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Shnool,

I could see that if one loses grip of the handle while releasing the valve lifter with the other hand, leaving no hands to support the body while crouched over the engine in the e.c. In my boat (PY-26) the only access to the motor is aft and opposite the forward mounted flywheel, so it is quite precarious even without the necessity of getting an arm right down to the crank. By all accounts the Volvo is fairly bulletproof, but the electrics are situated immediately to port which means the flywheel will dip into water if the bilge has a few inches of water in it, and of course spins so to spray batteries, wires, terminal blocks, relays with corroding salt-water. PO or POx2 seems to have allowed this to occur for a time leading to a motor which looks great on the LHS, notable rust on the RHS, and some min or intermittent operation of electrics. I can envision a situation in which a large wave temporarily fills the cockpit leading to salt-water in the rear bilge and non-functioning electronics. Add weather conditions which require using the motor and a situation could easily develop in which manual starting remains the only option.

The solution is to (obviously) make damn sure that (a) the crank handle is always available in a known location, (b) the bilge remains bone-dry, and y (c) familiarity with the manual start procedure such that one does not have to struggle to crank the silly thing in deteriorating conditions. The first two are relatively easy to assure, but anyone with small stature or injury could quite find themselves incapable of turning the crank quickly enough to accumulate sufficient momentum to ensure a start.

I suppose the take-away is that events can conspire to put a boat in peril without regard to the skills of the pilot or state of the equipment on-board. All one can do is minimize risk and be aware that all eventualities cannot be anticipated. To that end I have a metric buttload of work to do.
 

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Can you make a splash shield for the electrics? I'm thinking of something along the lines of the heat shielding in auto engine compartments - a bent piece of aluminium plate or similar.
 

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SloopJonB,

A shield made of some sort of plate should be practical, but I would be inclined to use acrylic instead of metal.

I intend to re-do much of the electrical system; which means soldered connections, shrink-wrap tubing, and dielectric grease everywhere it needs to be. I will also consider epoxy to waterproof splices if they are unavoidably located at low-points. Check this out: the cabin's automatic bilge-pump wires are spliced into wire that runs in the bilge from just behind the mast-step and under the floor-liner to the e.c. The connections are protected with bog-standard electrical tape. This is no big deal as long as the only water in the bilge is leaking fresh-water (fixed), but I expect salt-water to result in a blown fuse (if there is a fuse) or a dead battery...
 

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Can you make a splash shield for the electrics? I'm thinking of something along the lines of the heat shielding in auto engine compartments - a bent piece of aluminium plate or similar.
I should think that using a non conductive plastic would be infinitely superior to any metal for this.
 

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Therapy23,

Way back in my misspent youth I did a school project demonstrating electrolysis in salt-water, so I know there is going to be current draw with + and - soaking in the drink. Perhaps not great gobs of power, but certainly something. Lacking a great deal of experience with marine 12V systems, I don't know offhand how much, but I would be surprised if it is negligible.

Disclaimer: Not an EE.
 

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Therapy23,

Way back in my misspent youth I did a school project demonstrating electrolysis in salt-water, so I know there is going to be current draw with + and - soaking in the drink. Perhaps not great gobs of power, but certainly something. Lacking a great deal of experience with marine 12V systems, I don't know offhand how much, but I would be surprised if it is negligible.

Disclaimer: Not an EE.
Me neither but I have been around salt water and 12v a bit.

Perhaps you are due for another experiment.
 

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Me neither but I have been around salt water and 12v a bit.

Perhaps you are due for another experiment.
Perhaps. Let me backtrack a little and round out the problem a little more clearly.

Automatic bilge pump has two wires connected to the DC system as you would expect. The + and - wires are not insulated from salt-water which might accumulate in the bilge where they are joined and extended to terminal blocks aft. Salt water at 20C has a resistance of .2 Ohms with electrodes separated by 1m according to "The Net Of A Million Lies".

The wires in question -- wrapped in typical electrical tape which should not stop salt-water reaching the conductor much at all over time -- can be considered to be in a short-circuit state for the purpose of this gendankenexeperiment as their separation (+ to -) is much less than one meter. I would expect furious gas production in the bilge as the battery attempts to jam 500 "CCA"+ across the all-but-short-circuit.

Maybe I should try it out, but frankly I am chicken. I don't want to break anything unnecessarily. If I have not messed up my constants I'd say that 12V marine batteries and sea water equals time-bomb. JFC.
 

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Once known as Hartley18
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Perhaps. Let me backtrack a little and round out the problem a little more clearly.

