Thursday, February 26, 2015

SeaPower System on Wand'rin Star

Here is the refurbished 5 Kilowatt Seapower Unit and the old Grade 8 worn lower mounting bracket bolt and the new 7/16" X 5" grade 5 bolt. The entire front collar had to be replaced since the mounting bracket on the left side was hollowed out by the Grade 8 bolt.
Here is a simple Bolt Hardness Chart and the Identifying markings, you can easily find more complete charts by searching "Bolt Hardness Chart"

In this side view you can see the lower mounting bracket that was replaced due to the grade 8 bolt wearing out the mounting hole.

There was also some significant wear on the Grade 8 bolt.

Here the Seapower unit is mounted, this view is through the Starboard side engine access panel that is in the Aft shower Stall on the Endeavour 42.. As you can see it has a duel pulley and uses twin belts. which are not installed in this pic.

Here is the Power Transfer switch at the electrical panel to switch from shore to ship power.

The Remote Status Panel has Power on/Standby switch and LED monitor is mounted above the Port side engine access doors. The Progressive line of green LED's on the lower left indicate the percent of power being used.  To get the Max 5 Kw you would have to raise the RPM to about 12-1400

This is the AC Unit where all the connections are made from the Seapower unit and to all the control switches. it is mounted just above the engine in the engine room

AC Unit side angle view 

Schematic of the Seapower wiring from the owners manual
Part description page from owners manual
SeaPower System on Wand'rin Star

There always has to be a winter project if you own a boat. If there is no winter project/s then you are a worthless boat owner for sure. Boats require constant attention and if you fail the test then you will pay at the very worst moment. Boat projects for the winter vary as much as the boats and their owners themselves. You can be sure there is a pressing need and if you live by the Hear No, See No, Speak No then when you are at the farthest point from help and in the worst weather, with a boat load of seasick crew the Caca will hit the fan and Poseidon (or Neptun if your in fresh water)  will raise his ugliest head.

One of the systems on the boat when we bought her was a 5 Kilowatt SeaPower System. I had never heard of them before since all the sailboats we had experience with either had no AC (120V) power or they had a generator on board. What I have learned about SeaPower units are they are usually installed on power boats since they have large engines that are always running and can manage the load they put on the primary engine. The smaller Coast Guard Vessels use them rather than add the weight of a generator.  The non-marinized version are also used in lots of vehicles like ambulances, work trucks etc. Even after we bought the boat I was not sure if we would keep it or buy a regular generator to replace it. As luck would have it we got to meet and talk to the previous owner who had the unit installed. He really liked the unit and told me that when they had his mother on board she would go below and turn on the Air Conditioning when she had enough of the Texas heat. First time I had ever heard anyone sailing in the Air Conditioning! Anyway, he explained how handy the SeaPower System was and they did not have to maintain a separate engine just for AC power. For just day sailing in the bays there really is no need for any type of AC power so I justed tested the unit out a few times to see it work. It runs both the forward and aft 12,000 BTU Air conditioners or one Air Conditioner and the Microwave. Not really knowing how often we would need AC power as cruisers I decided to just keep it and go cruising. If it did not work out then deal with replacing with a generator then.
When we were cruising and before we had solar panels we had to run the engine two hours a day to charge the house batteries. So we split the time, one hour in the morning and one in the evening. Since we could turn on our 110 volt battery charger we could easily top off the batteries in an hour. Additionally  we could use the AC power for cooking coffee and breakfast and then for dinner in the evening. The system worked just fine for us and I am glad not to have another engine to maintain. Now since we have solar panels we only need to run the system occassionally for short periods when on the hook. The longest we ever ran it was to power my Hooka compressor for cleaning the bottom which could take 3 hours and was a monthly chore in the Southern Florida waters.
On our 7 day return trip across the Gulf from St. Petersburg to Corpus Christi we would run it for an hour around 0200 since the combined use of all the electronics and especially the power hungry Navionics Auto-pilot would bring the house batteries down to a point where caution on the side of safety came the rule.

I talked to Don Glandt of Gulf Stream Marine who is the best goto guy for electrical and engine work in Corpus Christi and he said when these mobile power units came out in the early 90's for boats, they were very popular on smaller sailboats who did not have room for a on board generator. He said it was a huge mistake for the smaller sailboats since the unit takes a minimum of 5 horse power to run so the smaller engines had problems managing the unit. One 11 horsepower diesel engine even had a bent shaft due to driving the unit while the boat was motoring along. They are definitely not meant to be an option for smaller engines. It was clear that Don favored a regular Diesel Generator to the SeaPower systems.

