[kensblog] Inspection at the factory

 

Greetings all!

Just one of the many thousands of beautiful anchorages around the worldJust one of the many thousands of beautiful anchorages around the world

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.

Steve D'AntonioSteve 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

An example picture from Steve's reportAn example picture from Steve’s report

This is what Steve had to say about the picture above:

  • “#17: Wires not secure, can be pulled out, laz electrical cabinet, top, upper contactor”
Chafing wiresChafing wires

An example of something Steve found that could have been a major issue:

  • #20: Port aft engine room overhead, wire chafe where wires pass through overhead.

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.

Inside a Victron inverterInside a Victron inverter

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.

Wiring to Victron battery charger. One VERY nice detail: You can see that Grand Banks labels both ends of the wires.Wiring to Victron battery charger. One VERY nice detail: You can see that Grand Banks labels both ends of the wires.
Seakeeper 16Seakeeper 16

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.

Steve's pictures include the labels for all of the equipment on the boat. Using them I put together a list of equipment and serial numbersSteve’s pictures include the labels for all of the equipment on the boat. Using them I put together a list of equipment and serial numbers
Main engine fuel filtersMain engine fuel filters

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.

The helmThe helm
The throttles and joystickThe throttles and joystick
We ran out of space on the helm for all of the gauges and put some on the side of the passenger helm seatWe ran out of space on the helm for all of the gauges and put some on the side of the passenger helm seat

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.

For a detailed look at the helm, CLICK HERE

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!).

The upper (fly bridge) helm on Cygnus. See those holes in the dashboard? Those are for a couple of Maretron displays that have been announced but are not yet shipping: The DSM570. I asked the factory to install the older, and now obsolete, DSM250 displays. We'll swap to the newer high resolution displays when they come available.The upper (fly bridge) helm on Cygnus. See those holes in the dashboard? Those are for a couple of Maretron displays that have been announced but are not yet shipping: The DSM570. I asked the factory to install the older, and now obsolete, DSM250 displays. We’ll swap to the newer high resolution displays when they come available.
I have two of these fans at the back of the engine room.I have two of these fans at the back of the engine room.

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.

DC Power ConvertersDC Power Converters

Each of these is a 24v to 12v DC converter. I like how neatly Grand Banks installs everything and how well everything is labeled.

It is shocking how many wires there are on a boatIt is shocking how many wires there are on a boat
Unbelievable! Steve's note on this picture: "While the panel has a barrier between AC and DC, it lacks a cover over the AC wiring"Unbelievable! Steve’s note on this picture: “While the panel has a barrier between AC and DC, it lacks a cover over the AC wiring”
Maretron modulesMaretron modules

Cygnus has an extensive Maretron implementation. Maretron sensors like these allow me to:

  1. Measure all the liquid levels around the boat (fuel, fresh water, black water)
  2. Measure temperatures (shaft temperatures, engine room temperature, lazarette temperature)
  3. Measure voltage, frequency and amps at MANY points around the boat (transformers, inverters, batteries, battery chargers)
  4. Display real time data at the helm, and on the fly bridge, as well as remotely monitor via the internet
  5. Continuously monitor all of the above for anything that is outside the normal range. I am immediately alerted when something is wrong, whether I’m on the boat or hundreds of miles away
Measuring the depth of toiletsMeasuring the depth of toilets

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.

Half of the fun of getting Steve's pictures is trying to figure out what each piece of equipment is. My best guess on this one is that it is the shore power cable retrieval system.Half of the fun of getting Steve’s pictures is trying to figure out what each piece of equipment is. My best guess on this one is that it is the shore power cable retrieval system.
Boating is not all about wires, holding tanks and engines. Here you see one of the more important appliances on the boat: The wine cooler! Unfortunately, we could only find space for this tiny cooler that holds only seven bottles. Any bottles beyond seven will need to be stashed elsewhere on the boatBoating is not all about wires, holding tanks and engines. Here you see one of the more important appliances on the boat: The wine cooler! Unfortunately, we could only find space for this tiny cooler that holds only seven bottles. Any bottles beyond seven will need to be stashed elsewhere on the boat
The standard GB60 comes with an electric barbecue and grill, but we prefer barbecuing over a real flame. We will have a real propane barbecue on the fly bridgeThe standard GB60 comes with an electric barbecue and grill, but we prefer barbecuing over a real flame. We will have a real propane barbecue on the fly bridge
Steve's pictures included photos of various cabinets. It's a reminder that we are almost to the finish line.Steve’s pictures included photos of various cabinets. It’s a reminder that we are almost to the finish line.
Proud workers standing on the bed in our Master cabin.Proud workers standing on the bed in our Master cabin.
Forward bulkhead in the engine room, looking to starboardForward bulkhead in the engine room, looking to starboard
Forward bulkhead in the engine room, looking to portForward bulkhead in the engine room, looking to port

