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Messages - deLight

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Systems / Re: Autopilot
« on: March 17, 2017, 02:47:47 PM »
Hi Merrily,

I have a 33 so it might not be relevant. 15 years ago, when I went to buy an autopilot and the cost of a below decks autopilot was $3,000. The cost of a wheel autopilot was $800. So, I bought 2 wheel autopilots. They are definitely undersized for a 33 with a severe weather helm. But like Soggy Paws I learned one thing.

If you have a backup and spare parts you have no problems. When the autopilot starts to fail, I swap it out with the spare, fix it and set it aside for the next time.  Essential systems need a back up. I would not have dreamed of crossing the North Atlantic single handed without an autopilot (and a spare).

That's my 2 cents. Welcome,

Systems / Hard to Pump Toilette
« on: March 17, 2017, 02:27:39 PM »
Toilettes - Always an interesting topic.

My toilette has been hard to pump for years. I kept a bottle of oil in the head and would squirt a few drops in after every couple of uses.

A few months ago, I let my toilette get exceptionally gross. I normally use vinegar to knock the calcium build up off the bowl. I decided that simple vinegar was not going to do it this time so I bought some dilute Hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid in the US) to use. The toilette being extremely gross, I poured in about 8 oz of acid and some hot water and pumped it out to coat the pump, joker valve and exit pipe with acid. I then added 8 oz more acid and filled the bowl with hot water.

I went away for a while and let the acid do its work. When I returned, a toilette brush easily removed all remaining calcium and stains from the bowl.

After using the toilette for a while, I noticed that it was no longer hard to pump. Hmmm. I decided to experiment and let the toilette get really really gross (That's my story and I am sticking to it.) And repeated the procedure. It worked and I have not had to use any oil to lubricate the pump.

My theory is that there was calcium build-up on the walls of the pump tube which made it hard to work. The strong acid cleaned the pump of the calcium build-up and the pump now works freely.

Of course over time, I do not know what problems I am introducing by using a strong acid. But, in the meantime, I am enjoying an easy to pump toilette.


Systems / Re: 220v to 110v Converter
« on: March 17, 2017, 12:32:19 PM »
Brazil has the opposite problem of the Philippines. They have 110v appliances with 220v style plugs. I bought a toaster there and unwittingly plugged it in to 220v. It lit up like a Christmas tree.

Power supply for world wide cruising is always interesting. I have a drawer full of plugs, sockets and adapters. I finally set up dual systems on deLight. I have several European style 220v outlets and numerous US style 110v outlets and a transformer which can go either way. Couple that with a bunch of US plugs and Schuko plugs, I can strip off whatever odd plug is on the appliance and install a common one.

Big motors, unlike small appliances,  will be designed for a specific frequency. Very bad efficiency ratings otherwise. A 50hz air conditioner will try to run faster on 60hz and overheat. Running a 60hz air conditioner on 50hz will run slower with less efficiency. Either way always try to run big motors at the proper frequency.

I have a Newmar PT-70 Battery Charger which runs on 100-240v. It quit on the trip across the North Atlantic. Way too much salt laden air. I sent it back to them and they slapped another coating on the electronics. It has worked fine for 10 years since. With 2 exceptions. It has a 12v fan to keep it cool. I have replaced the fan once and will need to again soon. As most of my systems run on 12v, the charger and fan run 24/7. The charger also did not like it when the people in Morocco accidentally wired the dock to 440v. I had to replace a fuse and an MOV varistor.

No problem with my custom converter for the water heater for the past year. A fitting on the water heater sprung a leak a couple of months ago and I made use of my machinist to make a new aluminum one.

I just purchased 220 6"X6" solar cells and am planning on making a custom hard cover for over the entire cockpit with an integral 800W solar array. I will post the results here but do not hold your breath. It will probably be an all winter project next year.


General Discussion / Re: Repository of all things CSY - Dropbox
« on: July 08, 2016, 05:32:11 AM »

I attached low resolution copies. I have high res scans, but they are 10MB each. Way too big for the forum.


General Discussion / Re: Repository of all things CSY - Dropbox
« on: July 07, 2016, 03:31:55 PM »
I have a high resolution scan of the original CSY 33 Sales Cut Sheet to upload if it is not already there.

General Discussion / Re: Living Aboard A Boat
« on: July 07, 2016, 07:24:59 AM »
I hope that you are successful with your book. As many users of this web site are looking for real experiences, I will add my 2 cents.

