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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: July 25 2012 at 13:12 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Emory,

Subject: Shaft Packig Size

My shaft packing is 1/2".  Based on some drawings I obtained I thought it was 1/4".  But when I opened up the gland I found it was actually 1/2".  I bought the Duramax Ultra-X from Hamilton Marine.  It's supposed to be the best stuff on the market.

Pete37, 7/25/12



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eshover
"Deckhand"




Joined: July 02 2011
Posts: 205
Posted: July 26 2012 at 09:10 | IP Logged Quote eshover

Any recollection of the length ordered? And does it require 3
or 4 wraps?

Thanks!
Emory

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1986 Connie 500
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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: July 26 2012 at 12:47 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Emory,

Subject: Length of Packing

The diameter of the shaft is 2.5” and the packing is 0.5”.  Therefore, when the packing is wrapped around the shaft, the diameter of the centerline of the packing will be 3”.  And the circumference will be Pi times that or 3.14 x 2.5 = 7.85”.  I think the depth of the hole the packing goes into is 4” so the number of wraps required would be 4”/0.5” = 8.  So the total length required per shaft would be 7.85” x 8 = 62.8”.  Hamilton Marine says 5 feet of ½” packing weighs 1 lb.  I bought 1 lb. @ $62.99 so I have only 60” and theoretically need 62.8”.  So theoretically, if the depth is 4”, I’m 2.8” short.  But I’m not sure of the exact depth.

When I first tried to pack my port shaft, I found that the previous owner had put in only one wrap of ½” PTFE packing over the previous flax packing.  Apparently he wasn’t able to get all the old flax packing out.  And when I tried to remove the flax packing I found out why he put in only one wrap.  There isn’t enough clearance to get any straight shaft screw driver into the space between the stuffing box and the shaft.  You can’t pull the gland back far enough to go straight in.

I have one of those corkscrew-on-a-spring type packing remover tools but it doesn’t work worth a damn.  I’m going to have to fabricate a custom made packing remover.  So, in the meantime, I’ve just put in one wrap of the Ultra-X.  I’ll probably need to buy more packing anyway for the starboard shaft but if I can only get in a few wraps per shaft then the 60” of Ultra-X may be plenty.

If you have better success than I in getting the old flax packing out please let me know what your trick is.

Pete37, 7/26/2012



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Pete37
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Posted: July 28 2012 at 20:41 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All,

Subject: Survival of the Fittest

I was reading some statistics on current registration of yachts in the U.S. and found that there are about 80,000 registered yachts 40 feet or longer in length.  And a little later I was on Yachtworld and checked how many yachts of that length were for sale:  There were about 50,000 yachts for sale that were 40 feet or longer in length.  That means that 50,000/80,000 = 0.625 (62.5%) of all yachts 40 feet or longer are presently for sale.  It sort of gives you an idea of how severely this recession has affected yacht sales.

Of course that’s just an average yacht in that length range.  I began to wonder what the statistics were for Connies.  I’ve been keeping track of Connie sales on Yachtworld since 2002 so I have records of how many times and when nearly all the Connies have been sold or put up for sale.  So I took a sample of 20 Connies from my records and found that 13 had been put up for sale or sold since the beginning of 2008.  Coincidentally that’s 65%; very close to the statistics for all yachts 40 feet or longer.  So Connies seem to be following the same rules as the other yachts.

Of course the main reason people sell their yachts is that they are too expensive to maintain.  This recession has stretched the finances of many Connie owners and drastically accelerated the rate at which they sell their Connies.  Prior to the recession the average owner kept his Connie for about 6 years.  That includes the time he actually used it plus the time he had it up for sale.  So, on the average, he used it for 2.4 years and had it up for sale for 3.6 years.  To be charitable we’ll say he used it for three years and had it for sale for three years.  Now, due to the recession, the length of time an owner keeps his Connie as dropped drastically; probably to a little as four years.  Many owners are selling their Connies before they even get used to them.

I think that now, due to the drastically reduced prices; a lot of people are buying Connies.  But after only a year (when they have found out how much it costs to maintain one) they are putting their Connies back on the market.  The only ones who seem to be able to survive are either the rich or those who do most of their own maintenance.

Pete37, 7/28/2012



Edited by Pete37 on July 28 2012 at 20:45


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Pete37
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Posted: July 30 2012 at 11:21 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All,

Subject:  Thermostatically Controlled Engine Room Blowers

It’s been a very hot summer and when the engines have been run their heat makes the boat even hotter.  Chris Craft took care of that by installing a thermostatically controlled engine room blower.  I think, but am not sure this was a standard item.  It isn’t listed as an option in the 1987 price schedules but, on the other hand, it isn’t mentioned as standard equipment either.

The blower is AC powered and a breaker for it appears on Panel 3 of the AC Power Panel.  I found that breaker and turned it on but the blower didn’t start.  The engines had been run and the engine room was extremely hot so it should have come on.  So I assumed there had to be a problem in the wiring to the motor.  Fan motors are pretty reliable and rarely go out.

I traced the wires from the motor to the AC Power Panel and found that they go along the engine room ceiling to the bottom of the AC Power Panel.  About two feet from the Panel there is a small electrical box with a temperature probe sticking out of it.  This must be the thermostatic control.  It’s too hot to work on that box now so for now I’ll just remove the box and hard wire the motor to the circuit breaker.  This will give me a way of manually turning the fan on and off.  If the motor still doesn’t start then it’s a bad motor and I’ll replace it.

If the motor is OK then during the next couple months I’ll look for a replacement thermostat and in October (when the engine room is cool) I’ll install the new thermostat.

I know the thermostat worked when I bought the boat but I’m not sure when it quit working.  I hadn’t worried much about it but with this summer’s extreme heat I said to myself; "Wouldn’t it be nice to turn on the engine room blower to cool down the engines?"

I’ll bet that a lot of you have forgotten that you have a thermostatically controlled engine room blower and suspect that on a lot of your Connies it no longer works.  Check it out.

Pete37, 7/30/2012



Edited by Pete37 on July 30 2012 at 11:27


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Pete37
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Posted: July 31 2012 at 00:34 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All,

Subject:  My New $2600 Set of Venetian Blinds

The venetian blinds in my lower salon are shot.  The ladder strings have rotted, the slats are drooping and there is a considerable amount of rust.  I’ve investigated restringing them but can’t find anyone who will do it at a reasonable price.  The lower salon blinds were an extra cost option back in 1987 and cost about $1300.  The upper salon blinds cost about $1400.  Fortunately the upper salon blinds are still in pretty good shape.

Inflation has had its way with most items and today most $1300 items would cost $2630.  I estimated that using an Inflation Calculator I found on the web.  So I was expecting a fairly substantial bill when I started my search for replacements of the lower salon venetian blinds.

But I found an almost exact replacement for $280 at Home Depot; only about 1/10th of the expected price.  They are so close to the original that I can probably use the original mounting clamps without even moving them.  It shows that Chris Craft really ripped us off on a lot of the optional extras.

Incidentally, the list price of a 1987 Connie was about $416K and with a normal number of options it was close to $500K.  Today that would be equivalent to about $1M.

Pete37, 7/31/2012



Edited by Pete37 on July 31 2012 at 00:36


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DMark
"Deckhand"




Joined: July 03 2007
Posts: 131
Posted: August 12 2012 at 13:37 | IP Logged Quote DMark

Gentlemen,

I need to replace an anchor switch on the bow. One of
the "raise" or "lower" switches. Anyone have a lead on
where I can find one?

M

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"NANCY CAROLYN" ('86, CC500)
Home Port - Four Seasons Yacht Club, Cincinnati, OH; Wintering at Washington Marine.
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eshover
"Deckhand"




Joined: July 02 2011
Posts: 205
Posted: August 12 2012 at 14:22 | IP Logged Quote eshover

Mark,
I have replaced mine a few times over the last decade.
They are readily available from West Marine, Defender,
etc. Page 418 West Marine 2012 catalog; M-608, Model
270884. (Made by Cole-Hersee). You do not need to buy
the entire foot switch which is shown on the windlass
pages.

