- Engines – Volvo Penta TAMD60C
The engines are two Volvo Penta TAMD60C 6 cylinder in line Turbo-charged & After-cooled units connected to Shaft drives via Twin Disc gearboxes. Each is rated at 255 HP, and with a clean bottom Ocean Belle can achieve 23 – 24 knots, although at these speeds is very fond of the fuel, so more sensibly I cruise most of the time around 16 – 17 knots.
These engines have a good reputation for reliability, but in view of their age they do require a diligent maintenance regime. This requires the Oil, Oil Filters, and Fuel filters changed each year, plus I have set up a working schedule to allow ongoing servicing of the engines on a rolling basis. This way I can closely monitor and deal with any problems such as minor leaks as they occur.
Since owning Ocean Belle the following have been specific tasks beyond the routine servicing …
- Air Filters – replaced with K&N filters. These can be periodically cleaned and re-oiled
- Coolers – Oil; Water; Gearbox – all have been de-scaled, plus the Stbd water cooler failed requiring a new and somewhat expensive element to be replaced. The gearbox coolers have more recently been replaced with Bowman coolers.
- Oil pressure switches & transducers. The Stbd oil switch was not working so has been replaced. Also installed is an NMEA2000 system with Noland Canbus convertor which converts the transducer inputs to data to be shown on the Garmin Plotter – Oil pressure, temperature, etc.
- New domestic batteries. There are four batteries of 125 AH each, two are isolated and for the Stbd engine start only, with two deep draw providing power for the array of electrical gear and the Port engine start. Fairline sensibly provide a cross connection button to allow Port engine start if its batteries have been flattened whilst moored and with no shorepower. A substantial dual output battery charger is also installed and this automatically floats the batteries as soon as shore-power is connected.
- Fuel system upgrade January 2013. With the increasing use of relatively dirty and less stable bio-diesel, maintaining a stable fuel supply free of the dreaded diesel bug will become increasingly difficult. Water in boat diesel tanks is inevitable, but with fuels that will break down more easily the growth of the Bug and its disastrous sludge residue that then clogs the filters when least needed, shall become a more common problem. Expensive additives will sort out fuel bug to a certain extent, but prevention being better than cure, it is simpler to keep it at bay at source. This requires a specific approach to the fuel system design with certain provisions to maximise fuel supply reliability – filtration; filtration & more filtration. The upgrade included the following new provisions …
- Replacing the somewhat basic Harwood centrifugal fuel spinner with a Racor 900 style centrifugal spinner / filter with 10 micron replaceable filter element.
- New Magnetic fuel conditioner. This is not actually a filter, but is recognised to kill the bug as it passes through en route to the pre-filter and then engine fine filter. As a large volume of the fuel drawn by the engine is then returned via the spill system, routine running of the engines processes the fuel and increases the polishing affect. Magnetic filters are also claimed to improve combustion efficiency by streamlining the fuel molecules and making more of the fuel actually burn and produce power, meaning less fuel for the same power as before – that’s the theory but not sure I am to convinced about this one, however as Volvo Penta sell the QL magnetic filter there must be some credence to their ability to reduce fuel bug. The unit I installed is the Pure Fuels FMIS08. Details of both these units are available in the downloads list.
- New drain valves to the original fit drain points left blanked by Fairline from new. These have quick couplings so I can simply plug in a portable filtration (polishing) unit with its own pump, with a similar return coupling to the existing fuel spill returns. I have replaced the spill cross connect with a 3 way tee. This set up allows fuel to be pumped from either tank to either tank, with return via the low point drain to the opposite tank or the spill return to either tank as selected. However, I fitted extra females close to the inlet to each pre-filter unit – this allows me to back-flush the inlet pickup pipe should a slug of debris block this, and also allows me to use the polishing pump to prime the pre-filters, which is otherwise difficult if the tank level is below the pre-filter level, which at less than 3/4 tank is the case.
- Water most commonly arrives in the tank from condensation, and in a marine environment this cannot be avoided, unless the tanks are kept almost full the whole time, but with 1,200 litres capacity and a similar weight in KG. Full tanks provide a range of up to 400 miles, so for most cruising at around 30 – 60 miles round trip, keeping the tanks at or below half full, avoiding carrying over 1/2 tonne excess fuel weight improves fuel economy and / or speed through the water. The polishing draw point at the base of each tank is precisely where any water and sludge residue from fuel bug will gather.
