What to do to make the boat ready for our circumnavigation.
Ofcourse you want a solid hull, for whatever it means.
Lots of people decide for a strong steel hull but that gives a lot of maintenance. I know, have had a few steel boats before and worked on more, always war against the corrosion and keep painting, especially in warm salty waters.
Others decide for aluminium, with this material you have to be very careful with electrical corrosion otherwise your boat is sinking within a few month. But strong and reliable.
You have wooden boats, very nice and strong but most of times leaking, not much but never a dry bilge and you have to be carefull in tropical waters.
Also owned two but also always painting and varnishing.
I decided after a long period to choose for reinforced fibreglass, GRP. Why, most important, low maintenance (not no maintenance but low), maybe less strong for puncture but never intend to use it as a bumper boat.
This will be my second plastic one. The Beneteaus are wide spread (I think the most produced boats of the world) and not for nothing. If they were so bad then nobody would buy them, isn’t? The Oceanis 44 cc has a outer scale and a inner scale connected to each other what makes a very stiff and strong construction. The watertanks are big enough and part of the hull and important, deep in the midships.
The only minor thing of fiberglass is that’s not watertight. I mean, in time it will suck up water in its hull what makes it heavier but more important vulnerable for osmosis.
To prevent this you can decide to dry the boat each or every other year for season on the hard or you can make them watertight. This you can do with epoxy. For this you have to remove all the antifouling and sand the gelcoat and make sure the hull is dry. This is what we did after we bought her. We hauled out again, removed the old antifouling, sanded the hull with grade 80 and measured the humidity of the hull. This was okay because the boat was on the hard for 1,5 years before. Now we applied 4 layers of epoxy on it. After that yo can choose for antifouling again but that means hauling out every year again and since we want to live on her not a good plan. We decided to apply 4 to 5 layers of coppercoat over the epoxy. This is a copper based epoxy so adding more epoxy on her makes more resistant for ingesting water. The copper will keep the barnacles and other sealife away.
This coppercoat can last for years, have a normal lifespan of 10 years and after that you just add 2 more layers. Benefit is that you can stay in the water and costs will be reduced by doing that. Eventually grown barnacles or seeweed you can just scrape of by diving. The experience with coppercoat on my former plastic boat learned me that only a few barnacles were grown on the hull in 3 years time. After 5 years I hauled out for inspection and all was still okay. No need for highpressure wash and after inspection just scraped off some barnacles and dropped in the water again.
While we were on the hard it was time to replace the seacocks. I never had confidence in the one which were fitted and we found out I was true. By trying to remove the hose the seacock already broke in twice, this happened with the first three i tried so decided to grind all of them off. From the outside should be the easiest way. Then replaced them all with Marelon flange seacocks from Forespar.
This is a fiberglass reinforced plastic so electrical corrosion is not more an issue. To install these ones I had to make flanges on the hull to reinforce everything. The flanges I made of watertight plywood and covered with epoxy.
Glued these flanges on the hull with epoxy and drilled new holes for fitting the new seacocks. The seacocks were embedded in sikaflex and screwed into the hull where the flanges of the seacock were screwed on the flanges of the hull what makes it a strong, watertight and secure construction.
I also replaced the INOX propellor shaft for a Duplex Unox shaft because the old one had corrosion just on the spot were the bearing is. Installed new inner and outer bearings. Also installed already an earth plate for the new coming SSB transmitter.
Don’t want to haul out for the next couple of years.
When this was completed she was ready for the water again.
Next job, I want to make us independ from the electrical shorecable.
We have to install solarpanels and a windgenerator.
What is the right size? As we use electricity like in a normal house we want plenty.
We already changed the lampbulbs for led lights, that was a factor 10 that we use less now.
But I installed a inverter to use 220 Volt equipment. But that will be used for relative short times, for example watercooker, coffeemaker, magnetron and vacuum cleaner.
We also have to look what we can fit on a new made stern arch. You can make it as big as you like and fit your boat with a lot of solarpanels but the boat has still to sail and the shape of he boat has not too much be distorted. You can make a lot of calculations but there are always uncertain factors, how much sun, shade, extra equipment to install later etc. A lot of considerations thus.
I decided to go for 4 x 12 Volts 100 Watt Victron solarpanels, the size is good and they will fit alongside each other with a gap in the middle for the gen poole. Later I installed another 100 Watt so together 500 Watt on the arch and in the Caribbean I installed 3 x 135 Watt Sobian flex panels on the Bimini and 2 x 118 Watt Solbian flex panels on the sprayhood for extra needs.
I separated 3 systems all charged by Victron Smartsolar chargers. Why Victron?
Also I want to install a windgenerator for the nights and extra when there is no much sun.
Looking and reading for the right one I decided to go for the Superwind. It charges 350 Watt maximum. It is silent and most important, you can leave it alone because the blades are selfadjusted. By too much wind the blades will turn so that maximum revolutions never exceed. It is a reliable and strong build generator what is proven now on salt water and with the new build blades even more silent than before. There are two now.
The watermaker I installed is a 12 Volt Schenker 60 l/h. I had bought a 220 Volt watermaker before but that one draws 5 times the current than the Schenker and needed power from the inverter so decided to sell that one again and buy the Schenker.
Fortunately i found one secondhand, only thing to do was test and change the osmose membrane. Easy to say but a few weeks later it is already installed with filters and so on. And that all together for half of price of a new one.
Last thing to do was installing a SSB with possibility to send and receive email and gribfiles for weather.