Sunday, August 14, 2016

JollyMon and Crew Win Kampeska Regatta Monohull Division

On July 23rd, 2016 we had the 40th running of the Kampeska Cup Regatta. The club started out back in 1976 as a Hobie Cat sailing club. Over the years the old Hobie Catters have converted to mono hull sailing.  We still had a few Hobies in the race. Great day sailing. Nothing better than having my two kids racing with me.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sta-Lok Side Stay Repair

This fall when I was putting the boat away I checked all the stays to see if there was any rig damage that needed to be repaired.

The fore stay and back stays checked out fine but my lower side stays both has some strands of the cable that were visibly broken.  I am sure these are the original stays so they have seen a lot of use over the years.

The S2 6.9 original equipment has 1x19 5/32 stainless steel cable with 5/16 thread for all stays and shrouds. The threaded end of the stays all have a right hand thread to tighten.

Broken Strands
I first looked into having totally new stays built with swage fitting on each end to replace the old ones. These swage fittings are compressed onto the cables with a heavy duty industrial press.

I even thought about replacing the stays with new rope stay material called Dyneema. After all, the sailing ships of old all used rope for their stays to support the mast.

The Dyneema rope is just as strong as the stainless steel wire material and much lighter.  You can read more about it at this Sailfeed link if your are interested.
The total replacement of the shrouds would be more expensive so I chose to just replace the ends. The 5/32 1x19 316 stainless steel cable costs about $1.00 per foot. So it would cost about $32 for the two lower side stays.  The T-Ball swage fittings that go into the mast cost about $25 a piece and the threaded swage ends go for about $17.  I would then have to find someone to compress these onto the cable.

The rest of the existing cable seemed to be in good condition so I opted to just replace the threaded end with a mechanical fitting.

There are several companies that make mechanical fittings for wire cable. Sta-Lok, Norseman and Hi Mod are the three companies that I know of.  I did a quick Internet search and found a 5/32 Sta-Lok long barrel threaded fitting on the P2 Marine site for about $44.  Make sure to get the long barrel terminal, it will provide about the right length compared to the old fitting.

These mechanical fittings are very reliable and are actually stronger than the cable you are attaching them to.  The fittings can be reused also but a new center cone and forming cone will need to be purchased.

The first thing you have to do is cut off the old terminal to prepare the end for the new one.  I used my Dremel tool with a cutting blade on the end to zip it off quickly. Make sure to make a nice square cut so all the strands of the cable are the same length. Use a file to clean up any burs on the cable.

Cutting off the old fitting
There is a real good video on YouTube that details the whole process of replacing a fitting of this type. Check it out for the step by step instructions.

The video also has many good tips like sealing up the connection with silicone to prevent water intrusion into the fitting.
Sta-Lok pieces

The Sta-Lok fittings have just 4 parts. The main threaded barrel(at bottom), the top nut(top right), the forming cone(middle) and the spreading cone(top left).

First place the top nut onto the cable. Next spread the cables outer strands by giving the cable a counter clockwise twist. Slip the spreading cone insert, skinny side first, onto the 6 inner strands of the cable.

The forming cone fits in the bottom of the main threaded barrel. This is what will form the strands into a nice round shape as the nut forces the strands around the center cone.
Strands before pre forming strands
I followed the procedure used in the video and first tightened the nut down to preform the strands around the inner cone.  I then unscrewed it to see if the strands all formed properly. I was lucky that it worked fine.

I then filled the fitting with silicone and tightened down the nut again.  I used lock tight on the threads as suggested in the video and tightened down the fitting until snug.

That is it! I should be good for many more season to come.


Finished connection

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Marine 12 Volt Outlet Options

Mobile devices have become so handy in all aspects boating and the marine industry. While boating I have found myself needing more charging options on my sailboat for these devices. I often have my iPad running to display my favorite marine charting app. I might have my Delorme Inreach satellite transceiver powered on to track my position. The USB outlets could also power my WiFi router or my USB powered Apple TV.  I also use my iPhone with various other weather, AIS and tactical marine apps while racing.

In the past all we had to choose from was a basic 12 volt cigarette lighter or power outlet. I installed one of these in a blog post a while back.  While on one day a few new 12 volt outlet options popped up during a search. One had an actual voltmeter and a USB charger. There is another panel mounted device with all three options of a voltmeter, USB charger and a 12 volt outlet. You can purchase any of them on my Amazon Store.

These are easy to add to just about any boat either to the main control panel or in sleeping quarters or in handy areas near the helm.

I decided to add the voltmeter and the USB outlets to my main fuse panel down below. This would allow me to easily see the state of charge of my house battery and charge my mobile devices.

