Taming the big white snake was on the menu this time; an alternative working title could have been: what’s underneath the battery bank…
To prepare for the upcoming engine installation, a new approach for the exhaust was needed as the diameter of the new Yanmar engine is about an inch wider than the existing hose. Given the very limited space in the areas where the current hose was routed more space had to be found. That required the re-routing of the existing bilge pump hose (through new holes that had to be cut), opening up of existing holes in all walls, a change to some of the battery bank foundation etc.
Half the work is done by now and the remaining adjustments are manageable.
We are ready for the new engine and have some time to design the storage compartments around the bow thruster now.
Most importantly, the new foundations (steel plates that the engine will be bolted onto) were laminated into the engine compartment and a new solution was designed by Ralf that does not only catch potential engine oil but also allows access to the keel bolts should that be needed. He installed the new catch basin that contains small holes with a rim and cap above each bolt – great idea.
While the boat was indoors, we also decided to renew the golden lines on the hull. They had more or less deteriorated in the sun while Tioga was in Ireland for a lot longer than planned. They turned out very nice (and detract from the micro-cracks in the Awlgrip).
The bow thruster did arrive from Norway! The new bow-thruster tunnel was painted and the 5 blade propeller + motor installed. For the battery a beautiful foundation was installed that keep the battery safely in place under the v-berth.
During the holidays, Thorsten connected all the cables, installed a 400 Amp fuse and the main switch. Our Sterling charger has a third charging adapter for bow thrusters and that was connected to the diode splitter. That way, the bow thruster battery gets charged when the engine is running as well as when connected to shore power. All that is left to complete the bow thruster installation is the connection to the diode splitter and the construction of a small housing for the control unit that will be installed at the pedestal in the cockpit. We decided to go with a control unit that uses buttons as opposed to a joy stick (as that reduces the chances that a sheet rips off the stick).
Next step is to get ready for the installation of the engine – which will start when the Kiesow team is back from their well deserved January vacation.
Well, the bow thruster did not arrive from Norway yet, but because the delivery date was now confirmed, the team decided to move on and install the tunnel for the bow thruster. It is a pretty large hole that got cut into the bow. The work is almost done and looks beautiful. The tunnel is not just a large hole that was cut through the bow but also has some hydrodynamic add-ons to improve the flow of the water. Next steps are the installation of the bow thruster motor (likely at an angle to fit under the v-berth) followed by the installation of the bow thruster battery and control unit. Thorsten, the electrician is on stand-by.
All portlights ware installed. It turned out that two of the brand new portlights that were picked up in the US last year were not manufactured correctly and therefore could not be properly closed. Robert polished some of the old ones and installed those instead. It is still not clear, if these windows are still being manufactured as the market does not seem to offer them anymore. The larger window above the pantry turned out to be a good choice. The view through the new plexiglass is so much better than before. The bottom surface around the keel repair is finished and ready to be sanded and painted with bottom paint.
Now, there are some challenges to overcome as well. The new Yanmar engine’s mounts have a different layout than the Westerbeke engine. As a result, the current foundation cannot be used to install the new motor. Our mechanics have now built a template to simulate the new dimensions. It is connected to the shaft and held in place just like the new engine would. Robert will now build the new foundation where the new mounts require it. Once that is sorted out, a solution for the oil pan underneath the engine will need to be devised.
It’s been almost three months since the last update. Tioga was waiting for her slot to finally get the structural work started with Janssen & Renkhoff. After the replacement of the six cabin windows, the larger window in the pantry and some seacocks had already started in the summer, it was now time to fix the really important part – the hull-keel connection. Before Tioga got lifted out of the water last season we had tried to find the reason why and where the boat was heavily leaking. With the engine mounted above the aft section of the bilge we were never able to see the water coming in. All we could do was to confirm that it was not coming from any other place around the engine.
