeck. We use the spinnaker halyard to hoist the dinghy by it’s bow, with the stern hanging down. This is where the Modea electric winch handle (by the way, we named it “Winchell”) is really helpful.
First, remove the outboard and bring it up onto the stern rail outboard storage plank with the crane at the stern. This process is easy with two people, the stronger one in the dinghy to wrestle the outboard off its perch, and the weaker person hauling the dinghy hand over hand with the crane lines until the dinghy is even with the stern rail. Then the stronger person would want to come up onto the deck and wrestle the outboard into place on the storage plank.
After the outboard is secured, walk the dinghy forward of the spreaders on the port side of the boat. Attach the spinnaker halyard to the metal clip on the dinghy bow, beneath the waterline. Wrap the spinnaker halyard around the winch on the side of the mast. Plug Winchell in at the cockpit, roll up the forward enclosure windshield, and bring Winchell to the winch mast through the opening. Hoist away, with one person at the winch and one person fending the dinghy off the topsides as it rises.
When the dinghy clears the lifelines, lower it onto the deck with the aft pontoons nestled between the forward dorades. I use pads on the deck to cushion so the paint isn’t scratched by the oar locks. The dinghy cover has adjustable straps to hold through the teak handholds. As I mentioned before there is a staysail cover sewn into the top of the dinghy cover. There are also straps to holds things on top of the dinghy, such as a kayak. For short daysails in good weather, we don’t bother with the dinghy cover, but if heavy weather is expected, the dinghy cover is by far the most secure way to tie the dinghy down to the deck, via the handholds.
Bringing the dinghy on deck takes about ten minutes. It’s just hard enough to make you want davits, and just easy enough to make you not get them.
MANUAL BILGE PUMP
The manual bilge pump is located on the port side engine room wall facing the nav station under the white plastic cover labeled “WHALE”. The handle is in a bracket located inside the engine room on the port side of the engine. We leave the through-hull for this pump closed because a small amount of seawater can siphon back through the pump especially if heeled to port. This will intermittently set off the small bilge pump #2 and drive you crazy.
Electric power is brought to the boat when at the dock by one of three different electric cords. The primary cord when in US areas with 3-phase 220-volt electricity is the large yellow Marinco cord. This plugs into the shore power box and then into the boat on the port side of the aft cockpit coaming in the receptacle marked 220 V, 50 amp. This receptacle leads to a 5.5 kilovolt isolation transformer behind the trash compactor. The isolation transformer allows 220 volt 3-phase 60 Hz or 220 volt single-phase 50 Hz to be brought into the boat.
The 220 line feeds all 220 appliances then splits into two 110 volt lines. In US 220 3-phase, the plug brings in two positive or hot lines with no negative or neutral (see Nigel Calder’s book Boatowner’s Mechanical & Electrical Repair Manual, page 73, figure 15C).
In European 220 systems, the black power cord has the red wire to positive or hot and the black wire to negative or neutral in the plug that goes into the shore power box. The green wire goes to ground. We have collected numerous shore power plugs from around the world. Hopefully the collection has the plug you might need. You can plug the black power cord into the large Marinco yellow 220 v cord to double the length.
The power line from the isolation transformer leads back to the area in the aft head near the deck power inlet and ties into the power line leading to the electrical panel at the nav station. If power is coming into the boat the line 1, line 2 yellow lights on the electrical panel will glow. The REV light will glow if the positive and negative are reversed. If the lights do not glow, check the breaker at the shore power box, then the breaker in the isolation transformer behind the trash compactor, and then the 220 breakers behind the electrical panel. A multimeter really comes in handy on these occasions.
If all is OK, turn the AC selector knob (on the electrical panel in the nav station) to 220 v shore power.
AC DIESEL GENERATOR
WARNING: BOTH THE GENERATOR AND THE MAIN ENGINE HAVE FORWARD-FACING CLAMSHELL SEAWATER INTAKES AT THE THROUGH HULLS. WHEN SAILING WITH THE ENGINES OFF, OR MOTORING WITH THE GENERATOR OFF, ENOUGH PRESSURE COULD BE GENERATED IN THE SEAWATER COOLING SYSTEM TO FORCE SEAWATER PAST THE IMPELLERS OF THE SEAWATER PUMP, INTO THE EXHAUST, AND EVENTUALLY BACK-FLOOD THE ENGINE WITH SEAWATER. This has not happened to Heartsong III, and we often sail with the through-hull valves open, but you should be aware of the possibility. This can be prevented by closing through-hulls while sailing at high speeds.
