Another new start for Helmsman

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getting ready for end of season - the bottom side

Hi..
in the past all my boats had trailers and I could do whatever I needed and when.

Now I own a new Helmsman 38. It's been fresh water for a month followed by salt water and driving for 5 months.

I don't have easy access for a haul out and would need to take it to Anacortes for that job.. We do have a reputable diver who scrubs bottoms and replaces zincs in Roche Harbor.

The vessel will be in the water year-round at Roche when we are not cruising.

So the question... given its new and I've had concerns about electrolysis at the dock in past years, what would be a plan to maintain it?

Hire a diver when I get back? How often?
Or only do hual outs which is 2 days of travel work to Anacortes?

Looking for thoughts. I'm sure there are more than one answer to this and opinions.

Thanks, Tom
 
Tom,



Same dilemma here. Year round in Elliott Bay Marina which is, thankfully, not a hot marina. Only have to exchange anodes twice a year. That seems to be a good schedule for bottom cleaning, until this summer's cruise.



We had the bottom cleaned and new zincs put on in the first week of April, with the plan for a new cleaning and zincs this fall when the season is over. When we left on August 3rd for our trip, I immediately picked up a problem. No matter the rpm on the engine, I was consuming 10% more fuel, and it really showed in the speed (although up here with the screwy tides I never trust my speed to tell me much). So it was clear the engine was working harder to make a given rpm.



When we got to Port Townsend I called a diver. Best $185 I have spent on the boat. He came out and confirmed my running gear was all barnacled up. He scraped it all clean and said the bottom was fine and zincs were good. I immediately recovered the lost 10%, with everything running to spec the next day.



So, while it might be OK to change zincs only twice a year, I highly recommend you think about three bottom cleanings. For sure one right before you head out for cruising for the summer (you surely won't need one during the cruising season since cruising keeps the bottom clean).



BTW: this may be a backhanded advertisement for Propspeed or some other antifouling agent for the prop and rudder.
 
So, this past week Van Helker came out to address a few punch list items. I had previously told him I would take care of them myself, but haven’t found the time to. I previously didn’t feel like they rose to the level of having him come out, and didn’t want to inconvenience him. We were talking one day, and he suggested it was probably time to address them, and he stated he would come out to help.

We spent time working through the list. It was an absolute pleasure working with Van. He is thorough, calm, and is an outstanding trainer. I told my wife after he left that I learned more in the time spent with him, than I have learned on my own over the past few months.

Today, we were getting ready to head out for a day trip. After we pulled away from the dock, I realized we hadn’t checked the water flow out of the side telltale hole that Helmsman places on the starboard side to quickly check for water flow through the engine. When I looked, there was no water. I spun the boat, and pulled back in. I know, I know. I should have checked before pulling out. I usually do, but…lesson learned.

With a plan in mind, I reached out for Scott to see if the steps I was taking were correct and in the right order. He guided me through how he would approach it. I checked for water flow from the thru hull, and then checked the belt, pulley, pulled the water pump cover and checked the impeller, spun the engine to ensure the impeller was spinning, etc. etc.

Scott stayed in touch and advised on the way through the process. With everything apparently working, Scott suggested running a water hose into the strainer to ensure the water was making it through the engine.

Walking back down to the boat, my wife mentioned that the mud daubers were bad this year. Well, this is the season for mud dauber’s. Could the telltale hole on the starboard side be blocked? Using a plastic electrical tape, I pushed it into the hole, and voila, water and mud pour out and problem resolved.

I felt bad about bothering Scott with something I should have been able to diagnose, but he was very gracious with his time, and his help was instrumental in understanding and resolving the problem.

Not many boat builders out there answering their phone on a Sunday morning, and staying engaged throughout the resolution. I don’t think there are many builders out there as committed to the success of their customers as the Helmsman team is. Just another affirmation that we went with the right outfit. Just outstanding service when no one is looking and great to work with. And, we love the boat!
 
Hi..
in the past all my boats had trailers and I could do whatever I needed and when.

Now I own a new Helmsman 38. It's been fresh water for a month followed by salt water and driving for 5 months.

I don't have easy access for a haul out and would need to take it to Anacortes for that job.. We do have a reputable diver who scrubs bottoms and replaces zincs in Roche Harbor.

The vessel will be in the water year-round at Roche when we are not cruising.

So the question... given its new and I've had concerns about electrolysis at the dock in past years, what would be a plan to maintain it?

Hire a diver when I get back? How often?
Or only do hual outs which is 2 days of travel work to Anacortes?

Looking for thoughts. I'm sure there are more than one answer to this and opinions.

Thanks, Tom

Tom,

Your boat has isolation transformers, right? By having those, it breaks the ground electrical connection with the dock at the transformer. This should reduce the potential for electrolysis. (You aren’t part of the vast interconnected battery that other boats are.)

