A Kiwi couple's cruising adventures on America's Great Loop and around the coast of New Zealand

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Preparation update

A couple of weeks ago, Maritime NZ notified us that our NZ registration was approved and a couple of days later we received the certificate – all laminated and formal for “Loopy Kiwi” - NZ1844, which we are required to keep on the boat at all times. During the application process, I did find out that we could not have registered her in the USA anyway as… (quote):

The Ship Registration Act 1992 requires the following ships to be registered:

  • All New Zealand-owned ships over 24 metres register length (with certain exceptions)
  • All New Zealand-owned ships making overseas voyages whatever their size.  This applies whether the ship leaves from a New Zealand Port or a foreign port. ….(unquote)

Take note potential Kiwi Loopers!

Clearly we were always obliged to register her as a New Zealand ship – ain’t it great when you’re right (even for the wrong reasons)? We are also required to fly either the NZ flag or the NZ “red ensign” (but not both) from dawn till dusk, so the one off Kindred Spirit will be travelling over with us. The dinghy is also part of the NZ registration, unlike in the USA where dinghies have to have separate registration.

The other thing I have wondered about for some time is how we go about getting a VHF radio callsign in the USA. Well…. apparently they don’t have them over there so I don’t know how you distinguish between several boats with the same name. So we will just use our New Zealand registration number as a callsign until we bring her home to NZ where we’ll get a proper one.

We are starting to sell off some of the “stuff” that we don’t want sitting around while looping. Since we will no longer be sending the dinghy and outboard across to the USA as Loopy Kiwi already has them, they went into TradeMe (NZ version of EBay) and sold very quickly. It was probably just as well as I think the EPA issue with the 2 stroke outboard was going to be a real problem trying to import it into the US – and I never did get an answer from Mercury about it!

I have also been researching installation of an inverter and have pretty well settled on a 3000W US made one. I found very good information on the web regarding compliance with USCG and American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) regulations which show installation requirements similar to NZ and to which the system I installed on Kindred Spirit complies. So I have been able to start drawing up schematics for the installation so we can get it done as early as possible when we return to the US.

However, I was surprised (again) at how the Silverton 453’s DC electrical system is set up. It took me a while to glean the info out of Silverton’s Customer Service Dept (Gee it’s frustrating to not be able to just go down to the boat and take a look!!!!), but there is no separation between start and house batteries on the engines. She has 6 batteries for the engines (plus one for the genset) and apparently they are ganged together in 2 banks of 3 per engine. The danger of this system is, of course, that you can run your batteries flat (or one “bad” battery can pull the rest of the bank down) and you can’t start that engine. There is a solenoid that you can use to parallel up the bank from the other engine, but if its batteries have gone flat as well…….
I guess that’s when you kick in the genset and wait till they’ve charged up enough to start at least one engine, but it’s all a bit foreign to traditional thinking regarding DC power on cruising boats.

I also worked out that our target date of the 16th June would have us relaunching the boat on a Sunday, so we’ve pegged it back to the 15th so now one day less to go. We have also had our first visitors’ “booking” (2 in fact). Our friends from Kerikeri, Charlie and Pauline, are going to be the first dropping in to see us in July on their way back from visiting relo’s all round the world. They will stay with us 3 weeks during our shakedown cruising around Lake Michigan. They will head home in August and then local friends Dennis and Kathy will arrive….and all this before we actually start Looping!

184 days to go.

P.S. Remember this????

its the little gizmo for helping you stay in the channels that I mentioned in my May posting and it is called a Marker Minder. They go for about $8-$10 and you can find them at http://www.boatersland..com/dei96103f.html (thanks Bert)