For a detailed look at what all the equipment above is: CLICK HERE

Final cleanup of the boat's upper deckFinal cleanup of the boat’s upper deck
A worker preparing the boat to be paintedA worker preparing the boat to be painted
One of Cygnus' props. On our prior boat, Sans Souci, the props were hidden inside giant skegs. We could sit on the bottom without damaging a prop. On Cygnus the props are exposed and I'll need to be VERY careful about hitting logs or grounding the boat.One of Cygnus’ props. On our prior boat, Sans Souci, the props were hidden inside giant skegs. We could sit on the bottom without damaging a prop. On Cygnus the props are exposed and I’ll need to be VERY careful about hitting logs or grounding the boat.
This picture shows that I forgot to request spurs, or line cutters, for the props. Oops. I have now requested Grand Banks to install them. Crab pots and fishing nets in the water are enemies of propellers. Spurs are the first line of defense against them. I have been lucky so far, but sooner or later I'm going to need to dive into the water and get a wrapped line off a prop. I'm in no hurry to obtain that merit badge.This picture shows that I forgot to request spurs, or line cutters, for the props. Oops. I have now requested Grand Banks to install them. Crab pots and fishing nets in the water are enemies of propellers. Spurs are the first line of defense against them. I have been lucky so far, but sooner or later I’m going to need to dive into the water and get a wrapped line off a prop. I’m in no hurry to obtain that merit badge.
No. It's not coronavirus. He's sanding.No. It’s not coronavirus. He’s sanding.
Even the shore power connectors on Cygnus are done to perfection.Even the shore power connectors on Cygnus are done to perfection.
Our water heater. We'll be carrying 40 gallons of hot water. I considered plumbing the water heater to the engine cooling system on the main engines, to get some free water heating, but didn't. I decided to "keep it simple". Instead I have two heating elements; a 1kw and a 3kw heating element. We have a generator going at all times so having an adequate supply of hot water should not be a problemOur water heater. We’ll be carrying 40 gallons of hot water. I considered plumbing the water heater to the engine cooling system on the main engines, to get some free water heating, but didn’t. I decided to “keep it simple”. Instead I have two heating elements; a 1kw and a 3kw heating element. We have a generator going at all times so having an adequate supply of hot water should not be a problem
The galley is starting to come together. Roberta wanted top quality appliances. The cooktop and oven are Wolf and the refrigerator/freezer drawers are Sub-ZeroThe galley is starting to come together. Roberta wanted top quality appliances. The cooktop and oven are Wolf and the refrigerator/freezer drawers are Sub-Zero
The Dish washerThe Dish washer
Refrigerator drawerRefrigerator drawer
We tend to live on the boat for weeks at a time without going to a dock. Roberta is very proud of her galley design. She'll have a full kitchen including extra freezer drawers and refrigerator drawers. She even added extra overhead pantry space. Grand Banks does something very cool that I've not seen before. The entire galley is framed overhead by hanging shelves. When I first saw them I wondered if Roberta would be tall enough to reach inside. Surprise! Press a button and they drop lower for easy access.We tend to live on the boat for weeks at a time without going to a dock. Roberta is very proud of her galley design. She’ll have a full kitchen including extra freezer drawers and refrigerator drawers. She even added extra overhead pantry space. Grand Banks does something very cool that I’ve not seen before. The entire galley is framed overhead by hanging shelves. When I first saw them I wondered if Roberta would be tall enough to reach inside. Surprise! Press a button and they drop lower for easy access.

And, finally . . .

The Cygnus hot tub!The Cygnus hot tub!