The generator is an Onan MDKAL 8 Kw that supplies 220v electricity to the boat. Please see the Onan manuals for all maintenance. This unit will power almost everything on the boat simultaneously, but the breaker on the generator will cut out when the load exceeds 50 amps. This occurs most often right after turning on the battery chargers. When the batteries are below 90% the battery charger on the Heart 2500 Inverter/charger located under the strbd aft cabin berth can ramp of to 90 amps of charging in a few minutes. If several other electrical items are going, it may blow the breaker on the strbd side of the electrical control box on top of the generator. Turn AC selector knob to off, decrease the load, flip the breaker back on, turn the AC selector back to Gen, and slowly add load.
The Racor filter for the Generator is located in the strbd side of the engine room down low beside the main engine. There is a small valve on top of the fuel filter that allows you to purge air from the filter without opening the filter body. Open the red handle and pump the in-line fuel bulb to push air and fuel into the small fuel overflow bottle (the aft fuel tank is higher than the filter housing and if open, fuel will flow without pumping into the overflow bottle if the red valve is open). You can monitor fuel filter contamination with the suction meter on top of the filter housing. I usually use the 2 micron brown Racor filters to keep the fuel as clean as possible. You can empty fuel from the overflow bottle by opening the red valve when the generator is running and it will draw fuel from the bottle (unless the aft tank is open in which case fuel will continue to flow into the bottle because the aft tank is higher than the filter housing).
Seawater enters by a through-hull attached to a strainer on the port side of the main engine. It then goes to the raw water pump, then to a loop with an anti-siphon valve accessed through the aft head shower engine room door. The anti-siphon valves for the generator and main engine drain to the exhaust loops inside of the panel of the port side of the aft cabin clothes locker. The seawater then goes to the heat exchanger, and is ejected into the exhaust elbow.
To start the generator depress the pre-heat switch on the nav station electric panel for approximately 15 seconds; then depress the start switch. Once the generator is running check for an appropriate amount of cooling water coming out the strbd exhaust. If the generator does not start in 5 to 8 seconds depress the pre-heat switch again. Never crank the generator continuously for greater than 10 seconds or continue to crank over and over again with the through-hull valve open as this may back-flood the generator with seawater through the exhaust system.
If the battery for the generator is low and will not crank the generator, you can jump the generator battery at the battery combiner for the generator and main engine located under the forward passage way floorboards. Place the positive wire from the generator on to the main engine positive terminal and then flip on the tie breaker in the front of the engine room upper strbd side. This will tie all the house batteries to the starting batteries.
I always change the oil & filter every 100 hours with high quality diesel engine oil (usually 15/40 the same oil as the main engine so we didn’t have to carry two different oil grades). Drain the old oil by opening the valve on the generator oil pan hose and the valve at the electrical oil change pump then use the oil change pump to empty the oil pan. Remove the oil filter by slipping a zip lock plastic sandwich bag around the filter to catch oil and unscrewing it Put a new filter on only finger tight. Do not over-tighten. Refill the engine through the oil fill hole on top of the engine using a clean funnel. As you fill the engine occasionally check the dipstick to make sure you do not overfill the crankcase. It usually takes 4 to 4.5 liters. Before starting the engine to check for leaks make sure you haven’t left any tools lying about. Run the engine to check for leaks.
The heat exchanger is the white tube below the front of the engine. The pencil zinc should be changed every three to six months. Close the generator sea water intake through hull valve. Unscrew the hex nut on top of the heat exchanger. The zinc screws into the hex nut. Replace the zinc if it is severely corroded. If the zinc is stuck in the hole use a clamp to grasp and pull it out. You may have to tap on it with a screwdriver to loosen it up. A spare heat exchanger is in the port side cabin forward outboard storage area.
1. Generator will not crank:
Starting battery is probably dead. Jump battery at combiner box (see above paragraph).
2. Generator will crank but will not catch:
Check for fuel in tank. Switch tanks and purge air from line. Check for air in Racor fuel filter. Check fault switches on generator control box on top of generator (see owners manual). These fault breakers will “blow” if a fault such as overheating or low oil pressure occurs.
3. Generator stops running:
Most common problem is air in Racor fuel filter. Most common in heavy sea as fuel intake in tank occasionally sucks air as boat rolls. Purge as per instructions above. Next check fault switches on generator control box (see notes above and owner’s manual).
4. Too little or no cooling water from exhaust, or generator overheats:
Check for plastic, etc. blocking water intake. Check for debris blocking strainer. Check raw water impeller. Impeller blades missing or impeller may have stripped and shaft is turning freely in impeller. Regularly check heat exchanger for impeller blades or mineral build-up, and clean. Change heat exchanger zinc every 3 to 6 months. See owners manuals.
