Domestic Electric

hot socket

A few months back, I bought a US socket to replace the UK 240v twin socket that came with Frank, but did not get around to installing it. I just used UK-US adaptors.

This lets me run mains-power devices (kettle, power tools, heater, etc) on board when using shore power.

It has been cold, so I had the heater on, as I have done before. There was a strange smell which I eventually localized to the socket.

I have been using UK -> US adaptors to run 110v items. I pulled out one – no problem. Pulled out the left side one… and the GFPE tripped as the plug flashed. So that works!

The 13a fuse in the adaptor had failed to blow and the brass prong was taking some heat:

adaptor plug

Fascinating. The live, or “hot” in the USA, is shown here after I disconnected from shore power, opened the socket and clipped the wire. I have a plug-in circuit tester to check if the sockets are really turned off.

live wire

I found a cool website, The Circuit Detective to help me translate between UK and USA terms (there is a lot of difference besides voltage) and get the new socket wired in correctly.

So I now have a UK-fitted GFPE on board, where the mains power comes in, and two US sockets fitted with GFCI. I wanted to keep a dual 240/110 system, for when Frank is in Caribbean and other Commonwealth marinas, but I think I will look at installing and running the shore power through a US Standard GFPE, and maybe run two systems later.

Gfci socket

I no longer need big-assed UK plug-adaptors!

Cooking Up A Storm!

Well, I will be. Because I have retired the Plastimo Atlantic Oven and in its place is a brand new, stainless steel, super shiny Neptune 4500.

Made in England, it is from Bolton by Leisure Products, who made the Atlantic many years ago.

Swapping was quite straightforward, as the widths are the same, 470mm at the gimbals. The Atlantic is pretty grotty – it was rusty in 2013, and is now set to be recycled.

Stbd port

Last August I repaired the port side forward port (the big one), rebedding the glass in marine silicon in the alloy frame and repairing the porthole in which it sits. That port was leaking water on the galley side. It seems to be dry now, so this last weekend I did the other side, which leaks water into the chart station, ruining anything not waterproof in the desk and so on.

Gaps filled and epoxied..

2019-07-28 at 09-35-11

Gaps in port frame before thee repair.

2019-07-27 at 16-14-01

The port before repair

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For some silly reason I can’t find or did not take pics of the frame, nor of the finished job, but I will add them later. Neither repaired job is perfect – I need to clean up the silicon from the glass, but it will keep the water out. Four more to go, two each side (smaller).

Repairing Leaky Ports

The windows leak when it rains, as well as when the sea is bumpy. At first I thought it was just the frames, but eventually I realized that, as well as leaky frames, the putty holding the glass in the aluminum frames is rotten.

This results in a wet boat inside, and as the two biggest villains are over the chart table (starboard side) and the galley (port), I get wet charts, wet electronics, wet logs (as in “Captain’s Log”). A good reason to buy waterproof notebooks, btw.

Having just upgraded the coolbox, I decided to reglaze and refit the port over the galley. My first effort was done in the dusk and dark, and it was not very good. So in the morning, I started again. Because the glass slides into the 2-part frame, it is quite a challenge to get the 3M marine silicone to stay in place whilst sliding in the glass. Hopefully, I will discover that it is waterproof.

I also repaired the hole, where the frame sits. The outer skin had partially separated, so I mixed up some West System epoxy and used it to glue the skin back, clamping it into position.

Some pics:

Aircon Water-Cooling Pump System

After a bit of tooing and froing with Groco over hose fittings and positioning of the strainer (it can be above the waterline, if the raw water inlet cock is fitted with a shut-off valve), I started on the water supply system for the to-be-bought (either this one or this one) aircon system.

I managed to buy some 1″ (hose is always inside dia, whereas fittings are outrside dia) water hose from West Marine in Corpus Christi and worked out that I could fit the pump and strainer under the sink, both below the waterline.

I was planning to fit the pump vertically, but decided that it could go horizontally. I also toyed with putting the pump in the old fridge compartment, but that would mean drilling bigger holes to route the water inlet hose, which is around 1.5″ o.d. The water hose to the a.c unit is 5/8″ , so around 1″ o.d. – a lot smaller and easier to route.

I need to build a cabinet that will fit into the hold where the fridge used to be. This cabinet will shield the a.c. from the engine bay and from any bilge fumes, so that I don’t end up recycling bad air. The unit will sit in the cabinet, which is to the left of the cooker (the pump is to the right, hence my concerns about routing the water hose). Waste seawater and condensate will be pumped to the transom and overboard.

The pump installation is not quite finished yet, and I may move the strainer to the left and down a tad. But we have progress!

Pics below:

Ice-Box Conversion to Fridge

Last year, I posted a blog about my plans to install an Isotherm Self Pumping refrigerator conversion – and this year I have finally completed the job. It works!

The ice-box, now refrigerated, is to the left of the cooker, and the compressor gubbins is to the right, in what was the trash container (that I used as a dry food store). I fitted the compressor to the bottom half of the compartment, and put a clear Lexan cover over it, to protect the unit from spilled water from the taps. I will fit a drain, to take spilled water down under the sink.

