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Topics - Patches

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Main Message Board / Whisker pole questions
« on: April 30, 2021, 01:53:29 PM »
I couldn't help myself and I bought a fixed length pole (16') yesterday off craigslist for $100.   My intention is to use it to pole out the genoa when sailing deeper downwind--not as a spinnaker pole.  But its a beast, and came off a Halberg Rassy 43.  4" aluminum tube with a bayonet fitting for the inboard end and jaws on the outboard end.  I wanted a fixed length pole for strength and maintenance.  Too many stories about the adjustable ones breaking whether line control or twist/lock.

Anyway, curious to know from those who regularly use their whisker poles:

(1) whether you store it vertically at the mast or on deck?

(2) whether you wish you had chosen to store it differently and why?

(3) recommendations for singlehanders?

(4) type of mast track and hardware used for vertical storage?

Thanks in advance!


With the recent electrical upgrade came the new CMI 105 amp small frame alternator. For those who have made similar alternator upgrades, what belt manufacturer do you recommend for the 3/8" pulleys on your M25/M25xp engines?



Main Message Board / Mounting new Primary winches near helm
« on: April 11, 2021, 05:47:03 AM »
As a charter boat, it is sometimes awkward to trim the genoa due to factory placement of the Lewmar 46ST primaries on my 1990 Mark 1.25.  Someone usually has to shift while I trim.

After looking it over, I decided to buy some new Anderson 40STs and mount them further aft on the coaming.  Both the base diameter (6") and the bolt circle diameter for mounting are smaller than the original Lewmars.  Access on the port side doesn't look too complicated, but starboard side mounting looks like it could involve extreme boat yoga.

Anyone tackled this before and have suggestions/observations to share?



Main Message Board / Engel purchase and install
« on: March 27, 2021, 08:35:35 AM »
After the winter electrical upgrade, I purchased the Engel MT45F-U1CD-P platinum series AC/DC combination Fridge/Freezer.

Fits perfectly on the seat of the aft cabin on my Mark 1.25, with cushion removed, and held in place with some webbing straps.  Still have to wire in a 12 volt plug.

This particular Engel is not cheap ($1000) compared with other portable AC/DC fridge freezers.  But Engel's unique Sawajima swing compressor gets universally high reviews for reliability and low amp draws.  And, in its size which fits on my aft cabin seat, there is nothing else available like it.

In addition, this particular model has two zones, and can be used as (1) all fridge, (2) all freezer, or (3) both fridge and freezer simultaneously. I can also take it out, take it home, take it on the road, or put it on a new boat if I ever lose my mind and sell my perfect (for me) C34.

Review after break-in will follow.


Main Message Board / OEM Prestolite internal regulators for sale
« on: March 14, 2021, 08:07:02 AM »
I just posted in the "For Sale" forum that I have a couple of used OEM Prestolite/Leece Neville 2017KA (51 amp) alternators for sale.  I just completed an electrical upgrade over the winter, and so if anyone needs one please see the post there.



I did a complete electrical upgrade over the winter, going to an externally regulated CMI 105amp alternator.  I have two of the original OEM 51 amp Prestolite/Leece Neville 2017KA alternators for sale.

1. The one original to my engine was cleaned by an alternator shop and bench tested as putting out the required 51 amps.

2. The second I bought as a spare from another forum member, which I also had bench tested and it too put out the required amps. 

Both are in good working condition and fit my Universal 25XP engine.  They have 3/8" pulleys.

$75 each + shipping.   


On the home stretch (I think) of my electrical upgrade to a 3 Firefly House Bank.  New Sterling smart charger is in, wired, and working. Located the new Balmar MC-614 regulator in the aft cabin on the small shelf just above the back of the engine.  Ran the new regulator sense wires to the battery bank, which I upsized to 14 AWG because of the long run to the batteries.

I now have to figure out the brown wire which delivers power to the regulator only when the ignition switch is "on."  The choices appear to be (1) run it all the way to the ignition switch from the regulator (panel removal inside, instrument panel removal outside, and long-ish run) or, as Balmar says (2) "in some oil pressure switch may be used to activate the regulator.  In either case, the regulator's ignition wire must see zero volts when the engine ignition is switched off."

