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

Sunday, 15 December 2013

More wee Jobs

New Zealander's have a passion for fishing. If you own a boat you are expected to fish out of it, and we have done so with all our boats for many, many years. So when we first looked for a Loop boat, we figured we would get one with a cockpit - so we could fish off it. As it turned out, and since we were never going to bring our Loop boat back to NZ (yeah, right), we settled on the cockpitless Silverton 453. Now, since the boat has made its way back here, the requirement for fishing has returned once again. While the 453 has no cockpit, it does come with a very large landing board (swim platform) on which you can fish, cook BBQ's, or hold a small square dance, if the fancy takes you. The dinghy stows across the back of it on Weaver davits and that provides for a secure area for outdoor activities as described above -  other than the stays that hold it upright which everyone who comes aboard smacks their heads against at least once!

However when the dinghy is in the water, there is a lot of open space on the landing board and nothing to hang on to when you are getting in and out of it. You also get the uneasy feeling when having a barby on the landing board with the  trusty Weber grill on its trolley, that at any moment the entire kit and caboodle will roll into the tide (not that it ever would - but I actually do tie the trolley to a hand rail, just in case). Another issue was that there were no fishing rod holders anywhere on the boat, and very few places to mount any. I was contemplating these situations the last time we had a barby on board (BOB) and it suddenly struck me that a handrail across the back of the landing board would overcome all of these problems and provide other benefits as well. Accordingly I began investigating having such a fitting made up. As it turned out, a local chap at our marina had a couple of stainless steel rails that he didn't want. They were originally from a supermarket (you know - from the place where the shopping carts are guided in to the store) and when I took one down to the boat, it not only was exactly what I was looking for, it even lined up with some of the existing bolt holes for other devices. Down to the local stainless steel fabricators it went (where it is known as a "staple") and extra rails and the rod holders were added. Over the weekend I took it down to Loopy Kiwi and fitted it, and this is how it turned out

So....it provides a nice secure back fence for activities on the landing board as well as somewhere to put the rods when fishing if you need to go elsewhere for a wee while. It doesn't interfere with the raising and lowering of the dinghy, or getting on and off the boat at the dock, and it provides something substantial to grab when climbing in and out of the dinghy at anchor. I hope it will also double as a hand grip for climbing up the swim ladder - if not I can always have a grab handle mounted to the side of it.
You may also note in a couple of the pix that the outboard motor is now stowed vertically on a transom mounted bracket. The previous owner had it on a bracket that lay it down on the landing board - which was real dumb because it took up a lot of space, was a trip hazard and was not particularly good for the motor.
Much easier to handle and stow now, and I made the lowest rail on the staple high enough for the outboard to slide underneath for fitting to the dinghy.
In the last posting I didn't put any pix up of the raw water alarm I had just fitted (because I didn't have any at the time). Well now I have so here they are

 That's all for now - till next time.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

A few more mods.

Loopy Kiwi came with a leather sofa in the saloon that folds out into a bed. Very comfortable, but low to the floor making it difficult for the Admiral to get up out of it with her arthritic knees. At home we had a similar problem which was overcome by screwing 100mm (4") feet to the bases of the sofas. Not so easy with a sofa in a boat, particularly when it turns into a bed - the problem being that there was no solid base and the runners that support the bed mechanism are 10mm (3/8") below the rest of the frame. However, the Admiral had requested that it be modified as her birthday present, so the project was duly commenced.
It was essential that it worked right but also that it looked right. so the answer was to build a box frame 90mm high that matched, and raised, the support runners. This was made of decking timber, which just happened to be exactly the right thickness (and was also the cheapest) 
I then used 10mm ply to pick up the rest of the framework and added fascias, screwed from the inside so there were no fastenings showing. These were made of our most common building timber Radiata Pine (Monterey Pine) and were stained with Cabot's "Crabwood" stain and varnish to  match the existing timber. 
The sofa has always been smaller that the gap that it fitted to, so the two sections of it used to pull apart after a bit of use, so I made up a packer that screwed to the wall to keep them together. this was also made of pine and stained to match.
The end result came out pretty good, even if I say so myself (but I'm kinda biased), and the Admiral was delighted with her birthday gift.
and here are the before and after pics

There is now even some storage underneath for bedding and for the little feet that the bed legs have to sit on when they are deployed

Another pet hate on the boat had been the galley table, which had been designed for anorexic people.
So while I was in "chainsaw" mode, I took to it and removed enough of it to make it usable, but not so much that it became useless. In doing so I also stripped it back to the bare timber and re-varnished it with clear varnish, believing that the timber was in its natural colour. It became obvious after the second coat that it had originally been stained to match the rest of the timberwork, but by then it was too late, and I did not feel like stripping all the new varnish off and starting again. As it turned out, the new lighter colour was a good match for the leather furniture and we have decided to leave it as it is.

