Thursday, December 21, 2017

Hiaqua 37VT03's New AC/DC Electrical Panel & Wiring

From: Randy Miller <>
Date: December 20, 2017 14:43:10

Our major electrical project is finally complete and operational. It started with removing the last bit of 35 year old copper wire (AC & DC) from the shore power inlet to the main fuse panel breakers. The entire main fuse panel wiring was gutted, circuits reorganized, labeled and re-wired (both AC & DC). I designed a new fuse panel using pre-wired Blue Sea circuit breaker panels which just fit in the existing space. A (#8101) ELCI 120V Distribution Panel unit was installed along with three (#80230 12V DC (8 position) Distribution Panel units plus new analog meters. 

A new shore power Smart Plug was installed along with cleaning up the AC distribution terminal block (re-wiring and labeling). 

I did most of the concept design last summer while cruising so the final drawings and panel machining was nothing compared to all the wiring prep work and final makeup. This part certainly became way more involved than I had originally thought. Some circuits had to be split up and new ones created. 

Then I focused on untangling and diagramming the AC side with the help of my ABYC electrician. Starting from the shore power inlet to the AC distribution panel and on to the main back panel, everything was cleaned up, re-organized, new wire run and labeled.


I feel much better finally understanding the mysterious AC side of boat wiring and now able to complete accurate wiring diagrams of this last mysterious area. I also added a third DC panel to the right of the main panel. This panel was recessed in a teak frame.

During the process, the old panel was hung on the port door and just connected by the bare minimum AC & DC during the process. An extension cord was used to supply AC power as needed.

With all the various color code systems for DC (White & Blk, Brn & Yellow, Red & Blk) and then (Blk & White) for AC, I found it best to focus on one side at a time…..Far less chance off error and big sparks. I basically gutted all the DC wires except for a few necessary circuits labeling everything first.

What an improvement! (Working modular breakers positioned to ones liking, working lights, backlit meters, backlit nomenclature and custom label names). Really nice!

We are back up running again and ready to head out for a New Years cruise.

Randy & Yvonne

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Hiaqua's 37VT03 Electrical Panel Upgrade

From: Randy Miller <>
Date: December 12, 2017 11:38:26

Just finishing up this major AC & DC breaker panel rewire. No more 35 year old electronics and old CU wire. Re-wiring 120v & 12v in the same enclosure really keeps you on your toes!  Just one more day.....I hope.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

John William 37VT68: Teak Deck Removal, Part 3

Sometimes I'm amazed at how Tommy's workers did things. I had some separation of the glass to the core if you want to call it that. The rectangular pieces are solid glass placed atop globs of thickened resin known as dum dum. This is found through out the boat as a filler since it has ground glass in it, not really a good adhesive. The rectangular pieces do not have a filler and appear to be just hardened resin and some were loose. I spread thickened epoxy on top with the first coat thin so it would fill in the cracks and gaps. I then used the same adhesive filler and used a thick layer to put the glass back in place.

Next project is remove the hatches and the teak under them.

The front deck has a core also and only found a couple of small spots that do not bother me.

I also found that several of the frames in the side deck are full of water have dried them out best I can with a vacuum cleaner.

If the weather holds I hope to have the decks and bulwarks primed and ready for final paint mid week.

The blocks [pictured above] are from my paver wall which I used as weights to hold down the glass I cut out when I epoxied it back in place.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Boating Safety Eduction

Bicki Howell, Nellie D. 37VT63

According to the American Boating Association, boating education saves lives.  And in that vane many states are requiring boat operators provide proof of completion of a safe boating course (Boating Education Card) when operating a vessel in their state waters.  

When operating your boat in various state waters it is important to know their specific laws and requirements for possessing a Boating Education Card.  But, it gets a little confusing because the law tends to vary from state to state.  In our State of Maryland, the Boat Education Card is mandatory for anyone born on or after July 1, 1972 who is operating a motorized vessel on Maryland waters.  In Washington State, all boat operators born after January 1, 1955 must have proof of completing a safe boating course.   Florida requires anyone born after January 1, 1988 to have the Boat Education Card.  Everyone operating a pleasure craft in Canada must have a Pleasure Craft Operator Card or proof they passed a boat safety course in Canada [Note: US Citizens operating a boat in Canada for more than 45 consecutive days must have the Boating Education Card or the Pleasure Craft Operator Card].  The good news is that every state (and Canada) which has mandatory boater education requirements also has reciprocity, in other words they will accept Boat Education Cards issued by any other state. 