- Diesel Bug cannot live without the water it lives in – it simply feeds from the fuel, and lives at the interface. Routine polishing is a service professional firms charge hugely for, with larger units operating to the precise system I have in a portable 12v unit. The filtration unit is a Baldwin PF10 water separator filter with a 10 micron filter element and 12 v fuel pump. I have installed a dedicated cigarette lighter socket with local switch / MCB to plug into.
- Generator Fuel Supply System – Due January 2013
A Mastervolt Whisper 4000 (generic copy of a Paguro 4000 / Westerbeke 3.5bcdt) 4 kVA 240vac diesel generator is installed fwd of the Stbd engine to provide full comforts of home even at anchor. This is a quiet and convenient extra, and although not used much, when needed it is a very nice extra to have. An annoying issue with the generator sorted with the fuel filtration improvements above, Winter 2013 was to re-connect the fuel feed, as the original pick up is quite shallow in the Stbd tank, meaning the generator lost fuel supply at around 1/3 tank level. I think this is deliberate to stop the Stbd tank running out, but the fuel gauges are accurate and simple to monitor.
- External Electrics & Controls – During 2012
Having installed a Lowrance HDS7M Plotter that would not talk to the new Furuno RO4800 VHF / AIS unit, this was replaced with a Garmin GPSMAP750 chart-plotter, with both the Garmin and new VHF cut into the Flybridge dash panel, which meant moving a few instruments around including removing two defective and unnecessary meters – an old Log and 2nd repeater for the Philips Navigator. A new deck flood / searchlight has also been fitted, along with replacement speaker for the Raytheon Loudhailer.
- NMEA2000 & NMEA0183 plus AIS
NMEA2000 is a CANBUS system as used on modern cars and lorries, and enables a common data stream for much useful engine and navigation data to be shared by the various instruments used to control the boat, both at the Flybridge and lower Helm stations.
I installed the NMEA2000 Backbone Autumn 2012 with the addition of a Noland NMEA interface unit to pickup the engine data. This allows me to see the engines is full detail from the remote Flybridge steering position on the Garmin Chartplotter, in addition to the basic alarm lights provided by Volvo Penta.
As time goes on I can introduce more equipment suited to the NMEA2000 system. This is simple to extend, and easy to use.
- Noland RS11 Canbus Engine data convertor
This clever little box ‘sits’ on the electrical signals being transmitted from the various engine sensors and converts the data, regardless of format into NMEA2000 sentences. This means I can see the full engine key data from the Flybridge – Oil pressure; Temperature & RPM, without having to check the gauges on the lower helm. I can also set up alarm levels to suit me. The two engine Tacho displays are in the form of parallel bar graphs on the Garmin plotter, so synchronising the engines is made far simpler, especially as the conventional tacho in the port fly over reads at cruising range revs, making tuning very difficult otherwise.
- VHF combined with AIS – Furuno Radio Ocean RO4800
I have also installed a new VHF with combined AIS function. This communicates directly with the Garmin Plotter to display positional data for larger ships from their AIS signals. Being able to track their movements enables safer passage making and is less fiddly to use than Radar since it automatically displays the crucial information required on the main chartplotter display and in real-time.
NMEA0183 is a more complex system of data communications using an open array BUS and individual instruments have to be chained together carefully wire by wire. However, this is useful for integrating the older but perfectly functional Raymarine / Autohelm Speed, Depth & Auto-pilot instruments.
The Garmin Plotter, Furuno RO4800 VHF / AIS and the traditional Seatalk network all link smoothly via a 3 way junction box.
- Garmin GPSMAP750 Chartplotter
Having initially installed a Lowrance HDS-5 chart plotter, then HDS-7 I found these plotters could not talk out and receive in the relevant DSC and AIS data, so these were upgraded to the Garmin GPSMAP750 chart plotter.
This plotter is simply great, with easy to use touch screen and high level of detail built-in for the entire cruising range I envisage – River Thames to Scilly Isles plus the Channel Islands and north coast of France.
- Interior – Autumn / Winter 2011
The original upholstery cushions on Ocean Belle were tired with the cloth fraying. So I have had all the upholstery re-covered, plus new cover for the Flybridge lounger and RIB dinghy seat.
The carpets we thought would simply require replacement, but instead we bought a new Bissell heated carpet cleaner for use both at home and aboard, so now they are almost like new. Being light beige is not ideal, as the slightest dirt on your shoe will leave its mark, and as the engines sit beneath the cabin floor transferring grease and dirty oil onto the carpets is remarkably simple. These have now been cleaned twice – February & December 2012.