The replacement (if you haven't taken it apart) is a simple
momentary push-button type switch which is coated in
plastic, which by the the way, does little good to keep them
from corroding internally and not working. It will help a lot
if you if you spray them liberally with an electrical silicone
type spray coating to keep moisture out of the slide
portion.

Just an FYI: I found a company in England that makes a
wireless remote that works wonderfully on my windlass
(which is an Ideal). My wife loves it! I liked it well enough
that I ordered an extra remote for the flybridge.
http://www.coastlinetechnology.com/

This is an affordable upgrade that will take the stress out of
anchoring. I installed it easily.

Good luck!
Emory

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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: August 12 2012 at 19:54 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Mark,

The deck switches are, as Emory says, readily available from West Marine, etc.  My switches are the original foot switches installed by Chris Craft and are the same as West Marine shows on page 224 (289365).  They cost $73. 

They are not the 270884 Emory mentions.  Emory's switches are less expensive.  However, there's no reason to ever replace one of the 289365 type switches.  Simply remove the switch, disassemble it and scrape out the corrosion.  Then reassemble and replace it.  It should work for most of a year.  Don't know whether you can do that with a 270884.

It's not a final solution.  It will corrode again.  But a new one will corrode too.  I've been cleaning the switches for 17 years and do it every year.  Figure it's just part of your boat's spring maintenance.  It only takes about 15 minutes per switch.

They claim that all these switches are waterproof but my experience has been that none of them are.

Pete37, 8/12/2012



Edited by Pete37 on August 12 2012 at 20:33


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DMark
"Deckhand"




Joined: July 03 2007
Posts: 131
Posted: August 12 2012 at 21:22 | IP Logged Quote DMark

I have an Ideal windlass. The following link takes you to
their page and the type of switch I need. It appears to be
pretty well sealed. But, I'm guessing that its really not that
great, as Pete indicates.

First off, are these switches the same as yours? And, Pete
do you think this can be disassembled and cleaned?

Ideal
Windlass Link to Controls


Edited by DMark on August 12 2012 at 21:24


__________________
Mark & Nancy Dawes
"NANCY CAROLYN" ('86, CC500)
Home Port - Four Seasons Yacht Club, Cincinnati, OH; Wintering at Washington Marine.
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Pete37
"Commander"




Joined: November 12 2006
Posts: 2317
Posted: August 13 2012 at 00:25 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Mark,

Subject:  Foot Switches

No these are definitely different switches.  Yours are 3.5" in diameter and mine are 4" in diameter. You might be able to disassemble and clean yours but I can't be sure.  The feature which makes my switches easy to clean is that the contacts are large washers a couple inches in diameter made of heavy bronze.  The contact area is therefore quite large and since the all the metallic parts of the switch are made of bronze there is no electrolysis between dissimilar metals.  The switch has a hard Bakellite type plastic case and is sealed with heavy rubber washers but water still eventually gets in.

I like these switches because while they do get crudded up after a time they usually last most of a year between cleanings and being able to easily clean them rather than replace them saves a lot of bucks.

I did  a little checking and found out that while my switches are sold by West Marine (and others) they were made by Maxwell.   Not particularly surprising since I have a Maxwell anchor windlass. With a little shopping you can find them for under $50, Unfortunately, I don't have a drawing that shows how they work..

Pete37, 8/13/12



Edited by Pete37 on August 13 2012 at 01:07


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Pete37
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Posted: August 20 2012 at 14:49 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All,

Subject: Prices of Connies

Every so often I check the prices of Connies.  I did my most recent check a few days ago.  It was depressing.  Prices have dropped from the prices in May.  I used Yachtworld as my source of prices.  It’s the largest brokerage site in existence and gives a pretty good idea of what the current prices are.  They have about 50,000 yachts over 40’ for sale in their listings.

I did a search for each of the three types of Connies (460s, 500s and 501s).  I didn’t check the 420s (produced only in 1986) since they are so rare.  I’ll discuss the results by type in the paragraphs below.

Constellation 460s

There were only five 460’s for sale.  That’s a pretty small sample but the prices were in line with what I have seen in previous check on Yachtworld.  Of the five two were at ridiculously high prices.  I excluded them from the sample.  There are always owners who are totally out of touch with reality.  That left me with three; ranging from $80K to $150K with an average of $107K.  One 460 at $89K had a sale pending.  The highest priced 460 will probably take years to sell.

In today’s depressed “buyer’s market” bids will normally be about 80% to 90% of the asking price with the trend towards 80%.  But let’s not be too pessimistic and assume 85%.  And then you have to add on the 10% broker’s fee so you only net about ¾ (75%) of the asking price.  For the average $107K 460 you therefore net about $80K.

I checked the NADA price guides to find out what the actual selling prices were.  The range was from $79K to $89K with the average amount of accessories.  Average was based upon what I have on my Connie, which is pretty well equipped.  Net sale proceeds after the 10% broker’s fee would be $71K to $80K.  Average proceeds would be about $76K.  That’s only $4k less than the estimate made from Yachtworld data.

Constellation 500s

There were seventeen 500’s for sale.  That’s enough for a pretty accurate price estimate.  Of the seventeen two were at ridiculously high prices.  I excluded them from the sample.  As pointed out under the 460 discussion, there are always owners who are totally out of touch with reality.  That left me with fifteen; ranging from $115K to $225K with an average of $170K. 

In today’s depressed “buyer’s market” bids will normally be about 80% to 90% of the asking price with the trend towards 80%.  But let’s not be too pessimistic and assume 85%.  As previously stated under the 460 discussion due to buyer’s bids and broker’s fees you can realistically only expect to net about 75% of the asking price.  For the average $170K 500 you therefore net about $128K.

I checked the NADA price guides to find out what the actual selling prices were.  The range was from $120K to $135K with the average amount of accessories.  Average was based upon what I have on my Connie, which is pretty well equipped.  Net sale proceeds after the 10% broker’s fee would be $108K to $135K.  Average proceeds would be about $122K.  That’s only $6K less than the estimate made from Yachtworld data.

Constellation 501s

There were only seven 501’s for sale.  That’s enough for a moderately accurate price estimate but I would like to have more.  Of the seven two were at ridiculously high prices.  I excluded them from the sample.  As pointed out under the 460 discussion, there are always owners who are totally out of touch with reality.  That left me with five; ranging from $99K to $190K with an average of $153K. 

In today’s depressed “buyer’s market” bids will normally be about 80% to 90% of the asking price with the trend towards 80%.  But let’s not be too pessimistic and assume 85%.  As previously stated under the 460 discussion due to buyer’s bids and broker’s fees you can realistically only expect to net about 75% of the asking price.  For the average $153K 501 you therefore net about $115K.

I checked the NADA price guides to find out what the actual selling prices were.  The range was from $118K to $132K with the average amount of accessories.  Average was based upon what I have on my Connie, which is pretty well equipped.  Net sale proceeds after the 10% broker’s fee would be $97K to $122K.  Average proceeds would be about $110K.  That’s only $5K less than the estimate made from Yachtworld data.

Discussion

The most surprising thing about these results is that 501s are now selling for less than 500s.  Both the Yachtworld and NADA estimates show that 501s are now selling for only about 90% of the price of a 500.  When I bought my Connie 500 in 1994 the average price was about $280K.  Connie 501s were going for about $340K; $60K more.  So 501s were selling for about 121% of the price of a 500.  Why the 30% drop in the value of a 501 relative to a 500?

As a houseboat, the 501 is superior.  Its accommodations are more spacious and comfortable than the 500’s.  That’s not to say that say that the 500 is not spacious and comfortable.  It’s just to say that the 501 is more spacious and comfortable.  And the 501 has a stand up engine room; a real plus for anyone who does their own maintenance.  And many 501s have the Whaler/Davit option (a $20K add on) which ought to make them more valuable.  So physically, from a houseboat standpoint, the 501 is a superior yacht and should cost more.  But it doesn’t and with time its value with respect to a 500 continues to decline.