Since we routinely cruise our boat outside of our state and are currently in Canadian waters, we thought it prudent to complete the course work to obtain our Boating Education Card.   There are several ways to complete the training.  Courses are offered by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, The US Power Squadron, National Safe Boating Council, Boat-Ed and Safe Boating America, just to name a few.  Courses can cost upwards of $29.95 and most can be completed on line.  

I searched for the least expensive and easiest way to complete the course and obtain the Boaters Education Card.  The winner, in my view, was BOATUS Foundation's On-line State Specific Boating Safety Courses at:  The Maryland course has 6 lessons which are estimated to take 4-8 hours to complete, followed by a 75 question final exam. After passing the exam you can print a certificate for proof of completion (free) or submit the printed certificate to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for an official Boat Education Card ($10 fee).  .    So, this Winter Dave and I plan to complete the boating safety course through BoatUS.  With the Boat Education Card we will both be in compliance with any state and Canadian laws regarding boater education requirements.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Annual Coast Guard Documentation Renewal

Lee Anderson, Jack Robert 37VT17

All of our boats, a total of 3, have been Coast Guard registered vessels and this is true for Jack Robert.  Just getting the registration transferred when we purchased him was an ordeal but that is another story.  I only bring it up so that you might think I would pay attention to the renewal date and take care of getting the Document of Registration renewed on time.  There it sits prominently displayed in a frame right in the wheel house where I can see the date easily…but didn't.  When I did finally notice that I was out of date it was beyond the grace period.  So now what?

I went on the Internet, did a search and went to what I thought was the Coast Guard document center to the document renewal page.  I was so frazzled and in a hurry, I did not really look at the site closely.  The  pictures below of the site I went to and the current USCG site.  

You will notice the Internet address for the site I went to is not a .mil site but a .org site.  The colors match the USCG site and it looks pretty official.  I thought I was where I was supposed to be but I really did not look closely enough.  It cost me big time.

I went along working feverishly to get my document renewed without paying any attention.  In the past I had always gotten a renewal notice in the mail and it was free.  Things had changed.  The USCG no longer sends out an annual renewal and now renewing has a fee attached to it.  I did not know what the fee was.  I was absolutely floored when I saw it was going to cost me $86.  The actual USCG fee is $26 but I was not on the Coast Guard site.  I was actually on a third-party site that did documentation submittals for the unwary.  For the extra $60 I got nothing extra that I would not get going directly to the Coast Guard site.  I found out later that the USCG has changed their site to try and reduce this from happening to other people.  The new site is much easier to navigate than the previous site.  There are two lessons I have learned.  First, take my time when on the net and make sure I am where I actually want to be.  If I don't, it could cost me.  The second lesson I have learned is to use my calendar app to put in a reminder to do the renewal a couple of weeks before the expiration date.  This will provide a reminder in time to get the renewal processed.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Can We Make It?

Dave Howell, Nellie D. 37VT63

A definition of stress?  A strong current pushing your tug into a bridge that you're not sure you can get under.

Here's a simple, inexpensive solution: a landscaper's level (see photo below).  With the mast down the highest object on Nellie D. is the wheelhouse mounted radome.  So, positioning the level at the radome's height and then looking at the bridge through the level tells us all we needed to know.  If the level's reticle is below the height of the lowest steel there's clearance.  If not, it's probably best to wait for the bridge to open.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Pre-flight Engine Check

Dave Howell, Nellie D. 37VT63

We have a good head of stream on when, all of a sudden, there's a loud bang and Nellie emits a big cloud of black smoke from the exhaust.  Bicki and I exchange a brief anxious look before Bicki throttles down and I dive into the engine room.  I look at the engine's raw water seacock.  It's closed.  Oops. 

When doing engine room checks I rely on the mnemonic WOBBS--water, oil, belt, bilge, strainer.  This mental checklist worked great until today, and then it failed miserably.  In retrospect it wasn't the routine that failed, it was its application. 
The duckweed (pictured below in Lock 16) in was so thick in Muscatine, Iowa that the Mississippi looked more like a lawn than a river.  When doing the WOBBS check, and knowing how thick the duckweed was, I decided to open and clean the strainer rather than do just the normal, external, visual inspection.  And, this leads us to the crux of the problem.  WOBBS is really a preflight inspection--the last thing that should be done before starting the engine.  If the inspection leads to some maintenance actions, like adding oil or coolant, then the entire WOBBS inspection should be performed again.  

