Jun 19 2021
Luna Azzurra is 16 years of age now. It start to be time to upgrade all electronics onboard. With electronics I mean the course computer, autopilot, wind, speed and deep stunder instrument, radar and the GPS chart plotter including new charts for the Mediterranean sea.
To do all this is quite expensive, so we decided to spreed this over 2 or 3 years instead. All the instruments onboard is still working good but better upgrade slowly before we run in to trouble and some of them stop working. Then all expenses will come at once.
The instruments exposed to the hardest condition we decided to change first. These instruments are the which are mounted in the cockpit. In the cockpit they are exposed for UV radiation and salt water spray and salty air. The electronics we are talking about are the wind, speed/temp, depth instruments, autopilot control head and the chart plotter. Plus the radar.
The course computer are mounted down below in a dry place and is still working good. We think it have 2 – 3 years more in it at minimum. One small problem is that with the new plotter the existing radar will not work anymore.
It is a pity but as long as we are sailing most under the days we can live without it for now. We still have the AIS which will show at least the bigger ships and yachts on the chart plotter. Just have to watch out for fishing boats and some smaller yachts which most often don’t have an A.I.S.
So our upgrading steps will be the following:
1: Wind instrument, Depth, Speed and temperature, Autopilot control head and a new chart plotter (2021)
2. New course computer (2022)
3. New radar (2022 or 2023)
To get everything to work together (new and old systems) we must convert the communication language between the two types. The old system are analog and the new system digital.
So I started to do a wiring diagram how to connect everything.
Thanks to Raymarine who produce the instruments have a converter for this translation (new to old). It should be straight forward I think. But in the end and on a boat even this can be a challenge. A few new cable have to be pulled. Most of them just short distance though. As we are not onboard right now we have to see when we are in Italy for holiday in July / August.
Then l if we have time for it too, we are onboard on holiday so this installation is not priority 1. If it end up in to much of work we might just change some of the parts. At least we have the parts ready and onboard for the exchange.
When we receive all instruments and cabling it was decided to connect them all together in the same setup of network we will have onboard. This to see that the parts works fine together. If it due to one reason or another not working onboard it will much easier to narrow down possible causes.
At least we know it works which is a good start. But this have to wait until we have received the chart plotter plus we need a 12VDC power supply too.
Later when we have installed this first parts of electronic we will do a new post about this installation.
Apr 24 2021
As you probably already have heard, we or I lost our helmsman seat overboard last summer.
The helmsman seat was really bad in swimming. We did not manage to get it back onboard as it sunk so quick.
We have tried to find a new to buy but nowhere to be found, not even at Bavaria direct.
It is not really a necessary part of Luna Azzurra but it is quite convenient to have.
Nice when you are relaxing back there or when in a marina with high pontoons. We can place a gangway from this helmsman seat over to the pontoon.
Last summer when we visiting San Remo this was the case and even though it did work without. The slope or angle we had between Luna Azzurra and the pontoon was really big.
So not that comfortable to walk on.
When I was in Loano, February I brought some balsam wood with me. The wood was so I could build a core and cut it in correct dimensions. The result in picture below.
When home again I added a few pieces and grind it so it was even.
Then it was time for adding glassfiber and epoxy on the balsam core. I use West System 105 resin and 209 as hardener. The 209 as hardener I used because it was many years since last time I did something like this and as the 209 harden much slower this gives me more time to work with the mixture.
After two layers of glassfiber and epoxy I was grinding it to get a nicer surface.
After that I added two more layer of glassfiber / epoxy all around the new helmsman seat.
At this stage I am as far that I will only add one layer with epoxy without the glassfiber, then I will grind it with some fine 200 paper to make a nice surface.
The fine surface will be needed so the gelcoat which is coming on top will bond good on the glassfiber.
This will make it look like the rest of Luna Azzurra both in color and feeling.
If everything is going good we will be able to have the seat with us when we visit Luna Azzurra middle of May.
After this visit I hope to be able to show the end result with the helmsman seat in place.
Mar 06 2021
A week ago I was onboard our dear Luna Azzurra.
The reason for the trip was that I had to change some blocks for the sails.
Installing Victron MPPT’s (solar panel chargers) and a BMV-712 smart. The 712 is for monitoring power consumption or charging our batteries. To get this working I had to pull a lot of cables around the boat. Everyone who have a boat, knows very well that this can be a challenge. As the room is tight and to get the cables trough from compartment to compartment is tricky. That is one reason why no post came out last week. Was to occupied with jobs onboard (sorry for this).