I have already mentioned in previous posts that LK is fitted with underwater exhaust outlets. Not only are they horrible to paint, they also hide any evidence that the engines are pumping water and this has always been a considerable concern. A couple of months ago, I procured a "save your engines" kit from the USA, which consists of 2 flow sensors that fit to the raw water inlets to each engine, and a panel on the flybridge that lights up in the event of flow failure. See http://www.aqualarm.net/comerus/store/comersus_viewItem.asp?idProduct=3526.
The sensors were relatively easy to fit to the pipework between the raw water strainers and the engines, but it also requires wires to be run from the engine room to the flybridge - which was not quite so easy. Fortunately my good friend and fellow 453 owner, Bert, advised my the best route for the wiring. This included removing several fixings on the bridge and removal of a wall panel from the inside of the saloon. Even then getting the wire from one place to the other was a frustrating and time consuming job and I ended up running a spare cable of 8 wires through at the same time, just so I don't have to pull the interior apart again if I need more connections up there.
I also did a oil and filter change, so LK is now ready for the summer (although there is still plenty more to do - it is a boat after all!)
We've just spent a week up in the Bay of Islands helping Charlie and Pauline get their boat ready for summer as well, in payment for their help we had with Loopy Kiwi a few months ago. Mercifully, Charlie's boat is a bit smaller than LK and it is much less stressful carving bits out of someone else's boat than it is your own. We had very co-operative weather while we worked and it looks like we can expect a long hot summer. It will certainly be our intention to spend some of it up in the north in the continuation of our cruising lifestyle around New Zealand.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Aucklands Miniscule Loop

.... the antonym of America's Great Loop.

70 Nautical miles around the island of Waiheke in New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf in some of the prettiest and safest cruising grounds in the world. In anticipation of the upcoming Labour weekend, Lois had taken time off work and she and Lyn came down early, so we got underway on Wednesday in mediocre weather, but with a an improving forecast. One great thing about this "little loop" is that Waiheke and its surrounding islands, plus their proximity to the mainland, provide for shelter somewhere no matter what the wind direction or speed is. There are myriads of deep bays available for anchoring and 3 hours after departure from the marina we were in Chamberlins Bay on Ponui Island. Being early in the season and mid week, we found ourselves alone the first night - very reminiscent of some of our anchorages on the Great Loop , but for different reasons.
The building on the foreshore is a shearing shed, and we were entertained in the morning by braying donkeys as well as bleating sheep and barking dogs - very pastoral!

We decided to try our luck fishing that day (Thursday) and toodled round to Hook Bay which has usually been profitable in this regard. Although it is still very early in the season, we managed to land 7 snapper and a red cod to provide us with enough fish for dinner that evening.
We spent that evening in Man O War Bay, at the "bottom end" of Waiheke,  with only a couple of yachts (sailboats) for company - although more and more traffic was evident as the weekend loomed closer. The following day was Friday and the weather forecast was such that it was obvious that MOW Bay was going to be very popular for the weekend. Although it is relatively isolated, the Bay has a boutique winery and we decided to take a trip ashore and sample the fare before the rush.

By the time we returned to the boat, the early escapees from the real world started rolling in and by mid afternoon the Bay had about 20 boats in it. A number were anchored nearby to us, under the shelter of the cliffs on  the NW shore, from where the brisk wind was blowing. A short time later, we noticed that the nearby boats were pulling up their anchors and moving further down the  bay. When they had all gone, we figured it might be pertinent to listen to the weather forecast and, sure enough, Metservice were now forecasting  a SW change with winds averaging 15 and gusting 20 knots. Having been anchored there more than 24 hours, we were well dug in but as the wind turned, we swung round into shallower water and the rocky shore began to look rather close by. Discretion being the better part of cowardice, I decided to move further down the bay with the others and, by the time we got the engines started and the anchor up, a SW squall with gusts to 45kts made the move a very sensible decision. The squall lasted about half an hour, after which the weather calmed down again for a very peaceful night.

