Miss Miranda has now been at Philbrooks for a couple of weeks, working through a long list of maintenance items and upgrades that we have compiled over the past year. Many of the maintenance items came as a result of a Ready for Sea inspection by Marine Guru and all-around good guy Steve D’Antonio. The upgrade list was driven by how we think we will use the boat for the next couple of years. Here’s what shows up as complete on the work order so far.
- Shaft seal. The shaft seal keeps water from entering the hull at the exit point of the propeller shaft. There are generally two types, which are referred to as “stuffing boxes” or “dripless seals”. I have the latter, which are supposed to be, as the name would suggest, dripless, meaning no water enters the bilge from the seal. That is true, as long as they are installed and aligned properly. Steve’s inspection revealed that these seals were leaking, even after having been replaced when we were in the yard last year. Furthermore, they were not type Steve preferred, as they are sensitive to the alignment of the prop shaft. After some discussion back and forth, Philbrooks is replacing a suspect part on the existing seal and asserts that it will address the issue. By the way, the whole stuffing box/dripless seal topic is another one of those that generates near religious fervor. Personally, I just want the things to work as advertised.
- Exhaust leak. Miss Miranda has what is called a “dry exhaust” system, meaning a muffler and exhaust pipe that goes up and vents out of the top of the stack. What that means is that the (very hot) muffler and exhaust pipe run right through the engine room, and is therefore insulated with a special blanket. Ours was of an old “bandage” style, and needed replacement, which we had done in November of last year by Ballard Insulation in Seattle (highly recommended). Well, the guys at Philbrooks noticed that the initial section of the exhaust, a 90 deg elbow that leads from the turbo up to the muffler, was leaking. Good catch by them, and they fabricated a replacement.
The wing engine is a small Yanmar diesel that has a speparate shaft and folding prop that is to be used as an emergency “get home” engine. It is a critical piece of safety equipment, but is not run very often, and frankly, has been a bit of a pain in the ass from a maintenance perspective. We had work done it it last year, with more to be done (and redone) this year, hoping to make it the reliable backup that we can depend on.
- Shaft seal. This one is getting replaced with the Tides style recommended by Steve D. We could never get the PSS seal to work properly in spite of having it adjusted several times after it was replaced last year.
- Shaft. It turns out that the wing engine shaft has some pitting (corrosion) which means that it needs to be replaced in order for the Tides seal to work properly.
- Motor mounts and alignment. The mounts were replaced last year, but were too soft. Replaced and motor to be (I hope) properly aligned.
- Raw water hoses. The hoses that supply sea water for cooling the engine are original, meaning that they are 20 years old and long past due for replacement.
There is more to be done on the wing… they just haven’t completed all of the work yet.
We thought we would need to replace the generator exhaust elbow, as it showed signs of leakage during Steve’s inspection. It turns out that the leak was from the heat exchanger end cap. Good news, as this is a relatively minor fix.
- High water bilge pump. We have a second pump located above our main bilge pump that is intended to help dewater the boat in case of a leak. We switched it out for a larger capacity pump and added an alarm.
- Rudder bearings. Rusted, needed to be replaced. There is a removable deck plate over the rudder post that allows emergency steering via a tiller in the event of hydraulic steering failure. When the deckplate leaks (ours did), the bearings eventually rust. The additional new piece of equipment to be installed is a tupperware bowl to cover the post…
- Battery replacement/upgrade. We are replacing the Lifeline AGM batteries (last replaced in 2015) with Firefly Carbon Foam batteries. The principle advantages of these batteries are ability to withstand deeper discharge, tolerance to partial charge cycles and longer service life. We think they will work well for extended cruising off the grid. Along with this, the battery boxes in the lazarette will be reconfigured, and we will recover some valuable storage space.
- Upgrade charge capacity. Our exisiting battery charging system was woefully undersized for the size of the battery bank, at 125 Amp/hr for 1500+ Amp/hr capacity. We are adding:
- Two Victron 100 Amp chargers. This will give us a peak capacity of 325 Ah, which will help us recharge the Fireflys quickly while running the generator.
- About 750 Amps of solar panels. We hope to get roughly 200 Ah per day of charging from the panels, which is a bit less than half of our daily consumption. This will reduce the daily generator run time while at anchor.
- Replace the original 24V engine/thruster battery charger. It is mounted under the master berth and is very noisy, as well as not having the right charging profile for the AGM batteries. We’re replacing with a Victron.
Reupholster Salon Setee
We were very happy with the work Philbrooks did on our pilothouse setee last year, and the 20 year old salon setee is well past due. We used Stamoid fabric for the pilothouse, and really like it for it wear resistance and ease of cleaning. Unfortunately, the color pallete is pretty limited, so we decided to use ultraleather for the salon.
There is a lot more work in progress, and we are still hoping for completion by May 1st, in time to head down to Seattle for Opening Day.