Next Passion

We took the opportunity of a beautiful autumn day in Sydney to do some two handed sailing on Passion X and get some engine hours up before the trip to Port Stephens next week.
Elaine and I took Passion X up the Harbour in what I would call our safe cruising mode. We put a reef in the mainsail so that the square head clears the twin backstays and set the 105% No 3 genoa. We tried a few combinations including motor sailing with the No 3 genoa alone and motor sailing with the reefed main and genoa. The conditions were very mild and I cannot recall the breeze being over 12 knots but we made good time with the shortened rig. We are still running the motor in so much of the motoring was moving around the low revs mark and under 6 knots but in the occasional brief high rev range we did 8 knots. That is the maximum we ever got out of Passion with the bigger motor and a clean bottom so I estimate we are going faster in Passion X with three quarters of the power we had on Passion.
After a visit to our Laser friends at Middle Harbour Amateur Sailing Club we hoisted the reefed main and headed out to sea. The reefing system is identical to the very satisfactory system we had on Passion right down to the colour of the reef lines so putting in the reef is simple and with the first reef in we have more headroom under the boom.

Chart plotter tracks from Passion X's first taste of the open sea

Chart plotter tracks from Passion X’s first taste of the open sea

 
We gave the autopilot a good workout both beating and running and it works very well.
With the reefed main and small genoa tacking was very simple and Elaine could winch on the geona while the mainsail was left to fend for itself.
It was good to get some extended hours of motor running and for Elaine to see that Passion X is just as well handled with two on board as was Passion although we have not yet organised a spray dodger.

 

Passion X back on the mooring after a very pleasant afternoon sailing out to sea

Passion X back on the mooring after a very pleasant afternoon sailing out to sea

There is less than a week to go before we leave the shelter of Sydney Harbour and head north to Port Stephens via Newcastle. I am excited about the trip and the chance to catch up with friendly competitors and hopefully show off the sailing capabilities of our new Passion X. We have had Passion X out on the water in 20 knots of breeze with the big genoa and the full mainsail and she has been so well behaved that we should be able to handle most conditions with the No 3 genoa and two reefs in the main. We have a storm jib and a third reef in the main but as we found with Passion it has to be a real storm to reef down that far.
Our efforts to get an IRC certificate were stymied by the lack of weighting facilities for the hull at this time of the year. We are booked in for the first group weigh for the next season and that will both get us a certificate and improve our ORCi Club rating. Sailing Australia were very helpful in getting all the IRC measurements over to my ORCi Club application from July last year but my declared weight is probably 200 kg underweight based on the crane weight when we lifted the hull out of the back yard. The extra 200 kg will reduce the 1.11 rating a little and based on the ratings of other yachts we race against we will need all the help we can get. I say this a bit tongue in cheek as I am delighted with the VPP projections and hope we can sail to the rating. We rate higher than the prototype Didi 38, Black Cat, because we are 600 mm longer, have a 200 mm deeper keel, a 150 mm taller mast and genoa position, a 150 mm longer boom and have a fat head main. We also have a spinnaker pole that is 600 mm longer than our 4.100 J measurement. All these changes were made to improve the light and heavy air performance of Passion X so it is no surprise that we rate faster than Black Cat but I am surprised by the increase in the VPP. On a 135 degree broad reach in 20 knots our predicted speed is a knot and a quarter faster than Black Cat and the same as the VPP for the Pogo 12.50 series of extreme cruisers. The Pogo rates 1.13 but for non spinnaker we rate 1.0299 which is higher than some Pogo 12.5s. As we do a lot of non spinnaker sailing I am pleased with that rating.

The Club rating will soon be on the International web site but for now here is a picture.

Our ORCi Club rating

Our ORCi Club rating

I am working away at the services and interior of Passion X and have installed the water system up to the hot and cold shower on the transom where I need a couple of hose tails to complete the connections. On Friday I replaced the hot water lines with ones with a 90 degree C rating. The hot water hose I had already installed was not branded and I could not confirm the temperature rating. As the water is heated from the engine via a heat exchanger it can get quite hot so I replaced the hose with one rated for the duty. Up under the V berth I have installed protection for the 240 Volt cables that run to the water heater and three pin outlets which let us enjoy creature comforts while attached to the Marina shore power. Because we will also be storing heavy headsails and spinnakers under the V berth it was important to have very strong protection for the 240 Volt wiring runs. Now that it is finished four sails are stored under the bunk and the front end looks much tidier. The gas bottle is now secured to the base with a strapping system. I have built in a 12 mm high section in the locker to keep the base of the bottle up out of any water that might get into the locker. The locker needed a 12 mm gas drain hole at the base and the Nylon ring around the hole stops the last traces of water draining out so I will drill a 12 mm water drain hole as well and make sure there is no lip to retain the water.

