Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Mainsail decision made!

So, Evolution sails it is.  They (John Dakin)  and North (Hugh Beaton) were by far the most engaged and responsive of those I contacted, both sent detailed proposals offering alternatives.  Each explained their rationale and the features and benefits of each option.  Both were intimately familiar with the C&C 33ii, not surprising here in Toronto.  North was actually referred by a lister through the US and chased the enquiry on their own.  (cool) There was little to choose between the two, other than my modest preference for one of three options proposed by Evolution, and the fact that the entire sail is made locally.  Both were highly recommended by a local marine industry exec and ex-sailmaker friend of mine.    
  • Each loft recommended cross-cut dacron, some with two price points, one a more "commodity" sail, one more tailored, with higher grade cloth.
  • UK sails (who has my sails in their Toronto loft today for fall repairs and assessment) never bothered to quote, despite 3 reminder emails.
  • Lee sails quoted a commodity sail only, after having asked a few basic questions, and advised that I could earn a discount by placing an order that accommodated their spring shipping container, but that I'd better hurry because the local agent would be away for several month on holiday over the winter.  Price was not appreciably less than others locally loft for a similar commodity sail.  
  • After a poke or two Doyle responded with a friendly email only, short on detail and with pricing that was not terribly competitive.  Also, they are far enough away as to require shipping.
  • Rolly Tasker in Thailand (David) was the value king - great and thorough response (again) and C$700 or so cheaper than others for what is probably a quality commodity-type sail, with partial battens.   No middlemen.    If I were on a budget I would order from Tasker (again - I bought a cruising spinnaker from them a few months back) without hesitation.
  • Both Tasker and Lee were not prepared to quote full battens, only prep for same, so the buyer would need to spend more locally and sort out the details.  I think the long battens make offshore shipping an issue, but I did not really investigate that.  
  • Interestingly the sail area (roach) really varied between quote (Lee and Doyle did not specify SA), I suspect as a result of familiarity of North and Evolution with PHRF ratings and the boat itself.   Highest was  292 sq ft, lowest 263sq ft from Tasker.   It is possible that at order time they would request more info and tweak that.  Lee covered roach dimensions in their very detailed order form.   
  • Lee's order form is pretty complete and is a useful way to document your rig for getting quotes from sailmakers.   Tasker's is less detailed.  I used Tasker's and posted photos here.
  • I think that Evolution sails may be a good option for US C&C owners looking to benefit from the current weak Canadian dollar with a loft that has plenty of C&C experience.
  • Prices ranged from approximately C$1800 to C$2500 for the more basic sails, to around $3200 for a higher-end but still cross-cut sail from a responsive local loft.
Am pretty happy to be dealing with a local loft on this one, I think availability for future service plays more of a role with a main than a spinnaker, and tribal knowledge of the various C&C models that is natural to the Toronto area is worth something to me.  Not having to ship the sail matters too - one fitting tweak could eat up some freight cost, especially cross-border.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Gori 2-blade prop

My Martec was tired and I knew I wanted a folding prop to replace it.   Pretty happy with the Gori.  Do beware that the normal shaft section where the castle nut is installed may be different in length than a typical North American prop.  (the gears foul the end of the shaft on the gori, there is more space on the martec.   A long story but it took some doing to install this, and some mods to a brand new shaft.
In any case it works great, no issues so far.   Shipped air from Denmark amazingly quickly, great service from the agent in New England somewhere.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Mainsail specification, rig photos, dimensions, details

Mainsail Deliberations

After much thought, research, and sound advice, I would modify my intended use to read:

I value the 33-2's performance, and enjoy getting the most I can out of the boat.  In the past I had not paid much attention to the finer points of sail trim, however in researching this mainsail purchase, I have realized that I would very much enjoy a well designed, "tunable" mainsail, and would like to learn how to optimize sail shape.  
That said, most of my sailing here on Lake Ontario will be for pleasure, daysailing or short cruises,  either single-handed or effectively so.  I will likely look for some recreational racing opportunities and at some point would like to try distance racing, but not at an ultra-competitive level.   I don't want to buy another main for this boat in the next decade.

