Lightning ground system

We’ve sailed surrounded by lightning several times. While impressive, especially at night, we have been very aware that we do not have any way for lightning to get out of the boat easily. After reading up on different solutions, this is what we built;

  • A copper strip (150×6 cm) on the outside of the hull, as close as possible to the vertical line of the main mast
  • A bronze thru hull post. This is what the copper strip is bolted onto.
  • 25 mm2 tinned copper wiring from thru hull post to mast foot
  • 16 mm2  tinned copper wiring wiring from thru hull post to top and middle shrouds
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Ideally, the grounding strip should have been made of bronze and twice as thick. Also, apart from the central bolt which connects the strip to the thru hull post, our solution to glue it to the hull, using Sikaflex 552, is a gamble.

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Our always helpful local machine shop (panico.se) made a thru hull post for connecting the grounding wires inside the hull to the grounding strip on the outside. It’s basically a solid bronze rod with a flange on the outside and a M10 thread hole for bolting the grounding strip into it. On the inside is has an outside thread that takes a retaining nut from a thru hull and a 6mm hole for bolting the crimp cable shoes. In the picture, the cable from the mast has not been fitted yet.

Rudder post cover

On the HR41, the rudder post exits thru the aft deck, allowing an emergency tiller to be fitted. The problem is that water enters between the bronze axle and the nylon bushing and soaks the upper side of the head liner in the aft cabin. Water also runs on top of the liner and onto the inside of the hull, onto the bunks. Admittedly, only a problem in heavy rain or large following seas.

The solution is simple; build a cover. One small problem; the head liner either has to be cut in two or the rudder post has to come out (the post is fitted into a hole in the liner…).

Perfect timing to fix this was when we were renovating the rudder and had to take the rudder post out anyway. And then we cut the liner in two, so we can remove it more easily in the future.

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Not so dry head liner

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Rudder post exit disassembled

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Always nice to see the solid deck construction of Hallber-Rassy. Here before epoxying the scraped out Divinycell.

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New rudder post bushing made by MoS2-nylon, thanks to www.profilplast.se is in place.

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Cover, made from PVC pipe covered with epoxied fiber glass.

New thru hulls

Anna has ten thru hulls

  1. Engine cooling in
  2. Galley sink out
  3. Cockpit drain port out
  4. Cockpit drain starboard out + bilge pump out
  5. Aft head out
  6. Aft head in
  7. Aft head sink out
  8. Forward head in
  9. Forward head out
  10. Forward head sink out

Of these, we changed seven to bronze in 2010. The remaining three were 316 stainless steel and fairly new when we bought Anna. Although we were concerned about crevice corrosion, it was not until we noticed pitting 3-4 mm deep forming on the flange of one of these thru hulls combined with rusty seepage from the ball valve that we decided to swap the three for bronze.

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Rusty seepage due to some previous owner fitting a 37mm hose to a 32mm hose adapter. Outside flange of thru hull also showed some 3-4mm deep pits.

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Simple tool for pulling out old thru hull

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New bronze fittings. Now with the correct diameter hose adapter.

 

Bow thruster control panel

The ‘old’ control panel of our Vetus bow thruster short circuited because of water entering the circuit board. Not good; the thruster started running suddenly and had to be switched off by means of the main circuit breaker. Thankfully, Vetus replaced it under warranty.

At the same time, we took the opportunity to go for the new a slimmer panel. The old, square and somewhat big panel had been mounted where fingers easily caught between it and the steering wheel. Also, the sheets sometimes got caught on it. So, we built a better housing for the new panel.

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Old, huge-ish panel

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Building housing for new panel

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Rudder renovation

 

Since we bought Anna, we have noticed a ‘clunk’ from the rudder, indicating some play between the gudgeons and pins. During the summer of 2015, the sound seemingly increased and we decided to do something about it. Hindsight being 20/20, we may not have done it yet, had we known that the play was only 1.5-2 mm.

The rudder is fixed to the skeg/hull in two places. Each place is made up of two gudgeons, one fitted to the skeg and rudder respectively, and a 35mm pin joining the two gudgeons. There is also a rudder post fixed to the top of the rudder (the rudder post has a cone with pin slot and thread and is fixed into the rudder fitting by a nut). All items are bronze. All fittings are puttied over.

This is how we went about fitting new pins:

  1. Remove putty covering the two gudgeons on the rudder. Do not remove putty from rudder outside the gudgeons.
    Lessons learned: We also removed the putty from the gudgeons on the skeg; not needed. We used a chisel to remove the putty; better cut with a small (Dremel?) disc around the gudgeon first.
  2. Remove putty covering the rudder post nut.
    Lesson learned: We used a chisel; better use a small grinding disc first to save on putty later.
  3. Remove all fittings from rudder post (quadrant, stuffing box nut etc) inside the aft cabin.
    Lesson learned: We removed the grease pipe from the stuffing box (it had become clogged with solidified grease) to fill new grease. The nut is made of brass and had dezincified; it split when refitting.
  4. Loosen nut at bottom of rudder post. Using wedges (one from each side), push the rudder post up into the rudder fitting. Remove nut. Continue pushing rudder post up into the hull. We used short (ca 25mm long) pieces of wood which fit into the upper rudder fitting, adding a piece at a time, to drive the post up, first using the wedges and later a small crow bar.
    Since we had difficulties getting the rudder post cone to release from the rudder fitting, we drilled a hole from the front of the rudder, starting about 25 cm below the nut, angling up to meet the bottom of the post (where the nut sits). Into this hole, we inserted a steel rod allowing us to knock the post up to release from the fitting, using a small sledge hammer.
  5. Remove the three rivets fixing each of the two gudgeons to the rudder.
  6. Slide the rudder out from the gudgeons. We used a car jack to support the rudder when doing this; it weighs about 60 kgs.
  7. Remove pins and two rudder gudgeons (the two gudgeons affixed to the skeg can be left in place).
  8. We fitted slightly oversized pins, machined from a 37mm bronze axle. The holes in the gudgeons were close to perfectly round, but were slightly wider at the ends, making it necessary to machine the holes somewhat. The holes in the gudgeons on the skeg were machined using a rotary file/sander.
  9. When re-assembling, we fitted a nylon washer (thanks to www.profilplast.se) in between each set of gudgeons. We used bolts instead of rivets. To be able to press the rudder into the gudgeons (it’s a tight fit with a lot of friction), we built a simple cradle to allow pressing the rudder and skeg together (at first attempt, without the cradle, the angle of the skeg made the nylon webbing slide down).

