Tag Archives: spring commissioning

What we did last summer – Part I

So, let’s see…where to begin? It’s been a while. Last season started with this:


That’s the water heater that used to reside in the starboard cockpit locker. Unfortunately, the batteries also reside in the same locker and we wanted to increase our house bank by two, so the eviction notice had been served. In all the years we’ve owned Ariel, we’ve never used the water heater’s AC system. And though we have enjoyed the engine-heat generated hot water for doing dishes, we figured we’d try living without it for a year to see if we missed it. (We didn’t).

It was nice to get the heater out of there and give the locker a bit of cleaning.


That’s obviously before the cleaning.

So out with the heater and in with four Duracell EGC2 six-volt batteries and a Blue Seas Automatic Charging Relay with Starting Isolation.


Once the ACR and batteries were in place, I came up with better placement and a way to secure them:


The system more than met our summer cruise electrical needs. Additionally, we now have valuable fuse protection that was not part of the old battery bank.

Ariel splashed in early May (or was it late April?), and I finished up my end-of-year teaching responsibilities. Here’s a pre-launch glamor shot.


And a pic of me at graduation with one of my students – ok, two pics 😉

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Then there were the little projects and details that took place once Ariel was in the water. Some of them more important than others:

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The boys (well, admittedly, I too) got hooked on fishing at the start of the season. And for good reason: they had some incredible luck!

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The boys’ luck was so good that I had to drop what I was doing aboard Ariel about every 15 minutes and scramble out of the cabin and up on the dock, then run in the direction of the excited yells of “Daddy! Daddy! I got another one!” More than once, I had just returned to the boat, picked up a tool when I’d hear another shriek of excitement. Really, though, I was just as excited as the boys (and I think they knew that). To save the battery on my phone, I eventually quit taking trophy pictures of their catch.

Somewhere along the way, I scraped the ablative bottom paint off of the Trinka 10 and covered it with VC17. Then it was off to the marina.

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And because I’m a child at heart, the first order of business was more work having some fun. I dumped the dinghy in the water and introduced my boys to rowing a little boat, one of the many cool things I got to do as a kid.

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That last picture is of me in my 7′ Fatty Knees sailing dinghy. I was about the same age as Jake!

And no rowing trip is complete without admiring your own yacht from the water.


Looking back on it, we crammed in a lot of living and fun well before summer even started! Life is good!

Part II to follow (eventually).

Let the Summer Sailing Begin!

Ariel launched May 3, and we’ve already completed most of our month-long summer cruise (and all of that before the first official day of summer!). That’s got to be some kind of record for us.

Spring commissioning included the usual items: polishing and waxing the topsides, painting the bottom, bending on sails, etc. Nothing too big to report there. I got an early start and took advantage of some nice spring days to knock off the jobs. Ariel’s hull looked better than ever this year. I used Finesse-It polish, then followed that with 3M Ultra Performance Paste Wax and a clean buffing pad. Boy, does she shine!



Four new batteries during a trial fit. I later put all four in a row and cleaned up the wiring.

Perhaps the only significant task this season was installation of a new house bank, consisting of four 6-volts, and a Blue Seas ACR (Automatic Charging Relay). The new batteries give us 460 amp hours and the ACR automatically combines the house and starting banks when there’s a charging source and separates them when there’s not. Last season we had to use the battery selector switch to manually combine the two banks for charging. This system is much more convenient. So far the new house bank is giving us loads of spare power. Only once have we discharged to 50% of capacity.

I also wanted to get our new sailing dinghy, a Trinka 10, cleaned up and ready for the season. Earlier I’d fiberglassed the mast step to the hull to fix a break from the end of last season (the first time we sailed her). I also stripped layers of blue ablative off the bottom and reapplied VC-17, the same paint we use on Ariel. I’d hoped to compound and wax, but I ran out of time. Even so, she was ready for the water.


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We’re currently tied up in Manistee at the Municipal Marina ($50.00/night…ouch!) with wifi and showers. We’ll depart for Arcadia before too long.

Spring Commissioning

Spring is well underway here in Michigan. Of course, that means one day it’s in the low sixties and it’s 32 the next. Such are the joys of a midwest spring.

We’re aiming for an early launch this season – May 3, in fact – so I’ve been knocking off the pre-launch to-do’s. I serviced the seacocks a week or so ago and pulled the water heater out of the starboard cockpit locker to make room for an updated battery bank. The bottom is painted and the topsides ready for a polish. Once that’s done, she’s ready to splash.

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