Tuesday, June 13, 2023


 One of the nice things about electric propulsion in a sailboat is the ability to upgrade parts of it as new technology comes along. When I made the conversion back in 2008 Lithium batteries were new and available but, were very expensive. Plus there were long wait times for delivery. So I went with the 8A4D AGM batteries. Today the prices have come down as have delivery times. My 48 volt Allied Battery 105 Amp Lithium battery arrived in two days. 

Installed the single 48 Volt Lithium battery on board. It was easy using the Nova Lift I originally installed in 2008 to lift the 120 pound AGM batteries for installation.

The new 48 volt lithium battery replaced almost 500 pounds of AGM lead acid batteries that I have been using since 2008 when I converted to Electric Propulsion.

In addition to the four AGM batteries I was also able to get rid of a lot of other jumpers, tie downs, wires, fuses, screws and battery insulators.

The best part is all maintenance is now done from inside the cabin. No more squeezing down the cockpit hatch and doing boat yoga.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023


It was in 2008 when I converted BIANKA from having diesel auxilary power to electric propulsion. I had four heavy 8A4D AGM lead acid batteries totaling almost five hundred pounds to power the Thoosa 9000 electric propulsion system.


The batteries were located below the cockpit and though while accessible it wasn't really comfortable to work on them. This season they are being replaced by a single 48 volt lithium battery that weighs less than a single one of the old batteries.

Even better I will be able to access the terminals for maintenance from inside the cabin. No more squeezing down through the cockpit hatch is going to be a welcome change.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023


If you often sail out of Cell Phone range a new blue tooth device can turn your cell phone into a text satellite phone.

"The motorola defy satellite linkis a Bluetooth device that provides satellite connectivity to any iOS or Android smartphone*, designed for anyone that has ever been frustrated by a lack of cell coverage – whether travelling or participating in outdoor activities, or just in their daily lives."

Wednesday, November 09, 2022


Had some bonus days in November with the temperatures reaching into the mid 70 degree Fahrenheit range. Took advantage of the warm days to take off the sail and lower the boom. Now it's up to the boatyard as to when to unstep the mast and pull the boat for the winter. Once that is done I'll winterize the water systems and then get into a winter mode of occasional boat checks until spring.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

WHITE SQUALL: Lessons Learned

 While BIANKA survived the White Squall conditions from a weather front that blew through the harbor a few weeks ago. The same could not be said for the dingy. The heavy rain was not an issue but, the winds blew BIANKA around and whipped saw the attached Porta Bote dingy around and may have flipped or at least turned it 90 degrees at some point. Dumping some of the contents into the water. Including one of the Oars, seat cushion, outboard motor cover and anything else that was not attached like a plastic scrapper I use to clean the dingy bottom from time to time. So when things calmed down I took some of the lessons learned from the event and implemented a strategy to try and limit the damage during a future weather event.


Losing the Oar could have made trying to get back to the shore in anything but calm conditions. Keeping them in the dingy ready to use is important. So an easy fix was to use TY Wraps to create loops where I can attach a line secured to the dingy to help keep the Oars with the dingy.

I'll cut the excess tabs but, the loop will make a good place to attach a line to secure them.

if the Oars should happen to leave the dingy again since they float it makes sense to mark them with BIANKA's name in case any one finds them floating around the harbor. There is a better chance they will find there way back to the boat.

Since the Oars come in two pieces I used a DREMEL Tool make sure both pieces had my boats name on them.


Another Item that was lost in the storm was the seat cushion. It's not only on board for comfort it's also used as a flotation device. Labeling it will also help it getting it returned should it leave the dingy again.


One item that did leave the dingy after the storm but, I miraculously found floating next to BIANKA a few hours later was the outboard motor cover. I was able to grab it with the boat hook. Still no reason not to label it too.

Friday, June 17, 2022


 Exciting day on the boat. Weather front came through with White Squall conditions. I think the dingy might have flipped in the storm. Lost one of the oars and found the battery for the outboard floating outside the boat. Hope it still works going to be awkward trying to row to shore with one oar.

Luckily the battery was sealed and still powered the outboard. I made it back to shore though the battery started to fade on the way. Unfortunately, the charger is back on the boat and it will be tricky getting back out tomorrow. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022


 I've been away from the boat for awhile. I was traveling to warm places each month over the winter. Plus getting COVID knocked me down but, not out for two weeks. So I did not get on BIANKA for my usual checkups and battery charges. Usually that would not be a problem since my 48 volt solar panels would keep things topped up. So it was a surprise when I looked at the data from the new Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100-Volt 20 amp 48V solar controller.  

Where I noticed several days of no charging data and when there was some charging it was lower than usual. I also noticed the Dual Pro four bank charger was charging at the lowest bar display. This meant the batteries where in a more discharged condition than I've seen in a long time.  

Time for some serious diagnosis on what was happening with the solar charging system. I first checked the 48 volt solar panel voltages and they were near their open circuit voltage specs. I then turned my attention to the Anderson connectors that I used to combine the panel wires to the solar controller. It was there I found the problem. I installed the panels and connectors over twelve years ago. My mistake was never doing any maintenance on the connectors in those years. I found despite taping the connectors to improve their water proofing most of the Anderson contacts had corroded to the point where they were no longer conducting voltage.

I redid the connection using some Spade Connectors I had on board and the problem was solved if only temporarily. Now I need to see if the 48 volt electric propulsion battery bank comes back to full charge as we head toward spring launching. 

BLOG UPDATE:  Going back a few days later and the solar controller charging and battery bank was back to normal. 
 The battery bank was charging normally using the Dual Pro charger. So it looks like things are moving in the right direction for a spring launching.

Sunday, February 20, 2022


 The temperature moved up to the mid-forties one day and so it was time to go do another Winter inspection on Bianka in the boatyard. Primarily to rebalance the 48 volt electric propulsion battery bank. While there I also emptied the bilge of about two gallons of water that on my last visit was a frozen solid block of ice. I also taped over the portside cockpit hatch where I think most of the water may have entered.  I found a forward hatch leaking onto my bunk and taped over it’s flange to stop that until warmer weather arrives and I can address that issue. Finally there were high wind warnings for the next day and I made sure the nuts holding the Lexan bimini cover to the frame were tight and also secured an extra line to the frame in case those 60 MPH winds did actually arrive. It was a quick visit but still a productive one.

Monday, January 24, 2022


 A little over a week ago I was snorkeling in 80 degree F water in Bonaire and enjoying ice in Boat Drinks. Yesterday I was on my boat looking at ice in the boat. A little in the bilge and the Brita water container frozen solid.

That will have to wait until warmer days to remove. It was also too cold to work on board I just sat by the heater and waited until the batteries get a top up charge.

Monday, January 17, 2022


 With Bianka safely on land for the Winter. I have now implemented my Winter retirement plan. Which is to get to some place warm at least for a week every month during the season.  January finds me on the Dutch Island of Bonaire  Where I spotted 3 sailing boats coming into the harbor early in the morning while having my coffee. It turns out these 3 boats are Oysters of various sizes and they are participating in the Oyster World Rally 2022. Their names are Nakita,  Black Lamb and Intrepid. I entertained the idea of asking them if they needed an extra crew member for the next leg of the cruise. Then I watched the crew of one of the boats spend much of the afternoon washing, cleaning, scrubbing and polishing the boat and settled back enjoying my afternoon drink on the balcony across from their dock.