[KensBlog] September Construction Update

The main deck to our Grand Banks 60
NOTE: This blog entry is very different from my normal blog entries. Roberta and I are building a new boat and this boat is focused on the construction process and decisions we are making. If you are seeking a travelogue, stay tuned. That is coming! But . . . we need to get the boat built first.  Greetings! Roberta and I are still in 'waiting mode'; waiting for our boat to be complete so we can start cruising. That said, I am using the word 'waiting' very loosely in that there hasn't been muc...
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[Kensblog] It’s starting to look like a boat!

Greetings all! Roberta and I are still awaiting the delivery of our new boat. This will be our first summer to be stuck on land in over twenty years. Even though we miss our boat, I must admit we are looking forward to a summer on land. As much as we love boating it will be good to take a break. That isn't to say we haven't been thinking about boating! Hardly a day goes by that we don't have an email from the factory building our new boat or one of our various experts with questions about the ...
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[Kensblog] The first pictures are here!

Our very first picture of the new boat?
Greetings all! It has been twenty years since Roberta and I had a summer where we weren't living on a boat. Sans Souci (our Nordhavn) sold quickly and our new boat won't be delivered until next Spring. It feels strange being stuck on land. I regularly monitor several boating blogs and discussion groups, but haven't participated in any of the discussions recently. It feels like I am now outside the boating community looking in. That said, Roberta and I wanted this. We've talked for a while abo...
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[KensBlog] Boatless in Seattle

The three GSSR boats
Greetings all! They say the two happiest days in a boaters life are: 1) The day they take delivery of a new boat 2) The day they sell the boat I can confirm the first of these sayings, but am struggling with the second. Sans Souci, our beautiful Nordhavn 68, now has a new owner. We are proud that Sans Souci's reputation, extensive upgrades and amazing condition allowed her to sell so quickly, but sorry to see her go. The closest analogue to this mixture of sadness and joy would be when we se...
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rcrogers6 11/2/2019

"Backup pumps already plumbed in for fresh water and raw water cooling."

How will that work? How is it plumbed?

---Reply posted by admin on 11/2/2019


On Sans Souci we had a common seachest from which most of the raw water was distributed. Some subsystems, such as the hydraulics, had a plumbed-in raw water pump. 

Cygnus will not have a common seachest. Each piece of equipment is responsible for its own raw water cooling. 

I'll have dual pumps plumbed in and ready to go on some systems, but not all. Systems that will have plumbed-in backup pumps include: 

- Black water
- Seakeeper
- A/C Chillers
- The A/C circ pump (the backup pump will not be installed, but the primary pump is flanged to ease replacement)
- Steering System

In all cases we are making it as easy as possible to swap in the backup, but generally this will involve swapping valves and flipping breakers.

The big fear is: clogged intakes. If a pump can't get water, having a backup won't help. We will have dual intakes in some places, but some of the systems have only a single thru-hull. This does concern me, but it is important to note that Cygnus is not a Nordhavn. Roberta and I see this boat as something we'll be using for coastal cruising. We took Sans Souci across the Bering Sea and to places well off the grid. Cygnus will have incredible range, and I'm sure we'll do things with it that will push the limits, but we're not setting it up to cross oceans. 

-Ken W

rcrogers6 11/2/2019

I believe that Garmin interfaces with iPads and that you can even control the system using an iPad. I am not positive because I view so many sailing videos.


---Reply posted by admin on 11/2/2019

Greetings Ron,

Knowing me, I'm sure I'll try the iPad interface to Garmin, but realistically, I can't imagine that I'll actually use it. I have drive stations at the helm, on the fly bridge and in the cockpit. 

It would be nice to have a way to drive the boat that lets me wander around while driving. I looked into having a wireless remote but GB was reluctant to install one. I have the joystick control system in addition to normal rudder, thruster and throttle controls. They mentioned that they experienced problems in the past interfacing both the joystick system and the wireless remote. 

As to route planning... I'm hoping I can do my plotting on a Windows PC and then download the routes to the Garmin. I don't know yet if that will be practical or not. If I have to I'll plot them directly on Garmin or on the ipad, but .. I'm more comfortable with a mouse. Maybe a mouse attached to an iPad? 

Anyway .. I should know more about how Garmin operates, but I haven't started studying the system yet. I figure I'll have a month during commissioning when I'll be on the boat most days. At that time I'll experiment and know more about what is possible. For now, the yard seems to be keeping us busy with a steady stream of questions as they build the boat.