The Category 4 safety equipment is finished but I had a perplexing problem installing the catch for the sliding hatch. It needs to lock the sliding hatch into position and be accessible from below and above. I did the first half one day and made it lockable from below and did not think how I might get into the boat the next day. I needed to find a narrow blade to fit between the top of the sliding hatch and the vertical one and lever the barrel bolt out. The only readily available solution was to fold and old steel measuring tape into half and insert the folded end into the slot. The very first job after that was to connect the external pull line so that I don’t get caught a second time.

On the cabin top I have installed jack lines which double as hand holds and it is a shame racing was cancelled on Wednesday night before we had a chance to try them out. Our spinnaker sheets are ready to go except for locating the pole downhaul position. A 35 mm deep deck stringer runs down the centre of the foredeck so I might put the pad eye a little off centre rather than drilling a big 8 mm hole through the stringer. The other option is to attach the pad eye with screws secured in the very big laminated beam at the back edge of the anchor locker.

I am also pondering how to attach the tack of the asymmetric spinnaker to the bow. Over winter I will make a nice 600 mm long removable carbon fiber prodder but in the meantime we will fly the asymmetric spinnaker off the tack for the tight reaches and pulled back on the pole for the broader angles.  Depending on the conditions we might stick with the symmetric spinnaker.

This week I would like to find time to touch up the screw holes in the galley area. They are all filled but need a decorative coat of white paint to disappear.  If I don’t find time a bit of grey insulating tape will make a nice finishing trim for the week.

Last night I was feeling pretty contented with my effort for the week and paused as I rowed ashore to photograph the fastest, shiniest yacht in the bay.

Passion X is the fastest shiniest yacht in the bay. It is only a little bay.

Passion X is the fastest shiniest yacht in the bay. It is only a little bay.

 

After the excitement of the launch, first sail and first race on our Didi 40 Cr Passion X it was back to work preparing her for the Sail Port Stephens Regatta and the lead in Newcastle to Port Stephens race. There is a long list of wants to have finished including the galley drawers. There are four draws, top three being 150 mm deep and the bottom one 300 mm deep for cooking utensils. I assembled one of the 150 mm deep drawers in the garage and rowed it out to Passion X for a trial fit before gluing it together. The rest are all made now except for site fitting the faces. When I say made I mean they are glued up and have the first coat of paint on them. The extra galley storage will be welcome as most of the utensils are currently stored in sealed plastic containers tightly crammed into the shelf behind the fridge and stove.
I have also made up a base for the gas bottle. The base is a set of concentric rings to be glued into the gas locker so that the bottle cannot slide around. The bottle will be strapped to the base so it cannot move. Another task on the list was rail supports for the hanging locker they are now made and primed.

