If time is money and you have more time, Do you need more money?

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Fisher King Graduates

I would like to thank everyone I was able to reach with the help on his "acknowledgement project".

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Recent Sail Quotes ... Albin Vega 27... Part 3, Code 0 NOT

Click to see part 1 here 
Click to see part 2 here 
Welcome to part 3.

In 2010, before I even moved onto Gemini Dreams, I found a great deal on a spinnaker.  It was a little small for a Vega  (295sq/ft+-) and included a snuffer for dousing.  We found that with the chute the Vega mast head had very little room for everything all bunched up at the top.  Turns out a little small with a snuffer and using an ATN tacker works better than a full cut spinnaker.  At the price I couldn't have purchased the snuffer alone.  Now that I am single handling the spinnaker hoisting could be accomplished with the autopilot keeping the boat headed in the correct direction with the main providing the drive.  Standing on the fore deck tripping over your own feed in all the lines and going overboard in light air isn't too big a deal with two people on board. But with one person on board even at two knots the boat would head off to the horizon without me. While everything in theory could be done from the cockpit once the spinnaker with snuffer was raised we found out that nothing ever goes right. 
  • The snuffer will not raise.
  • The snuffer will not go down.
  • The lines for the sock get hung on something that was never in the way before.
  • The lines for the sock get kinked upon themselves.
  • The sheets get hung on basically everything.
  • The autopilot doesn't care if you fall overboard.
  • Murphy

With the advent of the readily available commercial endless furling the theory of handling an asymmetrical single handily seems much more friendly.  The biggest problem with endless furling?  It was developed for racing boats!  Which means instead of just sailboat expensive they are RACING SAILBOAT EXPENSIVE!  For what is about $60 worth of product you pay between $800-$2,000. You would be stretching to find more than $20 difference in cost to produce the $800 furler and the $2,000 furler.  Seriously! A turbocharger which is more material intensive and more labor intensive currently sales for around $400 new.  My thrifty (cheap ass) self finally got a deal on a Selden GX endless furler.  My plan was to use it with my current spinnaker. 

Now it was time to look back into the Code 0.  It has been three years since I did the quote collection (see part 1) on Vega sails.  With the spinnaker, main and the 135% on the boat I was finally deciding to buy the new Code 0.  Boy was I in for a shock!  At this point I was just looking for a current quote to make a purchase later in the summer.  Of course I went back to Hydesailsdirect.com to start the process.

Did I say shock?  I meant HOLY FUCK!  In 2015 I listed their code 0 sail quote in the matrix at $826.  When I purchased the 135% in 2016 the price was $907.  Now that we have had a regime change in the White House and imports are looked upon differently the quote for a Code 0 on 5-5-2018 is $1618!  The quote for a custom designed Asymmetrical Spinnaker is $1761!  I felt the need to shop arround at this time.  Actually, I checked a few other quotes after I came to and got back up off the floor.

I sent off a few emails requesting quotes on a Cruising Code 0, above 90 degrees up to 10 knots.

  • Hydesailsdirect.com  C0 @1618$ 1.5oz.
  • Quantum  C0 $1993.41 2.2oz Always quick to respond.
  • Neilpride  G0 $1417.22  (gennaker).
  • North Sails - 3 emails no quote included the last one said "oh we dropped the ball do you still want a sail"  I responded yes but still haven't seen a 4th email or quote.
  • Yager  - email with no quote just 3 pictures and an advertisement "I build a hybrid asymmetrical, it is half drifter or headsail and has off wind characteristics of an asymmetrical spinnaker."  (gennaker)
  • Sommerset  C0 @  $780.00 1.5oz.

With those quotes I was suddenly reevaluating my desire to have a code 0.  What were my other reaching light air sail options?  Back to the drawing board.