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)
www.kensblog.com
Grand Banks 60, Cygnus

12 Comments
  • Scott Brettoner
    Posted at 23:17h, 22 March

    Hi Ken & Roberta,

    I have enjoyed your blog immensely for years, I especially enjoy the technical aspects. Which leads me to a question.

    There is a picture in your last eat blog showing a few power converters mounted on a bulkhead with caption explaining they convert 24V to 12V.
    I had an inverter on my boat to convert 12V to 120V , why would you want convert 24V to 12V?

    Thank you
    Scott Brettoner

    • ken@kensblog.com
      Posted at 23:41h, 22 March

      Most marine electronics are 12v, but the latest trend is towards 24v DC systems. In other words, most boats made today have both a 12v and a 24v DC system. Probably 5 years from now 12v will phase out and the new trend will be for 48v systems (seriously!)

      Our Nordhavn solved the need for both 24v and 12v current by having a separate 12v battery accompanied by a standard 12v battery charger (which is powered by 120v AC).

      I’m not as familiar with DC systems as I am with AC systems. I had always thought that reducing voltage on a DC circuit would be as easy as adding a resister. I guess that does NOT work because of heat generation.. I found this article on Wikipedia which somewhat explains DC to DC conversion:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DC-to-DC_converter

      I like the idea of using 24v to 12v converters more than having a separate battery, even though it adds complexity, simply because I am always slightly prejudiced against battery banks. I don’t know the stats but suspect that battery banks are a factor in many boat fires. Also, if I have a 12v battery I also need a backup 12v battery, and at least one 12v battery charger, plus probably a backup 12v charger. I also need a 12v panel in addition to a 24v panel.

      The DC converters seem a good compromise solution, and there are so many of them that if one fails I’m sure I’ll be able to re purpose one to replace the one that failed .

      Maybe someone who reads my blog and knows these things better than I can jump in….

      -Ken W

  • Mat Bradley-Tschirgi
    Posted at 15:04h, 22 March

    Hi Ken & Roberta,

    Big fans of your games from way back.

    Very interesting article on your boat in progress! Your excerpt of the pictures from Steve remind me of the inspection report my wife and I received after buying our first home a few months ago in Portland, Oregon.

    Considering all the social distancing nowadays, perhaps we’ll all be living in boats before too long. 🙂

    – Mat

    • ken@kensblog.com
      Posted at 15:42h, 22 March

      I confess to wishing I were offshore in the middle of the ocean with no access to news reports about now…

      Best wishes,
      Ken W

  • Garry Goldsworthy
    Posted at 04:39h, 10 March

    Hi Ken,
    It’s been a long time since we checked in on your blog to catch up on what you and Roberta have been up to. Great to see that you guys are close to again being back on the water.
    Just read through and noticed that Cygnus is being built in Johor. Wendy and I spent quite a long time in and around Malaysia and loved it. If you are going to be doing any sea trials or cruising in the area please let us know. We have some very close friends there that are leaders in the marine/cruising industry and we would be happy to introduce them to you. We have suffered a number of serious cruising set backs over the past few years that slowed us down, however we are finally ready to make the North Pacific Alaska crossing this year. Hope to be in Seattle for Christmas. Hope that we can finally catch up.
    Fair Winds
    Garry and Wendy
    Spirit of Sobraon

  • Ken Cordes
    Posted at 17:16h, 09 March

    FYI….I believe the anchorage at the beginning of this post is Isla San Francisco, north of La Paz, Mexico. Spent many days there on our sailboat, beautiful spot!

    • Ken Williams
      Posted at 20:13h, 09 March

      Ken C – Yes — you nailed it. I forgot that we did go there once, on a 48′ powerboat I was a partner on in Cabo. We need to go back! A beautiful location.

      We still don’t know if we’ll ever take this boat to Cabo (The sea of cortez). My guess is: Yes — but, I have no idea when.

      • Ronald+C+Rogers
        Posted at 23:47h, 09 March

        When the whales are in residence with their babies

  • sandra l williams
    Posted at 17:05h, 09 March

    Wow, hoping I get to spend a little time with you guys on the new boat.

  • JOSEPH A WERTZ
    Posted at 16:00h, 09 March

    WOW! What a beauty!