The oil pressure switch location on the port side of the engine looks tempting:  much closer to the regulator and looks easier to install and monitor.

Anybody wired it to this location or have nay strong opinions about doing so?

As always, thanks in advance.


Main Message Board / Fun surprise
« on: January 27, 2021, 01:47:09 PM »
As part of my continuing winter electrical upgrade, I discovered that the wire from the shore power receptacle to the AC main breaker is 12/3.  Think it's supposed to be 10/3 to carry 30 Amps.

Not like its a re-wire, as all the AC wires are bundled where they enter the panel with gooey black electrical tape which I have to think is original on my 1990.

Worth checking.


Main Message Board / Electrical input requested
« on: January 09, 2021, 12:33:09 PM »
I am now knee deep in my electrical system upgrade, and would appreciate input as to final assembly.  I have gone through the Tech Wiki, as well as helpful articles from Rod at Maine Sail, but am still very much unclear on several matters relating to the final layout within my battery compartment where all the wires, fuses and busbars will join to produce electrical happiness.  I apologize in advance for not including a wiring diagram, and I hope to have explained it in a way below to allow answer to the questions.  Please feel free to jump in with comments, anywhere below, as I learn a lot from this board.
After purchasing my 1990 C34 nearly 3 years ago, I made do with the original house electrical system.   This included 2 group 24 FLA batteries, charged via the original Prestolite—internally regulated—alternator, via the switch on the Nav Station panel.  My original Newmar AC charger charged the 2 batteries.  I did put in a new panel, rewired to the engine, and followed the advice of many members to have essentially trouble-free operation of the boat for the past 2 years.
However, I decided to upgrade the electrical system with the idea of adding an Engel fridge/freezer and (eventually) solar.  I also wanted to be able to live on the anchor a bit more, and maybe use the wheelpilot more when sailing long stretches.  After researching, I decided on upgrading to 3 Firefly AGMs wired in parallel as a house bank.  These fit nicely in the C34 battery compartment.  To make the upgrade I also purchased a Balmar MC-614 external regulator, a Sterling 60Amp charger, a CMI 105amp alternator, and a Victron 712 monitor from Rod at Compass Marine.
Reading through the excellent electrical upgrades in the Tech Wiki—especially Jon’s on Della Jean—I started the work of laying out the primary components and wire runs.  All of the old 4 AWG was removed between the batteries, the engine, and the panel.  I am leaving one original 4 AWG positive as a feed from the battery compartment to power the panel.  What I discovered for the original negative to the panel was a 10 AWG wire.

