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Join us as we sail around the world - share our joy, experiences, trials and tribulations as we proceed.
It's lonely out here! So please comment as we love to hear from you.

AUG
26
0

TZ Navigator

For years, we used Maxsea v12.4.6.1 interfaced with our Furuno NavNet 2 chartplotter as our main tool for all our navigation requirements. This amazing software allowed us to do route planning, optimize our route based on weather patterns, show AIS targets, overlay Furuno radar onto the charts, etc. Although working perfectly, the software is now quite old and MaxSea stopped all support for this software back in 2014. It was time to upgrade our navigation software and we bought the latest TZ Navigator v3 from Chris Metcalf, Bluewater Books and Charts. Chris has been most helpful and after calling him on WhatsApp, he sorted me out in no time. I've been testing the software for the past couple of days and I must say it is so much better than the older MaxSea v12.4.6.1. Here is a short introduction video of TZ Navigator v3.  

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783 Hits
AUG
26
0

New water maker

We have a water maker on board Revelations - but with a rather sad history. Back in 2006, I met this guy, Robin who was building a similar yacht as Revelations. Robin was supposedly a marine engineer (what ever that means) and our discussions soon drifted to water makers. He show me a water maker he claimed to have built for himself and suggested that he built a water maker for us - for a fee of course. I duly paid the guy and after a couple of months, collected our "new" water maker. It was a sad looking machine, lots of second hand parts and the workmanship was a typical back street job. Disgusted, but with the knowledge that there was no way I was going to get my money back, we took possession of the machine and put it in storage. Several years later, I took the water maker to a company called AquaMarine in Cape Town who refurbished the machine at their workshop and demonstrated that it worked. Now looking much better and more professional, the machine was then installed on board Revelations although we never used the machine.

Years later, a month prior to our world cruise departure, we called AquaMarine and asked them to service the machine. The technician said they were very busy and that we should call them a week before we leave. They finally arrived, changed all the membranes, did some work and assured us that the machine is in good working order and condition. This was all a mad rush and they finished literally an hour or so prior to our departure. We left Cape Town sailing to St. Helena with 750 liters of fresh water in our tanks. With a total of 5 crew on board, all showering, cooking and drinking every day, on day five, we had around 70 liters of freshwater left on board - it was time to start the water maker and fill the tanks.

But the electrical motor for the high pressure pump would not run continuously, we had to keep the start button pressed in all the time - the moment you took your finger off the start button, the electric motor would stop running. Then a couple of high pressure pipe fittings leaked like crazy. But the machine made no freshwater and everything was dumped overboard - the salinity meter/switch rejected all the water. Unable to make water, only around 70 liters and with another anticipated 10 days of sailing left, we had to introduce water rations. Nobody was allowed to take showers or waste any freshwater. Needless to say, we were really pissed off at the AquaMarine technician who lied and did a lousy job.

Three days later, we all started reeking of bad body odors and with ever diminishing fresh water supplies, the situation became serious. Out of desperation, I tackled the water maker and virtually re-plumbed the entire machine bypassing just about all of the electronic sensors. Finally we were able to make water again - although we had to keep our finger on the start button for the entire 2 hours it took the machine to fill the tanks. We carried on like this for the next couple of months, planning for repairs to be done once we reach Trinidad. Then, after leaving French Guyana, on our way to Trinidad, we were struck by lightning. This caused major damage to the water maker, electronics were completely fried and some wires were burnt. With this, the water maker no longer worked and reached the end of it's life. Although we had the water maker machine for years, it produced less than 5000 liters of fresh water during it's life span, it was a total waste of money from the start.

Although we can salvage some parts and build another water maker, we decided on building a new water maker from scratch. For reliability, this machine will be mostly manual and with virtually no electronic sensors. We also opted for a single 8" membrane instead of the 4 x 4" membranes of the old machine. The new water maker will produce around 300 to 400 liters of fresh water every hour. We already bought a new 5CP6221 Cat Pump, flow meters, 8" high pressure vessel and a host of other components. Assembly will start once we have all the required components on hand.

WaterMaker1

WaterMaker2

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  946 Hits
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946 Hits
SEP
18
0

Glass and paint work now done

The glass and paint work on Revelations is now finally done. Garth Walker completed the glass and repair work during the last week of August 2016 and spend the past two weeks fixing all the deck fittings and doing final touch up work. What initially started as a small project, quickly ramped up and became a massive laborious and very expensive exercise. I am really happy that this work is now behind us, but soon to be replaced with another major project - replacing and repairing equipment damaged during the lightning strike.