Automatic bilge pump has two wires connected to the DC system as you would expect. The + and - wires are not insulated from salt-water which might accumulate in the bilge where they are joined and extended to terminal blocks aft ......
Well, I suppose not using a bilge pump controller (with in-built fuse for 'bonehead prevention') under the circumstances you describe could certainly be classed as a bonehead move. They're not expensive.. really. :rolleyes:

 

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Well, I suppose not using a bilge pump controller (with in-built fuse for 'bonehead prevention') under the circumstances you describe could certainly be classed as a bonehead move. They're not expensive.. really. :rolleyes:

In this particular case the bonehead is clearly the person who previously placed their dirty grabbing appendages on the electrical system without adult supervision. No question I dodged a bullet here.

Edit:

I feel I ought to clarify my criticism here as there is not enough context for an uninformed reader to appreciate the harsh tone of the above comment. Firstly, my remarks over "dodging a bullet" are accurate, but are not entirely based on my observed state of the bilge pump wiring. It is a no-brainer to observe that wiring subject to water immersion should not allow conductors to come into contact with said water. Never. But on a boat piloted in salt-water it is not unlikely that sea water will get into the bilge for one reason or another, and the existing setup guarantees that the automatic bilge pump will fail in short order if this occurs. Strike one.

This was not the only problem with the electrics. As delivered, the boat came with three batteries. Two 6V golf-cart batteries wired in series were also mated with a single 12V marine battery also wired parallel to the GC batteries. The 12V was completely destroyed as evidenced by warped and buckled plates which had fractured and expanded almost out of the electrolyte fill ports. Quiescent voltage on this battery was approximately .6V after removal. I have do not have the diagnostic capability to properly assess the GC batteries, but they seem to hold a half-decent charge despite the abuse they must have suffered. Strike two. The main battery switch, which is typical and allows for two battery banks was wired 'backwards and sideways', for lack of a better term. A serious hazard. Strike three. The batteries themselves were unsecured in the engine-space and could have easily bounced around the EC in heavy seas or as the result of a collision while tethered to their respective cables. Strike four. As I mentioned in another message, engine compartment bilge water was allowed to reach the engine flywheel without bailing and splashed all over the electrical system mounted to port of the engine. Sufficient running time under this condition has led to corrosion on the engine block and notably to two engine mounts which will require replacement sooner rather than later. Strike five. All of these electrical system defects are easy fixes, requiring only trivial expenditure to remediate, destroyed batteries notwithstanding. It is apparent that the boat has been used extensively while these extant defects permitted to fester. Strike six. Lack of an engine-space bilge pump is a further regrettable oversight. Strike six point five.

The Internet is sometimes a small place and the responsible PO might become known and it would be unfair to level the 'bonehead' label on the basis of the bilge pump alone. Lacking electrical competence, he should have refrained from working on it and referred the matter to a competent professional.
 

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HANUMAN
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A little new to this life at the dock after being on a mooring for years. It's really tight getting out so I use a spring line to get the boat turning in the right direction before casting off.

Girlfriend on the bow, looking smoking hot in those shorts and inflatable PFD, sporting a boat hook like a harpoon. Leaving on our first vacation cruise together. Extended forecast is hot but beautiful, block Island here we come!

We are idling in reverse with an aft spring attached that helps push the bow off the dock. Ice in the box, packed enough food, beer, wine and clothes for a month. I got her a copy of Sailing for Dummies. What could possible go wrong?

I go to neutral and release the spring, forward gear....nothing, we are stuck to the dock, feels like we are aground. She looks back at me with this look that says "I thought we are leaving?" I'm looking around like a dumbass as she points with the boat hook and asks if the stern line should still be on the cleat behind me. Bow has now fallen back to the dock so we start again.

Reattach forward spring line, revers idle, wait for the bow to come up off the dock, this time I the remove stern line then the spring and away we go...not.

Again I get the look, "are we leaving?" as the bow comes back to the dock. I look around dumfounded, are we aground?

Another point with the extended boat hook, this time at the forward spring line, "don't you have to unhook that before we go?"

As she stands on the bow and stabs at my mistakes with a harpoon I can't help but wonder who needs the book more.

OK, lets try this again...
 

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HANUMAN
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I once caught Charley Cobra leering at my dinghy. Thank Buddha it was my inflatable and not my hard bottom.
 

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It wasn't totally my fault, but when I was a sailing coach in Newport, I had an interaction with the green bell '11'. I was on one J24, racing another, and using said bell as a windward mark. We were on Starboard, laying it, when the other boat tried to duck us. When its bow slammed into our port quarter, and rose up onto the stern pulpit, I made my way out of the companionway(where I was preparing to feed out the chute) to try to make sure my student didn't get tangled. This distraction was enough to forget the bell. Did I mention that it was around peak ebb, and the navionics chart shows "tide rips" right there. I don't know how fast it goes, but it goes really fast. Our boat speed would be added to it, after the impact maybe 4kts.

When we hit, it was not glancing. It was square on the bow. We stopped dead, and I fell from standing on the deck btw the cockpit and the companionway, down to the cabin sole. On my back. Luckily the spinnaker broke the fall.
 
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