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Old 08-04-2015, 11:59   #421
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Re: Beneteau 38

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Originally Posted by Polux View Post
I guess we are not talking about the same thing. Never saw an Oceanis 38 with 4 winches on the cockpit and it did not seen they have considered that an option. The standard is two winches on the cockpit and two winches over the cabin.

Do your boat have 6 winches (four on the cockpit and two over the cabin)?
My bad--it has four winches total, two atop the cabin and two in the cockpit as you say. I checked my invoice, and the STDB cabin top winch is an option and not stock, so the stock boat comes with three with an optional 4th.

Matt
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Old 08-04-2015, 23:07   #422
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Re: Beneteau 38

We had our first failure with the O38 a few days ago in the middle of our 10-day long spring break vacation sail. we pulled into Avalon harbor and onto a mooring Sunday evening, had zero issues with anything, and once on the mooring I shut off the engine as per usual, although I did stop the engine but leave the system powered a little longer than usual (maybe a minute) because I had to deal with the stern hawser suddenly.

In any case, I powered off the engine controller at the helm and we got on to other tasks. We slept overnight on the mooring, spent the next day in Avalon, and slept aboard again that night. The next morning we were a bit late off the mooring and looking at a harbor patrol boat who was eyeballing us to ask for another day's mooring fee as I powered up. Usual alarms, started the motor, dropped the mooring lines, and moved forward off the mooring.

That's when I realized the alarm was still sounding. I have strong tinnitus from my time in the Navy so I don't always notice high pitched constant tones. Anyway, as we were hightailing it out of the harbor, I checked the panel and saw that the battery light was the cause of the alarm.

No worries I thought, we drew the batteries down pretty good over two nights and I figured it was just a low battery alarm. I figured I'd motor for a while to charge them and get the alarm off, and then we'd sail. We were only two to three hours from our next stop, so no biggie.

Nope. By half-way to Two Harbors, it was obvious that nothing was charging. I got a bit panicky, worrying about our vacation being over because of a fault. Then I thought "Hey, this is a sailboat, so we sail." That helped a lot.

We shut off the fridge and all the accessory circuits, and motored into two harbors because I was afraid to shut the engine off. After fueling and motoring there, I read through the engine manual and did some googling, contacted South Coast Yachts (our dealer) and they decided I was looking at either a bad alternator or a bad isolator. I didn't have any testing tools aboard, but I jury-rigged a voltage tester out of a USB car charger with an "ON" light and connected the alternator output to ground through it and determined that the alternator was dead. Very odd.

Two Harbors had some very helpful boat mechanics, but they are remote and parts are basically not available. We decided that instead of going out to the uninhabited Channel Islands (our original vacation plan) that we should instead head back to civilization on the California coast and Harbor hop from Long Beach back down to San Diego, because we could pull into slips and recharge on shore power.

Long story short the boat performed like a champ even with this failure. The start battery seems to have hundreds of starts in it and the Yanmar 30 doesn't seem to use power at all when running. My first experience with a marine diesel, but its made me a believer. In any case, it didn't drop even a 1/10th of voltage for the rest of the trip even without charging.

By day 3 without the alternator, it was clear that our concerns about power were mostly unfounded. We put a bag of ice in a box in the fridge and kept it off, but I was able to use the navigation equipment and the autopilot consistently the remainder of the trip. We were drawing 4 to 5 amps underway using the autopilot, and 2-3 amps in port on cabin lights and phone/ipad rechargers and incidental flushing, etc. We went about 60 hours this way before plugging into shore power, and that topped us up for the remainder of our trip.

Pretty stoked about this kind of capacity. I thought it was overkill coming from a 26' sailboat with a single battery, but it's another form of fault tolerance that saved our vacation.

Also, the good people at South Coast Yachts, where we bought our boat, were fantastic through this. They arranged wharfage for us in Newport as we were coming across the channel and their tech support guy went back and forth with me troubleshooting for hours texting me pictures of everything and providing expert assistance in figuring out exactly what was wrong. While I couldn't fix it, knowing exactly what was wrong was a big relief and allowed me to make the decision to continue our vacation safely.

