Monday, April 13, 2020

Vinyl Wrap Your Sailboat

My 1985 S2 6.9 sailboat needed a little face lift. The hull of the boat had been buffed out several times but it still did not shine enough for my liking.  I never really liked the red boot stripe so I decided to give it a new look.  As a DIY kind of guy I thought I could maybe paint it but that would involve days of sanding, priming and painting.

Before Picture
I was starting to see alot of boats with cool graphic on them and with a little research I found vinyl wrap was being used to wrap boats of all sizes. You may have seen all these bass boats with cool graphics of all their sponsors. I was not going to get that crazy but I thought vinyl might work.

WrapCut, Edge Cutting Tape, 1/8-Inch X 200 Feet, 1 Roll, 883662001260I went to Amazon of course and found a couple 25 foot rolls of VIVID white carbon fiber wrap on sale for $150. I purchased some edge tape, edge sealer and a few application tools and was ready to go.

TECKWRAP Plastic Felt Edge Squeegee 4 Inch for Car Vinyl Scraper Decal Applicator Tool 1 pcs (with Black Felt Edge)

I next went to YouTube University and watched a few videos to learn some finer points of vinyl wrapping.  I found out that I also needed a heat gun and a lazer thermometer device to help in the application.

Starboard Side Vinyl draped
I started by cleaning the hull and wiping it down with acetone. I then applied the cutting tape along the waterline at the bottom of the boat. This would be used to cut the vinyl once it was applied.

I then draped the wrap along the hull hanging it from the toe rail. I started in the middle of the hull where it was fairly flat. I cut the backing paper every few feet (prior to hanging it) and started to pull and squeegee the vinyl onto the hull working toward the back of the boat. Where the hull is rounded I used the heat gun to heat the vinyl up slightly and pulled it to form around these areas. This takes some practice to learn how much to heat and pull making sure not to deform the vinyl.

I worked the vinyl up into the groove where the toe rail meets the hull and up and over the toe rail. I came back with a box cutter knife to cut it along the bottom of the toe rail.  This area was then sealed with some clear silicone to keep it from working loose.

I worked the rest of the vinyl towards the front of the boat. It got easier near as I got away from the belly of the boat towards the front where it got flatter. I then wrapped the vinyl around the bow of the boat. I also worked the vinyl down over the waterline and the cutting tape.

I then pulled the string out of the end of the cutting tape and pulled it along the waterline cutting the vinyl. This worked out very well in cutting it accurately along the waterline. I suppose you could try cutting it with a knife but it would be very difficult to do it accurately. The tape is the way to go.

I then used the heat gun to heat up the complete surface of the vinyl to activate the glue and seal it on the hull. I used the laser thermometer to make sure it was heated up according to the manufacturers specs.

Added stainless bow guard
I bought some 3M vinyl accent tape to add some sheer and boot stripes to the boat. I tried several combinations and spacings before I found some I liked. I used a combination of one inch and two inch tape. After carefully measuring I applied the tape to the vinyl wrap. The vinyl accent tape also sealed the bottom of the wrap along the waterline nicely.

Aft Starboard striping

Bow registration numbers

Completed Starboard side with new name JollyMon
Seams in the vinyl were needed on the front and back of the boat. There are techniques to overlap in some cases and butt the vinyl seems in others. Check YouTube for some vinyl application techniques. I also bought some seam sealer to seal up the butt seams.
New finished look

On the water

It was the first time I had ever wrapped anything. I think it turned out great and I am very happy with it. It is vinyl so you have to be careful not to hit the dock with it or it will tear and make a mark. With a few tools and some practice it turned out to be a fun project to quickly improve the look of the boat on a budget.  If I don't like it in a few years I can pull it off and do another color if I like.

Sail On /)

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.