Engines and equipment are about the same in a 501 as in a 500 so they aren’t the reason for the difference in value.  From an appearance standpoint, the 500 is sleeker than a 501.  The 501 is boxier than the 500.  But I don’t think the superior external appearance factor of the 500 would outweigh the superior internal accommodation factor of the 501.  So that isn’t the reason for the price difference.

My conclusion, based upon numerous emails with owners and former owners of 501s, is that the 501 has an alarming tendency to roll its guts out.  That is not to say that the 500 doesn’t roll too.  It rolls too and much more vigorously than the Ocean Yachts I have owned in the past.  Every owner has his tolerance level for rolling but it is usually not his tolerance that counts.  It is his wife’s tolerance for rolling that prompts the decision to sell their 501. 

Why does the 501 roll so much?  To understand that, you have to look at the history of the Connie.  The Connie started out as a 46’ boat with a beam of 15’ 3” and a displacement of 50,000 lbs. In 1985 it jumped to a 50’ boat with a displacement of 54,000 lbs.  To keep the same stability the beam should have been increased to 16’7”.  But it wasn’t so it rolled a bit more.  Then in 1987 the 501 was created out of the 500 by raising the lower salon by 4’ to give a stand up engine room.  Everything above the lower salon also had to be raised by 4’ thereby raising the center of gravity considerably.  So she rolled a bit more.  And the thickness of the hull was decreased causing a reduction of the weight of about 5,000 lbs.  This further increased the height of the center of gravity by a couple of feet.  So she rolled a bit more.  Then came the coup de grace.  Someone decided that a 13’ Whaler mounted on the FB with a 500# davit would be a nice selling point.  Many 501s were equipped that way.  A 13’ Whaler with 40 hp. engine, fuel tank, battery and misc. equipment weighs more than 1000 lbs.  I know I owned one.  With the 500 lb. davit necessary to lift the Whaler, about 1500 lbs. was added to the FB.  And, it was all mounted about 17’ above the waterline.  Now it really rolled.

It seems rather unlikely that a prospective owner would know of a 501s propensity to roll severely.  But apparently the word is out.  I can think of no other reason that the price of 501s is decreasing with respect to 500s.

The Future

Aside from the 501s decreasing prices, the values of all Connies are rapidly dropping.  And the prices will continue to drop until this depression is over.  Our politicians don’t like us to use the “depression” word but I think it’s becoming more realistic than the euphemism “recession”.

In this situation, I think the wise approach is to fix (where possible) the systems on our Connies as they break rather than to replace them.  New replacements (with the exception of engines) add almost nothing to the sale value of our Connies.  And if this depression worsens, many of us may be trying to sell our Connies.  Many of us are already trying to sell.

Pete37, 8/20/2012



Edited by Pete37 on August 20 2012 at 18:41


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Pete37
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Posted: September 02 2012 at 12:38 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All,

Subject:  North Channel to Kent Island Narrows

Some of you may remember that I posted about the fact that the channel from the Chester River to my mariina located in the Kent Island Narrows had silted in and was blocked.  I was therefore unable to go north from the Narrows.  This shut off nearly half of the places Arlene and I liked to cruise to.  Fortunately the south channel was still open so we weren't completely landlocked.  But we're getting very bored with the southern destinations.

One of my jobs for the summer was to get the north channel open again.  That doesn't mean going out there with a shovel and digging it out myself.  The solution was to persuade the government (local, state and federal) to come up with the bucks to dredge the channel.

Lots of phone calls, emails and letters to dozens of people in the various government agencies ensued.  I'm happy to report that the campaign was successful and that dredging of the channel will begin in October.  The new channel should be ready for the spring.  At a cost of over $700,000 that was the largest job I Iundertook this year.  It looks like I can continue to keep my Connie at Piney Narrows Yacht Haven in the Kent Island Narrows.

Now back to the important things like fixing the switch on my anchor windlass.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on September 02 2012 at 12:42


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Pete37
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Posted: September 02 2012 at 14:40 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All,

Subject: Windlass Foot Switches

A few days ago we had a couple of posts on replacing the deck foot switches that control our anchor windlasses.  Unfortunately, everyone seems to have a different brand of windlass and therefore uses different switches.

I mentioned that my foot switches, made by Maxwell, can be removed and cleaned when the go bad rather than replacing them.  I’ve cleaned them dozens of times during the 17 years I’ve owned my Connie.  Cleaning takes only about 15 minutes and requires only a small Phillips screwdriver and a pen knife.

Coincidentally, I went out on the bow a few days ago and pushed the foot switch to raise the anchor.  Nothing happened.  So I removed and disassembled it.  It’s shown in the picture below:

 

It’s pretty simple and consists of a hold down ring (on the left), a rubber cover gasket (shown in the center), three switch parts (spring, plunger and washer) shown in the center at the top and the switch proper (shown on the right).

The switch proper consists of two parts; the faceplate (shown above) and the rear contact plate.  The rear contact plate is shown below:

 

As you can see it has two (rather corroded) metal contacts.  When you press down on the rubber cover gasket, that presses down on the plunger which in turn forces the washer down onto the two contacts thereby applying power to the windlass.  The spring is used to pull the washer away from the contacts when you stop pressing the switch thereby opening the switch.

The only thing that is required for the switch to work is that the washer and two contacts must be reasonably free of corrosion.  They are brass so they don’t rust.  Five minutes with a dull pen knife and/or some bronze wool will clean up the washer and contacts so that a corroded switch will work again.

This switch (as shown in the photo) was pretty corroded but was still working.  The reason that the windlass didn’t operate was not the switch but a blown fuse.  After cleaning, reassembling and reinstalling the switch I found out that it wasn’t the problem and traced the failure to the blown fuse.

My windlass was protected by two devices; a 50 amp circuit breaker in the anchor locker and a 100 amp ANL fuse located on the Ship’s Service Fuse Panel in the engine room.  I’ve had three 100 amp fuses blow but the 50 amp breaker has never tripped.  The reason the 100 amp ANL fuse blows before the 50 amp breaker is that the fuse has a very rapid response while the breaker has a slow response.  So the fuse blows before the breaker has a chance to respond.

I solved the problem by replacing the 100 amp ANL fuse with a 100 amp circuit breaker.  Since this circuit breaker has about the same response time as the 50 amp circuit breaker in the anchor locker the 50 amp breaker will trip before the 100 amp breaker.  It was an expensive solution (about $80) but I’ve already burned out 3 fuses at about $18 each (total $54) and future blown fuses were certain to occur if I continued to just replace blown fuses.  The moral of the story is “Don’t use circuit breakers and fuses on the same circuit”.

For those of you who don’t have Maxwell windlasses it probably isn’t worth the trouble and cost of installing the Maxwell foot switches.  They cost $73 each and probably will require some modification of your switch mounting arrangements.  But they should work with any windlass with loads of up to 200 amps.

If your present foot switches last five years or more replace them with what you have.  But if they fail every couple years the Maxwell switch may be a more economical solution.

Pete37, 9/02/2011



Edited by Pete37 on September 02 2012 at 14:43


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Posted: September 05 2012 at 23:45 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All,

Subject: Stereo System

Way back on September 15, 2008 (nearly four years ago) I made a post about the stereo system that came with my Connie.  It’s located in a cabinet just forward of the AC power panel on the port side of the lower salon.  After a brief inspection of it I concluded that it was obsolete and not worth fixing.  The only thing of value was the built in wiring system.  I put it way down at the bottom of my “To Do” list.  But I have some spare time now and decided to see what was necessary to upgrade it.  My preliminary estimates indicated I could bring it up to modern standards for less than $200. 

The original electronics were high quality and “good stuff” in their time but that was 1987 and it’s now 2012 (25 years later).  State of the art then was a two deck Philips tape deck and an AM/FM radio receiver with built in amplifiers; both AC powered and made by Technics (a high quality brand).

