Jul 282010

So this is what the steering position looks like. In the picture you can also see the now solved winch collision problem. You can also see the steering control valve I talked about in yesterdays post, it’s the small silvery handle to the right of the wheel center.

You can see two joysticks on the switch button panel. The left one is the bow thruster. The smaller right one is the engine throttle and gear control. I hate the Teleflex style big throttles that always break and take too much space and peoples lifelines get caught in them and what not. So I rebuilt the engine to use a small industrial joystick for control, one at each steering position and one indoors in the deck house.

You can maybe also see that it has been raining, which is not so good since we are trying to get the bottom paint done, and that has been taking a bit too long due to multiple epoxy mixing disasters…

Jul 272010

So we finished the steering today.

I had at least 2 months of e-mail arguments with the folks at HyDrive in Australia before they agreed to make a steering system according to my specifications. In the end they were kind of intrigued by my ideas, and actually built a prototype system in their factory before saying yes.

It wasn’t cheap either. But it’s really really solid. And today we put it together. After a lot of thinking I wrote down a 42 step bleeding process that we ended up not following completely, but we still got all the air out of the system nicely.

The system works…… wait for it…… Perfectly.

It is so precise that I am unable to move one wheel even half a millimeter without the other wheel following instantly. And then at a flick of a valve the wheels can be disconnected so only one is used for steering for even better feel and precision. And a second flick on the same valve locks the hole system completely solid, for just rudder lock or autopilot control.

Jul 162010

Do you remember this picture? It was a little tricky designing the dimensions for the steering, without having the rudders in place. There is basically no straight surfaces anywhere to measure from… However, it seems that we were reasonably successful. Some angles are not 100% optimal, but this will not be noticeable in real life.

Somehow in this picture everything looks kind of small. I can say with confidence that it is not. Quite on the contrary. It feels totally oversized. The diameter of the solid rudder shaft is 115mm.

Jul 152010

Rudders are in. They fit nicely… almost. Some small mod may be needed due to the bottom shape being a bit deformed. As you can see the team ended up building a ramp instead of digging a hole for the rudder mounting.

The first interior module has also been fixed in place, the famous galley sink. The picture below also shows a lot of the now completed water piping system, which is fully 100% plastic, without any brass valves or other bad metal parts.

Lots of Work-In-Progress…

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Jul 132010

The last 40 hours I have been sleeping three times, between 3 and 1 hour each time. This makes life slightly weird before you’re used to it. It’s just  like starting an ocean crossing and going on a very irregular watch schedule!

Today’s best news is that the rudder bearing problem is solved, thanks to a special inside pressure tool that my neighbor made.

We are also starting the bottom painting process. This will take a while, it is a total of seven layers of paint and some filler also to get rid of some ugly deformed parts of the hull bottom. First we have to clean all sand and dust off.

Lots of interior work is happening, but it’s still a bit messy so no pictures yet. Steering is also in progress, I hope maybe to give you a picture of a complete helmsman position tomorrow!

The autopilot has been mounted. This is a heavy duty work-boat type autopilot. I am fed up with standard leisure yacht type autopilots which are to weak and to slow to give good steering in anything except flat water…