WARNING: BOTH THE GENERATOR AND THE MAIN ENGINE HAVE FORWARD FACING CLAMSHELL SEAWATER INTAKES AT THE THROUGH HULLS. WHEN SAILING WITH THE ENGINES OFF OR MOTORING WITH THE GENERATOR OFF ENOUGH PRESSURE COULD BE GENERATED IN THE SEAWATER COOLING SYSTEM TO FORCE SEAWATER PAST THE IMPELLERS OF THE SEAWATER PUMP, INTO THE EXHAUST, AND EVENTUALLY BACK FLOOD THE ENGINE WITH SEAWATER. This has not happened to Heartsong III and we often sail with the through hull valves open, but you should be aware of the possibility. This can be prevented by closing the through hulls while sailing at high speeds.
The main engine is a Yanmar 4JH2-UTBE 100 horse power, turbocharged, intercooled, marine diesel engine. Please see owner’s manual for maintenance and information. The engine drives the shaft through a KM4A gearbox. The shaft passes through a Blue Water Shaft Seal manufactured in New Zealand. Please see owners manual for Blue Water from Chatfield Engineering. The shaft seal is water injected from a valve off of the engine raw water loop. The valve is open only partially as the injection requires only a small amount of water. The shaft seal also has a grease cup on top of the housing. Do not over-grease as this may occlude the water passage. Turn the grease cup a 1/4 to ½ turn every 2 to 3 months. Use a high quality heavy grease The shaft turns a Max Prop 3 blade feathering prop.
This is a good engine. Maintenance is per the owner’s manuals. I change the oil and filter every 100 hours with a high grade diesel engine oil, 15/40, CF grade or better. To change the oil, open the valve on the line from the engine oil pan below the port side of the engine by the oil pan, then open the valve next to the oil change pump. Turn on the pump and empty the oil into an appropriate container. The oil is pumped quite rapidly so be careful. Dispose of used oil appropriately. I don’t change the Yanmar fuel filter as often as the manual recommends because I use 2 micron filters in the Racor filters before the Yanmar filter so very little debris makes it to the Yanmar filter. I turbo-wash with demineralized water about every 50 hours as the manual recommends. (Run engine up to 3000 rpm or so, and spray or gradually shake droplets of demineralized water.)
Seawater enters at the through hull in the port side forward engine room. It flows through a strainer under the floorboards forward of the engine room and then to the raw water pump on the engine. The seawater then goes to a loop with an anti-siphon valve accessed through the aft head shower. The anti-siphon valves for the main engine and generator drain to the exhaust loops in the port side aft inside the port panel of the aft clothes locker. The water then flows to the heat exchangers on the main engine and is injected into the exhaust elbow. The antisiphon valves should be checked and cleaned regularly, at least every 3 to 5 months. If the anti-siphon valve fails or clogs, it is possible for seawater to back-flood the engine and freeze it up entirely.
To start the engine turn the grey fuel selector switch in the engine room at the front of the engine to “engine.” Make sure the through-hull valve is open. In the cockpit flip up the forward, lower switch on the panel in the port side cockpit, then depress the black start button on the Yanmar electrical panel in the strbd cockpit until the engine catches. The engine alarm should stop buzzing and oil pressure should rise. Check to make sure an appropriate amount of water is coming out of the exhaust on the port side. Let the engine warm up at idle for at least 3 minutes. Depending on water temperature the engine may start to run “hot” above 3000 rpm. Cruising rpm is 2200 to 2800 rpm and little speed is gained going above 2800 rpm.
Occasionally run the engine for a few minutes at full throttle to prevent “coking” of the cylinders. Watch engine temp closely and decrease the rpm as the engine temp red lines. Increased engine temp at high rpm was only a problem when we increased the prop angle. Fuel economy can be increased by increasing the pitch of the prop. This might limit maximum rpm by increasing engine temperature, but it can significantly increase fuel economy. According to the engine performance curves and our own experience best fuel economy is between 2200 and 2400. Running at too low an rpm for long periods could cause “coking” of the cylinders. For the long passages under power in the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, we increased the pitch of the prop by 6 degrees to increase fuel economy.
The Max Prop feathering 3 blade prop is very good. It gives great power in both forward and reverse. Service the prop according to the service manual whenever you have the boat out of the water. The service kit is on board. Check the prop zinc frequently and change it when corroded. The zinc can be changed under water if you can hold your breath for a long time. Be sure to hang a bucket under the prop as you change the zinc so that you don’t lose any parts.