We therefore decided to launch Tioga again to confirm that there actually was a leak. And, – yes, there was. Unlike other small leaks where one can barely see the water coming in, this leak was really obvious as there was quite a bit of water coming in.
Tioga was lifted back out of the water and moved into the shed. A fair bit of the epoxy that had been applied in Ireland was removed again, the keel got extended in the upper section to strengthen the connection to the hull, a lot of new layers were applied on the outside as well as the inside. Our experts at Janssen & Renkhoff are quite confident that this will finally fix our problem. Next is to install a new structure to catch engine dirt & oil before finalizing the foundation for the motor mounts.
The new seacocks are installed and look great, the window frames have been epoxied back together and new wooden panels have been custom-built and installed. The custom pantry window is ready for installation and the v-berth has been taken apart to start the installation of the bow thruster. The team does not want to cut the tunnel into the bow until the bow thruster has actually arrived from Norway (where it was shipped from already a while ago…).
So, a lot of progress, but still quite some work left as well. We are confident that Tioga will be sailing next year again, though.
The good news: work replacing windows and through-hulls started; the bad news, the boat looks even more like a war zone than before. After removing the 6 old windows some of the structures underneath were wet and now have to be cleaned up and properly replaced (in addition to finding the leaks etc). Decisions on how to progress, which parts to rip out, which types of wood to replace old parts with
The pedestal, engine controls, quadrant and compass have been put together again. Unfortunately, the design of the bilge control panels changed slightly. The cut-outs now have to be adjusted slightly, but not a big deal.
Labelling of all the wires has started and hopefully helps troubleshooting electricity challenges in the future.
More parts arrived. Especially the American nuts & bolts helped as they have different threads than the European bolts. Getting the levers for the engine controls to move more easily was a little challenging as not only the bolts were seized but also the bearing difficult to clean. Rolled-up sanding paper taped to a drill did the trick.
The design of the bow thruster is progressing. An additional switch will need to be installed somewhere in the v-berth (in addition to the thruster itself, a dedicated battery and numerous wires). It looks like the Sterling charger we installed before our first trip to Europe is able to charge a third bank and therefore will be connected to the splitter and with that the bow thruster battery can be charged with shore power as well.
The biggest step, though, was the removal of the pan under the former engine. It was cut out carefully along the sides to leave a smooth surface. All dirt and grease was removed (mostly with brake cleaner) and in theory is now ready for the fiberglass work that is scheduled for September. Still, no significant cracks or other signs of stress could be found. We are still considering to launch Tioga before the fiberglass work and keep her in the water for a while to determine where the water is finding its way into the bilge
New components keep on arriving. The BD 50 compressor for the fridge repair arrived. Unfortunately Gerd, the refrigeration expert had an accident and hurt his shoulder. The installation was therefore postponed. To replace the existing throttle and gear control cables (the new ones need to be longer), a lot of the pedestal and quadrant components had to be uninstalled. Although we had just replaced these before our last trans-atlantic in 2019, it turned out to be quite a job to loosen the screws and get the cables pulled. Good to have Dan in the US who is able to organize replacement screws with American threads etc. The new control lines arrived and will be installed soon (as soon as we get the screws from Dan).
While checking some of the wires, it turned out that the fog horn as well as the switch for the horn had to be replaced (the wires are ok). New bilge pump switches had to be ordered. The wiring of the rudder-sensor indicating the position of the center-board had to be replaced.
The pile of parts in the US is growing and will be installed later in the year.
The control cable for the bow thruster has been put in place, all holes for the thicker battery cables to the bow thruster have been drilled and the cables ordered.
The wiring harness for the mast has been replaced and all thick engine/battery cables put in place (they will be crimped and connected once the engine is in place and the wires cut to length).
