Refit year 3
The never ending improvement project
Possibly it was a bit early to start the sailing season 2015 already on the 19 March? Regina Laska was already launched when I arrived by plane from more southern latitudes, incorrectly assuming that the climate would be similar spring-like in Sweden.
Carl and Anna greeted me with a great smile, expressing that I was the first boat in the water this year – again!
With expectations I climbed onboard, knowing that I would live on Regina Laska for the upcoming 6 months with a number of wonderful guests onboard. And fur sure the first nights were special: Regina Laska was buried in snow!
I was no less interested to check all the new features and improvements that we have installed for this year, let’s call it Regina Laska’s third refit-year. For sure this is a never ending improvement project!
Further to standard maintenance, below are some examples of new features to be found on Regina Laska in 2015.
Two new Webasto heaters
First of all, there were the two new Webasto Airtop 3900 Evo heaters with two individual thermostats, one for forward and for the aft cabin. These should keep me warm an dry for the season, I was hoping, while I shovelled myself through the snow on deck.
New Flexofold Propeller
Then, there is the new Flexofold propeller replacing the Gori I had before. While I personally could cope with the Gori all right, there were some drawbacks for my use as a commercial vessel. The Gori has the special feature that you can get it into an overdrive second gear if you first motor backwards with your boat and then put in the forward gear again. Thereby the boat needs to back through the water. This second gear is a compromise between good propeller design and increased pitch. You see, when the Gori is put into overdrive, the propeller blades are reversed: The suction side becomes the pressure side and vice version. The Gori thus works in the first gear with the “correct” side showing forward while in second gear the same side is showing aft. This is obviously a huge compromise in propeller design: All other propellers are designed to be perfectly efficient always showing the same side forward. This compromise is compensated by its increased pitch in second gear, giving the lower revs at the same boat speed.
The draw backs I experienced with the Gori was that when I did harbour manoeuvres and first did some backing and then pushing the boat forward, I always had the overdrive second gear engaged, which was highly contraproductive in harbour manoeuvres. Of course, ideally you would want to be in first gear in harbour manoeuvres.
The second drawback was that when I had charter guests onboard and someone by mistake touched the throttle too quickly, it lost its overdrive gear and went into first gear. In those cases, we had to stop the boat completely, back the boat through the water and then go forward again in order to get the overdrive in again.
There is also an obvious risk that if you do not act carefully, you can destroy your gearbox and your engine by overloading the engine; it’s like driving around in fourth gear in your car all the time if you are not careful. You need to develop a feel for the engine and be kind to it, when you have a Gori.
While I personally could cope with all these drawbacks, I wanted a more ease of mind type of propeller where you could not do much wrong. I chose the Flexofold.
After my first sea-trials I must say I am very pleased. Yes, you do need some 100-200 rpm more for the same boat speed, but the engine spins nicely and you can hear that it is pleased. I also experience the propeller to be more quiet, since the cavitation noise coming from the propeller with the Gori has decreased. The Flexofold, being perfectly designed with the “suction side” always showing forward with perfect slip, is cutting better through the water, I reckon, and is thus more quiet than the propeller I had before.
At the helm, I constantly had to ask the crew sitting by the companionway to zoom in or out the TZT Plotter, pan or centre the chart over the boat or acknowledge AIS alarms. Now I have a remote on the piedestal called MCU-002 where I can have full control over the TZT. I can put the autopilot in AUTO and STAND-BY and I even have a Man-Overboard button on the MCU-002. I really like the MCU-002 together with an active amplifying USB extension cable.
Drain in cockpit
When the boat was heeling to starboard, the water in the cockpit was drained through a drain around the cockpit locker. But if the boat was heeling to port, a lot of rain water was getting on the port cockpit bench giving a wet bottom. Carl installed a new drain leading from the aft cabin into the main drain in the engine room. The hose is obviously covered by a piece of Mahogny (still to be done).
This feature all newer HR’s have as standard.
New mirror for shaving and contact lenses
By special request from my nice guests, I have now the mirror over the wash basin in the forward head. Thank you for telling me what you were lacking onboard!
Following the ideas of Artur on HR46 Blue Daisy (currently being refitted by Adams Boat Care), I wanted a wine cellar just as Artur has gotten, holding ten extra bottles next to the cool water tank, in addition to the red wine bottles under the galley floor.
Thank you Artur for this idea! And thank you Carl for building it for me!
Wine glass cabinet
Another idea I got from HR 46 Blue Daisy’s refit was to ask Carl to build a glass cabinet. Carl is really an impressive boat builder and carpenter and who can do stylish things, even in plexiglass. Now the corner cabinet has turned into a beautiful cupboard for wine, water and whisky glasses.