The parameters for my new main are also becoming more clear. I believe the mainsail features most appropriate for my use are:

  • Cross-cut construction (radial optional, not really necessary)
  • top quality, low stretch dacron
  • Loose footed
  • luff slides 
  • 4 partial battens or 2+4 full/partial.  
  • two sets reef points. 
  • Cunningham
  • telltales
  • 2-3 draft stripes
  • Sail no 34760 - blue
  • C&C logo?
I welcome any suggestions.

Factory sailplan can be found here:   

Preferred Details (alternative suggestions welcome)

How the reefing lines will be rigged.   Do I really need a block at the clew?

Reefing tack - The previous sail was a Type A.  Worked great I thought.

Not sure what to do with the Cunningham, but the gooseneck fitting has two fairleads that look like candidates for this use.   

Windstar's measured dimensions

Luff - masthead sheave to top of boom:  39' 7"
Luff - top of black tape on mast to top of boom: 39' 1"
Foot - end of boom extrusion to back of mast: 138" 
Foot - end of black tape boom to back of mast:  135"  
Tack back - top of boom to centre of current tack shackle: 1 1/4"
Tack up - aft edge of mast to centre of current tack shackle:  7/8"
Reefing hook - aft edge of mast to underside of reefing hook:  approx 2"
Reefing hook - height from top of boom: approx 2"
Sail slide gate - bottom of gate to top of boom:  10 3/4"

What are these used for?

Documenting my rig for winter work and a new mainsail, and it's like a box of chocolates...

Here is the gooseneck fitting from below - what are the two fairleads for? (Cunningham maybe?)

Another mystery item, this shot from the bottom of the boom.   The swivel padeye is the vang attachment.  What was the the cleat mounted forward of that used for?
Does anyone know who manufactured the padeye itself?

The next two show why it is a good idea to inspect the rig!  End of boom casting fracture, and mainsheet attachment rivet failure.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

N2K screenshots from Actisense Viewer

The NMEA reader lets you identify the devices on the network, in this case the VHF.
See the AIS PGNs in one window, and detail (a local fishing boat) in the adjacent.
So, not quite plug and play but almost.   The many and varied chartplotter and instrument apps I've played with have all been able to read incoming NMEA data, both from the vYacht gateway (wifi and ethernet) which I believe has been translated into NMEA 0183 sentences and from the Actisense NGT-1, which |I believe are NMEA  2000 PGNs.  This is certainly how it appears in the apps' respective NMEA viewers.   You can see screenshots the cool Actisense
See the AIS PGNs in one window, and detail (a local fishing boat) in the adjacent.
NMEA reader at the right.
What I have not been able to do is get AIS data displayed on the various instruments and chartplotters.
The AIS PGNs are being transmitted from the ICOM M506 vhf, but they do not seem to be recognized by tools other than the NMEA reader itself.  AIS targets ARE displayed on the Raymarine i70 and on the small screen on the ICOM vhf itself.   So, AIS  is working.
  You can see in the screenshots that the PGNs are being transmitted, albeit very few.
See the AIS PGNs in one window, and detail (a local fishing boat) in the adjacent.
One of the issues may be, that we are in a target-poor area, especially since with Windstar on the hard, I am using an emergency VHF antenna.  I have also read that the ICOM VHF has had some n2k issues, with some devices not recognizing its AIS data.     That said, (and I hate to admit it) my Raymarine i70 display is showing the few
nearby AIS targets.   So, they do exist, and it does work, pointing back to my poor understanding of networking,or some other lapse in configuration.
Could it simply be impatience -hopping from app to app?  AIS target updates can take some time, no? |
On a windows PC, and connected by USB with the NGT-1 and by LAN and Wifi with he vYacht router, I have tried Polarview and OPENCPN chartplotters, plus NavMon instruments.
On my Ipad,connected only by vYacht wifi, I have tried iSailor, iNavx, NavionicsHD chartplotters, plus EDO instruments,  NMEAconnect.  All of which receive GPS data, but not AIS data.
I welcome any thoughts!