Our buying experience has been very different compared to what FDM unfortunately had to report about his. It might be worth traveling to make a purchase this big from people who know what they're doing, provide great value, and stick with you after the purchase.
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Old 09-04-2015, 03:54   #423
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Re: Beneteau 38

Got it on the value of dealer integrity. So the alternator got fried...what was the determined cause?. Thanks for giving us the detail of your experience.
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Old 09-04-2015, 07:17   #424
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Re: Beneteau 38

Matt, Thx for sharing and glad it was it turned out to be a minor impact on your vacation (your planned itinerary sounds awesome). Good to hear that the boat performed well and that your dealership was a trusted advisor to you. I was toying with getting a good/high-quality multimeter to keep on the boat, and now I am sold. FdM
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Old 09-04-2015, 08:47   #425
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Re: Beneteau 38

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I was toying with getting a good/high-quality multimeter to keep on the boat, and now I am sold. FdM
I ordered a Fluke 107 few weeks ago for our boat. It's the most compact Fluke multimeter I could find with a backlit display and all the basic functionality including resistance and current measuring. They go for $99.99 on Amazon. I've always trusted Fluke's quality.
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Old 09-04-2015, 13:10   #426
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Re: Beneteau 38

Funny thing is I keep a multimeter onboard my small boat, which I wired, but it didn't occur to me for this boat because thus far I've been hands off. But yes, a multimeter and a good toolkit is mandatory equipment on any boat, new or old.


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Old 09-04-2015, 13:44   #427
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Re: Beneteau 38

So did the dealer ever figure out what killed the alternator?


BTW, there are a lot of "alarm" gizmos, wired and wireless, to help the hearing impaired hear (see or feel) doorbells and telephones. Any electronics tech should have no problem tying one of those into the engine alarms for you. Not a huge expense, either.
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Old 09-04-2015, 14:08   #428
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Re: Beneteau 38

Matt,
Thank you very much for the detailed insights. They are extremely helpful. Just tell me how would a multimeter help someone who is not experienced in electronics (me).
Cheers
Homero
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Old 10-04-2015, 15:42   #429
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Re: Beneteau 38

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So did the dealer ever figure out what killed the alternator?
We just got back from our trip last night, and they're troubleshooting now. I don't think we're every going to figure out the why of it. Those mitsubishi alternators are quite bulletproof, and they have shunts to prevent blowing if the motor runs while the system is shut off. It's likely just a random failure due to a marginal diode.


Quote:
Originally Posted by homerobarros View Post
Matt,
Thank you very much for the detailed insights. They are extremely helpful. Just tell me how would a multimeter help someone who is not experienced in electronics (me).
Cheers
Homero
Well, it won't help if you don't know how to use it. Electronics is pretty easy stuff. There are a few pretty good books specifically made to teach the requisite knowledge to boat owners you might want to look into.

Here's a simple analogy using pressurized water pipes:

voltage: Water pressure (speed of flow)
Amperage: Pipe diameter
Wattage: Total water moved per second (pressure * diameter)

Direct Current (DC): Water in the system moves from source (positive) to sink (negative) to transfer energy. DC is used because it's simple and what batteries provide naturally. DC suffers from high resistance (turbulence that slows the flow) due to the buildup of magnetic fields when electricity flows through a wire.

Alternating Current (AC): Water in the system moves back and forth in the pipes (like a plunger does to water in a pipe) to transfer energy. AC is used because it doesn't build up magnetic fields (like turbulence in the pipes) that resist flow as much as DC which cause voltage drops (lower pressure due to turbulence) over distance. AC is also the natural product of a simple rotating magnet over a wire (called an Alternator)

Wire: A pipe
Diode: A one-way valve
Resistor: A flow limiter
Capacitor: A small water tank inline with a pipe.
Battery: A large water tank
Generator: A pump
Alternator: A plunger
Motor: A waterwheel
Solar Panel: A rain collector
Transformer: A pipe size coupler (i.e. large pipe to small, or vice versa, which increases or lowers pressure and the opposite for diameter)

On a boat, the engine drives the alternator with a belt, which produces AC. The AC is put through a simple system of four diodes called a rectifier that converts the AC into pulses of DC, which are smoothed out using a capacitor into DC power that can charge a battery.

Converting AC to DC is simple and can be done with very inexpensive parts, but this wasn't the case until the invention of the diode in the 50's. Diodes are the least-complicated semiconductor.

Converting DC to AC is extremely difficult and requires electronics that construct an AC wave synthetically called an inverter. Inverters are expensive and prone to failure. Before inverters, conversion of DC to AC was done by powering a DC motor to drive an alternator, but that is quite inefficient.

A meter lets you test for the presence of electricity (voltage or amperage) at any point in the system, which helps to isolate what part is broken.

