After nearly a year of gathering moss, Convivia and her crew are overcoming inertia and getting ready to cruise again. This week, we took advantage of the public holiday and school break and got Convivia out of the river and onto her anchor.
Before we could do that though, there were a number of boat-list items that needed to be knocked off.
Our dodger was hit hard during the big hail storm. Several large holes were punched in the old, brittle, windshield panes. We couldn’t go anywhere without fixing them. Unfortunately, this was a much larger task than it seemed at first blush. The old Sunbrela was worn out, and even if we could have salvaged it, the hardware was installed over the plexiglass, and the zippers were shot. The upshot was that the whole frame had to be remade.
The project started (more or less) at the laundromat. It was the closest place with a large flat surface to measure and cut on, and we had to go there anyway.
Back on the boat, Vick got to sewing. She worked on the forward companionway hatch, under a temporary cover. It took two days of sewing (including interruptions, and other life stuff) to get the sewing done, but when she was done… wow!
The autopilot died on our way back from the Whitsundays last year. I ordered new MOSFETs to fix it, but apparently there was a larger problem with it. The new MOSFETs exploded as soon as I turned it on. I considered fixing the board, but at 40 years old, I figured it might be time to step up our game. I ordered a new Raymarine ST-2000 and rigged up a fancy schmancy mount, to attach it to the Monitor. It didn’t work right away (the “Operating Sense” was reversed), but it appears to not only steer the boat, but also to interface with our NMEA network to steer to a route. What a difference that will make on the Brisbane river.
Revamped navigation system (geek-out warning)
When we got back from the Whitsundays, I sent our iMux-ST back to the manufacturer for an upgrade. I expected to get back a device that I could set up as an AP for the boat, and maybe even use as a WPA2 client (station) on our existing network. Sadly the new device had some significant limitations. The manufacturer doesn’t allow me to configure any of the parameters, so I was stuck (on the version I paid for) with an SSID of Brookhouse_iMux_2197 and an equally cumbersome password. This network can’t interface with my internet connection unless they happen to support WDS (the implementation of which is not uniform across vendors). The vendor suggested I send it back (at my cost again) for yet another upgrade. I was so fed up with the whole thing that I decided to just route around the problem. I created a new multiplexer with a Raspberry Pi B, the kplex software and two wifi dongles.
Currently the new NMEA multiplexer (total cost < US$100) routes SeaTalk and NMEA from the iMux-ST on it’s own network to any devices on the ship’s network. Next week I intend to move the GPS over to the new multiplexer, then the AIS, and finally the new tillerpilot. In the end I’ll probably keep the iMux for it’s Seatalk to NMEA conversion (though I think kplex might be able to read the Seatalk as well).
In addition to the NMEA functionality, I hope to get my new ModBus webfrontend on that multiplexer too, so I can access all of my NMEA and solar charge controller data from anywhere in the world.
New lamp shades
Our lampshades in the saloon were another thing that had really shown their age. Vick had this great idea about replacing them with mason jars, and when she presented me with two, dyed jars, I was pretty eager to get them hung.
All the other stuff
The list of projects is still miles long, but we are plugging away. I rebed one of the stanchions today, last week we got rid of a metric ton of sh-tuff. Vick made travel doctor appointment for rabies shots, and prescriptions. And possibly most important, after almost 5 years aboard, we finally made viewing buckets!