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Georgs Kolesnikov of Trawler World Online asks:

How do you check the oil with the engine running? Do you shut the engine down for maintenance. If so, does anyone get nervous about the restart?

I know the Lugger L668D pretty well and, in general, it uses very little oil. On Salvation ll,
the first NORDHAVN 46 to circumnavigate, we knew she would burn a quart of oil every 48 hours, so we go a few days and then make that assumption adding the appropriate amount to the running engine. If you have a calm day, then you can shut down and confirm. We’ve shut NORDHAVN down twice on this trip (California to Hawaii) and I’ve seen no reduction on
the dipstick so we’ve added nothing. During those shutdowns, we’ve checked the transmission oil and the coolant level and again have had to add no fluids. I’m always nervous about the restart. We start the wing engine and the generator when shutting down the main. The generator is run because we know we have a charging capacity of 130 amps through the inverter. The wing engine keeps us moving and adds stability. The engine starting battery is isolated from the house and has its own alternator, but we can simply
flip a parallel switch and start the main off the house batteries. I do have a spare starter motor and solenoid so we should be able to deal with any problem.

It sounds like there are sight glasses all over the place. This system sounds pretty nifty, but would it pass a CG inspection? What happens if one of those valves or hoses fail, or if someone whacks a sight glass with a wrench?

We have sight glasses on both port and starboard fuel tanks and on the supply reservoir and wing engine day tank. Each sight gauge has a valve at the top and bottom so if the glass breaks--It’s protected in an aluminum channel--the valves can be closed. Additionally, the main sight gauges on the port and starboard tanks are supplied down stream of the main shut off valve on each tank. The tops of the gauges are plumbed into the vent lines for each tank.

The beauty of the bottom pickup and gravity feed to the supply reservoir is that there is virtually no unusable fuel carried. In the roughest conditions and with minimal fuel in each tank--We know what’s there—fuel will find its way into the supply reservoir where it can be drawn through the primary filters into the engine--free of air. Conversely, a big tank with a
suction pick-up and low on fuel in rough weather is of great concern. If the fuel sloshes away from the pickup line, air is ingested and there’s nowhere for that air to go except through the engine. If enough air gets into the system the engine will not run.

How do you accurately gauge how much fuel you have? Doesn't being in a seaway render sight gauges inaccurate?

As mentioned above, the sight gauges have valves at the top and bottom which can be adjusted to dampen the rise and fall of the fuel. When reading the sight gauges, you have to consider the high and low surge and find an average. You also have to consider the trim of the vessel. If the boat is listing one way or the other, due to wind or asymmetric amounts of fuel, one sight gauge will read high and the other will read low.

Regarding the fuel oil system, can I assume that there is a drain in the *bottom* of those tanks?

Since we draw off the bottom of the tanks--The fuel drains into the supply reservoir through ¾” feed lines--we rely upon the supply reservoir to act as a sump for both water and sediment. The engines and generator draw off the supply reservoir, about half way up its capacity. At the bottom, the reservoir is cone shaped and has a petcock at its lowest point.
Additionally, we have a water sensor below the level of our pickups which will sound an alarm in the wheelhouse if water is present. The sediment and water gather at the bottom of the supply reservoir. As a matter or routine, you drain off the reservoir and look for these sediments and water. It’s amazing how effective a filter and water strainer this reservoir is.
After 334 hours of running, we are still on one of our two 2-micron Racor 900 filters and showing zero vacuum with no trace of water in the Racor water separator.

How is the day tank/fuel manifold vented when the supply lines are shut off during fuel consumption measurement?

When we use the reservoir to check fuel consumption, we have to turn off both ¾” supply lines, then go to the return manifold and shut off both returns to tanks, then open the valve marked “return to reservoir.” This return goes up over a vented loop which vents into the starboard tank. We leave this vent line off the top of the reservoir open all the time, even if
you’re not returning to the reservoir. We have an approval from Alaska Diesel to return fuel 100 per cent of the time to the supply reservoir. All you have to do is select a supply line. I normally return to the same tank I’m drawing off because the heat of the fuel cannot dissipate as easily from the 2-gallon reservoir.

The PAE website lists the prop as 32"; your message said 28". Can you tell us a bit about the transmission and prop?

We’re actually spinning a 28” by 24” four-blade, left-handed propeller. The transmission is a Twin Disk MG-5050 with a three-to-one reduction gear. We use a 2” Aquamet propeller shaft.

