Project Season

There are so many projects on the eternal to-do list that only budget or weather determines the priorities for Satori. It’s time to settle into the fall-winter-spring seasons where storms roll through to cool and dampen the air. I’m not struggling to keep the boat’s interior dry. The forced air heater blows the forward berth dry while the small oil heater in the settee keeps the main cabin dry. Together they work to eliminate mildew and damp air. Combined with the hot water tank, they are also the largest consumers of electricity from the 110 volt shore power circuit. Last year I prioritized the hot water system and it has proven invaluable now but I decided to leave out a major advantage to a marine hot water tank. I discovered that the hot water tank contained a heating element which is designed to be connected to the engine’s cooling system, using the coolant tank for the air expansion system. I thought about the idea of plumbing the engine to the tank but I couldn’t imagine running the engine often enough to warrant the extra project. When I started using the Dickinson diesel stove I realized that a pipe was installed inside of the stove and at some point the hot water tank had been heated using the stove. The only issue was the coil had been broken in half and no longer functioned. Since the connection was made I have been planning on installing the water heating system but it involved a fairly involved and risky installation but I finally figured out how to do it correctly.  It only involves fixing the stove and reconnecting the copper lines to the stove and water heater, plus installing an expansion tank, and a few nice components to ensure a comfortable water temperature. I can run propylene glycol through the system and effectively heat the water heater and reduce the amount of 110 volt electricity I am using.

A couple of interesting books shroud the new expansion tank
A couple of interesting books shroud the new expansion tank

I stopped in at the sail loft to see how the mainsail is coming along. Frank mentioned last week that the sail will likely be completed by this week and although I did not have any expectations, the sail was freshly completed just minutes before I arrived. The unveiling of the first sail in the series is one of the most exciting moments in this refitting project. A new set of sails and a new sail plan improves Satori’s sailing performance considerably. For each new sail also comes new lines and systems to trim, haul and reef. The mainsheet has been repositioned and works great. The halyard will be replaced and I will add lazy jacks to enable the mainsail to be dropped and flaked without the sail falling off the boom. The reefing lines, topping lift and outhaul will be replaced with dyneema and chafe protection used where needed. Frank needs to add the rings in the foot slides so I can rig the lazy jacks before I take it out for a test drive. He seems to be concerned about the battens being a little to flimsy so they may be replaced but otherwise she’s ready to fly.

Mainsail bag
Mainsail bag

battens

Frank unveiling the new mainsail
Frank unveiling the new mainsail
Mainsail tack
Mainsail tack
Mainsail head
Mainsail head

Another interest that has been on my mind since July is the engine cooling system. Since the oil pipe burst and leaked all of the engine oil into the bilge, I thought for a while about the importance of the engine as an important and necessary part of the dependable systems. Although an engine tends to be mainly for getting in and out of a marina but there are exceptions. When the seas are fighting with your sanity, such as when there are no winds. When you need to rescue someone who fell overboard and you know the time limit to a successful rescue. When the batteries need to be charged because the renewable energy is unavailable. Finally when you are fighting a lee shore and loosing, it’s nice to kick the motor on and head into the opposite direction. These seem to be the very things that make an engine safe to have aboard and logically mandatory that it will keep running under any circumstance. A large part of the issues I’m dealing with are mainly the amount of corrosion that the engine will accept before it fails and needs to be replaced. I have a choice to pay an insane amount of money to get a new engine or fix mine to a high level of confidence that it will keep running for another five years. Five years is enough time to discover some interesting places and slow down the amount of money it takes to keep cruising in remote parts of the globe. With all of the upgrades I have completed and the ones yet to come in the next six months, I am looking at a break from spending. The list is still quite long for the important offshore components so the first trips may be without some of the more common offshore components but the engine will be good enough to work well, without as much corrosion. I will begin replacing the cooling system next month which will leave Satori inoperable until the project is complete. I need to replace the water pump and then rebuild the existing one as a backup.

After 50,000 Miles shows Hal collecting rain water from his Schattauer mainsail
After 50,000 Miles shows Hal Roth collecting rain water from his Schattauer mainsail

Once I have upgraded the engine, I should also have some new sails to try out. Unfortunately the jib might have to wait until I can afford the furling system. The staysail will need two new winches and two new tracks along the cabin top. There is a cowl and mushroom vent on either side that could cause an issue with certain sheeting angles but I will fix the issue so I can still sheet the staysail without interference. The new furling system and jib, a new loose-footed staysail, and the new fully-battened mainsail, along with a more dependable engine will be the foundation to a successful sailing adventure. In case you’re wondering about the life of a sail, the legendary Hal Roth once sailed his boat 50,000 miles and wrote about his experiences in a book labeled “After 50,000 miles”. His sails were made by Franz Schattauer and propelled his boat the entire distance. Now it’s my turn. These are my current projects and perhaps the most important part of preparing Satori for offshore sailing.

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