I said goodbye to my Dad this morning. He's heading home today, and I'll be flying to Virginia myself next week for Thanksgiving with the family. He was overdue back home - in his absence all but one of my family's cars have developed some kind of problem, from bad wheel bearings to weak batteries. He'll be returning in December though to help finish.

So, how'd we do?? Here's what's done or mostly done:

  • (70%) Replace rat's nest that is the old 12V system with new panel & wiring.

    I have a few more wires to run, but the bulk of the installation work is complete.
  • (70%) Install Espar Airtronic D4 cabin heater.

    Installed and running with a few problems (more below). No ductwork run yet.
  • Install AIS receiver.
  • Recommission long-empty freshwater system, renewing the plumbing, installing a pressure pump and replacing fixtures.

    Having pressurized water is awesome! Still need to replace both drain hoses. I ultimately want to install closable thru-hulls.
  • Install new freshwater head and renew all blackwater hoses, and clean out old holding tank. Not looking forward to this one.
  • Replace old gimbaled pressurized alcohol stove with new fixed propane stovetop (fed from disposable bottles, no on-board propane storage).
  • Upgrade icebox with an addon holding plate/condenser system for refrigeration capability.
  • (75%) Replace clouded fixed portlight windows with new opening models.

    3 out of 4 windows are in. There was a problem with the 4th, and a replacement is on order.
  • Replace main cabin and head overhead hatches (current ones don't even lock).
  • Re-bed stanchion bases at the bow.

    Turned out not to be necessary - the deck/hull under the stanchions is pure fiberglass, no core material.

And what's left:
  • Install 120VAC system with shore power inlet, galvanic isolator, and battery charger.
  • Apply Kiwigrip to entire deck.

Not bad if you ask me!

The new windows look fantastic:

[Linked Image]

So, electrical: the new panel is installed and operational, about half of the circuits are hooked up. As part of the retrofit I'm moving the controls for the navigation lighting (running, steaming, masthead and deck lights) to the cockpit. That part's not done yet. But starboard cabin lights, water pressure, autopilot, heater, and refrigerator are all wired. A lot of the other controls are at the panel or near it and just require short runs.

And ahh, the Espar. That thing is awesome and terrifying. We put together a fuel run with a couple of hacked connections (mainly for testing until I can special order actual 2mm parts). Nevertheless, it doesn't leak.

When we first engaged the heater, it cycled through 5-6 starting attempts without firing. Removing the fuel line revealed there was fuel at the supply end but not the demand, so we figured either the pump was faulty or just needed primed. We ran it with the end submerged in a cup of diesel and it started spraying fuel out the tube just fine. Connected it all back together and the thing fired up on the second try.

Once it did, it quickly got hot. Very hot. Exhaust started pouring out the hose connection at the base of the heater, and my infrared thermometer showed temperatures approaching 400 degrees. An inspection of the exhaust hose clamp revealed the problem - it had snagged around a stud on the heater and didn't properly close. With the clamp tightened down, the unit fired up and ran for a while. I did see a little more smoke by the connection, but we're not sure if it was exhaust leaking or burnoff from the Permatex high temperature gasket compound we used to enhance the exhaust seal.

The unit shut itself off about 5-10 minutes into running, showing "OVERHEAT" on the display. I believe that's because our outflow ducting currently exits the heater and makes two immediate 90 degree bends about 4 inches apart, to dodge a cockpit locker and turn into the cabin. That creates, I think, a higher pressure and temperature at the outflow end, causing the heater to shut itself down.

Current plan is to test with the duct removed and if that resolves the problem, route the ducting through the cockpit locker instead of around it. I'll lose some storage space, but oh well.

So in summary, we're able to cross most things off our list, with only minor work remaining to be done on a few of them. Hurrah!