If the boat has been sitting for a long time, be sure to check the prop before getting underway. A couple of months of marine growth can greatly effect performance, and can unbalance the prop enough that it feels like a blade has fallen off.
Also check and service the Spurs Line Cutter just ahead of the prop on the prop shaft. The spurs have done a good job of cutting through lines and trash in the water. The owner’s manual and a Spurs spares kit are on board.
The fuel system consist of 5 tanks with a total of 295 gallons that feed to a manifold in the forward strbd side of the engine room. The fuel line then leads to a Yanmar fuel magnet, then to a small bulb pump below the floor boards at the base of the steps just in front of the engine room. This allows you to hand pump fuel into the filter housing after you change fuel filters.
The fuel line then runs to a dual Racor switchable fuel filter manifold which allows you to change fuel filters while the engine is running. I use the brown 2 micron Racor filters in the main engine Racor filter housing.
The fuel line then leads to a 12 v fuel pump. This is an extra boost pump that is only needed to pump fuel if the engine has run out of fuel, if you want to pump fuel between tanks, or if you want to “polish” fuel in one tank. The pull switch for the pump is in the strbd opening to the engine room (the start switch next to the pump switch is not hooked up) and is connected to the DC outlet breaker. If the engines runs out of fuel, you can restart without bleeding the injectors by simply starting the fuel pump and cranking the engine. The fuel line then runs to a selector switch that allows the fuel to go to the fuel filter on the engine or divert the fuel to the fuel return manifold. By using the fuel selector valve you can pump fuel from one tank to another by opening the valve on the fuel manifold for the main engine in the center of the manifold tree, then open the valve you want to pump fuel to on the upper return fuel manifold. You can also “polish” contaminated fuel by recirculating fuel back to the same tank.
Check the suction gauge on top of the Racor fuel filter housing to see if the filter is clogging up. Above 10 may indicate a dirty filter. Always pump the air out of the tank feed lines after you fill the fuel tanks so you don’t suck air and kill the engine. Before starting always check to make sure the fuel selector switch is turned to “engine.” Otherwise you’ll find the engine dying several minutes after starting and usually just as you are making a critical maneuver.
There are two “water in fuel” alarms. One is in the port side Racor filter with the alarm on the Nav station electrical panel. The other is in the Yanmar filter housing on the main engine and alarms at the engine control panel in the cockpit. Drain and clean the Racor filters as per the owner’s manual.
As note earlier there are five fuel tanks with a total capacity of 295 U.S. gallons. The port and strbd forward tanks are 77 gallons, the port and strbd aft tanks are 49 gallons, and the aft tank is 43 gallons. Usable fuel is a little less than total capacity. The two large tanks are located under the main saloon floor and the two mid size tanks are located on either side of the main engine under the galley and nav station floorboards. The aft tank is located under the aft bunk.
The fuel fill holes are located on port and strbd deck amidship and on the aft deck. The fuel valve manifold is located in the strbd forward engine room. We have found fuel gauge systems to be uniformly inaccurate on sailboats so we decided not to have one. We dip the tanks with a wooden stick to check fuel levels, but the most accurate fuel measuring system is recording fuel burn per hour. We fill the tanks to the top of the observation port in each tank when we fuel, and then we record generator and engine hours. Please see our fuel consumption record for estimated fuel consumption for different rpms.
1. Engine will not crank:
Engine start battery may be dead. Flip up the “Tie” switch in the bottom row of the electrical panel in the port side cockpit. This will connect the start battery to the house batteries. There is a second “Tie” switch in the forward, strbd engine room. Try restarting engine.
2. Engine will crank but will not start:
Out of fuel or air in lines. Switch tanks, turn on electric fuel pump, use fuel selector switch to purge air from lines, and then crank engine again. Do not crank engine for more than 10 seconds or several times with through hull valve open. This may back flood engine with seawater through exhaust. Close through hull until engine starts then immediately open through hull valve.
3. Engine dies:
Out of fuel. See above. If overheat alarm goes off, it will automatically stop engine. Also check for debris on prop. A fishing net or other large debris around the prop can stop an engine.
4. Engine rpm fluctuating:
Fuel intake probably sucking air as boat rolls. Switch to full tank. See owner’s manual for further information.
The watermaker is a Village Marine Tech Little Wonder 150 located under the aft dinette. The control panel is located down low on the panel facing the nav station. The unit was completely refurbished and upgraded in 2002 by Village Marine Tech. This included all new plumbing, membrane housings, and electric motor; and a rebuilt pump.