Like owning a boat, the reality of living aboard is vastly different from the dream. Non sailboat owners see the color glossy ads picturing the photogenic couple  sipping Mai Tais on the back deck while sailing in a gentle breeze with the colorful spinnaker up or the end of a movie where the hero and the girl sails off to a new (presumably perfect) life.

Many things about live aboard life are seldom mentioned. Toilettes are a big one.  In the US, you are not allowed to put sewage overboard. You need to trudge to the marina toilette to use it. Some marinas have close good clean facilities. Many do not. Bugs are another issue. You want to be in a nice warm pleasant place surrounded by water. But when the sun goes down, out come the insects. Screens help but often block what little breeze there is.

In my experience, most long term live aboards are single males. Couples tend to last at most 2 years.  Many couples retire (or have a major life change) to the live aboard dream. That dream lasts until reality sets in or the first grandchild is born.

I do not want to discourage anyone's dream. Just remember that chartering a boat for a vacation with a brief escape and living aboard as a life style are two completely different things. In other words, don't sell the house until you are absolutely sure that the live aboard life suits you.

Interior / Re: Custom LED Lighting
« on: June 01, 2016, 01:18:35 PM »
One nice thing about LEDs is that they are very bright and very efficient. I ringed deLight's Salon entirely with LEDs. 312 of them.
At 20ma each, full brightness you can read or do close work with ease anywhere in the Salon.  Unfortunately, most of the time you are not trying to read the fine print on a prescription bottle or trying to find the needle you just dropped.

Therefore I needed to be able to dim the LEDs. With the DC-DC converter it is fairly easy.  All you need to do is reduce the voltage to the LEDs. The Dimension Engineering DC-DC converter that I used has a screwdriver adjustment. I needed to modify it to use an external potentiometer.

I paralleled the 1K trimmer resistor on the DC-DC converter with a 2.2K Ohm resistor in series with a 20K log taper (volume control) potentiometer. The 2.2K resistor sets the minimum brightness. The 20K potentiometer adjusts the brightness. Turn the brightness all the way up and adjust the trimmer resistor for 20ma (I use 15ma for a margin of error) in the LEDs. Then turning the Potentiometer up and down varies the LED brightness from minimum to full. deLight's Salon adjusts from 1/2 watt to 15 watts. Efficiency is 85%-90%. Easily usable at anchorage without concern. A typical setting uses 2-5 watts.

Photos attached show:

Solder points to attach the resistor and potentiometer to the DC-DC converter. They are extremely small and difficult to solder onto.

deLight's V-berth dimmer. I built an aluminum frame to hold the DC-DC converter which protects it from damage in the locker where it is mounted and helps with the heat dissipation. The V-berth has 147 LEDs which puts the 1 amp version of the DC-DC converter right on the edge of its rated current.

A daytime photo of the Salon LEDs at full brightness.

A daytime photo of the Salon LEDs and minimum brightness.

Interior / Re: Custom LED Lighting
« on: June 01, 2016, 12:21:38 PM »
In my last post, I described a simple LED circuit - 3 LEDs and a resistor in series connected directly to the DC battery supply. The disadvantage of that circuit is that the lower your battery voltage, the dimmer your light.

To solve that problem we can use a simple DC-DC converter. We will still use the same 3 LED triplet only change the resistor to 22 Ohm. We still need a small resistor to prevent thermal runaway and to reduce the sensitivity.

I purchased a small DC-DC converter from Dimension Engineering, an RC electronics company. See

I put the DC battery voltage into Vin and adjust Vout to power the LED triplet with 20ma. In my case it is around 9.3v.

By putting the DC-DC converter between the light switch and the LEDs, you have full brightness no matter what your DC battery voltage and improve the efficiency to about 85%. You get a lot of light with very little power.

I use this circuit for areas I need full LED brightness. For example, over the galley sink and the engine compartment.

In my next post we will modify the circuit so it can be dimmed and still be highly efficient.

Interior / Custom LED Lighting
« on: June 01, 2016, 11:57:23 AM »
I have started to install custom LED lighting in deLight. Light fixtures are a nuisance. The light is great around the fixture and not so much in the shadows. I had a couple of tube lights strung around the main salon on they provided a nice even light albeit not very bright and highly inefficient.