 Since this incident we've added a raw water flow alarm.  There are some good ones on the market like Borel's.  Nellie's is simply a 140°F sensor/switch that's nylon tied to the 3" exhaust hose just downstream of the exhaust elbow.  There are only two wires to connect: one goes to ground; the other to the alarm trigger used by the oil pressure sending unit.  For $1 in parts and a little labor, the alarm is a lot of bang for the buck.   

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

John William 37VT68: Teak Deck Removal, Part 2

Still plugging along or should I say unplugging.
Here are some of my favorite tools,

a Fein Multi tool, an 8 inch sander with 40 grit paper, and
a Milwaukee hammer drill with a spade bit.
I started out removing as many screws as possible and then saw cut across the teak with the Fein and started working the deck up in one foot pieces.
After getting the teak off I used the Fein with a medium scraper blade and removed as much of the bedding as possible. This was not a hard process and progressed rather quickly. Next I sanded the deck until it was just gelcoat left and proceeded to patch the screw holes with thickened epoxy; sanded that and then used a 1 in by 9 oz cloth over the screw holes to ensure they will not pop in the future.
At this time I am sanding and fairing the strips on the stbd side. 
I did find the decking was thinner on the stbd side and the bedding in worse condition.   I attribute this to that side being in the sun for 30 yrs. 
I will sand the port side next and fill all the holes to keep the core dry. 
I have found some of the wet areas have small blisters but not a problem after sanding them, seem to be in the gelcoat only. 
It appears the piece of teak at the cabin side is the cause of many of the leaks since they did not radius the teak to fit the cabin radius and almost all the screws were stripped and hardly any bedding under that piece. 
Will tackle the aft deck on Wed which should be easier as I can stand in the lazaret hatches. 
Will keep you posted on the progress. 
John Mackie

Monday, December 4, 2017

LNVT Officially Announces Fall in Wisconsin

According to the St. Croix Marina's newsletter, E-Mariner, it is officially Fall when Al and Rie Peterson, Kedge 37VT43 comes out of the water.  Al and Rei are original LNVT owners , buying Kedge in 1987, and they have been at the St. Croix Marina for 60 years.  Back in 1957 Al was a 30 year old and proud owner of a 22' outboard Trojan.  Kedge remains one of the favorite boats in the marina.  In 2013 they were awarded the LNVT Loren Hart Award.  

Monday, November 27, 2017

Mocko Jumbie Update

Liz Harding keeps Mocko Jumbie 37VT48 on St. Croix, USVI.  Hurricane Maria, when she was a Category 5, went right over the island.
"We made it through [Hurricane Maria]
just fine, comparatively.  At least a dozen vessels were totally destroyed.  Very heart breaking.   We are still without power, but everything is ok.  We actually ran the boat for a good 4 hours around Buck Island to give the batteries a good charge.  She has been running better than ever." Liz Harding, 27 November 2017

Sunday, November 26, 2017

John William 37VT68: Teak Deck Removal

From: John Mackie <>

Started working on removing the teak decks. Along the way I found the source of rain water in the engine room next to the stbd stringer. I also found a couple other holes that were plugged from the bottom side. These may have been where they took core samples to inspect the layup schedule. Will be removing the decking on the bow and should find the stateroom leak tomorrow. Lots of very bad teak coming off with water damage and splits. Not a fun job but will be worth it in the end.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Tug Spotting -- Lil' Toot

Our newest owner, Benjamin Phillips, was spotted on his maiden voyage
aboard Lil Toot 37VT75. The folks at the Chickamauga Lock on the Tennessee
River captured this shot when they were locking through on the way to her
new home in downtown Chattanoga, TN.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Installing an Isaksen Drip Edge

The following is from John Mackie, John William 37VT68:

I am currently installing Isaksen drip edge over the windows out of PVC
Trim board. I was fitting the pieces when our rain started last week, 2 1/2
Inches per hour for 5 hrs and they worked great. No window leaks from the track filling and spilling over. Also have them over the aft pilot house windows which eliminated a problem leak. 

I removed the teak half round and am now priming that area and painting prior to final installation. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Tug Spotting--Callisto 37VT19

Heading into Westport NY on September 24, 2017.  Shot from sailboat Bellamare [video by James Reinhard].  Beautiful boat.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Keeping the Rain Out

Bill Irwin, Callisto 37VT19

Our LNVT is number 19, it seems in the earlier boats the four forward ports were built with a shallow lower sill which allows water to drip in when it rains and the ports are left open. 