The water intake is “T”-ed off the A/C water intake at the strainer located under the middle saloon floorboards. The intake water goes through a two-way valve to the boost pump. The two-way valve is to port below the floorboards at the base of the steps and is attached to coiled tubing. This tubing and valve allow the introduction of cleaning or pickling solution into the watermaker without having to open up the filter housing. I make up the solutions in a bowl by the sink according to the instructions in the Village Marine Tech Manual and use the tubing to suck the solution into the system. I prime the tubing with water and I always use non-chlorinated water.
Village Marine Tech recently added filter housing cartridges impregnated with solutions for cleaning and pickling. They make the process somewhat easier, but I still like the two-way valve and coiled tube system. Follow the instructions in the cartridge box. The two-way valve can also be used to turn off seawater to the watermaker without closing the through-hull that also feeds the A/C.
The tubing leading from the two way valve goes to a small boost pump and then to the fresh water flush system under the floorboard/dust pan at the base of the steps. This system consist of a grey valve and filter housing. The valve is a 1/4 turn valve. In line with the tubing is open to seawater. In line with the bow is open to the fresh water system.
Chlorine is taken out of the water by the charcoal filter which should be changed every 3 to 6 months. Fresh Water Flush according to the instructions in the Village Marine Tech Manual.
NEVER LEAVE THE SYSTEM UNUSED WITH SEAWATER IN IT FOR MORE THAN TWO DAYS. EITHER FRESH WATER FLUSH OR PICKLE THE SYSTEM IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO USE IT. REPEAT THE PRESERVATION/PICKLING PROCEDURE EVERY 3 MONTHS. DO NOT ALLOW ANY CHLORINATED WATER INTO THE SYSTEM.
The tubing goes from the fresh water flush system to the filter cartridge, then to the air/water separator, and then to the watermaker high pressure pump. The product water (blue) tubing goes to a grey valve plumbed into the fresh water tank valve manifold in the port side engine room. The valve handle points aft to fill the water tanks, and points forward to empty sample water into the bilge below the steps. Always start the watermaker with the handle facing forward to allow the sample water to empty into the bilge, thus discarding the initial salty water. After a few minutes (3-5) you can switch the valve to aft to empty into the water tank of your choice.
I usually open all the water tanks when the watermaker is going to minimize the back pressure unless we are sailing at a severe heel. Check the sample water every few weeks with the electronic water tester. Anything over 300 ppm may mean the membranes need to be cleaned. I have also found that cleaning and then pickling the watermaker for a couple of days improves overall performance.
The brine tube is “T”-ed into the washer/dryer outflow behind the trash compactor. Occasionally check behind the trash compactor to make sure the tubing connections are in good condition.
1. Watermaker switch/breaker trips.
ELECTRICAL FAULT DO NOT RUN SYSTEM. Check for water leaking on electric wiring in watermaker cabinet.
2. No product water flow with watermaker running.
Check for air lock in water inflow path. Check that two-way valve below steps is open to seawater. Check that fresh water flush system is open to seawater. Check that recirculation/recycle valve on watermaker body is open to “brine out”. Check that sample valve is open all the way to tank or to sample. If in mid- position, it stops product water flow from watermaker.
3. Product water quality above 300 ppm.
Clean membranes according to manual. May require two cleanings and pickling to bring product water back to normal. Otherwise membranes may be going bad. Contact Village Marine Tech Support.
HEADS & HOLDING TANKS
The heads are Jabsco electric toilet pumps. The round dial on top of the pump is the activating switch. Turning the switch clockwise flushes the toilet and brings water into the bowl. Turning the switch counter-clockwise flushes without bringing water into the bowl. Use only single-ply or self-degrading toilet paper as thick toilet paper can clog the pump. Occasionally (we did it weekly) clean the pump by flushing white vinegar through the system. Pour the vinegar into the toilet bowl and dry-flush until the vinegar is down into the system as well as the bowl. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes only, then flush it out. If it sits too long, it can damage the system.
The forward head water intake through-hull valve is under the forward cabin floorboards on the port side. It is “T”-ed with the deck wash. The head outflow through hull is under the same floorboard on the starboard side next to the sink outflow valve. The aft head intake is under the aft galley floorboard and the outflow is under the aft head sink next to the sink outflow.
The valves to divert the head outflow to the holding tanks are the gray valves under the sinks. These are two-way valves. One way is overboard, the other way is to the holding tank. The hand pump to pump the holding tanks empty is below the sink. Insert the pump handle hanging on the inside of the sink door into the pump behind the white plastic housing on the outside of the lower sink cabinet. Open the red handle valve inside the sink cabinet by turning the handle in line with the pipe. Pump the holding tank dry. Access ports on deck for the holding tanks are marked “waste”.
