OceanVolt ServoProps – Perfect for catamarans but are they ready?

Not yet. But advancements are coming in the next decade, and the long awaited emissions free cruising dream is nearly reachable. It has been a long time coming. Countless sailors have pursued the impossible over the last decade as lithium batteries have been advanced and costs lowered. How many sailors have attempted to power the air conditioning from lithium and ended up with failure or anemic units which act more like dehumidifiers? With power hogs like air conditioners and electric motors, how many wind and solar keep up? The new ServoProp saildrives from OceanVolt especially when doubled on a cruising catamaran give us hope. What They Are OceanVolt’s new ServoProp sail drives do the impossible, free wheel while you are sailing, harness the power your motion through the sea, and push that hydro generated energy back into you lithium power bank. Amazing and great idea executed finally in one integrated […]

Dockside – AC Line Voltage by Country

International Power Standards(Courtesy of ASEA Power Systems,Inc.) Country Frequency Nominal Voltage American Samoa 60Hz 120/240 or 277/480 Antigua 60Hz 230/400 Argentina 50Hz 220/380 Aruba 60Hz 127/220 or 115/230 Australia 50Hz 240/415 or 250/435 Azores 50Hz 110/190 or 220/380 Bahamas 60Hz 120/240 or 120/208 Bahrain 50Hz 230/400   60Hz 110/220 Balearic Islands 50Hz 127/220 or 220/380 Barbados 50Hz 115/230 or 115/200 Belgium 50Hz 220/380 Belize 60Hz 110/220 or 250/440 Benin 50Hz 220/380 Bermuda 60Hz 120/240 or 120/208 Brazil 60Hz 115/230 or 127/220 or 220/380 Brunei 50Hz 240/415 Bulgaria 50Hz 220/380 Burma 50Hz 230/400 Canada 60Hz 120/240 or 120/208 or 277/480 Canary Islands 50Hz 127/220 or 220/380 Cape Verde 50Hz 220/380 Cayman Islands 60Hz 120/240 or 120/208 Chile 50Hz 220/380 China (PRC) 50Hz 220/380 Columbia 60Hz 110/220 or 120/208 or 150/260 Costa Rica 60Hz 120/240 or 120/208 Cyprus 50Hz 240/415 Denmark 50Hz 220/380 Dominica 50Hz 230/400 Dominican Republic 60Hz 120/240 or 120/208 […]

Catalac Catamaran Performance & Maintenance

Do you own a Catalac Catamaran? If so, this page contains Builder notes and updates on all Catalac Catamaran models.  Each of these links is a FAQ which deals with specific boat issues or questions answered directly by the Lack Family or PBO editor. With a few exceptions, each contains important information on either boat performance or maintenance tips. Also, the Propeller drag test page, rigging tune and boat inspection pages offer information critical to Catalac boat owners. Catalac Catamaran FAQs and Builder Updates Description Page Considering a Catalac catamaran purchase? This page has a list of things to watch for unique to Catalacs. The page includes where to position lift straps for a haul out. Catalac boat inspection Propeller drag under sail accounts for a significant performance hit to boat speed for catamarans with diesels. Is free wheeling the props better? This page has the definitive boat tests from both sailors and MIT addressing […]

Catalac 8M / 9M Mast Lowering Instructions

The Catalac 8M and the 9M have a tabernacle designed to raise and lower the mast. Chainplates are mounted at the pivot point and the procedure is both simple and convenient. Read how I dropped my mast, replaced everything at the top and rewired it, all in an afternoon. (click here) . Note the mast support wires in the drawing below. These are necessary. Remove all Sails, The Boom and the Mainsheet ( rope & Blocks ). Slot your 50mm Mast Lowering Boom into the base of the mast. Shackle the forward end of your main Halyard to one of the eye at Front of Pole, Then  lifting the pole so that it is horizontal & secure, tie the other end of the halyard to a cleat on the lower part of the mast. For added security you can also connect the jib halyard in the same way. Shackle the end of […]