-Ken W

Blais, John 10/28/2019


Thanks again for posting your thinking on the blog!  My parents bought new sailboats and while in those days they were pretty much spec, the detailed order process was amazing, and we did go see one of them made (Pearson 10M).  Just as a heads up, do your sat tv and radar manufacturer's know your tilting their components upside down?  I did shock trials on a navy ship, and they had to tie the radar antenna down as it was not designed for a vertical jump (old style radar).  When you make it to the East Coast would love to buy you all dinner.  Regards John

ps - you dont have to post this.  

rcrogers6 10/9/2019


Lufthansa Pilots and First Officers plan and plot their weight and fuel requirements and course in Surface tablets in a ready room with weather PCs and telephones to operations. Then they board their aircraft and mount their tablets in the cockpit! They frequently cross-check their actual instrument data against their projected flight plan data. With the Garmin system, many use neyworked iPads to contril their plotters and follow their progress. Coastal inlets have shifting sands and chart companies are hard pressed to keep up with changes. One method I have ysed to to use Google satellite images (being careful to note the dates) to either appreciate the current status of an inlet's channel OR try and project the delta between a chart and a later datellite image. If a peninsula has been growing or receding, I have projected where the trend will place the channel. The USCG tries to keep up with inlet changes and moves the buoys, but there aren't that many buoy tenders. When in doubt, follow professional fishermen and tugs. Going South on the ICW, I came to a narrow section with a tug pushing a barge coming towards me. We spoke on the radio and he asked me my sailboat's draft. I responded 5 feet. He decided that I needed the channel and pushed his barge up on the East bank in mud and grass. He told me not to worry, he did it all the time and had 2000 hp to get the barge back off.  That's what courtesy and proper radio procedure can sometimes get you on the ICW and the Chesapeake Bay. It doesn't necessarily produce those results elsewhere. {;*))


rcrogers6 9/30/2019


YouTube again. I have seen both a sailboat and a Dutch cruiser where the Ultra's shank is pulled inside through the stem! The windlass is housed in the same bow locker. It is really neat and quite some clever engineering. Noth sticks out save for the plow.


rcrogers6 9/30/2019

On YouTube, I have seen many yachts with the satellite domes mounted off the mast and on the superstructure. The only things on the mast were radar, VHF, AIS, and multiple GPS antennas. The flybridge alone will require many bridge openings. Running outside will eliminate the sights and charm of the ICW. The best of the ICW experience is the people you meet both fellow boaters and townspeople. The shared inconveniences of the ICW bond boaters together. BTW, I wouldn't bet on all that blue tape holding the boat together in rough weather.

Ron Rogers

---Reply posted by admin on 9/30/2019


No worries on the blue tape. We'll also be adding bubble gum to mold the top deck to the boat. We have 100s of people chewing eight hours a day, just to get the massive amount required.

Grin (just kidding!)

I am both looking forward to, and dreading, the ICW experience. The props on this boat are VERY unprotected. I'll have an under-5-foot draft, but any contact with the bottom or a log in the water, will mean a bent prop. I was spoiled with our Nordhavn where the twin keeps completely hid the props.

-Ken W

tina 9/22/2019

Ahoy...Ken & Roberta ~

Just love ALL the details for your new boat...and, cannot wait to it in person when you all start cruising the Atlantic East Coast!  As ever...we so enjoy being kept in the loop.  In the meantime, take care.  Miss you both ~  Tina & Braun

---Reply posted by rcrogers6 on 9/30/2019

And I know that bubble-gum is waterproof! I am reassured. That's 3M bubble-gum (AKA 3M 5400) of course.

