Day 3: Getting Wired

When I arrived in from LAX yesterday, I got on board to the now-normal and rather comforting sight of electrical panels off, tools strategically strewn about, and electrical wiring out for testing. After a good night’s sleep, while Walt went around to pick up various bits and pieces at West Marine and elsewhere, Hans and I tackled what we thought would be a really trivial and quick piece of wiring: adding in a dual-USB outlet at the binnacle (to power phones and iPads for chart plotting), and adding in another dual-USB outlet and an ordinary cigarette-lighter-style 12V power point at the chart table. I opened up the binnacle, found a pair of wires properly marked (as most things are on this boat, thankfully) ’12V Outlet’, crimped on a pair of disconnects, and…nothing.

Thus began an electrical wild goose chase, because while most of the wires on this boat have numerical IDs on them (which makes them quite easy to trace on the breaker panel), these ones…didn’t. We figured there had to be a subpanel somewhere, because there were about a half dozen wires (cryptically marked ‘spare 1, spare 2,…’ and disappearing into a wiring harness) that only appeared at the binnacle that weren’t on the breaker panel. Turns out, after much looking around, sleuthing, thinking, and cursing, the wire to the 12V outlets was neatly capped off in a far corner of the secondary breaker panel, where all I had to do was clip the cap off and juice it up.

This is why everything seems to take so long on a boat you’re not fully familiar with: what would have been a 20-minute job on Sagres, before or after my morning latte, chewed most of the morning simply because something wasn’t where one expects it to be, and there isn’t sufficient documentation. Makes for fun-problem solving, though.


With that finished, the electrical panel all neatly put back together, and people’s mobile devices recharging off 12V power without using the inverter, it was off to do some maneuvering practice with Steve. After about a dozen touch-and-go docking maneuvers between Walt and me, I learned a lot of good tricks and only put a few horizontal, er, decorations on the topsides in the process. Any docking clinic you walk away from is a good one, right? We’re now all feeling better about the prospect of squeezing Snow Shoo out of her too-small berth and out into open water tomorrow. I’m hoping that getting off the dock will be the most difficult thing we end up doing tomorrow, but this remains to be seen.

We then spent the rest of the afternoon rapidly checking things off the commissioning list:

  • did a full rigging check and replaced the (very stiff) staysail sheet; everything checked out fine after…more lube.
  • giving the kayak its final voyage on our watch, over to the Marina Paddle folks on the next finger pier, where the kayak will be donated for use by veterans, scouts, and other fine folks
  • secured the AIS antenna to the rail and temporarily set the wiring up with…gaffer’s tape. I feel right at home!
  • re-lubricating the dinghy davits, reflating the dinghy, cleaning a substantial amount of hard growth off her bottom, and loading the outboard motor on. The dinghy shows she’s been in the California sun for ages, but hey, she floats.

After the Mother of All Costco Runs, followed by the Mother of All Trader Joe’s Runs–neither of which would be particularly notable to those of you with large families, but for those of us single folk, seems an unconscionably large amount of food–we’re provisioned and almost ready to cast off tomorrow. We have a full fridge and a full freezer (the notion of having more freezer space than fridge space was taking us all a fair while to grasp while zipping through the aisles at Costco):


There are a few remaining tasks before we go:

  • get the SSB radio back from being serviced (we forgot to do it today; thankfully they’re open tomorrow)
  • continue to fight with the tech support folks for the not-fully-working AIS module, who now seem to have come to the conclusion after a day that we did in the morning. This one’s not critical to navigation, just frustrating. We’d really like them to drop-ship a new one to Oakland, since the unit is obviously defective.
  • refill diesel and fresh water
  • return the rental car
  • check the manual bilge pumps

Plan is to leave tomorrow around noon, sail all night so as to pass Point Conception around 6am Sunday, and then tie up in Monterey sometime Tuesday.



2 thoughts on “Day 3: Getting Wired

  1. I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone in Newport. Thanks for the info on the 12 v circuit. On my list is the exact same install of the Blue Sea unit and you have saved me a ton of trouble shooting. Fair winds as you begin the adventure.
    One more thing. If you require shore side help or anything I can pick up and bring to Newport let me know. Oregon has no sales tax!

    Walt (swab version)


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