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Howard [ Just Imagine ] 31-Dec-1969

Electronics (Technical)

Internet Access (Internet)

Electrical-12/24V (Technical)

Marine Electrical Check List from Pearson Marine

Howard [ Just Imagine ] 31-Dec-1969

Weather (Weather)

See the article on Reading Weather Charts:
Going cruising? Here's how to read the weather maps
by Gord May
With permission of: “GOOD OLD BOAT” Magazine
Published in Issue 45, Nov/Dec 2005
Goto: http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f13/reading-weather-charts-7607.html
Gord & Maggie [ Southbound ] 04-Apr-2007
Italian Weather



Howard [ Just Imagine ] 04-Apr-2007

Engine (Technical)

Add your own personal engine experiences, problems and resolutions so that others can help, or be helped by the information.

Howard [ Just Imagine ] 24-Jan-2008

Electrical-110/220V (Technical)

Charts (Technical)

has moved to here

Another great source of free, US online charts at http://sailvector.com/

Howard [ Just Imagine ] 31-Dec-1969

Ready for Sea Check lists (Technical)

Add your own check lists
Howard [ Just Imagine ] 23-Oct-2008

Inflatable Fenders

D-Fender Inflatable Fenders by JWL.

Durable, lightweight fenders that can be quickly inflated and deflated as needed.

Inflate in minutes with a dinghy pump, vacuum cleaner or compressor.

Easy to stow and use on any size vessel.

Pricing and order information will be available shortly.

Contact JWL@WorldCruisingGuide.net for further information.
Howard [ Just Imagine ] 21-Feb-2008

Propane/Butane in Europe (Gas)

The last place we were able to fill our American propane tanks was in Estapona, which is the first port after Gibraltar. When we got to Palma, Mallorca we found that there was no way to fill our American bottles, and so we switched to Campingaz butane.

It might well be possible to fill American bottles elsewhere in the Med, but we never looked into this after converting to Campingaz which is more readily available.

We heard many stories of people buying Campingaz and then transferring it from tank to tank with a special adapter hose from the Campingaz bottle to the American bottle. This is extremely dangerous, very illegal, and takes quite a long time. Since the bottles freeze as the gas expands you need to provide some heat to keep the gas flowing freely.

A much simpler solution is to buy a Campingaz bottle (you actually put down a deposit on the bottle which you can , theoretically, get back when you leave) and a Campingaz regulator that screws to the bottle, and a length of hose.

I needed to buy a brass hose adapter to screw into my electric shut off solenoid to accept the new hose, which I attached with hose clamps. The old propane regulator needs to be completely removed and saved for when you return to propane.

The whole conversion took about 3 hours (including shopping time) and cost less than €50 including the deposit on the bottle, the regulator, the hose, little brass hose adapter and the hose clamps . We found Campingaz available almost everywhere in the Med.

It is best to take the solenoid or old brass fitting to the hardware store so that they can match the thread for the hose adapter, especially if you are not fluent in the local language. Don't forget to use Teflon thread seal tape or silicon sealer on the threads.

Use a soapy sponge and water to check for leaks in the propane locker, and it goes without saying never to use an open flame.

I did not notice any difference in performance between the propane and butane, although, I believe the butane burns slightly hotter and will freeze at -5C. So,  if you plan on sailing far to the North you will need to use Propane which freezes at -45C. 

The idea behind Campingaz is that you swap your empty bottle for a full one for a fee of about €10 or €15. The replacement is often dinged up and rusty, but this never seemed to be a problem. Many places will fill your same, empty bottle, or send it away to be filled and returned later in the day.

When the first Campingaz started to get low, I invested in a second Campingaz bottle. You want a full one on hand when the first runs out, especially in the middle of cooking dinner. I removed one of my two, large American bottles from the propane locker and found that I could fit two 2.75Kg Campingaz 907 bottles, stacked on top of each other, in it's place.

I use a small fishing scale to weigh the bottles to determine how full they are.

I made sure that the American bottle was quite empty before stowing it in the lazarette. I will revert again to the American bottles before going back across the Atlantic.