The inserts for the voltmeter and the USB charger rotate within the mounting plate so you can mount them vertically or horizontally.

The USB charger has the option for 1 amp and 2.1 amps for your iPad.

In my case the vertical mounting of the outlets was preferred. Two 1 1/4 inch holes were drilled into the panel to allow the devices to stick through and enable the wiring connections behind the panel.

The far right,  MISC, fuse and switch were used to power the meter and USB outlets. The USB outlet only draws  about 2.1 amps so a 5 amp fuse was used to make sure it would power the outlet without burning out. 16 gauge wire was used to connect the devices to the switch and fuse.
Final installation 
~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ultimate 12 Volt Wireless Yacht Entertainment System

Ultimate 12 Volt Wireless Yacht Entertainment System

I have been trying to design an entertainment system for my boat for some time. The design had to use readily available hardware for audio and video, it had to be wireless, it had to be reasonably priced and mostly plug and play if possible.

I did not want to have to run a bunch of speaker wires and video cables around the boat along with a separate stereo unit which would be out of date in a few years. I was looking for a total wireless solution that would work with the way I listen to music these days.  Nobody drags around CDs or DVDs around anymore. With the advent of mobile devices and tablets almost everyone now carries around all the entertainment they will ever need in the palm of their hands.  

At home I have a wireless network, an Apple TV and a stereo all connected to my flat screen TV.  It allows me to play music, radio and videos from the Internet, computer, iPad or iPhone all to my stereo and TV.  My goal was to build a wireless system like this for my boat.

If your yacht is big enough you will most likely have a generator or inverter that will provide you with 115v service.  To make this work on my smaller boat I needed a 5 volt solution for a WiFi router and a 12 volt solution for my Apple TV and flat screen TV.

WiFi Routers:

The first bit of research I did was to find a portable WiFi router that could be powered by 5 volts from a USB outlet.  It only took a quick search to find a whole slew of them that would work.  I could simply plug these into my computer or a DC power outlet with a 5 volt USB adapter.  It was that quick, my WiFI was up and running. These USB adapters only put out about 1 to 2.1 amps so make sure your router does not require more current than that.

Many of these USB powered routers act as a WiFi router, an Access Point or client. Some of the newest one also act as a 3/4G hotspot and some can operate off of a rechargeable battery.

The TP link router uses a 5 volt micro USB connector which can be powered from a computer, your phone charger or a DC outlet adapter.  The TPLink TL-WR702N is compact wireless N router with 150 mbs.

The TRENDnet  N300 TEW-654TR operates off of a 115V charger or the optional 5 volt, 3mm barrel adapter that plugs into a USB outlet.  This unit is a 300mbs N router so it should handle the heaviest traffic on your onboard network.

While your are away from the dock your on board router will not be connected to the Internet.  The network will still act as your onboard entertainment backbone.

I did have one problem with my iPad when the router was not connected to the Internet.  My iPad
kept trying to connect to the Internet through my router and would not allow me to connect through my iPad's Verizon data plan. 

To correct this I had to create a static IP address in the Wireless settings for the onboard router and leave the Router and DNS setting empty.  This allowed my iPad to connect to the Internet through my Verizon data plan while still being connected to my onboard router.

Apple AirPlay:

If you own an Apple iPhone or iPad you may be familiar with Airplay.  It is one of the coolest features that Apple has created to broadcast and control your media.  Apple designed this wireless protocol for sending data over a WiFi network to Airplay compatible devices. With AirPlay you can wirelessly stream videos, music, and photos from your computer, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to Apple TV and stream music to AirPlay speakers or receivers, including Apples AirPort Express.  There are now dozens of Airplay compatible apps and devices including Pandora, Vevo, YouTube, Netflix, iHeartRadio and TuneIn.

On your iPhone or iPad, Airplay can be turned on from the Apple services menu as seen in screen shot to the left. Simply swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone or iPad screen to display the menu. If you have other AirPlay devices on your network they will show up here. I have an Apple TV and an iHome Airplay speaker shown in the menu above. Airplay from your iOS device only allows the selection of one device at a time.  To be able to stream to two Airplay devices at the same time you will have to use the Apple Remote App with iTunes on your computer.

I found an app called Whaale that allows playing music on up to 6 Airplay speakers from your iPhone or iPad.  This app does what the Apple Remote does not. You can play multiple sources to multiple speaker too. The app gives you access to all your music files on your device.

One cool feature of Airplay is that I discovered is that I can play music on my iPad to my iHome Airplay speaker.  I then opened the Apple remote app and I was able to play movies or music from my iPad to my Apple TV at the same time.  So I could listen to music while my wife watched a movie all streamed from one device, simultaneously, Wow, now that is Rocket Science!


