1.16.2011

Marine 12 Volt DC Refrigeration | Cool Blue™ Marine Refrigeration | Westsail 32 Mary Rose V

One of the things we learned on our 2010 extended cruise was that our refrigeration system used way too much energy out of the battery bank. We have a 440 amp hour capacity and 330 watts of solar panels and we could not keep up without running the engine to top off the battery bank. Our old refrigeration unit used about 125 amp hours per 24 hour period. The Cool Blue Marine refrigeration unit by Technautics, Inc is up and running with a consumption rate of less than 30 amps per 24 hour period.
We purchased our unit at the St Petersburg, FL boat show in December of 2010. Randy was very helpful in explaining the unit and giving us consultative services on how to rebuild our refrigeration box so the cold plate would fit properly. We showed up at the boat show with detailed drawings of our current refrigerator box and Randy gave us excellent advice.
We cut out the bottom 2/3 of the fore and aft sections of the outboard end of the fridge box.
We also cut wood off the forward side of the fridge box behind the dinette settee. All of the old insulation was removed so we could install the highest r-value per inch of any insulation commonly available. We also used lots of canned foam insulation to make sure that everything was sealed well. The main insulation was Rmax, a rigid polyisocyanurate foam insulation that is lightweight, easy to handle and easy to cut. It has a foil barrier on one side and a plastic paper barrier on the other. We used ¾ inch material which has an R rating of 5.0. We were able to reach the bottom of the box by removing the water tanks in the bilge and placing additional insulation under the fridge box in the area of the drain plug. We filled the drain plug and glassed over the opening to prevent loss of cold air from the box.
We then used the pieces of the fridge that we cut out as a pattern to make new side pieces and a new wider bottom piece. The old sides made matching the radius quite simple. The local fiberglass supplier was extremely helpful with the tools, supplies and technique to build the fiberglass replacement parts for the fridge.
I made each of the three parts a bit larger and trimmed them to fit. The bottom had to be split down the middle and installed in two pieces and then glassed back together. The bottom was simply glassed and screwed into place since the old box bottom was still in place.
The sides were slid into place and held tight with screws and then glassed to seal it up and make a smooth finish. The wood that was removed from behind the settee was not replaced as this allowed for an additional layer of insulation. The hole was covered externally with ½ inch black Starboard.
We painted the interior of the fridge with Signature Finish™ paint. http://www.signaturefinish.com
We then insulated the top under the counter on the outboard end and the box was ready to install the cold plate, divider ,freezer racks, compressor and thermostat.
We cut a new access hatch in the inboard compartment under the settee next to the fridge box to make the installation easier.
We are very happy with the ease of installation of the unit. We could have easily installed the unit in less than a day if we did not have to enlarge the fridge box. My thanks to Randy for all of his .consultative help. Visit the Cool Blue web site for more information. http://www.technauticsinc.com
Another benefit of the Cool Blue system is that the divider allows you to increase your freezer capacity.

Tampa Bay Sailboat Rigging | Mast Rewiring | Westsail 32 |SSMR

One of our major projects that needed to be completed before our next long distance cruise was the rewiring of the mast. It could have been done by lowering the mast but we choose to remove the mast to complete this project. We pulled the mast a day before we hauled out to do the bottom work. We used SSMR on Salt Creek in St Petersburg. They are located right across from the Harborage Marina High and Dry boat storage and fuel docks. Our haul out location was right next door at a do it yourself yard.
The crew at SSMR (Steve, Andrew and Jennifer) is exceptional and has extensive rigging experience. They allowed me to wire the mast myself and were eager to offer consultative assistance. I purchased some of the new fixtures from SSMR but also had some of my own from other vendors.
Steve and Andrew assisted with the Mast removal after I had the rig loosened and ready to go. The tabernacle hinge pin was seized inside of the compression tube and we had a bit of difficulty removing it. We used a load of rigging anti-seizing grease when we replaced the pin. Bud Taplin shipped a new pin and it was delivered two days before the mast was ready to be stepped.
The old mast wiring was wrapped in black foam that began to deteriorate and was spewing flicks of black foam all over the deck out of the bottom of the mast opening. The old wire was not tinned and had started to corrode and become brittle. We had a wire break off of the steaming light last year in Puerto Rico. It was just tired; it had served well over time but was due to be replaced.
We installed a new VHF antenna, LED tri-color nav light, LED anchor light and a steaming light with a forward deck spot. We also installed a new SSB antenna. We used stainless rigging wire and attached one end to the topping lift tang with several lashings of high strength small diameter rope through the eye that was swaged on the end of the rigging wire. The other end was lashed to the radar tower on the stern of the boat using the same method as the upper end. The rope will serve as insulators just as a halyard would on a halyard hoisted antennae. Total cost was only $78 for the SSB antenna.
We pulled the wire into a 1½ inch PVC conduit that had opening cut into it for the wires to exit at the various sites. We then inserted the conduit into the mast and fastened it with rivets to secure it solid to the mast. The wiring and fixture install took about three days to complete. Steve and Andrew from SSMR checked in often and gave me excellent guidance along the way.
We removed all tangs and thoroughly cleaned and inspected them. Mast pins were replaced and greased to prevent seizing in the future. SSMR completed a detailed inspection of all standing rigging. We are in good shape and ready for another extended cruise.
We stepped the mast, tuned the rig, made all of the electrical connections and moved Mary Rose back to her slip at the Harborage Marina.
SSMR is certainly on our preferred vendor list and we highly recommend them for your rigging needs. You can contact them at 727-823-4800 Please tell them that Mary Rose sent you and take them to lunch and they will show you a place called Munch’s. A wonderful breakfast and lunch spot in the same place for over 50 years.