On Thursday the 25th RS-INOX who produced our new solar arch came onboard in order to mount it . We never worked with this company before, both Diana and I were a little nervous how it should fit etc. When they arrived I could see directly that they knew what they were doing. The audience from the bird families agreed to that.
After RS-INOX had lifted the arch onboard. It was fitting on the millimeter as it should. My worries were definitely gone.
Diana was also watching from home via the webcam and sent WhatsApp after WhatsApp asking how it was going. It was quite nice to tell her that this is not a steel constructing company…. They are artists!
The end result was as a Rolls Royce of solar pannel / dinghy arch.
The day after I mounted 5 monocristal solar panels from Victron Energy with the effect of 115 Wh / panel. Now we will have 575 Wh of power production to our batteries. So we will not be forced to run the engine anymore when laying for anchor to keep some power in our batteries.
The panels are not yet connected as I need to install a fuse box between the panels and the MPPT’s. When I left for Italy I had not received this fuse box yet. This will be done during eastern when we plan our next trip to Luna Azzurra.
Now we can charge our batteries and we can as well hoist our dinghy on the arch. Finally getting rid of the dinghy on deck which will be much easier to use it in the future.
We had as well a company on board who is doing upholstery for boats. As our upholstery is 16 years of age it is time to change. Now we are waiting for a quotation from them. Later we can take the decision if we change the upholstery before or after the summer season (or this year at all). When we change, we want to have a alcantara-like fabric. Because it has a wonderful feeling, is robust and not so sensitive with stains.
Let’s see what the future tells.
I attach among with the pictures a video of the installation of the arch and how it looks after the panels are mounted. We are really proud of it!
The day after the whole marine talked about Luna Azzurra and how good and clean RS-INOX worked and the beautiful result it ended up with.
Feb 14 2021
Last week I had to travel down to Italy for a inspection of a system.
There was some strange happening with this system and no one understand why. I drove more to double check everything and come with a second opinion.
The travel was planned to start approximately 13:30 after picking up a service car from the company. As I had a meeting planned in before I could not leave earlier.
In the end I could not leave before 15:15 do to some missing parts which have to be shipped before I left.
Anyhow away I came and it was not to bad weather during the drive. Up north it came a little rain but as soon as I arrived to Valley of Rhein it dried up and the sun came forward.
When arriving the border I was a little nervous if it should work out good. As I was invited as an expert no Corona test should be needed. But in the end you never know.
As invited by our subsidiary in Italy I should be allowed to pass the border and be in Italy for up to 120 hours (5 Days). When arriving the custom no one want to see anything so everything went good. I arrived the hotel 18:45, checked in took a shower and then went down for dinner. I must say the food in Lombardi was not my favorit of the Italien cousin. As I found out they obviously love saffran there. I could not fine any food without it. As you might understand saffran in a dinner is not my favourite. I was thinking… I have one more evening with this food in from of me OMG.
The day after I was picked up at the hotel in the morning and we went to site where the system is. This is between Turate and Varese which is just north of Milano. It was a steel and pipe factory. In the end everything seems to work just fine.
The only I could find that it can be a bad engine or a bad distribution of the exhaust gases. A few catalytic elements was taken out and is un its way to our main office for analyse. After this we will no better.
But for now not much to do.
Thursday morning 07:30 I loaded my gear in the car and headed home. Was ice on the car windows in Milano and there was some warning that I could expect snow during my drive home.
The weather when I left was blue sky and sunny. everything went just fine until I came down from the alps. From there it came some snow flakes. But it was only for 10 – 20 km after that it was grey but an Ok road back home.
Dec 24 2020
Dec 20 2020
As I was needed to use up the rest of my holiday days and lower the amount of compensation hours I have. I needed to take 3 weeks off. As sitting home would be boring I decided to drive down to Marina di Loano and do some new installations onboard our dear Luna Azzurra.
So I departed from home Saturday the 12th of December around 9:00 in the morning. I did a first stop at the bakery close by to purchase a bread for a few days and a sandwich for my drive down.
It was a nice day. OK a little cloudy and some drops of rain when I left. But the weather improved as closer to the alps I came. When I was on the top it was good. Some snow beside the road though.
I arrived Loano approximately 14:30. This was a new record for the drive down. Was not much of cars on the road at all. Don’t know if this might be a covid reason. Nowadays to be allowed to enter Italy you must do a covid quick test, fill in a travel form. This to be emailed to the local health authorities in Ligurian before enter.
I did my covid test on the Friday the 11th as the test was not allowed to be older than 48 hours when arriving Italy.
The main idea why I drove down was to finally install the chain-counter for the anchor winch. As well to install the new VHF radio we bought a few months back and to mount a boom break so we do not need to mount preventer lines when we are downwind sailing for longer distances. Then of course some additional small checks for parts which are needed to be changed (blocks and UV protection for the mainsail).