While thinking over the plan for a code 0 I had been giving trivial thought to getting a new spinnaker a more appropriate to the Vega (mine is about 3 feet short).  Hydesailsdirect.com does two types of asymmetrical sails.  Standard cookie cutter and custom to the boat.  I'm not racing so 6 square feet or so and the not perfect tack dimensions are worth a few hundred dollars savings.  Also at $1761 for a custom cut .75oz asymmetrical is enough that I would keep the old one I purchased in used 2010.  Their cookie cutter sail in 9.2 meter luff (30.18ft & 375sq/ft) would work great for my plans.  At $866.43 it was almost half the price of a custom cut and would allow me to put the money toward a "plan B" reaching light air sail.  If I could afford one.  Maybe the Sommerset?  Since I remember the price being roughly the same two years ago for the cookie cutter version I jumped on the buy now button before the Price went up.

color layout similar to this ullmansailsnewportbeach
Current spinnaker is all black
  • I was greeted to this in early March on Hydesailsdirect.com. "We will be taking an extended sabbatical and cruising vacation soon. But before we leave, we will complete your sail order. If you have not yet sent in your measurements, please do so by March 10th at the latest, so we can get your sail into production soon.
    We are not accepting new orders for custom sails until after we return, because they have a long lead time. We will continue to accept orders for standard sized cruising spinnakers, one-design sails, and hardware.
    With best regards,
    Judy B & Crew"  Good for them everyone needs to take a cruise occasionally. It also guaranteed that I could not buy the code 0 no matter how much I thought I wanted it.
  • 3-27-18 Clicked the magic button on Hydesailsdirect.com for the 9.2m asymmetrical.  They are still selling one design and cookie cutter asymmetricals while on "sail-about".
  • 3-29-18 eMail requesting color design.
  • 3-29-18 eMail standaard refund agreement.
  • 3-29-18 eMail Order conformation, estimated delivery 4-13/4-16 and 80% deposit.
  • 4-26-18 eMail Order has shipped with tracking and receipt for final balance.
  • 4-26-18 eMail from Judy, Order has shipped with  tracking and sail care info.
  • 4-30-18 Sail arrived
  • 5-08-18 New Hydesailsdirect.com pricing for this sail at $1020.00 (+$153.57).

 Hydesailsdirect.com  9.2 panel layout

Once I am able to get it rigged onto the Selden GX and take it for a sunset sail I will add pics to this page.  I'll do a separate write up of the GX build once the way over priced anti-torsion line arrives.

Notice as of today I have a 26.5+- foot all black HOOD asymmetrical for sale with HOOD snuffer. Works great with an ATN tacker if you have one.  I will be keeping the ATN as it makes a great tack point for my ENO hammock.  You guys have first shot at $250 email me

for sale




Saturday, May 5, 2018

Recent Sail Quotes ... Albin Vega 27... Part 2 the 135%

Yes I'm a little behind on this post!  Click to see part 1 here

©Photo copyright Hyde Sails Direct

(Albin 27 Vega Performance Genoa #2)
(Challenge Warp-Drive Race Dacron)
[Sail Cloth:Challenge Warp-Drive Race upgraded to 7.11]
[LP:135% LP]
[Luff Type:Luff Tape]
[Reefing Corner Patches:Yes, for roller reefing sails]
[UV Cover?:Acrylic Capt Navy (Admiral)]
[Reefing Luff Pad:Reefing Luff Pad - Yes]
[Trim Stripes:Yes]
[TellTale Window:No]

Another season had passed since I purchased the main and I took a deep breath and clicked on the buy now button once again with HYDESAILSDIRECT.com.  After reviewing most of the internet, talking to other owners and cruisers, and of course Judy Blumhorst I decided on a 135% foresail.  I chose the same upgrades I had on the main as well.  Most notably the 7.11 oz cloth and tri-radial design.  This was the point where I was also making decisions on the future sails in the plan.  The 135% sail would be better for me single handed than a 150% or especially a 165% that so many people have on a Vega.  The same 135% with the heavier 7.11 oz cloth will not be as happy in light winds as the 6.11 oz 150%.  I'll discuss the light air sail decisions later on in the blog when the specifics are more concrete.  Right now there are too many variables.

