One of the items we purchased this offseason was a new VHF radio. Pegu Club had an old working radio (plus we have two handheld VHFs), but technology has greatly improved since it was installed an unknown number of years ago. We decided to purchase a Standard Horizon GX2200 primarily because we’ve been pleased with our Standard Horizon handhelds, and this model has a built-in AIS receiver along with DSC and GPS.
One of the many things that I find appealing about cutting the dock lines is the challenge of living off the grid. Pegu Club will be our full-time floating home, and since we’re planning on being at anchor 99% of the time we needed to figure out what to do about electricity.
While the simplicity of not having any electrics on the boat is appealing, even I can’t go that far. We’ll want to recharge the iPad and the music player. We prefer a chartplotter with paper charts as a backup vs. paper charts and a sextant. The Nature’s Head works best with a small computer fan for venting. Clearly, we need and want electricity, but how much is enough and how should we get it?
One of the projects we’ve wanted to tackle this off-season is the wiring on Pegu Club. The plan was to replace all the wiring and upgrade the original panel which had fuses, to a breaker panel. We were originally going to do this before we went on vacation in September, but then thought better of it and decided to wait until we weren’t pressed for time. Smart choice.
Electrical work is our achilles heel – well, that and engine work. We don’t know much about it, and although we have plenty of reference materials they never seem to answer the exact question that we have. If there was a book called “12 volt Electrical Work for Dummies” it would be too complicated for us. With Pegu Club out of the water, however, there was no time like the present.
The first thing we did (after disconnecting the batteries of course – we may not know much, but we have some common sense) was to remove the old panel and cut the wires off of it. We labeled them as we cut them (see, there’s that common sense thing again), and noticed that we had more positive wires than negatives which didn’t make any sense to us. We weren’t surprised, however, given the comment Mike (one of our Shenny friends) had when he saw how Pegu Club was wired. Mike knows all things electric inside and out. When we showed him the back of our old panel and asked for some tips, his first comment was, “Oh my god.” Yes, this was going to go well. We decided to worry about the positive and negative wire count later, and pressed on.
With the exception of our weekend in Annapolis we’ve been heading down to Branford each weekend hoping to take care of some projects before the really cold weather sets in. Things are going well, giving me hope that we may be able to avoid working on Pegu Club in January and February. Dare to dream!
So far we’ve been able to glass in another thruhull and we’ve also been diligently working on our electrics. Because we like to keep things simple, working on the electrics hasn’t been too bad (well, except for the fact that we don’t know much about electrical work). Pegu Club is a strictly 12 volt system, and with the exception of engine-related items, the only other wiring she has is for running lights, interior lights, mast lights, instruments, a cigarette lighter charter, our Nature’s Head fan, the bilge pump, and the VHF.
The plan was to remove the old wiring and replace it with new, and also get rid of our circa 1977 fuse panel so we could install a new 12V breaker panel. The cigarette lighter looked like a fire hazard, and we are replacing our VHF with one that has an AIS receiver, so it was easy enough to pull out that wiring. Our old instruments also went because we’ve upgraded to the B&G all-in-one display. So far so good. Now it was time to pull out the wires for the interior lights and the running lights. Hold on there, skippy. Not so much. Continue reading “Chipping away at projects.”
Our goal this past weekend was to install the last cleat and the bow and stern pulpits. Since this would officially mark the end of this off-season’s rebedding project, we were excited to get to it.
We thought that the bow pulpit would be a challenge because it “sprang” out when we removed it, but fortunately the whole project went fairly smoothly. Rebedding the stern pulpit and the cleat meant that I had to climb back into “The Pit of Despair” (yes, it’s a Princess Bride reference), aka the rear lazarette, but it was a price I was glad to pay to finally finish rebedding for the season. A few quick hours later, we were done. Hooray!
With the rebedding finished for this year, we were able to enthusiastically turn our attention to new projects. Tracing and removing abandoned wiring sounded good, so Jeff got started removing most of the wiring for the shore power.