Monday, April 20, 2015

Anchor Windlass Bypass and Handheld Coiled Cable

A recent topic on the Yahoo Leopard list is bypassing the anchor windlass interlock. The interlock makes sure that the windlass only runs if the port engine is also running. It exists to prevent over-discharging the house bank. Having an engine running is a good idea because the alternator will provide higher voltage and the windlass will use use less current, therefore running more efficiently.

Partial DC Schematic Showing Windlass Interlock Wire
The windlass is (or should be) connected to the house bank. On LUX (L40, 2005 model, hull 009) There is a large, dedicated breaker in the trash can compartment, along with the house bank on/off switch.

The wiring had already been modified on LUX, so I don't have detailed pictures of the change. However, the schematic provides the necessary knowledge of the circuit. The Windlass Control, located just under the Bat Charger in the top center of the schematic, is basically a big relay internal to the windlass. What isn't shown is the hand control unit. This hand unit controls the up/down function through two buttons. A ground connection is needed for the hand control to activate the up/down function. This ground, highlighted in thick red below, goes back to the port engine via a small diameter wire. The schematic shows a single switch on the engine. I think this switch is actually a relay in the plastic gray box mounted on the forward bulkhead in the engine compartment.

On LUX, there is a yellow wire under the windlass that's not connected to anything This wire would normally go to the little black wiring box, also in the forward locker under the windlass, to which the hand control connects. To modify the default configuration, remove the yellow wire and cap it with a length of heat-shrink to keep it safe. Run a new wire from its connection in the little black wiring box to the big DC terminal that's mounted to the side of the mast step in the forward locker. Now you can run the windlass without starting the port engine. Just try to have one of the engines running for the reasons noted above.

Engine Compartment Gray
Relay Box (from Ken Pimentel - Dream Catcher)

Here is a photo from Ken Pimentel (Dream Catcher) showing the gray relay box mounted on the forward bulkhead of the port engine compartment on an L40.

Windlass Control Black Box - Note disconnected yellow wire
The starboard forward locker is where the Windlass Control Box is located (see red arrow). Note the yellow disconnected wire hanging under where the windlass is located.

Inside the black box is just a connector. I presume that the yellow wire once made a connection in this box and is now replaced with one of the other wires.
What's Inside the Windlass Control Box

Windlass Handheld Control Cable

We also had a problem with the windlass handheld control. The coiled cord cover was deteriorating, exposing the insulated conductors. So it wasn't coiling like it should and it was a matter of time before something bad was going to happen. So we searched the web for vendors selling coiled cords - like the ones you see on hoists in factories.

We found a suitable replacement at:

Specialty Wire & Cord Sets, Inc
One Gallagher Rd
Hamden, Ct 06517

3 Conductor 18gauge 24" coiled cord
$42 shipped.

It is a little bigger than we'd like, but it is heavy duty. A 20ga version would be about right. The length isn't enough to stretch to the cross-beam, but on the other hand, it doesn't get tangled in the anchor chain when stowed.

Instead of using the existing strain relief on the hand control, we drilled it out to accept the cord and used black 5200 to create a seal and act as a strain relief.

If someone gets a good set of pictures of the wiring change, please let me know and I can add them to this post.


Monday, April 13, 2015

LUX is a Movie Star

Over the winter, we were contacted by Tom Strodel of 24fps Productions in New York about using some sequences from the video we recorded in early 2014 in the Abacos, Bahamas. (See Ten Days on LUX.) Well, I just found out that the video that he produced is now available on the home page at Included were several of the sailing sequences, including the shot of the two bows cutting through the water, the dinghy anchored ashore, and me at the helm. The final sequence of a boat entering a narrow channel is our time-lapse of LUX entering Man-O-War Cay harbor. It was nice to see that the video that we took was put to good use elsewhere.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Nothing Better Than a Greeting at the Dock

Here we are that dock! And Sam was here to greet us with champagne was crew member Sam! It's always great to have a welcoming committee who wants to hear our sea stories! What fun! We drank. We laughed. We talked both his ears off. Thanks, Sam, for still being a part of our crew.