The first thing I did was to round up all the information I could find on the old stereo system.  I did a check of all my CC drawings and was lucky to find a wiring diagram of the system.  It had eight 6.25” diameter Pioneer TS-1612, 4 ohm, 30 watt speakers in four zones; lower salon, master stateroom, upper salon and flying bridge.  Each zone had two speakers (a left hand and right hand speaker) to provide stereo sound.  All 8 speakers were controlled by a Calrad #25-353 volume control rheostat located on the aft bulkhead of the lower salon.

A little checking showed that one of the speakers in the lower salon and the Calrad rheostat were defective.  I replaced the rheostat ($40) and both speakers in the lower salon.  The TS-1612 speakers were no longer available so I replaced them with Sony XS-GT1627A speakers at about $20 each.  The remainder of the speakers (6) seemed to be OK so for $80 I had a “like new” stereo wiring system.

The AM/FM receiver/amplifier was a Technics SA-590 and the Philips tape deck was a Technics RS-T20 unit.  In spite of being 25 years old, both were in good condition.  So I popped a tape into the deck and had a pretty high quality 60 watt stereo system for a total outlay of only $80.

I could have stopped there but Philips cassettes are kind of obsolescent and the system operates on AC so I have to run the genny to operate the stereo.  The noise of the genny pretty much obviates the possibility of having a pleasant audio experience.  For about $105 more I can replace the Technics SA-590 and RS-T20 with a DC powered Kenwood KDC-352 AM/FM/CD stereo receiver with a peak audio rating of about 50 watts.  So I’ll be able to run the stereo system without any genny background noise.  And the CD based system has much better audio quality than the old Philips cassettes.  Total system overhaul cost is now about $185.

Unfortunately, the KDC-352 can handle only four of the speakers at one time so I’ll have to add a multi-terminal switch to allow me to switch from one zone to another.  Fortunately, there is a switch specifically designed for this purpose.  The Inwalltech SS-4R Speaker Selector Switch at $49 allows any or all of the four speaker zones to be operated simultaneously and provides overload protection at the same time.  This brings the final price of the system up to $234.  This is a bit more than my $200 target but the speaker selector provides greater flexibility in system operation and $234 for a fairly high quality, 50 watt, genny noise free, eight speaker, stereo system is a pretty good deal.

Pete37, 9/05/2012



Edited by Pete37 on September 05 2012 at 23:50


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Posted: November 27 2012 at 11:27 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All,

Subject: Off-Shore Power Systems

Back in 2011 when this forum was active, “off-shore power” was one of the topics which produced the most posts.  “Off-shore power” meant a power system which could be used for extended periods (several days) when the boat was off-shore and had no access to shore power. 

The forum has since dwindled to near oblivion but I’ve continued to work of the problem and think I have a solution.  The large 20 kW Onan generator which most Connies have of course could provide the power without any change to our Connies.  But few owners could tolerate the noise and vibration of a 20 kW generator running 24/7.  And that mode builds up generator hours rather fast.  Further, carbon monoxide fumes could build up while we are asleep so all night operation could be dangerous.  For all of these reasons generator operation 24/7 has been eschewed as a practical solution.

Small auxiliary generators (both gas and diesel) were considered.  Diesel generators, however, were found to be too expensive ($4,000 and up) and still had the noise, vibration and carbon monoxide problems of the Onan generator (although to a lesser degree).  Small gasoline powered generators for a while seemed practical.  They were cheap (less than $1000) and lightweight (less than 60 lbs.) but had the explosion dangers of any gasoline powered device on a boat.  And of course there were still the carbon monoxide and noise problems.

A number of inverter/charger solutions were considered.  In an inverter/charger system a battery bank is charged (using power from the generator) and then (when the batteries are fully charged) the stored battery power is run through an inverter to create AC power.  The problem was that the battery bank would have to be humongous to provide enough power for a full day’s operation with the generator off.

In December of 2011, I pointed out that the day could be subdivided into 3 five hour meal periods (breakfast, lunch and dinner) plus one nine hour sleeping period.  By charging the batteries at the beginning of each period enough energy could be stored to operate (using the stored battery power) for some AC loads for the remainder of the period.

Initially the charging period was assumed to be one hour and that the 400 AH (ampere hour) house battery bank would be used to store the power.  But one hour didn’t supply enough charging to get more than 100 AH of stored power and the house battery bank wasn’t big enough to store more than 100 AH when it’s other DC loads were taken into account.

With only 100 AH to supply the AC loads during the four hours of each meal period the generator was off, the average battery draw could be only 25 amps at 12 volts.  The AC power that could be derived by inverting that power to 120 volts was less than 300 watts.  And when the 140 watts required by the refrigerator/freezer was taken into account the discretionary power was less than 160 watts.  Off-shore living at such low power levels was possible but not very satisfactory.

Since the generator is run for one hour during each five hour meal period all AC power needs (for meal preparation, battery charging, water heating, etc.) can be taken care of during those periods.  The generator has ample power for those tasks so by scheduling your high AC load jobs during generator-on time you can take care of them.  You can even run your air conditioners during those times.

The nine hour sleeping period is obviously much longer but the loads while we are sleeping are minimal.  The only major load (140 watts) is the refrigerator/freezer.  So power for the sleeping period doesn’t seem to be a problem.

This was the situation in February, 2012 when activity on the forum dropped to a trickle.  But since then I’ve continued to work on an off-shore power solution.

More battery power was obviously needed so I abandoned the concept of using the house battery bank and added a new battery bank called the inverter battery bank to my design.  I selected four 6 volt GC2 215 AH golf cart batteries which when hooked up properly provide 430 AH at 12 volts and can be safely discharged to less than 230 AH (53% of full charge).  This gives a battery bank with 200 AH of usable charge.  The largest practical charger I could find was about 100 amps so I increased the charging time to two hours.

Since the generator will now be on two hours of every period the batteries only have to supply power for only three hours of every meal period.  Therefore the average power that can be supplied is (200/3) = 67 amps at 12 volts or about 800 watts when converted to 120 volt AC by an inverter.  Subtracting out the 140 watts for the refrigerator/freezer this leaves 660 watts for discretionary loads.  This isn’t a lot but it’s more than four times the load possible using the house battery bank.  And since the golf cart batteries are deep discharge they can occasionally be discharged to 40% of full charge providing more than 1000 watts for three hours.  My analyses of typical AC loads on a Connie indicate that these (660 and 1000 watt) loads provide a fairly comfortable life style.

My first selection for a system to convert the battery power to AC power was the Magnum ME-2012 Inverter/Charger.  This is a nice system because it seems to incorporate both systems (inverter and charger) into one unit.  However, the AC pass-through capability is only 30 amps per leg.  The main AC panel on a Connie is 50 amps per leg.  So you lose about half the power output capability of the Connie’s main power panel when operating through the inverter.  In addition the ME-2012 requires a rather expensive custom made sub-panel which services only a small fraction of the total circuits on a Connie.  So you get low power and only a small number of circuits when operating off an ME-2012.

I wanted full power and the capability to run all the circuits on the Connie’s main power panel.  Also at $1159 the ME-2012 unit was rather expensive.  And the custom made sub-panel would have probably added another $500 to it for a total cost of almost $1700 (without batteries).  I found it was simpler and cheaper to buy a separate charger and inverter. A 100 amp charger cost $370 and a 3000 watt inverter cost about $350 (total cost about $720).  These were both high quality units (no cheap stuff).  And this approach allowed me to use all of the circuits on the main Connie AC panel at full power without the requirement for a sub-panel.  Total cost saving was almost $1000.

I found the batteries at $180 each or about $720 for four.  Total cost of the system at this point was $1440.  Miscellaneous wires, switches and battery boxes will probably bring the cost up to $1,800 but that’s still the least expensive off-shore power system I’ve seen yet.  And there are practically no modifications needed to the existing electrical system.