The AC and 12-volt refrigeration systems are independent systems. They utilize holding plates so the systems only need to be run 2 to 4 hours per day depending on the outside temperature and how many times a day the doors are opened.
The sea water intake for both systems is located below and just forward of the starboard side of the diesel generator. The water flows from the through-hull valve through a strainer, then through the 12V heat exchanger, then through an air purging valve, then through the heat exchanger tubing on top of the AC ref system, and then overboard above the waterline on the port side aft.
The air purging valve is the red handled valve at the top of the hose loop. This is to purge air out of the system so that the pump does not get an air lock. This occurs whenever the boat is hauled or during rough passages when air bubbles pass under the hull. Open the purge valve to allow air and sea water out of the system. Don’t forget to close the valve when the water pump is running as this will pump a lot of water into the boat. The strainer needs to be cleaned periodically especially in areas with a lot of sea grass.
The switch for the AC refrigeration is the top red breaker outboard on the nav station electrical panel. This system can be run off of shore power or whenever the genset is running as it requires 220 volt AC current.
The temperature in the refrigerator and freezer can be monitored off of the large round thermometers on the aft galley wall. The sensors for these round thermometers are mounted in the warmest part of the box so you can get a good idea of worst temperature. The electronic thermometer records freezer holding plate temperature. Ideally plate temp should stay below -8 degrees C, and after running either compressor for over an hour, should be below -13 degrees to -18 degrees C. If holding plate temp is creeping up it is probably time to run the compressor. The dials for setting freezer and fridge temperature are in each box. Each system can be turned off independently at these dials. The dials are marked for AC or DC (12 volt). The freezer dials should be turned to the highest number. If the refrigerator dials are turned above 5 or 6 items near the holding plates or in the bottom of the box will freeze.
The 12-volt DC system switch is on the nav station electrical panel on the outboard row. This is a black breaker switch. This system can be run at any time off the batteries, but preferably when there is some charge going into the batteries such as when the engine or genset are running, or shore power is connected. The DC system can be set to run automatically by programming the electronic timer on the aft galley wall. This is a seven-day timer that is currently set to run the DC system an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. A single orange colored sheet in the folder containing refrigeration info has instructions on programming the electronic timer. We have left the boat for weeks at a time with this refrigeration system working perfectly.
To use, turn on the black refrigeration breaker on the outboard row. (Warning: there is a breaker marked “ref pump” in the middle row. This turns on the pump that pumps out water from the refrigerator drain. It is operated by a push switch by the galley sink.) At the electronic timer in the galley, slide the small switch on the face plate from 1 or 0 to auto. Another warning! (All these warning are just a little intimidating don’t you think?) Whenever you leave the boat for any length of time with electrical appliances such as refrigeration or air conditioning going, have someone looking after the boat. If a hose breaks these appliances could pump the boat full of water and sink it. Also if the shore power somehow gets turned off you will wind up with a very smelly frig/freezer. This happened to a neighbor of ours and their whole boat stank for a long time.
The DC system consists of the large electric motor turning the compressor all located above the genset. The switching box for the 220-volt water pump is located attached to the roof of the engine room above the pump. This box automatically turns on the water pump if either the DC or AC system is turned on. Since the pump is a 220-volt AC pump, when the DC system is turned on the pump is powered by a 12V DC to 220V AC 600-watt inverter located under the nav station behind the air vent. The inverter leads to a 3 second delay switch, so when the inverter comes on it has 3 seconds to warm up before the load of the water pump is introduced. This is all automatic. I’m just giving you this information so you’ll have some idea of how this works if there is a problem.
The aft shower locker is full of cleaning supplies and materials. There should be samples of all the products we have used and would recommend. There are also things like mouse and rat traps, and mosquito coils. We have never had to use the traps (thank goodness), but the mosquito coils have gotten a workout.
Specific recommended products are discussed along with the items to which they relate.
The interior teak – all surfaces, including the bulkheads – should be oiled about 3 times per year, or whenever the wood starts looking pale or “thirsty.” It was most recently oiled August 1, 2004. Any commercial furniture oil that does not contain silicone will do. Silicone will react badly with the varnish. There are several bottles of the oil we use in the aft shower locker. Apply the oil with a clean cloth. Wait a few minutes, no longer than an hour. Wipe off excess with a fresh cloth. Try to apply with the grain of the wood as much as possible; you can actually tell the difference if you don’t. I oil the entire interior of the boat in about 4 hours (a good rainy-day activity with the air-conditioning on).
