Marine Systems — systems

How to Keep Your Engine-driven Reefer at Peak Performance

Posted by Phillip Gutowski on

Over the last 25 years, there has been a dramatic shift in the types of refrigeration systems carried aboard cruising boats.  Today, 12 volt systems prevail, but the systems most often installed up to the late 90’s were driven by the main engine.  Engine drive refrigerators function just like the air-conditioner in your car.  A belt driven compressor forces a refrigerant gas through a typical vapor-compression cycle.  Though it’s often one of the less understood onboard systems for boat owners, these engine driven systems only consist of a few key components.  A compressor with a clutch activated by an electric...

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Fuel's Paradise: Onboard Fuel Polishing

Posted by Phillip Gutowski on

 Featured in the February, 2017 issue of SAIL Magazine.      Maintaining clean fuel should be one of the highest priorities on any vessel equipped with a diesel engine.  Detecting and discarding any badly contaminated fuel is always your best bet.  However, after having done your due diligence and sampled your tanks, there is no harm in adding extra filtration. We have two 60 gallon fuel tanks, built of fiberglass.  Each tank has a stainless inspection port, a dipstick and (thankfully) three fuel line connections.  Two of the connections reach down about 1” shy of the bottom of the tank,...

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Winter Storage: Shrinkwrap Engineering

Posted by Phillip Gutowski on

While many boat owners are consumed with the annual task of hauling and storing their vessels for the winter, others are prepping for the cold months by turning theirs into a stationary den.  Here in the snowbound Northeast, most liveaboards cover their decks by erecting a temporary structure to be wrapped in heat shrinkable plastic sheeting.  This cover adds a layer of protection and comfort for the ship and her crew by helping to shed rain and snow, reduce condensation and provide passive solar heat during the day.  Albeit temporary, I’ve decided to build a seasonally reuseable structure that offers...

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Suck It Up: Marine Central Vac System

Posted by Phillip Gutowski on

I consider a vacuum an essential tool aboard any cruising or liveaboard yacht.  Our big Ridgid Canister Vac has performed well for cleaning up nasty project dust, but also for the typical indoor debris from floors, counters and upholstery in the cabin.  While living on a previous boat, I actually placed this same utility vac deep in the lazarette and routed a lengthened hose and power cord into the cabin.  I left the power switch to the vacuum in the ON position.  To begin cleaning, I would take out the hose and plug the power cord into a 110v outlet...

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Securing the Batteries

Posted by Phillip Gutowski on

We have nine heavy lead acid batteries aboard our Tayana 42. One is a starting battery and the other eight make up our house bank. These house batteries are all 6 volt batteries wired as four series pairs. I decided to build the battery trays out of aluminum and essentially hang them from the cabin sole, or secure them to bulkheads where available. The more common way to do this would have been to use fiberglass to tab in horizontal supports to the inside of the hull. However, we had already painted the bilge and I like that the aluminum...

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