Teak step for (short) helmsmen/women
A constant request from (not quiet as tall as I am) charter guests has been to get better view over the hardtop when helming. Carl built a plank spanning from port to starboard behind the helm. It looks all so simple, and, for sure it is, but there was a lot of testing and thinking re the hight, width and how to fix it to the boat, whereby the fittings should not hurt or disturb when (tall) helmsmen stand at the helm without the teak plank. The result is most pleasant: sturdy, stable and easily removable and best of all perfectly stowed away in the cockpit locker!
My shorter guests will thank Carl a hundred times, I am sure!
Handle on hardtop
Another special request from my guests has been to get a handle on the hardtop to hold on when standing at the wheel. My own request if building a handle there was that it should work even when having the canvas “wall” on the rear side of the hardtop put up, which is ideal when sailing “indoors” in cold climate.
The outcome is again really beautiful: A custom made stainless steel handle covered by skin similar to the steering wheel and a hole in the canvas with Welcro. I am sure this will increase safety onboard and I have already used it when climbing from port to starboard or when entering into under to hardtop.
Pneumatic arms on lockers
A serious safety concern of mine has always been the fear for hurt tows or fingers when a cockpit or aft deck locker slams down. Yes, there were elastics and ropes to fix them, but often enough one did not use them. Now there is no risk of lockers falling down and I have one safety concern less to think about.
Please note the well bult sturdy stainless steel fitting holding the lower part of the pneumatic arm in the aft deck lockers. Adams Boat Care is professional, for sure!
Soft protection on davits
To avoid chafing between the davits and the dinghy, Carl built some soft protection onto the davits. These are also useful being able to lock the dinghy against the davits so that they do not move in the waves.
The blue rope on the pictures is my “belly-belt” holding the dinghy in case the lifting cable would break.
Stainless steel railings on aft deck
I notices some difficulties of some guests climbing up from the dinghy onto the aft deck. Also, I felt that it was difficult to hold onto Regina Laska sitting in the dinghy when keeping the dinghy in place supporting guests to climb in and out of the dinghy.
I was delighted to see very nice long vertical stainless steel hand rails on HR 46 Crow’s Nest 7, currently being refitted by Adams Boat Care as well! I immediately decided to have the same. And when Artur saw them, he wanted them as well on Blue Daisy. We really share ideas and inspire each other and Carl can build a series for several boats keeping the price down.
I have not tested them yet, but they sure look nice, don’t they? I think my guests will appreciate them when climbing in and out of the dinghy.
Fixed new stronger forestay toggle
This is more to be considered as a “bug-fix” since it goes without saying that you always should have the strongest possible rig installation. The toggle which was installed by my original rigger in 2013 was not approved by Seldén, I noticed much later. This was only one of may reasons why I chose to change rigger. Safety goes always first and for me it is very important to follow the manufacturers advice (Seldén in this case) to use a toggle that can withstand the very strong torque created by an electric Furlex.
For many years, I have been looking for an anchor swivel that is stronger than my anchor chain. A swivel is always a weak point, unless it is considerably stronger than the chain, that is! For me, the main reason to opt for a swivel is simply that I could not find a stainless steel shackle that is stronger than my chain! The shackle seemed the weak point if going stainless (while when using galvanised steel, it is much easier to build strong shackles). Secondly, the swivel helps turning the anchor right when lifting it, getting it right in place when hoisted. As a third benefit, which I have not felt I was needing, is that you can freely swing by your anchor turning in circles in tidal waters or in wind shift without twisting the anchor chain.
The Ultra Swivel is still to be tested by me. Check the video how it works on that link.
Stainless steel arches over dorades
After having lost two dorades in 2014, I decided to order stainless steel arches over them, so that a genoa sheet does not get tangled in them throwing the dorade overboard. Again, this might be less of a problem for an experienced crew, but a good safety measurement on a vessel taking guests. And I think they look cool as well! When Artur saw them, he wanted the as well.
As an extra safety feature, I have added a huge Fortress FX85 anchor as an emergency storm anchor. Not only does the Fortress have superior holding power, but to me I liked the fact that it can be dissembled and stowed away in a bag, fitting in the aft deck locker like a hand into a glove. The fact that it does not weigh more than 21 kg thanks to its light weight aluminium construction is also a plus. Yet, it is told to be good for boats up to 68 feet in storm conditions. Must I say that Artur ordered one as well?
I am looking forward to yet a successful sailing season of 2015 and would like to thank Carl Adams an all his team members for a great job to look after my Regina Laska so well! No wonder we enjoy a cup of coffee while working in the engine room!