2023 is passing so quickly! Here’s what’s new since my last update.

  1. I finished the trip back to Brisbane Marina, in California.
  2. I had a big trip with 11 people on board. We sailed out to Angel Island for an overnight.
  3. I Sailed up the California Delta to one of my favorite marinas, Owl Harbor. I’ll be here until Thanksgiving.
  4. I removed the old stove and installed a microwave/oven combo! This works great, even for toast!

Lots of small projects in the works, but nothing completed from the post last month. And there are, of course, new problems:

  1. What I thought was just a bad water pump appears to just be the pressure sensor. It doesn’t shut off even when using hose water pressure, which should be above the set point. I need to get up there and clean it out; maybe it’s just corroded or something.
  2. I purchased some digital valves for the watermaker. Some of the valves are getting really tired again. The manufacturer valve has failed before already once, and I’m thinking it’s going to fail again. More info below.
  3. On the trip out to angel island, I left the watermaker in fresh water mode, so it drained my tanks. This meant we had no fresh water! The long solution is outlined in the watermaker section. The short term solution is to stop being absent minded.
  4. The freezer door handle broke. I wanted to replace the insulation, which I did, but when I tried to close the handle, it snapped into little pieces. This has been replaced already, and the freezer works better than ever. No leaks and a new gasket means it gets much colder much faster! Overnight, it went from room temperature to 3F! As a side note, the temperature at the top of the freezer says “20F” which means that keeping foods that need to stay colder lower is important (now you know where the ice cream goes).

There are a few other older problems I forgot to mention in my last post:

  1. There’s a big crack in the port side forward storage compartment. The glass is out and I have new glass, but it hasn’t been installed yet.
  2. The battery on the starboard engine seems to have failed. I’m going to replace it with a lithium battery, on sale from Amazon, which can be used in a pinch for some extra power in case we sail longer.

And, there are a few other projects in the works:

  1. The AC vents have always been problematic. I finally drilled a hole so the vent comes out higher up, which should help a LOT for the AC mode. This is probably not a big deal in Hawaii, especially since we will primarily be off the grid, but right now it’s chilly and the heat pump is quite efficient!
  2. The induction cooktop draws power even when it’s off. I’m going to add a switch to enable it, separate from the port plugs.

Upcoming 2024 Trips

I’m going back to Brisbane to ride out the winter storms there. But after that, I’m strongly considering a Hawaii run! For the outbound trip, I have 6 people. For inbound, I only have 4. If you have some interest in sailing from Hawaii to SF, hit me up. Very tentative dates are May 24 from SF->HI, and Aug 30 from Hawaii back to SF.


The watermaker has so many different controls, it’s mystifying sometimes how well it works. This is really complicated, so I’ll attempt to document it here.

Here’s a quick diagram of the valves I want to replace:

--> from pickling hose ----+
--> from fresh water pump -+.    |
                                 2--> boost pump --> watermaker input
--> from ocean ------------------+

There are two three-way valves, marked 1 and 2. The tricky bit here is that with this setup is that without a valve failure, it’s not possible to mix the fresh and the ocean water, which could be a disaster. The other nice thing is that you can close each of these three-way valves -- the one between the pickling hose and the fresh water pump generally stays in the closed position as an extra safeguard against contaminating the fresh water from the ocean water.

They do make 3-way valves with sensors that detect when they are fully open or closed, but I can’t find any that match the existing valves. I’d like some that have an “off” position, preventing any flow, as well as being made from stainless steel or fresh water safe brass. Without that, there is a risk of mixing things up. One valve I found here does have a sensor to detect that it’s fully open or closed, which just might be the trick. I love the fact that these have a manual override -- I can still get up there with a screwdriver if something goes wrong with the wiring, or even as a primary way of using it. I’m thinking to go with something like this:

--> from pickling hose ----4-+
--> from fresh water pump -3-+.    |
                                 2--> boost pump --> watermaker input
--> from ocean ------------------+

Valve 4 would be a manual valve, almost always off. Valve 3 would be a simple solenoid on-off valve. Normally, valve 1 would connect from the pickling hose to valve 2, which would normally flow into the boost pump.

Confused yet? There would be 3 switches:

  1. switch 1 (named fresh source) is a 3-way switch to divert valve 1 to either 3 (pump) or 4 (off/pickle)
  2. switch 2 (named salt/fresh) is a 3-way switch to turn on the salt water intake
  3. switch 3 (named fresh safety) is a 2-way switch to enable the fresh water flush

At the dock, I usually run the watermaker to make drinking water. To do this, switch 1 “fresh source” should be set to “pump” (it can stay there until ready to go to sea). Switch 2 “salt/fresh” should be set to fresh. Switch 3 then gets turned on while making water and turned off afterwards.

To switch to sea water, first ensure switch 3 “fresh safety” is off. Then, make sure switch 1 “fresh source” is set to “pickle/off”. Finally, set switch 2 to “salt”. To flush the system afterwards, set switch “2” to “fresh”, then set switch 1 to “pump”, Then turn on switch 3.

I could simplify things by setting up an arduino to control these or something. The arduino could have these switches:

  • A1. At dock - Yes or No
  • A2. Make water - Yes or No
  • A3. Flush (a momentary push button)

At the dock, A1 would be Yes, and the other two would be No. A2 would then be used to make water, flushing is not necessary. When you’re done making water, turn off switch A2. At sea, A1 would be No, so turning on A2 would make sure all the fresh water systems are off and then set valve 2 to ocean. Then, turn off A2 and hit A3, which will flush for a few minutes.

This seems like a fairly big project and I’m not quite sure I’m ready for it.