When we are unable to get the boat out sailing on a regular basis then I substitute running the engine in the slip with the transmission in reverse since diesels do not like to sit for long periods of time  (hoping it will direct some flow against the hull and provide some bit of cleansing). Last November I noticed a noise/vibration, I was hoping it was not due to shell build up on the prop, but that would have been a lot cheaper to resolve. I opened the engine room doors and looked around, it only took about a minute to realize it was coming from the Seapower unit mounted on the forward/port side of the engine. I knew what is was since I had already experienced this once before when we were in St. Petersburg, Florida staging for a Gulf of Mexico Crossing back to Corpus Christi. It took a bit longer to isolate the problem then but since I had already had to replace the lower mounting bolt on the unit I knew that it must be the source of the noise/vibration. In Florida I took the bolt out and it was worn so bad that I decided to install a much harder Grade 8 bolt that could last longer and possibly resolve the issue for good..What I did not realize is that I had installed a bolt that was harder than the bracket it fit into. This resulted in a rounding out of the bracket which is part of the front collar of the unit.
Fortunately the E42 has lots of engine access and It is simple mater of taking two bolts out and the duel V-Belts to remove the unit from the engine. In Jan/09 I had sent the unit back to the company in Dallas to have new bearings and brushes installed which cost $259.14. I did not know it at the time but the unit was a 1996 model so I am sure it needed the work especially before we started out on our Gulf of Mexico cruise to the Florida Keys. The company had changed hands since I had last needed repair work and thank goodness for the internet it only took a few searches to find the new company now in Garland, TX and their technician Gary. When Gary asked for the serial number and he told me it was a 1996 unit. I knew I would be lucky if they could put on a new bracket. He said to send it to him and he would let me know when he saw it. Just a few days later Gary called and told me he could fix it up. $441.93 later and he sent it back. The fit was so tight on the bracket I had to get a file out and take a few swipes, now it fit snug and with the softer grade 3 bolt I hope to manage the maintenance of the unit more closely. The bracket has been greatly improved over the old one as it has removable sleeves in it so that if there is any wear you can easily just press in a new sleeve, a new bolt and keep on cookin'!

The question I feel many might ask is would I rather have a 5Kw generator instead, and the answer is No, the SeaPower Unit is working just fine for our style of cruising and the little bit of hassle I have had so far keeping it running is no where near the level of maintenance another complete engine would ask of me.
You can see the Mobile Power Website at and the SeaPower unit at

Thursday, February 12, 2015

West Coast Longshoreman

These first 4 pics are screen pics from the Marine Traffic App. This one shows Three container ships entering the Strait of Juan De Fuca from the Pacific headed for the ports of Seattle and Tacoma

The Big ships are always the Green icons. Here two are underway South  on Puget Sound and One, the little square one, indicates a anchored container ship at Whidby Island. The first time, since we have been here, that it was so crowded the big ships used the protected anchorage at Whidby Island.

6 container ships are in the port waiting to be unloaded and 3 more anchored out around Elliot Bay with 2 more anchored just behind Blake Island waiting.

Port of Tacoma just south of Seattle has 7 container ships docked at the port and 6 anchored out waiting. 

They have a huge presence in Elliot Bay this one anchored just North of Elliot Bay Marina.

Two over in the Lee of West Seattle.

Gives the fuel barge plenty of time to get them all re-fueled

6 container ships in the Port of Seattle slowly being unloaded but a 4 day work stoppage may begin tomorrow!

This couple live aboard and spend 6 months here and 6 months at Shillshole, they spend the off season here since they can just walk to work, Bell Harbor Marina does not allow monthly moorings during the Season so they return to Shillshole

Looking south over Bell Harbor marina to ward the Port of Seattle

Here you can see the end of the Crane that lifts the containers but here I think they are using it to lift some oil boom that they put in the water around the ships to contain possible oil spills. 

They load them on tucks and trains pretty much the same way.

The huge fork lifts on the left stay busy moving containers to all parts of the yard.

Specialized "Gangs" secure outgoing  containers on the ships.

These Crane operators have a great view everyday.

They could be waiting for weeks to unload, but at least they have a great view!