I decided to replace the tube lighting with custom LEDs. This is a sequence of 3 posts starting with a simple solution ending with a complicated but very nice and very efficient solution.

Note: You need good soldering skills and access to a milling machine. Otherwise, this custom LED lighting project is prohibitively expensive.

The objective  is to replace the brown sponge trim tube in places where we want light with a white plastic tube with LEDs. I used 20mm POMC white plastic tube milled with 2 flat sides at 90 degrees to fit in the corner. A 5 mm channel was milled down the center for wiring. 5mm holes for the LEDs were drilled approximately 3.0 cm apart. See sketch.

 For each piece I measured the exact length and allowed 2.0 cm at each end. then figured the number of holes needed - (Remaining length/3.0 cm). Since we are going to use groups of 3 LEDs, we need to have a multiple of 3. Round the number of holes up or down to be divisible by 3. Calculate the hole spacing by taking remaining length divided by the number of holes minus 1.

Simple calculation: 9.8cm piece (9.8cm -2.0cm - 2.0cm) = 5.8cm,  (5.8cm / 3.0cm) = 1.93, Round to nearest multiple of 3 = 3, Hole spacing is 5.8/(3-1) = 29mm i.e. holes at 20mm, 49mm and 78mm.

Use the milling machine to accurately place the holes. In deLight's main salon, there were 10 pieces with hole spacing between 28mm and 34mm. As long as the holes in any individual piece are spaced identically, the eye does not notice the difference piece to piece.

Next step is to make the LED triplets. I purchased Cree 2500K color temperature LEDs for an incandescent like color. The higher the color temperature, the more white the LED. i used the individual plastic tubes as a fixture to solder 3 LEDs and a 270 Ohm resistor together. Remember each segment may have a slightly different hole spacing.

Insert the triplets into the segment and wire the negative ends together and the positive ends together using the milled channel.

This is the simplest LED setup. 3 LEDs and a resistor wired directly to your battery DC supply. This circuit powers the LEDs with 20ma at 14.4v allowing for battery charging without damage to the LEDs. The downside of this circuit is the lower the battery voltage, the dimmer the light. At my chargers 13.2v float voltage the LEDs receive 15ma. At 12.6v, battery fully charged - about 10ma. Efficiency (Power to LED / Power In) is about 60%

I use this circuit in lockers and storage places that are routinely accessed while attached to shore power. Next, I will describe using a DC-DC converter to have full brightness no matter what the battery DC voltage is.


Hull and Rig / Re: Chain Plates - Hull/Deck Joint
« on: May 29, 2016, 11:37:36 AM »
Photo of complete lower assembly and chain plate.


Hull and Rig / Re: Chain Plates - Re-bedding
« on: May 29, 2016, 11:25:45 AM »
I took everything out of the hanging locker for a LED lighting project. This exposed the only place that a complete chain plate with hull deck modification can been seen. So, I took a photo.


Interior / Remote Thermostat
« on: May 15, 2016, 07:33:30 AM »
One of the issues I have had with cool weather on the 33 was the inconsistency of my heater. I always used a simple space heater with an internal thermostat. I had to place the heater in the middle of the salon to get reasonable temperature control. I always wanted a remote thermostat so I could place the heater out of the way and still have consistent heat where I wanted it.

Last year I found a wireless remote thermostat on ebay which had a 15A relay in the base unit. I purchased it from China. It had all of the standard "smart" thermostat programming. Two daily two temperature settings plus settings for Saturdays and Sundays. The wireless thermostat runs on a couple of AA batteries and the base unit runs/switches 120v or 240v.

I built a box with an outlet that plugs into a wall socket for the base unit. (I am currently using it for 240v) It is necessary for me not to permanently mount it as I have learned from experience that all consumer grade electronics must be properly stowed for a passage. (I use a lot of slide-lock bags.) Salt saturated air in a storm tends to eat electronics exposed to it.

The remote thermostat worked great over the winter. I no longer have to get up and turn down the heat. A simple press of a button does it. I programed it to bring up the heat in the morning so making breakfast is much more comfortable. It comes with a stand for sitting on a flat surface. I also made a wall mount in the salon for it. It has been a useful gadget for deLight.