Certainly having a diver change the anodes, and scraping the bottom and running gear would be good.

You might want to look at Hull Shield. As a member of the AGLCA, I see many of those folks are using the Hull Shield system and are happy with it. I may add it to our boat, before we head to the gulf next year. It works with ultrasonics. Many were and are skeptical, but more and more folks swear by the system, some of which I have a lot of respect for their boating knowledge.
 
Van has been a godsend to us on several occasions. When we had a faulty fuel pump issue, Van came up and ran the engine from a Jerry can to disprove the Cummins tech’s suggestion that it was a tank contamination problem. Cummins finally fixed the problem thanks to Van and Scott putting pressure on them.

We installed a soap and shampoo dispenser in the shower. It came off the wall when we were away from the boat. It hit the shower lever on the way down and turned the water on. It drained the fresh water tank. After refilling it, no water came out of the pump. I called Van and got immediate instructions on where the fresh water pump is and how to clear the air block. Problem solved.

When we used the shower after the tank draining issue, the shower sump wouldn’t drain and water was burbling up in the day head. Who are you going to call? Van Helker. In newer Helmsman Trawlers, you can reprime the shower sump pump by holding the sump pump switch in the “on’” position.

We had a pilothouse door that wouldn’t close. We were on a yacht club cruise, docked in Everett. I called Van for suggestions. He asked what our next stop was. The next day, he met us in Poulsbo, fixed the problem and did some preventative maintenance on the other two doors. Needless to say, our fellow cruisers were very impressed. None of them, of course, have Helmsman Trawlers … yet.

The last call to Van was a little embarrassing. When changing fuel tanks, I inadvertently (or idiotically) closed the supply valve from the tank. The engine quit and we were sure it was a recurrence of the fuel pump problem. Van calmly walked me through troubleshooting the problem and our day was saved.
 
We were finally able to get a picture of where we put our refrigerator/freezer in our lazarette. We have not strapped it down, but are considering putting a silicon mat underneath it to keep it in place.

28562-albums1306-picture8059.jpeg

I test fit our unit in the aft engine room this weekend, but the only pictures I have are the (rather mediocre) two attached below. A couple things are clear. The new Helmsman 38e aft engine room hatch is far longer than the first generation Mariner 37. And the current location of the house battery bank is far more serviceable than buried in the starboard corner of the lazarette.

Our fridge/freezer fits neatly in front of the generator battery, but it takes up virtually all of the space I need to access the strainers and pumps for the head, wash down, and fresh water pumps. I would have to remove the unit any time I need to access those pumps, strainers, or seacocks. Hmmmm...
 

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Lazy Boy makes a very comfortable wall away recliner. It’s 30” wide with a side lever for reclining. Cost is about $800 for cloth and $1200 for leather. We’re going to order one in a few months as they take a few months to arrive.
 
A very painful lesson learned

The access from the lower deck to the boat deck is a fairly steep set of “stairs” port and starboard. Although they are nautically referred to as ladders, they can be climbed like stairs. The treads are relatively narrow and the nosing of each tread is gel coat with the rest of the tread coated with a nonskid surface. Climbing facing aft, the toes of each foot land on the nonskid. Descending facing forward the balls of the feet contact the gel coat nosing and possibly some of the nonskid. Surfaces treated with ceramic are slicker than bare gel coat or bare nonskid.

While moored in Roche Harbor on a beautiful fall day, I was heading down the starboard stair after enjoying a cup of coffee on the boat deck, coffee cup in my left hand and right hand on the stair rail. All the surfaces were coated with morning dew and slippery as I knew they would be. My foot hit the stair nosing and slipped forward. Both feet went out from under me. I didn’t fall down the stairs but landed hard with the left side of my back hitting the stair nosing. After shouting some appropriate nautical expressions, I painfully got back to my feet and found my empty coffee cup still intact. I had barely enough breath to convey my displeasure at what I has just done to myself.

This led to a mutiny of my entire crew who shanghaied me and drug me kicking and screaming to the hospital in Friday Harbor. A CT scan confirmed that I had two broken ribs and a punctured lung. My beautiful day in port ended in a helicopter medical evacuation to a hospital in Bellingham and a sleepless night of poking and prodding while they contemplated surgery.

My purpose in sharing this harrowing tale is to caution everyone to not take a simple trip from deck to deck lightly. Inform your crew and guests that ascending and descending, even while docked, should be done carefully, not casually. If conditions are bad, suck up your seafarer’s pride and back down. If you have ceramic coating on walking surfaces, be especially attentive when they are wet.
 
Doug, thanks for your note. Good thing you were in Friday. I've also slipped on those stairs, but without injury. Since that event, I backed down the stairs slowly with one hand on the rail. Slow is good, even if it isn't during docking! Get well soon!
 