Drawers, draw fronts and other items with a first coat of primer

Drawers, draw fronts and other items with a first coat of primer

The long spinnaker pole off Passion has been trimmed to 4.7 metres for a lower rating penalty and once the spinnaker lines are finished we will have to get in some spinnaker practice.
Last night was our second race at Greenwich Flying Squadron on the Black fleet. The forecast was for fifteen knots on the Harbour which means quite light on the west side of the bridge. We set the No 1 genoa and prepared for the start. We were windward boat on the line when a knock put the leeward ones ahead so we had to tack through the fleet on the way out of Humbug. Meridian was one of the leeward boats and she cleared off making a fast passage through Humbug to be five minutes ahead after fifteen minutes of racing. We had a good battle with the rest of the fleet to get through Humbug behind Lisdillon and then all of a sudden the breeze freshened to around 20 knots.
Now this was the first time Passion X has seen any breeze and we had the big genoa up too. We flattened the main and let it flog while sailing on the genoa and survived our first test. Within minutes we had trimmed the sails for heavy air survival and survived very well. Only the big Beneteau 44.7 passed us in the breeze and soon we were reaching away along the Cockatoo island shore in moderating conditions.
We now had a large group of yachts just behind including the Young 40 Flashback who gave us a very tight race all evening.
As we moved back into beating mode after rounding Cockatoo Island we managed to sail over Calliban and Lisdillon while just holding out Flashback.
The next challenge was to sail around Goat Island where we picked the breeze remarkable well and were able to reach around the Island with a good lead on the fleet minus Meridain. The rest of the fleet experienced some very light shifty conditions which took them some time to negotiate.
Ignoring Meridian, we now had a larger lead on the fleet that in our first race but in a repeat performance we were becalmed on the run home. At the finish we just held out Flashback not noticing the large group of yachts just a minute behind who had come home with good breeze.
I was surprised that we managed the 20 knot conditions so comfortably. All the mainsail flogging was not fast due to the drag but we did not round up so I am looking forward to some steady 20 knot conditions with the No 3 genoa set.

We still have some issues to resolve with the sailing gear. The sheeting angle on the No 1 is fine in light airs but at 20 knots the pressure needed to keep the leach (leech if you prefer) near the spreaders pulls the foot in against the shrouds. I will try moving the sheeting angle forward to let the foot curve around the stay base but the angle will be very much down the leach. We have yet to put shock cord on the runner to pull them forward of the boom in a tack or gybe. It should be on the must do list for next Tuesday’s measurement slash busy bee jobs. The No 3 sets forward of the stays and inside them so that is good to go for a blow. The No 2 has not been hoisted but I fear we will have trouble finding a sheeting position where the foot does not clash with the stays. It might have to go between the D1′s and V1′s. On a lighter side I started referring to the No 1 last night as our No 2. The crew new that I was mentally preparing for a bigger No 1.

I must not rush this one as we seem to go well in the light beating conditions with very good height compared to the fleet. I already feel the 200 mm deeper keel, fat head main and longer foot on the main are working a treat with superb balance and a bigger genoa would impact our rating. On the other hand we have almost 2 metres of track behind the No 1 position which seems an awful waste and we do a lot of light air sailing in the RANSA Winter Wednesday series.

Gusts to 20 knots but very light patches too.

Gusts to 20 knots but very light patches too.

This week I will be trying to finish the galley as well as measuring Passion X for an IRC rating.

After the rush to get Passion X ready for the first twilight race last night I thought I would be ready for a rest today. I was wrong. I was up early registering my EPIRB with AMSA and following up suppliers who have been tardy with their bills. A stop at the local shopping centre for the Financial Review and a sit down coffee did not keep me quiet for long and I was soon home packing tools for a visit to Passion X on the mooring near Bay Street Greenwich. I rafted up at the club alongside friends who were also preparing for the Port Stephens Regatta and we were both having spinnaker gear fitted. Even with all the social activity and with people coming aboard for a look I managed a long list of small jobs.
It was a perfect day for on water work with little breeze which made rowing to and from the mooring a pleasant task. It was hot enough for the slow epoxy to set in four hours and many small supports were finally glued in place having been temporarily held on just the screws for the first race.
The final positioning of plumbing was completed in the head vanity unit with the end result much more pleasing that the first attempt. I did waste a lot of hose at almost $50 a metre in the process but it is finished to my satisfaction. I will upgrade the bilge pump hosing in time when I can find a product that is more robust than the local suppliers stock.
After some discussion with club members I realised that I have not said a lot about the sailing performance.

The mast, boom, vang and rigging were supplied as a package by Allyacht Spars from Queensland. They supplied the new rig for Passion in 2010 and I could not have been happier with that one. For the longer Passion X with more righting moment and a narrower base we had to have a stiffer lower section and that was achieved with a spectacularly well fitted sleeve for the bottom 5 metres. Right from the first sail the mast bend looked well suited to the yacht. The crane effect at the head is a little more pronounced than on Passion as we have an extra 550 mm between the top of the forestay and the mast head. With the extra leverage we do not need as much backstay to bend the head so we can have a bit of forestay sag in the light airs to induce camber in the genoa. The No 1 Carbon genoa off Passion looks superb on Passion X with a bit more forestay sag. Even with the bigger Passion X  we have the same boom section because the attachment for the boom blocks are much further aft than on Passion.