The boats started arriving from around 9am  and we decided it was time to go. There was a gentle SW breeze and this was forecast to continue for the rest of the weekend, so we continued our circumnavigation of Waiheke by cruising up the Northern side of the island. We anchored Saturday night in Onetangi Bay, where conditions were ideal to break out the Weber for  barbie on the swim platform.
There were about 20 boats in that bay that night, and the next day we continued around the island to the next one, our favourite anchorage, Oneroa. The township of Oneroa is the largest on the island and, with a large sandy beach sheltered from winds North through West to South, is a popular anchorage for boaties. We dinghied ashore to the township up the hill to replenish our dwindling wine stocks and returned to Loopy Kiwi for another evening Barbie and a singalong.
Labour day Monday was time to reluctantly go home, as some folk (Lois anyway) had to go to work the next day. The return was uneventful, but we did pass this interesting looking vessel anchored near the city docks.

She is the 119 metre (394ft) superyacht "A" owned by Russian Billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, and is worth around  US300 million. It is also described as the most loved and loathed ship on the sea and personally I agree with the latter - it is butt ugly!
Well, that's the Miniscule Auckland Loop. Not the size of its US counterpart, but a lot of fun and a heck of a lot easier to get to.
 Till next time

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Interesting things about US TV's and radios.

One thing Silverton didn't skimp on when building our 453MY was entertainment. The boat came with 5 TV's - one in each of the three staterooms, one in the saloon and one on the sundeck. All but the one on the sundeck had a DVD player, and two of those included VCR recorders as well. The salon TV was connected to a Bose surround sound system (which also contained a DVD/CD player and AM/FM radio, and their were another 2 stereo AM/FM radios....one on the flybridge and one in the master stateroom (which also had a CD stacker). All the TV's were analogue units and all but one were Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) type. However, in the time between our purchase of Loopy Kiwi and the start of the Loop, the USA had gone to digital broadcasting of TV, so they would only work when connected to a cable network (which many of the marinas did not provide). We solved this issue by purchasing a digital to analogue convertor box from Walmart for around $50 and generally could access "free to air" TV broadcasts in most towns and many anchorages. The most I recall we got was 48 around the Chicago area, but also remember distinctly getting 16 channels at Cumberland Towhead anchorage, which seemed to be the middle of nowhere! Unless we were at a marina with cable, it limited us to only using the TV in the salon, but was better than nothing.

Fast forward to Loopy Kiwi arriving in New Zealand and let's start with the radios first.

When we reached Auckland I noticed that none of the radios could find any more than 2 stations...88.3 and 107.3... and, believe me, there are a  lot more radio stations in Auckland than that! On top of that, the Bose surround system would not respond in any way to its wireless remote control, and without it, you can do nothing. I replaced the batteries several times to no avail and poured through the Bose manuals but found no reason why it would work in the US and not New Zealand. Finally, I contacted a Bose dealer for advice, who tested the remote and found it was simply dead. Despite the fact that the model of remote was obsolete and also peculiar to the Americas, Bose Australia had 3 of them in stock and $98 and three days later we were back in business.

By this time, I had been trying to find why the radios could not find any stations. If I manually tuned them, I could find my favourite station "Sound FM" (93.8Mhz), but only as 93.7 or 93.9, where they were audible, but obviously "off station". What I realized was that the radios were changing in 0.2 increments and since they started with odd numbers, they were only ever going to get odd numbers. Most of the stations in Auckland (and probably New Zealand) are even numbers in their frequencies...ie 89.4, 97.4, 93.8 etc. Again I consulted the manuals and could find no obvious way of changing this, and began to think that the radios were only suitable for operation in the USA - which is strange as they are both Sony from Japan. Finally I found a reference in the specification that stated the frequency range was switchable between 200kHz and 50kHz, but nothing under the installation or operating instructions on how to do it. On about the 20th re-reading of the manual I noticed a reference on the front panel diagram to a "frequency band switch....not shown" which was located on the bottom of the case and required removal of the radio to change. This was duly done and, after resetting the radio, we had frequencies that changed in 0.05 increments, and I had my radio stations. The Bose suffered from the same disease, but with the new remote control it was a simple programming change to make it get the right frequencies.