Music and Video can also be played from your networked computer with iTunes over Airplay.

Open iTunes and select the Airplay icon on the top of the screen.  A drop down menu will show you the Airplay connected devices and allow you to select single or multiple devices. You can control the volume of each device from iTunes also.  If I had other Airplay speakers connected they could be simultaneously selected so I could play music to all the speakers at the same time.

Apple Remote App:

Apple's Remote Control app adds some additional functionality and control from your iOS mobile device.  Make sure to have iTunes on your computer running and enable Sharing. Add your Apple TV and your iTunes library to the remote. First the Remote app will allow you to remotely control what is being played in your iTunes Library on your PC or Mac. It will allow you to search, select, control and play the movies, music, TV shows or Podcasts that are in your collection.

The remote app can also be used to remotely control your Apple TV and allow you to select Music, Movies and TV shows just like you do with the supplied Apple TV remote control.

Finally, use the remote to control and play iTunes Radio on your PC, Mac or Apple TV.

Select the Airplay icon in the remote app to control what devices you want to stream to. Listen with AirPlay Speakers, computer speakers or Apple TV.

Single or multiple devices can be selected by toggling the Single/Multiple selection in the tip right of the pop up.

Apple TV:

Apple TV is one Airplay device that allows you to connect your mobile devices to your stereo system or onboard TV display. At $99 bucks it is well worth it. The Apple TV can connect wirelessly to your WiFi network or through a wired network cable. It has an HDMI cable to connect to your TV or monitor. 

Connect your mobile device to your onboard WiFi network. Music and Movies can now be played on your mobile device and sent wirelessly to the Apple TV and monitor.  The Mirroring function of AirPlay can also be used to display anything you have on your iPad onto your TV or monitor. This includes any marine charting or instrument display apps.

The problem with Apple TV is that it has a 115 volt AC power supply in the device. You can use a small 12 volt DC to 115 v AC inverter plugged into your power outlet or you can hack the Apple TV and replace the AC power supply with a 12 volt to 3.3 volt DC-DC power supply. There are several videos on YouTube to help you make this conversion. It does involve dismantling the Apple TV and some soldering. This will no doubt void your warranty but that is the price for a mobile Apple TV. I wrote about my 12 Volt Apple TV Conversion on my i-Marine Apps blog.

This teardown article confirms the Apple TV 2nd generation power supply voltage is 3.4 volts at 1.75 amps. Do not attempt this if you are not familiar with electronics.  You can also power the Apple TV with a 5 volt USB cable. This involves replacing the 115 volt power supply with 5v to 3.3v DC step down regulator like this one.

Airplay Speakers:

I used to play music from my iPad to a Bluetooth speaker.  It worked fine but the disadvantage with Bluetooth is that my device could only connect to one speaker at a time.  The sound quality was not as good since the audio was compressed.

I recently purchased some iHome iW3 Airplay speakers. The advantage of Airplay is that it allows multiple speaker to be connected to and selected on the same WiFi network.  Multiple iW3 Airplay speakers can be connected to my WiFi network and can be all played at the same time.

The iW3 is a nice size at 4.6 inches square and 9.3 inches high. It has better than average sound with SRS True Bass. It sits on an 115 AC/12 DC volt charging base. I purchased these on Amazon for $75 each.  The Apple Store has them listed for $199.00  It is rechargeable and comes with a USB connection on the back for charging your iPhone and an auxiliary audio input jack too.

The iHome speakers do come with an app called  iHome Connect to help connect them to the WiFi network and enter the network password if needed. The treble and bass can be set using the app while your device is connected to the speaker.

If money is no object I have heard good things about Sonos WiFi speaker systems.  These are for audio only.  They use a separate proprietary WiFi protocol over your existing WiFi.  Their smallest speaker start at $199 per unit.

I did not cover 12 volt displays or TVs. A search of the Internet will bring up a few options for you to use.

Well, I hope I have given you a few ideas about going wireless for your onboard entertainment system. 12 volts and wireless is the way to go.  So thank me now! This setup will definitely save you from drilling a bunch of holes all over your boat.

What are you using for an onboard entertainment system? Comment below and share your stories and ideas if you like.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Refinishing the Interior Wood Work

The interior rehab of my 6.9 is slowly taking shape. I try to do something each year to improve the looks of this old piece of classic plastic from the 1980s.  Recently I took some of the wood trim off of the interior of the boat and have been reconditioning those pieces.  The wood was only given a light stain when it was installed almost 30 years ago.

S2 did not use a lot of wood on their production boats.  The pieces that I have been working on include the stairs, bulkheads, lifting keel trim and bunk trim.  These all seem to be made out of teak or teak veneer. 

