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Where is TIDES INN Today?

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The last position reports for Tides Inn will be displayed on the map. (Courtesy of Tides Inn homeport is Dare Marina, Yorktown VA

Radar and AIS Working with new Chartplotter

     Finally completed installation of the new chartplotter and radar with AIS feed. This turned out to be a major task requiring a series of steps and upgrades and interfaces.

   It all started when my old generation (2006 technology) C70 chartplotter died in 2015.  It was going to be 500$ to repair my nearly 10yr old chartplotter. Meanwhile, Raymarine was offering a great deal on a new Es75 digital chartplotter - under 900$ for a normally 1500$ unit. So that's an easy decision, one would think. Except, it turns out you have to buy a new radar transmitter to be compatible with the new chartplotter. But they were offering another great deal - again, less than 900$ for a normal 1500$ radar. So, 1700$ for 3000$ worth of equipment.  But, the new equipment runs on SeaTalkNG ethernet rather than the old proprietary SeaTalk1 databus. So, you have to buy a ST NG to ST1 converter (shown on right in photo above) for another 100$. Also, the new radar requires a dedicated power line rather than simple single cable to the chartplotter (shown in center above). And you need a special interface cable for the AIS feed to the new chartplotter (shown on left).  The Raymarine folks felt sorry for me at this point and provided me this cable (35$) as a gift.
   Then you need a new circuit breaker for the radar power line and I dont have any spare spots so I had to reassign some breakers and move accessory equipment over to another breaker to use that one for the radar. Fortunately, it turned out I could accomplish that task with minimal disruption to my instrument panel. It looks like a lot of spaghetti, but there is a logic to all this wiring and it only took 1 day in 100degree heat factor weather to make these changes. Another day to run the power wire from here to the helm station and, another day to run the radar cable from the transmitter unit down to the helm.

    Another day to make all the connections and troubleshoot (the radar cable plug to chartplotter was not seated properly, AIS wire connections came apart when pulling radar cable through helm, and autopilot ST1 connection came off during all the wire pulling. All working today. One final day to secure all the cabling in place now that all is successfully operating. 
  So I now have a fully functional new chartplotter, radar and AIS feed with the only problem being that my engine alternator interferes (turns the screen off for 10-15 seconds) with the chartplotter when the alternator is ramping up charging current from idle speed. Raymarine says a power stabilizer might fix that (another 140$). 

We're a Sailboat Again!

     Reinstalled headsails today. We had new UV protection Sunbrella covers put on the sails, after 15yrs in the sun. Put on new furling lines and washed the halyards.  Will finish the radar installation this week and should be sailing by the end of the month.

New Refrigerator Gaskets

   The last key project to complete before we can go cruising is to ensure the refrigerator is working properly. One task was to replace the 15yr old gaskets. This was a challenging task to drill the holes in the proper locations to fit the new gaskets properly. Hopefully it will be an improvement over the old gaskets which had gotten stiff.
     They certainly are an improvement in appearance, replacing the old mildew stained ones.

Deck Cleaned and "Woody Waxed"

     Finished the final cleaning and waxing project - the deck and cabin top - bringing the entire boat back to its pre-storage condition. After all the bottom and topsides work, then the teak refinishing, it was finally time to tackle the deck and cabin top. Spent 8hrs on my knees scrubbing up the Cetol drops and ground in dirt and bird droppings with lacquer thinner and rubbing compound, and couple hours rubbing out the oxidized flat surfaces. After a good washing with deck cleaner it was time for a coating of "Woody Wax", the wonder polymer coating that provides a protective coat against future bird droppings. Today I finished up by wiping down the teak to remove the white spots from the deck compounding. Boat really looks good.
   Installed the new furling lines and washed up the halyards. Ready now to put the sails back on.

Chain Locker Upgrade

     We have a PVC pipe and shelf in the chain locker to help the chain fall properly into the locker but, it still sticks to the shelf and "castles up" and jams the windlass, unless the chain is perfectly clean and scoured by sandy bottoms. Never the case in the Chesapeake. We decided to install an aluminum plate on the shelf to help the chain slide better.

   To work in the chain locker it helps to have a slender mate who can climb up to the peak -

    We'll see if this works any better than the starboard shelf.

Wind Generator and Radar Dome Re-Install

     With temperatures in the mid-90s and heat factor at 105, we are not putting in too many hours at the boat. Working a few hours in the morning and after dinner. Yesterday I got the new radar radome installed, but it will take some time to get it wired up. The new radar requires its own dedicated power source which means running a power cable to the helm station and installing a new breaker at the nav station. I dont have any free breaker spots so I have to reassign the small inverter breaker and move the breakers around so the radar is next to the chart plotter and Accessories down at the bottom. Meanwhile, I still have to run the cable video signal from the radar mount to the chart plotter at the helm.
   Today we re-installed the wind generator which had gone to EMarine in Fort Lauderdale for refurbishing in 2016 and has been sitting in my garage waiting for Tides Inn to go back in the water. Here's a couple photos of the before and after...

    Might be a while before I can confirm the wind generator is working properly, the batteries are fully charged by the solar panels.  I have the panels off now and need to run the batteries down somewhat when the wind is blowing to see if all is well with the wind generator. When its time to work on the refrigerator would be a good time. I am waiting for new gaskets for the refrigerator top.
   Tomorrow morning I will climb in the lazerette and start running radar cables before it gets too hot.

Last Coat of Cetol and new Companion Way Slides

     Took a chance on the weather today and applied the last coat of Cetol. I finished the application at 1400 and it is not supposed to rain before 1700 and maybe not even then. Dark rain clouds to the south of us but they didn't come my way. Assuming this coat dries properly, tomorrow I can put the furling blocks back on and install new furling lines and the sails. We'll be a "sailboat" again.

     The other job finished today was replacing the companion way slider boards. The old ones had cracked at the screw holes, probably from ice freezing in the holes during the winter (and being 16yrs old).

     I bought new acrylic delrin boards from TAP Plastic. They have a great website with lots of good information about different types of plastics and a great ordering form that lets you tailorize exactly what size pieces you want.  I just had to router the edges to put a round shoulder on them, then cut to size and drill holes using the old pieces as a guide. Here are the new boards installed. Just like new.

S/V TIDES INN Homeport Dare Marina, Yorktown VA