The large front sloping windows let in a huge amount of light, and this UV exposure shortens the fabric life and fades the colours, so a set of clip on internal screen covers have been made by the upholsterer. These also improve the internal privacy.
- New Eberspacher Heater – September 2011
The original heater was an old Eberspacher D3L, and simply would not work. So I bought a New Airtronic D4 (4 kW) unit to replace the older unit. I even got £150 for the old unit on EBAY. The new unit includes fault finding display with 7 day timer – just like the central heating at home.
- LED Cabin & Engine bay lighting – December 2012
LED lighting strips positioned around the engine bay provide a bright, almost daylight brilliance for simpler servicing and inspection of the engines underway. These are also very low wattage, drawing minimal current (Amp- Hours) from the batteries when away from shore-power. I have also replaced the Festoon bulbs in the cabin lamps with LED equivalents, these provide a warm white light and with virtually nil current draw.
- Navigation lights – August 2011
The Nav lights on the radar arch simply did not work due to corroded electrical connections. One of the first jobs before She could put to sea was to completely re-wire these vital lights.
- Galley Refurbishment – Autumn 2011
1 Original yacht cooker removed, and replaced with Sharp microwave combi oven, with install venting kit. This was the only one I could find that could be installed into a restricted shelf. I did have to put a rear vent through the new worktop.
2 New Spinflo sink Triangular with Glass lid, and fold down tap faucet.
3 Matching Spinflo 3 burner hob, with Flame safety cut outs and 12v spark ignition built into the gas knobs. Keeping the LPG gas system allows us to be able to cook even without electrical power. The refurb included a new regulator and conversion from Butane to Propane, which burns cleaner, operates to well below 0oC and a standard cylinder lasts longer.
4 Composite work tops from A LA CUCINA – Apollo Quicktops. Cost for the worktop compared very well with Corian. The finished result is simply excellent. This stuff is also a lot lighter than granite or re-formed granite.
This was supplied in a single piece cut in half 3,700 mm x 765 mm x 6 mm, but note 6mm thick is special order as normally this is supplied bonded to chipboard as a 38mm thick domestic worktop. Easy to work, but a bit delicate when handling after the access holes have been cut. Final install meant routing the edges so the hob and sink plus bin recess would fit, and this provided the boat its own internal snowstorm !
5 Installing the 600mm wide oven was a challenge as the existing gap for the oven from the forward bulkhead was only 550mm, so I had to completely dismantle the original galley cabinet work and re-position the inner bulkheads both sides to provide the 600mm gap required. I ended up making a new front cabinet section from teak faced ply from Bampton’s in Vespasian Road, Southampton.
The lower locker is now quite a bit bigger and easily stores all our pots and pans.
6 Power. I ran a dedicated 1.5mm (16a rated) 3 core cable direct to the boat’s 240v consumer unit, and re-arranged the socket distributions. 12 v dc supply for the Hob igniter was tapped from the nearby galley fan supply.
The end result is spectacular. The initial test was New Year’s Day 2012 roast dinner for four, the only drawback is that the Sharp combi won’t cook Yorkshire’s !
- Seacocks & After heads – February 2012
All screw / gate valves have been replaced with ball valves of DZR brass. The seacock to the after heads outlet had seized closed, and rendered the aft toilet un-usable for the first season. It was a shock when the whole thing disintegrated when it was being undone – had this happened at sea the boat would have sunk !
No original seacocks remain
- Wiring & Shorepower
The Survey highlighted a minor short-circuit on one 240v supply socket and this was replaced prior to completion of the purchase, but the zinc anodes were found to be wearing fast on one side only. The port anode bolts had corroded and were no longer making a sound circuit, so were replaced, and a galvanic isolator was installed on the earth line next to the shorepower connection point. This device prevents low-level DC ‘Galvanic’ currents from passing, but maintains the essential requirement for a full earth link for the 240v system to the shore earth.
The shorepower cable was also discovered to be polarity reversed, which would not be helping the zinc consumption, so this was fixed when a reverse power indicator was installed on the 240v distribution consumer unit.
Also during the Spring lift out I re-wired the anode earth grounding circuit, replacing all corroded connections and fittings.
Winter 2012-13 I have also rigged a simple anode from the older anodes removed with plenty of zinc left, which are attached to a stainless wire, in turn this is connected to the boats bonding / earth circuit. This is dangled from the boat alongside to take some of the hit caused by the local metalwork around the marina, which is invariably unprotected, and cause of many of the electrical corrosion problems.