All in all, you could probably continue with a lot more play in the gudgeons than we had. For us, the main deciding factor was the ‘clunk’ noise each time a quartering wave caught up with us and the impression that the clunk was getting louder during the previous season.

Total time taken was roughly 25 hours. With a proper workshop and better prior information, you should be able to cut this in half, obviously spread over a few days, allowing for epoxy putty and paint to harden.

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Rudder post has a cone and pin slot and is fixed into upper rudder fitting with a nut. The pin is spot welded (soldered?) into the rudder fitting.

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Rudder post nut was easy to unscrew

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Getting rudder post up out of the fitting was also easy, once you got it moving the first few millimeters…

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We drilled first few millimeters of each rivet; they could then be knocked out. We replaced the 6mm rivets with 8 (10?) mm bolts

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The fiber glass had delaminated slightly underneath one gudgeon

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Grease line nut split when reassembling

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Gudgeons are substantial; probably you could machine these 3-4 times before you need new ones. Original pins are 35 mm diameter

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To press the rudder into the gudgeons, we made a simple cradle

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As we used bolts instead of rivets, the bolt heads and nuts can be seen underneath the putty

 

Summer 2015: 2,200 nm

During June-July we logged about 2,200 nm. Although the weather wasn’t exactly warm, with the exception of a week in northern Sweden when temperatures exceeded 30 degrees C, the winds were pretty much in our favour and we visited Visby, Stockholm, Sundsvall, Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga and a few places in between. Together with Gdansk, Riga is still our favourite city destination in the Baltic. Both Stockholm (www.navis.se) and Helsinki (www.hmvk.fi) are also wonderful cities to visit and surprisingly inexpensive to moor in.

Our new dinghy sat perfectly on the foredeck throughout the trip with no tendency to move either by wind or waves. We sent a letter to Yachting Monthly and they thought it was a neat solution.

 

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Tailor-made dinghy

When we bought Anna, she had a nice little hard dinghy in davits. However, Anna’s 41 ft on deck, increased to about 50 ft when taking both the bowsprit and dinghy in davits into consideration. For us, that was a bit too much to handle, especially in crowded Danish ports. The davits also made it difficult to bear off at the stern. Also, when moored alongside and reversing on a spring, the dinghy often hit the dock. Another contributing factor was that when crossing open water of several days, we prefer not to keep the dinghy in the davits, but instead keep it before the mast, which makes the foredeck a bit crowded and creates some windage.
So we decided to get rid of the davits, but instead of the obvious route of solving the dinghy problem with an inflatable, we put together a dinghy with a detachable transom that fits snugly around the superstructure before the mast. Cost of material roughly USD 700 (mainly West epoxy and 7mm plywood) and about 100-150 man-hours building time.

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A snug fit over the superstructure; minimal added windage.

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The fit around the superstructure also means that a minimum of the foredeck is used.

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Using the gennaker halyard, the dinghy is turned over to allow fitting of transom.

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A simple foam gasket and ten M8 bolts make the transom watertight and quick to fit.

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Transom has a cut-out for kedging out an anchor. Double oarlock positions to allow proper rowing position depending on number of person onboard.

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The shape is perhaps a bit unusual, but with a flat bottom with a moderate rocker, she is very stable while at the same time being easy to turn.

Wind vane

After our post, http://www.syanna.se/2013/07/01/fitting-wind-vane/, about the wind vane we put together for Anna, we have received a few requests for a little more info. So here’s a little video of the thing.

 

Basically, our misgivings about mounting the vane under the mizzen boom – supposedly made worse by relocating our two solar panels to the stern – were proven to be unfounded. However, we have so far not managed to get the vane to work with less than 2 knots boat speed, but maybe that is not to be expected. Light and fluky winds are not even easy for a human helmsman.

Apart from the obvious benefit of freeing the helmsman from the tiller, or wheel in our case, the main benefit of the wind vane is the substantial saving in power consumption when comparing with an autopilot. With the wind vane, we are self-sufficient as far as electricity goes with our two 54W solar panels – as long as it’s sunny…

Carbon monoxide

We ordered a carbon monoxide detector through ebay from China, installed it (well, put it on the cushion…) and fired up the POD kerosene heater and kept it running at full blast for an hour. The detector showed nothing. Then we hung it at the anti down draught contraption on the chimney. After some 10-15 minutes it showed 118 ppm.

So, obviously, some exhaust fumes are getting into the cabin although not sufficient to pose a serious problem, it seems. A different exhaust solution (another chimney cowl or a fan to force exhaust gases out) might keep us sleeping more soundly. More testing needs to be done.

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