Oven; DCSM; electronics; sea trial; engine

Another full weekend of installing things, fixing things, testing things, and generally getting ready to leave for Malaysia Wednesday morning.

On Thursday (Thanksgiving!) I did some shopping in the morning and picked up various small electrical stuff.  I stopped by DPM at Harbourfront Centre and picked up Admiralty chart 3543 (a fairly high-level overview of the East coast of peninsular Malaysia) as a backup.  I also grabbed the 2010 edition of the Singapore chartlet book.  Admiralty charts are expensive.

At the boat, Doug and I spent most of the day installing the gimbaled oven/stove from Conversations.  Doug did most of the hard work.  Here’s a little video:

Installing the oven was pretty straightforward overall.  We had to make some cuts in the countertop, remove a shelf and cupboard doors from the front of the cabinet, and make some cuts in the cabinet front as well.  Here’s Doug cutting away, with sawdust spewing everywhere:

After we did some initial cutting and measured everything, I zoomed off to pick up some wood for spacing and mounting.  I was pretty appalled at the cost of wood here.  I spent S$22 for 4 ft of 2×4.  The excuse was that pine is rare here, which is no doubt true.  But S$22 seems outrageous for half a 2×4.  Nonetheless, by the end of the day everything was mounted and looking good, although sans molding around the rough edges.  We weren’t able to fire everything up because I needed to get a barbed fitting.  Here’s the new oven:

Also on Thursday, I picked up 120m of 5/8in 3-strand backup anchor line and a thimble, which I’ll have to splice on later.  I also bought 30m of 1.5in polyester ribbon to use as safety jackline.

Friday morning Doug, Charlene, Debbie and I grabbed breakfast at Harbourfront and wrote down a rough provisioning list for our trip, then picked up some initial stuff at the grocery.  Debbie stopped by to check out the boat for a few minutes.

I spent a lot of the day doing wiring for the new DC systems monitor.  Unfortunately in the end it wasn’t quite working; neither Doug nor I could get the ammeter to give reasonable values despite verifying the shunt was correct.  Later in the day I zoomed off to pick up a fitting for the oven, and learned (again) never to believe someone here when they say “you’ll never be able to find something like that in Singapore.”  Two shops shooed me away; a third wasn’t helpful but I pieced together a monstrosity from 3-4 different fittings that would have done the job; and by chance I came across a fourth shop that actually had the fitting I needed.  Back at the boat I hooked up the LPG to the oven and everything worked.  The only issue is that the LPG solenoid is coming apart (in a non-critical way); I bought some wire to hold it together for now.

Here I am Friday ducking back into my electrical pit of uncomfortableness to work on something or other:

Charlene was a bit amazed at the array of tools spread all over the cabin sole and various other spots; she said she’d never seen so many tools in one place before.  (I have!)  Here is part of my ratchet kit.  Honestly, I don’t even have a full accounting of all my tools and one more than one occasion I’ve gone and bought something only to find I already had one:

Doug cleaned up the nav station and mounted all the communication equipment in the electronics cubbyhole.  I still want to redo the whole thing eventually but we needed everything more or less in place for now.  The AIS and VHF are both in place and working (with an antenna splitter).  I spoke with Ima on the phone and she said she’d have the MMSI number for me by Tuesday, although I’m not holding my breath.

Saturday morning I checked the engine oil (still fine), and Doug and I measured and rough-cut the half sheet of Lexan I had lying around so we could stow it.  We also came up with a temporary mounting for the chartplotter at the helm, using a bungie cord.  Having the plotter at the helm is amazingly nice and I love it already.  Unfortunately the cables dangling through the cockpit behind it aren’t so great.  I’ll need to figure out a permanent mount for it soon, but it should be fine for this trip:

We did the usual trip prep and then headed out for a quick trip to test a few things.  Here’s Doug’s Google Earth rendering of our track from the chartplotter:

After rounding the Eastward mark and turning South out of traffic, we tested the autopilot for a while.  It worked like a charm.  The chartplotter also worked perfectly.  Here we are underway, with Doug pulling up the fenders after we forgot about them for a while.  Photo is courtesy of the finally-working autopilot:

The only issue we had was an engine failure about 30 mins into the trip.  The engine shuddered a few times (several minutes apart), and the third or fourth time it simply shut off.  It did not immediately restart using just the starter battery bank, which seems worrying.  I tried the emergency parallel, and it started up fine, and ran without incident for the rest of the trip.  Upon returning to the dock I stopped and restarted the engine using only the starter bank a number of times without incident.  The battery electrolyte and voltages appear fine.  I suspect a fuel impurity or something of the sort may have played a part.  Probably it’s time to change the fuel filters; I have plenty of spares aboard, but probably not enough time to change them before we depart.  We did run the engine for some time Sunday; the engine shuddered briefly once more but had no other issues.  I’ll be optimistic and assume we won’t have any major issues.  If we do, that’s what sails are for!

Sunday morning I spent doing a little hardware shopping, and then zoomed out to meet with Neo about the DCSM ammeter issues.  He informed me that unlike the good old analog ammeters, the digital one is sensitive to its placement in the circuit.  I had the shunt in the positive side; it needed to be on the negative side.  I didn’t really understand why but he demonstrated both cases for me in his shop, which was enough to convince me.  Back at the boat, I spent a while making that adjustment.  Without a huge cable crimper I had to use what few big cables I had left.  I’ll have to cut them down to size later.  However, the upside is that I now have a working battery monitor which I must admit is pretty nice.  It’ll be even better once the tank level monitors are installed, since it can handle all four of those too:

Doug ran a variety of alternator tests to convince himself everything is working there — it appears to be, although I definitely have some questions to ask an electrician at some point.  Charlene scrubbed the deck like an Energizer bunny, so now it’s looking nice and shiny.

This morning we found a dock hand willing to clean below the waterline this afternoon for a semi-reasonable price, and went ahead and had him do it since I don’t have time before we leave.  I also gathered up all my various documents to do port clearance stuff tomorrow.  I’d say we’re mostly ready to go!

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