  • August 16th, 2016 -  Once again I used Hydesailsdirect.com (HSD) to get the estimate for my Albin Vega. This tool is EXCELLENT!  You never have to talk to anyone if you don't want to. There are 5 mains, 16 headsails, and 5 spinnakers quoted already. 
  • August 16th,  I received 4 emails confirming my order, sail specifics, my payment info, measurement instructions and that they had already sent out a package to me.  [100' decimal feet measuring tape, Folding wood ruler - decimal feet, Plastic caliper, Sample mainsail slides (for mainsail orders), Sample swatch book for UV covers (for headsail orders), Sample luff tape (for headsail orders), Return shipping label for kit] 10% deposit at this time.
  • August 26th, I received email conformation on my measurements and photos.
  • August 26th, Talked to Judy Blumhorst on the phone.  During our conversation I was given upgrade to 7.11 cloth as a perk for my site referring customers her way. Thank you everyone!
  • August 29th, 2nd email acknowledging measurements this time signed David Blumhorst.  I guess David is my sails baby sitter now.
  • September 20th,  Response from David to my inquiry of "Just checking on my sail's process?  The main sail was only a month from start to finish last year and the head sail seems to be dragging compared to that.  It has been 3+ weeks since I sent the measurements." Answer: "Your order is with the designer and we expect it back tomorrow. Once we get it we will submit it to production. So we are about 3-4 weeks out right now. Regards, Dave B."
  • September 20th, email received with design verification and specifications.   
  • September 22nd,  Submitted to production.
  • September 27th, Billed another 80% of cost.
  • October 5th,  Statement with Payment in full, expected delivery Friday or Saturday, Thanks David B 
  • October 7th, email from David with tracking information and another thank you.
  • October 11th,  Unboxing,  Everything was as expected.  The large black sail bag was more appropriately sized this time. 
  • November 4th, support@hydesailsdirect.comsent request for survey

In summary the main sail order went smoother.  It is possible when my purchase was taken over by David it fell through a crack or perhaps Judy is just more attentive.  If my 3 1/2 weeks in limbo had occurred with the main sail I may not have know there was a problem and just thought it was business as usual.  With the first purchase to compare to this was obviously slower. Enough to complain about? No more than this paragraph.  Over all I am still a satisfied customer.  It may be time to accessorize.  Why does Hyde NA not carry the following products?

Hyde sails direct stacker spinnaker gennaker code zero 0 311-R 311R 211-R 211R Cruising genoa genny jib Bahamas albin vega sv Gemini Dreams svgeminidreams

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Update on Solar Panels and options - 8.5 year test =

I start this post with a proclamation that the Kyocera Solar Panels are the Second best purchase I have made after buying Gemini Dreams.  The Manson Supreme rules at number one.

A long time ago in a far away bay I bolted two solar panels to the bimini.  That process was an achievement being done with what I had purchased locally and found on the boat.  The overall engineering of the process could have been a lot better but in reality it lasted years.  During the 7 years they were mounted we replaced a couple of mounting clamps because one failed beating into the wind in the Exumas. The panels most likely would still be mounted if the preparation for Hurricane Irma didn't consist of their removal.

Still floating after all the Irma stress.

Since I had to go through the remounting I did some research on what is available and what (If anything) I would do different today. 

First:  After 7.5 years the wiring was still good but I did want to move the breaker and where the ends terminated.  No big deal just a little time.  $0.0

Second: The Blue Sky MPPT 2000e controller was acting up (it never liked humidity).  It had spontaneously started clicking at random times instead of outputting the correct amperage.  My electrical panel was cut specifically for the 2000e and the new version was the 3000i from Blue Sky.  Luckily it fit the location and included a plastic surround housing instead of the metal option the 2000e had  (rusty).  The www.altestore.com had them for around $215 at the time.  The 3000i allows the use of the 20volt panels which opened up a can of worms on my notebook.