You do have to know how the system is wired and what the major components do. The wiring is the manual, and I used it to trace out what could be wrong.
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Old 10-04-2015, 16:02   #430
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Re: Beneteau 38

Oceanis Lost

Was at Strictly Sail in Oakland and heard from several sources that a brand-new 55 was lost late last week while sailing up from SoCal for show ~40miles off the Coast of Carmel/Big Sur. Details as I heard them were sketchy but was told the following (obviously the below has not been confirmed but we will know doubt hear more as both the insurance company and Beneteau will be keen on understanding the cause. If others hear more, please let us know.
· Crew heard loud crash sound (some at show said it was cause by hitting underwater object like a ship container)
· Crew later lifted floor boards and found bilge filled with seawater…bilge pumps could not keep up
· Crew opened front cabin door and water came pouring out
· Coast guard was called and rescued crew
· Abandoned ship
· Fishing boat saw boat adrift a few days later
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Old 10-04-2015, 16:36   #431
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Re: Beneteau 38

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Fishing boat saw boat adrift a few days later
Huh. How does a keelboat stop sinking on its own?
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Old 10-04-2015, 22:45   #432
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Re: Beneteau 38

Matt, I can't say. I heard the story again this evening from yet another show vendor. If the story is true (mind that the a retired Coast Guard officer was the first person to tell me the story yesterday) I am most interested in learning the cause of the failure.
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Old 11-04-2015, 00:00   #433
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Re: Beneteau 38

O38 Asymmetric impressions

We went out with the asymmetrical spinnaker today in relatively lite (5-10 knot) pre-noon winds and it was both super easy to set up and sail with…and it really accelerated the boat’s speed significantly (by a factor of 2…my wife called it a turbo booster). We ordered the boat from the factory with the asymmetric hardware but chose to have the sail and sock made at a local loft. On the O38, the spinnaker sheet blocks are detachable and they hook onto the aft horn cleats via a looped line. Unlike a traditional spinnaker, the sail was super easy to rig…and is not difficult to raise and/or handle using the main cockpit winches. The sock makes raising and lowering the sail a snap. I was thinking about getting a top-down furler for it, but while I was at the Boat Show I visited the Harkin and Selden representatives and they advised against a roller furler without retrofitting the boat with a bowsprit because they believe that the O38 doesn’t have enough distance between the jib and the spinnaker for the asymmetrical to furl without snagging/catching. After flying it for the entire morning I can say without hesitation that I like it better than the traditional spinnaker setup because of its simplicity. It is really just like an extremely large genoa as it doesn’t have the complex hardware, pole, and multiple lines to bother with that the traditional spinnaker set-up requires…this means that it is super easy to gybe. Just like with the stock genoa, all you have to do is move the helm over, handle the boom, and pull the sail around with the sheet and puff…it fills. I found that the shape of the sail actually works better at powering the boat than a traditional spinnaker except when the wind was coming way aft (you have to sail at slightly higher wind angles than with a traditional spinnaker…but because gybing is so easy, this was not a problem). Interestingly, by the end of the sail, one thing that became apparent was that because the O38 seems to go fast anyway, the only times I would use it is when we are well below hull speed and in winds that are less than 14 knots. The boat seems to get to hull speed pretty easily without the shoot, so we found that later in the day as the winds picked up to 15+knots, all the sail did was push the bow into the water without really giving us any more boat speed.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:19   #434
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Re: Beneteau 38

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluer de Mer View Post
Oceanis Lost

Was at Strictly Sail in Oakland and heard from several sources that a brand-new 55 was lost late last week while sailing up from SoCal for show ~40miles off the Coast of Carmel/Big Sur. Details as I heard them were sketchy but was told the following (obviously the below has not been confirmed but we will know doubt hear more as both the insurance company and Beneteau will be keen on understanding the cause. If others hear more, please let us know.
· Crew heard loud crash sound (some at show said it was cause by hitting underwater object like a ship container)
· Crew later lifted floor boards and found bilge filled with seawater…bilge pumps could not keep up
· Crew opened front cabin door and water came pouring out
· Coast guard was called and rescued crew
· Abandoned ship
· Fishing boat saw boat adrift a few days later
There is a thread with some weeks about it here with more information. Search for Beneteau 55 and you will find it.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:54   #435
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Re: Beneteau 38

Thx Polux. Fairly consistent data. FdM
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