Do you ever turn over the wing engine to check it out and pump the oil around?

We start and run the wing engine frequently, at least once a week. This can be done at the dock or while running. The important point is that the little Yanmar must be run up to full operating temperature and put under a load. Running it 50 hours a year with an annual oil change will keep it in good condition.

What provisions have been made or will be made to address needed fluids changing for the genset and Naiads?

We will use the generator very little on this trip, but will change oil at 150- to 200-hour intervals. The boat is equipped with an oil-change pump, hard plumbed to the oil pan of the main and generator. We changed the oil on the NAIADs prior to leaving California at 1,000 hours. NAIAD recommends changing it every 4,000 hours. We don’t have to worry about this until we complete the circumnavigation.

You report your heading as magnetic. In the Power Squadron, we always convert
it to true. Can you explain why you use magnetic and are there any advantages/disadvantages?

While we have charts aboard, courtesy of Bellingham Chart Printers, we’re doing all of our navigation electronically and every instrument is set for magnetic.

Based on your fuel consumption calculations on Day 8, you should hit the islands with 80 gallons remaining. Just a rough calculation at 6 knots that would give you a cushion of around 200 nautical miles. Would you say that a margin this close is acceptable based on the Captain/crew experience?

I would never tackle a 2,280 mile passage thinking I only had a 200-mile reserve. I’d calculate the calm water speed of the boat, then reduce it by 10 per cent to account for rough offshore conditions, then I’d add around a 10 to 20-per-cent reserve depending on the likely conditions of the passage. For Hawaii, for instance, at 2,280 miles, if the boat did 6.3 knots at 2gph in calm water, I’d figure it at 5.7 at 2 gph and then add 10 per cent.
This would give me a range of roughly 2,358 nautical miles. I also know that I could go into Hilo and save a hundred miles and if necessary slow to 1300 rpm and increase our mpg by a further 10%. As it turns out, we’ll now be arriving about 24 hours latter than I had hoped for, and with less fuel than planned. The reason is the unusual weather we’ve had. We’ll do a complete recap later, but I think we’ve had head winds and seas for all but about
3 days. The easterly trade winds and ½ knot westerly current have just not materialized. We’ve had south, southwest and west winds up to 30 knots with 15 knots being about the average. This is the very reason we have to plan on having reserves, and in this case we dipped into them. For the next two days, we’ll run at 1,600 rpm and burn about 2.8 gph at 7.2 knots. Georgs has a flight out on Monday at 10 p.m. With Thanksgiving upon us and
airplanes running at capacity, we want him to make that flight. In the latest round of
calculations today, we expect to arrive in Honolulu at 3 p.m. and still have about 80 gallons aboard.

What emergency plans have you made to address a catastrophic failure of all
your navigation equipment? I know, it will never happen but is there any concern over the accuracy of plotting and manual means (i.e. celestial) for plotting?

We have aboard two computers, loaded with navigation software and charts. We have two permanently mounted GPS receivers with a selection switch to choose either. Additionally, we have a Raytheon chart plotter with complete chart disks. There are two additional handheld GPS units with lots of batteries and power/data cords (for use with the laptop computers). As I mentioned earlier, we also have a beautiful set of paper charts, courtesy of
Bellingham Chart Makers. Frankly, I’m more likely to fall overboard than to lose our ability to accurately navigate. Oh, yes, there are the jet contrails we can follow, bound for Honolulu.

You have both flopper stoppers and stabilizers. What other redundant systems are there on the boat?

We’ve tried to anticipate breakdowns and plan for them. For instance, we have an additional high-pressure pump for the water maker, spare alternators, injection pumps for the diesel, lift pumps for the diesel, starter motor, injectors, etc. We have a spare autopilot motor,
hydraulic pump and brain box. There are spare pressure water pumps, bilge pumps,
hydraulic cooling pumps, shower sumps, head rebuild kits, replacement plumbing parts etc. We have an extra steering ram, helm pump and spare hydraulic hoses for the steering system. For the NAIADs, we have a spare hydraulic pump, actuator ram, hydraulic hoses and the tools to disassemble the actuators and repair them. If this were more of a recreational cruise, I’d leave about 70 per cent of the stuff off the boat. With quick and
affordable air transportation and terrific communication, most parts can be shipped when needed. We want to keep the boat moving and if a problem comes up we do not want it to delay our progress. Most of the spares will come off the boat at our trips conclusion and be used on a later NORDHAVN 40.