Location of new components
 Balmar Regulator:  on the shelf in the aft cabin just aft of the engine
Sterling charger:  under the Nav table
Victron monitor:  on the vertical panel just forward of the Nav table.
Like Jon, I also mounted a new Selector switch (Blues Seas 6008 (“1-OFF-2”)) on the outside of the battery compartment.  My thinking was I would use “1” for the house bank and use it for everything.  “2” would be used for the reserve battery when I put it in eventually.  No “Both” because I couldn’t see why I would run the reserve and the house banks in parallel.  Coming off the common would be (1) the existing 4 AWG positive to the panel and (2) a new 1 AWG positive to the starter solenoid.  The 4 AWG positive to the panel would go to a new Perko “On/Off” switch to replace the original four position Perko switch.  Since my upgrade does not allow a new panel right now, my thinking was I could simply turn on the new switch at the battery compartment to “1”, and then the panel switch to “On” for any DC panel needs.
Orientation of New Batteries
The 3 new Firefly Group 31 batteries are situated side by side in parallel, fore and aft, with the positive terminals oriented aft.  My thinking was to run the positive output of the bank close to the Selector switch.  The negative output would be oriented toward the forward outboard corner of the battery compartment where it would go the Victron shunt mounted on the outboard wall of the compartment up high.  It will then connect aft to a negative busbar on the aft wall of the battery compartment. That negative busbar will pick up the 1 AWG negative to the starter bolt, the 10 AWG negative to the panel, and the 4 AWG to the Sterling charger (as well as the green 6 AWG for the case ground), and others—all fed up through a new hole in the floor, aft and outboard in the bottom of the battery compartment.
Routing new Wires
Because I had already replaced the original water heater with a new Quick model in the hanging locker, I also went with Jon’s (and others) idea to run new wires under the galley floor and into three holes already located in the port side of the engine compartment: 1 AWG positive (to starter solenoid bolt), 1 AWG negative to (to starter bolt), and 1 AWG positive to alternator output.  I enlarged these holes with a 1 1/8” hole saw to allow 1” clear tubing to keep the new 1 AWG  dry and off the hull.  I removed the teak and holly floor in the galley and cut a 6” square access hole underneath to assist with this.  In the process I discovered that the subfloor—part of the pan—is over an inch thick and cored with ľ” plywood.  Very sturdy.  These were then routed forward, under the shelf for the water heater, and up through three holes in the bottom of the battery compartment.
When mounting the new Sterling charger the manual said to use 4 AWG for the positive and negative run to the battery compartment (based on the RT distance).  Luckily, I had already cut an access hole in the subfloor under the Nav table for running supply lines and heater hose to the new/relocated water heater.  This allowed me to route the new charger wires to the battery compartment, including the battery temp sensor, using existing glassed-in Catalina conduit over the bilge.  These are also routed up through the bottom of the battery compartment.
When routing the new wires up into the battery compartment, I cut in two new holes.  The original hole is in the port aft corner of the battery compartment.  This is also where the new Selector switch is mounted, and is closest to the positive terminal on the battery bank.  The thought is to run the new 1 AWG wire to the starter and the 4 AWG out this hole.  In the opposite aft corner is a new hole though which to route the various negatives up to a negative busbar.  In the between these two is an intermediate hole through which the 1 AWG Alt output (+) is routed back to the batteries, as well as the Charger + 4 AWG wire.
So here I am with all these wires running into the bottom of the battery compartment, ready for connection to switches, fuses, and batteries.  And if you’re still reading this:  God bless you.  This is where I could use some input—except where you probably already felt compelled to comment.
1.  Fusing the positive Alt Output and the Charger output wires.

Given space/clearance considerations in the battery compartment, the best place for me to mount the majority of the fuses/ busbars is on the aft wall of the battery compartment,  Both the negative wires, and the Alt Output and Charger output, are coming up from holes directly below (in the battery compartment floor) and onto that wall. 

Can I use Blue Seas 285-series surface mount circuit breakers for these wires?

My thinking was to get a 150 amp for the Alt output (105 amp alternator), and the recommended 80 Amp for the charger output (60 Amp Sterling), and then run them to a common power post before going to the battery.  The benefits of using these are (1) they are thinner (with a profile of only 1.25”) and (2) the 150 Amp circuit breaker for the Alt Output could act as the “Service Technician Disconnect Switch” recommended by Maine Sail.  The other solution I thought of, a Blue Seas 5196 MRBF surface mount fuse block, is nearly 2.4’’ in profile making locating it a little tougher.

Using ANL fuses presents the same profile problems on that wall, although not as great as the Blue Seas 5196 MRBF surface mount fuse block.

2.  When running the positive back off the battery positive to the new selector switch, I’m thinking of running the 1AWG to a positive busbar located on the inboard wall of the (similar to what Jon did on Della Jean), and then a 1 AWG to the “1” post of the new switch for the house bank.  Its my understanding that I need to fuse the two wires coming off the “common” (for the 1AWG starter and the 4 AWG going to the panel).  If correct:

Can I use a Blue Seas 2151 “dual MRBF terminal fuse block” off the 3/8” stud of the “common” post of the switch—one fuse for the 1AWG starter and 1 fuse for the 4 AWG panel feed?
Or is there a better solution?

3.  As mentioned, although the original electrical had a 4 AWG positive going to the panel (which I am leaving in place), the negative to the panel is only 10 AWG.

Can I leave this as is?  Or do I need to replace that negative with a larger wire?  Again, I’m not changing the panel as part of this phase of the electrical upgrade, other than to change the original Perko Selector Switch from a 4 position to a simple “On/Off” switch.  It seems to have worked for 30 years in this configuration.

4.  Pot pouri:  Feel free to offer any additional thoughts.  I am no electrician but enjoy trying to learn these things.

Thanks in advance for your input.