In February 13 I found a dodgy bilge pump switch allowing an earth leakage current and this was not helping preserve the anodes. Now replaced with a solid state switch.
Anodes update Winter 2014 – 15
Less than 1/3 wear to the anodes this year, so at last the electrical leakage problems have been resolved.
- New Double seat & Tonneau for the Flybridge Summer – Winter 2012-13
I fitted a double bucket seat to replace the original and very tired single helm seat. The replacement seat was a brand new seat made by Toomer & Hayter and a bargain from EBAY from someone who ordered the thing without checking it would fit their own boat. The sun lounger mattress was also re-covered with the original upholstery in 2011, but tended to waterlog from rainwater. The new seat also meant the original seat / fly helm cover was no longer suitable, and a tonneau resolves keeping the whole Flybridge clean and dry. The cover has also been made with a zip opening to allow access to the helm without having to take the whole cover off if casual access to the helm is required, or where foul weather steering from the fly is required, e.g. mooring in the rain.
So Winter 2013 I have had a lovely new Tonneau made by a great firm based in Hamble – ‘SO31 Bags’. These guys are Ocean racing sailors, who have set up for sail & cover making a few months ago. Their prices are keen and the job is first class.
In WInter 2013-14 I installed two new Fly passenger rear seats.
- Generator Top overhaul – February 2014
Following renewal of the fuel feed with the new fuel system for the engines, I then found the genny still would not start. After much head scratching I found that if I added some neat engine oil to the cylinder through the injector hole, the engine would fire. This it turned out was due to a corroded exhaust valve. In fact when taken out the original valve head lost about 3/4 of the seat material, with several gaps around its periphery. This was stopping the engine making enough compression from cold to get the allow the engine to fire.
I then found out my ‘Mastervolt Whisper 4000’ is in fact a ‘Paguro 4000’, and is also known as a ‘Westerbeke 3.5 bcdt’, for which full manuals were then found via google. The engine I knew was a Farymann 18W, and having been shocked at the price of parts via marine generator firms, I then found the Farymann is widely used for other applications such as road repair machinery (like those awful noisy machines used to compact the ground after a hole has been field in). Parts for these were therefore available via a commercial diesel specialist as ex-stock items and I bought the required exhaust valve and gaskets for £40, and in fact I had them within 2 days of finding the Farymann Parts listing.
So with the exhaust valve & seat replaced and both valves duly ground and lapped in, I re-assembled the top end of the engine and now she starts first time. The advice I did glean is that I should aim to run the genny on load for at least 1-2 hours once a month. This allows the exhaust valve to get hot enough to reduce the salty coolant outlet fumes from condensing on the valve, and this should extend its life.
The various Manuals for the Mastervolt / Paguro / Westerbeke / Farymann variants are all on my downloads page.February 2014 – However, one year on and the engine refused to start again, head off to discover heavy carbonisation of the exhaust due to the exhaust valve seat having a corrosion crevice. This would not lap out, so instead I had a new seat fitted, with another new valve. Should be good for another 20 years now, but I have fitted a fogging tube to allow a good blast of WD40 or spray oil directly onto the valves after a run.
- Exhaust temperature monitor / alarms
Loss of seawater supply from either a clogged inlet / strainer, or pump failure can cause major problems especially if not spotted early. The seawater cooling supply exits via the exhaust from the engine, which it provides cooling and silencing for. So if the seawater supply stops the very first effect will be rapid heating of the exhaust system, downstream of the water injection point. The protection is a simple temperature controller with its sensor attached to a copper tube, epoxied onto the exhaust pipe metalwork just after the injection point.
This controller has an adjustable alarm, which at the set temperature closes a relay contact. This is wired to a spare panel indicator on the Volvo Penta instrument panels for Glow-plugs not fitted to the model of engine installed. Should the alarm temperature be reached I get an immediate warning at both steering positions.
Over the first season the temperatures maxed out at about 43C, so I have set these at 45oC. They are now neatly mounted just beneath the dash panel.
- Gearbox Oil Coolers
Following a minor oil leak from the Stbd engine gearbox oil cooler, I found the internal assembly suffering from de-zincification of the brass end caps. The replacement from Volvo Penta was offered at a ridiculous price so instead I installed replacement tubular coolers from EJ Bowmanan – DC90 units.
These have been mounted into the same position using some polyamide mounting blocks and brackets, with simple adaptors for the water connections through the cooler. The hydraulic circuit from the gearbox used the original adaptors from the VP cooler units.