I recently found a solution. Seaworthy Goods makes a high-quality hood that keeps the rain out when the ports are open. The Port Visors come with 3M self-adhesive tape already attached to the Visor. They install around the outside of porthole trim rings. Installation is simple; no drilling, cutting, or special tools are required. 

The ports are made with Lexan XL102UV (formerly XL-10) it is a tough polycarbonate with a UV-resistant surface on both sides. They say it filters out UV and has excellent clarity, it is used where high impact strength is needed outdoors, e.g. hurricane shutters and vandal-resistant windows. It is attached with 3M VHB (Very High Bond) tape, an extremely strong all-weather adhesive, with UV and chemical resistance. It is formulated for permanent uses, such as attaching road signs and aircraft wing components. The tape holds up well to salt, heat, cold, water, and solvents. 

It is important to note that the proper sizing for our ports is 14-R not 15R.  They have  have a wonderful customer service that you can call with with any questions. CONTACT:  Sea Worthy Goods (941.448.9173) 

Tug spotting

6 am sunrise over Ocean Point. Last morning for Salty Paws 37VT66 on her
Linekin Bay mooring. Headed south to NJ for the Winter. [Photo: Bob Ewing].

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Tug Spotting

October tug spotting at Sucia Island Marine Park in Fossil Bay.  Hiaqua 37VT#3 and Wally 41VT#2

Monday, October 9, 2017

Tug spotting

Saltwater Joys 37VT19 looks beautiful in tbe fall colors.
[From Matthew Brown]


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Nellie D. Thru-hull replacement

From Bicki Howell, Nellie D. 37VT63

We decided this year to replace all of our below the water seacocks and thru-hulls. 
The project also included the removal a legacy thru-hull which serviced a depth sounder that was no longer in use and was buried in an awkward location under our genset.  Repairing the 1-1/2 hole in the hull let from the thru-hull required grinding the exterior fiberglass to create a sloped 12" circle.  The ground area was then filled with gradually increasing circular layers (small to large) of fiberglass cloth and resin.  Approximately 24 layers were needed in total.  

Many boat owners recommend the use of a thru-hull sea strainer, especially for the engine's raw water intake.  After a lot of research and discussion, we decided not to install any sea strainers.  Last year, we experienced reduced water flow caused by zebra muscle growth in the engine's raw water sea strainer.  Even with the boat hauled we could not get adequate access behind the strainer to clear the growth.  One solution, since we were replacing the seacocks and thru-hulls anyway, was to purchase sea strainers that could be opened for cleaning (see photo below).  For us the major drawback is it requires diving over the side or hauling the boat in order to open the strainer.  Another consideration is that we have internal strainer baskets for the engine and genset raw water intakes which sufficiently screen out any unwanted debris.  Most importantly, foregoing sea strainers meant we would be able to flush or poke any blockages out of the thru-hulls while the boat was in the water.  We are happy with our decision and have cruised more than 2,000 miles without the sea strainers with no problems.  

Winterizing tip

From Hansen's Harbor 
Allen Hansen

A tip about when you install household faucets on your boat.   When they are installed they have a check valve or back flow preventer.  Which means when you are winterizing and vacuuming the whole system to the hot water heater, those faucets will not drain because of the back flow preventer.  So you have to go to the faucet head and vacuum there.  If you fill your system full of antifreeze and pump than no worries it all goes through.  

Friday, October 6, 2017

Pressure flushing a thru-hull

From Joe Glinski, Our Villa 37VT56

Joe created a handy tool (R) that connects two garden hoses to a PVC fitting.  The fitting is placed into the 1-1/4” raw water  hose on the Groco sea strainer and then the water is turned on for both hoses.  The high water pressure is often enough to flush out anything trapped in the thru-hull.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Thru-hull emergency kit

From Barb Robertson, Whimsea 37VT64

With all the talk of Sea Cock failures and the thought of loosing my boat due to such a simple failure I decided to do some research.  For LNVT owners not in a position to do a haul out, I thought the attached photo and recommendation (see insert right) for a simple emergency Plan B might be helpful and provide some peace of mind. I plan to replace  Whimsea's seacocks next spring but might buy a couple of these plugs just in case.