EXTERIOR VARNISHED TEAK
The secret of having nice varnish, which we learned from a yacht named Tatanka, is regular maintenance. About twice a year, the exterior teak should get a light sand and a coat or two of varnish. All the exterior teak was stripped and sanded to bare wood in January 2004, so if the regular upkeep coats of varnish are applied, the full job will not need to be re-done again for 4-6 years, up to 10 years if the boat is mainly outside the tropics.
Materials: Blue tape; Epifanes outdoor UV-protectant high-gloss varnish (or any varnish that is compatible with it – there should be extras either in the portside cabin or in a box in the storage unit); high-grade varnish thinner; mineral spirits; many clean rags; high-quality varnishing brush (not foam); thick plastic non-flexible acrylic-like cups (if in doubt as to thickness, double or triple them); Scotch-bright pads (available at supermarket)
Weather: If it looks like it might rain within 6 hours of varnishing, don’t varnish.
Location: It is always easier to varnish at the dock. You can stand on the dock to varnish the toerail, rather than crawling around on your knees and getting a major neck-ache. Also, clean-up is more convenient. Once you do one side, just turn the boat in the slip to do the other. If you must varnish at anchor, it helps a lot to take the lifelines down.
1. Put blue tape (West Marine has it) along the edges of all wood, where it meets fiberglass, stainless, or painted surfaces. Normal masking tape will leave a residue on the deck.
2. For any small areas where the varnish has worn thin, sand carefully with 100- or 200-grit sandpaper, then with 400 or 600, then with 1000. Feather the edges. This should take less than an hour for the whole boat.
3. Put varnish thinner or mineral spirits (cheaper and just as good) on a clean rag, and go over the sanded areas to get all the varnish dust off. Repeat with brand new clean rag. I never use “tack cloth.” It is unnecessary and sticky-messy.
4. In a thick plastic throwaway cup, thin the varnish according to the instructions on the can.
5. Apply varnish to the small sanded patches only. Clean brush completely with thinner.
6. Wait 24 hours. Sand small areas with 1000. Wipe with thinner. Reapply varnish. Clean brush.
7. Wait 24 hours.
8. Sand all exterior wood lightly with 600-, then 1000-grit sandpaper. Wipe down twice with thinner and clean cloth to remove dust. This is your biggest time expenditure, about 6 hours total.
9. Mix varnish according to directions and apply 1 coat. The sides of the toerail are the hardest to do, as the varnish wants to drip down those vertical surfaces. Have a cloth and mineral spirits handy to catch drips. Stroke with the brush in one direction only. Conventional wisdom is to use as few brush strokes as possible (think painting fingernails), but you will have to use several extra strokes to even out those vertical sides. When you do the top of the toerail, be extra vigilant about varnish dripping over the edges onto the sides. Best to do all three surfaces of a small area at once than to do long areas of, for example, the top of the toerail before going on to do the inboard and outboard vertical sides.
10. Clean brush.
11. If you apply the next coat within the time specified on the can, you do not have to re-sand. Otherwise, just rough up the wood with the rough side of a Scotch-bright pad. Mix varnish and apply a second coat.
12. Wait 24-48 hours. Carefully remove tape. You’re done. By the way, there is no such thing as a perfect varnish job; and varnishing is definitely not a good leisure activity for perfectionists! Small drips and problem areas are normal.
Note on handrails: The handrails have covers. My advice is to keep them on as much as possible. We usually sailed with them on, and never lost one, even in rough weather. If you keep the covers on, you should only have to do upkeep on them once every 2 or 3 years. If you give them a visual check when you do the rest of the wood, and there are no worn spots at all, you’re totally OK to leave them until the next time.
Note on drips: Clean up drips instantly with mineral spirits. If they set, they are impossible to get off.
For the stern steps and the teak steps on the sides of the cockpit, I do not use varnish, as it makes the steps too slippery. Instead, to protect the wood, use Decksolje Teak Oil. Use the #1 oil to soak the wood – you can tell after about an hour if it will need another coat. If you want it to look shiny, then wait 24 hours and do a coat or two of the #2 oil. It looks good, but it makes the steps slick, so I stopped using it.
No sanding is ever necessary. (The instructions on the can call for sanding, but they are talking about wood surfaces that you are trying to make look as if they are varnished. My only goal for the steps is to protect the teak from drying out.) However, it is always good to scrub the steps with detergent and a stiff brush and a lot of fresh water before oiling. If they are really dirty or stained, use the teak cleaner kit available at West Mairne. Be sure the steps are bone dry before you proceed.