iPad Chart plotter

by Emile du ToitCatalac 8M8-192I have been looking for a way not to buy a dedicated chart plotter and finally started investigating software options for the iPad. I tried and like two of them. 1) iNavx available for iPad and iPhone has some nice features for integrating data from your instruments if that is desired. It mainly uses NOAA RNC raster United States waters marine charts. Although these are free, I dont like them much as primary source since they are not auto quilting, meaning as you move off of one, you manually have to choose the next appropriate chart. Personally I don’t like that. iNavx has a nice feature where it shows you your VN=Vesseal name, SOG=Speed over ground, VAR, HPE, LAT, LON, and VPE in real time. 2)NAVIONICS makes a great iPad navigation app called Marine&Lakes USA HD version 2.5.1 that does not require internet access for the navigation part […]

Simple Accessory Voltage Regulator

(for battery operated devices) There are times when batteries in electronics are a pain in the butt, as they go dead at the most inconvenient times. Since a boat has a 12V battery bank and since our electronic gizmos run on a somewhat lower voltage, I thought a voltage regulator circuit was in order to have my boat battery bank run my electronics. There are a 100 voltage regulator circuits but I found that the least expensive solution was using a common 7805 fixed voltage regulator found at Radio Shack, it is possible to design a custom voltage output regulator for $2.00 which is current limited to slightly more than 1 amp. Most of the time, that’s all we require. This regulator is desirable if you have a bunch of battery operated devices which accept an external power source. You can eliminate all your batteries as you can design any […]

Catalac 8M Diesel Engine Removal, Rebuild & Reinstall

One of my very few peeves about the Catalac 8M has to do with the inboard diesel engine placement. Apparently boat balance dictated the engine position in the boat. In actuality,  the Yanmar 1GM10s were placed so far forward in the engine compartments that the front of the engine is just 3 inches (75cm) from the rear bulkhead. The engines are almost literally mid engine mounted. Unfortunately, the Yanmar water pump, external oil lines, oil filter, thermostat ..etc..are all located on the front of the engine and are not easily accessible for normal maintenance. (Or I’m just too old to bend into a pretzel) For years, I’ve been forced to figure out long, time consuming ways to perform normal maintenance on my diesels. It’s been frustrating to say the least. Finally, an overly warm engine and leaking oil lines in my starboard engine, were the catalyst for me to pull […]

Fuel Additives for Marine Diesel Engines

Before EPA began regulating sulfur in diesel, diesel fuel contained as much as 5,000 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur. This sulfur was utilized by all diesel engine designs as a fuel system and injector lubricant. When the American EPA regulated sulfur out of Diesel fuel in 2006, this created a problem. All diesel engines were designed to use the sulfur in diesel fuel as a lubricant. Now it’s gone. I don’t know about you, but I certainly didn’t get the memo. Why should I? I’m a sailor not a diesel mechanic. Originally, ULSD (Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel) fuel was mandated for use in all on road diesel engines in 2006. Then in 2015 this mandate was extended to include all marine diesel fuel. This fuel burns cleaner and is less polluting … but ULSD contains just 15 ppm of sulfer … which is less than 1% of what the […]

Catalac 8M upgrade Rudders and install Skegs

by Didier Grietencontact Didier Grieten When I bought my 8M, it was equipped with the older style lifting steel blade rudders.The rudder blades however were in very bad condition, with considerable corrosion and rust. Also, the wood support structure had to be replaced as it was rotting away and looking at the rudder blades showed they required some TLC as well. In some areas thickness was reduced to 50% and rust still working to get it even thinner… This meant some serious work on the rudders was required… Here’s what it was supposed to look like: I had three options, the first being replace the wood, remove the heavily corroded areas and weld in new material or just entirely replace the steel blades with new ones, get them galvanized and throw on a few coatings of paint… The second one was to replace the whole rudder setup with the newer […]