The process is pretty simple and almost anyone can do it. Simply take the pieces off. Most are held on by a few screws. The bulkheads are fixed so they had to be refinished in place.

I used a vibrating detail sander with 120-180 grit sand paper.  I also used a vacuum attachment to keep the sanding dust to a minimum.

The teak stairs were the first pieces that I tackled.  The stairs are held onto the companionway by 8 screws.

The stairs treads are each held together by 3 screws on each side. Remove these to break down the stairs into the pieces so they can be easily sanded.

Sand them down to remove any stains and water damage.  Wipe the pieces down with some mineral spirits.  I used a tack cloth to remove all dust prior to varnishing the pieces.  I applied 3 coats of varnish with a light sanding between coats.

You can use any type of varnish. I used a satin finish poly urethane from my local building supply store.

I also removed two trim pieces from the aft bunks and the bulk head piece from the lifting keel.

I added some non skid tape made by 3M to the treads of the stairs
Here are the bunk trim pieces back in place
Here are the stairs reassembled and back on the boat. As you can see it turned out very nice 
The lifting keel trip piece back in place

Starboard bulkhead refinished

New LED fixture

Head bulkhead before refinishing

All bulkheads refinished with new lighting

Head bulkhead refinished with new LED light fixture



Friday, May 16, 2014

LED Interior Lighting Replacement

My S2 6.9 sailboat was built in 1985 so all the lighting fixtures both inside and out had regular incandescent light bulbs.  We all know that these old light bulbs are very inefficient and are a better source of heat than light.

The recent development of LED bulbs in every shape and size has made it an easy choice to replace all.  The power saving benefits of LEDs is reason enough to rid your boat of those old power guzzling bulbs. I replaced my navigation running lights with LEDs last year documented in a previous post.

My boat came with a minimal number of lighting fixtures inside the boat. The existing lights were
some tacky plastic wood grain light fixtures.  Each of these had a 10 watt bulb which meant a total of 40 watts if I had all four of them on at once.  This was a draw of over 3.5 amps from my precious 12 volts battery.

I looked around for some new LED fixtures and found some nice interior spot lights on with a polished stainless finish.  I purchased four of these to update the look of the interior and improve the lighting.

The strange thing was if I wanted to buy them with an LED bulb they were twice the price ($19.99) of the same fixture with a halogen bulb. 

I ended up buying the halogen fixture with a G4 base for $9.99 and replaced the existing bulb with an LED G4 bulb for $3.00 buck a piece. 

The LED replacement is the same M16 size with the G4 two pronged base.

The old halogen bulb that came with the fixture were rated at 20 Watts. These were replaced with the 3.5 Watt LED bulb shown on the left.

LED bulbs are more efficient and have a longer life than the halogens or incandescent bulbs.

Most LEDs are rated at 100,000 hours of use. I don't think I will live long enough to see these burn out.

The LED on the left draws 3.5 Watts or .3 amps while the halogen bulb takes 20 Watts or 1.7 amps. Now that is a significant savings.

LED bulbs will run cooler also while putting out the same amount of light. These LEDs are rated at 185 lumen's so they put out a similar amount of light as the halogens.

LED bulbs are made for almost any type of fixture these days. If you like your existing fixture you can just change out the bulbs to a more energy efficient alternative.

Here is the final assembly with the new bulb in place.  Simply pull out the old bulb and snap in the new one, a perfect fit.

So don't pay more for your fixtures than you have to.  If the halogen type is cheaper buy that and simply replace the bulb.

Now I can light up my boat for a whole lot less energy drain on my battery.  Make the move go with LEDs!

I recently ran across some LED light strips for sale at my local big box lumber store.  I picked them up and found the perfect spot for them on boar my S2 6.9 sailboat. They had a 115volt to 12 volt power supply which I did not have to use.  I wired them directly to the boats 12 volt power system with a spare dc power adapter that I had.

The strips plug into a junction box which fit behind the keel bulkhead board. The unit also has an infrared receiver that picks up the signal from the remote. I mounted this at the bottom of the keel board and drilled a small hole between the two bottom screws and installed it there.  I ran the power wires up from the bottom and back to the DC fuse panel. I connected them to the Interior lights switch.

Three of the strips were plugged into each other and mounted with the provided clips on the port side of the keel board. The other two were mounted on the starboard side. Each strip needs about 3 Watts of power so 15 watts in all for the five strips.  The red color selection is best for night vision.

Box of 5 - 3 Watt multicolored LED strips with remote control

I mounted 3 of the strips on the port side of the keel bulkhead board - Red selection shown here.

Same strip shown with green lights

Infrared Remote control for the light strips

I mounted the other 2 light strips on the starboard side of the keep bulkhead

~~~ Sail On ~~~ /)