John's Tips, Tricks & Thoughts

Weekly Digest:

Dean Barker is Back

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Nice to see that one of the best, and arguably most unlucky, sailors in America’s Cup modern history is back with a team. I’m a huge fan of the quiet Kiwi. The man is a class act. He will be a great coach, I’m sure. Might end up back on the wheel, too, I’m guessing.

Most “Drop In” Lithium Batteries Not ABYC Compliant


The way I read this, batteries with BMSs that do not communicate are now obsolete:

If a shutdown condition is approaching a battery system should notify the operator with a visual and/or audible alarm before disconnecting the battery from the DC system.

ABYC E13-7

I think ABYC should have required all BMS to be able to communicate with charging sources. This could be as simple as a set of contacts, but CANBus is better. More here on why. And here on ways to do that.

Stupid Mast Errors


After just three day sails our main halyard is mangled. Turns out @sparcraft jammed the wiring conduit right up under the sheave on our brand new mast so it deflects the halyard and chafes it. Looked like end of season. We were gutted. No way to fix without unstep, but see next tip.

No Position


We were out sailing our new-to-us J/109 when I realized that neither of the default screens on the plotter or TZiBoat showed position. Pretty standard these days…and oh so wrong. Imagine a person overboard and we need to radio for help, but first have to dig through a bunch of screens to find our position. Two minutes to fix (above photo), but worth thinking about.

Victron Chargers Rock


I’m loving this little charger I bought. I will write more in an upcoming article, but the ability to check out, on my phone, exactly what happened in the last charge cycle is amazing. Tells me a lot about battery health and how to set up the charger best for our usage.

White Paint Is Our Friend


Before and after shots of a small locker in our J-109. Way better to paint the water damaged ply than mess around with varnish trying to fix it. Brightens the boat up too. We like semi-gloss, not gloss. White is brighter inside the locker too.