What about water, you ask.
Voyager holds about 350 gallons of fresh water in two tanks. This lasts the two of us about two weeks. We don’t try to scrimp or be overly conservative with our usage except with the use of the on board clothes washing machine. My best estimate is that the process of one load of clothes uses about 40 gallons. I use chlorine beach to sanitize the water at each fill up and use a couple of carbon filters to remove any sediment or bad taste. I am interested in a reverse osmosis water maker to get even more self sufficiency, but the expense and added complexity have kept us just filling the tanks when needed.
Here is a picture of a water stop. We anchor out most of the time, but when water is needed we might raft up to a dock – in this case, a fishing boat, throw a hose over and fill the tanks…
One of the really great features of Voyager is a big solar array. You might be noticing more rooftop panels everyday in your neighborhood. There are great incentives to solar power – a federal tax credit, utility power bill offset – to name a couple. But on a boat solar power makes a big difference in the quality of life – a quiet life, that is… Virtually all of our power needs come from a very big 12 volt battery bank. This needs to be charged back up daily. The engine helps with this when travelling, but when parked at those beautiful locations for many days at a stretch, the diesel generator is needed for several hours to top up the batteries. This is a noisy operation. Wait, we have three full sized solar panels. The long summer days in the northern latitudes provide enough solar energy to keep the generator off indefinitely. (That is until the water hungry washer and power hungry dryer needs to run!)
Here is a picture of the solar array on a sunshiny day:
After spending the better part of two weeks this winter, doing some needed work, I am left wondering where did all the time go. Granted the electrical work alone was complicated, but how can there still be so much to do? Oh, it’s a boat you say…
Here are some pictures:
The inverter was adequate on the boat, but the charger for the batteries was woefully undersized. The modern approach is to combine the inverter with the battery charger. This allowed me to get a 150 amp, 12 volt charger and upgrade the inverter at the same time – almost double the capacity. Out on the water we can enjoy much shorter generator run times to replenish the battery bank.
Our particular boat has had very little modification over the years. I like this because rather than working to correct poorly done modifications, I have simply used digital instrumentation to replace the old analog gauges. Blue Sea makes nice volt/amp meters for two AC sources and three DC battery banks (house, main engine starting, and generator starting). Xantrex makes a good remote panel to keep tabs on the charger.
Big things were waiting for me as I returned to the boat this year. The windlass really could not be salvaged in a timely way. I checked with local machinists and sometimes you finally get the picture that things are not going to come together. The main brass gear was stripped and would require some thoughtful rehabilitation. The main seal also leaks, so a long process of ordering and waiting for a new Lofrans windlass was started. Here is the story in pictures:
Along with 400′ feet of new BBB galvanized 3/8″ chain and a new 72 pound Rocna anchor, our ground tackle will be first rate. The old 300′ feet of combination rope rode and 3/8″ chain just moved over to become a ready to use spare. The spare rode has the old reliable 60 pound CQR anchor on the port side roller.
One other small thing that is now installed is a rope ladder in the forward stateroom. Why a ladder in a sleeping area, you ask? I was impacted by a tragic accident that occurred on a dive boat off the coast of Ventura last year. This was a safe operator, but things went horribly wrong when a fire broke out overnight, below deck in the aft portion of the boat. Most everyone perished even though the boat was anchored quite close to shore. Boats are equipped with emergency egress and ours is no exception. There is a skylight above the bed that opens, but it was unusable as an exit due to the gymnastic pull-up necessary to get out. Here is a picture of the solution:
As you can see it is four steps up. Now we have an emergency exit plan if the normal companionway route is blocked. Hopefully, this is one item that never gets used…
With all the business that comes with just being on the boat, I was surprised that there was no time for longer term projects. I thought I could do some wood refinishing, for instance. That isn’t going to happen while travelling. We were on the move too, involved with a nap, or just didn’t want to tackle big jobs. It is summer. In any case, at the end of the season, we took the pilot house doors off and one bit of wood decking that needed some attention. These made it back to Murphys with us and are now in the refinishing process. I love the transformation from a seemingly ruined, unsightly door to a beautiful golden finish. Check out the pictures…
First coat of ‘Cetol’
Almost finished. The front bench had thick, peeling layers of varnish and cracked caulk. I replaced all of the joint caulk and used a pigmented Semco sealer (Goldtone. Thanks #boatguybill).
It is now the end of the great Pacific Northwest summer. You might wonder what is involved in keeping such a big boat all year here. We had the option of cruising all the way back to Stockton by way of the Pacific and the Golden Gate Bridge, but that is about a two week endeavor at seven miles an hour. We chose to take the boat out of the water again. It makes the most sense since we are not likely to use it in the off season. The boat yard uses a really big set of slings and a monster sized forklift to set the boat on blocks in a big parking lot.
This will enable us to bottom paint, and do various tasks that include oil changes on the main and generator engines, and some wood refinishing, etc. The yard guys use a sub contractor called Seattle Shrink Wrap to – guess what? – ‘shrink wrap’ the whole boat before we head back to Murphys. This is a common practice since it rains here. The boat is too big to put indoors and there is the possibility of leaks and moisture inside the boat. A complete wrap with plenty of vents and a dehumidifier should keep her dry. Voyager will have to cool her jets until next summer.
A short boat tour. Here is the place we have been living…
The choice of this particular boat, first of all had to do with great sea worthiness. A second consideration was comfort. Both of these qualities are evident with Voyager. She is heavy at 45,000 lbs and can handle seas that Beth and I will never encounter, but for our use her two staterooms and two heads offer plenty of space. Think of a small condominium; it just happens to move and take us to beautiful places also…
Here is the main living area. It is called the salon. Notice the galley to the right (starboard). On the left there are stairs up to the pilot house and down to the sleeping areas (staterooms) and bathrooms (heads). Below you can see a double bed room that serves as a deluxe TV room (your bedroom should you come see us…).
Here is a ‘back deck’ picture. This is our favorite place to hang out…
We hope to add pictures and this could be a place to put ‘life aboard’ stuff. Just leave a question and we will post a picture so everyone can see what life aboard is all about. There are quite a few things that make life comfortable on the boat. It isn’t much different than a home, but here you don’t take water, electricity, internet, phone service, your toilet, the stove and even heat for granted because you are away from every connected service. If interested check back here for how all these things happen on Voyager.
The boat has a small amount of teak on the exterior. This is a good thing since it requires maintenance. In the picture you can see the difference a little water makes. We are planning a long process to rejuvenate some of the outside wood.
The first step which is now complete (with the help of the happy crew – see below), is to thoroughly clean years of dirt out of the wood.
We’ll do some caulk repair, sanding and sealing. Stay tuned.
You can see in the above pictures a hatch that Beth is kneeling on. We brought this home to Murphys to see what sort repair might be necessary to improve some of the decks. Here a set of pictures showing some wood replacement, caulk replacement and some finish oil.