Time for some FUN!

Mother’s Day started off very nice, weather-wise. I finished off some chores.

Shelly came aboard and hung out downstairs in the salon.

Lots of calls with family today!

The afternoon’s weather turned ugly. So I decided to try out the newly mounted Ham Radio and antenna systems under the cover of canvas up on the bridge where I could stay dry and fairly warm with a jacket on.

The console to the Ham Radio is shown here, just set up for some testing.

It was a day to work out some kinks. But we prevailed over the technical challenges and made four shortwave (HF) contacts on the 20 Meter Band with:

  • Slovenia
  • Netherlands
  • Texas
  • Georgia
  • …with some great guys who appreciated making a “Maritime Mobile” contact with us (ham radio aboard a boat).
  • It was fun to take a break from all the projects and enjoy my old hobby, making distant contacts on Ham Radio. It was gratifying to know this humble station could “get out” for world-wide communications!
  • You don’t usually see an office telephone on a boat!

    The project of the day was to make permanent the wireless Internet network on the boat. I finally got around to removing the bubble gum and duck tape, and drilled holes to route all the antenna wires for the CAT 12 Dual modem wireless router. I also made progress on the IC-7100 ham radio. That should be finished tomorrow.

    This standard RingCentral office IP phone gets me access to my office’s direct dial number, it is powered by PoE (Power over Ethernet). First phone call from here on the dock was to my brother Russ in Maine who reported the the voice quality was “very clear”… I had him on speaker phone too.

    Down in the salon, (aka living room), or in the VIP “guest” stateroom I can also use my “soft phone” on the laptop computer for business calls and Zoom meetings. (Regardless of where I am working, the soft phone is actually used a LOT more than the regular office phone.)

    On the to-do list:

    I have to put a label on this telephone NOT to use it for 911 calls! Regardless of where our boat is in the world, emergency crews would be dispatched to my office at 5 Penn Plaza in midtown Manhattan!

    This shows the storage bin up on the flybridge which has been converted to an IT Closet. Contents: Pepwave CAT 12 Duo modem Internet router, PoE injector for telephone, Icom 7100 multi-band multi-mode base unit (ham radio). Six coax cable antenna leads come into this space for these devices.

    The two rabbit ear “paddles” are WiFi antennas.

    Here you can see 8 antenna feed line cables coming into the IT closet from the sun deck railings where all the antennas are mounted.

    There is a lot of valuable storage space being reallocated to “COM”. But that is part of what defines us on this boat!

    • Marine VHF
    • Marine SSB
    • Amateur Radio HF, VHF, UHF (aka HAM Radio)
    • WiFi. (2 GHz + 5 GHz)
    • LTE cell networks 4G + 5G (VZW & T-Mobile SIM cards)

    Profile of a failed battery.

    This shows a battery that is very low in voltage, about 11.5 vdc.

    Alternator brings about 25 amps of current into the system (orange line) and the battery’s voltage starts to recover (blue line).

    Here I turn off the engine, and the battery’s voltage falls right away. That is not supposed to happen. So, then I turned on the boat’s charger. This battery is no longer able to store any energy. ((Even though all its cells are flooded and test fine with a hydrometer.))

    Underway, normal operations like using the bow thruster, were causing all the electronics to reboot or turn off due to the extreme voltage drop.

    It got fixed today!

    I used a 4x mechanical advantage block and tackle to get the 140 pound 8D starboard battery out of the engine room. Dockmate, Bobby helped me get it off the boat and into the car for return. A “bank” of medium sized G31 batteries will replace this one large one. They are much easier to work with and give increased capacity combined than the single large 8D.

    140 pound 8D battery lifted out of engine room with block and tackle.

    Another 8-Plait splice finished for our second anchor rode…other progress to report.

    I’m getting good at this!

    Thanks to Steve Romano for a healthy 140′ length of 8-Plait anchor line! It is now spliced to our 50′ old 3/8″ chain which together will be rode for our #2 storm anchor. Excellent backup! It all fits nicely into this milk crate… ready if needed. (8-Plait takes up half the storage space of similarly sized 3-strand laid rope.)

    Also, our mechanic has finished his list, so we no longer have to “stay out of his way”.

    Things are going to start happening now! I plan to actually work from the boat today!

    Day and night vision cameras now monitor Shellerina, and help when navigating!

    Wyze CAM v3 cameras have CMOS Starlight sensors for remarkable color night vision, and they can be toggled to IR (infrared mode). They are also weatherproof.

    An iPad at the helm will help me see traffic in back of us… likely overtaking us on one side or the other. At night these cameras see a lot more than we can! They record “events” differentiating PEOPLE as opposed to ALL motion types. Afterall, things are always moving on a boat; we only want to be notified if people come aboard.

    a “dark” boat last night, as seen when we got back home!

    Earlier last evening:

    Dez, Shell, Chelsea, Nick, and I enjoy a meal captured by a new Wyze CAM v3.

    Wireless Internet on Shellerina!

    When you visit Shellerina we can give you access to our own WiFi Access Point. What is the SSID?

    Shellerina of course!

    Pictured here are the guts: two MiMo vertical antennas and a Pepwave dual-modem CAT 12 router. Two SIM cards: VZW and T-Mobile.

    The smaller ‘black box’ is the Pepwave router. The rabbit ears are WiFi paddle antennas for you to connect to, to gain access to the boat’s network. This wireless network has been operable at our home since Christmas when Santa delivered it. But it is now deployed on the boat where it was intended.

    Also visible in the antenna pic is our new radar doppler scanner, Raymarine Quantum2.

