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

Thursday, 2 February 2012

133 days to go

June 15th seems so far away but, boy, the days are whipping by!!

The preparations continue as does the long distance learning about the boat. Last time I said I pretty well knew how Urban Legend’s Loopy Kiwi’s electrical system works. This was based on information from Silverton and several other 453 owners and appeared to confirm all the 453 AC panels were the same, which didn't make sense to me as the drawing in the manual was different.

 ….. Wrong!

It turns out that Loopy Kiwi's AC panel is quite different from the others and is the only one I've seen that actually conforms to the electrical panel drawing that is in the 453 manual.

Apart from the colour, the layout is completely different to the others BUT is the same as the drawing:

Also, whereas other 453's have a single 240VAC 50A shore power cord that supplies 240V to the airconditioning then splits into two 120V supplies on the AC panel, we actually have two 240VAC 50A shore power cords. Presumably one supplies the 240V airconditioning, the other splits into the two 120V supplies, and I will be able to confirm this when we get back aboard. I suspect its all to do with the fact that Loopy Kiwi has flybridge airconditioning, which adds quite a bit more load to the overall electrical supply. No matter what, there is obviously no room on our AC panel to fit the remote control, switches and wiring for the inverter that I intended to, so I will have to rethink how to go about that when we get there.

I have also ascertained that the water heater is the Atwood EH20 and does have the heat exchanger, so it can be hooked up to one of the engines. However Harborside Yachts (where she is stored) have told me that; “it would be difficult at best because of clearance under the guest bed. The connections are against the bed side walls”. I’m hoping that difficult does not mean impossible but, again, we will have to find that out when we get back there. We are getting the batteries charged and checked out by Harborside, and they are giving us a price to have Loopy Kiwi painted on her, so I have stopped referring to her as Urban Legend.

After emailing and faxing without any reply, I finally rang Indiantown Marina in Florida to see what is involved in their “baby-sitting” Loopy Kiwi while we come home after stage 1. I wanted to make sure this was all viable before committing to air travel return from there. It turns out that there is no problem, it is not their busy time but recommend a month’s notice for a secure booking. They will lift her out and store her in their yard for 3 months until our return in March 2013, then we can shift to their work area, antifoul the bottom and do the running gear with propspeed. In the yard we can only stay on the boat 1 night, but in the work area we can live aboard while doing the work, as there is water and electric available as well as showers etc. We are walking distance from town, and they have an arrangement with Avis Rental cars who will pick you up if you rent one of their cars.

During these investigations, Carolyn and I decided that there was too much pressure to be at Indiantown in time to get home for Christmas. We were worried that this might cause us to be too hasty in making decisions about getting there, in particular regarding the Gulf (of Mexico) crossing. For this reason, we have now decided to come back to New Zealand after New Year 2013 and spend Christmas in the USA (something I have wanted to do for a long time, anyway). I also found out that there is an airport at West Palm Beach, only 45 miles from Indiantown, that has flights to Los Angeles. (although Fort Lauderdale seems to have cheaper flights to LA and is only 25 miles further away) The idea now is that we will book our flights with Air New Zealand as Auckland to Chicago in June and Los Angeles to Auckland in January. We will then book a one way internal flight from West Palm Beach or Ft Lauderdale to Los Angeles to connect to the Air New Zealand flight. This looks to be the most convenient way and looks like it may work out cheaper. There may be issues over luggage allowance, but I don’t anticipate we will be taking a lot home, and we can do some shopping in LA – that always makes the Admiral happy. We haven’t been able to make any firm bookings yet as the United (Air NZ partner airline) system only goes to 30th December at the moment. We should be able to get something next week and then we will really know we’re on our way!


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