Wednesday, July 29, 2015


A few weeks ago I did another of the annual harbor tests I have been doing on BIANKA's electric propulsion system. Here is a graph of the results:

Results are similar to least years tests with no real significant differences. Here is a graph of this years data compared with the 2014 test:

Some of the other data comparisons of the tests:

 The % battery at the end of the test was 89.7% compared to 90.6% last year.

The Amp Hours used for the test was 16.5 compared to 15.2 for the 2014 test.

NOTE: Some of the increase may be due to the distance traveled for the the test. This year the distance traveled for the test was 2.2 nm while in 2014 it was 1.8 nm. The difference might be explained by the location of the buoys which are removed and replaced each year in the harbor.

The tests show that the Thoosa electric propulsion system is still preforming well. It has been eight years after I installed it.  Along with  the reduction in maintenance and cost savings it continues to reinforce the notion  that it was a good decision to convert to electric propulsion back in 2007.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Winds and WIFI

I have not been posting too much on this Blog lately. Not because there is nothing to write about but, because the cellular/internet connection is so bad in BIANKA's home port. It makes posting frustrating and tedious. Much like the winds yesterday as I started a cruise to New York which were light and from the wrong direction. So I decided to change my plans and ducked into a harbor only three miles from the homeport where the cell signals are better. I'll hang out here for a few days enjoying the better communications and sunsets. Cruising is sometimes about just finding a better place. Even if it is only a few miles down the coast.
Sent from on board BIANKA

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


I've been wearing an inflatable Life Jacket on board BIANKA for decades. Happily, I've never had to use it.  Since it has automatic inflation I've always thought it would save me if I ever went into the water in an unconscious state. I thought it was the best lifesaving device I could wear until I saw...

Sunday, July 12, 2015


It's nice when a project lends it's self to another project benefit. Such was the case with the cabin wood molding project I completed to cover up the handrail access openings. I thought that I might mount a fan to the molding at some point. But, then I thought that  the wood molding strip would also provide an excellent mounting place for ...

Monday, July 06, 2015


Looking through my emergency signalling canister this spring I found four handheld Handheld Signal Flares. Since it was the Fourth of July I thought it might be a good time to dispose of them by lighting them off on the shore. Seems to me learning and lighting about emergency signal flares is best tried with out being under an emergency situation. So soon after sunset I took the dingy to shore along with a large metal can that I would use to hold the flares after I set them off. It was an eye opening experience. While these flares are meant to be handheld the flame is extremely hot. They can also sputter dropping hot flaming particles about. How hot are these flares? Hot enough to melt through the metal can that I put them in:

That's pretty hot! If a handheld emergency flare can melt the metal can. Imagine what it will do to a fiberglass deck or the pontoon of an inflatable!
LESSON LEARNED: If you need to light an emergency handheld flare make sure you hold it far enough over the side so that it won't cause a fire on deck or damage your life raft.

Saturday, July 04, 2015


Showing the flag on the Fourth of July is always seems a little more special somehow.
Sent from on board BIANKA

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

MESSING ABOUT IN BOATS: Honda 2000i Oil Change Help

One of the maintenance rituals I do before launching is to change the oil in the Honda 2000 EU generator. I've been able to significantly reduce the the mess of this procedure by using a Hopkins Measure Funnel:

While this eliminates a lot of the mess of the oil changing procedure I still...

Friday, June 26, 2015


Builders of production boats have tended to put decorative headliners into their design so they could make them all nice and pretty for some buyers. The sleek clean interior helps sell boats along with other useless things like three burner stoves and ovens. While headliners make things all nice and "purty" they can also cover up deck fittings that are leaking and also make maintenance of deck mounted items harder. As I found out several years ago when I decided to remove and remount the handrails on BIANKA. The boat builder drilled small little holes in the liner to access the screws that held the handrails to the deck:

They then covered the holes with small plastic caps. It looked neat but, it was a pain when I started on the project to remove the hand rails so I decided to...

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Sometimes you just have to know when to stop doing some optional maintenance that is going to turn out to be more of a problem than it's worth. A while ago I had two equipment failures located in the same area and sharing the same wiring. One was the anchor washdown pump and the other was the Jabsco macerator pump. Since they both were fed from the same breaker and stopped working at the same time I thought it was too much of a coincidence that they both would fail at the same time. It was not. I worked on the Flojet washdown pump first and found it's problem was a faulty corroded pressure switch. Then a week ago I decided to finally take a look at the macerator pump issue. Since I thought at first it might be a power issue I decided to rewire the pump using Anderson Power Pole connectors. Using the30 amp connectors would make removing and testing the pump easier now and in the future. It would also help clean up some of the wiring. The macerator pump power was originally operated through a on/off /on switch that powered the washdown pump or the macerator pump depending on which position the switch was set:

So I wired two Powerpole connectors directly to the pump power wires:

I found some trouble shooting info on one of the sailing websites that some times the macerator pump is jammed. But, there is a cap on the back of the motor that could be removed and a screwdriver inserted onto the macerator pump motor shaft to turn it and clear the jam. Unfortunately, my twenty eight year old pump must have been one of the early ones and did not have the mentioned cap. So it looks like I will have to remove the pump to investigate further. In addition a ball valve on the output of the pump was jammed and would not budge. Since the input to the macerator pump also had a T that also connected to the holding tank output. Taking the pump out would now make the holding tank unable to be emptied by the usual means like a pump out:

So I decided that this project would be best done in the off season when I have more time to deal with working in the confined space where these components are located. My time is better spent now getting the boat ready for launching for the season. Sometimes you just have to know when to stop on some projects.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


It seems organizing and removing of things on board that have no reason to be on board is never ending. A few days ago while  looking for some information on one of the on board pumps I came upon some manuals for equipment that is no longer on board:

These include the Paloma Water Heater. The old Professional Mariner battery charger and the Racor fuel filter which has not been on board for over eight years. No reason for these to remain on board taking up space. Plus it feels good to get them of the boat and simplify things.