To find gas suppliers in the med, click on "HOME", then East or West Mediterranean, change the search category to "Gas" and click search. Please add your own gas supplier sources in other cities, as you come across them.
Howard and Jayne [ Just Imagine ] 23-Feb-2008

Inflatable Working Platform

YachtRaft by JWL

An inflatable working platform raft.

Contact JWL@WorldCruisingGuide.net for further information.

Howard and Jayne [ Just Imagine ] 21-Feb-2008

Rules of Thumb (Seamanship)

Add some of your own navigation or sailing shortcuts..........
Howard [ Just Imagine ] 13-Sep-2008

Med mooring (Seamanship)

Jack Tyler has done such a good good job at
discussing every aspect of med mooring.
Howard [ Just Imagine ] 23-Jan-2008

Portable washing machine (Technical)

Technosonic Mini Washing Machine

It looks like an overgrown blender, about 2 feet high with a motor at the bottom and a detachable bucket on the top that has an agitator in the bottom.

I laughed when my wife bought this tiny little washing machine for the boat. It was only after she returned to Florida that I found out how useful the machine can be.

The machine runs on 110V off my inverter and draws hardly any current. It uses about a bucket of water and can wash about 3 long sleeve shirts, or a double bed sheet at a time, in about 9 minutes.

This does not seem very much, but I found that if I set up an assembly line I could do a huge laundry in less than one hour using very little water.

While the machine is washing away, I set up two rinsing buckets. The laundry comes out of the machine and I squeeze out the soapy water back into the machine. I then rinse in the first bucket, and squeeze the somewhat soapy water back into the machine again. Then rinse in the second bucket and squeeze this back into the first rinse bucket. Of course I need to replenish the final rinse water from time to time.

If I was at a dock with a hose I would replace the water several times, but at anchor I would keep recycling the water from final rinse bucket to first rinse bucket, to the machine.

I even used river water once, after measuring the salinity with my watermaker TDS meter.

By keeping the machine washing all the time and me rinsing and wringing all the time, it is amazing how quickly I can do a whole load.

The laundry is still quite wet after the final wring, but I hang it on the washing line and I don't care if it takes all day to drip and dry.

The motor stores inside the bucket (along with the detergent) and the whole thing takes up very little room.

This Technosonic machine is available from Amazon.com for about $100.
Howard [ Just Imagine ] 22-Feb-2008

Watermaker (Technical)

Katadyn Powersurvivor 80E

We purchased a rebuilt Katadyn 80E watermaker for about $2000 and were assured that it had been totally rebuilt with new membranes. I would not recommend buying used equipment like this again, and we would have been better off buying a brand new unit for about $3900.

When we came to use the watermaker on the Atlantic crossing it gave disappointing results. We later found out that it had been rebuilt with the wrong membranes, and $540 and a season later, we finally had good water after replacing the membranes with genuine Katadyn parts.

The unit makes about 3.5 gallons (13.32 liters) per hour and we would run it, while the engine was running about 2 hours per day to fill a separate 30 liter bladder tank under the galley sink. We could then transfer it to the main tanks or use it directly out of the bladder tank.

We had a valve under the sink that would allow the first few minutes of reject water to dump out of a spigot into the sink and then divert to the tank once we were sure we had good water.

We bought a Hanna TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meter with which to test the salinity of the water for about $15. You fill the cap with the water to be tested, and then dip in the TDS meter to measure the PPM (parts per million) of solids remaining in the water.

When you first switch on the watermaker the TDS is up at about 990 PPM (pretty salty) and gradually reduces over the next few minutes to about 200 PPM or less which is good water. Regular tap water off the dock usually weighed in around 500 PPM and bottled (bought) water at around 90 PPM.

As a matter of interest, distilled or deionized battery water varied at around 22 - 68 PPM.

One of the most critical components of the watermaker installation is the prefilter, which needs to be installed where it is convenient to change the filter daily. Mine was mounted on a bulkhead directly under the cockpit seat. Almost every morning I would unscrew the filter, pour out the water and put in yesterday's, cleaned, and sun dried filter.

I would tie the tail of a cockpit sheet through the old filter and throw it overboard (while underway) to give it a thorough rinsing. Then I would let it sit in the sun to dry to become tomorrow's new filter.