Rotostay Furler Instructions

Jib furling Each ROTOSTAY is made to measure and comprises the following components. Identify and check them before assembly: 1.) Rotostay top swivel (with or without mast toggle). 2.) Forestay complete with eye terminal, upper swage bearing and… 3.) Stud terminal. 4.) Rotostay drum with deck toggle. 5. Anodized aluminum luff spar. 6. Spar links, 7. Flexible wire halliard and shackles. 8. Halliard tail and shackle. 9. Reefing line. N.B. In some installations the deck toggle may be replaced by a bottle screw and toggle – see Fig. D.  Lay out all the components. Pass the forestay, stud terminal first, down through each length of spar starting from the top – Fig. B. insert the spar links over the forestay and into the spar ensuring that the number on the link corresponds to that on the spar. Put in locating screws and tighten up (using Loctite on the threads). Connect […]

Flavel Vanessa marine cooker operating manual

Notes on a Propane Regulator A note to American owners of this Flavel cooker. The time will come when the propane tank regulator will need replacement. The pressure required to operate this unit is specified as 37 mbar for Propane.  A conversion to PSI is required for Americans. 37 mbar converts to .5 PSI. I repeat ….. 1/2 PSI. If replacing the old propane regulator, Ace hardware or any local hardware store will sell propane regulators. Make sure you buy the proper size!!!! Again 1/2 PSI is all that is required. I discovered this the hard way by not paying attention to what the hardware store clerk selected as a new propane regulator. I then spent 30 days plugging every ‘leak’ around the valves in the stove when the 20 PSI regulator he sold me shot flames everywhere. Yes, I removed the stove from the boat before firing her up…but I still singed my […]

Catalac 8M/9M Rigging Tune

Sailboat Rig tuning is an art rather than a science and varies from boat to boat and from low winds to high winds. Remember that the rigging on a monohull unloads as the boat heels and spills wind out of it’s sails. When you look at Catamaran rig tuning, we have to keep in mind that our rigs never unload. We have stiffer masts because of this and larger diameter wire stays. As with all sail boats, the rigging not only holds up your mast, but also has an effect on sail shape, and therefore affects performance.Racing boats have several rig tension setups depending upon wind speed the day of the race. For a cruising boat, this is impractical, and it makes more sense to aim for one rigging setup that pretty much fits all the conditions. At the same time addressing two of my particular challenges that need help. […]

Propeller Drag Under Sail Test

Propellers are a sailboat subject which sometimes turns into extremely heated exchanges when sailors gather and discuss propeller drag under sail. There are two schools of thought, of course. One school says that for best performance, propellers should be locked in reverse when sails are raised, and the engine(s) stopped. The other school of thought says that our transmissions should be put in neutral, and the propeller(s) allowed to free wheel while sailing with the engine off.  This is of particular concern for us cruising catamaran owners as we have two propellers in the water and double the drag. We all know that underwater drag under sail is drag we can do without. So, which school of thought is correct? Hint …you don’t have Helicopter rotors on a boat. I have never seen so much misinformation on a sailing subject tossed around the sailing forums as there is on propeller […]

Fixing the infamous Catalac Catamaran window leaks

A dry boat interior To say that I’ve had a problem with my Catalac windows leaking would be the understatement of the year. Catalac Catamarans have had a chronic window leak problem and yes…. my boat is no exception. The leaking windows have been my pet project especially the port and starboard cabin window units. Let me tell you what I’ve done so far, and what works and what doesn’t. The first thing I did to stop the leaks was to grab a caulking gun and put a bead of latex caulk around the exterior of the offending windows… I was neat and meticulous and very proud when it was done. Until the next rainstorm that is…. the result was no effect at all. Everything still leaked as if I had done nothing at all. Very frustrating …. Next, I made sure I sat in the boat and forced myself […]