A quick report from New Zealand, starting with what is at the top of our list for successful cruising.
At the top of our list is systems reliability and ease of maintenance. That includes getting the details right, like engineering for minimal air entrainment in raw water flow at sea, and having mac-unions on each pump installation so the pumps are easily changed.
That also means making sure the inverters and related components are easily accessed, in this case inside of a cabinet off the companionway to the lower deck (they have both natural and forced air ventilation). The cabinet is lined with sound absorbing EPDM rubber to minimize noise.
Electrical reliability is paramount, as is the ability to troubleshoot. Labeling, clear schematics, and access are key.
The FPB 78 uses DIN rail breakers. They cost three times as much as normal circuit breakers, but the ease of changing them makes this a worthwhile investment.
Changing the raw water pump of the main engine is never going to be anyone’s idea of fun. But when you can sit comfortably on the centerline girder, feet on the hull, without touching either of the twin engines (which are probably going to be hot), at least the job can be done with minimum hassle.
The raw water pumps on the Deere 6068AFM75s have the least user friendly install we have ever seen. Yet we were able to remove and replace one – we like to test this sort of thing – in under an hour.
While we are in the engine room, a comment on a fetish of ours. We hate dirty bilges, even if they are out of sight. We also love clean engine rooms, in particular clean engines. The FPB 78 has the best access to the bilge area of the engine room of any yacht we have ever seen. The sump, shown above, can be easily reached, as can the undersides of the engine pan. A few minutes each month with cleaning supplies, and these bilges and engine blocks/pans will remain pristine. This also means they will be continually inspected.
With the engine room nearly completed, as well as the workshop/lazarette, we can now tune in to how this area is working. Theory and 3D design are history and we can now sample reality. We like this area, a lot!
From the huge tool chest, to the work bench, this is a dream come true for us.
Circa managing director Bruce Farrand is checking out the drill press. Look at the upper right corner of the photo (outboard forward, port side of the boat). How about an air conditioned workshop!
The area under the swim step will be ideal for bulk stores required in this part of the vessel. Twenty liter containers of lube oil, coolant, and hydraulic fluid will live happily back here.
It is time for breakfast, and then 0700 arrival at the Circa. Will try and update you again tomorrow.