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I Think I Want A Bigger One.


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On Trixie, she has a 43HP Nanni engine and a 28 Gal (127Ltr) fuel tank. She is a small boat at only 24' long and 9'6" beam but for whatever reason, when built she was specified with the largest engine option (almost all of these in hire fleets had a 28Hp engine and many private models had 35hp or 37Hp engines).  Anyway, I have in the past done all the usual north south cruising and she sips fuel - her happy range is 1,200 RPM which gives just over 4MPH and at 1,450RPM she is doing 5MPH. 1,700 will give her 6MPH and anything over this (right up to her maximum 3,200 RPM) buries the stern, causes horrendous wash and maxes out at just over 7MPH. I therefore ponder around at between 1,200 and 1,400 RPM almost all of the time on the northern rivers.

Now, the most important things she has fitted are:

  • A fuel gauge
  • A water gauge
  • A waste tank gauge
  • Battery management monitor

All the above take away guessing. When I am out and about, as I was for 9 days prior to this new Lockdown, I still want to re-charge my battery bank to 95% state of charge, this might take 4 hours of engine run time and means I can change the scenery even if the area I come back to for the overnight mooring may be the same, and is better for the engine to be under load than just running acting as an expensive battery charger. Despite this, and often running my diesel heater (2Kw Eberspacer) overnight, I used 32 litres of fuel. Other than over Christmas, many boatyards sell fuel - from small former hire yards now only carrying out engineering work and acting as private moorings, to larger hire yards. The cost of fuel per litre does not vary too much - 99p/ltr seem the cheapest £1.25/lts the most pricey. Larger yards charge more, smaller less.  But the availability of fuel is not going to be an issue, so in my opinion there is no need to even contemplate a second fuel tank but a fuel gauge so you know how much you have - yes, do get one of those. They are not expensive and as long as you can gain access to the tank not a long protracted job to fit.

I'd also recommend having a water gauge fitted along with a waste tank gauge - on Trixie, her water gauge is located by the galley sink which is handy as you can just glance over and think 'ahh tomorrow I need a top up'. She hold 40Gal of water (186Ltr) but on my own I can get three days easily, four at a push before needing to re-fill. The waste tank is an LED affair. Green, Amber and Red. When the Amber light comes on it is time to seek a pump put - for when the red LED illuminates, it is not a case of 'this needs doing soon' but more 'the thank is now almost completely  full'. For her size, the holding tank is generous - 22Gal (98Ltr) and I can easily go over a week without any issues when alone before needing to worry about a pump out.

Now you might not think that knowing what your batteries are doing is a big deal, but trust me - knowing is key. I spent a great deal on new batteries, updating them to a larger domestic bank, and running a separate cranking battery (which now also operates the small Bow Thruster).  Despite having over '330Ah' of capacity, I really have a usable capacity of about 165Ah. This is because I use 'old fashion' flooded Lead Acid batteries, which are cheap and easy to replace and don't require anything fancy to look after them. But every time you 'cycle' any battery, you take just a bit of life from it, and the more you discharge the less usable life you have - so I like to ensure I try not to deplete the batteries by more than 50% day to day - and only take them down to 80% discharge every now and then. I have a cheap bit of kit that monitors what voltage the batteries are at, how many Amp Hours I have taken out of the battery bank and conversely what voltage my Alternator is putting out and amperage they are being charged back up at. The previous owner had no such system, the batteries he had we literally dry - I just naively replaced them - only to find them destroyed a couple of months later. Only when I had got the system looked at by a proper marine electrician, did I find out the full extent of issues - and another big outlay for yet more new batteries was needed. 

The Alternator regulator had gone and so it was over charging, not to mention the shore powered battery charger was set up wrong and putting way too much voltage into them when plugged in - it also had melted a fuse holder so the previous owner (or someone) had just bunged in a bigger fuse and pretended there was no issue.  I recently after two boatyards and Panks of Norwich had fiddled around with my original 1992 Alternator, bit the bullet and bought a new one. My charging system now is running just perfectly.

The only added upgrade I may make is a DC to DC multi-stage battery charger, which smartly charges the batteries. It takes the output from the Alternator, then decides the voltage and amps to re-charge the batteries at - running through a 'Bulk Charge' then 'Absorption' and then 'Float' charge modes. Using one of these cuts re-charge time, and keeps the batteries in the best condition one can. Of course, a small Solar Panel connected to its own smart charging controller (MPPT are the best for this) would mean on sunny days the batteries would get a trickle charge.

Here are links to products I've mentioned above:

NASA Battery Monitor

30Amp DC to DC Battery Charger

Marine Fuel Tank Sensors and Gauges

 

 

 

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I know a chap who has not so long ago bought one of Rchardson's 'Ibiza' ex- hire boats, 38ft centre cockpit Aquafibre. All he has done is had it taken out the water so he was able to paint the hull -

On Trixie, she has a 43HP Nanni engine and a 28 Gal (127Ltr) fuel tank. She is a small boat at only 24' long and 9'6" beam but for whatever reason, when built she was specified with the largest engine

He means that Both Robin and I were berthed on that side of the boat.