Engines and Drive Train / Hairline Crack in Heat Exchanger
« on: April 27, 2016, 04:32:22 PM »
I thought that I would document a weird problem. 14 years ago, not long after I purchased the boat, I noticed the engine heating up and very little water coming out of the exhaust. Troubleshooting quickly lead me to the heat exchanger.

When I disassembled the heat exchanger, I noticed a large chunk of salt nearly blocking the raw water input. I chipped out the salt, rodded the tubes and reassembled it. It worked fine. I mentally filed the large chunk of salt in strange and unsolved boat mysteries. (It is a pretty large mental file)

Fast forward 10 years and I am embarking on a passage. I have the police, customs, friends and others standing by to see me off. When I try to start the engine, the starter justs clicks. Strange, I ran the engine for quite a while a couple of hours earlier as part of my pre-voyage check out. Quick troubleshooting in front of a large audience lead me to the ground lug on the engine that was corroded and not making good contact. I cleaned and reassembled the connection and the engine started fine. I noticed the connection was damp though. Which was unusual because the position of the lug in not exposed to water. I filed the damp connection in the (growing) strange and unsolved boat mysteries mental file.

Last year, the engine was heating up and the water coming from the exhaust was reduced. I have been here before. Off comes the heat exchanger. Once again, a large chunk of salt is nearly blocking the raw water input. I cleaned out the salt, rodded the tubes (they were in good shape) and noticed stress cracks in the end caps of the heat exchanger. I got my favorite machinist to make me a couple of nice thick stainless steel replacements, then reassembled and installed the heat exchanger.

As I had two new end caps, I ran the engine to carefully check for leaks at the heat exchanger. I noticed dampness at the fitting for the raw water input. I wiped it dry. After a few minutes it was damp again. I checked and tightened the hose clamp. It still got damp after a few minutes. After a couple of hours of head scratching and testing, I discovered a very fine hairline crack where the raw water input fitting was brazed onto the heat exchanger. i had it repaired and no problems since.

I can now clean out a couple of things from my mental list of strange and unsolved boat mysteries. The large chunk of salt that kept blocking the raw water input was the result of the water pump forcing salt water through the hairline crack which caused the salt to precipitate out -- much like the membrane in a desalinization system. The other thing that I solved was the damp lug on the engine. The ground lug on the engine is directly below the raw water input to the heat exchanger. Whenever, I ran the engine a little salt water would drip onto the lug causing the dampness and corrosion.

Something that you are not likely to ever encounter. It was a freak albeit interesting problem to solve.


Systems / Re: 220v to 110v Converter
« on: April 24, 2016, 01:04:59 AM »
I thought that I would have some trouble due to the difference between 60 cycle and 50 cycle. I have had no problems.

All modern electronics accept 100v -250v 50-60 cycle power. Manufacturers of tools and appliances cater to a world market. There are several places where 120v 50 cycle is the standard. Brazil being one. Britain has mandated use of 120v on construction sites. All construction power tools must run on 120v 50 cycle. The days of American made equipment strictly for the American market are gone.


Systems / Re: 220v to 110v Converter
« on: April 23, 2016, 11:35:01 AM »
The main problem was the K.I.S.S. method failed. Both the inverter and dual voltage battery charger failed on the crossing. I purchased a transformer to replace the inverter. 110v inverters were not readily available. 220v to 110v transformers were. There is a US military base on Terceria and many of the rental apartment have 110v systems to attract military personnel.

My cruising problem has always been that I like the northern latitudes during the summer and the southern latitudes during the winter. That leaves me making passages north in the spring storms and south in the fall storms. Summer in Halifax was delightful. I stayed as long as I could. Thus, the North Atlantic in October. On the bright side, becalmed is seldom one of my sailing problems. I have become quite experienced in reducing sail in bad weather. Although going on the fore deck to take down the staysail (my storm) in 40-50 knot winds to run under bare poles strikes terror in my heart.

I regularly keep my soldering skills up. Recently I built custom trim with LEDs every 3cm for around the salon. There were over 300 LEDs which I powered off of 12v with an adjustable DC-DC converter. At 12w maximum, you can read anywhere in the salon. At 1/2w minimum there is plenty of visibility to move around.

The CSY is a tank. The main reason I decided on the CSY. The only plastic boat that matches CSY is the Westsail 32 which survived the "perfect storm" although the captain was forced to abandon it. I spend too much time navigating by braille. One day I will write up the story of when I ran into the Rock of Gibraltar.


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