Third: Do I keep the Kyoceras or buy new panels?  After several attempts to get answers from people in the business I was getting a little frustrated.  I finally had to pull out the calculator (iphone) and punch some buttons (the screen).  The below information is based on 0 loss.

Fourth: Do I keep the bimini frame and either buy a $1,000 sailrite and make my own new cover or pay to have a cover made for the frame.  What are my other options?

12 VOLT x2 (current) 20 VOLT                     20 VOLT x2
Kyocera 135 watt x2 Seraphin 300 watt seraphin 300 watt x2

SRP-300-6MB-BB SRP-300-6MB-BB x2
62"x28"each total 62"x56"64.6"x39.4"64.6"x39.4"each total 64.6"x78.8"
27.5#each,  total 55# 41.9# 41.9#each, total 83.8#
(7.63a)(17.7v)=135w (9.35a)(32.1v)=300 (9.35a)(32.1v)=300
(9.64a)(14.0v)=135w (21.42a)(14.0v)=300 (21.42a)(14.0v)=300
2 panels = 19.28a 1 panel = 21.42a 2 panels = 42.84a
Cost per watt $1.25 Cost per watt $0.78 Cost per watt $0.78
UPSable beware shipping costs!beware shipping costs!

After all the online shopping, calculations, and stress I will continue with the Kyoceras I have.  The shipping cost on the standard sized 20 volt panels is currently cost prohibitive.  A current 300 watt 20 volt panel would give me about 11% more power than my pair of 135 watt 12 volt  panels.  My panels are also over 8 years old so that 11% could be as high as 20% due to age.  The next trip to Boot Key I may make the change with the ability to easily sale the current ones for a little cash to the new ones, but not at the moment.

Why would I change?
  1. The 300watt 20 volt panel puts out more than I currently have. About 11%+
  2. My panels are older probably loosing 5% or more.
  3. The 20 volt panel is 14 pounds lighter than my two 12 volt panels.
  4. The 20 volt panel is 6.5 square feet smaller than the two 12 volt panels. 
  5. The weight reduction would allow an Air-Breeze for basically the same weight I have now.
Why would I not change?
  1. I have already mounted them again before I finished the re-evaluation process.
  2. Redundancy: If one is damaged the other one will still make power.
  3. The transverse mounting would have a little wider mounting and may interfere with other items I have mounted.
What would I recommend for the Vega after living at anchor 7 out of the last 8 1/2 years?
  1. MPPT controller,  $215.90 at altEstore
  2. 300 watt 20 volt 60 cell, aluminum frame panel, $230.00 at altEstore
  3. 300 amp hrs or more house bank (I have 591 amp/hours, AGM)
  4. AIR-Breeze wind generator $949.00 at altEstore
  5. Fishonsports.com rear tower for mounting.

The new mount for the solar panels

Where the hell did the AIR-Breeze recommendation come from?  Because this cruising season the sun has packed its bags and headed WAY south while the wind has set up camp.  There has been many overcast days at anchor with wind over 15mph.  Those clouds at least broke up partially by late day and created great sunsets.  There have also been many days at the helm under the clouds and at night with time to catch 15mph plus wind.  I have up to this point avoided the wind generator thought process. Well, mostly, once there was a purchase of a used one and then the resale befor ever installing it.  Specifically the recommendation for the AIR-Breeze is from 8 years of living aboard talking, listening, and researching all the options.  The AIR_Breeze can be purchased from the altEstore for $949.00, free shipping and no tax, includes the controller in the unit, has a built in brake, is quieter than most, replacement parts are readily available, and is suited for the FL and Bahamas average wind speed.  The Silent Wind was cost prohibitive at $1649, plus tax $115.43, plus shipping $28..86 = $1793.29 (or over $844 more!!!) for pretty blue, slightly more quiet blades from eMarineinc.com.

I am not affiliated with any of the referenced purveyors above.
key: albin vega 27 gemini dreams wind generator air-x air-breeze kyocera solar panel radar arch sailboat mount cruising Bahamas energy ugly bird primus windpower rutland long run term test happy