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Many thanks for that Robin, various decisions are being made and many still to make. I need to prioritise the jobs and need to keep some old adages in mind.

My sister often used to say "You don't need to eat the whole elephant in one sitting"

I hope to be the happy owner of new Nyx for a good few years. The survey showed up quite a long list of "recommendations", the vast majority of which are cosmetic or in other ways not pressing. I am going to aim for a fairly gentle rate of dealing with at least one recommendation/improvement per month.

The eventual aim is one of restoration, with a target of 10 years, but that is not even set in plasticine!

Using the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." rule should help me prioritise, though having the boat sink while I'm in it will help me prioritise better!

 

 

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you could work out the capacity of the tank quite easily if its square. Working in inches. Height times length times depth will give  how many cubic inches there are in the tank. Divide that by 1728 to give capacity in cubic feet and then times 6.25 (gallons in one cubic foot)

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5 hours ago, Vaughan said:
6 hours ago, grendel said:

you want a clay pot one - painted green (with a finger print)

In fact "Death and Glory" may be a good name for your boat!

Where are you folks? This is a Norfolk Broads Forum!

Hasn't anyone read "Coot Club"?

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IIRC the refurbishing & addition of cabin was done as a reward for salvaging the Margoletta on Breydon.

 

Hint: Coot Club was the very first AR that I ever read aged about 10 - there was a tattered hardback copy in the classroom library.

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1 hour ago, ChrisB said:

Bit on the large size to row.

My sons 14 and 12 at the time, did manage to tow Admiral 7 (42ft woody and I should imagine quite heavy) down Geldeston Dyke with a dinghy, when Admiral's fan belt snapped.

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Admiral 7 - My all time fave woody.  My dad got her stuck aground at Salhouse broad back in the day when you put the bow onto the sand and the mudweight over the stern.  The tide dropped slightly as it does and it took us ages to get her off, tried using the dinghy as a tug to tow her off with the outboard flat out - failed miserably

Griff

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I know a chap who has not so long ago bought one of Rchardson's 'Ibiza' ex- hire boats, 38ft centre cockpit Aquafibre. All he has done is had it taken out the water so he was able to paint the hull - its not perfect and factory fresh, its tidy and brightens the boat up a great deal. He is over the moon. He also had shore power put in and a ring main. That is it. Now, down the line he may wish to add a battery charger, or fit an electric immersion heater and change the lighting inside, or have the seating re-upholstered etc etc.

In short it is a working boat that is mechanically sound. Its turn key ready for him and family to get onboard and head out for a weekend and that really is the biggest thing and what sometimes is lost in the excitement of initial ownership. Sure you want to make it your own and so on, but sometimes all the cosmetic things can be put on the back burner of the hob three doors down form you - all in good time. I went down the rabbit hole throwing many thousands of pounds at Independence to make her look good inside and out and replace things and adding things, but on a blustery November day as today was, as I wash her getting covered in cold soapy water, I stand back and think 'you'd never know it now'. Concentrate on having a happy boat, you enjoy that starts when you want it to and keeps you warm and comfortable everything else is a bonus down the line.

 

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A manky boat moored outside a pub while you drink beer is worth 10 gleaming perfect boats sat in a marina MM, run it for a season and carry a couple of jerry cans as a backup, no point in fixing something that may not turn out to be a problem, after a season you'll know which problems to sort first (the beer fridge and heating!) and which problems didn't exist.

On an ex hire boat I would have thought insulation is a first thought, they were not fitted out for a uk winter.

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Thanks to both of you for those posts and yes, prioritising the jobs is part of the fun, at the moment the only part I can enjoy!

I have received the surveyors report and although it doesn't make pleasant reading, it does give me better warning as to what I'm going to find!

My situation has meant the whole "buying a new boat" experience has had to be done through the eyes of third parties, but that is how it has had to be done.

I am dividing the projects into three categories, Restoration, Modification and Toys. Robin, it will come as no surprise to you that I shall be relying very heavily on your skills and experience when dealing with that third category.

One project kills two birds with one stone. I don't really want anybody walking/stepping/lying on the sliding canopy. I think one deterrent would be to cover it with Solar panels. They would have to be of the thin flexible type, ideally lying flat on the roof so as not to increase  the bridge clearance needed. What think you?

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Hi, MM, two years ago I fitted a Sterling Advanced Alternator Regulator. Not as all singing and dancing as a London Rascal set-up, but it's made a big difference to getting charge into the batteries. An evening of telly, heating and the fridge overnight really winds the batteries down, and on a 2 week cruise, it used to gradually drag the batteries low. Just couldn't cruise long enough to recharge them. 2 hours now, and they're pretty much back up. One thing to watch, make sure your batteries are in good condition before fitting one - the charging Amps go through the roof at first! If you are really serious about living aboard on a permanent basis, I'd seriously look at LiFePo batteries. They are VERY expensive, and need a dedicated charging set-up, but should last many times longer than lead acid. It was only the initial expense that put me off, weighed against my remaining years of boating. If I knew I would be living aboard for the foreseeable future, I wouldn't hesitate.