My purpose in sharing this harrowing tale is to caution everyone to not take a simple trip from deck to deck lightly. Inform your crew and guests that ascending and descending, even while docked, should be done carefully, not casually. If conditions are bad, suck up your seafarer’s pride and back down. If you have ceramic coating on walking surfaces, be especially attentive when they are wet.

We try to remind ourselves frequently that on a moving boat, we are only one bad mistake or slip from an injury that can easily end a trip or worse. It is well worth being extra cautious and conservative on a wet and moving boat, and even more so when off in remote locations.

Regarding the particular risk of these stair edges, we have a similar situation on our boat. That smooth edge can be deadly when wet. I've been on the hunt for a solution that won't be ugly, and I'm planning to experiment with a clear non-slip tape on those edges. Here is what I ordered from Amazon and haven't yet tried, so I can't say if it is a good addition or not: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PZFBG22?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details

The challenge will be to find a tape that will wrap the corner, look presentable, and add traction without peeling off. I've seen it other places and just don't yet know if this particular product fills the bill.

I wish you a fast recovery.
 
Doug, Sorry to hear about your misfortune. And thank you for sending out a caution. Steps on a boat can be a real issue. The steps on our Carver really concerned me. They were tough to negotiate. I will add the caution to our briefing for folks who come aboard. Heal up quick and “get back on the horse” soon.
 
Doug

Very sorry to hear about the injury but your post is a good reminder to advise guests to keep your weight on the non-skid area of the tread.

I hope you heal soon.
 
Garmin AIS800 issue

We have had our 38E for eight months. Like some other new Helmsman owners, we went with a Garmin package installed by C & L electronics. Our AIS signal is only picked up by shore stations when we are very close. We have had boating friends tell us we don’t show up on their receivers when we are traveling together. Our home slip is about 1,000 feet from the nearest land station. We show up when we are in our slip, but more than a half hour sometimes elapses between AIS reports. The AIS has never worked correctly. The original unit was replaced during commissioning but we got the same results.

Has anyone else with a Garmin AIS800 and equal length AIS and VHF antennas mounted on the sides of the radar arch? We don’t know if it is a problem with the AIS or the antenna. I would really like to hear from anyone with the same setup.
 
A CT scan confirmed that I had two broken ribs and a punctured lung. My beautiful day in port ended in a helicopter medical evacuation to a hospital in Bellingham and a sleepless night of poking and prodding while they contemplated surgery.

I hope you have a speedy, easy, complete recovery!
 
Holy hell Batman that’s a slip One could do without. Hope your healing well.
 
We have had our 38E for eight months. Like some other new Helmsman owners, we went with a Garmin package installed by C & L electronics. Our AIS signal is only picked up by shore stations when we are very close. We have had boating friends tell us we don’t show up on their receivers when we are traveling together. Our home slip is about 1,000 feet from the nearest land station. We show up when we are in our slip, but more than a half hour sometimes elapses between AIS reports. The AIS has never worked correctly. The original unit was replaced during commissioning but we got the same results.

Has anyone else with a Garmin AIS800 and equal length AIS and VHF antennas mounted on the sides of the radar arch? We don’t know if it is a problem with the AIS or the antenna. I would really like to hear from anyone with the same setup.

This is exactly how our boat is setup.

If you are not being seen it comes down to the PL259 connectors on the antenna wire. Make sure they are properly soldered as it makes a tremendous difference in signal quality. Most people just shove the cable in, screw the sections together and call it a day.

Also make sure the right cable was run as my installer used what he had in the van and it was the wrong coax
 
This isn’t a directly comparable response. I installed Simrad. My AIS transmitter worked fine. AIS receive on the plotter worked fine. The GPS location antenna for the VHF didn’t work. It turned out to be a faulty antenna. Once replaced I was in business. Like many things, it was just a case of systematic ruling possible things out until you find the source of the problem.
 
It is more than likely either the cable or the antenna. First confirm that the antenna you have set up for AIS is a 162 MHz antenna. VHF antennas are 156 mhz and occasionally you will see one used for the other which greatly lessens reception. Are the two antennas separate from each other by at least 3 feet? Is the antenna within your radar beam? Typically 12.5 to 15 degrees up and down from dead center on the radar.

Typically, the next problem is either a faulty cable, or one that doesn’t provide enough bandwidth for the distance the cable travels. I would purchase a new cable, once you validate the antenna is the proper antenna for AIS. I would recommend getting an LMR 400 cable pre-made for the length you need. Anything over 20 feet, the rule of thumb is LMR400. That will provide the least amount of data loss of all antenna cabling and is what I used. The disadvantage is that it is a little thicker. You can direct connect it from the AIS up to the antenna to see if that fixes the issue and then pull the cable if it does. It goes without saying that if the cable has been kinked (they do have an acceptable bend radius LMR400 is 1”) or the connectors are bad, this will eliminate all of those issues. Sometimes, it is electromagnetic interference where the cable is run. That is a little tougher to find.

