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T37Chef 01-05-2016 10:59 AM

Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake

Originally Posted by Jim_W (Post 3253737)
My winter project is all new wiring

I wise marine electrician once told me... replacing everything at once is a huge job, rather as you upgrade and replace items, redo the wiring to proper ABYC code. (something like that, you get the idea though)

That assumes you do not have any serious issues to contend with that could cause fire or other.

I took his advice and have been doing the same for 10 years now... still not finished :) The pressure water pump was a good one by the previous owner... it stopped working one day, investigation found three butt connections within 2 feet using various sized wire... UGH! Rewired it to the panel with one continuous wire... what a concept ;)

An immediate upgrade after the initial survey was installing GFCI outlets throughout on the AC side of course, and replacing the wire from the shore power outlet to the circuit panel, which was house type (Romex) wire with marine grade tinned strand wire :) This was discovered not at survey, but a fried inlet fitting and dock cord a few years later! Yikes

Just a thought anyway...

Jim_W 01-05-2016 07:03 PM

Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake
My boats is only 25' with nav lights, cabin lights, chart plotter/depth finder. vhf just the basics. I have 1 ac circuit and 6 dc circuits I think I can do the whole job in a weekend. It is all in working order now but the wire is 40 yrs old and I don't know where its been the 37 years before I bought it.

Ajax_MD 01-06-2016 07:46 AM

Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake
When I bought my boat, I figured after 40+ years that I'd need to gut the entire system and start over.

After looking things over, I decided against it. The factory original 12v system is still neatly wired, and not spliced or hacked into.
No, the wire isn't tinned but it isn't corroded anywhere either. The insulation is stiff, but not cracked or failing anywhere.
The color coding isn't up to modern ABYC standards, but I believe ABYC makes allowances for older boats. Basically, you just stick with what you have, or you totally upgrade to the modern color code.

The only part of the 12v system that's messed up, is where PO's added extra circuits. They were tied to empty slots on the bus bars which is how the original system remained intact. The additional wires were/are sloppily run, spliced with multiple colors of wire, wire nuts used, that sort of thing. I've been sorting that out as I find it. You just wouldn't believe how the auto bilge pump was wired. I've run out of extra slots on the bus bars so I'm adding another because I don't want to splice or piggy backing circuits.
The OEM 12v fuse/switch panel has run out of slots so I'll be upgrading that to a new, larger Blue Sea Systems panel. Blue Sea is pricey but I like all the little niceties that they come with, like a mounting template and LED back-lit labels.

There was no 120v system, which made things easier. I needed shore power because I was going to be living aboard.
I'm no Maine Sail, but I did my best to comply with ABYC standards and cable everything neatly to avoid strain and chafe. My only regret is that I didn't know about the SmartPlug at the time, so I still have the old 30 amp twist-lock style cord. I went with a Blue Sea AC panel and installed 3 GFCI outlets, each on their own breaker and an onboard Guest 3-bank battery charger.

Later on, I added a 750w standalone inverter. It's not tied to the boat's 120v system, it has its own outlets and a USB port. I stick the iPad/chartplotter to the bulkhead and plug it into the inverter via the USB port. The inverter really only gets used to run small power tools, electronic devices or a shop vac when shore power isn't available. I'm not trying to run a microwave or water heater or anything.

The great thing about LED lighting aside from the extended battery life, is the low load that they put on electrical wiring. That increases the safety factor, IMO.

chef2sail 01-06-2016 12:21 PM

Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake
I rewired Haleakula bow to stern 5 years ago after finding lamp cord going up the mast while it was down. Even though I have now owned her 16 years it was surprising how many useless wires the PO had in the spaghetti bundled rats nest behind the panels. I figured why add new to old, when adding new would prevent old from continuing to deteriorate and I wanted to not spend more time on it. Most issues occur at connection points then and not in the wire itself. So if there are issues I know now it won't be old wire some place I can't access. Degradation was amazing after 33 years in some of the inaccessible areas once I pulled the old wire out. And this was a well made boat. To me it made no sense to buy new equipment and attach it to 33 year old wire.

In addition I had added much electronics etc. the old breakers were fine but inadequate and had no easy access behind them. No GFI outlets. I bought a large Blue Sea panel with 18 DC and 6 AC and built them on piano hinges so I could drop them for easy access behind them to work on it if I had to. I methodically did one side of the boat then the other pulling wires through the conduits by attaching to the old wire. It wasn't that difficult or time consuming or complicated. To me I didn't want to do it piece meal as I wanted the confidence in knowing all was new wire. It was suprising to see some of the degradation of wires in unseen places once they were pulled out to the light of day. Also it made no sense to mix old wire with new wire as your ssystem is only as new as your oldest piece of wire.