On the flashlights are they the new style LED flashlights? Are there any red lights and why aren't they used?

We have regular, old-fashioned flashlights, lots of them.

Of special interest to me, and perhaps others, is the reliability and operation of various systems, i.e., heating system, watermaker, Raymarine instrumentation and autopilot.

So far, the only problems we’ve had with the boat or systems are a shorted Iridium phone antenna (a tiny bit of water got into a coaxial connector just below the deck), which was fixed quickly, and the loss of an alternator belt. The LUGGER engine is fitted with a large-case, 140-amp alternator that services the house systems and then a small 40-amp alternator, which only charges the main engine starting battery. The main alternator uses a
large serpentine belt while the smaller alternator uses a single old-fashioned belt that failed yesterday. Rather than shut down and fiddle with it, we just turned the engine-start battery in parallel with the house batteries, so the larger house alternator is keeping it up. The Spectra water maker, Raymarine electronics, FloScan fuel monitor, Heart inverter,
Hurricane heating system, which we did use the first three days, everything is working flawlessly.

Is the change in boat speed only a result of the trades, or sea conditions and are they still running at 1,400 rpm? In other words, is the rpm of 1,400 the constant and the sea, weather, etc the variables. Is this the planned rpm for the voyage?

1400 was the planned rpm for the voyage which should give us about 6.3 knots. As we progressed and got ahead of our fuel reserve, we planned to increase speed; however, the inclement weather has not allowed us to speed up until now. Now, we are running at 1,600 rpm and making 7.2 knots. If the Easterlies had developed (they really should have) I felt we could average in the high six knot range and carry a 15 to 25 percent reserve to Honolulu.
Normal cruise on this boat (if the leg length is under 1,500 miles) is approaching 8 knots at 1,800 rpm – burning under 4 gallons per hour.

What radar or radars are you using? Why did you pick that one and how are you getting along with it? Do you set alarm zones and such.

We have two Raymarine radars, a large 72-mile unit with an open array antenna and a smaller unit with a closed array. We have not run the second radar during the whole trip. We normally set the large radar at 6 to 12 miles with no alarms set. During a watch, the range is run up regularly to see targets farther out, but it’s been a week since we’ve seen anything at all. When we get into areas where there’s likely to be traffic – we’ll run the larger radar on about a 6 to 12 mile range and keep the smaller one on a lower scale – say one mile.

As we approach the Hawaiian Islands, we have contributed to a pool of $5 each, for a grand total of $20. The first person to see a vessel or land wins the money. My son Eric has his eye on the horizon and the money. He suggested the pool and then, to enter, borrowed $5 from me.

Regarding paravanes, what type/size of chain they use, and is it used the entire length, or does it join with rope or cable somewhere out of the water?

We use a Kolstrand fish that is 300 square inches and about 45 lbs. It’s towed off of 20-foot aluminum poles on a 10-foot, half-inch nylon spring line and about 20 feet of 3/16” chain. The fish runs at about 15 feet below the water surface.

Who did the fishing, what type of rig? You guys going to troll the whole time?

My son Eric has been the fisherman on this passage. He’s caught dozens of Dorado, most of which he has released. We’ve eaten Sashimi almost every night and baked some of it too. Eric set the lines at dawn today and within 20 minutes, he had a triple hook-up : three 20 to 25 pound Dorados. He got into a little trouble with me because we had to stop the boat and everyone was woken up to help. We released all three and within 30 minutes he had two more. I finally told him to pull the lines in --unless he wanted to clean the fish himself.

Just as I’m writing this, Eric yells out again that he’s got a big one, this time on a heavy rod and reel rather than the drag lines he’s been using. This is a monster and we have to stop the boat to allow Eric to labor it in. Eric wants to keep this 50-pounder. While we have loads of freezer space now, I’m hesitant to bring the brute aboard knowing that there will be a
blood bath in the cockpit, the equivalent of a human chainsaw murder. The fish splatters his blood everywhere while he's clubbed to death with a toilet pump handle. It's a half-hour cleanup, including cockpit overhead, aft windows. It all has to be soaped down and washed, and then the fisherman has to take a shower. These Dorados are one fighting fish, they don't give up easily.

How does Jim compare the sea motion on the 40 to the rest of his larger fleet?

The 40 is a great riding boat. Quiet, a nice motion and she steers beautifully in rough seas.
I personally think it’s as seakindly a boat as any we build, just a little shorter and a bit slower.

-Jim



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