Well, I guess the big question readers may be wondering is, when is the big day?
Actually, as you can imagine, its been much on my mind in recent weeks.
So, as I sat down to write this update, I took a look at the tide tables taking into account the three factors I have to work around;
- must be a weekday.
- must be off public roads before 7am.
- idealy we would arrive at the boatramp about an hour before low tide.
I came up with Wednesday 27th November. Low tide of .94 at 7am and a nice high tide on a new moon of 3.34 at 12:23. Perfect.
I estimate we will be floating around 11:15am but I won’t push off until slack tide.
That’s it. I’ve said it. It’s in writing.
Can we make it? I think so, but … time will tell. That’s the thing about big projects. There are so many balls in the air, any of which could throw a spanner in the works!
Our status update is that I am currently batching aboard. No Deb has not come to her senses and left me. She’s in Alice Springs for the birth of our second grandchild! It’s all a bit surreal at the moment, but there is something magical about this season of our lives, the culmination of (nearly) four years work, the promise of summer and the joy of new birth, both here and in Alice.
The upside is, without Deb’s moderating influence, I am free to work seven days a week, on the last big push for splash-day.
So here’s where we are up to.
The galley is installed and the all-important gas certification is done. We were very lucky to have a local plumber who is licensed to certify gas installation and is willing to do boats. They are getting hard to find as not many are willing to assume the legal liability imposed on them by the regulators.
The fridge, cook-top and oven are all screwed in. Just the plumbing to go before we can fix down the sinks.
Actually, I’ve got something to say about the milk crates. They were thrown in as a temporary measure to stop the rusty bottles from staining the fresh paint while we sourced some brackets. Then I got to thinking. Why not fix them permanently?
They are light, strong, will not rust and easily fixed in place. With a bit of foam packing, the bottles would be wedged in tight. Yes, they are ugly and not very nautical looking, but practically speaking, they tick a lot of boxes. Hmmm … I’ll let that one percolate for a while. I’d be interested in any comments!
Before Deb left for Alice, she got stuck into the last bit of unfinished painting. The outboard pod and fuel storage area under the cockpit seats. Once done, we were able to mount the outboards. I made up some aluminum checker-plate mounts which slotted on over rubber backing, to protect the fiberglass and provide some degree of vibration and sound absorption.
After that, we able to fix the throttle controls for the outboards, and start configuring the outboard control cables.
But by far the biggest job since our last post has been the electrical system. It’s a major decision, that, if not done properly could have a major impact on life aboard. For those interested in the details, here’s a summary of our experiences and decision-making process.
The first decision, after calculating our potential loads, was what type of battery. For a catamaran, it’s hard to go past Lithium Phosphate, due to their weight / amp-hour capacity. The problem is, they are unbelievably expensive. It is possible, however, to sort- of build your own batteries, for about half the price. You purchase the various components and configure your own power pack. The problem with this approach is you are basically on your own. Lithium batteries are reliant upon software to keep them safe and prevent them from over/undercharging. Get that bit wrong and it’s a very expensive and potentially dangerous mistake. It’s a steep learning curve for the uninitiated.
The second option is to purchase the “brand name” batteries and add-ons. These come with all the electronics, protection and software built-in; but you pay for it. Inside, it’s mostly the same components as the DIY batteries, (there are only a couple of factories making Lithium battery cells), but what you get for your money is plug-and-play engineering. I toyed with building my own, but in the end recognsed my limits. So, $8,000 later, we have installed a fully integrated Victon system. Once the cost shock passed, I was very happy with the decision.
Apart from the anchor winch cabling and navigation, the house system is ready to go. Tomorrow I’ll trace the 240-volt cables, and next week the Victron suppliers will come and check everything before going live. They will also wire and certify the 240V installation.
I had originally intended to install the speed/ water temperature and depth transducer in the shower sump, which is aft. My brother thought that was a mad idea and insisted we mount it forward of the keel, the usual position. This meant we had to build this fairing.
So what’s to be done before splash?
- Nav instruments.
- Mount winches and blocks.
- Ceiling lining – second fix cabin lights.
- Move boat ready for truck.
Two months to go.