The system will provide nearly unlimited (20 kW) AC power for eight hours of the day (while the generator is running).  For the 3 hours of the three meal periods (9 hours total) when the generator is off it will provide an average of up to 1000 watts with peak short term loads of up to 6000 watts (so long as the total is not greater than 3 kWH). For the longer 7 hours of the sleep period when the generator is off it will only provide an average of 425 watts.  But loads during the sleep period are very low.

And during the generator-off periods the system is totally quiet, with no noxious fumes, explosive vapors, vibration or noise.

I’d say this is a pretty good system.  I was planning on building it this fall but I fell and broke a rib which put me out of commission for six weeks.  Now it’s too cold to work on the boat so I guess I’ll start in the spring.

The off-shore power system I described isn’t limited to use on Connies alone.  I’m sort of wondering whether it would be worth producing and selling systems of this type.  There are about 44,000 powerboats and 6,000 sailboats in the US in the 40 to 65 foot length range.  That’s a total of about 50,000 boats.  Most of these boats have generators and therefore could use this type of off-shore power system.  So maybe there’s a market for the system.

A do-it your-yourself system (one without batteries) could probably be built for under $1,000 bucks.  The owner would just add a pair of golf cart batteries to make the system complete or he could use his house battery bank for a while.  Hooking it up is easy (just bolt it down and attach one 120 volt cable to the Connie’s AC power panel).  Using two golf cart batteries he would get a system capable of 400 watts for 3 hours (enough to keep the fridge and a few other items working).  Later he could add a second pair for a full 800 watt system.   It’s also possible to get 1200 watts using six batteries.

Pete37, 11/27/2012

 



Edited by Pete37 on November 27 2012 at 23:32


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Posted: December 15 2012 at 14:15 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All,

Subject: AC Power Without a Generator

I was going through some old (June 1989) clippings from Motor Boating & Sailing and on a page 89 came across an article titled “AC Power Without a Generator” written by Bernard Gladstone in the “Boatkeeper” section of the magazine. The first thing I saw was the diagram below:

This is essentially the same system I described in my recent post on offshore power.  The only major difference is that the Transfer Switch in my system is placed in the line between the generator line and the input terminal to the AC Breaker Panel.  This allows the inverter to be substituted for the generator and also allows all AC branch circuits to be serviced (not just the AC outlets).  Output to the AC Outlets still comes off one the branch circuits but no transfer switch is required between the breaker panel and the AC Outlet bus.  Bernie also added an alternator as an alternative input for charging the batteries which I don’t have but otherwise the systems are nearly identical. 

The alternator is an interesting addition but I don’t think it is essential for my needs.  The Aux. Batteries in Bernie’s diagram are of course replaced by dedicated Inverter Battery Bank batteries in my concept and I have not incorporated a battery switch to select from Alternator, Aux. Battery or Eng. Battery; again, interesting add-ons but not essential.

And all of this was done 24 years ago in 1989 when my Connie was only two years old.  So the idea has been around for a long, long time and I doubt that Bernie was the first person to propose it.

Bernie wrote his column “Boatkeeper” in Motorboating and Sailing (MB&S) for many years and published three books on boat maintenance before retiring in 1987.  But apparently he wrote some articles for MB&S after his retirement.  He died on January 29, 2009.  I have two of his books.  Unfortunately, a lot of the tips in his books are out of date now.  Boating has changed a lot since the 80s.  But there are still jewels which are applicable today mixed in with the old fashioned stuff.  For those of you who don’t have copies of his articles in your attic, you can get his books on the web.

Pete37, 12/15/12



Edited by Pete37 on December 15 2012 at 14:19


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eshover
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Posted: December 16 2012 at 12:23 | IP Logged Quote eshover

Due to a a broken wire in my bonding system, the stainless
steel basket in my sea strainer has deteriorated at the base.
Anyone have a knowledge of where I can purchase a new
one? I'm sure they're not cheap. I'm posting here first
because I'm lazy. Will google next to see what I can come up
with. No sure who made the large strainers on the
460/500/501's.   I believe the diesel powered 480 Catalinas
have the same strainers as well.

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Posted: December 16 2012 at 12:49 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Emory,

The engine thru-hull strainers were made by GROCO.  They happen to be here on Kent Island in Stevensville, MD.  If I remember correctly they are Model SD-2000 units.  You can call them at 410-604-3800. Their web site is www.groco.net.  You can see pictures of their products there.  They also have a free catalog which is a handy thing to have around since many of the parts on a Connie were made by GROCO.

Somewhere in my files I have the exact model but my wife is bugging me right now so I'll have to get back to you in a little while.  The simplest and most accurate way of getting a replacement is to just take your old stainless steel basket over to them and get a replacement. They're easy people to get along with.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on December 16 2012 at 12:59


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Posted: December 16 2012 at 13:04 | IP Logged Quote eshover

Thanks Pete. Yes, I do recall them being GROCO.   I am
hoping to go Naptown tomorrow and visit the boat. I will
remove the strainer and take it to them to see what the cost is
to rebuild vs new.   However, if you have access to the model
number sometime between today and tomorrow (I receive
email via cell phone), I will have a little more info to work
with. A phone call is always better than driving over the
bridge!

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diveryates
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Posted: December 16 2012 at 18:03 | IP Logged Quote diveryates

Pete 37,

Interesting piece on AC power without Generator power. I'm hoping technology will allow for usable AC power on our Catalina 280 with no generator. What with next generation-batteries coming down the pipe, continued improvments in inverter/charger units, regulated, hi-output altenators and so forth. In SanFrancisco, all we really need is AC Referigerator/freezer, water heater, blender, Microwave.

Your point on the pace of change is well taken. Technilogy is galloping along at breakneck speed. I'm waiting till inexpensive, bullet proof, plug n play systems come to town. I've noticed a lot of relevent technology gets updated on RV's 1st, then moved aboard.  For example: technilogies using Multi function displays (MFDs) now create stand alone, modular, integrated radar, GPS, AIS, depthsounding, forward sonar, night vision, Cellphone, VHF, hailer, vessel systems monitoing/integraty that are albeit still glitchy, being installed on newer boats.

Same thing is coming for communication/data connectivity. Eventually, there is talk about that dish alignment will become unnecessary...a game changer.

Again, great read on AC systems aboard.

Diver      



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Posted: December 16 2012 at 21:56 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Emory,

I think that your best bet is what you have already decided to do.  Take the strainer out and go to GROCO.  They're only about 20 miles from your boat.  Call them and get directions. I think that it's an SD-2000 but it could also be an SA-2000 or even something else.  And today's models may not be the same as their 1986 strainers.  They will be able to tell from your strainer and will also probably be able to repair or replace it.

Even if I find out exactly what model I have there's no guarantee the strainer on my Connie is the same as yours.  You know how many times we've found that parts we thought were universal to all Connies weren't.

Good luck in your search and I hope it doesn't cost too much.

Pete37



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Posted: December 16 2012 at 22:09 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Diver,

Yes technology is moving right along.  But I wouldn't wait for the perfect high-technology solution to come along.  I was surprised at how similar Bernie's solution was to mine.  And that's after a 25 year epoch; not exactly breakneck speed.  At my age I certainly can't wait for another 25 years for a better solution and I doubt that you would want to wait that long either.

The main thing I learned was that AC power without a generator is practical now with today's technology.

Pete37



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Posted: December 17 2012 at 00:43 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All,

Getting good interior photos of your Connie is difficult.  An ordinary camera with a 45 degree field of view (FOV) can only capture the corner of a room.  In a boat you really need a 90 degree FOV or larger to show the upper or lower salon as it appears to you.

Unfortunately, cameras wth 90 degree FOVs are very expensive ($1000 and up).  I have a fish-eye lens with a FOV of about 120 degrees which will do the job but the pictures are blurred, distorted and very low resolution.  They don't show the boat in a good manner.

