Monday, July 16, 2012

A Cuban What!!???

A Cuban Yo-Yo. It is another name for a hand-line reel. We wanted one to take on our trip from Tortola to the Chesapeake to try our hand at catching fish. We had some surgical tubing handy and created an elastic shock absorber for it. Some of the rigs we saw had a line run through the center of the yo-yo, which made it impossible to reel the line back onto the reel without disconnecting it from the boat. So we drilled a small hole in the center and ran the 1/8-inch nylon backing line through it where we tied a loop. We can now easily snap a small ring onto the loop to keep it attached to the boat.

Here's the setup. The surgical tubing is tied into a loop using a water knot. It is attached to the aft cleat. A small snap shackle attaches the tubing to the yo-yo nylon backing cord, so there's no strain on the yo-yo itself. There is a figure-8 knot in the nylon backing line on the lure side of the yo-yo to keep it from deploying itself down the line and into the water. A second line with snap shackle creates an end stop to (hopefully) keep it aboard if something big and solid hits the lure. We wanted the monofillament to break if that were to happen, instead of losing our yo-yo. There is about 50 ft of 1/8 nylon braid tied to 50 ft of 100 lb test monofilament using an Albright knot. A Fisherman's knot is used to tie a ball-bearing swivel to the end of the monofilament for attaching the lure. There's no need for a weight.

With this setup, we can wind the line back onto the yo-yo without disconnecting it from the boat. We won't lose the rig due to fumble fingers or a big fish grabbing the lure while we're pulling it in.

We caught two fish on our trip. A pretty big mahi took the hook while going from Tortola to Turks and Caicos. We had it up to the back steps twice and the second time, it threw the hook and escaped. All we have are memories and pictures.

The second fish was a nice tuna, about 8 pounds. It produced some nice tuna steaks that fed us for three meals.

We read another cruising blog that said that it is better to troll two lines, so we bought another yo-yo at Sailor's Exchange in St. Augustine. (You should stop by Sailor's Exchange if you're in St. Augustine and are looking for some boat parts and don't mind buying some used or excess stock parts.)

The best lure was something called Dolphin Candy, which you can buy at Amazon:
Gee's brother says that the blue lure works best.

Getting Juiced at the Dock

LUX has one of the original Sentry FR1240/3X (12v, 40A, 3 bank) chargers made by Dometic. When we rescued LUX from the Nanny Cay boat yard, the house bank was at or just below 10 volts. That's the level that's a fully discharged battery. We put the charger on and it slowly came up to 12 volts over three days. The charger just didn't seem to be performing the way a 40A charger should. We knew that something was amiss when we couldn't get a good charge in marinas and the engines would start off with high charge loads. We were back home, so it was easy to remove it, examine the guts, and decide what action to take.

The case was somewhat rusty. It looked like someone spilled salt water on the unit. Some parts of the case are aluminum and some are steel - both had corrosion. Upon removing the case, we found that the main capacitor leads were also corroded and charred (the pictures are after we repaired the wire). The capacitor is highlighted with a red circle in the first picture.

The capacitor is the same as a motor run capacitor, available at any HVAC shop. I had one handy and connected it to the charger. The charger worked! (Drat; now we have to put off buying the Victron Inverter/Charger.) We fixed up the case and reinstalled it on LUX.

The Sentry charger is a ferro-resonant charger and therefore acts much like a 2-stage charger. It is basically a constant voltage charger, with current limit. As the battery voltage increases, the current decreases. It has a cut-off and cut-in circuit that stops charging when the battery voltage reaches the cut-off point and will restart charging when the voltage drops to the cut-in voltage. The manual recommends 12.8v for the cut-in voltage and 13.9v for the cut-out voltage. We have AGM batteries, which can take higher voltage.

There's a nice table on the BD Batteries web site ( about Lifeline batteries that says a 2-stage charger should charge at 14.2-14.4 volts for the bulk phase and 13.2-13.3 for the float phase. So increasing the set points on the Sentry to 13.0v on the lower set point and 14.2 v for the upper set point would emulate the 2-stage charger. The West Marine advisor page "Selecting a Battery Charger", shows 14.6v and 13.4v, respectively for accept and float phases (

The end result is that we now have a good charger. Perhaps someday we'll get the Victron so that we have a really good inverter/charger.