It wasn't that time consuming to do the rewire. The cost of the new wire was real though and the amount I used was causally phenomenal. Seemed everything was in 35 foot lengths. I bought it at

Yes we have new LED lights a no brainier. Went with the alpenglow main cabin LED to replace the florescent bulbs..

The hardest part was at the panel, bundling wires as well as labeling to make the connections at the panel neat and tidy and easy to work on. However the Blue Sea is perfectly pre wired. I bought a new piece of teak and cut the panel hole and completely replaced that portion of the boat. The teak also is on a piano hinge so it can be lower also. Behind the whole teak panel are all the nmea connections for instruments, chartplotter and radar in one organized area.

The wiring on the boat now is good to go for another 40 years. I have confidence in ALL of the wiring. The AC is up to current snuff with 6 GFI outlets. We also have an independent 2000 inverter for stuff we use at anchor or away from the dock like recharging I pods, TV etc

We have a large battery bank of 6-6 volt (720 ah) lifeline agm with a separate starting battery echo charged to it. A updated 100 amp electro max alternator as well. On our older 33 year C&C 35 this are the newest components of it. The outside is starting to weather and show her age a little. The guts of the boat however are brand new. It also gave me a hands on understanding of all my boats wire.

Electric part of boats today is way more than it used to be for obvious reasons. Having it safe, understandable, and doing it myself for much cheaper then a certified marine tech was a good accomplishment. I never worry about the wiring anymore. Now it's just the components hooked up to it.

On another note. I just replaced our AGM after 9+ years last October. While many think they can be too expensive compared to wet cell, I found that if you maintain them meaning desulfate them on a schedule and have a good smart battery charger they were actually cost effective. We would be even better off had I had a solar panel to constantly recharge, but we don't do the kind of sailing/ passage making to warrant that on this boat. However on my last boat I will set our electrical systems up similarly with passive charging.

Ajax_MD 01-06-2016 12:31 PM

Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake
I would have loved to have a single AC/DC panel but they're all way too large or the wrong shape for my available mounting areas.
I could have home-fabricated something out of Lexan but my craftsmanship just isn't that high-grade.

jsaronson 01-06-2016 12:35 PM

Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake
Wire was the one area where C&C cut corners. I had trouble with one running light. Turned out there was a 7 volt drop in a 2 foot piece of wire threaded through the bow pulpit to the light.
I still have the original panels, but have replaced the indicator lights on the AC panel and as needed on the DC side. Some day when I get bored I'll clean up the mess behind the panels with terminal blocks and labels. I put in knurled thumb screws in place of the phillips screws to make access easier.

miatapaul 01-06-2016 02:51 PM

Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake

Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd (Post 3258361)
I would have loved to have a single AC/DC panel but they're all way too large or the wrong shape for my available mounting areas.
I could have home-fabricated something out of Lexan but my craftsmanship just isn't that high-grade.

I was thinking a single panel would be nice, and all my 12 volt has fuses, but it seems to be working. I had no shore power system at all, I believe the DPO pulled the batteries and charged them at home, he really only did Wednesday races and weekend racing. He did cruse long ago, but for the last many years just racing. All electronics except for the wind instruments were removed. I am going to re do all the "electronics" wiring as it is a mess, but the rest of the boat wiring looks to be fairly un-molesed. I am switching to LED interior lights thinking that will lower the drain on the system.

Shore power system is four circuits, one battery charger and three outlet circuits. One down the port side, one starboard side and one galley. All new. I will start the 12 volt with a "sub panel" for the electronics that are still there and add on what I decide I need. my sailing is going to be instrument free for the most part at least the first year. Mostly grunt work and some epoxy and fiberglass come summer!

T37Chef 01-07-2016 07:24 AM

Roger that ;)

Ajax_MD 01-07-2016 07:31 AM

Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake
Yep, my 12v panel is a "fuse" panel like yours.
That's another reason I'm looking forward to getting rid of it. Fuses are a consumable that you have to buy and store...and hopefully haven't run out of. Breakers can be continually reset once you've repaired the problem that is causing them to trip.

I was helping to deliver a Pearson 30 down the bay when we noticed water over the cabin sole (turns out the raw water pump was leaking). I noticed a blown fuse in the bilge pump switch. The owner directed me to a plastic case full of fuses. Every single one of them was already blown. The PO kept them for some reason and we didn't notice that they were all blown. Good thing there was a manual pump built in.

oldlaxer1 01-07-2016 11:02 AM

Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake
What bottom paint do you guys recommend for the Chesapeake? I'm currently on the hard at Old Bay marina but home is at the Anchorage in Baltimore. I bought the boat last year and this winter I'm busy scraping and sanding off about 15 layers of bottom paint (that which hasn't already flaked off). Come spring I'm thinking of going with an ablative paint but thought I'd ask your opinions.
I'm only cruising, no racing.

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