West Coast Longshoreman

Watching the evening news a few nights ago I was surprised to hear during a story about the recent West Coast Longshoreman negotiations with the Pacific Mariners Association, that the Port of Seattle Longshoreman earn $170,000 a year. I immediately wondered if I had heard the amount correctly and if so would that includes their benefits package? At first thought I figured the unions must be pretty strong up here for a fork lift driver to make that kind of money. Of course there are all sorts of jobs on the docks of a busy Container Port, the most visible being the giant Crane Operators,  who I am sure would earn that kind of money. Searching the internet was simple enough since this is a daily concern on the West Coast and across the nation.
The negotiations have lasted over 4 months so far and the slow downs are impacting all areas of the local and national commerce. People are crying help from congress to do something to get things restarted and back to normal. The International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union ILWU represents the dock workers, and The Pacific Maritime Association represent the ship owners and the shipping business in the ports. The entire West Coast is affected:  "The negotiations cover 29 U.S. West Coast ports, including all the major West Coast container ports — Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Portland, Seattle and Tacoma. It does not cover ports in Canada or those on the U.S. East and Gulf coasts, the main reason why shippers are seeking refuge at those ports."
If I understand it right the Longshoreman have been slowing down operations at ports to put pressure on the PMA to get a new contract signed. The PMA have recently shown their resolve by just shutting the whole thing down for a couple of days to demonstrate what they are willing to do to get the contract done. This website provides some insight but I am sure only those guys at the top of the food chain know exactly what the real negotiating points are.
There are only so many anchorages where you can put a large container ship and most of those are full, so full in fact that they have been anchoring out in some of the protected areas around Whidby Island to the North of Seattle as you can see from the pics above. Usually a container ship turn around is less than 48 hours, but they are anchored out for a week or longer now and it is really starting to put a crimp on lots of business dependent on the local ports.
Regarding How much Longshoreman earn i am not surprised to see there is a wide range but the Mean seems to be around $137,000 plus a benefits package that includes sick leave, vacation, pension, and the highest quality health insurance for about $80,000 per person. So the total package pushes it to over $200K for those that have been in the stream for a while. Pretty darn good for Skilled Labor! see:

I now know why The Seattle Seahawks have the loudest and most intense fan base in the NFL, all these Longshoreman can afford Season Tickets!

Monday, February 9, 2015

January 2015 Seattle - All Seahawks and the 12's

The first few days of January looked like winter would set in but the Clouds went away

The NFL Playoffs took over Seattle

We were ready for Green Bay

The days were so sunny and clear the natives were speechless.

We took time out of a Sunny day to De-Tox. My sister in Austin told me about this so Lia and I scheduled a appointment in Seattle. The white or silver color is supposed to be metals, the black from the Liver and the orange from the Kidney's. Afterwards I felt like I was in Nirvana, unexpected  Peaceful feeling. My daughter reports that she had the best sleep ever that night.

I See this Vessel often at CWB as it is used frequently for Free Public Sails. It is amazing to me how the Dolphin Striker made of wood (in the upper right pic) supports the load. 
This is Saaduuts, an Indigenous native who shares his skills  and knowledge of native craft with the community at the CWB. He is rowing a a Haida dugout canoe from the Haida tribes along the west coast into British Columbia. 

I met Brian at CWB where he has just volunteered, He is a new sailor who wants to complete the check out at CWB so he can take their boats out on Day sials. I invited him to Shillshole so we could practice on the C22's. He will be a great Sailor, (all pilots are), we had a perfect day with 5-10 knots to work on all points of sail and practice MOB. The light overcast provided the perfect sunscreen. 

If you click on the picture, you can see the Olympics in the background through the mast, a great Puget Sound Day in January!

I left the light on in the family truckster and had to drive down the freeway to charge the batteries, Mt. Rainier was looking great along the way.

I pass this Freemont Brewery often on the way to Shillshole Marina, but the ratings for their beer are lacking, uncommon in Seattle. My only remaining goal is to visit Populuxe Brewery  in Ballard. One of my sailing students told it is a must do
Everything everywhere is sporting Seahwak colors

This Crane added the big 12 flag to the miz just recently.

Always happy when the bridge is up so I can watch the vessel pass, in this case it was just a little sailboat.

Brian returned the favor by inviting me to join the J80 races at Seattle Sailing club, Light wind. We had a poor start and was behind the fleet but rounded the first mark for what should have been the downwind run but the winds shifted, good thing since none of us knew how to efficiently get the spinnaker up. 

We quickly realized the wind was on the beam now and stuffed the spinnaker back down the hatch. All the other s were struggling with their spinnaker and we slowly passed them all finishing first! Home in time for a great sunset.

The Seattle Seahawks Defeat the Green Bay Packers!, Te next day I spotted this Green and Blue Rabbit on the Streets of Seattle, They said it was the Rabbit Pete Carroll pulled out of his cap to win in the final 4 minutes of the game. 