In Maine, some boat are equipped with cages for their propellers to augment shaft mounted line cutters. I think that damage from grounding is more likely than logs which I've never seen. I have hit a container on the Chesapeake (no damage as I was under sail and a corner hit the hull forward.) A week later, a friend hit the same container (highly likely owing to position - it was grounded in mud) and lost her rudder skeg. With a mattress in the hole she made it to a yard. With a 60 footer, one hopes the hull would ground well in front of the shafts and props. Most grounding damage happens to idiots going fast in narrow and twisting channels. There are specific yards, conveniently located near likely hazards which make their money from insurance companies. If props are damaged in a grounding, the rudders may also take a hit. The arc of rudder movement must be restricted by stops to prevent their hitting the propellers in a severe grounding. Winching off the ground is frequently far more efficient than full reverse. One has to dinghy an anchor out. Sometimes, a dinghy strapped alongside can get you off with its little engine when the main engines cannot. I do not understand why but have used the technique several times on the Chesapeake. Once I grounded in NC where the channel made a dogleg. I got off by emptying some water out of the tank. I detached a hose and used a bilge pump to ge it overboard. Chesapeake/ICW nus grounding experience. Up in the Northeast, it's usually sand or the "bricks."


towery, Bob 9/19/2019

Ken, I have lots of time with Nobeltec and Furuno. But I went with Garmin on our 2018 build, and am super pleased. The latest chart update was great. It all works well, seamless, and it is easy to teach anyone else on the boat how to use it. Honestly, a 12 year old was on our boat and by just watching me she really got the hang of it. 

I have the 80kg Ultra and it is one super anchor. It's been in 3 fights with obstructions and won all three!  Sounds like you are making a lot of good decisions, no surprise there. All the best.

---Reply posted by admin on 9/19/2019

Thank you! I am looking forward to trying it out.

Ken W

Nicometo, Ryan 9/18/2019

Is the tilting mast something GB has done a bunch before? It's a great idea.

Also I'm wondering if you running spinning disks or SSDs in your NAS or onboard PCs in general. I'm curious if spinning disks bouncing around present problems with long term reliability.

The move to Garmin seems very sound but I like the idea from another comment of having a backup system. I do think you'll enjoy the reliability, more common parts, and hopefully lower maintenance. Keep it simple!

---Reply posted by admin on 9/18/2019


Yes -- I am running SSD in the Synology. I'm running 4tb with two 2tb SSDs in two of the four bays. I can add more storage later if ever needed. I chew up drive space fairly quickly in that I record all video when the cameras sense motion. The Synology allows me to set the retention period and I usually have it auto-delete video more than 30 days old, depending on the camera.

GB has never done a tilting mast before. That said, I am in frequent communications with the owner of the boat just before mine (his is due for completion in January and mine in April). His boat is also getting the tilting mast.

The good news (for me) is that he gets to be the pioneer, and I will profit from whatever they learn on his boat.

-Ken W

jsschieff 9/18/2019


Cygnus sounds terrific! 

RE your decision to go with Garmin chartplotters -- they are terrific units but you may want to consider using an additional chartplotter with different mapping software. Garmin owns Navionics so its charting software is basically  Navionics. If you plan to cruise the Bahamas, Navionics and Garmin do not use chart information from  Explorer chartbooks which  Bahamas cruisers swear by. Explorer chart information is incorporated into C-Map chart info which is used in Simrad, Raymarine, Furuno and B&G chartplotters. 

I have found it very helpful when navigating tricky or new areas to have two chartplotters with two different chart databases. It is like seeing a problem in two ways.

---Reply posted by admin on 9/30/2019

Thank you Ron -- The jerkiness in the tilting mast movement has been fixed. I have some newer video of the mast folding that I'll post with my next blog entry.

Your comments on charts is disappointing. That said, my plan is to have Time Zero running on a Windows PC for those times when the Garmin charts are no good.

Thanks! - Ken W

---Reply posted by rcrogers6 on 9/30/2019


I assume everyone sees the burp as the mast got to 180 degrees. In answer to the preceeding comment, folding masts are common on Dutch boats.

One other thought for you, Ken. You might want to conceptualize the ICW below Norfolk as a canal with restricted lateral movement and a neglected Project Depth of 12 feet at Mean Low Water from Norfolk to Fort Pierce, FL. Below Fort Pierce tp Miami it is 10 feet. There are websites and fellow boaters to rell you where groundings are possible in the channel. Tug/tow boat captains are an excellent source of information if you treat them right. Pretend that they are beneficent royalty. {;*))

---Reply posted by admin on 9/18/2019

Thank you. I do plan on a backup. It was a long story, so I left it out of the blog. But .. here's the quick version...

I'll have a Windows PC (probably a little Intel NUC fanless PC) which I'll run Maretron on. I'll put Nobeltec on the same PC. Garmin allows (I think ...) for an external HDMI input. I'll feed the video from that PC into the Garmin system and have Nobeltec available for when I need it. I haven't figured how I'll feed AIS and GPS data into the backup PC. My current plan is to not do so, and just have Nobeltec for looking at detail on alternate charts.Although ..during commissioning I'll look to see if I can find a way.