However, our claim with the insurance company is still not settled and we cannot commence with this critical work. In the end, I gave up dealing with the insurance assessors as I find them to be a bunch of thieves. I had to resort to legal action and I am happy to report that our attorney is making progress towards a settlement. It is almost unthinkable how much difficulties one can have with an insurance company to get them to pay a fair settlement. Quite frankly, I am extremely disappointing and shocked at their cheating ways to reduce what they rightfully have to pay out. Hopefully, a settlement will be reached within the next month or so.

Here are some final images Garth Walker who did the work at PowerBoats, Chaguaramas, Trinidad emailed me recently.

  849 Hits
849 Hits
AUG
10
0

Fittings

I received some images from Garth Walker, Trinidad showing some of the fittings being refitted to Revelations. Garth is now almost done with all the work he was commissioned to do on Revelations and he should complete the project by end of August 2106. There are still other work we have to do on Revelations but this will have to wait until we can get back to Trinidad.

Fittings

  1002 Hits
1002 Hits
AUG
03
0

Anti Skid almost done

Garth Walker from Trinidad emailed me some images of the anti skid work they have done on Revelations. As yet, I haven't seen the work but it seems like Garth has done a very professional job on Revelations. By sounds of things, they seem to be almost done with the anti skid and the next step will be to refit all the deck fittings they removed. According to Garth, all the work on Revelations should be done towards the end of August 2016. I certainly hope so as the Rand to US Dollar exchange rate is most certainly killing the available budget in leaps and bounds. 

AntiSkid

 

  830 Hits
830 Hits
JUL
21
0

Spray painting continued

Based on a timelime previously received, I thought that the spray painting would be done be now. But it is not. Unbeknown to me (or perhaps due to lack of clear instructions), besides respraying the entire topsides, Garth Walker also started spraying the targa bar and bimini. Perhaps the targa bar and bimini looked bad to the rest of the newly sprayed yacht. Anyway, he is almost done with the bimini, and targa bar, he also did a bunch of other small repairs and patch ups. He taped off the anti skid areas and will be applying the anti skid within the next couple of days. Here are some images he emailed me today.

Spray1

  784 Hits
784 Hits
MAY
13
0

New website

We might not be sailing right now but this does not mean we are not working to continue our world cruise! I spend the last 3 weeks writing a new website, creating new graphics, lots of work to transfer all the previous articles and written stuff to the new website. We hope you like it.

Website

  1146 Hits
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1146 Hits
APR
05
0

Adding more green energy

A huge problem we encountered lying at anchor was keeping the batteries charged. We have a big battery bank consisting of 12 x LifeLine GPL-31XT 125 amp AGM batteries - giving us a total of 1500 amps. To charge the batteries, we have 2 x 180 watt solar panels, 1 x 13 kva diesel generator and 2 Yanmar engines with 35 amp Balmar alternators each. At the time of constructing the yacht, we thought that we had ample charging capacity and indeed we never encounter any problems on the short sailing stints we did whilst we were still in Houtbay, Cape Town, South Africa. We would often go sailing for a couple of days, drop the anchor at some remote locations and thereafter we would return to our mooring in Houtbay. The solar panels and the odd running of the generator kept the batteries at full charge and we assumed that this would be sufficient for our world cruise.

But then we added another 2 deep freezers and never thought to revisit our charging capacity. Fully loaded when we left Cape Town on our world cruise, fridges and 3 deep freezer fully stocked with food, we soon started noticing that we had a problem with our battery charging capacity. We managed by switching off the freezers as they became empty. The problem again surfaced when we arrived in Brazil, restocked the yacht with food and then anchoring for extended periods of time. In particular, when we arrived in French Guyana, we found that we had to run the generator for hours every day. We also have a Mastervolt charging system on board which manages the charge going into the batteries. When starting the generator, the full charge would go into the batteries but Mastervolt reduces this as the minutes/hours ticks away. After running the generator for 4 hours, to protect the batteries, Mastervolt only allowed a tiny fraction of the amps generated to go into the batteries. This is uneconomical and it makes no sense to run a 13 KVA generator whilst only 1 or 2 amps are allowed to go into the batteries.

To overcome this problem, we will now be adding another 3 x 145 watt Kyocera KD145SX-UFU solar panels and 2 x Air Breeze Marine 24 VDC wind generators to our charging capacity. Our calculations show that this will give us between 180 and 300 amps of charging capacity - and the beauty is that it is green energy. A custom made stainless steel structure will be manufactured and fitted to the back of Revelations to accommodate all this equipment.