So I've been experimenting with panorama progams.  These programs take a series of separate photos and stitch them together into a single continuous panoramic view.  The FOV can be as high as 360 degrees  but even with the panorama programs FOVs greater than 90 degrees look rather distorted and unrealistic.  So I've been experimenting with 90 degree FOVs.  A panorama picture I recently took of the lower salon is shown below:

The biggest problem I have with them is squishing them down to fit on this forum.  But even with the squishing problems you can see that I've got a fairly high resolution undistorted view of the front end of the lower salon.  This one has a FOV of about 84 degrees but seems a little dark.  I can change the brightness easily with my picture editor (Microsoft Picture It).  I can also change the color balance, crop and do a whole bunch of other things

I find that I need a tripod to keep the camera level as I pan it around to take the multiple shots that make up the panorama (this one has three shots).  The Panorama program I use is called Pixtra Panostretcher.  It costs only about $30 and can be downloaded from the web.  It takes a little practice to get used to but once you've got some experience it seems to work well.  The camera is an ordinary 12.1 megapixel (not particularly high these days) digital camera with a FOV of about 45 degrees. 

I'm going around the boat and taking shots of every cabin.  I've even got one of the engine room.  Some cabins have lighting problems though.  I'm working on them.  So far I'm using available light.  Flash tends to produce garish unpleasant photos.

Perhaps some of you guys might want to experiment with taking interior panoramic shots of your Connies.

Pete37, 12/17/12



Edited by Pete37 on December 17 2012 at 01:25


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Posted: December 19 2012 at 16:13 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Emory,

Subject: Main Engine Strainer Baskets

I called GROCO today to check out the strainer basket dimensions.  If the strainer wingnut has a white washer attached to a tapered bottom it is an SD strainer.  If the strainer wingnut has a loose white washer with a flat bottom it is an SA strainer.  The bottom plate on an SD strainer has a flange with two holes  On an  SA strainer the flange is smaller and has only one hole.  Look at the pictures on pages 18 and 19 of the GROCO Catalog to see the difference.  The next thing you need to know is the NPT pipe size of the inlet.  This will tell you what size strainer you have.  The pipe sizes are also given on pages 18 and 19.  The SD sight glasses are 8" in diameter while the SA sight glasses are 6" in diameter.  This should give you enough info to identify what streiner you have.

I talked to John Cly who is the expert on GROCO strainers.  You can get him at the GROCO phone number 410-604-3800 or email to JCLY@GROCO.net.

Pete37, 12/19/12



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eshover
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Posted: December 19 2012 at 16:26 | IP Logged Quote eshover

Pete - been there done that. Went over yesterday. John
gave me a full tour of the plant. (he must have found it
strange that they would have so much interest in strainer
baskets in December!). I bought the SD14. They no
longer solder the base(s) rather glue them with a 3M glue.
He said that they have been doing this for 10 years without
a single return.
Fixed my broken bonding wires and hope that will take care
of the issue. But will check all my bilges to make sure I
have no 12 vdc leaking somewhere.

Merry Christmas to all.
Emory

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Posted: December 23 2012 at 14:03 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All,

Subject: Panoramic Photos

Here is a panoramic picture I took a while ago of the Master Stateroom using Pixtra Stretcher:

It sure looks a lot better than the typical Master Stateroom photo you get as shown below:

This picture is actually better than most of those you see in the broker's ads.

Some day, (hopefully far in the future) I'm going to want to sell my Connie and when I do I want the best photos I can get.  Plus later I'll wan't to reminise back to what my Connie looked like and I'd like those expeditions into yesteryear to be as pleasant as possible.

I'm going around the boat and taking panoramic photos of every cabin.  My next challenge is to take a shot of the forward head.  How do you take a good panoramic picture of a room only slightly larger than a phone booth?

Pete37



Edited by Pete37 on December 23 2012 at 14:35


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Posted: December 26 2012 at 19:38 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All.

Subject: More Panoramic Pictures

Here is a panoramic of the aft end of the lower salon:

And here is the best I could do with a standard 45 degree FOV.

Both of them are pretty good pictures although both also need a little color temperature correctionBut aside from the color temperature, the panoramic view makes the boat look much larger.  And making it look larger makes it appear more attractive to a potential buyer. It makes him think he's getting a larger boat and this often leads to a faster sale at a higher price.  Of course the boat isn't any bigger but it's buyer impressions that sell boats.

Both pictures are preliminaries that need more work but I hope I've made my point.

Pete37

 



Edited by Pete37 on December 26 2012 at 19:52


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Posted: December 27 2012 at 11:47 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

HI All,

Subject: Enjoy your Connie

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” (To quote Victor Hugo).  I was reading my latest copy of “Power & Motoryacht” (PMY) and found that the 50’ Sea Ray 510 Sundancer shown below (very similar to our Connies) costs $1,300,000.

 A Connie in pretty good shape can in contrast be had for only $150K (only a little more than 1/10 the price of the Sundancer).

 

We have a government which treats anyone who owns a yacht as part of the evil 1% rich.  Owning either one of these yachts will place you in that category.  $1,300,000 is rather cheap in the PMY world of yachts but it’s not cheap in my vernacular or (I think) yours.

I guess we should be happy with our Connies.  They’re not new but the hulls are as strong as ever and probably much stronger than the Sundancer’s hull.  Accommodation wise the Connie sleeps 10 to the Sundancer’s 4.  The Sundancer has a 10’ cockpit but the Connie has a 20’ long flybridge which seats 11. The Sundancer has two heads, the Connie three.  The Sundancer is a two deck boat, the Connie a three deck boat.  The Sundancer has one salon, the Connie has two.  The Sundancer has two staterooms, the Connie has three.  Displacement-wise the Sundancer weighs 43,700# while the Connie weighs 54,000#.

But engine-wise the Sundancer with 1200 hp. beats out the Connie with only 1100 hp.  And speed-wise the Sundancer (with its lower displacement) makes 29.6 knots while the Connie makes only 21 knots.  But at 64.4 gph (about $260 per hour or $4 per minute) I doubt that anyone will be running the Sundancer at full speed.  It, like our Connies, will be cruising at a fuel economical trawler speed of about 10 knots.

The mortgage alone on a $1,300,000 Sundancer at 5% for a 15 year term is more than $100,000 per year.  That’s more than five times the cost of owning, maintaining and running a Connie.  I think my Connie is a bargain.

Anyway, enjoy your Connies.  Here’s wishing you a happy and economical cruising year.

Pete37, 12/27/2012



Edited by Pete37 on January 09 2013 at 10:04


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Pete37
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Posted: January 06 2013 at 17:11 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All

Subject:  Engine Lifetime Estimates

Most of us know that a pair of major overhauls (MOHs) on our 6V92s is very expensive.  The rule of thumb is $3,000 per hole (cylinder) which makes it $18,000 per engine.  But that’s only an in-frame overhaul of the power train elements.  Add in the top end gear (turbos, intercoolers, airboxes, etc.) and the price goes up to $30,000 per engine.  For a pair that’s $60k which is a fair chunk of change.  Naturally, you and I want to avoid MOHs.

I’ve been pondering the MOH problem for the past ten years and have some data on it to present.

The table below gives engine hour data for 15 Chris Craft Constellation 500s obtained from a search in “Yachtworld.com” on 9/4/03.  The data has been sorted on the basis of total engine hours. The average hours per year have been calculated and the boats are listed in descending order of hours per year. 

Engine Hours on Connies - 2003

Name of Boat

Hull

Year

Age

Hours

Hr/Yr

Comments

Kentucky Lady

E106

1985

18

3200

178

MOH in 2002

Midnight Lady

E164

1987

16

2250

141

Rite Weigh

E108

1985

16

2160

135

MOH in 2001

R-Cubby

E141

1986

15

2040

136

MOH in 2001

Lady

E131

1986

17

1500

88

New Horizon

E105

1985

18

1400

78

Waterwalker

E111

1985

18

1253

70

Gabriella

E130

1986

17

1200

71

Coronado

E122

1985

18

1013

56

Still in the Mood

E116

1985

18

941

52

Java

E157

1987

16

900

56

Calypso

E149

1986

17

865

51

Waters V

E165

1987

16

750

47

Elegant Lady

E134

1986

17

744

44

Hildy V

E171

1988

15

740

49

Averages

1986

16.8

1397

83.5

The table shows that out of four Connies with more than 1500 engine hours three (75%) had major overhauls (MOHs) prior to 2003 while none of those with less than 1500 hours had overhauls.  This shows a trend towards MOHs at high engine hours. But “Rite Weigh” and “R-Cubby” had been in storage for several years before 2001 and the need for MOHs may have been more due to piston ring/cylinder rust rather than engine hours. The table also shows that the average Connie owner put about 83.5 engine hours per year on his engines. 