We have shamelessly copied the Jeanneau 349 mainsheet bridle for Passion X. I have tried so many traveller combinations on Passion that I joke that I have a doctorate in travellerology. The bridle is attached to the cabin top through 36 mm of plywood. In anticipation of the bridle I extended the plywood doubler under the cabin top forward to the second laminated beam. That means the whole of the head area and the quarter berth ante room roof is 24 mm laminated plywood and there is an extra 12 mm plywood backer for the bridle bringing it up to 36 mm. So far with just two practice sails and one race it has worked very well but I will upgrade the blocks on the bridle so I can fit a larger shackle.

The carbon No 1 genoa fitted on the new yacht very well. As the J measurement is 200 mm longer there is less overlap and tacking was easier. I am not sure that our converted No 2 will sheet outside the stays as the No 1 only just clears the turnbuckles. It might sheet between the V1 and D1 but we will give it a trial as soon as there is enough breeze. The No 2 started life as a multiaxial aramid laminate but within a few months I added a lot of carbon tapes to it to convert it to a string sail. As such it is very well behaved with the draft not moving aft. As my sister in law says, it would not dare.

Our No 3 off Passion is a very fast sail for the 20 knot wind range but I wanted a woven sail for the heavy air durability so we purchased a Dimension Polyant Hydranet Radial to complement the other sails from the same loft. I will be keen to get it up in 15 knots plus. I am curious to see how much use we get from our No 2. And we will see how long I can resist buying a big No 1 to us up that spare 2 metres of track behind the No 1 sheeting position.

Our first race was in very light conditions and we were lucky to get our nose into the breeze around the Greenwich point corner ahead of the fleet. On the long beat from Cockatoo Island to Goat Island we had plenty of time to assess the fleet behind and from our perspective we were slowly pulling away from the J 35. We lost a little to the Dehler 44 with a too early tack onto a header but otherwise seemed to be holding them as Black Cat’ polar plots would indicate. The did catch us on the long square run home both due to the breeze gradient across the course and the fact that their polar plot shows the square run to be their best performing angle compared to Black Cat. So all seems to be going according to the polar plots. Our tacking angles were quite remarkable and better than I expected. No doubt the 200 mm deeper keel helps a little both with area and keeping the boat more upright. It will be good to show the plots when there is not such a big outrunning tide.

I have Laser racing this weekend and it seems a waste as there are some pretty windy conditions forecast for Sunday. I would love to be out in Passion X in that with the No 3 and two reefs in the main.

Note the bridle arrangement for the mainsheet. This was before the solid vang was fitted and that comes further back than the soft vang in this photo.

Note the bridle arrangement for the mainsheet. This was before the solid vang was fitted and that comes further back than the soft vang in this photo.

Another angle on the fat head main. It is really quite modest at just 1.0 metres wide.

Another angle on the fat head main. It is really quite modest at just 1.0 metres wide.

Nice slot between the No3 and the main

Nice slot between the No3 and the main

 

It has been busy days since my last post. Saturday was Club Championships in the Lasers at Gosford Sailing club. Sunday Elaine and I rafted up Passion alongside Passion X and transferred a lot of personal gear across. Monday the riggers finished the lifelines and the electrician connected up the masthead gear. We finished that on Tuesday, commissioned the autopilot and then welcomed on board the auditor for our Category 7 safety check. After the audit I finished the plumbing in the head and gave it a trial test. Wednesday was finishing some hose clips and tidying up some piping runs before a last test sail at 1:00 pm. The test sail went well and we made a note of a few minor adjustments to make before the race proper at 6:05 pm.
We made a good start but there was no wind in Humbug so the fleet drifted trough. At the exit to Humbug we managed to get first use of the breeze and took off with the J35 Soundtrack close behind. It was like that all the way to Goat Island where we opened up a lead on Soundtrack but surrendered some distance to the Dehler 44, Meridian. On the run back to Humbug we were running away from a dying breeze which meant the whole fleet was catching. By the entrance to Humbug Meridian drifted past and we were becalmed waiting for wind which never arrived. What wind there was brought Soundtrack up to our stern and it was all we could do to hold them out for second fastest.
Soundtrack sailed very well in the conditions. Her big overlapping genoa worked well in the light air running while our No 1 carbon sail is more of a bullet proof job.