KYOCERA-KD145SX-UFU Specifications
Air Breeze Specifications

GreenEnergy

  954 Hits
954 Hits
MAY
24
0

B&G Navigation Equipment

We have the B&G Hydra 2000 navigation and autopilot system on board Revelations. This system is now about 8 years old and dated technology, but at the time, it was state of the art equipment. It all work smoothly until we had the system checked over and serviced some 6 months ago by an authorized expert. Sadly and with hindsight, it was yet another job done badly and we hardly left Cape Town when problems started emerging. At first, a hydraulic fitting broke due to it been overtightened by the expert. This caused major problems and we had to hand steer all the way to St. Helena. The leaking hydraulic oil dripped on the rudder position sensor which later caused further problems.

A kind person in St. Helena brazed the fitting for us at no charge and we thankfully had the full function of the autopilot system all the way to Salvador. But in Salvador, the rudder position sensor started causing problems and we once again had no autopilot - yet another technician had to work on the system. For awhile it did it's job but we had to switch the system on and off a couple of times before it would work. These couple of times then started increasing in number and at times it took 40 to 50 on-off cycles before it would work. Then finally on the Recife to Cabedelo leg of our voyage, it stopped working all together. In addition, other functions started malfunctioning - the wind direction indicator is radically incorrect, the COG (Course Over Ground) is incorrect, the speed log was wrong ... and a number of other important bits of information. As we speak, the B&G 2000 Hydra is just about totally useless or at the very best, defective and showing inaccurate information.

The question is whether we should have the existing system repaired or should we rather buy complete latest state of the art system. Repairing will certainly be the cheapest option but there is a risk of it yet failing again at a critical time as it did on the Recife to Salvador trip - adding to our considerable problems we encountered.

A completely new system brings it's own problems; the considerable cost of the new equipment, 100% import duties here in Brazil and the added cost complications of finding an expert to install and commission the system. Brazil does not seem to have the required technicians which means we will have to fly somebody in from else where in the world.

  721 Hits
721 Hits
DEC
06
0

Fiorentino Shark drogue

We finally received the Fiorentino Shark Drogue from the USA - barely in time for our world cruise. In rough weather and strong winds, to prevent the yacht surfing down the wave, the Shark Drogue will be deployed at the back of the yacht. this is a drag device and will be like a brake slowing the yacht down by a couple of knots. In an emergency, this device can also be used to help steer the yacht. The stainless steel shackles are surprisingly big and robust! Now we need to go to sea and test the drogue - become familiar with how it works.

SharkDroque1

SharkDroque2

  2044 Hits
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2044 Hits
DEC
06
0

Spiffy new helm cover

We had a spiffy new canvas cover made for the helm - covering up the steering wheel, instruments, throttle controls, etc. A few years ago, we lost a couple of instrument covers due to strong wind. We were shocked at the price to buy a replacement plastic cover. The one simple plastic cover cost us close to R1000.00!!! "Yeah, that's the price! Take it or leave it!" The manufacturer knows that the custom sized cover can't be bought anywhere else so they charge rip-off prices. To prevent this from happening again, I had this bright idea (read dumb arse idea) to cover all of this with a soft woven fish net. It never really looked good but hey, it did the job - never lost a instrument cover since. But over time, it started looking worse for wear and in the end, it was a sight for sore eyes. But this new cover looks the part and will provide the required protection ... and it looks a bit more classy. You see! Retirement must be good! I'm even getting some class now! Laughing

SteeringCanvas

  1125 Hits
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1125 Hits
NOV
28
0

Dinghy mast & sail rig

We had this nice powerful inflatable dinghy on the yacht, complete with a skipper steering console and a 30 HP electric start engine. A few years ago, we lowered the dinghy into the water and we all piled in as we wanted to go ashore. Still attached to the yacht by a rope, the engine started, we untied the rope and pushed ourselves away from the yacht. Then as we floated away from the yacht by the strong winds and the current, the engine died. Over and over, we tried to start the engine - to no avail. Finally the battery ran flat and as much as we tried, we were unable to manually start the engine. By now, we were about 300 meters away from the yacht and the water was ice cold. We had no oars, no radio, no anchor, no supplies, we were rapidly drifting away from the yacht and there was no way we could get back. To add to our problems, one of the inflatable pontoons sprung a leak and started deflating. Fortunately there were other yachts in the area and finally somebody came to our aid.

Now imagine this shit scenario on a remote island somewhere on the wide open ocean!
Hey man, that might be the end of your life!!!

Once back in our home port, I got rid of the whole damn thing. We then started building a more lightweight dinghy, this time making provision for engine, oars and emergency mast/sail. The new dinghy has been completed for awhile now and you can read on the build elsewhere on this website. We are now busy building the emergency mast and sail, a carbon fiber mast which can be dismantled in 4 sections and together with sails, can all be stowed on the dinghy itself. This arrangement allows us to motor, sail or row the dinghy and we will hopefully never be in the same situation again of not able to get back to the yacht. At least we will be able to sail back to the yacht when all else fail.