The evaporator is fitter to the ice box, which had no insulation on the engine-side, where the fridge used to be. So I fitted some closed-cell insulating foam board – the purple stuff, an offcut of which I have used to act as extra insulation for the lid. I will seal this piece to make it more durable.

Now, I need to seal the windows, to stop rain and seawater from leaking in and draining into the icebox. The great news is that a couple of cooler blocks and some bags of ice in the bottom of the icebox stay frozen, and there is no compressor noise, nor is there any pump to consume battery power whilst under sail.

Elbow Grease

After the engineer from Rockport Yanmar Dealer Gatewood’s did the engine service last year, he told me that the elbow had a leak, and that it was a simple job for me to replace it myself. So I bought an elbow and gasket and put it on the to-do list.

The job came to the top of the list.

It was difficult to remove. The bolt heads were corroded, and the bolts were seized. And I could not see where the leak could come from. I cleaned it up, and convinced myself that it was sound. Running the engine, I saw the leak, so I had to tackle it.

To remove it meant cutting it off bit by bit, so that I could get a mole-grip locked onto the bolt heads. I used a Dremel with a metal cutting blade:

The new Elbow, with new exhaust host:

After doing this, I found an article online, telling me that the elbow is a consumable item, to be chnaged between 200 and 500 hours, or every 2-5 years. So I then read the Yanmar manual, which reinforced this, on the low side. So I will remove the elbow and inspect it every 6 months. I used a small amount of anti sieze grease in the bolts (new 316 bolts and spring washers), applied to the part of the bolts and washers that are not screwed into the water mixer.

Yanmar Engine Mountings

Dead exciting..

Despite being installed less than three years ago, the new engine mountings were rusting badly. They may have been installed unpainted, in the rush to get the re-fitted engine back into Frank before Endeavour (the business doing the refit) closed their doors. The original mountings had been in terrible shape, rotted through and broken in at least one case.

The new port side mountings were rusted worse than the starboard side, so I think that the situation was exacerbated when Frank was hauled out and stood on the hard at St Croix Marine. Tilted just a degree or two down at the stern and to port, sea water in the sump under the engine and in the shaft transmission space was topped-up by rainwater leaking into the sump. 

So the port mountings stood in water from June until November, when I returned to St Croix and bailed out the sump.

The mountings are substantial, so will not fail for a good few years yet, but I put some Rustoleum (like Hammerite in the UK) on them. Not a pretty job, but the photos here belie the lack of space and limited access that I had.

Front port


Front stbd


Rear port


Rear stbd


Whilst I was at it, I painted the rusty clamp that holds the shaft to the gearbox. If I find the correct term for it, I will edit this!

Gear selector repaired, Impeller changed.

I am still mystified as to how it happened, but the Morse gear/throttle selector became reversed during the journey from St Croix to Port Aransas. So pushing forwards selected reverse. Possibly it was like that when I departed St Croix Christmas Eve 2015: I know it was reversed when I rewired & restarted the engine off Port Aransas.

[From just past Grand Cayman, until just off Port A, I had no engine. There was a hidden break in the positive terminal lead from battery to starter motor, which I eventually, and accidentally, bypassed. The electrician in Camarinãs had mis-wired the setup, and I quite by chance bypassed the problem, only to top up with contaminated fuel].

Last week, I removed the Morse Controler and reversed the gear selector wire. There is insufficient room to reverse the gear selector cable at the gearbox. There is no room between the fuel tank and cockpit wall, and the tank is full, so rather than faff around I pulled the controller through the cockpit wall, mounting it flush with the wall. Before, it was mounted to the rear of the wall.

Accordingly, the controller is now about half an inch proud of  the cockpit wall, but will be easier to access when I need to service the cables in future. I put a wooden shim between the Morse plastic cover plate and the cockpit wall. I will replace it with something prettier in due course. Meanwhile, I now go forwards when I select forwards.

Morse Controller shim in place, waiting for sealant to set


Next I changed the impeller. Yanmar have fiendishly designed the 3JH2E such that this is a hard job, as the starter motor and raw water pump are in close proximity. Three hours later, the new impeller is in place. The old one was in good condition until I used long-nosed pliers to extract it. Here is an old raw water pump, with impeller in situ, and the extracted impeller:

Yanmar 3JH2E raw water pump and old impeller, damaged during extraction.


The US Coastguard has finally issued my docs. I now need to change the marked port of registry on the stern from Douglas IoM to Corpus Christi, TX, and make an Official Number plate to be mounted somewhere in the boat.

Holding Tank Update

The new cover for the holding tank is on, and the gauge has been fitted..

Woodstain and varnish have failed to match the color to the bulkhead. 

The sensor has been fitted, and wired up to the gauge, and calibrated. Very straightforward, and users of the heads can now check before flushing.

I had a slight mishap, tearing one of the copper foil sensors, but the company sent me a replacement very promptly – allowing me to pay after it arrived.


The next task is to hide the vertical pipes and build a storage unit for charts, manuals and papers, in the driest part of the boat.