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I'd seriously look at LiFePo batteries. They are VERY expensive, and need a dedicated charging set-up, but should last many times longer than lead acid. It was only the initial expense that put me off, weighed against my remaining years of boating. If I knew I would be living aboard for the foreseeable future, I wouldn't hesitate.

I might surprise some - but I would, having spent a great deal of time talking to people about batteries (not sales people and websites) that the Lithium batteries in boats are not all they are cracked up to be.  The positive points come down to three things: They are able to have a lot more discharge and  re-charge cycles, you can pull incredible Amps out of them without damage right down to 5% state of charge and finally you are able push in masses of Amps back in when re-charging seriously cutting down on re-charge times.  The problem is they are just not a long lasting as the claims portray.

We are only really now seeing real life evidence of this in electric cars where they are run in the 'real world' and not the laboratory.  So you have someone say a battery can last 5,000 cycles - and still provide 80% useful energy, but then find it was only good for 2,500 cycles and was only giving you 60% useful energy. Its fine in your mobile phone, but on a boat where you will have paid out several thousand pounds for the batteries and associated kit, it just not going to be worth the outlay (in my opinion). Furthermore, it also is worth thinking just what high amperage demand for power you really need to justify Lithium - running electric cooking, like an induction hob and kettle? Then  it makes sense to have batteries happy to supply 100Amps+ to these through a beefy Inverter without issue. But, keeping gas to cook with? Well your lithium batteries are hardly going to be used to their full potential and sit there just dribbling out amps to run the fridge, telly and lights. 

Electric vehicles come with warranties on the batteries, and it is one of the factors many used electric cards suffer with is the warranty expiring and nobody wanting to spend for a new pack - I think a Nissan Leaf's battery bank is about £8,000 to replace!  Buying in a bunch of batteries for your boat and you will see the best your get is 2 years limited warranty on them, and when you see their cost, and the fact you need to also pay out for a completely new charging system (many Lithium batteries now come with onboard charging management so its not a requirement) but without changes to your shore charger and alternator charging set up, you are not able to recharge them rapidly - which kind of defeats one of the reasons of having them to begin.

So for me, if it is not flooded Lead Acid, sealed GEL batteries is where it is at. Far far more cycle life than AGM batteries, and able to take a very high re-charge amperage rate, and be deeply discharge too. Their only weakness is you must re-charge them soon after they have been discharged deeply, failure to do so will damage them very quickly. Some changes are needed with their charging profile too, but most shore battery chargers have a 'GEL' setting and a DC-DC charger would also have a profile for GEL too making things easier than lithium, they cost - but nowhere near in the same league as Lithium.

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One project kills two birds with one stone. I don't really want anybody walking/stepping/lying on the sliding canopy. I think one deterrent would be to cover it with Solar panels. They would have to be of the thin flexible type, ideally lying flat on the roof so as not to increase  the bridge clearance needed. What think you?

You can get flat, semi-flexible panels. We have 2 on B.A. Here is an example, 100w panel. A 100w panel in perfect conditions will provide about 5Amps DC charge. So you can see, they are not going to re-charge your batteries, but will 'cancel out' the amps your fridge might use during the day for example. Also, anytime the sun is out you know your getting a little top up of power - for nothing. You can wire several together, but make sure your total amperage does not exceed your Charge Controller's input/output.   You will need some special 'solar panel cables' which are very thick and tinned copper throughout - this is to cut any voltage loss along their run to the absolute minimum. They use special connectors - easy to buy and cheap - and these then connect to the brains that takes the power they generate, and sends it off to your battery bank at 12v - the panels might produce close on 20v and this is why you need a solar charge controller between them and a battery.

Here are some links:

100w Semi-Flexible Solar Panels

MPPT Solar Charge Controller

Solar Panel Cable

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what i have john , solar panel on roof of aft cabin, permanent connection, when canopy is back charging is from alternator while underway, when moored canopy goes up (shade bather) and the panel powers the fridge during daylight hours

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19 minutes ago, MauriceMynah said:

How can we sort the cable out to accommodate the sliding wheelhouse?

Any decent sized cable quick connector would suffice, the voltage and amperage's produces are not going to be big - here was one I found on Brian Ward's Website - but there are better more cosmetically pleasing types which are often used on boats where the wheelhouse has lighting inset in the sliding canopy - and a 'curly' connector plugs in at the helm.

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Our sliding wheelhouse has inset lighting, which plugs in via a standard "marine" 3 pin socket and a "curly" lead into a socket close to the helm. When we first got the boat we were forever forgetting to disconnect the lighting, usually pulling the wires out of the socket. After re-wiring this for the 3rd time, I fixed a cup- hook up by the port-side curtain rail, for stowing the cable when the top is open. Since fitting the hook 8 years ago, we have had no further problems. There may well be a more elegant solution, but I doubt if it would be as inexpensive - 99p for 3 from Roys DIY

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