With the one or two short weather events we did have in Seattle there was little rain due to the "Doughnut Hole" See a short video of the above at

Organ Recital at Benaroya Hall This is my second one and this guy really got those pipes rockin'.

The 12's Rally at Westlake Center befor the Super Bowl

12 activities everywhere you look, everyday.

No matter where you are in Seattle, no matter which direction you look the 12's are in view.
See the Seahawks Sendoff  here:

So many awesome sunsets all month long.

Another new Umiaq, a piece of Blanchard History waiting for you, and the Seattle boat show moves in across from CWB.

The first Race of the Goose Bumps, unfortunately not much wind and not cold enough for Goosebumps.

Top Pot Drew us in with the gift of Free Twelfie Glasses. !st dough nut in a long time, they were SOOO Good!

This 12,000 Square Foot Flag was being carried all around Seattle so as many 12's as possible had a chance to sign. It was flown over the Superbowl by U.S.Military Helicopter



Each one is differently Beautiful

All the Creatures at the Seattle Aquarium put on their 12 Spirit.

12 at Benaroya Hall, 12th floor, and Starbucks Special 12

Perl Jam members Play with the Seattle Symphony, not all are still alive so they recruited some awesonme Artist to fill in for Sonic Evolution Matt Cameron, skerik, Jeff Angell, Kim Virent, and Tim DiJulio

Janurary 31 I worked the Seattle Boat show in the windworks Booth to Share the Dream.

How about a private Seaplane just for fishing, Aquglide looks to be a really tough inflatable ocean going Kyak, Outboards sporting a new shape, and My plane is to replace every hose clamp on Wand'rin Star with these bad boys.

It's a good thing this J was already sold!

This is one of the latest models of a gyro stabilization unit that prevents the roll and Yaw of vessels at sea, see a model demo here that was very cool to play with:
their website: We met a couple who had one on a 55' Trawler in Panama city and a storm came in that afternoon and all the boats were moving pretty heavily around in their slips except for their's.

The Steel Workboat like cruiser above left was at the boat show last year but the asking price was right at $2 Million, seems to have come down in price a bit.  In the lower right the largest Super Yacht ever at the Seattle Boat show and this one comes with a Helicopter.

A Shannon 38' Pilot House Cutter. One of 9 built, a perfect PNW sailboat!

Found the Perfect IPA for the Game, Boundary Bay brewed by Bellingham Brewery., Keeping an eye on the Space Needle for the fireworks when the Seahawks Score.

All four Seahawk Scores, the three touchdowns and the field goal. = 24

A Grand Finale to Thank the Seahwaks for the incredible 2014-15 Season and their run at the Superbowl.

The Seattle times Headline.

The sun is Still shining and Wondering what February will bring to Seattle's Weather.
Flag Says: "Thank You Seahawks!"

!2's everywhere know how fortunate they were to make it back to the Superbowl.

This city Can't Wait for next years Season.

January 2015 Seattle - All Seahawks and the 12's

January was an incredible month to be in Seattle for two reasons: 1. The weather was so warm and had so many clear Sun Days they nicknamed it Juneuary with little rain, several record setting highs, and temps that ran 30 degrees above normal for  highs and 10-15 degree higher for the lows.  All this during the NFL playoffs creating an incredible atmosphere and energy in the city that can not be described, you just had to be here. With the incredible comeback over the Green Bay Packers for the NFC Championship Seattle was charged beyond anything we have ever experienced regarding a sport.
Not sure how much work actually was accomplished in the city since everyday was a Blue Friday, sort of like this everyday: hnuts ttp://

In between all the Seahawk and 12 excitement we got out and enjoyed the best Seattle January ever. I managed to sail 3 times on Puget Sound and taught 5 times at the Center for wooden boats. I got to race for the first time ever in a J80 fleet and even though the winds were 0-2 or 3 mph we managed to place first, The Admiral looked for every opportunity to participate in any neighborhood activities so we did a few things, like eat some really souped up Seahawk 12 doughnuts at Top Pot, that we never do. The Seattle Boat show was fun since I volunteered to work the Windworks Booth and I got to try and convince a lot of dreamers that sailing was the best path to follow.

The Superbowl was Feb 1 and our son in law was on a plane to a 10 day business trip to India so we all gathered at our Daughters Neighbors house for the 2015 Superbowl. They have a perfect view of the Space Needle which led to the excitement of watching this incredible game play out as they would shoot fireworks off each time the Seahawks scored. Every NFL city needs to experience a Superbowl as it provides incredible advantages across all facets of the fan base and the city. Of course the 12's are a special breed of NFL fan who takes all that to the highest point possible.