Saturday, 17 January 2015

Replacing the prop anode

Tui has a Maxprop folding three bladed propeller with an anode on the hub as well as on the shaft to corrode before the propeller does.  The holes tend to corrode first  then the anode can fall off. To discourage that I painted the holes on the new one, hopefully it stays on longer.

This is the prop at Dinas boatyard both anodes corroded.
This is what one looks like with the anode fitted from the PY website (they make max props)

Photos by Katie Lionheart of me diving in Taarbaek to fit a new anode.  It is not exactly Cousteau!

I found it quite hard to work with both hands while staying in the same place, also not dropping the four screws.  I found a youtube video of a diver doing the same job, except he starts with the anode and the screws removed and only carries one screw at a time. 

Here it is underwater. No anode.

Thanks to suppliers

In a trip like our Inverse Viking Expedition to Denmark there were lots of suppliers of chandlery and services who contributed, especially those who made an extra effort to et things done in time to set off. Here are some of them (I haven't mentioned all the harbour and marina staff here but most of them get a thankyou in the log).

The Boatshed sail makers  a Port Donorwic did a great job on the new spray hood and cockpit cover. The nice clear windows and good fit made us especially happy.

The spray hood and cockpit  enclosure at Taarbaek

Tui goes amphibious with Graham driving the wise hoist.
The previous year we were at Dinas Boat Yard  at Y Felinheli on the Manai Strait  and Graham and Paul there are extremely helpful. Graham is highly skilled at driving the Wise Hoist and his calm proficiency was most reassuring when we first launched. When we got to Hull we had move the cradle they had looked after in N Wales and both Paul and Graham were very helpful with a picture of how it goes together and marks so I knew what joined what, and finding an igneous way to get me the Acro prop we forgot.

Steve Owen at PD Riggers checked our rigging, serviced winches and got the mast down and up.

Thanks to Richard at Yacht Systems in North Wales for getting the holding tank fitted in time. It was a difficult task to work out how to fit one in especially from parts available within the time frame.

As well as the many on line retailers bricks-and-mortar chandlers have been especially helpful notably Craig at Yacht Chandlers Conwy, Rondney at Shipshape Marine in Hazel Grove, and Richard and others at Kildale Marine in Hull 
The cradle loaded on a trailer at Y Felinheli on the way to Hull.

The replacement prop anode was from Invicta Anodes who were efficient in shipping it to Denmark. The scuba gear was hired from Scuba Gear in Copenhagen.

Thanks to Bob Smith from YachtCom/SailCom for training on the Long Range Certificate and supplying advice and  hardware to sort out the SSB antenna. We bought our PACTOR from Paul Richards excellent prompt and efficient service. 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015


Highland cow, Caledonian Canal Scotland
Dolphin, near entrance to River Ness.
Jægersborg Dyrehave deer park

Gulls in a row, Taarbaek

Llamas, Ven, Sweden

Starfish, Aalborg Marina

Red Admiral Butterfly, somewhere near Dogger Bank


A gallery of bridges

Britannia Bridge, Menai Strait, North Wales

Conwy, Castle and bridge, Wales

Kessock Bridge, Inverness Scotland

Aggersund lifting bridge, Limfjord, Denmark

Monday, 5 January 2015

Raymarine autopilot remote control

Tui has two Raymarine Autopilots. Autopilot A is a Raymarine 6001 which has a motor bellow driving the steering directly, the older Autopilot B is an ST4000 and requires a drive unit to be fitted to the wheel using some clamps and is there as an emergency back up. Tui does not have a wind vane steering system so having this redundancy is welcome.

Both have their own compass.

The way they were installed lead something to be desired to say the least. They could not be connected on the same bus as they would both be transmitting the same Seatalk commands, and so they were on separate circuits. As neither was connected to the wind instruments they could only be used on a compass heading and could not steer on the wind.

Also a major irritation was that one could not engage the autopilot from the helm. Both control units were above the companion way long way from the wheel. I was all for getting a long stick but Russell Talbot, my regular crew and boat fixing buddy, pointed out that it would be a bit like playing snooker with the table moving. Raymarine sell a remote control bit it was way too expensive even second hand.

Fortunately Thomas Knauf has reverse engineered the Sea Talk protocol, and this had lead Jon  Fick to develop a remote control using a PIC microcontroller. Now Russell has some experience with PIC projects, and had the necessary kit to program one and we were able to use Jon's c-code. Russell designed and made his own circuit board.

We only need to send two commands, to engage the autopilot and to switch it back to standby. As a side effect the unit also has a serial output which puts out the Seatalk sentences to a PC, which was handy for debugging some of our other Seatalk problems. More on that later perhaps.

Here is the unit Russell made

One of the relays switches the Seatalk bus so that whichever autopilot is in use is connected to the bus. The other one disconnects the echosounder from the bus when it is powered down. When you are in water over about 100m teh echo sounder does not work but it uses power and presumably annoys whales. You can't just power it down and leave it connected as Seatalk fails if it is connected to an unpowered instrument even at the end of  the chain. It is in a watertight enclosure which is mounted behind the instrument panel

Here are the two waterproof buttons (Auto and Standby) mounted by the wheel.  The switches are waterproof from the top, but one of them gave up after a season due to water ingress from below. Fortunately we bought a packet of 10 switch and they are now sealed from below.  We also didnt use screened cable running from the control unit to the buttons. This is a mistake as stray RF from the SSB can trigger the remote on or off.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Some pictures from Inverse Viking

Here are some pictures from the Inverse Viking Expedition, Conwy-Fort William-Inverness-Copenhagen. For captions see the pdf file of the log.