DinghyMastSail

  1089 Hits
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1089 Hits
NOV
27
6

Special Alternator brackets

We have these additional extra large 150 amp Balmar alternators attached to the engines. Although one would tighten the fan belts, after a couple of hours motoring, the fan belts will be loose again. The loose fan belts will then slip over the drive pulleys and not turn the alternators correctly - one would then not get the maximum power these alternators are able to generate. So we had this extra bracket fitted to each alternator - a simple solution which makes it impossible for the fan belts to come loose and slip.

BalmarBrackets

  1185 Hits
Recent Comments
The extra highlighted bolt assembly should only make the belt easier for you to tension if the alternator is in a difficult to ac... Read More
Thursday, 27 November 2014 18:06
Howzit DX! I also thought the bolt on the right would be more than sufficient but kept finding the fan belts loose after motoring ... Read More
Thursday, 27 November 2014 19:28
All good...I see you are now full house and tugging at the mooring lines to leave. I am sure the mod will stop the bolt slipping ... Read More
Thursday, 27 November 2014 20:57
There has been a couple of real idiots who worked on the yacht and based on the number of things we had to do over again, it is mo... Read More
Friday, 28 November 2014 06:11
Definitly a lot better bolt. The correct way (wihout the new adjuster) is a plate with a lip to locate it on the outer edges to d... Read More
Friday, 28 November 2014 07:26
1185 Hits
NOV
19
0

New Pactor Modem 4 Dragon DR-7400

Several years ago, we had a Pactor 2 modem installed on the yacht. For those of you who is not familiar with these modems; by connecting the modem to a PC/Laptop and a HF radio, once can send and receive emails via radio from anywhere in the world. One can also download GRIB files (weather forecasts) to be used in navigation software and a host of other things. This is just the short story and of course it is vastly more complex than just this.

But technology has moved on and this modem is now considered old and slow compared to new equipment available. A couple of weeks ago we ordered the latest Pactor 4 Dragon DR-7400 from Robert Ravensberg, Duxbury Networking here in Cape Town. Robert came around last night (yes, you read correctly, yes it was “After Hours") and removed the still working Pactor 2 modem. This is quite remarkable considering that the Pactor 2 modem was install some years ago, in a very damp and humid environment and was never switched on. He installed and connected the new Pactor 4 Dragon and loaded the Winlink/Sailmail software. After creating accounts on the respective website, he configured the software on the PC and BINGO! Everything worked!

For you folks back home, receiving emails via radio and Pactor Modem is nothing like you what have on your PC/Laptop or even mobile devices. Receiving emails via Radio is sloowwwww - very slow! So do not send us pictures nor any attachments - it is way to big and will probably take days to download. We will probably never receive such an email as the connection will be broken longe before the email is downloaded. Only send “plain text” emails - not even HTML emails.

Another job done well and without the usual bullshit! Seems like there are indeed a few efficient companies around Cape Town! Laughing

PactorDragon4

  264 Hits
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264 Hits
NOV
19
0

New Pactor Modem 4 Dragon DR-7400

Several years ago, we had a Pactor 2 modem installed on the yacht. For those of you who is not familiar with these modems; by connecting the modem to a PC/Laptop and a HF radio, once can send and receive emails via radio from anywhere in the world. One can also download GRIB files (weather forecasts) to be used in navigation software and a host of other things. This is just the short story and of course it is vastly more complex than just this.

But technology has moved on and this modem is now considered old and slow compared to new equipment available. A couple of weeks ago we ordered the latest Pactor 4 Dragon DR-7400 from Robert Ravensberg, Duxbury Networking here in Cape Town. Robert came around last night (yes, you read correctly, it was “After Hours") and removed the still working Pactor 2 modem. This is quite remarkable considering that the Pactor 2 modem was install some years ago, in a very damp and humid environment and was never switched on. He installed and connected the new Pactor 4 Dragon and loaded the Winlink/Sailmail software. After creating accounts on the respective website, he configured the software on the PC and BINGO! Everything worked!

For you folks back home, receiving emails via radio and Pactor Modem is nothing like you what have on your PC/Laptop or even mobile devices. Receiving emails via Radio is sloowwwww - very slow! So do not send us pictures nor any attachments - it is way to big and will probably take days to download. We will probably never receive such an email as the connection will be broken longe before the email is downloaded. Only send “plain text” emails - not even HTML emails.

Another job done well and without the usual bullshit! Seems like there are indeed a few efficient companies around Cape Town! Laughing

PactorDragon4

  1182 Hits
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1182 Hits

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