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Old 11-25-2019, 10:12 PM   #1
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Maintenance Project Prioritization after Haul-out

Hi All:
I've recently purchased 1979 41' Universal Marine Trawler, for a part-time live-aboard in the PNW. Well-maintained by previous owner (who owned for near 25 years until his passing, but it had been essentially idle in port for 2+ years except for occasional outings by the son (who has his own boat)).

There were obvious seaworthy areas to address with obsolete/frozen thru-hulls, fiberglass crackings, rudder mounting leaks, hull bottom, etc. that I've taken care in the haul-out. During that time, we identified a decent list of engine (leaks), generator (raw water leak), batteries/electrical (hornet's nest), really dated electronics - I need to make a rough sequence/timeline of work to get on the schedules of the various skill-sets & align with my maintenance budget.

In general, if urgency really doesn't come into play, I've been schooled to take care of the 'short-queue' items first, then move onto the longer items. My gut tells me the electrical spaghetti mess should be addressed first although that may take some time for me to map/track/document. I feel that information would contribute to the discussion on the batteries, battery charger/inverter (maybe not)/generator upgrades.

Curious on others' take...Regards...
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Old 11-26-2019, 08:16 AM   #2
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What cruising do you plan on doing? I think that will inform your plan.

For example if (initially anyway) you will be running mostly inland to overnight at the local anchorages, then older electronics will probably be fine for now. If cruising Alaska then they become more important.

As to wiring, kinda the same holds true. If shorter trips then use those trips to see what is working well and what isn't. After making sure safety items like bilge pumps are working fine, I would start with the wiring around your power plant - charging, alternators through batteries, including ignition etc. Then when you see/learn how the house is working through use, look at that. Personally I would leave electronics until after those.

As you step through these "tiers" you will get more of an overview of all of the wiring as you go anyways.

The other alternative is to use your checkbook and have a good marine electrician go through your wiring and map it for you and give you a plan to your capabilities.
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Old 11-26-2019, 08:31 AM   #3
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Greetings,
Mr. 27. MY take on your "to do" list is do the easiest and cheapest things first. Divide your tasks into blocks whereby you can start and finish a project in a reasonable (short) amount of time. This will be of an advantage in several ways. It will give you a better familiarity with your new mistress AND it will also give you a feeling of accomplishment that you WILL need to take on the more onerous tasks.


Keep your "to do" list close at hand because you will find other items to add as you take care of the small stuff. GUARANTEED!



Do NOT make any major changes for at least 6 months. You may regret your great idea in the future.


Mr. m. Makes good points. Make sure your pumps and safety equipment (alarms, windshield wipers, radio(s) etc.) are working as intended and leave the electronics for later.
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Old 11-26-2019, 01:37 PM   #4
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Thank you all for your replies (and that would be Ms. 27 to you, Mr. RT ;=) My cruising plan & goals for 2020 is to shakedown & get familiar with all components between living on-board & day-weekend cruising to the local SJ anchorage, 2021 up the straits in BC, 2022 Alaska is 2022..) . The haul-out was all below water work & my 'team' (mechanic, electrician, fiberglass guy, hull guy) prepared a list of work, some super simple, some are 'evidence' leaks that might need troubleshooting. I'd like to do as much of the work myself, or at least understand how everything integrates (to paraphrase RT, I need those feelings of competence through accomplishment). My younger brother is an electrical contractor, we completely rewired our SeaRay down in Dana Point, but he is in SoCal not local. My other younger brother is local & take do the list on the engines (twin Lehmans, 2300 hours). There are just so many damn wire bundles, 2 prong outlets, seeming jury-rigged daisy-chaining.

I will take your advice, back to my schooled principles & take care of the smaller tasks within my capabilities (& whatever YouTube, trawler forums can educate me...)
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Old 11-26-2019, 03:04 PM   #5
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Greetings,
OMG! I'm mortified. Ms. 27. My VERY humblest apologies.


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Old 11-26-2019, 03:10 PM   #6
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Greetings,
OMG! I'm mortified. Ms. 27. My VERY humblest apologies.


You chauvinist you!
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Old 11-26-2019, 04:20 PM   #7
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I like your plan to trace and label the wiring, which will help you troubleshoot problems later. A big source of boat fires is errant DC wiring so it's time well spent, especially on a boat that is unfamiliar to you. When I repowered some years ago, all of the old engines' DC wiring was torn out. With the engines out, it was time consuming but pretty easy to trace and label what was left.
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Old 11-26-2019, 05:46 PM   #8
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When I get a “new” boat, I make a list of things that need work. Then I prioritize them and decide which are problems that are causing ongoing damage and work on them first. First priority is to stop the bleeding, for example water leaks that are causing more damage. Then I start on things that I want to work on.
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Old 11-26-2019, 06:24 PM   #9
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If you want to limit hard stand costs get the underwater stuff done and get her splashed.
Most everything else can be done in water.
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Old 11-26-2019, 08:30 PM   #10
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The haul-out has taken care of all the under water stuff + I had the transducers replaced with one compatible for my intended electronics (Garmin 942sx series). So nothing is 'bleeding' per se. The priority tasks are bonding all the new thru hulls & troubleshooting the sea water leak in the generator. Then mapping the electricals. Today I learned that when I have the two ceramic heaters going to reduce the condensation & then turn on the water heater so I can take a vaguely warm sink bath, the AC 30 AMP main trips. And that people have pretty catholic opinions on inverters or not...
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Old 11-27-2019, 12:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
When I get a “new” boat, I make a list of things that need work. Then I prioritize them and decide which are problems that are causing ongoing damage and work on them first. First priority is to stop the bleeding, for example water leaks that are causing more damage. Then I start on things that I want to work on.
+1. And +1 on not making radical changes to the boat systems until you've had a chance to learn the boat first.

