Sea-Trials and Tribulations (April 2012)

April 29, 2012

It’s been awhile since our last update and hopefully this will be the last post for a while that even mentions repairs! Although nothing on a boat ever seems to get “completely” finished, we have now completed the huge majority of repairs from the lightning strike eight months ago! Last week we took the boat out to calibrate the magnetic compass which has been way off. We have two types of compasses on board – a gyro compass, which uses a fast-spinning disc and rotation of our planet to automatically find geographical direction, and a magnetic compass, which contains a magnet that interacts with the earth’s magnetic field and aligns itself to point to the magnetic poles.

Swinging the Compass

Calibrating the magnetic compass is accomplished by bringing a specialist on board with equipment that provides accurate readings, then “swinging’ the compass by turning the boat in a circle to determine its deviation at various points and placing magnets on the compass to reduce the deviation as much as possible. There will always be some deviation and every boat should have a deviation card, which shows the deviation at each cardinal (North, East, South, and West) point as well as intermediate points. All compasses on board are now in reasonable agreement and can be relied upon for navigation.

We also conducted sea trials to test all our new electronics. Over the past six weeks or so our Nauticomp monitors have been working well. While in the marina, we have left them on most of the time with various things displayed on the screens and have exercised the brightness and on/off controls frequently. We have had no further failures so believe the problems have been fixed. The day of our sea trials saw some nice winds of 20+ knots. We left the marina with Brian from Celtic Marine Electronics on board and headed out into the ocean and east to the edge of the Gulf Stream where we found some nice waves to give us a good bouncing around. This allowed Brian to make some adjustments to our Satellite compass and autopilot. We continue to experience one problem with the autopilot not working properly in “Nav” mode – that is when it is set to automatically follow a pre-programmed route.

Heading out for sea trials with all electronics on!

In this case, when a waypoint is reached, the autopilot is not getting the proper heading information to execute a course change to the next waypoint. For now, this can be worked around by manually selecting the new waypoint – it’s never a good idea to totally rely on an autopilot anyway. We will gather some more information to diagnose and ultimately correct this problem, but for now, we are comfortable that the systems are working well enough for us to GO CRUISING! Our plan is to depart for the Bahamas within the next week or so, depending on weather.

We’ll stay in the Bahamas for 5-6 weeks, then return to Florida for some fine tuning of systems and to do a couple weeks of land travel. For now, the crew will consist of just the two of us. We had a couple who had planned to join us, but just days before coming, one of them received an unsolicited job offer they decided was too good to pass up. We found another couple who we really liked, but a background check turned up some problems with their “story” so we bid them goodbye. We are quite comfortable taking the boat by ourselves but ultimately would like another couple to join us as there is so much more that we can accomplish with a couple extra hands – longer passages, more adventurous locations and of course some help with the maintenance and cleaning of a 72 footer!

The inflatable tender will go to the Bahamas

For this trip, we’ve decided to leave our large tender in Palm Beach as it’s very heavy and unwieldy to get on and off the boat with just two people, especially in rough conditions. We’re going to use our small, inflatable Achilles dinghy, which we have now inflated for the first time. We are thinking of selling or trading our large tender for one that is slightly smaller and lighter and better configured for our needs – that is, less infrastructure for steering console, seating, and electronics and more open space for dive gear and fishing equipment (see photos below to see what I mean!).

Besides working on the boat, we’ve had time to visit with some old friends and make some new ones! We’ve had some wonderful dinners with Doug and Eloise and Tom and Marlene (who I did not take any photos of) as well as Sudhakar and Bina who all live in or around Palm Beach at least part time. We’ve also met Nordhavn owners David and Susie from Last Mango and Bill and Rosie, the new owners of Nexus and Bob and Jan from Emeritus. We’ve also spent some time in Naples where Bradley’s daughter and family came for a vacation, and to Sarasota to attend Bradley’s Cousin (once removed) Barry’s 85th birthday.

Our next update should be from the Bahamas!

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  1. #1 by Anonymous on April 30, 2012 - 9:43 am

    Wow! What a great update. And, the photos are great. Take good care on your trip, enjoy immensely, and happy travels. I think of you fondly.


  2. #2 by Laust on April 29, 2012 - 5:22 pm

    Hi Kathy

    I wondered about your comment on the tender being “too big”. Actually one of the selection criteria for out nxt boat is the ability to carry a large tender for exploiting etc….. – I have seen your large tender on pictures and thought that looked pretty perfect – so of course I’m curious to learn from your exerience.sould be pretty easy to handle the large tender because you have the fwd pilot house . I have imagined this to be a major in selection criteria.

    (we met in Miami earlier this year at the show – Im the one with a Trader yacht considering a Nordhavn)


  3. #3 by Anonymous on April 29, 2012 - 3:00 pm

    Have a great trip. Hope all is well with you and Das Boot. Be safe.


  4. #4 by robin on April 29, 2012 - 12:47 pm

    You should cruise over to Cuba on June 9 since I’ll be there then!


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