Other possible problems are a bad NMEA cable from the AIS box to the NMEA 2000 trunk line, which if the first two issues above are addressed, I would replace that and the tee it goes into next. I would assume whoever replaced the box checked that, but wise to check it if you have made it this far. You could also have a conflict with the PGN’s being sent and received, or a fault in the NMEA cabling from the heading sensor, etc. producing the same effect that will require reading the produced PGN’s or a Maretron type tester to ferret out. If you are not having any other problems with equipment then that will be lower on the probability scale, though I would also check the two terminators for tightness at each end of the N2K network.

Let us know what you find. If you get to the other possible problems, let’s talk more.
 
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I hope you have a speedy, easy, complete recovery!

Doug’s recovery is going amazingly well. He doesn’t need any surgery for the punctured lung because the puncture was so small. He’s having very little pain and we were able to easily :dance:bring Alba Bella home from Roche Harbor yesterday.
 
Speaking of antenna cable connectors, if they are the solderless type, scrap them and replace with soldered connectors.
 
Captain Steve from Boat Test has a new home on a new site named OLN

New review on the H38 is nicely done.

And for those looking for speed / fuel burn data his website has a good chart. Scroll down.

Helmsman 38E, Performance



 
Capt. Steve's H38E video is excellent. Thanks for posting the link.
Several nice upgrades on the new 38E's since I received mine in 2019.
Beautiful trawler!!
 
Capt. Steve's H38E video is excellent. Thanks for posting the link.
Several nice upgrades on the new 38E's since I received mine in 2019.
Beautiful trawler!!

Just to be clear, Van/Scott and company are doing videos with customers' options so the newbies (which was us) would have a better idea what the options are. This is 38E-1 (which I saw a couple days ago on youtube version) the dash 1 is a nomenclator to the video -1 the first set of videos they will do over time on custom designs to help future helmsmans understand the options you can get or want.

So you should pay attention to the differences and not confuse what is standard. This is Rick's hull boat which has several options he picked which isn't standard. According to Vazn, Dash - 2 will be out soon.

From a new standard design is the side windows which match the contour of the stairs - I like it.

Im working on optimizing additional solar panels working with Van and Kevin. I think it'll be an another option in the future. It looks good but were dialing it in. I'll send that out later.
 
Just to be clear, Van/Scott and company are doing videos with customers' options so the newbies (which was us) would have a better idea what the options are. This is 38E-1 (which I saw a couple days ago on youtube version) the dash 1 is a nomenclator to the video -1 the first set of videos they will do over time on custom designs to help future helmsmans understand the options you can get or want.

So you should pay attention to the differences and not confuse what is standard. This is Rick's hull boat which has several options he picked which isn't standard. According to Vazn, Dash - 2 will be out soon.

From a new standard design is the side windows which match the contour of the stairs - I like it.

Im working on optimizing additional solar panels working with Van and Kevin. I think it'll be an another option in the future. It looks good but were dialing it in. I'll send that out later.


What I think you mean by "dash - 2" has been out for about 10 days or so.

And that's my boat by the way.

And its set up more like a southeast boat needs to be, with HVAC systems, which mean a generator, instead of going the solar route.

 
FWT, thanks for the video link on your 38E. Your trawler is absolutely beautiful, well chosen options and excellent work by Helmsman.
 
FWT, thanks for the video link on your 38E. Your trawler is absolutely beautiful, well chosen options and excellent work by Helmsman.

Thanks. We are flat tickled with it.

Readers probably get tired of reading it, but I don't get tired of saying it. The build quality is excellent, but the care taken by the Helmsman team is amazing.
 
Hi folks,
I'm new and way behind here but am thoroughly enjoying all the previous and current conversations. As I contemplate a new build and all my options (I am sold on Helmsman for craftsmanship, service and value) everyone's opinions and thought processes are invaluable. I think FWT just laid the foundation for my future boat. I can duplicate that build and be thrilled. Now I simply must decide between a 38 or 43. 380 or 480. I'd love additional input. Thank you all!
 
Hi folks,
I'm new and way behind here but am thoroughly enjoying all the previous and current conversations. As I contemplate a new build and all my options (I am sold on Helmsman for craftsmanship, service and value) everyone's opinions and thought processes are invaluable. I think FWT just laid the foundation for my future boat. I can duplicate that build and be thrilled. Now I simply must decide between a 38 or 43. 380 or 480. I'd love additional input. Thank you all!

David

Welcome aboard.

Thanks for the kind words.

Feel free to lob questions, here or if you prefer via the PM message box. Happy to help. I think you will find the Helmsman owners are all pretty generous with their advice and experiences.

Up front, you can't go wrong with either the 38 or 43. It just depends on your wants and needs.
 
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