Sunday, 25 February 2018

Cold, cold, cold...

Far to cold for doing work on the boat..  mid-day and only just 4' C, but with the east wind (direct from Siberia) it's absolutely bitter..  we also have a yellow alert snow warning (don't eat the yellow snow) for Tuesday and Wednesday, so no let up..  but despite that the clock continues to tick and we are launching in a little of four and a bit weeks..!

Some stuff has been happening, however...

The outboard is in for a service.. expected back in a week or so...

Tiller pilot (job #3 on the winter list)...

I've fitted the DriPlug 2-Pin Plug I bought last summer to the tiller pilot, the socket will wait for later, as there's no point wiring it up until I can drill holes in the boat and fit it, I'd only have to dismantle it again as part of the fit..

I have wired in an inline fuse however, as my intention is to wire the tiller pilot wiring direct to the battery, albeit I will be wiring the positive to the switch panel side of the isolator switch so that when that's off, there'll also be be no power to the tiller pilot socket/circuit...

...I put some amalgamating tape round those joints when I'm on the boat..
The inline fuse currently has a 15 amp fuse in it, Raymarine recommend 12 amp, and will provide some protection to the circuit. The cable I'm using is 2.5mm² two core tinned (marine grade) thin wall so is rated for up to 27 amps.
The cable run is likely to be no more than 2 mtrs so 2.5mm is over-spec but as Raymarine say in their manual (extract above) when in doubt err on the heavier side, so I went heavier.. 

I've also been giving some thought to where I will mount the pilot... Raymarine guidance is as follows:

Source as above..
....when I measured up (and excuse the old picture - it was just handy to show measurements - and yes, when I measured the tiller was straight.. ) I show the following..

So I have two options...
  1. I fit a bracket on the cockpit side that will bring the tiller pilot 3" closer to the tiller
  2. I buy (or make) a push rod extension so I can mount the pilot on the coaming
...currently going with 2/. as my cockpit lids are hinged and a bracket is going to interfere with it fully opening. Anyone got any views as to whether 3" is enough to need a rod extension?

More anon...

Boarding ladder (job #7)..

That'll be fitted before I go back in the water... I have two aluminium plates on order that I'll be using as a kind of super sized washer to spread the loads..  these are 30cm x 10cm and 4mm thick..  plan at the moment is to
  1. Drill holes in the plates to match the fitting (following)

  2. offer up the ladder to the back of the boat and mark the attachment points - needs to be low enough that the bottom rung is under or near the surface of the water (though I will put an extension on the bottom rung in the form of a metal pipe on a piece of line attached to the bottom rung)
  3. drill holes (the point of no return)
  4. grind off the inside of the transom around the holes to an area equivalent to the aluminium plates..  wipe down with acetone...
  5. put a nice thick'ish smear of thickened epoxy on the back of the plates, bolt the whole lot through, and partially tighten up, which should squish the epoxy out nicely and form a bed as I tighten the bolts..  
  6. ..once the epoxy has gone off tighten some more..
... the intention is that it will only ever be used when the boat is in the water, so that water will also provide some pressure dampening..  I think that'll be good enough... 
Elsewhere, let joy be unconfined a new power tool has entered the household - I have my first ever angle grinder..  

...and why would I need such a beast..  well I have a plan to address the issue with the ==>

Outboard pad (job #10)

...the lip of the outboard inset has some cracks in it, the top of the pad is coming away from the transom (in yellow), but as you can see I have bolts, and a drain pipe going through it so unless I really have to I didn't want to take it off completely..  I plan to cut along the red line (wood cutter disc in the grinder) and remove the top couple of inches..  check what then needs doing, repair, and then replace with a strip of new marine ply to the same size, which I'll through bolt... sounds easy... 


  1. Hi Steve, I can confirm the tiller pilot needs a good chunky cable to supply it. It takes quite a few amps when working. When I got Sprite the wiring was below par and the tiller pilot operation was iffy, after upgrading the wiring it worked fine. It's also one of the main reasons I upgraded my battery installation last year. When I did my full day in the Solent, by the end of the day I'd flattened my old ex-car battery and had no tiller pilot for the last 2 hours. Now I have a big 100ah leisure battery shoehorned into the battery locker. Should last a day running the radio, tiller pilot phone charger, etc. and then get charged by the solar panel. My outboard has a charging coil, but who wants to run an outboard while sailing?

    1. Mark - good - I'm on the right track then.. getting fed up now - launch is just over 4 weeks away and I haven't managed to do anything yet...!

  2. That's a long list of jobs to be going on with Steve, but judging by your past endeavours you are more than up to the task (s).

    We take a more than passing interest in the UK (and its weather) now that our daughter, son and law and grandchild are living there - so I am aware of how hard you are being hit at the moment by the 'heatwave' in the Artic and the subsequent freezing blasts that are being pushed your way - stay safe and preferably (if able to) off the roads!!

  3. Alden - the eaves are dripping this morning.. reckon it will all have gone by nightfall, so it was short but nasty.. launch is 4 weeks today... Have you recovered from the Nationals yet?? :o))

  4. I have pretty much recovered except for some bad bruising on my right side where I was rammed by another boat during launching - but I am on the mend, be out sailing again soon and completing a list of jobs to do on Mariner.

  5. Hi Steve

    My name is Rob I'm the owner of 'Big Easy'

    I fitted the same tiller pilot to my Hurley. I have found it a blessing especially when i'm on my own or with my children, I didn't use a bracket I just mounted the bushing to the coaming as you have been thinking, I did reinforce under the coaming with a solid piece of plastic cut to shape and the bush is mounted going through both. I felt that the bush would work it's way loose quite quick if i didn't. I bought the extension piece from a chandler (not cheap but I could not make it for less), but I did have to place a small piece of wood to the tiller to raise the pin on the other end to keep the tiller pilot level to work it's best.

    I also ran the NMEA wires back to the cabin which are now connected to a Widows tablet (Via serial to USB converter) running the 'seaclear' software, so I can now use it as an auto pilot over just setting it for a compass setting then having to allow for drift etc.If you want me to send you a wiring diagram for what I have done just ask. I hope this helps!

    Robert McCusker

    1. Hi Rob, good to her from you... better than a wiring diagram could I ask for a picture of your cockpit showing the pilot fitting?? also, what length of extension did you go for? Been thinking lots about the fitting but am currently thinking of a bracket to the cockpit side that I could remove when not needed... which would remove the need for the extension (which as you say are stupidly expensive), and also possibly the height'ener on the tiller... good to hear from you...

  6. Hi Steve
    I've got some pictures for you but I'm unable to attach them to your blog. Where would you like me to send them?

    The tiller extension rod is 5 inch (not including the threaded part).

    Robert McCusker

  7. Hi Rob - I've added a 'contact me' widget on the left at the bottom of the side panel.. if you dro me a note with an email I'll be in touch pronto..