Finally the diode splitter we bought in France was installed. It turned out to be a good purchase as it can handle both battery banks as well as the bow thruster. The initial idea to install a battery booster instead of the splitter was dismissed after consulting with our mechanics/engine experts (Kiesow). It is not yet determined if we want to charge the bow thruster battery only via the alternator when the engine is running or also with shore power – but that can be decided later when electrician, Thorsten, gets going in the fall. The entire engine room has been stripped of its formal noise insulation.
And, probably the most important news, the boatyard is slowly starting the work on Tioga. Due to a new hire they have capacity now and will start with the replacement of the 6 windows and a handfull of through-hulls in a couple of weeks.
We are progressing – slowly but surely we are getting there…
Work continues. – By now most old electrical cables have been pulled out of the boat. New ones have been ordered. – The wiring for the bow thruster was agreed and a routing of all wires is being finalized. While the exact position of the control stick is not final, it looks likely that it will be somehow mounted on the pedestal to port of the compass. – The old control cables between engine and control panel have been pulled (after a decent battle with a very long exhaust hose) and the new control cables (with a quite large connector) were installed – I finally found someone that knows his way around boat refrigeration, Gert Hagen, and we came up with a plan forward. We will keep the existing Seafrost plates and connections but replace the compressor unit. Instead of a Danfoss BD 35, we will upgrade to a Danfoss BD 50 as that should be better suited for the configuration and fridge volume on Tioga. Gert will install the unit and weld the connection back together.
By now, we have reached the point where new components are being ordered and slowly finding their way into the belly of Tioga – a very welcome change to the endless destruction of the previous months.
And yes, that battery cable was due for a replacement…
Now that the engine was removed, it was time to clean up the engine compartment and get access to the area underneath it. As agreed with the builder, large holes had to be cut into the floor, ideally above the keel bolts. Studying the old technical drawings of Tioga, it was difficult to determine where these could be. After drilling the first hole relatively close, the bilge could be cleaned out and the bolt locations determined. In total there were 5 bolts and each one is now accessible through these additional holes. Unfortunately, no obvious problems could be found. It would have helped to determine what repairs are needed. Except for one of the more forward located bolts not having a nut, everything else looked fine.
During the next inspection with the builder, we determined to cut the entire floor our to get access to the entire area. It would not be a surprise, if Tioga has to be put back into the water to see where it is entering the hull.
Before the floor gets cut out, though, all the electrical wires get sorted out and labeled. Some, roughly 10%, are no longer needed and can be removed. That freed up some switches on the control panel and also made room for some new wires that need to be rerouted.
Most of the existing wires will have to be replaced. Now that they are accessible, this opportunity has to be leveraged. Some wires are also clearly in bad shape and probably the reason for the second battery bank to not fully function anymore. @Dan, have a look at the heavily corroded red battery wire. No wonder we could not fix the problem in Ireland…
As new sound insulation will need to be installed, the walls have to be cleaned up, the old fuel filter removed and all cable ties cut off.
Oh, and for those that sailed with Tioga before and were wondering what these switches were for:
The black round knob was the on/off switch for the engine room fan. The silver one in the back, water pump prime, still is a mystery.
It turned out that the engine was in fact reduced to a small enough size to fit through the hatch. The crane was arranged and the mechanics took care of the remaining work to uninstall and lift the engine out of the boat. It now rests on a pallet where more or more parts of the engine setup accumulate.
In the meantime the new Yanmar engine arrived in a wooden box and is waiting to be installed. That will unfortunately take quite a while as the needed hull-repair will not start until August or September due to a backlog with the boatbuilder, Janssen & Renkhoff, who is launching a new sailboat model in August.
So, good-bye to the 2022 sailing season with Tioga.
Another achievement is the de-installation of the hydraulic cylinder deep down in the bilge. This cylinder is used to control the centerboard. It has spent at least 20 years in a mixture of saltwater, oil and dirt… A new one is ordered as the old one could not be saved. It will be painted with a two-component paint to protect if from the dangers of this bilge.
Next step is to investigate to bilge under the engine compartment to determine which boat repairs are needed in that area.