Jim and I took Hardfin out for a sail the other day to see what was going on. Here are the results…
Haha… snow. We don’t have snow in San Diego. We don’t have fresh water either, but that’s beside the point.
We don’t have Frostbite Racing in San Diego… because we don’t have frostbite. Which is pretty awesome.
What we do have is sun, and lots of it! For those of you out there braving #snowpocalypse this President’s Day weekend, I’d like to show you some of what we did.
Our friend Beth (formally crew, formally ballast on the smaller boats) came out from Indiana because it was cold or something? I don’t know. Maybe she had extra money. Who knows. I didn’t really ask. But it was a great excuse to get out on the big bay and take advantage of what are even for us unseasonably warm temperatures. #globalwarming maybe.
It was a beautiful day. 70 degrees (the coolest in a week), a good west wind at an indeterminate speed (we lack instruments), and a six pack of good local beer.
Capt. Jim said we got up to 6.8 knots at slack tide around Ballast Point according to our OpenCPN program. We’ll download the track next time he’s down there to check it out. But that’s pretty good for HardFin.
Henry did great on the big boat. Just walking around the cockpit between all the adults with his life jacket on. He didn’t even fall asleep in the car on the way home.
The only down side was that it was a short day. Winter is still winter after all, and that sun only stays up so long. I think we headed out at about 11am and were back at the dock at 2pm. Not a long day, but one of those days that just makes you wish for summer to be here even sooner.
I’m energized to try and plan that trip out to Lake Havasu for the spring. It should be a lot of work, but a lot of fun too.
Here’s to cool friends, close family, and cold libations!
The summer has been slow on the sailing front. San Diego has been experiencing an unusual heatwave coupled with awful humidity stemming from the anticipated el niño weather event we’re expecting. Just monsoonal moisture flowing up from Baja California and sitting right above San Diego. Gross.
Luckily most of the club had plans for the summer that didn’t include sailing. A lot of traveling. Kate and I for example are spending the week in England for my father-in-law’s 70th birthday party. The family threw him two surprise parties. In my time visiting England I’ve noticed a few things.
- The English can drink. I’ve never seen so many people of that age consume that much beer. The beer is room temperature and flat as I’m sure most Americans know. It’s truly impressive and put me (and most Americans) to shame. Kate and I have been recovering this week.
- England is essentially the birthplace of sailing. Richard (Kate’s Dad) for example has an amazing 27′ sloop he sails on the Norfolk Broads every year. It is in no way shanty (and is actually the inspiration for the electric drive on HardFin). I don’t have a better picture, but the boom can be seen in this one.
We can’t wait to get back to San Diego, Libby, and back out on the water, but for the time being I’m enjoying the culture, the differences and (surprisingly) the nice summer northern weather. I mean, it’s only rained once since we’ve been in Manchester!
In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the Shanty Yacht Club on Twitter (@shantyyc) where Steve is surely documenting his road trip across the country at present. You can send him annoying tweets that will ping his phone while he’s in traffic. Hah!
Until then, may you have fair winds and following seas.
As I’ve been working on HardFin to get her ready for more overnight trips (read: Catalina, Mexico, Channel Islands) I’ve been obsessed with her power consumption. Captain Steve would probably say it’s bordering near OCD obsession. But since Steve isn’t an expert in the DSM 5 manual I’m going to ignore him and go right on upgrading.
One of the easiest things I thought to do would be to upgrade the lighting onboard HardFin. When Kate and I bought the boat the interior lighting was the standard 1157 incandescent bulbs that you’d find in your car with a high and low setting. Rather than replacing every fixture on the boat, I figured the easiest thing to do was to get new LED bulbs that would fit the fixtures. And since I’m lazy, that’s exactly what I did.
Since the incandescent bulbs draw essentially one amp per hour running on the bright setting, I needed to find something more energy efficient since while underway HardFin is only powered by the one solar panel.
Amazon had these bulbs listed as break lights for less that seven bucks so I figured I’d give these a go to begin with. Upon arriving I wasn’t entirely sure they were going to work with the setup on board. First off, they appeared much longer than the incandescent bulbs and the shape is entirely different.
When I got down to the boat I tried installing them first in the rear cabin since there’s two light fixtures and I thought I could compare the two bulb settings relatively easily.
My fear that I’d bought yet another item off Amazon for the boat that wouldn’t work proved unfounded as these bulbs plugged right into the sockets for the existing lights with no problems whatsoever.
I did this test during the day, so I’ll have to do it again at night, but from what I can see, the new LED lights give off a pleasant blue hue which I tend to like more than the harsher white hue given off by the incandescent. That’s probably a matter of taste, but I think I’ll like it more at night.
The LED lighting is drawing one tenth the power of the incandescent setup. Next step, testing the illumination levels.
Obviously, you can tell from the photos that the illumination on the incandescent is much brighter. How much brighter you ask? A hell of a lot. As I said, I did this test during the day, but there was still an astounding difference in the illumination level. I downloaded a lux meter app on my phone and got to work determining light levels. Setting it during daytime was a bit of a pain in the ass, but even if these aren’t 100% accurate levels, the comparison tells the tale.
The incandescent bulbs read just above the “sunrise” level while the LED bulbs barely registered on the “light bulb” setting just below. They were actually closer to the moonlight level.
But as we all learned from Mythbusters, and since I was doing this test during the daytime, diffusing light off a plain white surface was really the best light reading I got all day.
Bouncing the light off the white pillow case in the back cabin registered 9,280 lux with a peak of near 30,000. So, when it comes to lighting I learned the following:
- Don’t test this crap during the day time. I need to redo the test at night.
- LED lighting is going to sacrifice light for power, unless I find some different bulbs.
- The power savings were nearly 90%. I need to get the ammeter hooked up soon to show the actual figures, but just running the multimeter showed the savings. If only I had a second set of hands to take pictures.
- Steve should do this on his boat since he’s running a 35 amp hour house bank at the moment. And only 15 watts of solar.
Remember to sign up to the mailing list on the right hand side of the site!
So Jim figured he needed to switch out his house bank batteries with new ones. That, he thought, must be what was preventing the diesel from starting. Fair enough. A reasonable assumption anyway. So, we headed down to Costco to grab two new batteries, which I assured him would be enough for his modest power draw. 2 Group 27 batteries: $200.
Installing them was actually far easier than I thought it would be. HardFin has a really nice engine room where its pretty easy to get to things. So, we killed the power, unhooked the batteries, slid them out, slid the new ones in, and hooked it back up. Easy peasy.
Then we went to try and start it…
Eh… not so much huh? So next step is to have someone come look at this old diesel. Jim said that there were a total of three of these things ever built. So, clearly, that’s a good design.
On the plus side, with a little more elbow grease, were were able to get some vibration insulation under the motor batteries for the electric system. Having those things up off the hull can only be a good thing. And that went pretty straightforward as well.