09 Mar [kensblog] Inspection at the factory
The picture above is of a bay on the east side of the Baja peninsula. We’ve never been there. I picked the picture randomly off the web as a reminder to myself that all of the pain associated with buying, building, and paying for a boat is eventually worthwhile. Once the boat finishes, and we seek out a white sand beach, with clear blue water, this whole part of the process will be quickly forgotten and the fun will begin.
There are people who love building a boat and I must admit that there are parts of the process which are fun. Choosing a boat to buy is an exciting process, as is choosing the equipment, the colors, the interior, the tender, etc. But, after that part of the process is complete you have another year or more of waiting and agonizing over whether all of your decisions were the right ones.
I should also admit that the past year of waiting hasn’t exactly been spent sitting still. I just checked my “sent items” folder on Outlook and I’ll soon surpass 1,000 emails sent having to do with the boat. Hardly a day goes by that Roberta or I doesn’t speak with someone about the boat. It’s only 11am as I am typing this and I’ve already sent several emails to the factory, several more to the interior designer, emailed back an agreement to a company who will help me choose spare parts, and swapped a few emails with a consultant I’m working with on the boat: Steve D’Antonio.
The gentleman pictured above, Steve D’Antonio, is well known within the boat industry. You name it, he’s done it in boating. Steve has been assisting me in the selection of equipment for the boat and just returned from a trip to Malaysia where he spent several days crawling over every inch of our boat.
Steve’s visit to the boat gave me SIX HUNDRED FIFTY-NINE pictures and NINETY-TWO recommendations to Grand Banks
Steve is what I’d call “detail oriented”. He looks for little details that I would never notice, and that Grand Banks may have missed. And, even though they might be small details; little problems, particularly electrical ones, can have devastating consequences.
This is a perfect time for Steve to have visited the boat. All of the equipment is installed. Most of the wiring and plumbing is in place, and the boat is still in the factory where fixes are reasonably easy.
To be fair, Steve’s fix list probably includes many items that Grand Banks would have caught themselves prior to shipping the boat. We are still several weeks from the boat’s completion. Grand Banks has their own quality assurance group who will be inspecting the boat. I do not want to send any kind of negative message about Grand Banks. They have been tremendous to work with and Steve has remarked on several occasions that the quality he is seeing puts them on a very short list of yacht manufacturers that he recommends. I am including the pictures that follow and some of Steve’s comments, only to show the kinds of things Steve looks for.
The rest of this blog entry is based on pictures from Steve’s visit to the boat
This is what Steve had to say about the picture above:
An example of something Steve found that could have been a major issue:
Most everything he found will be easy for GB to fix. Anything that could potentially result in an electrical fire is a very serious issue on a boat.
Roberta and I were thrilled when we saw Steve’s 659 pictures arrive. We ran to our home theater excited to see them, and then quickly had our hopes dashed. Instead of Steve giving us what we wanted, he had given us what we needed, and what we paid him to provide. We wanted to see “The Boat” but instead we were given hundreds of pictures of pumps, wires, pipes and motors. As we sat in our theater, coffee in hand, pictures displayed on a giant screen, we kept pressing “next” to bring up picture after picture. After the first hundred Roberta asked, “Are there any pictures of the boat?” There actually are a few, as you shall see, but the majority are closeups of individual pieces of equipment.
The pictures were not taken to help Roberta and I get over our impatience to go cruising. Their purpose is to document the equipment on the boat, and to look for any sort of loose wiring, or potential chafing that might be a problem at some future time.
The picture above is from the inside of our Victron Quattro inverter. Steve goes the extra mile of taking the cover off the equipment to photograph the serial numbers and connections.
This is the first decent picture I’ve seen of our Seakeeper unit. It lives in the font part of the engine room, between the main engines. The Seakeeper is a giant gyro that will keep the boat from rolling when we are in a rough anchorage. We have never had gyro-based stabilization before and I’m very curious to see how it feels.
