Saturday, 30 October 2010

2010 Double Cape Race

This race has been around a very long time,I think after the first race,was that in 1974? Dulux sponsered the race and it was then branded as  the Dulux Double Cape Race for many years,even when Dulux stood down and Dekro Paints took over sponsership,folk still tended to name it the Dulux race,I think a new sponser is needed?

Its an unusual event with four yacht clubs sailing the same route but from their own waters,so boats are passing each other all the time over the course,which means that as you have to pass Cape Point twice,its a double cape trip,hence the name,the clubs are HBYC,RCYC,FBYC and GBYC.The route direction is reversed each year just to mix things up even more.

Friday, 29 October 2010

B&G Network ACP1 and ACP2 drive units

This has taken some sorting out and I feel its good we post the truth on some info's to be found on at least one yachting forum.

I found a question on a forum where a boat owner had been told that ACP1 and ACP2 units were internally the same but that it was only the ACP2 that had dip swich controls and that would proove that an ACP1 was actually the ACP2,read on for the real answer.

Brooks and Gatehouse made Network Autopilots,I have one,its not working but not because it is broke but because I chose to install an electrical Lewmar 12 volt drive unit over the normal Blue hydraulic steering ram,the drive unit was available,the ram was not. My own installation requires a greater switching power than the hydraulic pump,its this lack of interal switching that is issue,B&G service dept are looking at the issue now,if they can up grade it they will.

The later autopilots were controled using an ACP1 black box,its labled suitable for 12 volts and 12 amps,this will be seen as too little on the amperage side as my Lewmar direct drive is using a 1/4hp 16amp electric motor.This then requires the later ACP2 black box which is then rated to 24amps,it  also has internal Dip Switches ,these can be changed by the installer to work on 9v,12,18,v and 24 volts,so suitable for many other service uses,including a 24 volt installation.

An ACP1 control box with the dip switches,its that long black unit top right and just left of the round black tube with a white cable tie on it.This ACP1 still does not have a powerfull enough switching to handle more than 12amps,thats from B&G and can be believed.

I also have an ACP1 drive unit,it has the internal dip switches,so my question was it really an ACP2 with another lable,after reading on a forum it was tempting to think it was?

From the forum,

On our Network Pilot, the ACP1 is rated for a maximum of 12A (or 14A, the manual states both at different places and interchanges them often), while the ACP2 has a maximum of 20A (or 25A. Again, interchanged throughout the manual). They also have different clutch voltage selections. The ACP1 is set at 12V and is not changeable, while the ACP2 has dip switches for changing the clutch voltage (9V, 12V, 18V, 24V. The clutch works well at 9V/18V and saves an amp on the power usage in 12V/24V systems).

That is what the manual says. In practice, our ACP1 autopilot consumes 20A in rough conditions with no problem and when I looked inside it, there were the dip switches to change the clutch voltage (and they worked). Also, the manual states to use a 25A fuse and identical wire size for both systems, which may just be laziness or may indicate that they are both the same internally.

A reply to me this week from a genuine B&G dealer

Thank you for your email regarding the B&G products.

There are 2 issues that need to be addressed:

1) No one who works for B&G or does service for B&G will tell you that you can use a type 1 pilot where a type 2 is required.. for the simple reason that

if this processor ever "fries" because the load was too high.. I do not want my name brought up as the "authorized" person that told you that it will work.

A type 1 is a type 1 and a type 2 is a type 2....

2) When you say Lewmar direct drive.. is that what we refer to in the US as a "Mamba" drive? This drive requires a specially modified ACP.. an ACP that is fitted with a "break circuit"

The "enhanced" ACP (the latest models) have this modification, built in.. but the earlier ones do not.. If you can take a picture of the pilot with the case open, I will be able to tell
you if this is an older or enhanced unit.

Best regards

My pictures showed that my ACP1 even with its dip switches did not have the required break switch.

This took some while to check on,I am more than happy with the reply and offer of service,which was later directed to the B&G Support office who are now seeing if they can upgrade my Network Pilot control unit,this is on a unit that is far from new but B&G do go that extra mile where service is concerned.

I then needed to find out what voltage the Lewmar type 89300039 1/4hp 12 volt Direct Drive used on its clutch,I have the owners manual,it only says 3amps,nothing more,I contacted Lewmar in the USA,they responded that the clutch is 12 volts and it needs to be correctly cabled,the clutch needs the correct voltage to work correctly,so do not use wires that are two thin for the distance you are wiring in to.

Note,the Lewmar Mamba and Direct Drive 1/4 hp motors apear to be exactly the same.

Roy Cape Town,South Africa

Sunday, 24 October 2010

David inspects an Aries vane gear being fitted

Davids Ocean Bound flying along in the Southern Ocean with self steering by Aries vane gears.

The interest David Scot Cowper has in the Aries lift up vane gear goes a little deeper than most would think,for it was David who twice sailed around the world on his yacht Ocean Bound,once each way,westwards and eastwards using the exact same make of Aries vane gears.David has a lot of respect for the make.