It’s been a while since my last post. There are a lot of updates but nothing that really can be shown in a photo .. at least not yet. How about I run down the list of updates:

1. I received my new outriggers a couple weeks ago. They are 18′ collapsible aluminum poles from Tigress. I was able to give them a test spin on Saturday and they worked great.

2. I picked up my 6′ custom bamboo gaff. I drove out to Fountain Valley to pick it up – what a great looking gaff! I ordered my gaff fromDaryl at Morita Custom Gaffs. I feel so lucky to have found him as the quality of the gaff is off the charts. I did a search for custom bamboo gaffs and I found an entry in a forum on talking about these custom made gaffs. I sent Daryl a text and he responded almost immediately. I made my order via a text and 2 weeks later, my gaff was ready. The gaff just wouldn’t be complete without the logo so I had the logo put on the shaft. There are gaffs out there for a little less money but in my opinion, these gaffs are well worth the small price difference. If you watch Wicked Tuna, you’ll see these gaffs on the Hard Merchandise and Drama boats. Captain Dave on the Hard Merchandise picked up his gaff from Daryl a month back or so. If it’s good enough for Captain Dave, it certainly is good enough for me!

Side Note: I took the out last Saturday with Larry Zimmerman, a friend of mine.  My new custom gaff was properly broken in on a 25b Bluefin Tuna. We spent the morning bouncing around to different areas experimenting and then we stumbled upon the fleet about 12 miles offshore. The bite was a little long in the tooth but during our first drift through, I put my rod in a rod holder, turned on the clicker and was tending to some other work. The reel started to scream and Larry was yelling “fish on! fish on!”. I jumped up, grabbed the rod, put the reel in gear and the fight was on. The battle lasted for a while but as the tuna began his death spiral, Larry gaffed him perfectly on the first attempt!

3. The batteries in the boat are about 3 years old and I can see that their ability to hold a charge is compromised. I ordered 2 group 27 Starting Batteries with high CCA’s. I’ve only installed one because only one of the batteries needed immediate attention and I just picked up 2 new battery cases with tie downs which will require me to spend a little time to do the job correctly. The old batteries did not have cases, only trays. There is also another issue that I want to address now that I am beginning to work on the batteries.This boat had 2 batteries – one battery for each engine. All of the other electronics and accessories, i.e fish finder, lights, pumps, etc are tied into the starboard battery. This really is not the optimum configuration as the other electrical items are running while the engines are not running. Depending on the length of time to the next restart, the battery is being drained and could possibly be drained down below the level required to start the engine. Yes I have 2 other charged batteries that I bring on the boat as well as a charged jump starter but what a pain! I’m adding a group 27 deep cycling house battery to handle all of the electronics and accessories so that each of the starting batteries can be dedicated to only starting each engine. I can configure the batteries to be recharged with the alternator when the engine is running while keeping the starting batteries isolated. This is done with some switching hardware and configuration work. You’ll see in a minute why this will be necessary!

4. Face Plate for gauges – I received the face plate finally and I cut out the holes for the SC1000 gauges and fuel gauge. I had assumed that the face plate was a rectangle when in fact it was not a perfect rectangle. The face plate needed a little cut down on one side in order to fit the opening. I installed the gauges – only took a couple of minutes. They look great but as I drilled down on the functionality of the gauges it dawned on me that the fuel gauge is not really necessary since I could wire in the main tank sensor to one gauge and the auxiliary tank sensor to the other gauge. While I was figuring all of this out, I really didn’t like the fish finder and plotter. The plotter still works good but the screen is too small. My eyesight sucks now so I need something bigger. See #5 below …

5. I’ve spent a lot of time researching fish finders, plotter and radar units. After a few weeks of deliberations, I have decided on Garmin. I decided on the Garmin GPSMAP 1040XS. This unit is a plotter/fish finder combo unit with a 10″ screen … even I can see that! This unit is NMEA 2000 compliant which means installing a NMEA 2000 backbone – sounds complicated but is actually very easy. I also purchased the Garmin GMR 18xHD Radome radar unit. Basically, these 2 units and the transducer plug into the backbone allowing the information from each component to be shared with other components connected to the backbone. The radar will overlay on top of the maps on my plotter. There were 2 other issues that I needed to figure out. The first being how to get the fuel gauge information to my plotter/fish finder as this unit has the capability to display fuel flow and fuel level and many other engine functions. The fuel flow and level information is simple. Garmin makes a GFS 10 that is also NMEA 2000 compatible. This unit is installed in your fuel line and connected to the sensor on the fuel tank you want to measure. The other end of the wires plug into the backbone … just that easy. Since I have 2 engines AND 2 fuel tanks, I need 2 GFS 10 units. The last problem to solve was how to get the rest of the engine information including fuel flow and level to the SC1000 gauges. Actually, I have a harness connected to the engines that plug directly into the SC1000 gauges. This provides the engine information to the SC1000 gauges but how do I get this to the 1040XS? Also, how do I get the fuel flow and level information from the 1040XS to the SC1000 gauges. If the SC1000 gauges are NMEA 2000 compatible, then problem solved – easy fix. Well, the SC1000 gauges are not NMEA 2000 compliant out of the box. There is a special gateway that can be purchased that allows you to plug into the backbone. Once a device is plugged into the backbone, its component information is shared with all of the devices connected to the backbone. This Saturday is my day to install and split out the other circuits to the house battery. I’ll be ready for fishing again next weekend. Meanwhile, I’ll be ordering another face plate with the correct side. I plan on painting it a glossy black. All of these new electronics (especially the radar) increase the risk of running down the battery which is the primary reason why I needed to add a house battery. I’ll have 2 extra charged batteries on board and a jumper box as backup plan b and backup plan c.

6. I’ve re-fiberglassed the damage in the cabin around the ice chest as well as the damaged box lids. The next step is to apply the gel coat.

7. There are a couple of light circuits that don’t work and once the circuits are separated out onto the house battery, I’ll troubleshoot and repair.

So there you go. That is the latest update. The next update should happen this weekend and I’ll have lots of photos!

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