Apply teak oil with foam brush or cloth once or twice per year, or whenever it starts to look a little dry or cracked. Clean up drips instantly with mineral spirits, as it will absolutely stain the deck, the stainless, and any painted surfaces.
The stern steps were last oiled in November 2003. There should be enough Decksolje on the boat or in the storage unit to last for several years.
Until this year, I used the Decksolje for all exterior teak except for the toerail and handrails. In other words, I used it for all blocks and for the rubrail. In Trinidad, however, we hired a varnisher, and he got carried away, so all exterior teak (except for steps and cockpit grating) is now varnished. You may want to go back to the teak oil if varnish upkeep becomes too time-consuming.
I have tried several other teak oils besides Decksolje, and there may be some left-over cans from those experiments (Semco, etc.), but nothing looks as good or is as easy to apply as the Decksolje. Throw the other stuff away!
The stainless has a built-up coating of protection at this point, so it only needs to be polished perhaps twice a year. In between times, if I see a rust spot, I will walk around and do some touch-up work. If you hose the stainless off with fresh water immediately upon arrival post-sail at a dock, and then wipe it down with a dry cloth or chamois, you will cut your polishing time in half. It’s the salt water that does the damage.
Everybody has their own favorite stainless polisher, but I like Metal Wax. Ordering info is on the side of the bottle, but there are several bottles in the aft shower locker – could last years. Put a little on a terrycloth towel, and wipe the stainless. Immediately wipe off with soft dry cloth to prevent accumulation and flaking. Wipe up drips immediately, as they will stain deck. Use toothbrush for hard-to-reach areas.
Interior stainless & bronze: Same process, same materials. The sink and stovetop shine up very nicely with the Metal Wax.
COCKPIT BIMINI & ENCLOSURE
Clear vinyl panels: Hose and wipe with a soft cloth or chamois after sailing. To clean when the vinyl gets “cloudy” or fingerprinted, use Maguire’s #18 vinyl finishing spray. (I ran out of this recently, and haven’t been able to find it. You may need to get it online. It is by far the best brand.) Just use it like you would Windex (but don’t ever use Windex!). For scratches, there are some clear-vinyl polishing liquids in the aft shower locker. I haven’t found any particular brand to be any better than any other for scratch polishing.
There are white mesh “breeze” panels to replace all the removable clear panels. On the outside of the bimini is an extra zipper on both port and starboard sides, and also aft. These zippers are for the removable blue sunshade that is probably in the offshore bag, or elsewhere underneath the settee. Just zip the sunshade onto the bimini and tie off the sunshade lines to the lifelines for instant extended shade.
Zippers: At least once a year, apply silicon cream or (very carefully) silicone spray to the zips. Do not get the silicone on the blue sunbrella; it stains.
Sunbrella: The bimini is “Captain’s Navy” sunbrella. To prevent mildew, clean inside bimini every few months with very weak solution of white vinegar and water and a soft sponge. When completely dry, spray outside of bimini with marine re-waterproofing liquid (there should be a full bottle in the aft shower locker). Scotchbright will not do as good a job as the marine formula.
Hard dodger: Remove salt water stains with white vinegar, then immediately rinse off with fresh water. To polish, use any non-silicone product. Finesse-It II is the best, and what the paint compant recommends. By the way, you can sit up on the hard dodger with no problem. It’s nice and sturdy.
Wood beneath cushions: Whenever it gets really disgusting, I clean the wood beneath the cockpit cushions with teak oil cleaner and a stiff brush.
Cockpit floor grating: About once every couple of years, you will want to put several coats of Decksolje on the floor grating to protect the wood. Same procedure as stern steps. Don’t use the #2 – it’s too slick. The grating was last done June 2003.
Cushions: The cushions are about due to be replaced. You will notice that the foam does not fit the cockpit as precisely as it could do. This drove me nuts, but the cushions were wearing so well that I couldn’t justify replacing them. However, when you decide to replace the cushions, you might have a look at having the upholsterer re-measure the cockpit to make it all fit exactly. And by the way, there are many different cushion materials these days to choose from. If I had replaced the cushions, I would have looked at patio furniture upholstery material, I think, as being less chafing to the backside than the smooth vinyl.
By the way, we always took the 2 aft-facing seatback cushions below when we departed to sail, as they get in the way. We also usually took one of the long seatbacks down, too, for the same reason, and just kept one on the leeward side while we were sailing.