While we've made many subtle changes to our boat, our PO would probably not notice very many of them without looking very closely for a long time. (It sure seems like a lot of work has gone into them, though!) Some of the more radical changes we thought we'd make (putting the dink on the aft cabin top by crane) we've decided against, and some that we thought we'd do we are going after with more gusto (solar - so we can have ample power during our summer cruising, and we have enough use to gauge our daily Ah needs).

To expand on this, once the "stop the bleed" is taken care of, I would (and have) then taken on the basic functional pieces next, making sure each system in its priority (life safety, basic operation, usability, comfort, cosmetics) is ready to go.

At times for convenience, one project gets bumped up because there's no sense not doing job #11 now during job #3 because I have X all apart anyway...

For example, We started with our surveyor's list of about 11 safety recommendations. Those were first, and generally low hanging fruit (pull cord for swim ladder, current flares, a block of unfused positive wires, that sort of thing). Part of that was common sense, part of it was the insurance company was asking if they were taken care of. Then we moved on to raw water hoses and through hulls, exhausts, fuel tanks and filter system. We wanted to make sure the boat had water into the engines and not the bilge, and exhaust out and quiet. And clean fuel in. Once that was all done we moved on to other basics - upper helm steering and shifters, and new motor mounts to replace the worn out ones. Once those basics were done it was on to a battery bank upgrade that included all new battery boxes and relocation of the start batteries and increase house bank size. Doing that project allowed us access to do needed work on the holding tank and sanitation system....in that case we actually postponed the needed holding tank work until we could do the battery bank work, even though we needed the holding tank fixed first in priority, it didn't make sense to not do both at the same time. We did our 2019 spring break trip using only our forward head on its dedicated holding tank, but only had to take the house battery bank apart one time to do both jobs.

And on it goes. now we are in the final phases of updating some engine alternator updates, the spring we will be adding the solar. This summer and next will be intensive phases of outside cosmetics. Winter 2020 will likely be all the interior floors refinished. Maybe in 2021 or 2022 I might have saved up for that water maker.
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Old 11-28-2019, 03:11 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by squimmy27 View Post
The haul-out has taken care of all the under water stuff + I had the transducers replaced with one compatible for my intended electronics (Garmin 942sx series). So nothing is 'bleeding' per se. The priority tasks are bonding all the new thru hulls & troubleshooting the sea water leak in the generator. Then mapping the electricals. Today I learned that when I have the two ceramic heaters going to reduce the condensation & then turn on the water heater so I can take a vaguely warm sink bath, the AC 30 AMP main trips. And that people have pretty catholic opinions on inverters or not...
Most 120vac electric heaters are 1200-1500 watts roughly 10-12 amps EACH. Two of those running and then adding the hot water heater (which is often 1500watts or 12 amps) you *should* blow the 30 amp breaker. So there may be no issue there.

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Old 11-28-2019, 04:10 PM   #13
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While I agree with the idea of tackling a few easier projects for the feeling of accomplishment, I would put safety high on the list. Good on you for addressing the hull, seacocks, and I hope stuffing boxes and cutlass bearings. Not necessarily in priority order:
Check, evaluate, and service or replace the following:
Bilge pumps and associated wiring.
Fire extinguisher and smoke / CO detectors
Shore power cable and power inlet.
EPIRB or PLB, life jackets, first aid kit
Quality and performance of VHF and Antenna
Anchor rode
Propane system(s) if on the boat.

Ted
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Old 11-28-2019, 05:11 PM   #14
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Spaghetti wiring usually means lots of unfused wires hooked directly to the positive terminals of batteries. Even if only temporary, use one multi fuse panel to feed all of those until you can plan out a better solution. When I bought my boat there were 14 unfused loads directly connected! Davits, 2 electric heads, bilge pumps, etc. Blue Sea MBTFs help get you safe.
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Old 11-29-2019, 08:41 AM   #15
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Hello All!
@Ken & Archie: I am starting to learn the DC/AC aspects of what powers what on the MC so that I don't overload the 30 amp shore power & don't drain the batteries with DC load. My hull person (who dives nearly every hull here in the port, young guy, sincere, works closely with the mobile mechanic guy, equally sincere, Galmukoff marine family business for 40 years) is taking the ABYC certifications; he's going to do the bonding & as we were talking, he offered to track/map out the wiring at a reduced hourly to start working on those skills. I said as long as I get to pony along with him. I figure if we can get some of the legwork done in the winter. I googled the Blue Sea MBTFs; those are like a bus panel that can collate wiring sections? Then my brother can work on a wiring plan for when he comes up in April.