A second survey of Connies was made on 1/5/2013 (about 10 years after the first survey).  
 

Engine Hours on Connies - 2013

Name of Boat

Year

Age

Hours

Hr/Yr

Comments

Midnight Lady

E164

1987

26

2900

111.5

Temptress

E143

1986

27

2000

74.0

The Bristol

E102

1985

28

2000

71.4

Lady

E131

1986

27

1900

70.4

Good Spirits

E167

1987

26

1585

61.0

Cash Flow

E129

1986

27

1400

51.9

XL

E107

1985

28

1400

50.0

Gabriella

E130

1985

28

1294

46.2

Ronnye Jeane

E121

1985

28

1088

38.9

Averages

1986

26.7

1730

63.9

Nine Connies were found with engine hour data but none had MOHs. The Connies are now all about 27 years old and more than half have over 1500 engine hours but there doesn’t appear to any trend towards MOHs at higher engine hours in spite of the fact that the average engine hours have gone from 1397 to 1730 (an increase of 24%).

The fact that in ten years the average engine hours have only increased by 333 hours (33 hours per year) is rather surprising.  It appears that as the Connies have aged the owner’s enthusiasm for using them has diminished.  But part of that loss in enthusiasm may be the high fuel costs.

If “Rite Weigh” and “R-Cubby” are excluded from the data, the two tables show only a very weak tendency for MOHs to occur at high engine hours.  Most engine mechanics say that engine failure is a combination of age and the number of hours on the engine.

6V92s used in generator service tend to have service lifetimes of about 40,000 hours.  In truck and bus service their service lifetimes are typically 10,000 to 20,000 hours.  These are in stark contrast to the 2500 to 3500 hours obtained in marine service.

These numbers show that if mechanical wear were the only cause of breakdowns in marine 6V92s they should last at least 5000 hours.  Clearly there are differences in the marine environment which account for the drastically lower service lives.

The first (and most important) is the high humidity on boats which leads to rust of the cylinder liners and piston rings.  This is exacerbated by the practice of winterizing marine engines.  The cylinder liners and piston rings of a 6V92 are normally protected by a film of oil created when the engine is run.  But when the engine is mothballed for months at a time the film dissipates leaving the liners and rings unprotected.  Rust ensues and when the engines are started in the spring the cylinder liners are severely scratched causing loss of compression and oil leakage.  The result is a smoky anemic engine.

Rust damage has a cumulative effect.  Each year, additional rust occurs causing the cylinder liners to become rougher and the compression weaker.  A few years of rust can usually be tolerated but eventually after 10 or even 20 years of rusting, the engine can’t meet its load requirements and at this time an MOH is required.

The second factor which shortens the service lifetime is the fact that a Connie at a cruising speed of 18 knots uses about 70% of the full load horsepower of the engine.  However truck and busses, in contrast, use only about 20% of full load horsepower.  The higher marine requirements shorten the time at which loss of compression makes it impossible for the engine to meet its operational load requirements.

One of the few benefits of the high price of diesel fuel is that it has forced most of us to go from cruising at 18 knots to a more economical near trawler speed of ten knots.  At this speed we are using only about 20% of full load horsepower.  This in turn means lower loads similar to those in trucks and busses which should mean a longer service life for the 6V92s in our Connies.

At 1400 rpm (which produces a cruise speed of 10 knots) a 550 hp. 552 cid. 6V92 produces about 110 hp. which gives it a load rating of 110/552 = 0.2 hp/cid.

From “boatdiesel.com” I obtained the “rule of thumb for the service life of a marine diesel versus loading” which is

          >1.0 hp/cid = 1,000 hours

            1.0 hp/cid = 2,000 hours

            0.9 hp/cid = 3,000 hours

            0.8 hp/cid = 4,000 hours

            0.7 hp/cid = 5,000 + hours

Since most of us are operating at 0.2 hp/cid or less the table says the service life should be more than 5000 hours.  I doubt that we would get that good a service life (there are other factors to consider) but 3,000 hours would certainly be possible.

My engines presently have slightly less than 2000 hours on them and I’m running them about 88 hours per year so it will be (3000-2000)/88 = 11.4 years before I reach 3000 hours on the engines.  That’s almost certainly longer than I’ll own the boat so I’ll let the next owner worry about MOHs.  However, engine lifetime is a crap shoot so I might lose this bet.

Now some of you may be saying “This is all fine theory but useless in practice because there’s nothing I can do about it!”  But there is something you can do about it; shorten the winterization period.

In the fall my last trip on the boat is usually around October 15th.  But I don’t winterize until about December 15th.  And in the spring I don’t dewinterize until about March 15th.  So the boat is winterized for 3 months but out of service for five months.  But during the October 15th to December 15th period I go down to the boat regularly to “putter” on the boat.  If I run the engine each time I putter on the boat the oil on the cylinder liners is renewed so the engine is protected against rust.  And if I delay winterizing until January 15th the engines are only out of service for two months.  So with a little care the out of service period can be reduced from 150 days to 60 days which reduces the period the cylinder liners can rust by 60%.

Delaying winterization this long is sort of playing Russian Roulettewith freezing up the engines but I live close to the boat so I can pop down to the boat to turn on the engine room heaters if there’s a cold snap.  The engine room heaters are thermostatically controlled at 40F anyway.  The block is filled with antifreeze in early fall so there is no danger of freezing the block.  Only the raw water system is at risk.  And we have bubblers which keep the outside water from freezing.

Pete37, 1/06/2013

 



Edited by Pete37 on January 09 2013 at 10:15


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Posted: January 09 2013 at 11:31 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All,

 

Subject: Yacht Depreciation

 

I bought my Connie for $220K back in 1994 and have had it for 19 years.  If I sell it now I’d probably net about $130K.  That’s about 59% of what I bought it for.  The yearly rate of depreciation measured in dollars has been only about 3% per year.

But today’s dollar is only worth 64% of a 1994 dollar.  So I’m really netting a value of 0.64 x $130K = $83.2K 1994 dollars.  That’s 83.2K/220K = 37.8% of what I spent in 1984.  I’ve lost nearly 2/3rd of the value of the money I had in 1994.  But the yearly rate of value depreciation (even with inflation taken into account) has been only about 5% per year.

Note that the loss is a percentage of what you initially paid.  I paid $220K and therefore lost about $137K.  If I had bought a 1 million dollar yacht I would have lost about $620K.  The moral of this is if you want to keep the depreciation losses down keep the initial cost down.  The cost of insurance is also closely related to the cost of your boat.  Double the cost of your yacht and your insurance premiums will also probably double.

Some things such as dockage, fuel, and electric power don’t depend of the cost of the yacht. There are about the same (for equal sized boats) regardless of whether the boat is old and cheap or new and expensive.  Hull maintenance (which is basically polishing and bottom painting) is also pretty much independent of the boat’s age.