All the crew seemed happy with the way the boat performed and it was extremely well behaved.

Crew with new crew shirts posing on the back of Passion X

Crew with new crew shirts posing on the back of Passion X

I said many times during the build progress that we would put the rig on one day and sail the next. We did that with the change of rig on our Jeanneau 37, Passion so I thought we could do the same. Thanks to the cooperation of Joe Walsh Rigging and Sydney Sailmakers we were able to do the same with Passion X. At 2:40 pm Sydney time we cast off and headed out towards Cockatoo Island for our first sail. The sailing went to plan. The helm was super light and responsive and no one noticed the slight pressure from the connected Raymarine linear actuator autohelm. I think it did not even register in their minds. The new No 3 genoa set very well inside the shrouds and could not be a centimeter longer. I might try a softer top batten for a little more depth in the head but it looked perfect for heavier air sailing. The 1 metre wide fat head main held up very will with the untapered fractional rig and the running backstays were very easy to use. In the light conditions we soon hit 6 knots speed over the ground GPS readings and later 6.3 knots on a reach but it was very light airs and possible only eight to ten knots of breeze. All the crew had a turn on the helm and there were plenty of smiles. There was one annoyance as the AIS alarm went off with every passing ferry and I will have to turn that off for river racing. A passing inconsiderate power boat threw up a huge wave and gave us our first big slam into a wave but there will be many more of those out in the ocean. Our sail today could not have been achieved without an enthusiastic crew and I am very grateful for their support and company.

Smiles on the faces of the crew is reward enough

Smiles on the faces of the crew is reward enough

Our Didi 40 Cr, Passion X under sail for the first time

Our Didi 40 Cr, Passion X under sail for the first time

A new boat on the pontoon at Greenwich Flying Squadron

A new boat on the pontoon at Greenwich Flying Squadron

I have been very preoccupied getting Passion X ready for launch and stepping the mast so I need to catch up with the reporting.
In my last post I showed the colour of the antifouling on Passion X from inside the shed. It is lighter in the sunlight which Passion X saw again on Thursday as she was taken from the shed for the final touch up to the pad areas of the hull and for applying the Propspeed. We kept working as long as possible on the internal fittings and by launch had all the skin fittings installed and most attached to the plumbing. There is a lot left to do but the boat floats.
After the launch on Wednesday morning we took time out for a breakfast with friends at the Deckhouse and then took Passion X around to Joe Walsh Rigging for the stepping of the Allyacht Spars mast.
True to his word Joe stepped the mast today and the crane was gone by 1:00 pm. During the afternoon enthusiastic crew helped to lead all the halyards and reefing lines to the appropriate jammers and winches and fit the boom bag. By late afternoon the yacht looked deceptively finished. Tomorrow I hope all the life lines will be finished and enough of the rigging so that we can have a sail over the weekend.

Our Passion X is a Didi 40 Cr Wide Stern version by Dudley Dix. I always liked the hull lines but wanted a more racing oriented cockpit which Dudley drew for me. It meant a bit of extra work doing my own detailing to the new lines and detail around the cockpit structure but the strength and stiffness has amazed me. With Dudley’s help we have also done a little more to the racing potential with a deeper keel to 2.45 metres and a tiny increase to mast height and boom length.

The longer cockpit always seemed to need a longer boom and I am looking forward to sailing photos to see how it looks. it is surprising how very small changes in dimension can improve the appearance of cars or yachts. The slightly shorter cockpit coamings on the Wide Stern version look very attractive and the blending of the coamings into the cabin also looks more modern. The deeper keel meant a lot of extra work to support the small increase in righting moment. One option was to keep the righting moment the same and save 200 kg of hull weight. We have made our choice and hope that the upwind speed will be just a little faster. I am waiting on an ORCi Club rating for the updated configuration and will let you know how we fare. Black Cat raced in the Cape to Rio race with an IRC of 1.05 which I think was achieved with some sacrifice of genoa area. We are going the full sail area route as we do a lot of light air sailing in Sydney twilights and RANSA Winter Wednesday races and were looking for a light air flyer. As a consequence I think our rating will be around the 1.1 and hopefully we can sail to that.