The Seakeeper was one of our tougher decisions when picking out equipment. Long-time readers of my blog may recall how miserable Roberta and I were while cruising the Med. We were plagued by rough anchorages. As a result, we spent a fortune upgrading our prior boat Sans Souci to have fin-based at-rest stabilization. Unfortunately (or, fortunately!) we never were able to determine if it worked or not. We cruised the Pacific Northwest the last year we owned the boat and never found a rough anchorage.
To make a long story short, gyro-based stabilization works best when the boat is sitting still or moving slowly. At speeds over 20 kts its effect becomes negligible. On the other hand, traditional stabilizer fins do an amazing job of providing a smooth ride when the boat is underway. I’ve been told that at-rest stabilization with fins does work but have always been a little suspicious. I’ve also had concerns that the fins paddling back and forth, while at rest, would make sleep impossible.
We ultimately chose the Seakeeper because comfort at anchor is a major priority, and I am convinced that at speeds under 20 kts the fin and gyro stabilization are equally effective. Slowing down if the seas are angry will not be a problem.
These fuel filters are much larger than those on Sans Souci. My assumption is that the giant size is because of the increased flow. Our new boat’s engines have 3x the horsepower of our prior boat. At 30kts the engines are gulping down nearly 90 gallons an hour (combined). It will be nice knowing we have the speed available should we ever need it, but I expect we will be cruising closer to 15kts where the fuel flow is a more acceptable 25 gallons per hour giving a 900 mile range.
Sans Souci had a helm that would have made the Captain of the Starship Enterprise jealous. It had four huge monitors and wall to wall instruments overhead. I was definitely spoiled.
Cygnus has less space to work with but, with a little creativity, everything fit just fine. In this picture of the helm you can see that we oversized the monitors. The Grand Banks 60 (GB60) standard is for 17″ monitors and we upsized them to 22″. There is a third, smaller monitor on the left side of the helm which is dedicated to the Maretron monitoring system.
Cygnus will have Class “A” AIS. Most AIS units on boats our size are Class B. Both Class A and Class B AIS units tell you where other ships are, and tell other ships where you are. But, our experience, or at least suspicion, is that the large freighters screen out the Class B units figuring that small boats will get out of their way. I want Class A so that we will be doing everything possible to ensure that the larger boats know where we are (and, can avoid us!).
Roberta and I prefer warm weather cruising, which can mean a hot engine room. To keep the engine room cool, we installed dual high capacity Delta-T fans. Their speed is automatically controlled based on the engine room temperature. They also have an option to be reversed so that they blow from the lazarette into the engine room (pulling their air from under the seating in the cockpit) or visa versa.
Each of these is a 24v to 12v DC converter. I like how neatly Grand Banks installs everything and how well everything is labeled.
Cygnus has an extensive Maretron implementation. Maretron sensors like these allow me to:
Steve’s report included feedback that the guest toilet was overly shallow. I will spare you the graphic details, but suffice it to say that we will be swapping out the toilet.
For a detailed look at what all the equipment above is: CLICK HERE
And, finally . . .
We assumed when we ordered Cygnus that no hot tub would be possible. However, the standard GB60 comes with a large sun bed on the top deck. I happened to see a picture of the standard sun bed that was open, and as I was thinking about how much storage there was, I had a revelation. What if we were to put water in there? I asked Roberta who said, “No way. It wouldn’t work right.” And, then Roberta started researching and found an “off the shelf” hot tub that was roughly the same size as the standard Grand Banks sun bed. So, we bought one, and shipped it to Malaysia. It’s lightweight and as you can see, they have it working! It won’t be huge but we’re looking forward to it! It will reside on the fly bridge just in front of the tender.
That’s it for this edition of the blog
As always, the best place to provide feedback on this blog entry is on the web-based version of my blog: www.kensblog.com/blog. All feedback is welcomed!
Thank you for sharing our adventure,
Ken and Roberta Williams (with Toundra and Keeley our doggy/furry traveling mates)