Painting Fir is a combination of practicality and pride. She would be easier to paint in a shipyard. Our PPG paints are very forgiving which means we can often pull off painting when the weather and lack of supplies prevents other work. The paint is protecting her from the elements which is necessary for trips to harsher environments. In addition, painting forces careful inspection of every surface which allows us to ensure we know every issue with the hull.
A fresh coat of paint prevents us from looking like a derelict vessel. California and San Joaquin County in particular have issues with derelict boats. A San Joaquin County video seems to define a derelict boats as one that "needs love." As a matter of pride, we want to roll into the Bay looking good -- and loved.
Getting the water tanks right has been a major pursuit. We need clean, potable water. Equally important, Fir's six belly tanks cover a large portion of the underwater hull. They essentially provide a double hull structure. There is an old saying that steel boats rot from the inside out. Protecting the hull and developing a good seal is a significant safety issue.
Furthermore, the water tanks are also our ballast. The tanks will be drained for a short trip from her current mooring to the Stockton shipping channel. Once in the channel, we need to take on water to provide much needed ballast.
Computers and electronics
We plan to have two computers: 1) a navigation computer and 2) a ship's computer.
This trip we started to get the computers up and running. This includes getting our WIFI and Cellular internet connections online. Building the computers from components is as simple as snapping a few cards into place. Its been 15 years since I last did this. 15 years later my biggest problem is I can no longer easily read the tiny labels on the wires. Luckily, Chris is a bit younger and was able to get the wires into the right plugs.
Our next blog will have a complete description of our system and our plan to integrate marine equipment with the PC. We also hope to select and load our PC based navigation. This will be one of our two navigation systems.
Our new equipment will be grouped by function and mounted on sleds for a single source of control. We worked on three sleds this trip: 1) the fresh water sled that takes care of our water making and domestic water distribution, 2) the HVAC sled that houses our boiler, hydronic heat distribution, domestic hot water production and rack of chillers for cooling and 3) the sled for new generators. We will soon be making our final decisions on these systems.
An advantage of the sled is that it gives us fewer connection points to Fir's current systems. Connecting to Fir's existing systems can be challenging. The braided wiring can be tough to strip. Pipes can be frozen. Splicing into existing pipes can lead to breaking parts which leads to endless searching for a part on the boat and ultimately ending with an hour trip to Fergusons. The sleds limit the number of connections to existing systems. For example, the water sled will have power, water in, and water out. All the plumbing and wiring within the sled are new and matched with the other new components. Connecting these components is relatively quick and predictable. The sled allows us to deal with a few key splices and move on with the install ion a predictable fashion.