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Well, we splashed early this year due to the unseasonably warm winter. Splash date was May 4, 2012 - 3 weeks early!
This winter we made one fantastic upgrade to the boat's electrical system. We installed a Charles Automatic SmartBoost, which is an automatic booster for the electrical system. This little gadget measures the incoming electrical power and boosts it if it is low. If during peak times and hot summer months the voltage was to drop below 210vAC, the booster would automatically boost it 15% (or up to 241.5vAC). If the power from the pedestal would then come up to a voltage over 210vAC, then the booster would drop the 15% boost, and allow a passthrough state. If your an electrical engineer you understand all of that. But for me, its like this... I pull into a dock that has 208vAC (typical these days all over America and the Bahamas) or less if out on a T-Dock and in August when its hot out. The air conditioners, refrigerators, ice makers, and the Admiral's curling iron don't operate or operate really badly due to the low voltage (think brown out). This is really tough on electronics that are sensitive. The booster pumps up the voltage to where its within tolerances and all is good. Lets say then later after cocktails and showers, the power returns to a higher voltage once it cools off and all boaters on your dock are at dinner. Instead of cooking your electrical system with way too much power, the booster drops out and the regular dockside power is allowed to flow. This maintains a regular power load for your boat - sweet!
We also did some "tweaks" to the boat:
Plexiglass covers for the sump boxes. This removes any odors of stale water that the bilge pumps don't reach. Its a creature comfort thing.
Removed the vintage 90's wall paper from the VIP and Master showers and replaced with some wallpaper that the designer picked out. Nice stuff. Glad I didn't have to hang it.
Installed a Fusion 700 iphone stereo on the bridge with 4 speakers (yes, the speaker covers were painted Hatteras White). Next step is to install the wireless router so that we can change the satellite radio, iPhone, and other things via your phone while roaming the boat. This little radio has so much to offer and really pumps out the tunes.
Regular coats of varnish on all of the brightwork, wax, and typical stuff that a Hatteras owner does each season!
This summers plans are to take a short cruise to various yacht clubs on the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, and Lake Erie Islands with a few other boats from the club. A couple of photos from running around are below.
This 2011 boating season we actually broke Cardinal Rule #1 - no capital projects during the season unless its mission critical! Summer is for boating and winter is for updating! Projects that we completed this past summer 2011 were: 1) Installed Coastal Climate FX1 A/C controllers throughout the boat and removed the OEM 3-knob controls. What a difference that made! Now, when the inside temperature reaches the set point, the fans slow down. It also gives us the ability to keep the boat dehumidified during the summer with each of the 5 A/C units cycling. Really nice. The down side to this project is that there was a lot of "undoing" of previous owner wiring "upgrades". Removed almost 100' of old wire and wired things properly per Hatteras OEM (numbered, labeled, and color coded all wires) and also had a bit of more involved wiring to do on the power packs of the FX1's. The good news is that we used Cruiseair factory wires with all of the same color coding that the factory would have run as well. This will ensure that any owners after me (or myself later in time) will know what was wired and how! Everything was professionally done by Professional Yacht Services - "the" guru in town (no DYI here). PYS even tossed the included FX1 mounting plates (black plastic) and custom made some real nice teak mounting plates for the controllers to sit on - keeping within the "Experts" way of doing a Hatteras renovation!
I also installed some Fusion speakers up on the flybridge and wired into the audio system. Had some aluminum plates fabricated and painted Hatteras white. Look and sound great. I also installed a new voltage regulator on the generator. More of a maintenance item - but done anyhow.
This winter I have a few ideas on some "upgrades" around the boat - but I think we have officially passed the "renovation" side of the equation and now we are into the "tweaking" of things. This winter I might tackle a new audio system that uses the NMEA2000 backbone and iPad apps for controls, and a couple of other ideas that you'll have to check back and see... Lets just say that there are some pretty slick products available in today's market that will really "enhance" your audio/visual enjoyment of boating...
This spring the refrigerator (1980 model Kenmore) that was delivered with the boat from the factory was getting pretty tired and needed to retire. That is a mission critical item! So my buddy Tom and I in early May 2010 hung plastic sheeting throughout the galley, some heavy cardboard on the floor, and armed with a sawz-all cut the old Kenmore into 4 pieces vertically (careful not to rupture any coolant lines) and loaded her into the dumpster. That took about 2 hours. Not too bad. Later that afternoon a Lowes delivery truck showed up with 2 unsuspecting delivery guys to the dock asking "where's the house". I told them they were looking at it and gave them each a $20. Best $40 ever spent! An hour later we had the frige apart (doors and shelves) carefully coaxed the new Fisher Paykel frig into its spot. A perfect fit - and I mean perfect. There wasn't any extra room to get it in.
Over this winter I re-worked of the tired teak name boards. Planed them, sanded them, and 11 coats of varnish with a new sticker on them! We also painted the aluminum trim around the roof deck and recaulked all of the screw holes in the bridge and aluminum bridge (there are in fact hundreds of screws up there). A coat of primer and 2 coats of Imrom made the ugly railing completely disappear. 3) replaced the below decks carpet from that ugly green to nice white, and really plush carpet. Did the master stateroom, hallways, VIP. The whole boat now has new soft goods throughout.
This winter we're back in the barn for the Winter. Projects this off-season are some core repairs, re-bedding the new aft plexiglass windows with some thicker plexi (one warped from the sun), a new racor in the stbd ER, and a complete electronics refit. We decided on the Garmin suite of products for their GPS prowess.
In process of mounting antenna's, removing a bunch of old antenna's, installing the GPS, XM weather, new transducer. All of this will be networked over a NMEA 2000 backbone and repeated to the consoles. Really happy how that all came together. Also on the list this winter is raising the hydraulic radar arch 8"s, new bimini, new canvas all around, and installed a teak trim border around the exterior of the aft salon with new non-skid in the newly showing areas, and the routine maintenance of items that went out on us towards the end of last season.
We hauled the boat in mid October in time for FLIBS in Lauderdale. Planning Winter 2010/2011 projects at the moment.
We winter'ed "in the barn" in Port Clinton. Heated storage is great for winter work. This winter we replaced the aft salon's plexiglass windows and tinted the rest of the windows. What a difference that makes for the air conditioners! We got the name on her this winter and used the boat every weekend except 1 or 2. This was a touchy summer for Max - he got the bloat one weekend and spent most of the summer getting his feet back under him; but he's still the active Ensign.
After bringing Top Hatt and Tails home to Lake Erie, we initiated removal of 2 pertinent items - the aft deck ceiling fan and the main salon armoire. New salon and aft deck furniture, carpeting and dinette furnishings were installed. Other work that we completed this year was a full replacement of all belts and hoses on the main engines and genny, replaced the logic board on the genny, and misc tweaks and repairs to the other machinery and air conditioning systems. We spent a lot of time learning our new boat and using her all about the islands of Lake Erie on weekend trips.
Top Hatt and Tails was found at Bell Maer Harbor at Anchor Bay, which is the Northwest portion of Lake St. Clair, MI. Overall in great mechanical and cosmetic condition - although not our preference of decorating (which was too bad since the PO had just completely redone her interiors with quality furnishings).