On top of this some other planned investments to check measurements and places to install them. (Inverter, water maker and measurements for and solar-panel/ dingy arch in the aft etc.).
Number one priority was the chain-counter which I started to install Sunday. I thought this would take a day only but as wrong I was. When Looking at the wiring diagrams for the remote control it would not a big deal….. OK that was before I realised that the guy who had done the color code for the cabled to the remote control was color blind. In the end it took me 3 days to install the remote and get it up running/ counting. There was not one wire which had the correct color code.
When doing this job I realised that the quality of electric installations done by Bavaria yacht is a catastrophe. No connection boxes, all cables was only hanging loose. Will be the new projects to install proper connection boxes everywhere in the boat as it is the same for all cabling installed onboard.
After the chain-counter and its control was installed and working. It was time for the VHF radio. For this I only needed to remove the old cut up a bigger hole where it is mounted. When done it was only to connect the antennas (radio and gps) then connect power. After this start it up, install the MMSI number and on it was. A radio test was done after this I let the radio run for the rest of the day. This to hear the quality of the sound when other boats was talking to each others. The new radio have a really clear sound compared to the old one.
Next project was to check that the AIS sending our position to other boats too. We new before that we received positions for boats around us. But I wanted to make sure we sending our position too.
To check this I had to connect my computer to the AIS unit and do a control that our unit really transmitting our position. That it was working I could see after a few minutes.
With these two projects the most important tasks was done. Then it was time for going through parts on the rigging which needs to be planned in for an exchange before the summer 2021. We knew that we must change the UV protection on the mainsail. I went over to Balbi yachting where we normally purchase parts when we are onboard. This to ask if they have a name and address to someone doing this kind of work.
To my happy surprise Francesco and Alberto the owners told me that they are doing service on sails. As well that they could dismantle the sails for me. Then clean and service them change uv protection and take them onboard again. We will ask them to do this, will only need to inform Matteo our care taker first so he knows that they will be onboard. Plus so he don’t get a chock when he sees that the sails are gone.
When talking to Francesco and Alberto I also asked if they knew a company who could produce our dearly missed arch. On this arch we will install solar-panels plus to be able to hoist our dingy. They did not know anyone but told me that they would ask around. Two hours later Alberto came to Luna Azzurra and gave me a name of a producer and a boat in the marina who have one mounted. I went over and looked on it and it is exactly what we want.
Manufactured in France close to Marseille. Diana contacted them and within a few hours she received a quote. Look promising so far.
With solar-panels we don’t need to run the engine to charge our batteries. We can more easily lower the dingy in the water and drive ashore when laying at anchor.
So left was to take some pictures of parts needed to be changed and for places where it would be possible to install parts needed for improvement of Luna Azzurra.
Last evening I received a phone call from Diana.
She have had a flooding in the kitchen at home destroying the floor and some of the kitchen cabinets.
Most probably 400 – 500 liter of water was covering the floors before Diana managed to stop it.
When this happened the water was flooding the basement and destroyed the fuse box. So now we have industry dryers running in the kitchen and in the cellar.
More about this will be another post.
Nov 29 2020
When I am writing this post I am back home again after my work trip to Tucson, Arizona.
We have had a good stay and the work went really good even better than expected. We did not think we would find a solution when we visit this power plant. More that we would collect data which could be analysed when home again.
But when we did all the measurements we decided to test a thing or two. which those tests we managed to solve the problem. At least for now. Some modifications will need to be done to make everything better but with the work around we did it made a huge difference.
So we can say the trip paid itself off and was worth it.
We had one more Sunday off in Tucson. This became more of a cleaning day. After the cleaning was done a lazy day at the pool looking at hummingbirds and in from of the television looking at movies on Netflix.
The trip home could be changed as we where more or less finished so instead of travel home on the 2nd of December we could rebook for the 26th of November.
This time there was much more people travelling which surprised me. After all warnings which was told on all the news in USA. Stay home during Thanksgiving weekend. This to avoid spreading the corona virus. Seems like many did not care at all.
There was still was less people on the airports than during normal times. The flights was quite full though. Specially the short distance flight between Tucson – San Francisco and between Frankfurt – Zurich.
I did arrive good in Zurich late Friday afternoon and took the train from the Zurich airport to Frauenfeld. The train was empty at least so no problem finding a seat as it is normally.
Saturday it was a lazy day. Only to hang up all Christmas lights etc. after that only enjoying the time and a good diner which Diana prepared. After this watching a film or two before bed.
I wish you all a good 1st of advent. Cheers 🍻