Passion X emerges from the shed into the sunlight

Passion X emerges from the shed into the sunlight

Passion X wets her keel

Passion X wets her keel

Passion X at Woolwich Dock while we go to breakfast

Passion X at Woolwich Dock while we go to breakfast

Breakfast at the Deckhouse. Very nice!

Breakfast at the Deckhouse. Very nice!

Next day another crane for Joe Walsh rigging to lift the Allyacht Spars mast into position.

Next day another crane for Joe Walsh rigging to lift the Allyacht Spars mast into position.

Floating nicely on the waterlines with the mast and boom installed

Floating nicely on the waterlines with the mast and boom installed

Work finished for another Day on Passion X our Didi 40 Cr Wide Stern version

Work finished for another Day on Passion X our Didi 40 Cr Wide Stern version

To my surprise all the plastic protection was removed from the hull when I arrived at the Dock on Saturday morning. The colour will appear lighter when the yacht is out in the sunlight and it will be interesting to see what shade of grey it is when immersed. The first coat of two pack polyurethane non skid is already on the cockpit floor o when all the construction gear is cleared away we will see the final colour scheme.

First look at the colour of the antifouling on our Didi 40 Cr

First look at the colour of the antifouling on our Didi 40 Cr

First coat of patinum grey non skid on the cockpit floor of our Didi 40 Cr

First coat of patinum grey non skid on the cockpit floor of our Didi 40 Cr

The colour scheme on our new Didi 40 Cr, passion X,  is white with shades of grey. The boot top is light grey and we mixed up white and black antifouling to achieve a mid grey. I am waiting for the plastic masking the hull to come off to get a first look at the colour scheme and will post photos when I can.
Since the keel and rudder fit we have had the Hydralign three blade feathering prop fitted and the hull painted. We have been unable to get access to the hull for the past two days due to the masking and painting but tomorrow work can start again. At home I have finished shaping the tiller and applied the first coat of clear epoxy and I am getting gear ready to put on the boat at launch on Wednesday morning.

The three blade Hydralign feathering prop is fitted

The three blade Hydralign feathering prop is fitted

The finished grey antifouling on our new Didi 40 Cr, Passion X.

The finished grey antifouling on our new Didi 40 Cr, Passion X.

Plastic shrouding around Passion X to stop the overspray going on Wild Oats XI

Plastic shrouding around Passion X to stop the overspray going on Wild Oats XI

Passion X our new Didi 40 Cr left home this morning. We had to take the roof off the awning, lift the hull out and then replace the awning. It all went to plan on a morning that was perfect for the task.
Last week the keel travelled from the Central Coast to the Woolwich Dock and now the hull and keel are side by side. Quite separately the mast, boom and rigging travelled from Queensland to Woolwich and is just around the corner from the hull. There is still a lot of work to do to finish the interior to our satisfaction but in some aspects the yacht is more complete now than the much loved Jeanneau 37 that it will eventually replace. The instrumentation is at the standard that we developed on Passion over ten years and we have safety harness attachment points that we took several years to add to Passion. The fridge will be colder, the alternator is almost twice the size and the fuel tank and water tanks are larger. What we do not have is a lot of fancy teak trim and I still have to add a lot of painted trim around the galley which I will do over the next few years.

Our next steps are to fit the hull to the keel, step the mast and go sailing but I am getting ahead of myself.

The neighbours over for a celebratory drink on the eve of the move.

The neighbours over for a celebratory drink on the eve of the move.

Joking about the "red light" district.

Joking about the “red light” district.

We have lift off

We have lift off

Don't drop it now

Don’t drop it now

The underside view of our new Didi 40 Cr

The underside view of our new Didi 40 Cr

On the truck ready to go.

On the truck ready to go.

Going

Going

Our Didi 40 Cr in the slings at the Woolwich Dock

Our Didi 40 Cr in the slings at the Woolwich Dock

Back to work making the tiller. Might need it this week.

Back to work making the tiller. Might need it this week.