Next were the TV's and Videos.

The USA TV system is NTSC. The New Zealand system is PAL. The two are not compatible - you cannot watch a PAL broadcast on an NTSC receiver and vice versa. Some PAL VCR's will have an NTSC playback, but none of those on Loopy Kiwi have a PAL playback, except the Bose system - and I shall come back to that. New Zealand is presently still broadcasting an analogue signal, but that changes to digital on the 1st December this year. I had hoped the converter from Walmart would be able to use the NZ digital signal and supply the salon TV....but nope, not a show. I thought "well, I can replace the salon TV with one surplus from our home and the rest will be OK, at least as DVD players". So we took some DVD's from home and tried them in the players - including the Bose with the PAL playback. "Incorrect Zone" was the message on the screen, so the DVD players will only play Zone 1 DVD's (we are zone 4) and we only have 6 zone 1 DVD's that we bought in the USA. This makes all the TV's, DVD and VCR players on the boat totally useless. The other issue is that, while we have 230V shore power, when we are at sea all power is 115V, off the inverter or genset. So any replacement equipment need to be 115V. Fortunately, the leftover TV I was contemplating using was a 110-240V 50-60Hz model with a flat screen. I also discovered I had a spare DVD player that was also this voltage range, and furthermore most of the converters here (known as "freeview boxes" - we still need one for this TV) are the dual voltage as well. So, armed with all the above, plus cables and fittings galore we set up the boat with this system which works fine. Once tested, I decided to install it properly, which  meant removing the old 30" CRT unit.
After a struggle to get it out of the cabinet (it weighed a ton!), I managed to get it up through the saloon door but realized that it wasn't going to fit through the sundeck door to the dock. It could be taken via the flybridge to the forward deck and over the side, but that would be a two man job and very difficult. In the end I got out the tools and pulled it to bits, removing all the case and PCB's to take it down to the bare cathode ray tube. This fitted through the back door with 5mm (1/4") to spare.

A fellow boatie from the marina is moving his boat up to the Philippines soon. Apparently there they work on the same system and voltages as the USA, so I will be donating the rest of the equipment to him, rather than throw it all in the rubbish skip.

One other interesting thing is that the USA zone 1 DVD's all work on the NZ zone 4 player that is now in the boat - so we don't have to throw away the 6 DVD's we bought in the USA!

Last weekend was Labour weekend here and we went for an extended cruise with Lyn and Lois, who would have joined us on the Loop earlier this year had things gone according to plan. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera, so I am waiting for Lyn to send me her pix of the trip so I can do a posting for it.

Until then, take care y'all

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Moving right along.

The time to move house and downsize to an apartment finally caught up with us. Anyone who has done this knows the trauma of attempting to fit a houseful of 40 years of hoarding into a space around one third of the size.

It doesn't compute!

However, come 20th September, the new owners of our house paid up the money and expected to move in, so we had to be gone. However our apartment, although completed, was not legally ours so we were not allowed to live in it. Fortunately, however, we were allowed to move our possessions in and we had good old Loopy Kiwi to live on until final settlement took place. For the week prior to our moving out of our old house, our son from Australia arrived with his family of three to celebrate his 40th birthday so we had (along with some of his friends from Taupo) 9 people staying on the boat for a while.

2 days after the house sale while we were still living aboard Loopy Kiwi at the marina, an easterly gale arrived with wind speeds up to 80 knots and coincided with a spring high tide of 3.2 metres (11ft) at 10.30 at night. The low barometric pressure and the easterly wind lifted the tide even higher so the marinas rock breakwater was completely under water and we had 2-3ft waves rolling down the marina. The tide was so high that on some slips, the floating rings that hold the bow lines for the boats came right off the top of the poles and the boats became adrift. Loopy Kiwi came within 1ft of this happening, but I managed to get a line from the bow back to the dock to secure her if it did. It made for an interesting night, until the tide dropped. The docks were bucking like a bronco in the waves making it hard to walk up and down the piers. Woody was NOT amused.