    The larger black box in the second pic is an Icom 7100 amateur radio and SSB Marine HF radio. (More on that later.)

    Radar!

    Ray has never skippered a vessel with radar… always wanted to learn about it! Santa fit one down the chimney last December, and with Nick and Bobby’s help, we finally got it working today!

    Lots of clutter / echos here at the marina; we will learn more about it underway!

    Fingers crossed! We Should SPLASH Tomorrow!

    After work I drove over to the boat. It looks like it is ready to launch!!! On schedule March 27 – tomorrow – Saturday.

    Weather is supposed to be great. It will mostly be a work day + test day + projects. But everything is easier once it is “in” (after all the other stuff below the waterline is done.)

    If you know what this contraption is (below) near our prop, leave a comment for chance to win a million dollar lottery ticket!

    These are pics of the bow thruster. A sideways tunnel with props that push the bow left and right. Great for docking. Notice the new “zincs” (sacrificial anodes) that are designed to corrode so the other metallic components don’t!

    Fitting in one more day on Great South Bay!

    And, we are not alone! Others have the same idea.

    64F air and no wind!

    Water’s temp is a hair under 50F. Should have brought my woolen jock strap and bathing suit.

    Stats:

    72 times getting underway this season (either boat)

    44 times in the Mainship. After 90 sea days in the Mainship I can upgrade my USCG Captain’s License to a 50 ton rating.

    We stayed overnight 95 times this season with one boat or the other.

    Engine hours on MS390 at end of day: 1479.72

    NMiles logged (since 8/29/20): 282.3

    July when leaving port in East Greenwich RI.

    Today after securing at S-Dock.

    Sea Glass

    Nice pic!

    Here is some txt to go with it found on FB this week.

    I want to age like sea glass.

    Smoothed by tides,

    but not broken.

    I want my hard edges to soften.

    I want to ride the waves

    and go with the flow.

    I want to catch a wave

    and let it carry me

    to where I belong.

    I want to be picked up

    and held gently by

    those who delight in my

    well earned patina and

    appreciate the changes I went

    through to achieve that beauty.

    I want to enjoy the journey

    and always remember that if

    you give the ocean something

    breakable it will turn it into

    something beautiful.

    I want to age like sea glass.

    New running light…

    Replaced the 360 degree white light up top today after work. New LED light looks like it will work just fine. USCG regulation say it needs to be seen at 2 nm away. It will also fold down for the winter shrink wrap coming in a few weeks!

    I think Santa is gonna bring us a new Raymarine Quantum2 Doppler Radar, whadda ya think!?

    Successful maintenance work done this week after work.

    New alternator.

    New alternator belt.

    New Air filter.

    Tests 100%

    Sounds simple, but doing an alternator and belt change was a major project! On this CAT 3126 there are steel covers over the alternator, belt, and flywheel. So in very tight quarters, removing the covers to simply get access to the components to be changed was a challenge. Next door neighbor and Dock-mate “Bobby” of 5K was a great help! Thanks Bobby!

    Here is the old:

    Possibly the original alternator from 20 years ago?!?!

    The plastic/rubber “boot” over the “+” terminal was very brittle… certainly seemed like it was 20 years old.

    When you buy a 20 year old boat, you’ve gotta be ready for stuff like this!

    It ain’t all fun & games!

    Boats are maintenance intensive.

    Today,

    Engine Room pics:

    Getting full access to the engine room is a major project on this boat. Furniture all has to be moved.

    This is the old 10 micron (primary) Racor fuel filter element that got replaced today. New ones are white, used ones are pink, dirty ones like this clearly need to be replaced!

    Air Filter (above) needs to be replaced; part is ordered!

    Strainer (right) for A/C pump (upper left) got cleaned today; the through hull fitting valve (lower left) got “exercised.”

    Air conditioners on land pump the heat (hot AIR) outside. On boats, cool sea water is sucked in and the heat is pumped outside as warmed WATER! It’s more efficient on boats than on land!

    Secondary fuel filter (2 micron) got replaced today.

    New OIL filter is on the list later this fall when the boat is hauled for winter, and the engine oil gets changed.

    Pictures like this of V-Belts help ensure correct replacements are purchased for the next maintenance project day.

    Sunday, awake at Cedar Beach Marina…

    Nice day hanging out with Bobby and his crew pictured here with Shelly, Sarah and Amy on the fly bridge.

    Bobby’s boat Five K in the foreground… Looking west (above) and looking east (below).

    Captain Marc of Precious Cargo even came by for a visit on his jet ski (no pic). We may all be back next weekend.

    Secured back at S-Dock, Shelly did up some yacht dogs to hold us off till morning.

    Remember live music?!

    Tonight was our first time ashore at Cedar Beach and the Salt Shack.

    There was a duet doing a great job! It has been a ling time since we’ve seen live music. Thank you!

    Bands=No go. Duets = OK!

    Evidently, Outdoors for live entertainment is OK!

    It was great hanging out with Dock mates Bobby and Amy and their neighbors Laurie snd Joey of the Anchorage Y. C. near us.

    Power and water pedestals line the marina at Cedar Beach.

    It’s Friday!

    Got back to the boat after work and found this babe waiting for me!

    I guess Friday is also PIZZA NIGHT!

    Shelly has come to love her 3-burner Princess stove and oven! Propane… so works on the hook without having to start the generator.

    We don’t have as many stars here in the NYC Metro area as we had back in Maine, but we keep track of those things we CAN see!

    Jupiter and Saturn have been close together in the southwest sky all summer too. (See post for August 20th below.)