I have two monitors at the helm .. so, on one I can run the Garmin chart plotting .. and on the other look at Nobeltec. It won't be perfect .. but .. will let me look at the alternate set of charts side by side with what Garmin is seeing. 

I'll also have my ipad .. with chart plotting software on it.

So ... hopefully .. I'll be triple-covered.

-Ken W

Birch, Murray 9/17/2019


Things are progressing nicely! Out of curiosity, are your Volvo’s pod drives with the prop pointing forward?  I ran across a boat this summer with pod drives that had a quite large log jammed between the drive and the hull. It took a diver many hours to cut it and get it dislodged from the drive. You can also imagine the damage it caused to the motor and drive mechanism. Not sure those drives are really suited to the PNW. If you are considering them you might want to discuss how to protect them if you are planning to come down the Inside Passage.

Just another thing to think about.

All the best. We look forward to running into you once you launch.


Murray Birch

Operata De


---Reply posted by admin on 9/17/2019


I'm going with conventional shafts, not the pod drives. 

You are right though about the problems with the inside passage and logs. I added a steel plate to the bow of the boat which will help with logs, but the props are completely un-protected. If I hit a log it will be no fun (not as bad as with a pod drive, but still not fun). 

There is nothing I can do about it. I suggested a cage to both Grand Banks and Steve D'Antonio and they thought I was crazy. 

In the Pac NW I'll run slow, probably around 15 kts .. so that if I do hit a log my odds of damaging the prop are slightly lower.

Nothing beats a Nordhavn twin engine boat for protected props.

-Ken W

Roach, Eric 9/17/2019


I’m an old acquaintance from our Nordhavn days and also considering a GB. 

I’d love to see your analysis of the projected boat speed vs what you expect now with your adds. 

Thx always,


---Reply posted by admin on 9/18/2019

We did consider pods. There is much to love about them. 

I can't find the data now, but believe the range with pods was something like 10% greater than with shafts. Also .. the draft is over a foot less. 

The problem is: Ability to get repairs and the cost of repairs. You can find someone to straighten a banged up prop much simpler than a broken pod. If ten years from now pods are on 90% of boats it will be a different answer, but for now I was having visions of the pod needing a fairly minor repair and them having to remove it and ship it off to Volvo. Shafts and props are old technology. It seemed more practical.

I did consider the zero speed fins and read great things about the ones that Grand Bank recommends (Sleipner). At one point I had spec'd them. 

  • The fins take up less room inside the engine room, which is a definite advantage. 


  • There is a large complicated hydraulic pump required to run them. 
  • When the fins work you hear them from inside the boat, as they flip back and forth.  
  • On Sans Souci (our prior boat) I was never impressed with the fin-based at-rest stabilization system. We never really gave it a good workout, but the little I did wasn't great
  • They are two more appendages on the bottom of the boat that will catch crab pots

The Seakeeper will be a nice consistent gentle hum, and easier to sleep with. 

It was a tough decision though. My engine room is tight. I'll be constantly crawling over the seakeeper.

-Ken W

---Reply posted by Roach, Eric on 9/17/2019


Basically the same ones you have been through. I do like the beam of the 55 and up PB, but not so much the layout.  I'm worried the 60 is a little big. I'll be looking more closely at the FTL boat show this year.

On my Nordhavn 60 I had the Ultra anchor and loved it.  Never dragged - not once. Mine too was oversized.

Did you consider zero speed fins and why the shafts with dp vs the pods?

BTW - thx so much for the detailed posts -- really is appreciated.


---Reply posted by admin on 9/17/2019


So would I! I'm very nervous that I am overloading the boat. 

I think that it won't be an issue, but until the boat is complete I will not know. If you do talk to GB push them a little on the topic and see what they say. When I've talked to them they thought I might lose half-a-knot, but that's it.  

I will get some good information in January. I'm in frequent contact with the buyer of a boat that completes in January. Our two boats are very similar. I'll get some real-world performance data from his boat. 

Which boat are you considering? I would have happily gotten the PB55 or PB65 had it not been for the tiny tender. Beautiful boats. I figure this is very close. It's effectively the PB65 hull with a bigger top deck.

-Ken W

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