Charlie and Pauline had come to help us move out of the old place and they also shifted to a smaller home in Kerikeri the following weekend. We went up and gave them a hand which provided a welcome distraction by having someone else's STUFF to cart around instead of our own.

On 2nd of October we finally got to move into the apartment, albeit buried in boxes and boxes of STUFF! It actually felt quite weird as Loopy Kiwi felt so much more like home than the new place. It still feels a bit like we are staying in a hotel and should go back to the boat soon, but I'm sure we'll get over that. We don't have the same sea view as we did in our old place but we have a lovely bush outlook and their are many native birds inhabiting it - Kereru (Wood Pigeons), Tuis, Pukekos, Piwakawaka (fantails) etc, plus a few imports like Doves and Rosellas

The Nukumea creek runs right by the apartment and, while it is narrower and shallower, it reminds us a lot of some of the anchorages that we stayed in while coming down the river system to the Gulf of Mexico - Lick Creek in particular.

Another pleasant coincidence occurred on our third day at the apartment we ran into a resident walking a Swedish Vallhund. Its name was Basil and he was 10 years old, but the owner told us that their Grand daughter also owned a Val named Sophie, who was three years old. This was later found to be an incorrect recollection of Sophies age, and it has turned out to that she came from the same litter as Woody. So nearby lives Woody's sister, Vallarity Lady Madonna (AKA Sophie)!!

A more unpleasant occurrence was the absence of hot water when we moved in. The circuit breaker on the switchboard was open and when we closed it there was a loud bang and all the power went off. After a two hour wait the maintenance electrician arrived and reset the downstairs breakers and declared the water heater to be faulty. As this would be a warranty job, he could not fix it for us and the installer would have to be notified. This was Thursday afternoon and we were told that a serviceman would come first thing in the morning. By midday Friday no-one had shown and, despite many chasings-up during the afternoon, it was beginning to look like we would be without hot water for the weekend. At this stage, for those of you that don't know, I should mention that I was in the hot water industry for 30 years before departing off on the Great Loop, so I was aware how difficult it was to get service people out late on a Friday afternoon. Ironically, the water heater was manufactured by what had been my major opposition back then, but I knew the CEO well and did mention during some of my afternoon discussions that I may give him a call and discuss his after sales service personnel. This resulted in  a tech turning up at 6.00pm and deducing that the element had failed. This immediately triggered the alarm bells, as a common reason for such a failure is for power to be applied to the element before the heater is filled with water. This is a very common occurrence, particularly in apartments, where often two different tradesmen undertake the plumbing and electrical connections. Sure enough, after draining the heater and removing the element, this is what we found
Small wonder it didn't heat the water!! By 8pm the new element was fitted and we were able to have showers by the next morning.
Summer is coming and Labour weekend is nearly upon us. It is our intention to go away in  Loopy Kiwi for that weekend and the apartment will hopefully look less like a jumble sale than it does now.


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Kindred Spirit in Levin

Just a pic sent by the new owner of KS trucking through Levin, 60km from her new home at Mana marina.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Gone but not forgotten.

As I said in yesterday's post, Kindred Spirit sold (to Richard, in Wellington) and today we had our final cruise in her from berth (slip) G39 around to the travelift for haulout onto the transporter. It was an interesting start as the upstairs helm station had been knocked into gear when Richard and his mate removed the radar arch and flybridge covers last week. As a result KS lept forward as the engine started and tried to tow the pier away - maybe she didn't want to leave, or wanted to take part of Westpark with her. It was drizzling as we drove round, but the sky cleared as she was waterblasted (pressure washed) and became a beautiful day by the time she was loaded on to the trailer. Both the 3 year old antifoul and 2 year old propspeed were in remarkable condition and she still looked very pretty, despite the condition of her topsides which are now in dire need of a repaint. Apparently when she reaches Wellington, she will be driven across Cook Strait to Picton where she will be repainted and restored to her former glory - which she justly deserves.

Anyway here are some pix of her last journey in Auckland.

Bottoms up

My humble apologies to followers for the lack of postings. I kinda thought that no-one really cared about the blog now that we aren't Looping any more, but I have received a few complaints about the lack of updates so I figured I had better make the effort. It has been a very busy time for us as we downsize from our large home to the apartment that we have bought in Orewa. Our house sold in 16 days but, fortunately, settlement isn't until mid September, so we thought we had plenty of time....but doesn't it just zoom by!!