Oh...So Here We Are!

Just a little update! Susan, former crew and good friend of LUX, was kind enough to step outside and take a picture of LUX as she motor sailed past Franklin Manor.

Yes, it is still foggy. Yes, we are still going to our home port today! We'll see all of our friends soon.

Where Are We?

If you were with us on LUX right now, this is what you would see. Doesn't matter where you look. The view is all the same. GRAY! It is a foggy day on the bay. We believe we are headed north toward home port. We hope to be home sometime today. Let's see if the fog allows us to keep that schedule!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wednesday in Reedville

The weather was not very friendly today, so we decided to remain here in Reedville. We did boat chores in the morning - maintenance and cleaning. (Yes, Sam, we miss you during the cleaning times - and other times as well!)

For lunch, we motored over to the dock at the Cockrell Creek Seafood Deli. What a neat little local place! We had some really yummy food there. And, it's such a small dining room that we easily chatted with everyone! We met a husband and wife team who run a fishing charter out of Reedville. The best thing, though, is that they are currently working in their boat at Jennings Marina here in Reedville. We knew we needed to stay another night, but we really wanted to be in a marina with electricity. Yes, we wanted HEAT! But, they are all closed. This couple knew the management. So, they got us in. Yes, we have heat for tonight!

Dinner was here on the boat. We had Gee's standard cold day food - chicken and dumplings with cornbread. Yes, we did turn on that oven again. Any excuse to up the heat! Geez, who stole Spring?

But, dinner was good.

You'll notice that I was not quick enough tonight to get pictures before we ate. So, enjoy shots of empty plates and happy people. Tomorrow, maybe Solomons.

Motoring Through Memory Land

We ended up last night in Reedville. This is a spot Terry and Peggy visited with grandchildren once in the past. In fact, the grandchildren nicknamed this spot "Stinkyville" because it is home to a large menhaden processing plant. 

We had a great time trying to figure out when that last visit took place. It started out as 4 years ago. The more Peggy and Terry talked about it, the greater the time span grew! We stopped at about 7 years ago. Hmmmm.... Time really does fly when you are having fun.

So, here we are, just off the Chesapeake Bay. It's somewhere in the 50s. Meanwhile, south of us, it will be in the 70s today. Again, we are certainly traveling off season. Muffins for lunch today! Anything to get that oven on.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

At Portsmouth

After a beautiful morning cruising the Dismal Swamp Canal, we ended up at Portsmouth. This town actually offers a free place to dock overnight. We decided to give it a try. The location is right at the end of High Street in Olde Towne Portsmouth.

As you can see from the pictures, this is a busy spot. The free dock areas shares the space with the local water ferry- a growth on the water taxi concept. The ferry looks like a little paddle wheeler. And it pushes a lot of water. When it pulls into this little basin, it churns the water. And LUX rocks with it. It's also across from the place that is currently taking apart some of the Navy's decommissioned ships. Supposedly, they work 24/7. We'll be able to better determine if that is true as the evening progresses.

You might also be able to see that there is a little museum right next to the dock here. It is the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum. It's small, but it is packed with great displays and info. The members of the crew who visited it really enjoyed it.

After that, the afternoon was still young enough for some of the crew to go walking about exploring the area. Some of the crew found several places to eat. We decided on the German restaurant.

Yes, they had all the good food you might want. They even offered a Caesar salad for the crew member who does not like German food. And beer...hundreds of choices! But, no German chocolate cake! How could that be?

Lucky for us, Terry had been here before. He knew a place that had great desserts. And he and Peggy offered to get some and bring them back to the boat. They showed up almost an hour later! We thought that they had decided to eat their desserts at the restaurant before returning to the boat. Nope! The restaurant was just having trouble cooking the cookie!

Yes, I forgot to take a picture of it before I went to work on it. Yes, it was a good cookie. Don't know if it was worth the long wait, though! But, it certainly was tasty! And, it was a great way to end the day.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Moving Right Along

Today's departure time is 8 AM. So, everyone is out and about busily preparing to cast off.