@Ted Thanks for the list, I've added that to what I had + fractalphreak post. I'm discovering that the MC has several access 'hatch doors', under the port stateroom bed to get to the MSD, electrical panel in the head shower, another one back in the v-berth, another one in the salon lazerette (that feels like such a snobby word ;=).

@fractal: I saw that you are in La Conner, how tricky is Deception Pass?
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Old 11-29-2019, 09:56 AM   #16
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I agree that working with your mobile mechanic guy will be an excellentent way of learning your boat. Also, an excellent reference book would be:

Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual by Nigel Caulder.

https://www.amazon.com/Boatowners-Me...VAMWYWV78Q1DBQ

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Old 11-29-2019, 10:25 AM   #17
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This might help as well, I bought one 15 years ago.

https://www.amazon.com/12-Volt-Bible...71052216&psc=1
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Old 11-29-2019, 10:42 AM   #18
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Thanks! Bought it and 'Boatowner's Illustrated Electrical Handbook', Charlie Wing, 10% Amazon bundle discount ;=)
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Old 11-29-2019, 02:46 PM   #19
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Hello All!
Then my brother can work on a wiring plan for when he comes up in April.

@fractal: I saw that you are in La Conner, how tricky is Deception Pass?
Good youtube (and website) resource for understanding marine electrical https://www.youtube.com/user/PacificYachtSystems

(If you haven't check out the current thread of favorite youtube channels that is going, some of them have some good stuff for boat work in them! Favorite Youtube Channels)

Deception Pass is not tricky, it has two features that can make it dangerous for boats: a narrow channel with poor visibility (and at times a lot of traffic) and a lot of water movement. Some very fast boats go through there at all states of flow. If you don't know much about reading/researching tidal currents, its a very good thing to know with a trawler type boat - many times the current accounts for 10-25% of our speed over ground.

We aim for the 1/2 hr- 45 min from predicted slack until the current has changed to the direction we want to go. By the time you are 45 minutes past slack the current has already built to nearly 2 kts which is a point where I feel there is enough turbulence that I no longer wish to play. One big thing to keep in mind for Deception Pass is the currents that feed it continue (albiet with less velocity) to be strongly felt all the way down through Skagit Bay until you pass the area of Strawberry Point closer to Oark Harbor. In other words, with a 6 or 7 kt boat it really pays to plan your passage through the pass with the current flow if at all possible. On the Rosario Strait side, once you are out of Deception Pass you are really more subjected to Rosario Strait currents.

So, heading out (west), I want to get out of Laconner into Skagit Bay during the ebb current - it takes a little over an hour and 20 minutes for us to get from our dock to Deception Pass, so I want to leave prior to slack before ebb if at all possible. If I can, I can make a better speed over ground along through Skagit Bay, sometimes around 1 kt or so. If that's the case I'll leave around an hour and 30 minutes before predicted slack, and take advantage of the free ride in the current. If the current were going the other way prior to my departure time....I would seriously consider just going north out of Swinomish Channel most of the time - most of our trips are that direction. If I were to head out deception pass I would just have to make sure to allow extra time to buck the current heading up Skagit Bay prior to slack, anticipating having to lose 1 to maybe 1 1/2 or almost 2 kts at first of speed over ground.

Regardless of which way I'm going, it pays to be early rather than late. If you are early on the west side you can pop in to Bowman Bay and drop the hook, or maybe a mooring ball or state park float. If you are early on the east side there is Coronet Bay where you can drop the hook or stop at a state park float there.

The other big thing to remember about Deception Pass is that many large yachts, as well as all sailboats and trawlers like ours bound to and from the Seattle area will transit during that same tidal exchange, so the pass can get busy during that time...

FYI for your future plans to go north, there are other tidal passes (many call them "gates") some of which are in sequence in areas that let you go through nice protected waters but restrict you in the times you can go through them because they are the same (or even more) velocity as Deception Pass. So its a good local thing to learn about for your future travels. If you haven't, there are some great guide books that start introducing you to them.

Another good resource for you to learn about boat systems/boating in good context is the Cruiser's College classes. They are put on in Anacortes, which is a bit if a trip for you, but there are very few of these type of classes anywhere at all... they are putting on a class Dec 7 on tides and currents of the PNW, taught by Mark Bunzel, the publisher of the Waggoner Guide...

https://cruiserscollege.org/

I'm not affilliated with them other than my son happens to go to school in the same facility and I've taken a couple of the classes myself; some are taught by staff at the college (the facility is part of Skagit Valley College's Marine Technology Program) and some by cruising experts depending on the course.
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Old 11-29-2019, 03:25 PM   #20
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All things propulsion first because you never know when a boat must move. Generator second in case you end up anchored and not shore power connected. It can take a long time with a diagram and a meter to work out where and what the wiring goes and does. Heck, it took me at least a week to figure out the crazy battery configuration.charging on this small boat, which was well enough maintained, just poorly set up at the factory.
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