When  we first bought Loopy Kiwi in 2011, it was obvious she needed antifouling (bottom paint) and it was our intention to have this done when we reached Florida, and included coating the running gear with Propspeed. Because of the circumstances, nothing was done there and by the time we reached Savannah and had the hull waterblasted (pressure washed), a great deal of the bottom paint was missing and we were back to the gelcoat in many places. As there are several fiberglass boats in our Marina suffering from "rotten bottoms" caused by osmosis, it became imperative to me that the hull was repainted as soon as was practicable.

Originally, I intended that this would be as I was quoted to have the work done by the tradespeople in the USA..ie "a heavy sand and 2 coats of bottom paint" ($2300 BTW!!!), but it was noticeable that in many place that the bottom paint had fallen off, that there had never been any sealer or barrier applied to the gelcoat before the antifoul was painted on. You may get away with this in fresh water, but in the sea this practice (apparently) is and invitation to promote osmosis (blisters) and a humungous future problem. So I was advised that we should remove all of the existing bottom paint back to the gelcoat, sand with 80 grit sandpaper to a dull finish and apply 2 coats of 2 pot epoxy barrier primer, before overcoating with 2 coats of antifoul (bottom paint).

Sounds easy, eh! and while it wasn't particularly difficult, there were many times when I wondered what I was thinking to buy a boat with such a big bum. Charlie came down to give me a hand and, after we had removed all the old antifoul and we had to sand the bottom, we found that crouching beneath and pushing upward with the sander to be very strenuous. In the States I had observed that hardstand were generally concrete and the boats were propped up low to the ground and the guys doing the work would use mechanic's "garage creepers" (little flat trolleys that you lay down on) to sand and paint the hulls. Our boat was relatively high off the ground, which is gravel, so this was impossible to mimic. Overnight I had a revelation of an easier way and we tried it out the following day:
It was very successful, and made the job a lot easier to achieve the result we wanted

Loopy Kiwi is unusual in that she has underwater exhausts. They are fabricated from stainless steel and were coated with a black epoxy paint that had stuck perfectly well for the 8 years that the boat was in fresh water. However, once she reached the sea, all that changed and the paint began to peel in places. Note that I said "in places", because where it hadn't peeled it did NOT want to come off. The makers of these exhausts and whoever decided to put them on the boat were the subject of significant blasphemous utterances during the removal of this paint.

We then had to apply 2 coats of the epoxy barrier to the hull and, as the second one "tacked off" the antifoul had to be applied immediately to bond to it, so we had a team of four of us applying it. The job was done in several hours and she was ready to have the propspeed coating for the running gear and the lower halves of the underwater exhausts. This was done the following day and she was returned to the water looking very pristine.

In the meantime, Kindred Spirit (look back to the beginning of the blog)  has also sold and tomorrow is being lifted out to be transported to her new home in Wellington. The new owner is in the chemical cleaning business and supplied me with a container of phosphoric acid to clean the rust stains off Loopy Kiwi that came from the containers during shipping. We made it up into a 50/50 mix with water, broomed it on....and watched the rust disappear!!!. 3 cupsful of acid in water did the entire boat and she is now looking loverly again.
Well, that's the update. I read the AGLCA digest every day to see where the Loopers are at the moment and still wish we could have been there. But it has been a very mild winter and we will be in our new home soon and looking forward to summer cruising around New Zealand's beautiful coastline. 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Power to the people

Or Loopy Kiwi anyway!

If you've been reading earlier postings, you will know that in the pre-Loop days I did a lot of research into the power supply to Loopy Kiwi to make her behave more like a New Zealand based boat as far as travelling and anchoring out were concerned. This resulted in the installation of a 3kW inverter, which was enough to run some of the appliances without having to resort to using the genset - particularly refrigeration - but certainly not the whole shebang. When we made the decision to bring LK home, the biggest issue was always going to the supply of shore power to make things work. Now, for those technophobes reading, forgive me for some of the content of this posting as it can't help but contain stuff that you will find frightfully boring, but it may be useful to those who are contemplating bringing a US boat to New Zealand, or somewhere else that has a similar power system to us - Europe, for example.

