Yep, we did it. S/V BeBe has been mutilated! And we are the ones who did the mutilation. Only question we have is, "why didn't we do this sooner?"
Actually, we are glad that we waited until we found the right company to do this job and do it right. Last winter we saw a couple of Amel 54 yachts with very nice and well-constructed stern arches. The nicest we had ever seen on any yachts.
We talked with the owner of the shop that built these arches (Riza at Emek Marine in Gocek) and looked at photos of arches he had built for another Amel Super Maramu 2000, the same model boat as BeBe. We did not fall immediately in love with the arches on the Amel SM. The stern on the Amel 54 is very wide, which is the current trend in yachts; the stern is as wide as the beam. That boat might be only 1-foot longer than our Amel SM but it is 1/3 larger because of that widening from the beam all the way to the stern. Much, much larger than ours. This wider stern allowed for more graceful curving to the solar arch. The narrow stern of the SM called for a much more angular arch. Neither Bill nor I thought it looked very good.
Over the winter we continued to think about how solar panels could be added to BeBe. Rail mounting was ruled out. Our bimini folds down like a convertible car top, so mounting over the bimini was ruled out. Mounting on the mizzen deck made no sense because both the the standing and running rigging as well as the mizzen boom and sail would cause too many shadows and ruin the effectiveness of the solar panels. It always came back to requiring a stern arch if we were to add solar panels. We wanted solar panels so that we can leave the boat at anchor for a day (or possibly even two), which was not possible because our heavy energy use required that the generator be run twice per day to charge the house batteries. Meant we had to be on the boat for an hour each morning and an hour each night to run the generator and charge the batteries. We had done this for 7 years (except for times in marinas). Wouldn't it be nice to not have to adhere to that schedule anymore? We thought so.
|Laser cut name plate on each side of arch. Three plates|
provide anti-wobble stability to the arch.
AMEL -- 53 -- BeBe
|Replaced capacitors on all A/C and |
|Injector Nozzles for Yanmar engine. These little puppies cost|
about $850, plus labor and testing fees = about $1200. Do not
even want to think how much actual injector replacements
would have cost.
While there we took advantage of Emek Marine's services to repair our outboard engine, replace the rivets on our bimini, clean the injectors and mixing elbow on the Onan generator, and clean the injectors on the Yanmar 100hp turbo engine. The injectors on the Yanmar failed the test and the nozzles had to be replaced.
|New stainless steel mixing elbow|
The mixing elbow on the Yanmar had developed a tiny leak and needed to be replaced. We had replaced that mixing elbow in Phuket December 2010 and were surprised to find that it was already worn out. Riza said these usually fail at about 1500 hours of operation. Oh, great! The one in Phuket cost right at $1,000. We were not happy campers to know this had to be replaced again so soon.
|Riza's mixing elbow|
|Much better than original|
|Welder is guy in green shirt. An artist!|
|Arch bolts into toe rail which is|
reinforced with steel
|Arch bolts into ridge on stern scoop|
which is steel reinforced
|Holding arch with halyard while it is TIG weld fitted to boat|
The electrician had been sent to Marmaris on another job that day; so we had to wait 2 days to finish the job. Riza graciously paid our marina bill for those extra nights we had to remain at the dock. When the electrician and his helper arrived the work was completed in very short order. It was finished. BeBe had been mutilated.
|Lots of headroom when docked. No more bumping our heads on davits|
We are exceptionally pleased! Love the appearance of the new stern arch. And love the solar panels which will allow us to put fewer hours on the generator and provide us with freedom to leave the boat without having to follow a daily generator schedule.
UPDATE ON THE SOLAR ARRAY:
The neg BATT output from the MPPT was wired incorrectly. It was wired to the neg side of the SHUNT which is the same place the battery monitor is connected. Placing this output neg wire close to the connection of the battery monitor causes the battery monitor to overstate the number of amps going into the battery. I rewired the neg BATT output from the MPPT to the Battery side of the main battery switch. This changed the registered output of amps by something like one-half. Rather than getting 150-200 amps of 24 volts/day, we are probably getting about 75-100 amps of 24 volts/day. This is more in line with our expectations.
We are still very pleased with the output of these solar panels. We are energy hogs. We never hesitate to use any electrical device, unlike many people we know on boats who curtail their movie viewing or computer time or electric mixer or whatever because they need to save battery power. With our normal heavy electrical usage it appears thus far that we will need to run the generator only about every third or fourth day since adding this solar array. That is better than we had hoped.