Here is a screenshot from EDO instruments app, this shows the available NMEA 0183 data, can log it, and it pings and  the little pretend-led lights when a sentence is received.   This is running on an ipad and connects via wifi, I was using it (and others)  to determine exactly what data was available.      Does not support AIS but it allows you to create polars etc.  
Search for yourself to see the its very cool instrument displays. (locked in this free version)    You could see how this sort of thing will replace conventional instruments and even laptops for those more involved.  

Sunday, 2 October 2016

vYacht Wifi Gateway installed - error Code 18*

I installed the vYacht wifi router last night and the basics appear to work fine, though I could not get the AIS targets to display at all.   (keep reading)   This will have to wait for spring.

iNavx on iPad air, with vYacht-supplied data correctly placing Windstar in the parking lot.

The vYacht wifi  is a wireless/wired router for your NMEA/Seatalk electronics network.   Produced by Bernd Ocklin of Sweden, this device is a product of the open source/dedicated hobbyist community in the marine electronics space.   Very cool, very "open" and configurable, and substantially less expensive that other devices of its  type.  This may come at a price, as other owners have struggled with some of the tweaking required.  We shall see.

Getting the vYacht operational took much less time than fixing the ancient laptop and Windows 7 driver bugs that plagued my actisense NGT-1 install.
  • connect "home run " 12vdc wiring to the panel.  (meaning, do not run off the n2k network's power)
  • power it up, make sure it works by observing the power LEDs and the wifi led and ensuring you can open the router's application.
  • Power down. 
  • Connect your network devices. 
  • Power up.
  • Configure your applications to recognize the connection.
The instructions require only basic Swedish but are just OK for the barely-technical.
When I first powered up, I looked for sign of life from the requisite LEDs, (power and wifi)  then noted in the instructions that they were actually on the circuit board, inside the enclosure.   I could see no screws holding the lid onto the enclosure so I figured it must just snap in place, so I carefully (sort of) yanked it off, and in doing so I also yanked the tiny connection from the chip to the antenna. (YIKES!!!)   Thankfully I did not damage it.
Then, while happily observing that the wifi and power lights were working, I noticed several other LEDs labelled for each NMEA device input. (Cool - you can verify when it is receiving data!) I powered down and connected to the network.
The "other" LEDs emitted no light.   Nothing.   :-(
Checked several things, and eventually figured out that I had wired the STNG Lo and Hi in reverse.  (erroneous drawing downloaded)
Fixed that and still no lights.  (Aargh.   Why isn't it receiving data?)   I eventually stumbled on the "instruments" link in the firmware that showed I was indeed receiving NMEA data on my iPad.  (via Signal K, an open protocol which this device supports.)  But.... no lights.  Weird.
I kept exploring options and apps and then happened to notice this, hidden in the box.  (Yes, it's RED, and yes, it has only three sentences, and yes, they are in large print...)  
Maybe Berndt could hire the folks from IKEA to write his instruction manual for people like me?
So, I tested both the vYacht and my Actisense NGT-1 and was able to read NMEA data on the ipad through the vYacht wifi, and could read NMEA data on the laptop through USB, Ethernet, or wifi.  I could not get the AIS data to display via any means, though the data is there and can be seen on both my ICOM VHF (the AIS receiver)  and my Raymarine i70 display.  (it had slipped my mind that that since the boat was on the hard, and the mast on the rack, I had no VHF antenna and therefore no AIS data.  Why do I make this so difficult?)   Latest update is that the NGT-1 works flawlessly, not so the vyacht.  Yet.
I have since found a number of apps that look really interesting.  There is quite a revolution underway!
iSailor looks great, slick, modern interface, there is a signalK instrument and AIS app, EDO instruments, many many others.

*  error code 18  - computer errors originating approximately 18" in front of the screen.