A crew busy bee yesterday saw all the winches and turning blocks fitted as well as the last five portlights. While the crew was doing that I was busy installing hose for the engine cooling system and the fuel supply. We had a deadline of 8 am today for the boat electrician to return and start the motor so there was no time to lose. More holes of the fuel line and plumbing routs had to be drilled and wet on wet coated with epoxy paint to seal the end grain of the plywood. The touch up painting was completed after 10 pm last night and I was up at 6 am today to pass all the hoses through the holes and connect the fuel lines. By 7:30 I was on the way to buy 20 litres of diesel. The Yamnar diesel started first time but we needed some advice on bleeding air out of the hot water system. I had all the gear needed to suck coolant through the hot water system and connect it to the motor so by lunchtime the engine was running sweetly.

Cooling water coming from the engine exhaust via the water lock muffler.

Cooling water coming from the engine exhaust via the water lock muffler.

The prototype of the yacht I am building just completed the Cape to Rio yacht race for I think the third time. The provisional results shows Black Cat finished seventh on IRC out or a field of 20. They sailed on a TCF or 1.05 which I think they achieved with a reduced size genoa. Our TCF would be higher due to the deeper keel and extra sail area so it will be interesting to see if we can sail at that level.
A lot has happened over the past two weeks. A couple more days of electrical work and all the 12 volt system is completed including instruments, autopilot chartplotters, fridge and pumps. The lighting has the option for red night lights and I like the look. Wednesday the gas was fitted by the approved Gas Fitter. Yesterday was Australia Day and I celebrated with more top coat inside the yacht and the first fibreglass on the rudder. Today we had the electrician working and two of the crew helping to screw on fittings so we fixed all the toe rails, the last of the jammers and half of the winches. As a bonus we connected the refrigerant lines on the ice box and tonight I am testing if it will freeze water on the lowers setting. So at last I have some photos to show.

As we have moved fittings from the rumpus room to the yacht Elaine is getting some of her house back. At the same time the interior of the yacht is getting more comfortable so we had tea inside the hull while we enjoyed the music from the stereo and admired the night lights.

Our Didi 40 Cr showing off stainless steel, running lights and toe rails

Our Didi 40 Cr showing off stainless steel, running lights and toe rails

The view from the stern just catches the stern light

The view from the stern just catches the stern light

Navigation station with red night light option on.

Navigation station with red night light option on.

All the lights we can see from the companionway have the red night light option

All the lights we can see from the companionway have the red night light option

The bulkhead instruments at mid brightness level

The bulkhead instruments at mid brightness level

Even the cockpit locker had the red night light option

Even the cockpit locker had the red night light option

We have a very standard Raymarine system on the new yacht. We have wind, tridata for boat speed depth and water temperature, a liner autopilot and chartplotters at the navigation station and on the deck. It is a copy of the system on Passion but using the latest hardware. I reported my purchase of the last chartplotter and autopilot system in the last post and they went straight onto the onto the yacht. When we powered up the Seatalkng network I was surprised and annoyed that we had a constant “No Pilot” alarm that was preventing any diagnosis of the system. The issue was resolved by downloading the latest version of software for the EV1 course computer and it fixed the issue immediately. I am not pleased that the equipment shipped in the one box was not software compatible but at least it gave me some practice at the software updating and all the equipment is now on the very latest versions of everything. Also the discussion with the Raymarine technical person provided some good advice on system redundancy like putting the Seatalkng into both chartplotters so that if the master fails the slave takes over with all the data already connected. Another good idea is to have a dedicated Seatalkng power supply prewired behind the panel so that if the autopilot fails we can plug the power supply into the backbone and still have the Seatalkng network running. I could power the backbone separately but I have run out of available connections and in ten years have never had a fault with the autopilot system powering the seatalk network on Passion.

Software version 1.11 on the EV1 course computer instead of the required 2.17

Software version 1.11 on the EV1 course computer instead of the required 2.17

With the instruments working I turned on the VHF and realized I needed the MMSI number so went on line to apply for one only to find that I had already done the exercise and already registered the VHF and AIS. I shot off an email to AMSA apologizing for being forgetful and promptly entered the data into the VHF and it worked even without the antenna installed. The radio is working fine too and so are a few lights.
The next target for electrical completion is the fridge. The condenser is mounted in the ice box and the compressor is sitting on the base ready to be joined so by Friday night I hope to have a cold beer in the fridge.
The other domestic appliance that needs to be installed is the oven and the gas fitter is due this week.