In New Zealand, the typical AC (alternating current) shore power supply is 240 V (volts) 50 Hz (hertz)  16A(amps). In the US, there are a variety of differing supplies but the most common these days is 240/115V  60Hz  50A. So....contrary to popular belief in NZ, you will notice that the USA does, in fact, have 240V like we do. However that voltage is where all similarity stops, because their 240V is a strange 240V indeed. Ours is a 3 wire, single phase system and theirs is a 4 wire system comprising 2 "hot" wires (L1 and L2 - sometimes referred to as "two phase") a neutral (L0) and an earth. Here is a drawing of the two differing systems:
Our system provides 240V between the phase and neutral wires. The US system provides 115V between either "hot" wire and the neutral (L0), and 240V between both "hot wires". This is how you can have a boat with both 240V for the airconditioning and 115V for other appliances - as Loopy Kiwi does. One important point, though, is that the two hot wires must have waveforms that are 180 degrees apart from one another, or it just doesn't work. This is why you have to be careful when connecting a 240V 50A boat to 2 x 115V 30A supplies using a Y adapter as, if they are from the same source, you don't get 240V. You may recall earlier posts where I talked about a "smart Y" adapter that I had purchased (and later sold). They are designed to make sure the hot wires are out of phase to protect the 240V equipment on the boat.

The next problem is just the electrical appetite of US boats. Loopy Kiwi, in common with many American craft, is very hungry electrically as she expects to have 50A of supply in most situations. Even then, if all the appliances were turned on simultaneously, there would be enough load to exceed this limit by some considerable margin (not that anybody ever turns everything on at once!). So here we are now faced with trying to make everything go on a measly 16A supply which, according to the laws of Physics, can't be done. What we end up with, is the ability to have roughly 3.6kW of energy, which is not a lot more than we get from the inverter. We have achieved this by installing 2 x 2kW, 240V to 115V transformers (these were off the shelf items and were cheaper than having 1 x 3.6kW one specially made). They are also wound in such a way that we get the "out of phase" hot wires necessary to give us 240V for LK's aircon - not that we will be using it much as each unit draws around 7A. Ultimately I will change the electric hotplate to gas as it, alone, uses 15A when all 3 are on (and I hate how slow electric cooking is compared with gas!).

The final issue is the difference in frequency - NZ's 50Hz vs USA's 60Hz. This does not effect things like heating elements in water heaters or ovens, but will make motors, such as those in refrigerators run slower and hotter. Prior to my retirement, my Company was involved in importing specialised fans from the USA and in the 20 years of doing so we had no problems with running them on NZ frequencies using transformers. Since we modified LK, all the appliances that contain electric motors seem to be running fine.

Loopy Kiwi came to us fitted with a "Cablemaster" deployment and storage system for the 2 x 50A shore power cables (did I mention that LK actually has TWO of these 50A supplies - although the second was dedicated entirely to the aircon for the sundeck and flybridge, and we never used that). These even had remote controls so you could easily deploy or retrieve the bulky cables with one person, usually with much envy from fellow boaters. When I told the Admiral that we were removing them she was bitterly disappointed, but they had no further purpose and took up a lot of space behind the headboard of the master stateroom, making access to some of the serviceable items quite difficult to impossible. Here's a few before, during and after pix, so you'll see what I mean:

These are shots looking up to where the vacuflush unit for the aft head is located. How you would have got to it before the Cablemasters were removed is anybody's guess!

The old power cords were 55ft long, around 1" in diameter and contained 4 cables, each with wire 16mm2 in cross sectional diameter. They have been replaced by a single cord about 3/8" in diameter and containing 3 wires each with a cross sectional diameter of 2.5mm2 each, Some difference!!!
And here's everything that came out - anyone want to buy a couple of Cablemasters c/w 55ft 50A cables??
We have made allowance for the 240V 50Hz system to be extended to the rest of the boat, particularly to replace 115V appliances if or when they fail. Fortunately, Silverton had the sense to build their boats with cabling suitable to run 240V appliances - probably because they had a reasonable export market to countries where 240V is the norm - which is not always the case in some US manufactured boats.

The next project is a liftout, bottom paint and Propspeed. We will probably give her a bit of a clean and polish at the same time to remove the rust stains etc from the shipment to NZ. The weather is pretty dismal here right now for doing this kind of work - hopefully it will improve in the next few weeks