The only thing that goes up with age is engine maintenance.  My 25 year old Connie costs about $15K per year for insurance, slip rental, diesel fuel, maintenance and repair.  Maintenance and repair exclusive of engine maintenance is about 1/4 of that and engine maintenance is also about ¼ of that ($4K).  The table below compares the total yearly costs for a 27 year old $130K Connie and a brand new $1,300,000 Sea Ray 510:

Item

Connie

Sea Ray

Mortgage (5%)

$7K

$50K

Depreciation (5%)

$7K

$50K

Insurance

$3K

$24K

Slip Rental

$2K

$2K

Diesel Fuel

$4K

$4K

Hull Maintenance

$4K

$4K

Engine Maintenance

$4K

$2K

Electric Power

$1.3K

$1.3K

Total

$32.3K

$137.3K

 

The table assumes that both the Connie and the Sea Ray depreciate at 5% per year.  That’s pretty realistic for the 27 year old Connie.  But the show room new Sea ray will probably depreciate at a much higher rate in its first few years.  Several 2008 50’ Sea Rays, for example are currently for sale at about $350K.  That’s only slightly over ¼ of the new price in 4 years or about 25% per year depreciation.  That makes the total first year cost nearly a half million dollars.  Makes one wonder why anyone buys a new yacht!

A few posts ago, I pointed out that a $130K 27 year old Connie 500 has nearly all the features of the brand new $1,300,000 Sea Ray Sundancer 510 and most of the features are significantly better.  The Sea Ray has a slight edge in horsepower and speed but in today’s world of high priced fuel few of us are likely to use the engines at anywhere near full horsepower.  And of course the Sea Ray is brand new while the Connie is 27 years old.

But flip in a new set of rugs, spiff up the interior, redo the varnish and detail the exterior fiberglass and she looks pretty good.  That can all be done for under $15K.  The extra maintenance (as the table shows) doesn’t come anywhere near the Sea Ray’s extra mortgage, depreciation and insurance costs.  Even if the worst of all failures occurs (a major overhaul of the engines) the cost is only $60K which is less than one half of one year’s extra cost for the Sea Ray.  And major overhauls make the engines very close to new engines.

The old, but reliable, Connie beats the Sea Ray in all but one aspect; bragging rights.  Are bragging rights worth the extra cost to you?

Pete37



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Capt.Wayne
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Posted: January 16 2013 at 17:21 | IP Logged Quote Capt.Wayne



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Capt.Wayne
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Joined: October 31 2007
Posts: 60
Posted: January 16 2013 at 17:43 | IP Logged Quote Capt.Wayne

Hi Pete,
Not much action on our Connie form these days, must be getting colder up north. I've got a question about the aft fuel tanks. I have not found any past posts about removing them from the aft state room. They will not go through the door up to the upper state room with out removing the door and wall. I developed a fuel leak, and need to replace or repair the tank. Has anyone else had this problem? I've Got the tank empty, bed frame removed, and straps off. There must be a way.

Thanks,

Capt.Wayne


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eshover
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Joined: July 02 2011
Posts: 205
Posted: January 16 2013 at 18:11 | IP Logged Quote eshover

Hey Wayne,
I know you directed this to Pete, but since I'm online, I'm
going to offer my two cents worth. Forget removing the
tanks. Repairing the tank is the way to go. Have you
located the leak? The tank can be removed and stacked
on the other tank so a competent welder can affect repair.
However, and this is a BIG however, it does not matter that
it is a diesel tank the interior atmosphere of the tank
should be made inert, so that there would be no change of
a spark igniting any fumes from any tiny amount of fuel
that lingers. I'm sure in Florida you can seek out the
services of a professional on this. The money will be well
spent. Better a pro than the boat burnt to the water line by
someone who doesn't know what he's doing (not speaking
of you of course).

Besides, you'll spend way more tearing the boat apart to
get the tank out. I believe a qualified and competent
welder, with experience in this area, could repair the leak.

I was just part of a very long and ongoing discussion on a
surveyor forum regarding this very issue (in this case a
saddle tank that would have required engine removal to
get the tank out. Again $$$$)



I'm sure Pete may have a different tank, oops take, on
this. :)

At Pete: I've lost your email address somehow and may
have info on hull number 112. Let me know if you're
interested.

Emory Shover
Eastern Marine Services, LLC
Centreville, VA
SAMS/AMS#887
ABYC Standards Certified.


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Capt.Wayne
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Posts: 60
Posted: January 16 2013 at 19:14 | IP Logged Quote Capt.Wayne

Thanks Emory,
That was my first thought, weld the tank. I've only talked to one welder,, said he would not weld in the boat, he has 30 years experience. There may be one around here that will weld on the boat. I would like not to tear the boat apart for a pinhole leak. My starboard saddle tank was removed and repaired 6 years ago, had it wrapped and welded at the shop, didn't have to remove the motor.

Great hearing from you Emory


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Pete37
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Posts: 2317
Posted: January 16 2013 at 20:42 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi Capt Wayne,

I'm surprised that the tank won't go through the master stateroom door and up into the lower salon.  But I've never tried it.  Guess we should get the dimensions from the company that built all the tanks and check it out..  Can't remember their name right now but it's in my records.

However, since you've got the whole thing apart you must have the dimensions by now. What are they? On some items in the forward cabin you have to remove the door frame. Perhaps that's the case with the main tanks too.

I assume you mentioned to the welder that this was not a gasoline powered boat.  As Emory says, welding the tank without removing it from the stateroom may be the easiest way to solve the problem.  But of course you've got to find a welder who will work in there.  Welding in a confined space like the stateroom produces a lot of fumes and even if they're not explosive they're not breatheable.  That may be what the welder is worried about.

I can't remember any posts on the forum discussing removal of the main fuel tanks but I may be able to go into the stateroom and get rough dimensions for the tanks.  They're located under the bed in the master stateroom so they can't be bigger than the mattress (in width and length).  Way back in the 90s I replaced the mattress in the main stateroom so I know that width and length aren't the problem.  But I don't know about the thickness.

Pete37



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eshover
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Posted: January 16 2013 at 20:52 | IP Logged Quote eshover

Welcome Wayne.   I am querying some of my fellow
surveyors in the Florida area for any suggestions.

Emory

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eshover
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Posted: January 16 2013 at 21:18 | IP Logged Quote eshover

Wayne - this was sent to me via Facebook from Allen
Aronstein:
Emory
I am not a boat us member so can't post for capt Wayne's
post. A 501 in kent narrows just had both tanks replaced. An
access hole was cut above the bed the tanks removed through
the access. New tanks put in.   Access hole closed up, new
headliner.   Work done by Kent Narrows Yacht Yard. There
were bad welds on the tanks from the factory. Insurance paid
the bill. If you don't mind posting this for me for capt Wayne.
Thanks. Allen


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Pete37
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Posts: 2317
Posted: January 16 2013 at 21:35 | IP Logged Quote Pete37

Hi All,

It's amazing that the insurance company paid for bad welds in a 25 year old tank.  Of course the situation on a 501 is completely different than in a 500 so I hope that solution isn't necessary on a 500 because it sounds very expensive.

Recently the Forum reaction time has been extremely slow.  Has anyone else had this problem?

Pete37



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eshover
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Posted: January 16 2013 at 22:26 | IP Logged Quote eshover

More:Hi Emory,

1. Why limit your pool for response to only Surveyors in
Florida in your search for a welder? People know people all
over the country.

2. Lets see? A welder with 30 years experience won't weld
on the tank so you are looking for a welder who will (6
months experience and perhaps not a day longer).

3. Gasoline or diesel?

4. There is a reason for the pinhole in the tank. It is very
unlikely that it is the only pit; it would be folly to think that
single pit is the only problem. Identify the problem and its
extent.

5. Inspect the inside of the tank for pitting.

6. Inspect the other tank for pitting.

7. If the tank is weld repaired don't weld directly on the
hole, use a patch plate about 3 inches in diameter. The
plate should not be thicker than the wall of the tank. Clean
base metal to shinny metal, GTAW weld, use filler metal.
Purge with CO2 from a tank. A fire extinguisher is pretty
weenie. My repairs use dry ice to about 1/7 the volume of
the tank. Don't cap the tank.

Use good sense, is this a confined space? MOC is about
4%, depending on temperature.

Good luck.

Another:
Emory, if you haven't seen or used this product, check out
belzona...i
don't know if they make anything for that particular metal,
but I've
saved downtime and repair costs on several pieces of
equipment with
their epoxies and compounds. Just to offer a thought...

Good luck, sounds like a good challenge.

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