The new coolers are of Cupro-Nickel, so do not require separate anodes, and each has an increased internal area of approx. 125% the original. As the port unit was also heavily scaled I simply replaced both coolers.
- Autumn / Winter 2013-14
Aft Cabin – Minor re-decoration
Detach loose bulkhead trim, and clean foam debris from behind, replace liner foam, and re-affix. Replace upper shelves damaged by occasional rain water ingress over 27 years. Re-upholster headboard and side cushions. Re-cover curtains.
Table – refurbish. Veneer replaced and varnished with Epithanes
Wooden cabin trim – strip & re-finish areas where damage or wear has occurred
Replace fly bridge aft seats.
Replace the windlass wooden mount pad, which was disintegrating. Whilst at it I serviced the Lofrans Cayman Windlass, and gave it a fresh coat of paint.
- Electrical Distribution 12 VDC
The original Fairline cap ended fuses were causing occasional equipment faults, and several conductors were getting hot as a result of dirty fuse end caps. In order to fit modern blade style Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCBs) I needed to change the fuse holders, but this also meant tackling numerous untidy and undefined wires in and around the power distribution panel behind the dash panel accessed from the forward shower compartment.
I found the Bluesea range of blade fuse holders offered a 12 way unit, with built in +VE busbar. By using three of these I had 36 available blade fused channels, to replace the original 24 fuses, plus a rag tag of around 6 or so other services added since new.
Replacing these turned out to be something of a challenge, firstly I removed the +VE feeds to the original service circuits, carefully number marking each service with a note of its fuse size, this provided space for the left and centre Bluesea units, after I had installed a new +VE distribution busbar from the domestic battery, itself via a 125a Mega-fuse.
Having connected these I then had to remove the negative -VE returns from the common busbar, terminating each individual conductor onto the -VE busbar on the Bluesea units, this was the worse part, getting the individual conductors re-routed, re-tagged, terminated and tidy. Having cleared the old -VE busbar left room for the third Bluesea unit. This provided a neat position for add-on services connected with various in line fuses :- VHF; Noland RS11; NMEA2000 system. I also found several non-fused supplies, so I have assigned these to some of the spare MCBs with 20a rated units. This will provide some decent protection to these circuits.
I even found some 10m of heavy duty cabling running halfway back to the vicinity of the eberspacher heater into a terminal strip and then back to the power panel, which then fed some of the instruments. Now this has gone with the Service circuits properly identified and powered with a correctly rated MCB each.
Testing each circuit eventually allowed the original circuits to be identified and suitable rated MCBs were fitted in place of the intended blade fuses. These MCBs were from the ETA ‘1610’ series, rated between 6 and 30 amps. Several spare fuse ways are available for future expansion, for now with a range of sizes should a spare ever be required in a hurry.
All the circuits have been included on newly drawn schematics depicting the Service of the circuit, amp rating including MCB colour code and RS part numbers correct to 2014.
- Stiff Port Shaft
The haul out in February 2014 was intended to be a brief clean off followed by three coats of Antifoul – Primocon primer plus two coats of Micron CSC Extra 2, but the port shaft was incredibly stiff to turn. Initially I thought this was an alignment problem, but turned out to be the outer cutlass bearing, which had perished and swollen up and was gripping the shaft like a brake.
In view of its condition I replaced both cutlass bearings, and felt it was time for a new PSS stern seal.
- Follow up replacement of Stbd shaft bearings & Seal
Winter 2014-15 I pulled the Stbd shaft to replace the cutlass bearings and PSS Seal. A wise precaution – the PSS was tired out, and the upper cutlass was worn out.
As part of this work I removed the stbd gearbox to clean off some corrosion caued by a dripping stern seal feed connection, and decided to fully prime & re-paint the entire gearbox casing. I found the simple braided hose formed of four individual sections of hose, each with double clipped joining pieces, so £4.50 for a single piece of new tubing with a connection at each end only – the things some owners do to save a few pence.
- Onboard Wifi
Invariably the Wifi in marinas is pretty poor, as the kids regularly remind me. So I have bought a Booster set up from Alfa consisting of R36 Router box, Tube N booster and matching 8DBi marine grade aerial. Now I can pick up Wifi sites quite some distance, and for publicly accessible sites all that is needed is the password, so a casual visit to the pub or restaurant concerned and bingo.
- New domestic batteries
These were replaced in March 2015 after the re-float from the Winter work (new stud shaft seal & cutlass bearings) when I found they had failed.
3 way diverter valve for forward heads replaced due to stiffness March 2015