Jul 13 2011

Catalina Island Trip

This past weekend the wife and I took her daughters, son and grand kids to Catalina Island.  Although we have a 36 foot sailboat, we knew things were going to be a bit tight because the oldest daughter has five kids, and all counted we ended up with 10 people aboard.  Along with that we packed a LOT of food.  That gave me a chance to test the refrigeration system that I had installed.

All and all it was a pleasant trip.  There were a few of us that managed to get sick on the way out (including me).  I made the mistake of having a few Scotches the night before, and then staying down below too long to make lunch for everyone the next day.  It wasn’t too bad though.

When we made it to Two Harbors, we dropped anchor and everyone jumped into the skiff and the kayak to go to shore and hike around.  I stayed on the boat to relax and have a look around after the 24 mile trip. 

The refrigerator was working great, although it was working overtime to keep all the food cold.  The new power inverter was able to power everything with the exception of the hot water heater, but I couldn’t blame the 2300 watt inverter for not powering a 1500 watt water heater.  It seemed that it was drawing around 125 amps from the batteries when it came on, and that was too much for them to hold their voltage, so the power inverter shut down to protect the batteries.  The alternator is only rated at around 80 amps, so that was no help.

Two solutions came to mind while I was deciding what to do about the refrigeration and the hot water heater.  First of all the refrigeration system was actually designed for a six square foot box and mine is 10.  I will divide the box into an upper a lower section, with the upper seIMAG0005ction being for veggies, fruit and eggs, along with anything else that only needs to be kept cool.  The lower section should work really well.  As you can see from the pic here, there is a ledge where I will place a sheet of Plexiglas with a door.  I also mounted a small fan to circulate the cold air from the plate, and that has helped.

The hot water heater has fittings to use the engine heat, so I have ordered the fittings kit to connect the IMAG0088diesel to the hot water heater.  Problems solved.  For long distance cruising where we don’t want to burn diesel, we’ll make other arrangements, but for the cruising we’ll be doing in the near future, this will work well.

As you can see from this picture the back of the hot water heater has the inlet and outlet fittings that will connect to the engine.

We also bought and installed gear hammocks from West Marine.  We installed two of the four we bought for the trip.  They are great!  Here is a picture of them.  We had fruit and veggies IMAG0239hanging in them, along with some other things.  We’ll install the other two along the sides of the V-berth.

Although this trip was a pleasure trip for the wife and her kids, at least part of my motivation was that I wanted to test the systems that we installed.  It gave me a good chance to run things through their paces and test things with an extended voyage in mind.  I have a few changes to make, but all and all I am really pleased with what we have done so far.

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