Main Message Board / Alignment process with new PSS shaft seal
« on: December 13, 2020, 06:41:35 AM »
I just installed my new SS prop shaft, split coupler, and PSS shaft seal while out of the water.  I'm getting splashed on Monday.

[Note: new shaft slid in with cutless bearing removed.  BUT, my boat definitely prefers sliding in/out on the PORT side of the rudder.  STARBOARD was too tight, so we switched sides and, voila, super easy.  Those tackling this in the future should definitely check for a preferred side of the rudder for shaft extraction/replacement.  In my case it made a huge difference!]

Anyway, I got the coupler on, torqued pinch bolts to spec, reattached the coupler to the transmission.  Installed the new PSS,  compressed bellows, and installed the first set of set screws in the stainless rotor.  I'm intending to align once the boat has sat in the water 24 hours, which (I understand) is where you should check/do engine alignment.  I've never done this, but am having a shipwright help do this. 

He tells me that to properly align the engine, he has to detach the coupler and push the shaft back some distance while he makes adjustments to the motor mounts.  But to splash, back out of the slings, and motor over to the overnight slip I need the drive train and the PSS functional overnight until the alignment work starts. 

This means the new SS rotor set screws have to be backed out to allow the shaft to be pushed back and the rotor repositioned.  So I guess that means I just used up 2 of the 5 new set screws that were provided for installation--at least I can't re-use them against the shaft as the tips will have "cupped" making them unsuitable for re-use.  I think I can re-use them as the outer stacked set screws.  I have a stainless retention collar I will use to keep the rotor compressed on the bellows while this work occurs.

Anyway, how have others done alignment in the water with a PSS shaft seal?  Is there a specific process?  My apologies in advance if I'm completely missing something, as I've never attempted engine alignment before, let alone with a PSS shaft seal.


Main Message Board / Preferred packing material for new Stuffing Box?
« on: December 03, 2020, 11:09:56 AM »
Because I decided to upgrade my drive train with a new stuffing box instead of going to a PSS-type shaft seal, I need to decide on the packing material.  Given the points made by Maine Sail about ABYC and prop shaft manufacturers advising against graphite impregnated packing material (e.g., GFO, GTU), what do other owners recommend?

I'm leaning towards the Tefpack product from Western Pacific vs. PTFE impregnated flax.  Your thoughts appreciated!


Main Message Board / New Prop Shaft installation: feedback requested
« on: December 03, 2020, 08:03:52 AM »
In preparation for (1) new SS "A-19" shaft, (2) new split coupling, (3) new cutless bearing, and (4) new stuffing box, I hauled out and removed the old versions of the above.  I didn't bother trying to uncouple the old bronze staft from the old coupler, and just cut it with a hack saw flush with the coupler.

I had already removed the cutless bearing by pressing it out with Dan's tool.  Based on the many, many prior posts on the subject, I lubed the old shaft and managed to pull it past the starboard side of my newer elliptical rudder.  (The prior owner replaced the original Mark I rudder with an elliptical rudder after a "sailing by braille" incident.)  Though successful, it was "very" tight.  I cut the the shaft at the coupling in order to to gauge difficulty of re-installing the new SS shaft which is now being made.  Getting the old shaft out revealed it "rode" on the front left side of the strut opening while I pulled it past the rudder.

My question is:  given that (1) I'm spending to put in a new "true" shaft, and (2) having read at least one post by Maine Sail about the possibility of messing up the trueness of the new shaft by re-installing by pushing it past the rudder, back through the strut, and back into the shaft log--should I really just drop the rudder to put in the new shaft?  Or, are others who have re-installed a stainless shaft (by pushing it past the rudder) convinced it has not affected trueness of the new shaft?   

I ask, because I am working alone in a yard some distance from my house, and it will definitely increase the time to re-install the prop shaft.  I would have to go into my aft lazarette, tear out the propane locker and shelf, etc..

