Back to boat work!

We returned from our cruise nearly three weeks ago and the transition back to work has been… well… hard is a polite way of describing it. We were on board Take It Easy for the weekend, not so much to go sailing – we did none of that – but to start working on the To Do list and bring back from home the mountains of laundry we did to de-salt everything.

Much of what we did on the weekend involved lining up the shipwright and the marine electronics team to work on the boat. Some of this is to do with repairs, but a large part is continuing to equip Take It Easy with modern gear for when we live on board. So here is an update:

Wind Generator

ampair_300First off, the replacement of the blades on the wind generator.  It would be easier to tackle that one if Ampair had not gone out of business a year after we bought the windmill! And just to make it even more tricky, the Australian dealer has retired.  We are keeping our fingers crossed he has a spare set of blades in his shed, otherwise we will need to go to the distributor in Singapore and spend a fifth of the price we paid for the unit to replace our three blades.  Oh, and hope nothing else is wrong with the turbine!  Gotta love those windy days!


Wind Instrument


And speaking of wind, our current wind instrument is a Simrad, seen here recording 45.9 knots – did we tell you how many really windy days we had? Anyway, the Simrad is connected to the Raymarine Multi Purpose Display (MFD) and should show apparent wind AND true wind.  For those of you who don’t know the difference, the apparent wind is what is experienced on board a sailing yacht, as a result of the combined effects of the true wind and the boat’s speed. During our Bass Strait Cruise the MFD could only display apparent wind, which was a bit of a pain. So this weekend we got our marine electronics man, Chris, to see if he could get the Simrad and MFD to talk. He fiddled for ages, but gave up in the end and told us we should get a Raymarine wind unit to work reliably with the rest of the Raymarine suite. So we are biting the bullet and doing what we are told!  We kind of knew this would be a likely scenario. But you know Wade, trying to save money and wanting to keep existing standalone units for back up…


radarAfter talking to our sailing friends from catamaran Sengo, we have decided to add another piece of equipment: a radar. As some of you know, we are a little paranoid about thunderstorms, and we don’t like other boats springing up on us in the night or in fog when they are not equipped with AIS (Automatic Identification System). So as a safety measure, we have just ordered the Raymarine Quantum CHIRP.  Chirp technology apparently produces sharper, more defined images with very low power usage and a small lightweight dome, compared to the traditional magnetron radars. This new toy will detect all sorts of undesirables and display them in full colour and high resolution on our MFD! We even have its nickname worked out: Chirpy! And yes, it will require a climb up the mast and another wire down it to power the thing up, but at least it networks wirelessly with the MFD and where it finds “targets” it will be overlay them on top of the normal chart.

Damaged Frame

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe frame supporting our davits, solar panels and wind generator has been looked at, to decide whether to repair it or replace it. This is the one that got cracked in the almighty storm that damaged the wind generator.  Our shipwright’s recommendation is to start afresh!  Ouch. The replacement will be an alloy frame, which is cheaper and stronger than using wood which would have to be epoxied and painted with two pack. Again, you’ve got to love those high winds. We can tell you one thing we’ve learnt: park the windmill when the wind is forecast to go over 40 knots!


watermaker3We are in discussion with a company that manufactures watermakers (mobile desalination systems) and will be putting an order for a mobile unit to be made for us. Our freshwater tank is small (only 180 litres plus 90 litres in jerrycans) so once we live aboard we want to be able to use freshwater for drinking, cooking and washing without needing to call into port every day!  Our draconian freshwater usage rules were allright while on holiday (although family and friends disagree with that statement), but not for living aboard permanently. We just need to ensure our chosen system, called H2O on the Go, can run with our existing inverter. The watermaker we are looking at consists of a 1.5 horsepower high pressure pump and one or two pressure vessels (where saltwater is pushed through a reverse osmosis membrane). It is supposed to turn salt water into drinking water at the rate of up to 100 litres an hour per pressure vessel (the pipe looking thing in the photo). We are thinking of getting just one vessel initially and see how we go. For those interested, here is the link to the H2O website:


We will be getting the white topsides and cockpit repainted as they are looking dull and flaking in places.  Wade will work with the shipwrights to do this. Then we will re-do the grey non-slip deck tops afterwards so it all looks just right. Yes we had done the grey already, but not very well – not enough coverage and bleeding on the whites.  So back to the sander, paint brush and roller!

We have plenty to keep us busy for a few months and have several serious purchases to make. Better keep working for a while longer!



21 thoughts on “Back to boat work!

  1. Poor you being back at work. I’ve been back for about six weeks now and I can report it doesn’t get any easier! I will be interested to hear more about your watermaker. We are going to start researching various models as well in the next year or so, and it is always better to get personal recommendations!

    • Hi Viki – We have to go for a mobile system as we have nowhere to mount the watermaker permanently. It is easier to get a built in unit on a mono. The company we are going with does installations so keep that in mind when you are doing your research.

  2. Wow,your working really hard and spending some big money in upgrades which will be well worth it in times to come I’m sure. Best luck!

  3. Thanks for the update. Very interesting to hear about the wind and desal units. It’d be nice if the desal could be entirely driven by the solar and wind power sources. I’d love to try and build one – maybe you and Wade could give me a research grant to work on it. Hahaha.

    Great idea to get the Radar. I’m guessing that it might help lower the stress levels considerably when sailing at night.

    • Hi Craig – solar and wind generate all power on board, but it might mean we run the watermaker on sunny days when maximum power is generated as it draws a fair bit. A few people we know have built one – they are not cheap to make… about the same as buying the H2O. Nice try on the research grant idea 😊. And yes the radar will help with night sails and “seeing” storm cells which is what stresses us most.

  4. Check out this link on watermakers. Very interesting. ROAM the 48ft Spirited built in Tas uses this system.


  5. What a list. Great to have so many pieces of equipment to make life easier while on board. Like the idea of the water maker, particularly when sailing up north where there are great distances between ports. Enjoy he refit journey

    • Hi Sue – and that’s the main list! Then there is the even longer one of little bits and pieces we are working through and keep adding to…

  6. We have one of the 12v H2O on the Go systems. Gives about 20 litres an hour for a 15 amp draw. Instead of using the supplied case, we took it apart and installed components separately in the most convenient places.

  7. ‘love being mentioned ‘in dispatches’. Won’t comment on the watermaker – ours is 240V – but will reiterate the usefulness of radar for following storms. Even if we can’t outrun them, we can get a much better idea of when they will hit us (or work out if we have time to hide from them) – so much better than trying to work it out visually.

    • Thank you Trish … and Andrew for your advice on this. The water maker we are looking at is 240v too, but runs off the inverter. We generate enough power not to have to fret. I guess with your huge generator you can run a small town! 😊

  8. A lot of work but a lot of great upgrades once you’re done! Radar is wonderful – we successfully dodged four thunderstorms all surrounding us off the New Jersey coast once by using ours. Not a pleasant situation to be in, but the radar was a godsend – hope you find the same!

    • Good to hear. We are doing the big instal in a couple of weeks: radar, wind and new alloy frame! It will be very interesting to see how it all pans out. Thanks for the encouragement although we hope not to be in a situation with that many thunderstorms! Too stressful!

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