Be prepared for thru-hull emergencies with wooden plugs
Article from:

Just as an additional safety note; invest in a set of those wooden tapered plugs you see hanging in the plumbing isle of your marine store.  Screw a small eye I. The top of each one and tie the appropriate size plug to the thru-hull.  Keep a hammer where you can find it and make sure you have room to use it.  While the thru-hull may be marine rated and strong enough, the hose could also fail.  Having the plug ready to drive into the resulting hole might well save your boat.  

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tug Spotting ~ Cruising the Potomac

Thistle 37VT46 and Victory 37VT02 out cruising.

Thruhull Replacement on John William 37VT68

Groco Tri-Flange Seacock

To remove the old thru hull out use a die grinder to cut the seaside of the 
I do not use backer blocks with the flanged thru hulls but I do grind the inside and outside smooth. I have replaced a lot of thru hulls with blocks of wood, fiberglass and aluminum and usually find them to be loose, split or rotten. I also use 5/16 flat head SS machine screws and countersink the heads. 
John Mackie
John William 37VT68

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Callisto 37VT19 Spotted in this Video

Callisto was spotted (play video) by Carl Reinhart while aboard his sailboat Bellamare.  The video was taken 24 September 2017 near Westport, NY.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Leaking Bomar Hatch Fix

Randy Miller, Hiaqua 37VT03

Leaking Bomar Hatches - We finally got tired of the leaking hatches which allowed significant volumes of water to enter the bilge. Courtesy of Raven 37VT04 and Excelsior 37VT01, Bomar hatch and fuel vent improvements solved two major issues:
Above deck Fuel Vent - was mounted centerline next to the aft door. Both port & starboard tanks were plumbed into the vent fabricated of 3/4" OD stainless hydraulic tube. NO MORE bending way over board trying to contain fuel in a burp tank which invariably fell off. The new vent coupled with last year's  rerouting of new vent lines with a continuous upward slope makes fueling a breeze.

Bomar Hatch drain system - The original outboard starboard side fuel vent was now converted to a water drain for both Bomar Hatches via a gutter system. Bomar hatch drain holes were drilled out and tapped to accept 1/8" NPT x 3/8" hose nipples. Short pieces of fuel line (ø3/8" x 5/8" OD) were used to feed into ø5/8" tubing attached to a 1x3x90" board mounted athwartship. This board was mounted as high as possible on the port side and then sloped 2.5o - 3o to starboard, to allow continuous draining to starboard and out the old starboard fuel vent. In conjunction to the drain system, a hollow clear silicon self stick tape weather seal (Frost King SS20CL, on Amazon) was attached towards the inside edge of the hatch which actually seals the hatches when dogged down. All excess water goes down the drain system and overboard!! Bomar hatches are now actually sealed and NO MORE water sneaking by and heading to the bilge! We never heard our main bilge pumps turn on all summer (the only bilge pump used was the Slurpee as needed). Silicon tube weather seal (3/8"w x 5/16"ht x 17ft, "D" shape tube) is found on Amazon Prime $5.71 per each hatch. Two 110V LED lights were installed with 3-way switches were installed centered on each Bomar hatch to illuminate the lazarett. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Electronic Upgrades

From Randy Miller, Hiaqua 37VT03

Solar Panels - Two 160 watt Grape Solar panels (Home Depot $200 ea) were installed atop the pilot house and connected to a Tracer BN 30A MPPT Solar Charge Controller with remote (EBay $180). We are happy to report after three continuous months of cruising Northern BC, we NEVER had to start our generator the entire summer and only connected to shore power ONCE at a marina to run power tools! Yahoo!! After converting all our lights to LED's, our main electrical draw is the refrigerator and pumps (4 water & 3 bilge). Our average evening and nighttime electrical draw is -3.0 Ah per hour (about -30 Ah per night). This seems to be a very manageable recovery for our solar panels, even on somewhat overcast days.

Airmar 220 Weather Station - was also installed atop the wheelhouse which makes it very helpful in tracking wind direction & speed, temperature and barometric temperature changes on our chart plotter.

NMEA 2000 Backbone - was installed, integrating all electronics into one computer connection. Really nice!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Salon Upgrade

From Randy Miller, Hiaqua 37VT03

New carpets and upholstery were just installed in the wheel house and salon. Salon upholstery includes a new "L" shaped settee along the aft wall. A forward to aft tapered cubby storage unit with a 13o back slope was built behind the back cushion along the port wall. Oriental carpet runners also made a huge improvement along with a custom profile runner in the wheel house. Two teak side chairs were also stripped, oiled and re-upholstered.