May 172011

Everybody knows that marine hardware suppliers tend to charge a lot of money for their products, right? Like just putting the word “Marine” on something instantly doubles the cost… I just had a rather funny example of this:

As part of the climate monitoring sensors we are putting on the Journeyman we are also mounting a weather sensor, in this case an Airmar PB200, which is actually quite a smart little unit. But it comes without any cables, so I ordered a cable and a NMEA0183 and NMEA2000 interface box. The cable and box cost about $200, and when the stuff arrived I open the interface box and find that it contains…. nothing. Well OK, there was a small bag of plastic connectors for manually splicing the cable conductors.

So the plastic box was like 3 times the price for a standard junction box (But then it wouldn’t have the fancy sticker, of course…) and I still have to do all the work of interfacing the cables myself. Nice move!

(Oh, and the best part: It has a sticker on the side with a serial number and the ominous threat: “Warranty void if this label removed”).

Apr 092010

I am very happy to welcome Nexus Marine as partners in the Journeyman Project. The NXR Instrumentation System comes with outstanding precision and in my opinion clearly superior ergonomics, especially at night. Plus it has the Steering Pilot, an instrument which is invaluable when you are sailing with inexperienced helmsmen.

So I would have chosen their instruments anyway. But since they also like the Journeyman project and want to be part of it, the choice just got a lot easier!

Suppliers we like: Southco

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Mar 262010

I have to say a public thanks also to Markus and Henric at Southco Sweden (now Onmar Sweden), for going the extra mile in getting me exactly the hinges and locks that I wanted, even when it meant doing some custom modifications to their products. As a result, every single hinge and lock on Journeyman is from Southco. Like the custom made cockpit sofa hatch lock and hinge below.

Creative Pump Design Department

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Mar 182010

I would like to publicly thank the engineers at Johnson Pumps for helping me come up with a solution to the trim-tank pump. The trim-tanks are very big and they should not take too long to fill. This can easily be done if you use a big, heavy expensive impeller pump. But besides being big, heavy and expensive these pumps are also usually fitted with non-watertight electric motors, which makes placing the pump in the bildge problematic.

When I told the engineers at Johnson about these problems, they came up with the idea of connecting two of their biggest submersible pumps in series. This was a little tricky because these pumps are not made to be connected to a piping system. But after plenty of searching I was able to find a good solution to connect the pumps to the piping:

This gives me a pump that is completely waterproof, and weights and costs about 20% of a large impeller pump, but still gives about 60% of the capacity. With this pump it will take roughly 10 minutes to fill the trim-tank.