CaptainJerr

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About CaptainJerr

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  • Location
    Los Angeles
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    100 ton master of sail and power, ABYC boat electrical tech; MyBoat Works, LLC is my company, offering Captain and maintenance services, specializing in rigging, electrical and structural issues and upgrades. I’m rebuilding my boat (an IOR racer, formally Apollo V, now Umkhonto) into a cruiser.

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  1. CaptainJerr

    Multiple Battery Grounding.

    Good question: The battery ground terminal provides the ground. In a boat, we connect to a common ground because that is what all devices then use as the ground. The batteries supply that and all their ground terminals are joined, allowing every battery the same electrical level of ground. Think of it as the devices being sailors. Now they are all on one boat, working together.
  2. CaptainJerr

    Multiple Battery Grounding.

    I’m an ABYC electrical tech. Your instinct is correct: Shorter runs are better. The size of the cables for DC electricity is determined by the load (how many amps are required by what device) and the combined length of both ground and hot cables: From battery to switch to circuit breaker to device to ground (bus bar) to battery. It’s called “common ground” because all DC grounds together. More than three wires should not be stacked on top of each other and wherever possible, only one per connection (terminal) because there is resistance with stacks of terminals and resistance causes heat and overheated wires have more resistance, melting insulation, causing shorts and burning boats to the waterline. Bus bars allow even current and multiple connections without this added resistance, making things not only much safer but also giving each device the amperage it needs without a fuss. a simple system has the engine block, both house and engine battery grounds and a cable to a small common ground bus bar, all going to the common ground bus. Small ground wires in this picture go to a smaller ground bus that is then connected to the main common ground bus. The idea is to always minimize stacking of terminals and maximizing the efficiency of your electricity. Sometimes we simply have to have long runs but where possible, it’s always best to minimize them. Yellow called safety and is preferred to be used to indicate DC ground and avoid confusing a black wire as a DC ground or AC hot, either of which are black. That’s not so important with battery cables but I like the congruent look. As the previous contributor mentioned, if there is a shunt, batteries ideally ground to a bus bar, then the shunt, then another bus bar for the loads (including battery charger ground). The second picture shows this. Best wishes! * Note: I was in the middle of wiring the first battery bank and had not yet secured the cables. That needs to be done every 14”
  3. CaptainJerr

    Buying a new boat - what to do and what not to?

    As one who is hired to fix new boats, I would get a highly recommended rigger, boat electrician, engine mechanic and surveyor to each make a complete and thorough survey of a similar (same brand) boat at the dealer. Use that as a list of what’s wrong and subtract the needed remedies from your final negotiated price if the manufacturer won’t address the issues. Otherwise, accept them as things you’ll have to address. I would also pay attention to equipment installed that is crud: One popular boat manufacturer has electrical panels with about ten circuit breakers and electrical distribution that’s horrifying. Almost all manufacturers sell boats with anchoring gear a cruiser would call undersized but racers would complain as an unnecessarily heavy waste. Similarly, the same electronics can be amazingly wonderful or pathetic to different sailors. You have a choice in many of these equipment decisions, even if it is to order your boat without electrical service and have just what you want installed just the way you like it. Armed with professional reports and discussion on that type of boat, you will be prepared for what you are probably buying. Probably, as each boat has her foibles. Beware of expensive gimmicks. I’m specifically thinking of the increasing use of touch screen controls for everyday electrical devices onboard. They have a high rate of failure and often leave a boat dead in the water when they fail, with no way to operate even a bilge pump and also no way for any but a specialist in that manufacturer’s implementation of that system to diagnose and repair it. There are plenty of other examples of this type of thing but they all smell of snake oil. Do you really need an expensive system to flip a light switch? Keep your boat’s systems simple and straightforward and steer away from flimsy ones. As a captain, I have sailed new boats that literally fell apart while I sailed them, so pay attention to other owners’ tales of their similar experiences. There can also be a large quality difference, model to model as well as year to year, if management wants to build them with different business goals in mind, though those changes usually take place over several years or decades: That three year old boat you fell in love with at the boat show is not the one being built today.
  4. CaptainJerr

    USCG Document replacement

    I use the Mary Conlin company in Los Angeles. They handled my quite complicated documentation issue, on buying my boat, beautifully and have been wonderfully supportive in helping me respond to tax questions, regarding this purchase, as well. They send me documentation quickly and are quite fair in their fees.
  5. CaptainJerr

    what is it?

    PS - I would love to know more of Apollo V’s history and would welcome any tidbits anyone could share, so please feel free to write me a note. Thanks!
  6. CaptainJerr

    what is it?

    Ahoy, mateys! As Sailingjunkiexl correctly identified, she was Apollo V, a foam-cored monocoque Kevlar 42.5’ IOR racer, built for Alan Bond. I bought her three years ago and am rebuilding her into a wicked fast cruiser. She was abandoned, derelict and close to being destroyed when I bought her: Paint peeling off in giant pieces, dead engine, horrifying corrosion issues throughout her rig, electrical system entirely corroded, dead and a product of BillyBob and many other issues. She’s repowered, has a nice new electrical system, water system, modern galley (I laughed seeing that old galley was bragged about by that broker! It would have looked primitive in a Cal 20!), rerigged into a 19/20th fractional and soon I’ll have her split backstay (she used to have a single backstay) in... after installing another cabinet. This much stiffer rig gets rid of the old running backstays and the baby stay, making her a lot easier and safer to sail single-handed. I have renamed her Umkhonto. I’m delighted to see such interest in her. I am a 100 ton master, ABYC certified electrical tech and a boatwright. I work on her when I’m not working on other boats to pay my bills and that’s why her rebirth is slow. It’s steady though and I hope to have her sailing soon. Her project list is vast, with two more extended haulouts coming up. Please feel free to ask me any questions about my lady. I’m thoroughly in love with her. One correction: As she now carries a rig cut down from one a larger race boat (Amazing Grace) replaced and for a variety of reasons it was not possible to shorten her spreaders and alter the rig that way, her rig is overall 2’ wider than her old, narrower racing rig. Her new chainplates attach to bulkheads I rebuilt for this purpose, at 14” inboard.