The new white bulkheads brighten up the hull. While it has taken more time I am pleased it is done.

The new white bulkheads brighten up the hull. While it has taken more time I am pleased it is done.

The battery box, isolation switches, charge control relay and battery charger.

The battery box, isolation switches, charge control relay and battery charger.

The instrument panel with 12 volt panel, chartplotter, VHF and AM/FM radio. On the right is the tank level. 12 volt outlet and 240 volt panel.

The instrument panel with 12 volt panel, chartplotter, VHF and AM/FM radio. On the right is the tank level. 12 volt outlet and 240 volt panel.

It has been over three weeks since my last progress report on the building or our Didi 40 Cr due to a break from building when we drove to Adelaide for the Laser Nationals. Prior to the break I was busy painting all the galley components and working on the ice box. Since we returned home on Friday 6th it has been a frantic effort to keep the painting ahead of the electrical installation.
I have been drilling lots of cable holes and openings for instruments and mounting them ahead of my boat electrician schedule. From Monday to Friday he completed a substantial amount of the wiring and we now have the engine battery and three house batteries installed and on charge from the shore power battery charger. The 12 volt panel is wired up and power has been supplied to the two chart plotters and to the autopilot. We are waiting for some Seatalkng connectors to connect the power to the backbone and light up the water speed, wind speed and autopilot control instruments. We are also waiting on a long networking cable to send data between the two chart plotters and a cable to convert Sealtalkng to NMEA 2000 to interface with the AIS.
Most of the light fittings have been mounted but removed so I can finish the top coat.
The other change has been the painting of the bulkheads white instead of the planned clear finish. I was planning on just a couple of coats of varnish over the epoxy on the bulkheads to save time but the first coat of varnish showed up too many imperfections in the timber so I have gone for an extra two coats of undercoat and a top coat or two. The warm weather has helped the paint drying process but it is best to leave each coat for two days for ideal sanding conditions. This week I plan to install the plumbing and fit in the last of the major painting in between. I also have to mount a number of 12 mm ply panels for securing electrical equipment to the hull as we cannot drill into the single 12 mm skin. There is also a 24 mm thick panel required to bring the skin up to 36 mm for the base of the autopilot actuator. I will get a stainless steel backing plate for this as the bolts will go through the transom and will need to be decorative as well as functional.

Our stainless steel pulpit and pushpits have been trial mounted and I am just waiting for help to finish the fixing to the hull. I did a shop on the super hot Wednesday last week for the autopilot and second chart plotter and on Saturday another shop for more paint and all the nuts and bolts for fixing the rest of the fittings.

I am currently working away on the ice box or refrigerator on our Didi 40 Cr and the one thing keeping me going is thinking of a cold beer after a days sailing. There is many ways to make an ice box and I have chosen to use a low density foam on the outside 50 mm and higher density foam on the inside 20 mm so that the fibreglass will not have to be too thick. The two layers of foam are installed in the box waiting for the fibreglass to go over the top and the top and end of the box are made and detailed ready for the foam to be fitted to them in the morning. I have to remember to insert some plywood into the foam to hold the condenser  as the light skin of fibreglass alone will not be strong enough.

There are lots of little jobs going on in parallel and I have a very specific list of jobs written out before the day starts. I think I am down to just four bits of plywood to fit inside plus the holding tank to make but as I type this I realize that I need rod holders for the three hanging lockers. Also the locker lid for the battery box has not worked out as expected as the hinges pull apart the wrong way. I need to remove the lid to be able to remove the end engine inspection hatch so I have a bit of thinking to do on this one before I will be content.

The car is full of engine compartment sound insulation and I want to install this directly onto the panels without putting them into temporary storage so that is another priority.

One long outstanding job has been completed to my satisfaction. When I glued up the panels that form the head the 45 degree join was a couple of millimeters out of straight. Now I can see a couple of millimeters so I neatly cut out the glue from the join and reglued it with thickened epoxy and this time used a massive straight edge to hold it all in line. The door trim also fits into this 45 degree join  and overlaps the first join. It is now in place also held straight with a straight edge until the glue cured. The 9 mm plywood door trim stiffens the door opening significantly so it is looking good.

First layer of foam in the ice box.

First layer of foam in the ice box.