As you can see, it is a beautiful morning here. It is so still that the canal acts as a big mirror. However. It is a chilly one today. Lucky for us, Terry made sure the generator was functioning. So, it is warm here inside the cabin.

Today's goal is at least Portsmouth. We might even make it as far as Cape Charles. It always depends on the conditions as we go along.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Evening

We spent most of the day traveling down the Dismal Swamp Canal. We love going this route because it is just so beautiful. Today, at the edge of Spring, the trees are just starting to bud out. It was cool enough that the turtles were sitting out on logs in the sun in large numbers. A pair of eagles took flight to complain about us interrupting the solitude. 

We made it to the first lock in time for the last opening. That meant we were able to dock at the Dismal Swamp Canal Visitor Center. When we passed this way in the fall, there were at least 15 boats tied up at this little spot. We were three and four across. Today...

We are the only people here. No one followed us down the river. No one came the other way. We have this gorgeous spot all to ourselves.

Since it is Easter, we did want to have a nice meal.

And everyone agreed the food was delicious. We had salmon with a topping of crab dip and mozzarella cheese. It was served with wild rice and green beans almandine. The remainder of the crab dip was served with the meal. Some used it to top their sourdough bread. Some added it to their rice. Some ate it with crackers. Everyone thought it was a great use for canned crab bought on sale at Big Lots!

For dessert, we'll be having apple pie and turtle brownies. No, not the turtles from the logs! Just caramel and pecans! NO animals were harmed in the making of this dessert.

As the sun goes down on the canal, we have one more photo to share. It's the one shot we have every trip.

Yes, once again it's still time for engine maintenance.

Easter Morning at the Alligator River Marina

KiWe left Belhaven yesterday morning under gray skies and a bit of rain.

For most of the day, it remained cold and dreary. However, the sun came out as we approached one of our favorite spots- the Alligator River Marina! We always feel welcome here. Miss Wanda even came out looking for Miss Peggy.

We had dinner in the gas station -literally. The dining room was closed. It's too early in the season. But, our favorite cook, Annette, was manning the grill. So, we ordered up some of our favorites. The fried shrimp dinner is simply great here. So is the fried chicken. We also love the ice cream here- which we indulged in after dinner. Yum!

This morning, it is Easter. We had a great pancake breakfast. Hope your Easter Brunch is just as tasty.

 We send out greetings to all our family and friends. We hope to see you soon.

Friday, April 3, 2015

At Belhaven

We have one final peak at us in Oriental.

This is the Harborcam view of us leaving Oriental. Since they only do screen shots every 10 minutes, this was the best shot. As always, we've tried to make sure you knew where to look in the picture! It was fun to play with the cameras at Oriental!

We had a super day on the water.

Yes, that is LUX sailing all the way from Oriental to Belhaven! There was a strong wind, and we made every possible use of it. Yes, those are white caps in the background it was a wee doggy day on the water. The sailors had their best day yet.

At Least Peggy Is On The Boat

So I tried to get a picture of us on LUX. But I did a terrible job on timing. I only caught Peggy.

So now I have sent them out again to stand around hoping to be caught on the webcam! 

Success! See Terry, Carol and Mike on the front deck of LUX here in Oriental.

Good Morning From Oriental

We are getting ready for another day on the water. Since we are still in Oriental, it seemed like a good idea to look at the harbourcam here in town.

Yes, that is LUX sitting at the free town dock. It just happens to be across the street from The Bean- the local coffee shop. And the coffee shop sells ice cream. Carol just walked over to get some treats for breakfast. Yum!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

On the ICW

The best thing about going up and down the ICW is that there is always something new to see.

On this trip, we saw two tugs with a barge full of cement.

As you can see from the photos, one tug was pulling while the other tug pushed. Both tugs were incredibly clean and shiny for workboats.

Another new sight was, at first, a little disconcerting. It seemed this group was dominating the entire ICW.

We are on TV!

Here we are! We are in Oriental, NC. We are. On the tow harbor cam!