I think I am still on the same two filters after two long seasons, even though I have many extras onboard.

We only made water when at sea in clean water.

If you are going to be in a marina or not able to use the watermaker for a week, you should "pickle" it. This consists of adding a spoon of biocide to a bucket of non-chlorine water (either water maker water, or even sea water,but not tap water) and then switching the cleaning valve and 3 way input valve to allow you to suck the biocide from the bucket rather than from the sea. It only takes a minute to do if the three way valve and pick up tube is in a good location.

When in use, volumes of water pass through the watermaker, but only a trickle of fresh is saved. The remaining reject brine water I routed to a breather overflow vent in the side of the cockpit, just above the cockpit drain. This way I could see, from the waterflow , that  the watermaker was running properly.

Before leaving Florida I bought a cruisers service kit which consists of extra filters, spare parts and O-rings, extra biocide and some special membrane cleaner. Under normal circumstances, you should not need to clean the membranes for many years and is not recommended unless you really have to.

We found that 30 liters a day of water was quite sufficient for cooking, washing dishes, and some very conservative and quick showers for the two of us.

With guests onboard we normally recommended a swim, with a shampoo soap up, followed by another swim, and maybe a rinse with the sun shower on deck.

We also chose to use mostly bought, bottled water for drinking, though we could have used watermaker water.
Howard [ Just Imagine ] 01-Jan-2008

Anchoring (Seamanship)

Howard [ Just Imagine ] 13-Sep-2013

Refrigeration (Technical)

Seafrost Tradewinds Engine Driven + 12V Combo

Just Imagine came with an old, Seafrost, engine-driven refrigeration unit which the previous owner told me was no good. I found after reinstalling the compressor on the engine that there was nothing wrong with it, and all it needed was leak repair and a bit of R-134 freon. It cooled the 9 cu ft box very efficiently.

The only problem with the engine-driven-only unit is that you need to run the engine before leaving the dock to cool it down and when you are docked for a long time, there is no easy way to cool the box without running the engine.

We noticed that there were two coils running through each of the two holding plates, so we invested in the Seafrost BD-12 add-on that runs on 12V. This is a great combination. (Seafrost sell the engine driven and 12V units as a combination called Tradewinds which is the same thing).

This works so well together and I would highly recommend it.

When we are plugged into shore power, the small 12V unit runs off the battery charger and we don't care about the 5 or 6 amps that it is drawing.

At anchor or when not plugged into shore power, we generally run the engine for about half an hour in the morning and and hour in the evening if we have not been motoring during the day. Our two large alternators quick recharge the batteries, and the powerful engine driven compressor quickly freezes the holding plates afterwhich the 12V thermostat does not need to kick in again for several hours.

Now that we have a solar panel, we can run the engine even less often.

The engine + 12 volt combination gives total redundancy as well, as they are totally separate units. If the 12 Volt unit should fail, it just means you need to run the engine driven more often, and vice versa if the engine driven unit fails, the 12 Volt will run most of the day, and you will need more battery charging (or more solar charging).

The 12 volt unit has only a fraction of the cooling power of the engine driven compressor. The 12 V unit needs to run most of the day, but the engine driven will do the same cooling in two 40 minute sessions, morning and evening.

Cleave at Seafrost provides excellent technical support and can be reached at +1 (603) 868-5720 .
Howard [ Just Imagine ] 01-Jan-2008

Tons of Tips (Seamanship)

Hi -
It looks like your interesting work is not available on dropbox.
Can you put it back ?
Ted and Anna [ Antwerp ] 21-Jul-2013
Just a note that we have just published our Techno Tips For Cruisers and it is available over the Internet for free.  Just go to our dropbox and check it out. It is about 265 pages long and contains over 620 tips.  https://www.dropbox.com/s/hf43r3s3cm037g9/Techno%20tips%20Document%20Final%2002192013%200529.pdf

Dave and Mary Margaret [ Leu Cat ] 23-Feb-2013

Seamanship (Seamanship)

Transatlantic Provisioning (Food)

Medical (Technical)