Many thanks,


Main Message Board / New Firefly batteries: Other recommended upgrades?
« on: November 05, 2020, 10:28:35 AM »
After a lot of thinking and reading, I'm leaning toward purchasing two Firefly Oasis batteries for my house bank. Would like to do the upgrade work in December and January, and I'm trying to figure out what else I'll need to make the upgrade.   I pretty much have the OEM electrical system on my 1990 C34.  This includes:

1. Internally regulated Prestolite 51 Amp alternator;

2. Two group 24 deep cycle Interstate batteries;

3.  Original Newmar charger;

4.  Charging via alternator goes through the selector switch on the panel, then to the batteries.

I don't have a lot of electrical demand.  As yet, no refrigeration, but I'm thinking of going with an Engel portable fridge/freezer strapped to the bench seat in the aft cabin.  It would replace the Igloo Cooler already there which I use when cruising for a couple of weeks in the summer.  Other than that, no windlass, no radar, and all interior lights and anchor light have been switched to LED bulbs.  I usually use the ancient ST 4000 wheel pilot (still works!) only when motoring. I have the original B&G Focus depth sounder, but am happy to use the handheld Garmin 78 for just about everything else.

So, the reason for the switch to the Firefly batteries is more usable amps, their ability to function in a state of deeper discharge, and the increased number of charge cycles.  No electrolyte monitoring, no need to carry the distilled water or measure specific gravity, no need for battery boxes, and fewer concerns about heeling.  And I know this comes with the need for a lot of other new equipment and upgrades in order to carefully charge the new Firefly AGMs.

Based on what I've read, I need (at a minimum):

1.  A new alternator wired for external regulation (small frame to fit on my M25xp);

2.  a new external regulator which may need to be programmable to make sure the Fireflies get what they need from the alternator;

3.  a new AC battery charger;

4.  a new Battery monitor (Victron ?).

5.  assorted battery cables, wires, and fuses.

So, I would appreciate any advice (or cautions) on filling out the equipment list above--or suggested additions to it.  I would like to support Mainesail with my purchase dollars.  Eventually, I would like to add about 200 watts of solar too. 

Thanks in advance for your feedback!


Main Message Board / Dripless: Is it all that?
« on: October 20, 2020, 11:38:45 AM »
Considering a dripless shaft seal to replace the stuffing box.  In my case would also mean changing the prop shaft (I have original bronze), and while I'm at it maybe a flexible coupler.  My shaft is 30 years old, and the stuffing box looks pretty old too.  Either way, I'm going to have to haul the boat just to replace the hose, clamps, etc for the new stuffing box.

Looking for feedback from those who have made the switch.  I have heard different sides, but not from other C34 owners.  I've heard everything from life changing praise, to not quite as "dripless" as advertised, to safety arguments for retaining the traditional stuffing box.



Main Message Board / New Dinghy feedback requested
« on: August 22, 2020, 06:53:25 AM »
I have been using a Westmarine rollup (RU 260) with a Tohatsu 3.5 (2 stroke, 29 lbs) with good results for the past several years.  It is about the lightest weight set-up available, everything breaks down pretty easily, and it has been perfect for moving around two people from ship to shore.

This year, however, i have some captained charters I'm offering in the San Juan Islands and I need to be able to move 3 people at a time. For a lot of reasons, I want to go to a RIB--understanding well the weight penalty.  I managed to find a Tohatsu 5hp, 2 stroke with about 5 hours on it, and weighing in at about 42 lbs.  So that is what I'm going to use to push the new dinghy, and I can heft that on/off the dinghy from my swim step.  After looking at some helpful posts on this forum--though dated--I also ordered a Westmarine 260 RIB, FRP hull, with a 1000 lb payload.  But it does weigh in at (gulp) 115 lbs.  Going up a size (10') moves the weight up even higher, and makes the prospect of getting it inverted on the foredeck more difficult.

My biggest priorities are durability, getting people safely from ship to shore, and price point.  I'm not taking the boat to the tropics, so I'm not as concerned with paying the premium for Hypalon tube material. I'm also only going to use it a few months out of the year, and store it in my garage when not in use.

Although i ordered my dinghy last week, I'm not sure it is going to be here when promised (9/5).  I found good prices locally on the Zodiac 270 and 300 Aluminum RIBs with PVC tubes, and they can be picked up tomorrow for $600 and $800 more than I'm paying for the Westmarine FRP 260 RIB.  They also only weigh 82 and 95 lbs, respectively.

Looking for feedback based on experience with these models.  I don't mind paying a little more for better boat, but I don't know anyone who has purchased an aluminum RIB, or the potential drawbacks of doing so.  Our beaches up here can be cobbly.



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